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

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Okaloosa Island Activation for NPOTA and WWFF-KFF

Being December, this is the last month for the 2016 ARRL National Parks On The Air Event. I got another activation done on December 11th. It was the Okaloosa Island Area for the Gulf Islands National Seashore which counts for SS08. I was also recently introduced to the World Wide Fauna and Flora Program by Jason W3AAX who is the National Coordinator for the United States Program which is designated KFF. WWFF has activations and chasers similar to NPOTA and SOTA. The sites for activation includes all State Parks in addition to the National Parks and also some Wildlife preserve areas. This gives all of us USA portable operators lots of opportunities. WWFF looks promising for Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RADAR) operators. Jason mentioned their may be the possibility for a RADAR Award in KFF. I made this outing a WWFF-KFF activation as well as NPOTA. The Gulf Islands National Seashore is designated as KFF-0661. There is an impressive map of the KFF entities here.

My rig was the Elecraft KX2. I also used the QRPWorks Sidekar. My antenna was a adjustable dipole supported by 9 foot poles. I use this antenna for NVIS on 40 meters to improve my chances of working friends back in Panama City which was about 45 miles to the East. The antenna worked well as I got 599 reports from K4GXV and WB4BLX in Panama City on 40 CW. However on 40 SSB I was not workable funny right. I later checked the Eglin Ionogram Station which would be about 20 miles from the island. I found that the foF2 critical frequency was 7.025 at 1715 UTC. So I believe I had good NVIS on the CW end of the band but NVIS failed on the SSB part of the band above the critical frequency. Of course the antenna worked well at longer distances on 40 meters.

40 meter NVIS Dipole

I had several of surprises. First I was called by Don KK4QAM a RADAR buddy in Sweetwater Alabama on 40 CW. I did not know Don had taken up CW. I also worked Don on 40 SSB. Second I worked a friend Bob W5RE in Crestview, Florida on 40 PSK-31. I used the PSK capabilities of the KX2 with the help of the SideKar. I have a tiny wireless keyboard for the SideKar that works very well. Bob was keying in his info on his Elecraft K3S. So neither one of us used a PC. Last surprise was a call out on 146.52 FM pulled in W5RH who was practically in sight on the bay. It is nice that he monitors the calling frequency.

Elecraft KX2 and QRPworks SideKar

A couple of notes. First, I used a Traveler Headset I got used. I found an adapter for the the KX2 from K6VHF on Ebay. It did a good job. Second, I used the Fast Log Entry (FLE) Software recommended for WWFF. It is an easy way to enter your contacts from paper or from a simple text file. I used ADIF Master to add a FREQ field to the ADIF output and I was able to also upload the file to LOTW for NPOTA.

All together I had 41 contacts. 3 on 40 CW, 12 on 40 SSB, 1 on 40 PSK, 11 on 20 CW, 13 on 20 SSB and 1 on 2 FM Simplex. I also adjusted the dipole for 20 meters so it got the job done for the activation. I tried 10 meters but none of the contest signals were strong enough to work. Suzy was my buddy. There were few people their as the weather was chilly with the cloud cover. The sun did come out before the day was over. This was my seventh activation of SS08. Perhaps I will get one more in before NPOTA concludes.