Report from activation of Tea Hill Park, VE-0878, Stratford PEI

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Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2023 11:11 am

Report from activation of Tea Hill Park, VE-0878, Stratford PEI

Post by vy2hf »

After a busted attempt a couple of weeks ago in a municipal park here in my hometown, I took advantage of a holiday Monday to try a QRP activation with a little more preparation. My first attempt, at Pondside Park VE-5780, had been unsuccessful - largely due to poor propagation on 20 Meters and a less-than-ideal end-fed wire not very far up a tree. Despite the fact I didn't manage any QSOs, I was spotted on the Reverse Beacon Network, so I knew I was getting out, and I had the needed encouragement to try again.

On August 7th 2023 I left home unsure of which park I would try, and resolved to just scout out those with decent vehicle access and space for a good vertical antenna with radials. Tea Hill Park was the first one I visited and it looked promising, so I parked on the edge of a grass field. The weather forecast was for occasional showers, so I decided to set up in the back of my Toyota RAV4 SUV.

Tea Hill Park is a provincial park, and one of Stratford's most-visited, featuring a cricket pitch that is very popular with our growing South Asian community in the Charlottetown area. There is also lots of room for dog walking, picnicking, and it even has a beach that is popular at low tide. The park faces Northumberland Strait, and on this day the visibility was excellent with a good view of Nova Scotia to the south.

I parked around mid-way between the road and the waterfront, and set about erecting my telescopic vertical antenna and four radials. Using my RigExpert AA-55 antenna analyzer, I found a good element length; giving me an SWR of 1.16 to 1. I ran the 50' RG-8X cable to the back hatch of the RAV4, and started with my 20M QRPLabs QCX-Mini. Settling around 14061 KHz I could hear a few signals, but the QCX was seemingly full of noise. After a couple of CQ tries with no replies, I switched to my FT-817. The band sounded much quieter with the Yaesu, and I packed the QCX away.

I started with a few CQs that went unanswered, and then tuned around to see if I was hearing anyone well enough that they might hear my QRP reply to their CQ. I heard Bob, KL7NL, with a very good signal activating park K-6931 in North Carolina, west of Fayetteville. Bob came back to my somewhat clunky CW, and we completed a park-to-park QSO; my first ever.

That early luck on CW didn't extend to my next round of CQs down the band. Although I later called up RBN to see I was copied in several states over a three-minute period, I could not hear any replies to my CQs, so I decided to pivot to FT8. I had brought my laptop and DigiRig interface just in case CW was a bust. After a few minutes of setup I put out a "CQ POTA" and immediately got a flood of calls. In the next half hour I managed a dozen FT8 QSOs, interspersed with several periods away from the rig while I conversed with a tourist who had parked nearby.

The tourist was from Quebec, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to be precise, and our interaction was almost entirely in French (despite my rust). He had a friend who was an amateur operator back home (VA2SIB) and he already knew quite a bit about the hobby. He brought over his two sons and explained to them my antenna and radio setup. He had some RF engineering experience himself, and was very impressed with what I could manage using only five watts.

By POTA standards it was a modest activation, but the chance to evangelize a little about the hobby (in my second language no less) is always a bonus. In the end I managed contacts with North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Virginia, Ohio, and Ontario - all using QRP into a telescoping whip antenna shoved into the ground.

I now have a really good spot identified for future activations, and will also look at other parks in my community - especially those that have yet to be activated for POTA. With my success at FT8, next time I'll come with a better setup, more LiFePo battery capacity, and some snacks so I can hang in for longer even if the weather is not the best.

Equipment Used:
QRPLabs QCX-Mini (20M version)
Yaesu FT-817ND
AliExpress 18.3' QRP vertical ... 1802bxyisV
Palm Pico CW Paddles
DigiRig interface []
ParkLocation.jpg (208.18 KiB) Viewed 4670 times
FT8PileUp.jpg (136.9 KiB) Viewed 4670 times
TeaHillMap.JPG (43.75 KiB) Viewed 4670 times
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 8:11 pm

Re: Report from activation of Tea Hill Park, VE-0878, Stratford PEI

Post by KnoxvilleMike »

Nice write-up!
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:28 pm

Re: Report from activation of Tea Hill Park, VE-0878, Stratford PEI

Post by M0RGM »

Always interesting to hear others experiences and see the set up - thanks for sharing.

Richard M0RGM
Site Admin
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue May 24, 2022 12:44 pm

Re: Report from activation of Tea Hill Park, VE-0878, Stratford PEI

Post by K4SWL »

I wonderful report from one of my favorite provinces! :)
Hey--consider sharing one of your field reports on as well. Just send it to my email. We could use some more Maritime field reports. :)

Thanks for sharing this, OM!
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