by Gregory Kenley, KC1NRJ (Boston ARC SPARC, March 2021)
No, that’s not Banksy with a Yaesu FT-897D. After venting my frustration about getting some decent signals from Antennas at condos in Richmond, VA and North End Boston, Brendan offered to show me the Art of POTA at Castle Island [State Park, K-6876] in Boston.
Partly cloudy and a promise of 60+ degrees at peak turned out to be a constant wind of at least 30-35 mph with a real feel that had to be in the 30s. The park was packed with other Bostonians seeking the mythical nice day but we found a nice spot up high to put up the longwire with a Nelson Antennas portable antenna matchbox. I had been eyeing either and end feed from MyAntennas.com or a Nelson Antennas Matchbox for some time.
It was great to see Brendan run the longwire up with a 24 foot B’n’M “Black Widow” fiberglass extension rod. We worked 20 meters first and things were progressing well. We got contacts from Italy, Florida, Idaho, etc. As Brendan filled out the log, I looked up the call signs with the QRZ android app to quickly identify more details about the contact. It was evident why some contacts came in loud and clear (5/9) from veterans showing off their 50 foot towers on the QRZ page. A new $30 LiFePO4 6 Amp battery from Amazon helped power the Yaesu. The hands-on exposure to the contents of a POTA “go bag” (in Brendan’s case it was a “go box,” seen above) was educational. However, what I ended up coveting the most was his solid Patio umbrella stand that he had found in a dumpster.
This heavyweight stand was a perfect anchor for the 24-foot fiberglass extension pole holding up the Wireman longwire antenna. The winds were a constant 30-35 MPH all day. Tripods would not have withstood the heavy wind but the fiberglass pole bent without moving a bit. I immediately bypassed DX Engineering and HRO and found these at both Ocean State Job Lot and Lowe’s/Home Depot stores. I’m always looking at improving the POTA/SOTA go bag. 40 meters proved hard to tune given the longwire and coax lengths brought for this trip, but contacts resumed on 15 and 17 meters.