ParksnPeaks – Site Update
Recent months had seen new programs for portable operation commence in VK & ZL. These new programs required updates to ParksnPeaks to support. A common awards page was developed to improve the time required to add support and to address some old code that was lacking. Also the menu system was revamped to enhance user experience in smaller devices.
Finally a search ability was added. This was due to several functions being developed to help identify sites for the API and the SMS spotting routines.
The search allow the user to find sites by an ID or name fragment. Also entering a 6 figure grid reference will return sites from all awards within 180Km.
There are several awards now support by PnP. Initially the site was established to highlight park activity from SOTA activations and has grown to cover 10 awards, has a API supporting portable apps ,SMS alerts and maintains a database of VK sites. These programs have common criteria which I will define for clarity,
- Portable Operation. Portable has many definitions for hams but given the size and abilities of current equipment , portable operation is essentially independent power and antenna. You may not operate where your vehicle is any part of your station, ie. it must not be used to support antennas, provide weather protection or even a wind break and must not provide power for your equipment. You must be independent of your vehicle, so that if you drove it away it would not affect your operation.
- Mobile Operation. Can exploit power and antenna from vehicle
- Sites: Each award has sites from which the activation is conducted from. These sites are defined typically with Lat / Long. Each site will have an activation zone where all the equipment you use must contained. This is normally within 25m of the peak (SOTA, HEMA) or within the perimeters of the park, hut or beach (WWFF, POTA, ZLOTA or BOTA) or up to a 1Km (SiOTA).
- Operating with the conditions of your licence (Bands, power)
- Valid Contacts: To be valid a contact between a chaser and activator typically involves the exchange of callsigns, signal reports and site ID. Contacts via any ‘relay’ including satellites, repeaters, the internet Echolink, etc, are typically not allowed. FT8 is also an option here. Check you setup to ensure declaring the site correctly.
- Minimum contacts: This ranges from 1 to 44. Some awards allow multiple visits to the site across unique days. So, if you don’t get enough the first time, come back and have another go.
there are differences and you need to review the rules to ensure a valid activation. So, a quick summary of the new offerings;
The SOTA programme is an amateur radio awards programme, not a contest. SOTA operates under General Rules published at http://sota.org.uk in conjunction with specific rules in the Association Reference Manual (ARM) for each Association, where regions, height bands for scoring, winter bonus details and summit lists are published.
- Activity – https://sotawatch.sota.org.uk/en/
- Database – http://www.sotadata.org.uk/
- Home – https://www.sota.org.uk/
- SOTA VK email list at https://groups.io/g/OZSOTA/
WWFF & VKFF
World Wide Flora & Fauna in amateur radio, abbreviated as WWFF (WWFF), is an international amateur radio program, the purpose of which is to:
‘draw attention to the importance of protecting nature, flora and fauna, and to encourage the development of radio skills, especially in portable operations’.
The VKFF program is a subset of WWFF encouraging amateur radio operators to operate portable from designated parks and/or protected nature areas in Australia. It is well supported and popular with activators and chasers alike.
- More information – https://www.wwffaustralia.com/
- WWFF Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1805720889702979
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=WWFF
The original National park award system. Covers 45 Victorian national parks. Portable or mobile operation. Single contact to qualify. Annual activation weekend in November
- More information – https://www.amateurradio.com.au/awards
- KRMNPA email list at email@example.com or visit .
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=KRMNPA
Developed by Paul VK5PAS. Covers the NP and Conservation parks in South Australia.
- More information – https://www.vk5parks.com/
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=SANPCPA
Parks on the Air (POTA)
POTA as an award that grew from an event in 2016 to celebrate the US National Park Service centennial. It is now an award that attracts international chasers. Most VK and ZL parks qualify for POTA. There is a lot of interest from US for VK and ZL sites so pick your frequencies and spot according.
- More information – https://parksontheair.com/
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=POTA
HuMPs Excluding Marilyns (HEMA)
HEMA is a program for activation of Marilyns – summits with a prominence of at least 100m but less than 150m. This fills a niche left by SOTA. The general rules are the same, activations must take place within the activation zone and be a portable operation. So the equipment and operator arrive at the activation zone by traditional means (walking, cycling, etc) and powered by a portable energy source (battery, solar panel etc). Both the activator and hunter submit logs to the HEMA database
The summit is considered to have been ‘activated’ with four successful QSOs where the QSOs are with different stations and operators. The use of multiple callsigns from the same operator is not supported
- For more information – http://hema.org.uk/awardsWebsite.jsp
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=HEMA
Beaches On The Air (BOTA)
BOTA is an award scheme for radio amateurs that promotes portable operation from beaches. It is different ot other awards as does not as a set site list. You can participate from any beach, costal or regional as long as there is sand and water. New sites are added as they get activated.
BOTA does not impose any restriction on how you get to the activation point or on the power source you can use for your station. This program is a great excuse to get out and operate from beach be it near the sea or inland by a river. Don’t forget to take shade.
- For more information – https://www.beachesontheair.com/
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=BOTA
Silos on the Air (SiOTA)
SiOTA is a program promoting the activation of iconic Australian infrastructure, Silos. Over 700 sites have been identified across Australia. To qualify a silo, you need 3 contacts, at least one of which must be on HF. You can operate portable or mobile. You must also be within 1km of the silo and not encroach on private land without permission. There are no awards, but a list of top activators and chasers will be shown. Like the parks program, only activators need to submit a log.
- Three Valid contacts with one HF
- The activation zone is within 1km of the silo.
- More information as to SiOTA – https://www.silosontheair.com/about.html
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=SiOTA
New Zealand on the Air (ZLOTA)
Matt ZL4NVW has brought together over 7350 sites across ZL to form ZLOTA
There are several different classes of sites across ZL;.
- Lakes. There are over 1154 lakes covered by the NZART Lakeside Award
- Huts. New Zealand has over 950 public backcountry huts
- Parks. There are 3849 sites with the majority of these also qualifying for ZLFF and POTA
- Islands: The lakes and inshore waters of NZ host 1511 named islands.
The rules are simple with an emphasis on promoting activating remote locations with portable, low-power equipment.
- Single contact from is all that is required to ‘bag’ a Park, Island or Hut
- 2 contacts within 500m of a lake to ‘bag’ the lake
- repeater operation permitted
- More information as to ZLOTA – https://ontheair.nz/
- PnP Status – https://parksnpeaks.org/showAward.php?award=ZLOTA