Devils Tower Parks On The Air K-0920
I wanted to post a summary of this activation, so here it is! Devils Tower Parks on the air (POTA) was my favorite activation and I'll tell you why below. I also activated Badlands National Park and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands on the same trip. Where did I setup and what radio, antenna and modes did I use?
Devils Tower Camping
I activated Yellowstone National Park a couple of years back and other parks during the National Parks On The Air activity (NPOTA), but Devils Tower tops them all. Why?
#1 The location. What a beautiful setting for operating on Ham Radio. I was in the NPS campground near the base of Devils Tower. It's called the Belle Fourche River Campground. There are other commercial type camgrounds there, but the Forest Service campground is the closest to the mountain. It's not as crowded and quieter than other campgrounds.
#2 The Forest Service campground is the cheapest too, $20/day. If you have a Golden Access Pass or other Access Pass, you get a 50% discount. There aren't any amenities, ie. electric or sewer, but who needs that! I used solar and generator power while there. There is water available, but no dump stations. However, there is a free dump station at a Wyoming rest stop just east of Sundance, Wyoming. I use it. See this website for Wyoming dump stations.
#3 I made a lot of contacts and had cellular data the whole time I was there. I'm on AT&T.
You can find more information on Devils Tower on the NPS website.
Devils Tower Parks On The Air Modes and Equipment
I was operating inside my camper to keep noise and distractions down. The Icom 7300 is a fantastic radio for portable operation. It's not too big, doesn't consume much power and is a 100 watt radio. I used it a lot on digital modes like CW, PSK31 and FT8. FT8 still the most popular.
Transceiver: Icom 7300.
Microphone: Icom SM-50 microphone.
CW Paddle: CT-599 Iambic paddle.
Antenna: 75 Meter Inverted Vee @ 30 feet. Mounted on my flagpole. Also a Hi-Q 5/80 mobile antenna mounted on the rear of the camper.
Computer: Microsoft Win10 Surface Go Laptop (i5).
Other: Winkeyer 3 for CW sending.
Devils Tower Parks On The Air Results
I was using Log4OM as my logging program, so WSJT-X and Fldigi logged right into Log4OM. I just needed to setup Log4OM for the Devils Tower location. That includeds the correct gridsquare. WSJT-X and Fldigi used the same Devils Tower gridsquare. More on that later.
Total: 296 QSOs for 5 days according to the POTA website (see above). I had lots of time to take phots and fly the drone (with prior approval).
Next up a short description on how I configured the software for POTA and more on Badlands National Park and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.