US-4838 — Busiek SF POTA Activation 19 March 2024

Carter Cemetery, established 1891, in Busiek State Forest, POTA US-4838 in Christian County, MO. It is south of Ozark about ten miles. Shot with iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Busiek State Forest, POTA US-4838, has been on my to activate list for a long time. I hiked the Yellow Trail with the kids a couple of years ago. Along the way, we came on the Carter Cemetery, an old family plot that was established late in the 19th Century. It looked like a perfect place to activate the park.

But, I never got back to do the activation. So, last week I had a day off and it was a pretty nice day. So I took The girl and we drove out there. There were not a lot of people, it being a weekday. So there was not much traffic to deal with.

We had a nice hike up to the cemetery. I decided to set up on a bench there, although I had to face away from the trail to get my leg high enough for my kneeboard. I did not care for that facing, but it was necessary.

I decided to use the Elecraft KH1 for the activation. I am still learning that radio and have a little trouble with the paddles. But I can make it work and it is an excellent little rig.

I was just starting to work calling stations when Sera broke away from me and approached another dog. The other do said No! emphatically, but there was not really a fight. I had to drop everything and retrieve my dog.

There was no damage other than a pissed-off handler. But it really affected me emotionally and in one way really ruined the day. I just cannot take my attention from Sera when we are out in the field and might encounter another.

I moved us about 50 feet away from the trail, behind a low rock wall. She could not see the trail and I could. I put her in a down-stay and sat on my sweatshirt and started over.

I could pay attention to my operations and stay aware of the situation around me. It was a much better location from which to activate the park.

I made 14 contacts on three bands — 20m, 17m, and 15m. It was more than enough to make the activation and there was still time to get in a bit more walk before returning home for the day. I packed up the kit, donned my pack, and we walked on up the trail another quarter of a mile to a split. Both ways would require fording the stream. I was not geared for a fording, so we reversed and walked back down the trail and to the rig.

The Girl got a nice big drink from the stream. (I love the rocky-bottomed Missouri streams in the Ozarks.) We crossed the bridge and stowed gear in the rig, then drove home.

I had a lot of maintenance scheduled for the 4Runner starting the next day. All of the 200,000-mile scheduled maintenance was done, plus I replaced the tires and had the alignment checked and adjusted. It was a lot of money, but I think the rig might have another 100,000 miles left in it and I might as well get them.

In the end a learned a few things:

  • I absolutely have to station myself so I can remain aware of what is going on around me.
  • I cannot ever allow my attention to be completely subsumed by another activity when I have The Girl out with me.
  • The little Elecraft KH1 is an excellent radio. But I doubt I will ever operate pedestrian mobile when I have The Girl with me. There is just too much that can go wrong in a hurry if I do not have hands free to wrangle her.
  • I think the paddles need a little more adjustment to be right. I still fumble my sending more than I should (and normally do).
  • I really like POTA activations. I want to do more, but I have to choose my OP carefully so I can remain aware of what is going on around me. Yes, I repeated myself. It is that important.

Despite the uncomfortable feelings associated with Sera’s behavior and the engagement with another dog, it was a good day to be out. It was a good day to be with her. And it was a good day to play a little radio.

I am grateful. Life is good.

At our second operating position in Carver Cemetery. Shot with iPhone 13 Pro Max.