2 - QRV
Setting up your station
Questions and ramifications to consider when setting up your station:
- Will you be able to utilize a shelter?
- Are you operating from your car?
- Is there a bathroom facility nearby?
- Is there potable water nearby?
- Are you hiking in?
- What natural hazards (critters, plants, terrain) do you need to watch out?
- Are there other people nearby? Make sure your fun doesn’t yuck their fun or pose a hazard to them. Be prepared to answer questions. Maybe have an informational hand out ready.
Improving the station setup
Make note of any lacking equipment, or something that could have been useful. Address it when you are back at home. For example, an extra stake or s-biner would have been handy when hooking up a transformer. Or, the specific pen/pencil being used didn’t work well. Swap it out.
Consider the following:
- Beaconing your location with APRS
- Keeping a radio on 146.52 for local 2m FM contacts
- In areas with lots of traffic on 146.52, try 146.58 Adventure Radio Frequency
The more you have in the air, the better off you are. Be aware of the locaiton rules and regulations. Some places are permissive and you’ll be able to get your wire up in a tree. Use an arborist line and throw weight. Do not use paracord or fishing line. They are not designed for use in trees and have a good chance of snagging or breaking. As ambassadors of the hobby we want to take care to follow leave no trace principles. Nice options for these locations are EFHW, “random” wire, and trapped vertical
Some locations like National Parks, and wild life refuge areas are very restrictive. For locations like that be prepared with an option that is self supporting and does not require any ground penetration. Good antenna options for locations like this could be: Elecraft AX1, AX2, QRP Guys DS1, Buddipole or BuddiStick, or Gabil GRA-7350TC.
I typically paper log (Rite in the Rain notebook #73 size) with a pen or pencil. If you make a mistake, don’t try and erase it. Simply draw a line through it. The log book is clipped onto an A5 size clipboard. The clipboard also has an elastic band to help keep the journal page down in windy conditions. A small cord runs from the clipboard to the pencil. This makes for easy retrieval of the dropped writing implement.
Have your Park name and number handy. You may occassionally be asked for your county, state, or grid square.
What should I log? Log Band, mode, UTC Date Time, Station worked, Report sent, Report received, State|Province|Country received.
Write down the band, mode, and UTC time on a line. Then on subsequent lines the UTC time (if there is time), call sign of the station worked, RST sent, RST received, and SPC received. When you work the last station in a run, or are getting ready to call CQ again, make sure to note the UTC time. Missing times can be “fuzzed” in later.
When changing bands make sure to note it in the logbook.
You may optionally use a digital audio recorder to record your activiation. It can be helpful to have as a backup to your paper log. The model linked to can also serve as an audio level control for rigs that don’t have one. Get experience with connecting and using the recorder before you go into the field.
Make sure you’re in a comfortable and safe position. Have your easily accessible drink nearby.
If you start to feel overwhelmed by a pile up or the pace of things, take a breath and remember, it is your show. You determine the flow and pace.
Use a band change as an opportunity for a bio-break or to hunt other parks.
- Start at a faster wpm, then slow down
- start with your filter wide, then narrow filter only as necessary
- Listen for stations that are off zero beat, use RIT as needed
- If you need a break to move to a new page in the log, etc, you can use the Morse code prosign AS along with a number X. This says, stations please stand by X minutes.
- Hunters sending faster than you copy? Ask them to please slow down: PSE QRS
Working a pile up
If you have a large pile up, you may find it useful to call for specific stations:
- QRZ P2P? Any P2P (Park to Park) stations?
- QRZ QRP? QRP, portable, or mobile stations call now
- CQ DX? DX stations call now
- By the numbers (call district)
- very rare are you running a special event station or some other highly sought after location?
Don’t do all of the above at once or maybe, at all. Most operators of QRP, portable, mobile, and DX stations realize that they will likely have a weaker signal. So, they will typically wait until the pileup has dwindled and then try to call you then.
Operating split is a very rare occurrence with POTA. If you end up with a large group of hunters zero beat, try CQ UP. Then use your RIT or split feature to listen around 1Khz UP from your transmit frequency.