Spontanous Camping Trip – Pace Bend Park in Travis County, TX

When I initially decided to start blogging again I intended to include tales of my travels.  I started the blog in August of last year, since that time I have done a little bit of traveling which has included trips to Waco to see family, a trip to San Antonio or two for Six Flags and couple of contests that I did but didn’t end up blogging about a Colorado trip that would have resulted in a very fun series of entries had I had the time to do so.

As some of you may know in November I started a new job with a growing software company called Zenoss Inc. (www.zenoss.com).  We build monitoring software that will keep track of infrastructure, networks, and services.  My current position is Client Support Engineer and I work closely with our customers to ensure that they have working software and that it is configured for their needs.  This keeps me pretty busy during the week.  I decided after my Colorado trip that I wanted to travel more and see more.  Now that I am working for Zenoss I actually have the benefit of getting real vacation time and not some silly PTO that is simply tied into my sick time and limited to 5 days a year.  I am planning a number of adventures including Ham-Com in June in Plano, Ham-Holiday in July in Oklahoma City, MFJ’s Day In A Park in Starkville, Mississippi in October and scattered in between I want to do some other weekend trips including camping trips, the Texas Steak Cook-Off, contests, and visiting friends out of town.  While some of these adventures won’t include a blog I do hope that I will have photos from upcoming events and stories to tell.

This past weekend was one of the most amazing weekends I have had since my Colorado trip.  Saturday morning after getting up at 6AM to attend an amateur radio breakfast and go shopping for a project I am doing for portable amateur radio operations my girlfriend (Taleena) passed her Technician Class amateur radio license exam.  We than went shopping for camping gear.  We have been talking about camping for some time, and so we went and bought the camping gear and it was still light outside so we decided to go camping.

I had been looking at Pace Bend Park, it is located about an hour west of Austin, I won’t bore you with the details about the park itself as you can get all the information you want on their website http://www.co.travis.tx.us/tnr/parks/pace_bend.asp.  We decided to try it out.  We found a nice spot to set-up up camp which allowed me to have the car close by fort operating the radio since I haven’t finished my portable set-up yet.  As you can see in the very low quality smartphone camera photos the set-up worked out nicely.  I only worked about 20 stations between helping Taleena grill and visiting with her and sleeping.  However, with those 20 Q’s one was Japan and the other Australia.

Taleena also took her turn at the Microphone and worked KC0W, ND0S, and K9DIG using my call.  She should have her call soon and I will be getting her on 10 and 6 meters until she upgrades to General and can play the rest of HF.  It unfortunately started to rain Sunday morning and so we left fairly early after eating our breakfast which for me consisted of Bacon and Beer.  Overall the camping gear worked out well and I am looking forward to our next camping trip.  I will take suggestions for camping spots within a couple of hours of Austin for weekend camping and also suggestions for places further away for future road trips.  I am also looking for any input on portable antennas to try during my adventures.  I am going to be testing out some hamsticks soon and also looking to build a ham-stick dipole antenna.  So listen for KJ5T on the air and also once Taleena get’s her call I will mention it in a future blog posting which will likely be next month after the Belton HamExpo which is surely to include high quality photos from the DSLR.

73 Steve/KJ5T

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