Texas State Parks On The Air – Lost Maples State Natural Area

After finding out about Texas State Parks On The Air (http://www.tspota.com/) I decided to start trying to activate some of the parks as time permits.  This past weekend I started this with an operation from Lost Maples State Natural Area in Vanderpool, Texas (Bandera County).  It was a very casual operation, I made about 70 contacts SSB and PSK mostly on 20 meters.  I was on 10 and 15 for a bit Saturday evening but 20 was the most active and the antenna seemed to work best on 20.  Furthest contact was with the Canary Islands.  There was loud ZL2 on 20 Friday evening but he had a big pile-up and I was too lazy to try to bust any pile-ups this weekend.

Added a couple more of the W1AW stations (/1 and /4) to the log.  Handed out some points for those folks in Washington and South Carolina in their respective QSO Parties.  Overall a successfull weekend contact wise.

Antenna was a 33ft wire attached to the EARC HF End-Fed Matchbox (http://www.earchi.org/proj_homebrew.html) up about 18ft at the peak and sloping down to a tree about 6 ft in the air.  It seemed to do okay for a really easy to deploy antenna.

The park itself was great, the park police did ask me what the mast was for but had no issues with it when I told him it was for an amateur radio antenna. Some say you should ask for permission from the park first, I tend to go with the do now ask for forgiveness later routine.  Was a pretty crowded weekend with the start of Texas camping season but I was able to get a good spot so there wasn’t too much noise.

Was off the air a bit Saturday as I went on a short hike (.8 miles) along one of the trails.  Pictures from that are available on flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/kj5t/sets/72157647824555706/)

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