N3HAL at@ Heckscher State Park K-2070

Parks on the Air Activation!

N3HAL and I activated Heckscher State Park park number K-2070 on 10/24.

The weather was overcast and a cool breeze was coming from the Great South Bay. 40 meters was open from about 16:00 to 17:00 UTC. When 40 dropped out we switched up to 20 meters. Since the CQWW contest was going on, finding a clear frequency was nearly impossible.

All things considered, we had a fairly successful activation with 25 contacts. We made contacts as far west as IOWA north to Toronto . We made two park to park contacts also. Pipestem Resort State Park and Point Rock State Park.

The old TS-50/AT-50 and Wolf River Coil TIA just keeps on chugging along. Visit my Parks on the Air Intro to learn more about the Parks on the Air program?

73 de KE2YK

Intro To Parks On The Air

Operating Parks On The Air FINS K-0679 Fire Island National Seashore
KE2YK @ FINS K-0679

Parks on the Air or POTA is my favorite portable, off the grid amateur radio activity. POTA is much more than just whacking the paddles or yelling into the mic. POTA will get you out of the ham shack, off the grid and out into mother nature. Remember her?

POTA is an entire ecosystem run by amateurs for amateurs. POTA is not a contest but a fun activity where activators submit logs and certificates are emailed out to both park hunters and park activators. If you enjoy collecting fun certificates, open a free POTA account and, over time certificates will be issued out depending on the number of overall contacts you make.

Every State Park has a park number. To find parks in your area, click on the map, enter the DXCC entry (United States for me) and the State (New York in my case), then zoom in to your specific area. Click on any of the dots to get the related park number.

Not all State Parks are good for a POTA activations! Prior to bringing your gear out, take a drive to the park and be sure there are favorable conditions for operating. For instance, there is a local park here with no actual entrance. If there is a trail leading to the park (within 100 feet as the POTA rules state) and you can safely operate, then you have a park that can be activated.

If you have planned out a POTA day, then create your account or log into the POTA system and use the POTA scheduler to announce your intended park, time, date and band. When you get to a State Park, you can start off by spotting yourself on the pota.us Web site. Park Hunters seeking your Park Number will respond to your CQ. Now you are a Park activator.

Of course if you are unable to get to a park you can join in on the fun by becoming a Park Hunter. Park hunters can us use the pota.us spotting page to find park activators. No logging is required for park hunters. The park activators are responsible for all log submissions.

Rules for POTA ActivatorsHunters

An Intro To Parks on the Air by N9YO
73 de KE2YK

2020 Virtual Ham Expo Review

World's First Virtual Han Radio Expo 2020
Virtual Ham Expo 2020

During the weekend of August 8-9 2020 the Virtual Ham Expo event was attended by over 20,000. Open to anyone who wants to sign up, the Virtual Ham Expo will be running until September 9th, 2020. While the live chat at the vendor booths has ended, the links to vendor videos and documents remain available.

QSO Today Podcast

Eric Guth of QSO Today Podcast fame is the event’s MC.Virtual Ham Expo offered more than I anticipated from an online event. To my knowledge, this event was a first of it’s kind in the Ham Radio world.

Attendance is free and only requires typical sign up information. The virtual lobby reminded me of events I attended years ago at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Computer, auto and boat shows were all the rage back in those days. I remember watching a demo of Windows 95 at the Microsoft booth fail to the old BSOD or blue screen of death. Something that Windows 10 still does today on rare occasions.

After entering the lobby, I was presented with Eric’s navigation video. The banner at the top of the expo lobby includes links for the vision impaired, lobby, auditorium, speaker agenda, vendor exhibit hall, Q&A sessions, prize leader board, swag bag, how to, help desk and keyword search. 

Wanting to look for new gear first, I went to the exhibit hall first. Among the 35 or so booth, about 18 were actually companies selling equipment. Most of the vendor booths have links to documents which you may place into your virtual swag bag. Videos of their product offerings were also available at some booths. I collected a number of documents from vendors like ICOM, QRP Labs and Rig Expert.

Guest speakers presented a full list of subjects under four virtual tracks. Portable operating tips, bonding and grounding, the slot antenna, new Rig Expert Stick 230, mountain goats and shack sloths and the salt water amplifier were among my favorites.

This year’s event was a huge success with somewhere around 20,000 virtual attendees. With the feedback and experience obtained this year, I am sure Virtual Ham Expo 2021 will be greater. 

Under these uncertain times and cancellation of Ham Radio events everywhere, the need for a Virtual Ham Radio Expo was a no-brainer.

I am looking forward to Virtual Ham Expo 2021.  After taking the event survey the 20201 dates were revealed. 

Mark your calendar for The 2021 Virtual Ham Expo on March 13th and 14th.

73 de KE2YK