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My earlier visit to this park was back in April with my friend Ralph. We came then to activate the park in the Parks on the air program. After an hour of operating neither of us had completed the needed number of contacts. It was disappointing to leave without the activation but there would be another day. That ‘another day’ finally came. For this adventure I was on my own so I could plan my trip around my schedule. That said, I still left around 12:30 to arrive at 1pm.
I made good time along the roads and when I reached the park this time the gate to the parking lot was open and I drove in. There were no other cars there so I picked the spot closest to where I planned to operate. The park was empty except for one person sitting at the covered park table. That seemed odd for such a fine day. I initially walked around the area to decide on the location for my station. Once selected I returned to the car and loaded up the cart.
Set up went smoothly and soon I had my radio tuned to the 15m band and I did a quick scan of the band. Hearing little of interest, I decided to just start calling. I spotted myself and then the responses came. I had the needed 10 contacts in only 10 minutes. That was indeed a good rate and on 15m as well. I kept going for another 10 minutes and had 20 contacts. It was then that I decided to switch to the 10m band so see if I could raise any contacts up there. Things were definitely slower up on 10 but in 5 minutes of calling I managed 2 contacts, one from Indiana and the other from Michigan. Good distance for the day. Wanting even more excitement, I moved to the 12m band. Here I was calling for some time before I finally had a response, this chap was in Mississippi. Just down the band from me was a station in France calling for DX contacts. He had a reasonably good signal and I tried calling him but there was a small pile-up and I didn’t get through. As I now had 23 contacts, I decided to not belabour the point and so I shutdown.
It had been a very different experience than the last time I was here when it took an hour to get 8 contacts. I likely could have completed 2 more if I kept at it another 20 minutes but Ralph had packed up and was waiting to leave. While I was operating today a number of walkers came through the park most with a dog getting its exercise, one mother was watching her toddler in the play area. When I left another car had moved into the lot and the people were using a tennis court. So the park does get used and enjoyed by the local residents, it just seemed odd that so few were there on such a warm afternoon.