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I have stared at the map of parks and this unvisited park for over a year, it was time to get it marked off. Ralph was of the same mind as me and we were both waiting for a nice day to go when we were both available. That time came finally. Two weeks ago, we had planned a trip but the weather turned unstable and we opted for another park. Finally, things lined up and we set out for the beaches at 11:30am, our first stop was a Starbucks in Aldergrove where we grabbed a coffee and ate our lunch before continuing on.
We arrived at the Jade Bay boat launch a bit after 1pm and we scouted the area before continuing along the lake to the next parking area. Most areas were still closed for the season but these two were available. The second spot was very windy and not as large an area. After a short discussion, we decided that the Jade Bay area was better and so we returned to it and parked – lots of open parking stalls in the off season mid-week.
Ralph unloaded his gear and walked over to a grassy area on the south-west side of the lot near the boat launch which he had spotted on our first pass through the area. I loaded my cart and walked to the opposite side of the lot to the north where there was a grassy area next to the trail to the next campsite. I studied the area and tree cover and decided on my antenna placement. The first spot ended up too close to some trees so I moved it around 10 feet to fully clear the trees. Then I raised the mast with an extra four foot section. I had performed some testing of the set up at home earlier in the week and discovered that a second four foot section would make a big improvement in the signal.
Once the mast was up I set up the radio and refreshed the web page with the current activations listed. There were only a couple listed on the upper bands, I tried calling the only one I could hear but he didn’t hear me as there were a number of stations calling him. I didn’t wait around and I moved to an open frequency on the 15m band and started calling. I soon had my first response, a chap from California. Then came a second California and a third and fourth. I was wondering of only California could hear me. But soon after a familiar regular hunter from London Ontario got through and I knew I was getting out. Next came a series of contacts from the east coast including Quebec and Halifax.
I had fifteen contacts the log after 25 minutes of calling, which wasn’t that bad a rate. By this point things had slowed down a bit and I wanted to try the 12m band. I moved to the new band and soon had stations in Colorado and Nevada on the list. Things stopped at that point and rather than keep trying for more I switched to the 10m band and tried that park I didn’t get at the start. This time he came back on the first try. I now had a park-to-park bonus contact. I called for another 5 minutes, logging 3 more stations but Ralph had enough contacts and was starting to pack up so I shut down my station as well.
Meeting back at the car with Ralph I learned that we had both completed 21 contacts. I had done so on 3 different bands; Ralph had stayed on a fourth band – 20m for his entire time. It had been a very successful outing, initially I wasn’t sure if the mountains to the south were going to block our signals. After a short time operating, I saw that they didn’t seem to be causing any problems for us.
It is definitely becoming more pleasant operating outside, sitting out on the grass proved to be quite warm in the sun and I had to remove my coat while I sat there. It was a lovely day enjoying the sun and fresh air. At one point a ski boat was testing its engine and making a horrendously loud noise from not far out in the water. Only with headphones was one able to hear anything on the radio. I was glad he didn’t continue for long. Ralph and I both experienced some loud static noise inference on the radio for a few minutes that obliterated any responses we were getting. It was fortunate that it also went away fairly soon though I was wondering as to the source.
Done with radio for the day we loaded back into the car and started for home. I had a quick stop at Davis Meats to pick up some hams for dinner and of course a pack of their beef-jerky which one cannot ever pass by. Traffic seemed light the rest of the way home and we were soon home having had a lovely day out.