By Josh Barfield N4NZ
Last month I attended a conference in Las Vegas, which gave me the opportunity to activate POTA park K-4443. The Old Las Vegas Mormon Fort State Park is about 3.16 acres and sits roughly 3 miles North of the strip. The Fort is one of the first structures in the area and has a rich history. It is also home to one of the natural streams that fed the meadows after which Las Vegas was named.
I like to travel light and prefer not to check luggage when flying, so I knew the telescoping whip antenna was not going to be an option. I set out to build a linked End Fed Half Wave that would give me access to 40 and the harmonics. I took it further and broke the sections down so I could operate on 40, 20, 17, 15, 12, and 10 meters. I was able to stuff my FT-891, two batteries (7Ah and 12Ah), antenna kit, and accessories into my backpack. I printed a copy of my license and TSA/airline policies on external lithium batteries. I wasn’t harassed on the trip out, but was thankful I had the printed information for the return flight where the TSA had some questions about my gear.
The park closes at 16:30 local time but I found they want you packed and out of the gate by 16:15. I had two hours to activate so with my antenna strung between a tree and a nice shady park bench I set out to make contacts. The bands weren’t behaving terribly well but I was able to make a decent number of phone and digital contacts on 20m all around the country, including contacts back home to our very own KE5GLZ and KD4C.
It was a great adventure and I’m glad I brought the gear out to give it a shot. In addition to radio fun, the park was a nice break from the busy world of Vegas. I’m not sure I will bring my gear on my next flight to a Las Vegas conference but I would love to take a road trip out West to activate some of the amazing parks in the area.