1 - Prep

Things to do before heading to the field.

Parks On The Air Specific

Get a POTA account set up

POTA Cognito Signup

Familiarize yourself with the Parks On The Air program rules

Check out the POTA YouTube Becoming an Activator playlist

Park Research

Scope out your park. Use the website to determine if the park you are interested in is in the POTA program.

POTA planning your activation video

Research the park rules and park events.

Do a recon trip or reach out to previous activators.

A successful activation

10 contacts makes for a successful activation

Before going into the field, write the following in your log book: park name, park number, grid square, county, and state.

Alerting and Spotting

Alerting is I’m going to be at this park, I think I’m going to be active during this window (UTC), and I’ll most likely be using these band/mode combination.

Spotting is I’m activating now! Right now, I’m at park #, on frequency, and operating mode.

To post an alert or spot, first open the pota.app website. Then login. Next you will user the hamburger menu to select to add an Activation or a Spot.

The community

You can find POTA enthusiasts online: Facebook, Slack, Discord, Instagram, YouTube

Operating Portable

Building a POTA station video

Essential Gear

  • Copy of your FCC License
  • Transceiver
  • Antenna
  • Power Source
  • Key / Mic
  • Logbook and pen or pencil

Supporting Gear

  • Memory keyer
    • Long CQ: CQ POTA CQ CQ DE callsign callsign K
    • Short CQ: CQ POTA DE callsign K
    • End QSO: 72 callsign
    • Park Identifier: park identifier
  • Coax, cord, throw weight, back pack, mast, tripod, …
  • Shade tarp
  • Digital audio recorder, camera


  • Know your limits - WX, etc
  • Food & Water
  • Buddy up?

Set up a QSO Map account

Go to the QSO Map site. Then on the menu bar, Account -> New -> Register

Logbook of the World

The ARRL does not have an affiliation with the Parks On The Air program. POTA does not require Logbook of the World log submissions. It is a totally optional activity for you.
It does take quite a bit to get LOTW set up. So, why do it? Do it for those hunters that are after you in order to complete ARRL awards. If you are going to use LOTW, take the additional step of creating a location profile for each park you activate.