Parks on the Air, Part II
Last time we discussed the Parks on the Air (POTA) Program. Since I wrote that column, several items of note crossed my mind.
First, when you activate a site, any site with any of the “On the Air” programs, keep a logbook. You will be entering the log information into thee POTA or other site in order to get credit for it. Record the call signs of the stations contacted, the time and frequency and the quality of the signal. It is customary to say, “You are five-nine.” That means that the signal strength of the station you talked to was a “five” meaning a strong signal. (Signal strength is from 1 to 5 with five being the strongest.) The “nine” rates the intelligibility of the signal was perfect, 100% copy. (1 means barely readable. The scale goes up to 9, which means the signal received was perfectly readable.) When giving a reception report, be perfectly honest. If the signal is weak and barely readable, a “two-three” might be in order. When dealing with a VHF or UHF signal that is some distance away, that may be an honest report.
Here is an example of a 20-meter park activation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQsWxv6pCi0. The video shows just how easy it is to activate a park. You must have a minimum of 10 contacts (QSOs) to activate a park.
Always get permission to activate any site.
The Chattahoochee River shows as one designation, K-0662. There are several sites with this designation. GARS activated the site at Johns Creek. It was a lot of fun. If you go there, there is now a $5.00 entrance fee. Check with the ranger before activation. They have several rules, and each Chattahoochee National Recreation Area site may have different ones.
The author has visited Brasstown Bald recently. One of the rangers said that numerous hams have activated the National Park. Some have had external antennas. Some have just used a handheld with a whip antenna. It was foggy the day we went, but it is an easy site to activate. You do not need permission in advance, but you might check the weather report before you go. Brasstown Bald is a site just waiting to be activated. There is plenty room to set up antennas. If you ask, you can get permission to drive to the summit. You can set up a nice external antenna there if you wish.
With the sun being at solar minimum, having a general or extra class license can get you on the air. 20 meters has not been so good lately. The 6-meter band is called the “magic band” because two phenomena called “sporadic e” and “tropospheric scatter” will allow this band (as well as 10 and 2 meters) signals to go much farther than they normally would. Prediction of these two events is not easy to do. Look up these phenomena on the internet or ask at your club if there is anyone familiar with these. There are clubs that specialize in chasing DX (distant stations) on the VHF and UHF, as well as the 6 and
Parks on the Air lists over 150 sites just in Georgia alone. One trying to activate all the sites in Georgia will have a lot of travel and a lot of activating to do.