First Night Tuesday June 21
A short time for planning this solo camping trip. I had just made reservations a couple of days before the actual camping trip. I decided to make a reservation for POTA park K-1303 Hungry Mother State Park in Virginia. I don’t ever remember us going camping here as a family in the 70’s. I do remember my mom thinking her family was from the Marion, VA area.
On the way down I realized I forgot to bring my sleeping bag and mattress. I checked the GPS real quick to find a Walmart. I had found a Coleman 40 tent that was advertised as soft and for tall people and the price was reasonable. I also purchased a blanket to use as a mattress. The sleeping bag was very comfortable and soft. I like it better than the other summer bag I have. I thought I should be ok with that. At this point remember to compile a checklist and check it before you head out. A checklist may be different for each trip.
After arriving I started setting up my tent and started having trouble with it. A neighbor came by to help. Another neighbor came by to tell us someone got a fine for setting up the tent on the grass. I never heard of that at a campground before. So we moved it to the asphalt.
I do not ever remember a solo camping trip before. I had always been with the Scouts or camping with my nephew. With no internet and nobody to ask when to eat, I was able to spend some time saying a few prayers and reflecting on the world’s issues.
I started setting up my radio and planning my dinner. The neighbor that warned us about the tent setup invited me to a country boil. I had heard of it but never went to one. I accepted the invitation.
Between eating and making my amateur radio contacts I managed to complete 40 some contacts. The neighbors two teenage boys came by and I had them take the microphone and give their name to one of my contacts.There were two families represented not sure of the boys relation. It had been a while since I had a pileup. I tried to catch part of the call and go to the next station but I only did a couple of times. I need more practice. Highlight of the night was when KO4BEE Jeremy of Holly Springs checked in and letting me know he had tested with my group the FCVET. I am glad he mentioned that.
Here is a map of my contacts I made the first night.
Everything I do has to involve astronomy. Tuesday was a nice clear evening. I thought this park would be great for a Dark Sky site. As I was leaving I asked the ranger if any Astronomy was done and she said a professor comes out twice a year and does a star party and I mentioned Staunton River and she said there was a plan to develop that park as a dark sky park. Good news.
First Day of Summer 2022
My phone service was non existence and had limited internet options. I made a simple breakfast of deviled eggs. I made contact with my friend Larry WB4FCU from my home town of Wendell. We had a nice conversation. We attempted to include our friend KD4WJD Hugh but was unsuccessful. He had just completed putting up his dipole and maybe since Larry and I was on a vertical and Hugh was on a horizontal we weren’t able to hear Hugh. After a few more contacts I got out the MFJ 1984 MP end fed antenna so I could set under the shade tree to see if I could make contacts. It would not tune without a tuner. I set up the tuner and was able to make a couple of contacts and then I checked into the Virginia Fone Net. KO4CUF Reba was the Net Control Station. I am the regular NCS for Wednesday but I think it is important to give new people a chance and Reba and I are alternating for a couple of months.
The next night I was preparing dehydrated vegetable soup for dinner but the same neighbor invited me over for breakfast for dinner. Had homemade sausage gravy and biscuits. Another good meal. Amateur radio contacts were hard to come by but I did make the required 10 contacts that qualified me to activate the park for that day.
i was able to set up a second tent called a 3 second tent. I enjoy sleeping on a cot and the cot was a little tight fit.
That night of camp saw some lightning. I decided to put everything in the car just in case it rained. Sure enough it started raining during the night. Luckily no rain got into the tent.
I am developing plans to assist missionaries in getting their amateur radio license and teaching them how to set up portable stations. I hope this will be a tool they can have for their use either for times for emergencies or to use during their off time.
POTA has a great awards program. As a result of this activation I received the Late Shift award.
For a list of articles I have done by location on my POTA activities click here.
Amateur Radio Equipment List Under Construction
- Icom-706 MKIIG
- MFJ 969 Tuner
CHA HYBRID Micro