The North Country National Scenic
Trail is America's longest scenic trail at nearly 4600
miles. We are going to activate the entire trail
system over the June 4-5 weekend. That is, all seven
states will be active during those days. Due to vagaries
of weather and other conditions, it is probable that you
will have to check the skeds and the spotting websites
to get them all, but we'll be on and available enough
for you to score a Clean Sweep (work all seven states)
and earn a nice certificate of appreciation from the
North Country Trail Association.
-- Here's what you need to score a fabulous award
If you are interested in becoming
an activator for this event, please drop an email to
John Forslin, KC8ULE
he will sign you up.
If you do Facebook, you may
wish to sign up with the ARRL National Parks on the
Air page to see what other people are reporting.
Pictures are good -- we hams are pretty darn inventive
at rigging up for portable and mobile ops!
Many people schedule their
activations, although there are a lot of sudden
activations that are not formally scheduled. See the
activations scheduled for the next ten days.
The North Country Trail Association
has a pretty powerful
interactive mapping facility going. Take some time
with this, learn how to zoom in and out and move around
and it may help you find access points to the trail
convenient to you. You are absolutely free to also be in
NCTA chapters along the trail. The chapters are the
local units for organizing volunteers to help develop
and maintain the trail system. The chapters have been
notified about NPOTA and will be able to help you
identify and get to good operating spots. NOTE THIS:
The map shows some "dotted line" segments. These
segments are considered "trail" for the purposes of this
General guidance on trail activations
from Trail Superintendent Mark Weaver:
Trail Activator FAQ:
What are the rules? See the
ARRL NPOTA info.
How much time do I have to be on
the air? Whatever you can comfortably manage. Idea
is to have fun at this, and not to make it a burden. We
will try to coordinate your on-air time with other
activators in your state to provide on-air presence.
Can I just work from my mobile?
No. The NPOTA rules as set out by ARRL require that you
work "on the trail" and completely disconnected from
your vehicle, with some flex. For instance, if the trail
runs through a developed park, or has a shelter or
campsite considered part of the trail, you can use
whatever amenities are there. Also, while you are
required to get to your operating position under human
power, there are no set distances down the trail you
have to be. Finally, be within 50 yards of the trail.
What bands? Whatever you can
manage. Be realistic -- you are there to let yourself be
worked by chasers, so try to accommodate. You, or
someone in your state, should plan on putting in some 10
meter time to let techs have a shot, too.
What modes? Whatever you can
manage that you think will be fun and "chaseable." If
you are a member of the Hellschreiber community, for
instance, and you can stir up some interest in a "Hell
Of A Sweep," then go for it. CW seems well represented.
As usual, work with your state group to represent as
much of the hobby as seems workable and fun.
What power? Whatever you can
manage. Portable ops from deep woods locations, and many
others. will be QRP just for the sake of the batteries.
On the other hand, 50 watts into a good antenna has it's
How do I submit my log? The
official log and the only recognized log process for
earning any of the NPOTA rules is Logbook of the World (LOTW).
You are free, of course, to use any other logging
process in addition, but LOTW is fundamental to the
business. Be sure to get the latest version of TSQL
which has been modified to make this process simpler.
Rookie to LOTW? It's not as daunting as it first seems
(I can report!) and they have improved the process and
turnaround times since the Old Days.
started with LOTW.
specifics for Light Up the Trail: ALSO you will be
submitting your .adif or Cabrillo-format log file to
Ted, W8KVK for rolling all LUtT qso's into a flat-file
database for use in our certificate awards processing.
See the final procedure notes on LUtT logging!
Is this a contest? No! It is
not a contest. Two footnotes to that. First, since it is
not a contest, you can use the WARC bands, especially
when the bands are cluttered with actual contests.
Second, you can take time during a contact to mention
something interesting about the park (or trail!) you are
activating. We are doing this to help out the National
Parks, after all, no matter how much fun we are having
otherwise! Check out the NCTA clicks above to learn more
about the trail!
How do I get noticed on the air?
Once you are on the air, you must
get yourself SPOTTED UP on one of the ham radio systems.
commonly used, but there are others. These sights do not
encourage self-spotting, so you may have to arrange with
someone to spot you when you call. You can also ask
early contacts to spot your operation up, and many will
help. Remember to get re-spotted when you change
How do I register my activation?
Register your activation with the ARRL NPOTA web system
to get it on the official NPOTA calendar. Do this at
least 10 days in advance. Note that you can edit your
registration if anything changes. Go here:
https://npota.arrl.org/nps-events.php . Note that
you need to log into the NPOTA system with your LoTW id