I have done a few POTA activations this year and unlike the SOTA system you have to send your ADIF file to an individual who uploads it. Today they opened a new system where activators could upload files directly.
After spending a cold and wet couple of hours on Dartmoor today I managed to put together enough QSOs (99% data, SSB was dire) for a first activation of G-0561, Wistmans Wood. So I tried their new system and it worked! My activation of G-0561 appeared on their map within seconds. It is still showing as unactivated so perhaps it needs more human input for this box to be ticked?
It isn’t perfect, for example, if you upload a log with errors you still have to request human help to delete it, but at least it is much quicker than it used to be.
I thought POTA was a N American thing. Interesting. I was thinking of starting ROTA to activate the Roman signal stations. There’s a lot of Roman signal stations and sites in the Strathearn area. I don’t know if anyone would be interested or how to establish it. Probably niche.
I think you are correct but it’s clearly expanded.
In 2016, the ARRL held a year long activating event called National Parks on the Air to celebrate the 100th year of the US NPS. It was a ton of fun and a lot of people participated, myself included, generating a million QSOs on LOTW.
When it ended some cast around at ways to continue the fun and kicked the tires on WWFF but for whatever reasons that gained no traction. Enter POTA which has slowly evolved. I often hear stations calling with pota references when I’m back in the US.
Bob Voss N4CD is the top pota activator and he clocked up a ridiculous amount of miles doing NPOTA, maybe something like 10,000. The overall top NPOTA activator was Stuart @KB1HQS who also pursues SOTA.
Discovered the Pota program a few months ago and have had a few dozen activations so far.
Compared to Sota, the spot is much quieter here in Europe. It was sometimes difficult to get the necessary 10 qsos together. For that I was able to do some dx like Azores and North Coast. Sometimes I enjoy that and relax from the delightful sota hustle and bustle. In addition, same of my parks are not far from home and some can be reached by bike.
Very nice is that with the support of the local Pota administrator I was able to add my favorite scenic spots in nature reserves and same also Sota summits to the Pota Park list.
POTA in the UK is great for those of us that live a days drive away from any decent hills. I have quite a few parks 1-2 hours away from home, which I can use if I just want to get out and play portable radio. Yes I’d rather be on a hilltop, but I did a POTA recently and had 3 chases from NA stations - something thats never happened to me on a SOTA summit. Also on that activation I got chased by 2 SOTA activations
As Chris says the run rate will be lower (worthwhile also alerting on WWFF if there’s an overlap to drum up more contacts), so you may need to settle down for a couple of hours. They have the RBN hookup so if using CW you just need to post one spot and then the rest is automatic as you switch bands.
Since my nearest ON summit is a 100 km drive, and we used about 300 Euros of fuel for the Friedrichshafen trip (avg. 30 Euro per activated summit !), I will do something else today … my first POTA activation (Ref. ON-0384).
I’ll go with my eBike to a local park 1 km from my house … that’s a lot cheaper
It would be great to hear some familiar SOTA chasers.
I’ll be running QRP and mostly CW.
73 Luc ON7DQ
I think they did more for you than you think. They introduced a lot of things to Britain that were later exported to Australia. A few examples: cabbage, peas, pears, carrots, grapes just in the line of food. They introduced the idea of indoor toilets, too, and you may have no Roman aqueducts but you have the idea of piped water. Even our calendar is based on the Roman one!
Oh, and the clacks came late in the Terry Pratchett series!
The opposite is true here in the US. Spotting on POTA almost always results in a pile-up. I never struggle to get my 10 contacts on HF (different situation on VHF). Most of the SOTA summits I visit are also within a POTA location, so I can double up (and do when SOTA chasers are sparse).
POTA is niche, most of the complaints are it is too US-centric and expects activating sites to be “Government-owned”. Personally, I never bother with it. What I do however is WFF or Flora and Fauna, it sounds tough that you need 44 contacts per activation but you don’t need to do it all in one go. The number of sites in the UK is huge!. Check out the G-FF website/Facebook page as well as the WFF, you can also self-spot as well. Apart from SOTA, it is the only time I have been chased by stations in the US!
My first POTA activation didn’t go as planned, but I spent a nice afternoon in the park, WX was great and the QRM I have at home was absent.
Arriving at the site, it seemed I couldn’t get a data connection there, so far for self spotting … and I couldn’t check the SOTA spots either.
(I found out after the activation that the problem was not the network, but my phone, after I restarted it all was fine, and I should have known, I got this problem before when I was on a SOTA summit)
On top of that, the POTA spotting via RBN also didn’t seem to have worked. I had put an Alert on their site, and I was spotted on several bands on RBN, but no spots reached the POTA site … strange.
So I stayed there from 14:30 til 17:00 local time, and finally got 16 QSO’s in the log.
Some were familiar ‘SOTA’ calls … @DL1FU , @F5PLR, @F6GUU , thanks guys!
Also had a nice and long QSO with SKCC friend Chus EA1IQ on 15m. I quickly had to flip my Palm Pico on its side to use it as a straight key, for a valid SKCC exchange
All QSO’s were made with QRP power. KX3 + 22.2m random endfed with 9:1 UNUN.
Antenna 1m above ground at the ends, the middle 5m above ground, in an inverted-V configuration.
So all in all, a succesful activation, but with spotting, it could have been a lot more.
I don’t rely on this anymore. It used to be very reliable, but over the past 6 months or so many CW ops have noticed that we aren’t getting spotted on occasion. The support team then restarts the RBN listener backend process. It seems that the process will just stop working.
I coded something like this decades ago where we had a process watching inbound data and if nothing was written to the database in 2 minutes, the listener would be restarted. Seems like something similar would work for the RBN issue. I mean, I don’t know of any time where RBN has set idle for even 30 seconds without sending data.
And I’ve done the same for SKCC during activations.
I was searching the SOTA Reflector for comments about POTA (PARKS ON THE AIR), having discovered I have one two miles down the A169 road from my home QTH - The North York Moors National Park - POTA Ref G-0003. This Nation Park contains G/TW-001 G/TW-002 and G/TW-003.
I don’t plan to go out activating specifically for POTA anytime soon, however I am considering going through my logbook, identifying POTA areas that are within the SOTA activations I have done and uploading the ADIF files to the POTA website. The ADIF limited format needed, complies with what I can extract from Logger32 - providing the callsign registered on POTA includes a /P suffix which I always use when doing a SOTA. The extraneous ADIF columns not needed are simply ignored by the POTA database when uploading. Its going to take a while to go thorough my log and submit the files to POTA, but I guess it is something to do on miserable winter days like today when there is nothing else on the agenda. I have submitted my activator log from my activations of G/TW-003 and G/TW-001 on 10/02/2023 as an exercise to prove the process works.
To qualify a “POTA” activation you need 10 QSOs, although as the documentation explains - any number of QSOs if less than 10, helps the organisation as this provides the “Hunters” (the POTA equivalent of Chasers) with confirmation of their QSOs.
One interesting feature is that “Hunters” don’t submit logs - the hunters are picked up and are scored automatically to your POTA Hunter account from the Activators logs.
I only registered as a POTA station yesterday and got instant gratification today when I discovered that I have “Hunted” 126 parks without realising it:
I think its going to be hard work sifting through several years SOTA logs and maps outside the UK to establish which of my SOTA Activations qualify as a POTA log! Fortunately I like messing with online mapping, so hopefully the task should not be too onerous.
It could be said that POTA is somewhat of an old mans type of Radiosport - you can operate from inside your motor vehicle and drive into the activation zone and it still qualifies, so you can keep warm and dry when you are operating…