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Any site selection tips/tricks for a stranger?

Discussion in 'RV Operating and Camping' started by W3MMM, Jul 23, 2013.

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  1. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I plan to operate in my state QSO party as a rover. I want to visit 2 or 3 counties that I'm not very familiar with.

    As I search online for places to stop and operate - any suggestions of features to look for?
    I'm guessing:
    - Public area, like a park or roadside rest area
    - some shade to park under (but not a dense forest to block my signal)
    - a real bathroom if possible
    - some elevation
    - or near water

    Also, once there - are there any site elements you'd look for or avoid? Is there anything that you can't find out ahead of time that once you got there and saw it...would make you leave?

    My own details:
    - Operating from my own car (minivan)
    - I can't remove the radio from the car per the QSO party rules, and don't really want to anyway.
    - My mobile set up is very basic and doesn't work well with the engine running. So this is 'park-and-play'
    - operating will be almost 100% in the daylight hours.
    - The counties I plan to visit are all very, very flat (MD eastern shore)

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Be aware of park rules, hours, etc... Don't park near playgrounds or where children play. Don't park too near bathrooms, etc... Avoid photographing other people.
  3. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    All of the above, that they don't kick you out of. :)_
  4. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Take a look at the state park system in your state. One thing that Pa does an outstanding job on is maintaining campgrounds in the state parks. Have found them to be on a par and in most cases better maintained, cleaner etc. than the private campgrounds in the state. We have so many state run campgrounds here in Pa there is no need to use private campgrounds. I am sure that may vary from state to state but you may want to take it into consideration.
  5. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I hadn't thought of these. Sage advice.
  6. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I'm going to look for state/local parks, especially bigger ones that might draw people from a wider area.

    I'm staying at the Jersey shore on vacation that week and hope to just make a day trip of it back to my home state. The hours for the MD QSO party are noon-9pm on Sunday, so I hope to not have to rent a spot. It'll take about 2 hours to get to/from the counties where I want to operate.

    But - it might be the best planto rent a campsite. They aren't expensive and like PA, the MD ones are nice. It might lessen my chance of being kicked out.
  7. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    We have a serious problem in some of our local parks and these are things the police often look for.
  8. K7RQ

    K7RQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you can do some of your operating in public or private campgrounds, consider getting a space with an electric hookup and bring your power supply along. Then you won't have to worry about running your battery down, and a lot of transceivers work much better on 13.8 volts than 12 volts.
  9. W3MMM

    W3MMM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Agreed -

    So I'm looking at a map and making my plans. As I dig into this, considering I'll operating contest style and might be roving between counties - I'm leaning away from campsites / state parks / wildlife management areas, etc if they are too far off the beaten path. I don't want to spend all day getting in and out of parks. (I understand this forum is for RV/Camping - maybe it should be moved)

    Instead, I'm thinking of picking a small area on the map, then just eyeballing for a good spot to "stop and op". I will be a sunday, daytime - so maybe a post office parking lot. Or just a pull-off area on the side of the road. Or a town park. Safety first of course.

    I have a really big, deep-cycle battery for my radio that by my amp/hours math should last me 24 operating hours on the charge. But yes, if I were going camping for a few nights I would look for such a hookup.
  10. W5BIB

    W5BIB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I would shy away from Gov't facilities. I had the experience of parking for the night at a marina that was only about a mile
    from a NAVY installation in Panama City, Fla, a year or two ago. We were in a 30 ft motor home & put up a small
    OCF dipole. Had the generator running & we were suddenly visited by the local constabulary & the NAVY police !!!
    I guess they thought we were spying on the facility !!!
    A check of registration, drivers license and 'amateur license' cleared it all up.
    I think they thought they had caught 'Jimmy Bond' sending secret msgs to some enemy via Morse code !!!
    We showed the log books but they were very inquisitive about the "FOREIGN" QSO's !!!

    We moved to a Wal-Mart parking lot for the remainder of the night & used the rest-room at McDonald's.:cool:

    I think a car would cause more attention than a motor home.
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