Some friends and I decided to go on a camping trip recently. Camping in June, in Texas is generally NOT a great past time. BUT. . . My friend’s dad had passed away recently and we all felt like we should get together and enjoy nature. Much as his father had.
As with all camping trips, on my list of items to pack is a radio and an antenna. For this particular outing we were going to be at Huntsville State Park in Texas. Since I was the only amateur on the trip, I opted for a small footprint antenna and brought my Buddistick to pare with my KX2.
We arrived late in the day and were greeted with some interesting signs. . .
Like all good trips we had a lot of fun. I managed to set up my buddistick and do a lot of CQing. Unfortunately our location was not very favorable. We were in a low spot and the antenna was vertically parallel and near a very tall tree.
I’m confident that some of my radiation went directly into cooking some of the grubs in the tree. I called CQ for about 20-30 minutes the first night and managed to only work one station (XE1XR). While he didn’t answer my CQ, I did work him. I shut down for a couple hours and came back around midnight Central (0500 UTC) and called CQ again for about 1/2 hour on 30M. Not a single spot. Good SWR so I’m not sure what went wrong other than the location. I did enjoy tuning around the band late at night. I don’t do this much, but I heard an “F” Station and some “I” stations. They obviously didn’t hear me, but it was fun to have a chance!
I forgot to take any pictures of my set up. A couple of noteworthy things you would have seen in my picture. . . had I taken one. The picnic tables at Huntsville State Park are extremely thick concrete tables. I couldn’t get my clamp to open up big enough to go around any part of the table in order to mount the antenna. I was also very close to the water and therefore not very high. So I mounted the antenna to a handicap railing at the base (read bottom) of the stairs up to the vehicles. Again. . . not a great location, but it is what I could do with what I had. . . Next time I’ll bring the PPD. There is plenty of room in most campsites to set that up.
Since the bands were not hopping I opted not to do radio and instead went fishing on the 2nd night. Where I ran into this guy. . .
As you can see I made it home to type this, so it all ended OK. I’ve never seen one in the wild and never dreamed I would be so close to one in the wild.
I’m a relatively new ham. Got my license, joined a club and I’m having fun! I enjoy CW, pedestrian mobile, backpacking, and I dream of building radios at some point. At present I have a wife and daughters so my building time is limited.