Tag Archives: NPOTA

NPOTA #1millionqsos

I’m not much of a hashtagger, probably too old, but I’ve seen this one around regarding the rapid approach of 1,000,000 QSOs for the NPOTA event and it seemed appropriate to use it for the title of this post. As of this morning the total count stands at 970,510. With 21 days left in the year it would seem that we should be able to make and even break 1,000,000 QSOs. That seems like an amazing feat to me given that interest was maintained and arguably has grown over the course of this year long event, most every activation was a portable\mobile station, there are only 484 locations to activate, not all of them convenient to access, and finally the variability of band conditions and the weather over the course of a year of changing seasons.

I started to jot down the QSO total in the past several weeks in order to watch the trend.

Date QSO
11/22/2016 879762
11/25/2016 891449
12/4/2016 942605
12/5/2016 948784
12/6/2016 953198
12/8/2016 961819
12/10/2016 970510

Given this run rate I would estimate that we’ll hit 1,000.000 around 12/15 or 12/16 if the current QSO rate is sustained.

My total stands at 233 worked and 9 activations. Given the time available to operate and band conditions I’ve not worked a new one in a few weeks. I have been working old ones in order to ensure activators get credit for the activation. Though I’ve visited a fair number of National Parks and other sites, sadly I’ve only visited 23 of the 233 units that I’ve worked. Clearly I’ve got some improvement to make in this regard in the coming years. Good thing I have a camper. : )

Just for comparison I looked at the results for 2106 Field Day. Over the course of Field Day 579,217 QSOs were logged. Given that number over a much shorter period of time maybe NPOTA should have broke 1 million a while ago and we should be looking at breaking 10 million. Who knows. Frankly it’s never been about the numbers. Though it is sort of fun to track, it’s been a lot more enjoyable making contacts with people, some many times, almost to the point of being on a first name basis, as all of these great locations across our country have been activated. It’s been fun to recall past visits to these parks and monuments and think about future visits to some of the new ones that I’ve learned about along the way.

Here’s to a Million QSOs!

Update 12/15/16 – 994,987

Update: 12/16/16 – 1,002,144

My totals were 243 units worked and 9 activations on my own.


NPOTA activations

It’s September which means there are only four months left for the NPOTA event. As I write this there have been over 612,000 QSOs with over 11,000 activations of the 489 units. If you look at the stats you’ll see that there are only 40 units that haven’t been activated. This means that over 90% of the 489 units have been activated at least once, with many of those activated a number of times. I wonder if anyone at the ARRL and the NPS thought that this event would generate this level of interest.

Some significant portion of those 11,000 activations involved Amateur Radio in the view of the public at the units. What a great promotion for the hobby. My activations have drawn interest from people at the units that I’ve activated with the first question usually something like “what are you doing?” followed by the typical responses of either “people still do that?” or “my <fill in the blank family member> used to be an Amateur Radio operator.” All the interest I’ve seen has been very positive. I’ve enjoyed doing activations as it’s fun to be on the other end of the pile-up. It’s not like being some ultra rare DX such as Outer Swobovia but I’m not likely to travel there anytime soon so a pile-up in Wisconsin will serve. I’ve also enjoyed the chase as well. As of this moment I’ve done nine activations and have 107 units confirmed.

Wisconsin doesn’t have any National Parks but we do have five units on the list:

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – LK01
  • Ice Age National Scenic Trail – TR05
  • Ice Age National Scientific Reserve – AA11
  • Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway – WR09
  • North Country National Scenic Trail – TR04

Of which two, Ice Age National Scenic Trail – TR05 and Ice Age National Scientific Reserve – AA11 have multiple locations throughout the state, many of which are very near my home or where my XYL and I camp.

Ice Age Trail - Point Beach Segment

Ice Age Trail – Point Beach Segment

NPOTA TR05 portable station

NPOTA TR05 portable station

At one activation I had some assistance from a dragonfly:

Dragonfly counterpoise

and an odd little bee that spent about 20 minutes flying around and walking about my portable station:



For all of the activations I’ve used my Kenwood TS-480SAT @100 Watts powered by a trolling motor battery and either my Alpha Antenna DX Sr, EARCHI end fed, or LNR EF-Quad end fed, all with good results.

NPOTA portable station

NPOTA portable station

On occasion I’ve used my folding wagon to transport the station equipment:

Portable station transport

And other times I’ve worked largely out of the back of my truck:

Ice Age Trail - Northern Kettle Moraine

Ice Age Trail – Northern Kettle Moraine

NPOTA station @ TR05 and AA11

NPOTA station @ TR05 and AA11

The current run rate is about 76,000 QSOs per month so with four months to go the final tally will probably be just over 900,000 QSOs. Maybe there will be a push through the fall and we’ll break one million QSOs for the year. Who knows.

I’ve visited a number of the units over the years and it’s been fun to work them in this event, recalling the times that I’ve visited the unit in the past. With the popularity of this event, and the interest that it has generated I wonder what the ARRL is going to come up with next. I know that I’ve enjoyed it immensely.