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The day looked decent weather wise and I felt like spending some time at a park. The radio bands were better than my last time out, so I thought I should go out and visit a new park. Ralph was not available so I skipped the one we planned to do together and I set out for Whalley to activate Holland Park. It is a mid-sized urban park right next to the final Sky Train station. The parking lot is actually underneath the tracks. The park has some lovely garden areas interspersed with geometric circles and plantings. It is an interesting design when seen from above.
I set out for the park after lunch and pulled into the parking lot at 1:05. It is a pay lot though the first two hours are free for park visitors. I reserved my two hours and then set out with my camera to explore the place a bit before operating the radio. The park is quite busy with sight-seers and those out exercising themselves or dogs. After wandering around the east side, I returned to the car and loaded my gear into the cart. I had chosen a grassy area between two paved paths not far from the car area and next to a grove of planted trees.
The set up went quickly and as I sat down to start operating, I felt some drops of rain! It wasn’t supposed to do that. The drops kept coming and a bit harder so I got out my tarp and hid under it for the next while. As the sun was shining through the rain, hiding under the tarp was actually quite hot. After around 15 minutes the dripping stopped and I could toss off the extra layer.
As usual, my first step in activating is to scan the bands and try to work a few other parks. I moved to the 20m band and found an activator in California which I could hear well and I called out, he responded and I had my first contact of the day. Next was a regular - Dave in Ontario, followed by another station in Ontario. Then I had a longer gap and finally heard a Texas station and then one from South Carolina. So, despite the poor band conditions, I was getting out and being heard. Next up was another park activator, this one in Minnesota. Things were not going quickly but I did finally reach my tenth contact after 45 minutes of calling. I had achieved the minimum. A couple minutes more and I had a strong station from Utah and then a local chap from Maillardville in Coquitlam! Rolly was his name and we chatted for a while talking about radio and his sailboat which he hopes to use a lot this summer.
I made one last contact in Minnesota and then decided to try the 17m band. There were no current activations on the band but I did hear one pair chatting. So, I picked a frequency and started calling. Unfortunately, after 10 minutes of no response, I decided it was not going to happen and as It was now about 20 minutes before my parking time expired, I decided to pack up. Clearing up and returning to the car took around 10 minutes so I made it off the lot with 10 minutes to spare.
For the drive home the navcom recommended driving Fraser Highway to 168th. I followed the route and made a stop at the Starbucks along the route. The drive had one slow down thanks to the incessant amount of construction but otherwise it went smoothly. I was home before 4pm. A pleasant day out though I was a bit peeved at the unexpected dribble of rain. Fortunately, it was short lived. I was hopeful that today’s park contacts will bring me to the next certificate level as a park hunter in reaching 200 different parks. A nice thing with the Parks-on-the-air -program is the continual opportunity to strive for one of many different certificate awards. Not that they really mean much but it does show a level of accomplishment within the POTA community. Now on to the next park with Ralph.