On Sunday January 22nd, I needed to make a quick road trip to Alexandria for a meeting my wife was going to attend. I needed to find an activity to do for about 4-5 hours that day. I researched the Alexandria area and tried to find something interesting to do. I like to take snowshoe hikes and combine that with photography activity. I packed a small Duluth Pack bag with hiking essentials and my camera and lenses.
As you may recall the weather that weekend was extremely dreary and was not overly conducive to snowshoes with the warmer temperature, along with that we had heavy fog across most of the northern part of the entire state. As a backup plan, I decided to bring a portable HF rig and a portable Buddipole antenna and possibly set up camp somewhere and operate.
That day I found myself very close to the Lake Carlos State Park and decided to venture into the park and see what way they led me. After stopping and talking to the Park Ranger at the entrance, I discovered that there was probably not a lot of nature photography to be had with the heavy fog and damp conditions. I decided to go to the farthest end of the park where a day use area was available. There were vault style toilets and warming house for cross country skiers. After exploring the resting area, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lit fireplace and an area with a picnic tables inside this warm area. I immediately decided that I would operate from that location. After unloading the portable radio and antenna, I set up the antenna in a dipole configuration and tuned to the 20-meter band. I tried both 40 and 80 meters that day but the bands were taking very large dips and did not cooperate very well.
Nonetheless, I found myself lost in the world of portable operation and have already started thinking about making the trip again next year and possibly tying it into the annual ARRL Winter Field Day event.
Please see the pictures below of my Lake Carlos State Park HF operation.
Park Map and location I set up in.