Many hams here in the SF Bay Area have heard of National Parks On The Air (NPOTA), a new ARRL operating event for 2016. For those who haven’t, to help the National Park Service (NPS) celebrate its Centennial, NPOTA lasts for the full calendar year and connects hams everywhere to hams located in NPS units. The idea is to have a good time, to keep one’s radio skills sharp, and to help promote our National Parks in their big year. Contacts on any ham band except 60 meters and using any ham mode are eligible, though repeater, digipeater, crossband, and Internet-supported contacts are not.
While you’re not in an NPS unit, you’re a “Chaser”, and your goal is to chase down and contact an “Activator” ham in as many NPS units as possible during 2016. When you’re in an NPS unit, you can be an “Activator”. Either way, log your contacts in the ARRL Logbook Of The World, and your points are automatically tallied. All licensed Amateurs are eligible; ARRL membership is not required; there is no cost unless you want an award sent to you when it’s over. For details, including rules, tips, and news, see the NPOTA Web page.
Pete Harris KE6ZIW and I (John Rabold KS6M) will enable hams who are located in parts of the East Bay to make a NPOTA contact during the New Year holiday weekend. On Friday, January 1, I (KS6M) will be calling for VHF FM simplex contacts from Mount Wanda, on the property of John Muir National Historic Site in Martinez. Pete and I visited the site on Tuesday, December 29, and found that parts of Vallejo, Benicia, Concord, and Walnut Creek were visible, in addition to Martinez. But I may do better than that, as I will have a tall antenna and be using 10 or 25 watts. Your HT may work just fine, depending on where you are. Listen for KS6M from about noon to about 4 pm PST on 146.535 MHz, though you might find me on 146.520 occasionally.
On Saturday, January 2, Pete and I will be calling CQ from the visitor center of that same NPS unit, using single sideband, most likely on 15, 17, or 20 meters, from about 11 am to about 3 pm PST. On those bands we will be listening for replies from anywhere in the world, but you may hear us locally and be able to contact us.
- Fri Jan 1, 12 noon to 4 pm, on 146.535 or 146.520 FM
- Sat Jan 2, 11 am to 3 pm, on 15, 17, 20 meters SSB
This won’t be your last chance to earn “chaser points” in NPOTA from this area. The Bay Area has something like a dozen NPS units and no shortage of hams to “activate” them. But this one gets the NPS Centennial Year off to a quick start and honors the memory of John Muir, long an East Bay resident.
Remember to write down the date and time and frequency of the contact, the mode (FM or SSB), and the call sign of the ham you contacted. (Be sure the date and time are in UTC, which is 8 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.) You will need that information when you upload your log to Logbook of the World.
Happy New Year and 73! Pete and I hope to talk to you by radio this weekend!
John Rabold KS6M