The final (known) problem with the pi access point was that power management would shut the Wi-Fi down after a seeming random period of inactivity.
Total stupidity!!! the only recourse was to yank out the power and shove it back in.
What kind of access point auto disables connectivity?
Scoured the Internet for about an hour and finally found an entry that can go into rc.local to disable Wi-Fi power management.
Think I’ll go out one evening during the week and do some testing.
Unlike a park activation, there are always crazies on FT8!