Lowell Point State Rec. Site K-7201

Activated: 2021-12-12

Lowell Point State Recreation Site is a picnic area and small campground located just south of Seward, in Alaska. The area is perched on a small strip of flat land that barely rises above Resurrection Bay. In the summer it’s a great spot to hike, camp, or head off further into the backcountry. It also makes a great radio spot.

Antenna and truck in silhouette in winter
This site was COLD. Adding insult to injury were 20 mile per hour winds blowing through the lot.

Shortly after my failure at Tok River SRA I was able to set up a proper HF antenna at home, which allowed me to finally start getting more familiar with band conditions in Alaska. I realized that I needed more capability when out activating.

Surface laptop operating FT8 for parks on the air
Propagation in the winter is rough, so FT8 helps a lot. Here I have the full station set up in the back of the truck where I can stay out of the elements.

There isn’t anything odd about the bands up here, but you are simply so far away from everywhere and everyone that you have to have a weak signal capability on hand in case voice doesn’t get through. I took the time to configure a small Surface laptop for digital modes, and had been testing it extensively from a friend’s house on the weekends. I was ready!

Chevrolet SIlverado with ham radio antenna set up
I didn’t think this site was going to work well with all the trees behind me. Judging by the great propagation that day I now think they might have helped, acting as a reflector.

My antenna setup was the same as last time: an MFJ telescoping vertical antenna, with loading coil.

This antenna works without the coil on 20 meters and higher bands, but needs the coil or a tuner for the 30 meter band and lower.

With a lot more Alaska HF experience under my belt I knew that there wasn’t much point wasting time on 40 meters. The band provides regional coverage, which is great for in-state nets. However, we don’t have many in-state chasers here, so after just a few targeted FT8 contacts I switched over to 20 meters.

At this location I had feared I would be limited by a relatively high take-off angle, set my the mountains which encircle the bay. Much to my surprise, conditions were great, and I was working contacts all over the lower 48 with ease.

Ham radi ooperator Brandon Clark, KL7BSC, operating portable
The back of the truck works surprisingly well for winter time POTA. Just don’t forget the heater.

Another tool which I had added to my activations was internet tethering of the laptop through my cell phone. That allowed me to keep an eye on PSKreporter.com, allowing me to verify where I was being picked up. Conditions were so good that I decided to go up to 15 meters. On that band the contacts continued rolling in, and I even managed one contact in South America.

PSK Reporter screenshot
The best contact of the day was all the way down to South America on 15 meters

28 QSOs later I called it a success, and packed up for the drive back to Anchorage.

Updated 2022-11-28