NPOTA Recap

At the stroke of midnight (GMT) on January 1st, the program which has brought me the most enjoyment in my 21 years as an amateur radio operator drew to a close. National Parks on the Air, a program by the ARRL on conjunction with the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, gave me the kick start I needed to start using and enjoying the HF bands.

There were awards for chasers who contacted a park (my category)  and activators who set up a temporary station in a park, as well as additional criteria for special awards based on number of units worked and promotional efforts during an activation.

I must admit that I was a bit late to the year-long party. I didn’t make my first NPOTA contact until September 17th. But soon, I was hooked. By the end of the year, I had confirmed 57 parks with 60 contacts, earning Honor Roll along the way. While that is a far cry from the top score in the program (K5RX had 460 contacts), for a new HF operator participating only 1/4th of the program duration, I am very happy with the outcome.

This is a video of the pileup for Fort Sumter on December 28th. I had already made contact, but the audio was so good I decided it needed to be documented.

There is another program, called simply Parks on the Air, that will continue. This one is international and includes state parks, wildlife preserves, and some national forests – making activations much more feasible. I look forward to being able to setup activations during the upcoming year to A. H. Stephens State Park, Hamburg State Park, and possibly Hard Labor Creek State Park. I just need an effective portable antenna system first (suggestions welcome!).

Finally, for those who may be curious, here is a list of units I contacted. You can lookup more details about each park by using the designator (in the parenthetical) at the NPOTA website.

  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail (TR01)
  • Assateague Island National Seashore (SS01)
  • Big Bend National Park (NP04)
  • Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (HP49)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (PK01)
  • California National Historic Trail (TR14)
  • Canaveral National Seashore (SS02)
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (RC04)
  • Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (MP01)
  • De Soto National Memorial (NM05)
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (RC07)
  • Eightmile National Wild and Scenic River (WR15)
  • Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site (AA06)
  • Farmington National Wild and Scenic River (WR16)
  • Fire Island National Seashore (SS07)
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial (NM08)
  • Fort Larned National Historic Site (NS21)
  • Fort Monroe National Monument (MN32)
  • Fort Sumter National Monument (MN35)
  • Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (NS28)
  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (NS29)
  • Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park (MP02)
  • Grand Canyon National Park (NP22)
  • Green Springs National Historic Landmark District (AA09)
  • Greenbelt Park (DZ04)
  • Homestead NM of America National Monument (MN46)
  • Ice Age National Scenic Trail (TR05)
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (LK02)
  • Jean Lafitte NHP and Preserve National Historical Park (HP17)
  • Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (RC14)
  • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial (NM15)
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (HP25)
  • Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (HP26)
  • Minute Man National Historical Park (HP27)
  • Mississippi National River and Recreation Areas (RV04)
  • Monocacy National Battlefield (BF06)
  • Natchez National Historical Park (HP29)
  • Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (TR02)
  • Natural Bridge (AA26)
  • North Country National Scenic Trail (TR04)
  • Olympic National Park (NP44)
  • Oregon National Historic Trail (TR07)
  • Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (HP34)
  • Pecos National Historical Park (HP35)
  • Petersburg National Battlefield (BF08)
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail (TR11)
  • Saratoga National Historical Park (HP42)
  • Springfield Armory National Historic Site (NS66)
  • Steamtown National Historic Site (NS67)
  • Sudbury, Assabet and Concord National Wild and Scenic River (WR31)
  • Taunton National Wild and Scenic River (WR32)
  • Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve National Preserve (PV16)
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (TR12)
  • Waco Mammoth National Monument (MN81)
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument (MN73)
  • Westfield National Wild and Scenic River (WR38)
  • William Howard Taft National Historic Site (NS78)

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