Reaching Out on 2m @ 5w
Activated Palomar Mountain State Park today with the HT on 5w. We (XYL & me) operated next to the Boucher Hill Lookout Station at 5,400’ elevation. The park rangers stepped out of the tower and we asked if it would be okay to POTA. One of the rangers, Linda Mercurio, K6LTM, and a VE, gave us the go ahead to operate. They monitor 146.520 so from about 30’ away, with Linda transmitting from the tower balcony, I logged the contact!
We were standing on a beautiful view deck and set up the MFJ mag-mount antenna on a wood fence post. I wasn’t sure how effective the antenna would be without a ground-plane but it performed great! We were able to make contacts from the LA basin and all the way down to the Mexican border.
Here is the set-up. Had to stick my phone and HT in my hat to keep them from overheating. The phone shut down once.
Success…14 contacts in 42 minutes. Had the XYL logging the QSO’s on the computer while holding an umbrella over the computer to read the screen and prevent it from overheating. But no worries…I had pen and paper as backup! While wrapping things up I managed to tip my water bottle over…but no problem right??? Cuz we had the computer log.
I got home only to discover the computer file was not saved properly so all I had was the water-stained paper as backup.
Initially we planned to operate from inside the car at a lower-level parking lot. When we got there, we discovered low growth vegetation was too high for line-of-sight communications. Our thoughts initially were to avoid the lookout tower location because alongside it was a communications tower loaded with dishes and masts. As you see, we decided to go up there anyway and it worked out great!