Monday, December 26, 2016

Parks on the Air - KFF-xxxx

World Wide Flora & Fauna

Now that the National Parks on the Air program is winding down (not a contest) it seems to me that the natural continuation would be to switch over to the KFF part of the WWFF program. WWFF has been around awhile but it was treated as an overseas program. The KFF program is the U.S. arm of WWFF and should excite the NPOTA folks who have honed their portable operations plus it greatly opens up the possibilities as many state parks are included. I have 6 or 7 parks I can activate now within an hour drive of St. Louis. 

Logging is only done by the activators and if you want a certificate as a chaser you only need to register on the WWFF webpage. Then watch your totals on Logsearch and when you reach one of the certificate thresholds you click that button and they will email you a high quality certificate in PDF format. As the NPOTA folks begin uploading their logs to WWFF there will be many chasers with awards waiting for them. There are also awards for activators!

Go to the KFF page and look at the large list of parks available and make your plans!

Here is the link to the WWFF main page.

Here is the link to the KFF US page. 

Sample certificates

Sunday, December 18, 2016

NPOTA, FM simplex contest, Tennessee QSO Party and 2017


Now that the weather has finally decided to turn towards winter I am slowing down on my NPOTA chasing with it mostly happening on weekends. I kept revising my chasing goal for NPOTA confirmations throughout the year. My first goal was 100 which was pretty easy to hit. Then I thought 200 parks would be realistic with my work schedule. As I passed 200 and the new parks to me were slowing down I said 250 would probably be my peak. My family has reminded me of each goal along the way with many eye rolls.. This weekend I hit 350 confirmed parks and I can safely say I will not be reaching 400!

This has been a great program and a lot of fun especially the activations. My final activation will be back at Grant House on New Years Eve. I started the year there so I might as well finish there! Many hams are wondering what will entertain us next year. I will feel a little lost after the first of the year rolls around like I did after the ARRL Centennial event was over but it is time for NPOTA to end. My plans for 2017 will shift to the WWFF program for the US. Most of the NPOTA locations are part of this plus many more state parks will be available.

Plans for 2017


Missouri QSO Party

Numerous hamfests!

Illinois QSO Party

2 meter FM Simplex contest

The Lewis and Clark Radio Club held its first 2 meter FM simplex contest on 12/17. This was patterned off of the St. Louis and Suburban Radio Clubs (SLSRC) series of successful 2 meter contests. I had plans to be mobile for this but had been watching the weather forecast all week and wouldn't you know it the weather folks got the forecast correct. Unfortunately we had a freezing rain event so I decided to operate from home instead. Small turn out for the contest but it was their first one so I expect more in the future. I ran 10 watts from the IC-706 to maximize the points for my 20 contacts. 

2016 Tennessee QSO Party

Not much to report here. It was my first time operating in this contest so I got a participation award. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

HP13 KFF-0734 George Rogers Clark National Historic Park activation

I had been wanting to get another unique activation completed for NPOTA and WWFF so I had been looking at which locations I could do in a day trip from the St. Louis area and not need a permit. My options were MN39 George Washington Carver or HP13 George Rogers Clark. Since HP13 mapped out to be a 3 hour drive one way vs. 4+ hours for MN39 I decided on HP13. 

Contact was made with the great folks at George Rogers Clark and as long as I operated from my vehicle I did not need a special use permit. So all was set for the activation and as long as it didn't snow that day the activation was a "go". 

Got on the road at  8 AM figuring I would arrive around 11:15 AM with some time to setup and eat lunch. I stopped in at the visitors center to let them know my plans and that I was planning to take the tour after I was done with the activation. They suggested that I wait no longer than 3:45 PM to start the tour. 

The setup and lunch did not take long but then I noticed the time on my phone said 12:45 PM. I failed to factor in the time change when crossing from Illinois into Indiana. So now it was 1 PM and I needed to tear down at 3:30 PM so I could make the final tour so my operating time was cut short. 

I started on 40 meter phone at 1 PM and made around 60 contacts and then the contacts slowed down. I scanned the cluster and made a couple park to park contacts. At 2 PM I got started on a 20 meter phone run making 74 contacts until another QSO slowly kept changing frequency until they were almost on the same frequency. At that point I could not hear any chasers anymore and it now was       3 PM and I wanted to finish out on 40 meters so I switched to 40 meters and ran until 3:30 PM. Tear down started and I was in the visitor center by 3:50 PM. 

197 contacts made including the following:

42 different states contacted
Mexico and Azores countries contacted
Ontario and Saskatchewan provinces contacted
Springfield Armory
Point Reyes National Seashore
Frederick Law Olmsted
Wekiva National Wild and Scenic River

Something that impressed me was that when I went in for the tour they produced a NPOTA binder that had questionnaire sheets that asked for number of contacts made, states, countries and parks contacted. The are keeping that info as historical data for future park anniversaries. I followed up with the park the next day with an email with a breakdown of my contacts.I also gave them one of my laminated NPOTA signs that I put in the truck windows during the activation. 

Arrived home around 7:45 PM and started uploading logs. Had around 90 immediate confirmations. This year long event had definitely made people proficient with LoTW!

If I had to make a change to this activation it would have been to leave home earlier to account for the time change therefore allowing more operating time.