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Our previous park excursion took us to the Foreshore Park in the Pacific Spirit Park, next door was the Spanish Banks park along English Bay. This area was split into two, both listed on the Parks in the Air program. Strangely, the eastern part had been activated several times but the western portion was never activated. It looked like our opportunity to get another first. We planned for another Thursday adventure and come Thursday morning Ralph appeared and we set out on our hour-long drive to the park.
The one thing we were not looking forward to was the parking fees. The web site spoke of 3.50 per hour. Though fees annoy us, we felt it was a manageable cost for the adventure. When we arrived, the place was busy with dogs running all over, the parking lot was over half full but there were no pay signs. I chatted with two people who both confirmed that the parking was indeed free. That was welcome news. We wandered across the broad grassy field looking at the dogs and the views. The tide was out and dogs were far out on the sand, they added a nice accent to the views of the water and North Shore Mountains. Meanwhile, Ralph spotted a bench he could use. I saw some tables on the other side (west) of the grass that I could operate from. Having scouted the area, we returned to the car and gathered up our gear. The area is really quite scenic and if you don’t mind a few dogs, it has some nice places to stretch out and enjoy the sun.
Ralph carried his gear to his bench and I loaded the cart for my walk to the tables. There were several tables I could pick from, eventually I decided on one in the open which had lots of grass around it. While I was stretching out my antenna, I could hear a dog owner calling his dog to come to the car, Rosie was her name – the same as my girl back home. She had a ball in her mouth and just stood there watching him, she was not ready to go home. It took quite some time and the help of another person to get her leashed!
One of the concerns we had about the location and thought it may be why the park was never activated was the hill to the south of the park. The ground rises quickly just south of Marine Drive and we wondered how it would affect our signals. To reduce any concerns, I picked a table mid way across the park, I felt I was far enough from the slope for it to have minimal impact on me. The rise really isn’t that serious and was not likely to be an issue and judging by my contacts it wasn’t.
While the dogs frolicked around me I finished setting up my station and started scanning the 20m band for another park activator. I soon heard a chap calling from Pennsylvania and tried calling back, it took a few tries as I was quite weak into him but we got the exchange done and I had my first contact. Ralph was by now calling as well but it would be another five minutes before he had his first. So, I won first activator for this park. I continued scanning the band for more parks and found it to be in good shape today and I was able to contact 3 more parks, two in Kentucky and a double in Saskatchewan. Over the next hour I managed 35 contacts ranging from Nova Scotia and Rhode Island down to Georgia across to Texas and California and up to Alaska. No fellow hams in the area this time though, the closest station was one in Oregon. All my contacts were on the 20m band today, no time to try others.
Ralph called me on the hand held at a bit after 1pm. We both had had a decent day with the propagation cooperating. He felt that he had enough and would like to get going to beat the traffic and to get a coffee before heading home. So, I packed up my station and met him back at my car. We loaded up the gear and asked the navcom for the best route home. Today it had us stay on Marine drive the entire way saying that home was an hour away. We were ahead of the crowd but it was still a bit slower than our trip out. We made good time along the roads with only short delays at some lights.