Mike and Matt hit the trail on April 2-3, 2022 to field test gear ahead of the April 9-11 Parks on the Air camping trip.

We field tested a new set of LifePO4 batteries, a new mast for our vertical antenna, and some other tweaks to our DXpedition loadout. 

On April 2, we performed the very first POTA activation of the McDonald / Smonećten campground within Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (VE-0031). The campground is located near a local marina and yacht club, and features some great biking trails. Weather was cold and there were several state QSO parties, so we couldn’t find a lot of free space on 20M. We ended up with just 20 contacts, including several Park 2 Park QSOs.

On April 3, we hiked John Dean Provincial Park for a two-for-one POTA (VE-3641) and SOTA (VE7/CL-018) activation on Mount Newton. The park is known for virgin old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar, with some specimens growing taller than the tallest tree in the UK and the tallest conifer in all of Europe. We managed 12 contacts, including a Summit 2 Summit with KJ7NDY in Rough Benchmark, NV (W7N/CK-282) and an SSB QSO with the famous ham YouTuber K0LWC!

Rest assured, both activations ended at the pub.