Its been a couple of weeks since my last POTA attempt, and about 8 months since I last went down to Frontenac State park in southeast Minnesota, so my 2 youngest sons and I joined our friend and his kids for a quick overnight campout at this beautiful park.

About an hour south of my home, this park sits atop a rise that overlooks both Minnesota and Wisconsin.

On our drive in I had to stop the car to get what I think is an Eastern Fox Snake off the road. If you know for sure then please let me know in the comments. It was doing its best to be intimidating by hissing and vibrating its tail, and striking at my shoe.

My son was torn between seeing the snake with his own eyes or looking at the screen to keep the snake in the camera.

Note I only had my shoe there to give it something to focus on or target while I used the stick to gently pick it up.

It was a bit grumpy at having his time warming up in the sun interrupted by us, but we were able to safely relocate him off into the woods.

After setting up camp, and while waiting on our friends to arrive, I quickly put up my Chameleon MPAS Lite which has been a consistently good performer.

Setup is really quick and after running out about 25 feet of counterpoise, I ran some coax over to a tree that I sat against. I hooked up my Elecraft KX2 and my BaMaKey TP-111 paddle and got down to work.

I forgot to bring my knee board (lesson learned)

After spotting myself on https://pota.app, I called CQ on 20 meters for a couple of minutes before I had my first contact.

Now I have no doubt that he was doing all the work – signal report was only a 149, and it took a couple of times for me to be able to get the callsign accurately copied (thanks Alfonso for your patience!) – but I was able to log EC1R in Palencia, Spain!

My first CW DX contact ever – and at only 5 watts. My sons couldn’t figure out why I was so excited.

In only about 20 minutes, with kids circling me asking about dinners, I logged 10 contacts and then signed off to get them taken care of.

Map created at https://www.levinecentral.com/adif2map/

Everything was logged into the HAMRS app on my phone which, if you haven’t used before, is an absolutely phenomenal app for POTA. (pick it up for multiple platforms at https://hamrs.app/)

Our friends arrived shortly thereafter and we focused on sharing food, friendship, and beautiful scenery.

We had to head back early this morning, so a fairly short trip on a July 4th weekend, but a great time for sure!

Breakfast of champions – cinnamon rolls in a dutch oven over coals