SOME PORTABLE TIPS.
Below you can find some helpful tips when it comes to operating in the field.
THE PREPARATION STAGE.
- Have a checklist of all the equipment you intend to bring during your portable outing. even experienced portable operators can forget something, and a checklist certainly helps.
- Ensure that all of your operating equipment is in working order
- Have an itinerary. I always prepare an itinerary for our trips, so we know roughly where we are going and how we are going to combine portable activity with sightseeing
- Pack your gear the night before. Last minute activations often result in leaving behind important equipment
- Research the park, SOTA summit you intend activating from. Is access allowed? Can you get there without a 4WD? What is the best place to operate from? Best access, etc.
- Check National Parks websites re temporary park closures
- Check blogs of other activators as they often contain a wealth of information about the park or summit you intend to activate
GETTING THE WORD OUT ABOUT YOUR ACTIVATION.
- place an alert on parksnpeaks
- place an alert on the WWFF Agenda
- place an alert on SOTAWatch
- place an alert on the various SOTA Facebook pages or Groups.io sites
- on your way to the park or summit, put out a call on the local repeater to let people know you will soon be on air
- send a group SMS message to your fellow hams
- Ensure that the activation is not beyond your physical ability, e.g. how far do you have to walk/climb
- Tell a loved one/friend your intentions
- Enquire that you have suitable clothing
- Ensure that you have other required sundry equipment, e.g. sunscreen, first aid kit
- Do not head out on a day of extreme fire danger
- If possible don't operate/camp under large gum trees - danger of falling limbs.
CONSIDERATION OF OTHERS AND THE ENVIRONMENT.
- Ensure that your equipment is not going to be a hazard to others, e.g. tripping hazards
- Do not operate in an area which is going to encroach on the enjoyment of others
- Don't set up on protected vegetation.
- Don't leave any rubbish behind
- If you have gone through a closed gate, shut if behind you
DO YOU NEED PERMISSION?
- Some SOTA summits are on private property. Ensure that you have sought appropriate permission before entering private land
- If you have sought permission, give the land owner a call when you leave the property to say thankyou
- Some parks have restricted access. Ensure you are allowed to be in the park
HOW DO I FILL UP MY LOGBOOK?
- the secret is the antenna
- try different bands - be band agile
- be mode agile, e.g. SSB, CW, digital
- place your intentions on as many forums as possible
- consider the time of day/know when the bands are open
- solar figures/propagation conditions
- DX cluster/parksnpeaks
- consider setting up an SMS froup
- Try a group email
- Use the local repeater
ACTIVATOR OPERATING SKILLS.
- Don't give up after calling CQ three times and not getting a response. Battle on! Perseverance pays.
- Don't get flustered if you end up with a pileup.
- After you have set up, call for park activators, SOTA activators
- Then for QRP
- then for portable/mobile
- then for DX
- then for those that can hear you but with difficulty
- and finally for everyone (now the fun starts)
PROMOTE OUR HOBBY.
- whilst out in the field it is highly likely that you will be asked what you are doing. Take the opportunity of talking to people
- explain what you are doing, e.g. WWFF, SOTA
- promote the hobby of amateur radio
- carry promotion material with you
- ask onlookers if they would like to talk on air.
INTERACTION WITH PARK RANGERS.
- many park rangers have heard about WWFF, SOTA, etc. However many have not. Explain what you are doing and that your activity is a hobby
- explain the value of the WWFF program in promoting the park and nature
- do not park across gates. This will prevent access to the park by emergency vehicles, rangers.
COMBINE WITH OTHER PROGRAMS.
- Many SOTA summits are located within VKFF reference areas.
- The 45 National Parks which qualify for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) also qualify for WWFF/VKFF.
- The South Australian National Parks also qualify for WWFF/VKFF.
- A number of WWFF/VKFF parks and SOTA summits are located on islands - Islands On The Air (IOTA) program
- Try combing an activation with the International Lighthouse Lightship Weekend (ILLW), the John Moyle Memorial Field Day, the VHF/UHF Field Days.
COMBINE WITH OTHER INTERESTS.
- Combine your portable activities with other interests, e.g. 4WDing, caravanning, bushwalking, fishing, photography