Click on image to view gallery
W hen I had been to Queen Elizabeth Park previously it was usually to visit the Conservatory area and to walk through the lovely gardens it houses. Today would be a much different visit. Ralph was one park away from his Diamond activator certificate and to mark the occasion of reaching that milestone I suggested we go to a more notable park. A few names were suggested but Q.E. park was the easiest to reach and so we planned to make it our next location. The forecast for Tuesday said clouds in the morning and sun after lunch. Well come morning it was raining! The rain persisted until around 11:30. Though a fine drizzle, the ground was quite soaked. I was really getting skeptical about the trip. As noon came and went the sun appeared and by 12:30 when we left for the park the sun was out in full.
We decided to grab a coffee on our way to the park and so our first stop was the closest Starbucks. Then we made a quick drive to the highway and we were on our way in earnest. The traffic was surprising light and we made excellent time. It being Spring Break, I guess many were not on the roads. We entered the park off of Cambie street and 33rd and drove along to an open area. It looked ideal and we parked the car. It was the dog area but it was unfenced unlike all the others I have been at. The only negative of the park are the parking fees for being there but I guess it helps with the upkeep. There was a single picnic table not far from the car park which was empty so I claimed it. Ralph wandered along to the edge of the area where he planned on setting up his antenna.
I stretched out the wire and strung it on the mast. At that point a chap on a motorbike came by asking about the activity. He said he recently bought a CB radio for his bike and was still waiting to get an antenna. I encouraged him to consider amateur radio and gave him one of the brochures I updated for POTA. I then finished setting up and scanned the bands looking for some activators I could hear. There was one on the 12m band in Kansas that was clear enough and I managed to work him. That gave me my first contact of the day. There were only a few more on the higher bands but I couldn’t hear them so I moved to 15m and selected a frequency to call on.
A few minutes after posting my frequency on the spots list I had my first caller, a chap in North Dakota. Almost immediately a constant string of callers came in - New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, California Florida, Texas. Then a station in Spain called and with a decent signal, he was hearing me quite well also. It still amazes me that my small radio with a feeble antenna can send a strong enough signal 8500km distant and be heard! I continued working more stations across the US from New York to California and from Montana to Florida. I was truly covering the whole area! Then a chap in Japan came in with an even stronger report than the station in Spain. This contact was around 7500km distant.
By the time I had been operating for an hour I had 56 contacts logged including 3 park to park calls. It was a very good day to be on the air. I even got to enjoy watching a myriad of dogs come and go as they enjoyed the dog park. There was even one gorgeous black Great Dane the wandered amongst the mix at one point. I called Ralph on the hand-held earlier in the session and he reported that he was also doing quite well and had achieved the needed number for his certificate. As I reached the hour point, I tried him on the handheld again but got no response. He had apparently bumped the dial on his and it was off frequency. Not being able to reach him and being the first lull in my calling I decided to finish off and go see what was up with him. As I approached his area, I saw that Ralph was already packed up and walking back to me. I joined him and then we took down my station. He had also done fairly well obtaining 21 contacts in the hour. His of course were in Morse Code which can be slower than my phone contacts.
We decided to head on up to the conservatory area to use the facilities before heading home. I was able to gather a few photos from up there but much of the northern view is being obscured by trees and brush growth. The drive home was only a bit longer than the one coming, despite in being between 3:30 and 4 on a week-day. The traffic again was very light and there were no backups at the tunnel. When we left the park the navconm said we would get home at 4:04. When I stopped the car in the carport it was 4:04 it certainly seems to be quite accurate in its estimates and route planning.
The afternoon proved to be a lovely day in the sun and spending time in the fresh air in a park was ideal and refreshing. It is a nice park with lots of activities, from gardens to tennis and pickle ball courts, a large dog park, walking trails, lawn bowling, disc Golf and of course the conservatory. It even has lots of good places for radio stations.