SKCC 5123T----- FISTS 14979----- Flying Pigs 2331----- NAQCC 3610-----QRP ARCI 14176-----Polar Bear 257

Sunday, May 22, 2016

N4P National Park Biodiversity Festival Special Event Report

"I love it when a plan comes together" applies to our of N4P operation on May 21st. Our team operated N4P as one of the exhibits at the Biodiversity Festival at Naval Live Oaks near Gulf Breeze, Florida. We provided a science based activity for the festival participants. Our activity demonstrated how radio waves bounce (or refract) off the ionosphere to enable long distance contacts. The activity was in three parts:

  1. Discuss layers in the ionosphere skip, the skip zone, sunspots and the sunspot cycle.
  2. Give them the opportunity to talk to our contacts on the air.
  3. Have them plot a contact, measure the distance and record the distance. They could see the pattern of the skip and skip zone develop.

Mike AI4NS used some graphical aids to perform step 1. Greg N4KGL operated the N4P station for Part 2. Bob KK4DIV assisted the participants in plotting the contacts on a map for part 3. We were also assisted by Patrick KD0DVH and his wife. Thanks Mike, Bob and Patrick!

We  activated  Naval Live Oaks as part of Gulf Islands National Seashore (SS08) for National Parks On The Air. We paced our contacts as visitors arrived. We got most of them on the air. We had help from out NPOTA contacts to carry the other side of the conversation. We also did some hunt and pounce. A contact with 4V1G in Haiti was super. We also chatted with KC1CXC aeronautical mobile near the Dominican Republic. His commercial flight left Aruba and he was headed to Philadelphia.

Our 20 meter contacts were mostly between 600 and 900 miles from the data. We had additional contacts between 900 and 1800 miles. The skip zone was about 600 miles. We had one exception at 400 miles and one ground wave contact with Pensacola Florida.

The rig was my Icom 7100 and a 40 amp-hour LiFePO4 batter assisted by a 100 watt solar panel. The antenna was a N6BT Bravo 7K vertical. Our graphical aids came from a Propagation 101 presentation by Lee Jennings ZL2AL now a Silent Key. The maps were from CQMaps.

The reactions of the kids to speaking on the air were varied and memorable. Some of them were very young. I feel involving the participants enhanced their experience. So we felt pretty good about the day. The band conditions could have been better. But hey that how is the ionosphere rolls. Thanks to the National Park Staff for inviting us. If we had another opportunity we would do it again. Perhaps this idea would work for Jamboree On The Air (JOTA). Please checkout these YouTube videos.