Ham Radio 360: NPOTA recap with Stuart KB1HQS

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by K4CDN, Jan 10, 2017.

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  1. K4CDN

    K4CDN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Stuart Thomas, KB1HQS, joined me back in February to chat about the NPOTA (National Parks on the Air) ARRL Event.

    This time he’s back to share with us an entire years worth of Portable Operation from NPOTA. Hear Stuarts Lessons Learned, Funny Stories, Favorite Parks and more in this episode of Ham Radio 360 Podcast.

    Listen Link Here

    Show Notes and Links Here


    Thanks and 73


  2. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did a NPOTA trip to Zion last July-- but I do not have LOTW (nor see the need for it). It is unfortunate that this is the only 'travel' activity that requires LOTW, rather than logs of another kind.

    Other ARRL OTA activities, such as VUCC and DXCC, do not require LOTW. It seems odd that this one required it.

    Chip W1YW
  3. KA4AQM

    KA4AQM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am also disappointed that no other logs were allowed to be submitted. ARRL kinda got a little too narrow nosed on this one. Very nice certificate from ARRL.

    Chesapeake Va.
  4. N8HM

    N8HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    LoTW is simple to set up and use and it's use allowed for easy tracking of activations and confirmations by all participants. I don't understand why any ham would refuse to use it other than their own refusal to enter the 21st century.
    K6SDW and KN6Q like this.
  5. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page


    I can see you do not understand it.

    The fact is, I work on a computer and play on a radio. I prefer NOT to use my computer as part of the radio. I RESPECT that others do so, and that's fine But I ENJOY paper logs and have NEVER experienced a failure with them--many, many failures with computers.

    Just to give you a calibration point, you should know that the BEST SELLING ARRL publication is the full format LOGBOOK, and hence lots of people who have at least a remote awareness of the ARRL are NOT using LOTW.

    Nothing wrong with having BOTH options (QSLs too!;-)

    (I love QSL's: I remember when I was poor and just out of grad school, how going thru a box of old QSLs took me on journeys outside of my modest confines and distracted me from the 'Allentown' era of the 1980's: "..the graduations hang on the wall but they never really helped us at all..").

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  6. N8HM

    N8HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I used a paper log for many of my NPOTA activations for weight and simplicity out in the field. It was not a problem to enter in those QSOs for confirmation. I entered and uploaded about 600 QSOs from 8 different sites with about an hour's worth of work. That was a lot less work than sending paper cards, that's for sure.
    WD9EWK and W1YW like this.
  7. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, you must also be one who sends Christmas cards as e-mail:) That's OK, but some folks still like the personal touch: paper with my DNA on it;-)

    The fact is, unless you are juicy DX, only fraction of QSO's produce the desire for cards.

    I'm OK with LOTW, just pointing out the need for more than one option.

    73 Paul,
    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  8. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    For anyone who worked me during this event, I'm more than happy to send a paper QSL. I think I had around 1500 QSO's, about 1000 from various parks, and another 500 working parks. All of them were logged on paper, and it typically took me about 10 minutes to type in the calls and upload them after an activation.

    The use of electronic logging made the event more interesting, IMHO, since most of the contacts were confirmed within a day or so.

    Again, even though I'm happy to send a QSL to anyone who wants one, it really would have been impractical to have any significant number of the confirmations by by paper QSL. I confirmed about 320 different parks, and I wouldn't have bothered sending QSL's to most of them. And as an activator, it would have been a huge burden to send out QSL's to the thousand stations who worked me. If somebody wants one, that's great. But just sending them out so that someone needs a Minnesota card for an award is kind of a waste. There were over a million NPOTA QSO's, and that's a lot of paper and postage.
    W1YW likes this.
  9. KN6Q

    KN6Q Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know of several longtime hams that got signed up for LoTW for the first time *because* of NPOTA. I only did one activation, but responded back with QSL cards for anyone who sent me one.

    I also put a note on the card thanking them for the contact, and letting them know they needed LoTW to get credit for NPOTA.

    To me, it was fair game - ARRL and the participants got near realtime leaderboards and stats for a yearlong contest. I scratch my head about people who won't use LoTW, the same way I scratch my head when I lookup someone on QRZ that won't send cards. It's not for you, it's a courtesy for the other guy.
  10. W1YW

    W1YW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, that's ridiculous--its not tenable to assert that LOTW needs to be done 'for the other guy'. CONFIRMATION--in any valid form-- needs to be secured 'for the other guy'. Don't confuse mechanism with validation please.

    This reminds me of the failed attempt to eliminate business cards by scanning badges at trade shows. Guess what: people STILL do biz cards...too.

    With due respect, IMO LOTW is being now used by the ARRL as a draw for membership--which is fine: I am a LM. But one should not confuse an operating ACTIVITY with a mechanism for validation--which is what happened with NPOTA.

    Look: you can't sell thousands of log books a year and ALSO confine people to logging with LOTW. This is what the ARRL does in this example. Don't you see that weird contradiction:)?

    The other bizarre aspect is the ARRL wants to find a cool $1M in donations to expand the computer services end--read: LOTW-- NPOTA was used to force the issue of NEED to justify the DONATION.

    Also,ARRL used NPOTA as a backhanded way to get more people to sign up for membership, as a 'draw'. Wasn't that obvious?

    Again, these are all good things, but restricting validation thru a single option is just not realistic.

    Chip W1YW
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017

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