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New Club Member AA2SD Supports the Club with Recent POTA Activations

New Ham Operator AA2SD takes to the Pinelands of NJ with several Parks on the Air Activations in support of K2AA.

Parks on the AIr started in 2018, and has seen significant growth as more amateur operators discover the benefits and fun of activating a Park, or participating on the hunting side. The combination of being outdoors in a pristine environment while making QSO contacts can become addicting.

“The positive thing about POTA is it teaches you how to set up an antenna in a remote location with typically limited resources” says Scott Dantis AA2SD. POTA helps to encourage radio operators to develop their own individual skills in a real time live environment. POTA is also a great way to demo the overall capabilities of our hobby to the general public, and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite hobby.

I am new to Ham Radio this year, and just started with a Technician Class, General and now Amatear Extra certification. I have been fortunate to have local Elmers Sam KF3G, Joe KC2SGV and Alan K3WWT along with the SJRA club to assist and guide me with the many facets of this hobby. The first thing I did after passing my Technician class was to join the AARL, and also to join the South Jersey Radio Association in New Jersey.

I typically do not enjoy contesting, and due to the limited capability of antennas in my home location, I have experienced difficulty breaking into a pile up during a contest. I operate from a townhome with my base station, and can not put up a large outdoor antenna, additionally interference from my attic antennas was becoming more frustrating during operation.

I learned about POTA or Parks on the AIr and decided to give it a try at Cape May Point State Park. Operating in an outdoor environment, combined with less local interference and being on the other side of a typical pile up was eye opening. Since this first activation I have activated (15) different park locations throughout Southern New Jersey, including Wharton State Forest, Cape May, Hammonton and East End Lighthouse, and most recently John Heinz National Refuge in PA.

Recently, after meeting Ken on the SJRA weekly Net, I have started to activate parks as an approved K2AA operator. I finished three local parks over the Thanksgiving week-end, with successful activations at East End Point, Cape May Point and Hammonton Creek.

As part of my Parks on the Air process, I carefully plan out each site activation with Google Maps, and use the official NJ Park boundary maps to stay within the designated areas. Each Parks on the Air activation is being documented on a YouTube Channel with a brief overview of the antenna set up and local area. All of this recent video content has been consolidated into one web site for reference at

Advance planning for a Parks on Air activation is important, selecting which Park to go to, how you will get there, and what equipment you need to take a long time for the activation. I would suggest a site visit via Google Maps ahead of time to check road access to remote areas.

Here is a brief list of tips that I have learned with my recent Parks on the Activities.

Plan the Park You Want to Activate ahead of time

  • Determine your schedule including time to travel to and from the location, and antenna set up and take down, stay on schedule to maximize your on air time.

  • Check the weather, and plan accordingly

  • Document your process, I use a Android phone camera to keep things as light and simple as possible

  • Keep a simple log, I use a paper journal for contacts, frequency, weather and set up

  • Use the POTA spotting page, this will help you get your first 10 contacts

  • Bring a small back up equipment box, I bring a long a small tray type box including connectors, tape, zip ties and other necessities for in the field supplies.

  • Determine your power source, are you using an external battery pack or powering via your car?

  • Pre-determine which antenna set up you will use, you do not want to spend time experimenting in the field.

  • Use a smaller portable radio, to reduce weight like a FT891

Overall, I can fit my entire POTA kit into one medium size backpack, plus the antenna set up. This allows me to walk into an area if required. My battery supply is set up in a hand carrying portable box with quick disconnect connectors.

And most importantly, have fun in the Park. The most enjoyable part of POTA is talking to your fellow HAM operators, and enjoying the magic of radio communication in the field. I never set a goal of multiple QSO’s, and as long as you can achieve 10 contacts you have successfully activated your park.

See you all out in the Parks !



SJRA Club Member

Resource Links

Parks on the Air Site

You Tube