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.

Chasers -- Here's what you need to score a fabulous award certificate:

http://w8kvk.com/tr04-award/

 

If you are interested in becoming an activator for this event, please drop an email to

John Forslin, KC8ULE kc8ule@arrl.net and 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 touch with 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 event.

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 points!

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 NPOTA 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. Get started with LOTW.

<NEW> Logging 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. QRPspots, DX-SUMMIT and DX-WATCH are 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 frequencies substantially.

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 and password.