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Ralph and had such a great time operating our radios on Thursday that we thought we should go out the next day and see how we would do. I wanted another park that neither of has been to which was large enough for us to spread out. Castle Park was only a few blocks away from Settlers so it seemed like a good choice.
Ralph arrived at 12:30 and we quickly set out for the park. Driving time estimated by the navcom was 36 minutes which turned out to be quite accurate. We arrived at the almost empty parking lot on time and I pulled into a stall closest to the open fields of the park. This park sports a kids play area, a covered picnic area, restrooms, lots of walk ways and wide grassy areas to spread out in. A great place for family visits in the summer. After a brief scouting of the area, we had selected our operating positions. I was going to use a nearby picnic table, Ralph spotted a bench across the grass and slope. We loaded our gear in the cart and made for my table. After unloading Ralph continued on his way with the cart.
After checking my compass for south I chose the alignment for my antenna and then proceeded to set it up. I soon had the radio operating and noticed that the noise on the 15m band was quite low so I didn’t bother with the noise cancellation unit. I saw two other activations on 15m and dialed them in. Though I could hear some callers trying the parks I couldn’t hear the actual park activators. So, I decided just to find an open frequency and start my own calling. Very soon I had my first contacts.
Responses were coming in very nicely that afternoon and by 30 minutes I had over 20 contacts in the log including one from Finland. I seemed to be reaching from New York and Ontario across to Texas and southern California. A nice wide swath of the continent. It was a lot of fun working the steady stream of contacts. At times I had three calling at once. Meanwhile I was chatting with a dog owner out walking their high-energy dog; and later a young pup came by and dropped his ball for me to throw. The day was cool but with the winter sun peeking out from clouds periodically, it felt warm enough to be very pleasant.
Having completed 34 contacts on 15m I decided to try the 10m band. Just after switching Ralph called on his hand-held to tell me, he was done and would be packing up. I continued to call on the 10m band and over the next few minutes I worked 3 more stations from Indiana, Michigan and Ontario. It was tougher going than on 15m but the signals were strong so I think I could have worked more but Ralph was on his way across the park so I shutdown the radio and packed up the gear. Soon Ralph arrived and we set out for the car. We were done early and ahead of any rush hour Friday traffic so we made good time to Cloverdale where we stopped for a coffee. A very pleasant day out in the sun.