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I was looking over the parks on the Parks-on-the-air list and noticed that this small park in north Surrey had never been activated. In looking at the satellite image of the area it looked like it would be a decent spot to operate and so I noted the park and planned to head out there on my next trip. There are still a number of parks that I haven’t been to in Surrey but this was one no one had done yet so getting to be the first activator is an extra bonus.
The day was proving to be a lovely warmish one with some sun periods and it would be ideal for getting out in the fresh air. I had hoped to do this park last Friday but the weather then looked questionable and I was worried about snow cover. When I arrived at the park on the Monday, there was still a lot of snow covering much of the open play area. Fortunately, next to the fenced play yard it was clear of snow and large enough for me to set up in. Likely it would have been covered last Friday. Before setting up I walked over the front part of the park grabbing a few photos and planning out my set up.
Once decided I returned to the car and loaded my cart with the radio gear for the short walk to the spot I had selected. I quickly got the radio placed and worked on stretching out the wire antenna. It crossed over the walking trail in two spots but was high enough to not cause any hazards to visitors. I then set my radio on the 10m band and looked at the list of parks being activated on my iphone. There were two parks I tried the first but couldn’t hear them, the second park was weak but quite intelligible. I waited for a gap and called out ‘park to park’. That got his attention on my second attempt. Park-to-park calls always get priority. I then completed my first contact with a station in Pennsylvania.
I them moved to the 12m band. It seemed to be louder here. There was one activation in Kansas who was much stronger than the other chap. I announced my park-to-park and immediately got picked. That was now two contacts. I Moved down to the 15m band and listened around on the list for parks but could not hear any well enough to call so I selected a frequency and started my own calling. I soon had a pair of stations in North Carolina call followed by Colorado and Wisconsin. About then Another station had come on the band just up from me and was causing me interference. I decided to move down band a couple of KHz and continue from there.
Next in the log was Alabama, Missouri and Nevada, all were strong solid signals. Things continued for another 8 minutes but then dried up. I had 15 contacts in the log which was enough but I still wanted to operate longer and so I moved back to the 12m band and picked a frequency and began calling. My first station was one in Japan, that was my first Japan station from a park. I felt that making a 7600km contact with reasonable strength was pretty good especially considering my limited antenna. I worked another 10 stations across the continent on 12m including two chaps I had worked on 15m.
By now my back and legs were feeling the pain from sitting on the short chair and low table for almost an hour. I had planned to do an hour but since I had 26 contacts and the responses had slowed, I decided to pack it in after 50 minutes of operating. Now I had to stretch out my sore legs. I carefully packed up the gear and took it to the car. During the time I was there, there were only two people who had come by walking the path, no one stopped to talk. Once I had stowed the gear, I decided to walk the loop trail. It was snow covered for a large section of the loop, part of the way the sides were deep in water, I figure it is a bit of the marsh through there. There trail continued back to where I had operated which was next to the fork between the loop trail and the road access. It was a nice area to operate in and would have been a nice spot for watching any kids in the play yard, had it been snow free. The drive home was quick as the route took me on the freeway for a short jump before heading down 176th street. I did stop for a coffee along the way, just to warm up a bit. A pleasant and successful time out at the park.