Big Changes Coming – No POTA or any Ham Radio for me

I have put this post off for a week as I wasn’t sure what to say or how much detail to include. I also wasn’t 100% sure how my future ham radio activities will play out.

Some Background

For 60 years or so I have wanted to live in the North Carolina mountains. As a kid growing up my Dad would take us on vacation each summer to the area around Asheville NC. I grew up loving the area. Fast forward to modern times and after I got married my wife and I took our kids to the mountains every year or so and they have grown up with the mountains in their DNA.

Not that we are both retired my wife and I have been looking for a place in the mountains to call home. I won’t bore you with the details but I will say that in mid July my dream will finally come true. We have leased a condo in Laurel Park NC for the next year. Laurel Park is a small town just 2 miles out of downtown Hendersonville and about 30 miles south of Asheville. Laurel Park has a lot of green space and there’s even a lake and a park across the street from our condo that has walking trails along with a fitness/exercise trail.

There is a very active ham radio community in Hendersonville as well as just across the state line which is about 8-10 miles from our new home. I will have the Blue Ridge Amateur Radio Club in Hendersonville and the Blue Ridge Amateur Radio Society in South Carolina. I have already made friends in both clubs and have joined their Nets when I have visited the area.

The Problems

There are really only two problems we will be downsizing from 2400+ sq. ft. to about 1,000 sq.ft. and the condo is up stairs. This means my ham shack will have to be downsized too and I’m not sure what my antenna options are. I will probably have to set up my station on a small table in the closed in balcony area and throw a wire out the window for an HF antenna. Luckily the Hendersonville repeater can be easily activated by an HT but I will be using my Yaesu FT1900 as a base station so VHF/UHF shouldn’t be a problem.

I have thought about selling most of my radios and getting a IC-705 to pair with y IC-7300 in order to make my footprint as small as possible. But my current plan is to take all of my rados and see what I can do once I get there then make the decision whether to sell or not. Either way I will be off the air for a few weeks as I tear down, make the move and setup the new station.

The Benefits

I am really looking forward to the cooler weather and getting out into the outdoors. The area has a plethora of hiking trails and waterfalls. Along with The Pisgah National Forest and the Nantahala National Forest, there are lots of state parks for POTA. The Dupont State Recreational Forest is about 11 miles from our location and the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is about 4 miles away.

As, you can probably imagine there are no SOTA opportunities near my current Florida QTH but at the new home there will be plenty of SOTA opportunities.

The maps below show the active hams around our new home along with the POTA and SOTA opportunities. The Magenta circles shows a 5 mile radius around the new QTH and the Red circle is a 25 mile radius.

POTA Parks
SOTA Summits
Hams in the Laurel Park Area

Summary

For the next several weeks I will be tearing down my shack and boxing things up so I will be pretty much off the air. But in the long run I will be much better off with considerable opportunities to live a more active lifestyle and pursue my hobby.

5 thoughts on “Big Changes Coming – No POTA or any Ham Radio for me”

  1. Being a condo have you checked the rules for anything outside other than your vehicle. Condos most often have lots of rules. Might plan for any Ham activity other than a HT with rubber duck to have antennas that you can put up for a short time, like a few hours, and you POTA experiences can come in handy.

    I too live in a 2400 ft home with about 1/4 acre lot with no restrictions. I also own a 1150 sq ft condo I rent and I am very familiar with condo associations and their rules and restrictions. I did live there for a few months and tried loading the gutters, but did not work well at all, hi.

    The weather there might be good, but bet what else comes with it will not fit your liking. Condo living can be good for some, mostly the old people who are satisfied with setting and watching TV. I give your kids a few weeks before they want to move back home, hi.

    73, ron, n9ee

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    1. Thanks Ron.

      You have some valid points but I have already been working on all of those issues. The condo rules are only 4 pages and they say I can’t attach anything to the building’s exterior and the standard stuff about not interfering with other owners and loud noises etc. I am about 15 feet from the woodline. I could run a stealth dipole in the woods and bury some coax at night and that would work.

      Last June when we started looking for a house in NC I began moving my ham gear towards QRP and portable EmComm. The real question is do I keep the IC-7300 and the Ft-891 QRO setup or just my QRP radios.

      Being from Florida we are not used to driving in snow but we can learn and the area doesn’t get heavy snow.

      The condo is fully furnished so we don’t have the moving expense which is another plus. It also means that we don’t need to duplicate forniture between the two locations.

      All of our kids are adults and we are not selling our house in Jacksonville but rather renting it to our son and his girlfriend. Our daughters don’t want us to sell the house here as it is their childhood home The condo is not permanent but will allow us to be more responsive to the real estate market. Looking for a house in the NC area is tough when done remotely.

      Like I said this is the culmination of a 60 year dream and I have had plenty of time to think through the details though some of them like the shack setup specifics will only be figure out after we move.

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      1. Sounds like you got it covered. When I hear of what you are doing reminds me of the many stories of Hams moving to Florida and deed restricted areas. Being in Jacksonville you know what I mean.

        In my condo behind me is about 75 ft to the fence and I too had looked at sneaking up an antenna in the trees and running bearded coax to my condo, that is if we moved there. My wife has plans of us moving there when we a fully retarded. Or a end fed wire I would put up for short operations. I have seen Hams doing this, even using mobile antenna on their vehicle parked out front.

        But I bet you will find the town to be much more of interest. Those smaller laid back towns can be wonderful to live in. My condo would offer just a new address, same environment.

        I’d keep the IC7300 for base station and IC705 for POTA although I do find more enjoyable operating my IC705 at home, just something about operating QRP.

        73, ron, n9ee

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Scott. Asheville proper has gotten too liberal and freaky for my tastes but there are a lot of small towns around Asheville that are great places. Need to stay out of Buncombe county for tax purposes.

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