2023 Georgia Fall POTA Sprint
Eddie's Jeep is flying the Parks on the Air flag atop his 31 foot Jackite pole.
On October 22, 2022, the Colquitt County Ham Radio Society started an event that started out as a “Club versus Club” Parks on the Air competition between clubs in South Georgia. Our inaugural event started out with four clubs participating, and we had so much fun that we wanted to do it again.
While Robbie, W1RCP, was assisting the Georgia State Parks on the Air contest event (http://gaparks.org) to create an online scoring program for 2024, it was mentioned that a smaller event like a sprint would be good to host. It was suggested by another planning member that the task of holding another event might be counterproductive to the main contest event, but Robbie suggested that the Colquitt County Ham Radio Society (CCHRS) already had a basic framework for such an event, and the club would be happy to make some modifications that would keep it separate from their event. Gailey, WV2P, suggested that individual operators should be allowed to participate where operators in less “ham dense” areas could also participate. This is where the “Club versus Club” event morphed into the “Georgia Fall POTA Sprint.”
With a basic scoring system and an automatic log submission webpage and instant score calculator in place, CCHRS launched a sign up form at http://wd4kow.org and posted the “Somewhat Simple Rules” for 2023. For 2023, CCHRS contacted many clubs for the event with little success for participation, but the individual category did quite well. One after-action report is that we need to do a better job of outreach for the 2024 event to be held on Saturday, October 26, 2024 from 10:00am to 2:00pm Eastern Time.
While many other clubs and individuals will do their own articles outlining their event, this article will focus on the CCHRS event participation held at Reed Bingham State Park (Parks on the Air entity K-2195).
CCHRS made plans to do a POTA activation at Reed Bingham State Park for the second year in a row, and we were able to secure picnic shelter #2 which is one of the locations in the park on the Colquitt County side. Last year we waited too long and we had to operate from the Cook County side of the park.
From left to right: Laura Bryan (UGA engineering student), David Dos Santos (KSU engineering student), and Robbie Pitts (W1RCP).
We had a great turnout in 2023 with licensed and non-licensed attendees. The CCHRS club members in attendance were Mickey, Technician licensed as KQ4HXQ, Eddie, General Licensed as KO4NLL, and Robbie, Extra licensed as W1RCP and the trustee of CCHRS’ club call sign WD4KOW. We had two licensed guests Bobby, Extra licensed as W4KN, and Paul, Extra licensed as KE4RJI, who are members of the Coastal Plains Amateur Radio Club in Tifton, Georgia. Mickey brought a friend, but Jeff did not want to participate on the radio. Robbie invited two former Colquitt County High School students to participate;
David Dos Santos and Laura Bryan drove down from college to play radio with “Papa Pitts” (W1RCP). They knew Mister Pitts was a ham and knew his call sign by heart, but they never had an opportunity to operate with him while they were in his class, and this was their chance!
The contest started off at 10:00am with Eddie, KO4NLL, calling CQ on his Yaesu FT-891 radio to a 40m End Fed Half Wave antenna on 40 meters. He made 16 contacts in about 12 minutes before relinquishing the radio to Robbie so he could coach Laura and David on how to make contacts on ham radio. Within five minutes Robbie, David, and Laura were making SSB contacts for the next 35 minutes and added 31 more contacts to the club’s contest log. Mickey was a newly minted Technician, so Eddie coached him in how to make contacts by starting him on 40 meters which had slowed down considerably as the clock neared 11:00am.
At 11:00am, Robbie started operating CW at 10 watts from his Xiegu X6100 to a random wire antenna on 40m, netting only 5 QSOS in thirty minutes, but we all felt like giving the near-in radio operators a chance to chase us before moving to 20 meters. Robbie continued to work CW on 20 meters for the next 30 minutes, and by 12:00pm he had increased the total QSO count by 24 QSOs.
At 12:00am it was Paul’s turn on the radio. Eddie set him up on the Yaesu rig to make his very first Parks on the Air activation! Paul called CQ on 20 meters and was able to make 15 contacts for the club in about 10 minutes, and because Paul was the control operator for WD4KOW, he also received credit for his part in the activation.
Eddie helps log for Paul at the Georgia Fall POTA Sprint.
Now it was our chance to get Mickey his first Parks on the Air activation while also making his first simplex two-way QSOs. Each operator took a hand held VHF/UHF rig and spread out and let Mickey call CQ on the simplex bands while the operators in attendance answered him back one by one. Robbie helped log Mickey’s contacts while he operated his radio. Then Robbie walked Mickey through a short class on how to operate an Icom IC-718 on 10 meters. Robbie promised to let him borrow the radio once he was given a run down on how to use it.
Robbie and Eddie finished out the 2023 Georgia Fall POTA Sprint by taking turns on SSB and CW making the final contacts of the contest. In the end, WD4KOW netted 130 total QSOs. There were 41 CW QSOs, 77 SSB QSOs, and 12 FM QSOs. In the end, we weren’t too worried about our final score in the sprint because our main focus was to show others how to operate a radio. We had a great time helping our newer ham learn how to operate, and Robbie especially enjoyed catching up with his former high school students.
These are the final scores for the 2023 Georgia Fall POTA Sprint. We effectively tripled the number of entries in the contest, but the amount of participation was even greater with the log submission of K4JJ, North Fulton Amateur Radio League. They operated from 12 different parks with five operators! We look forward to a larger event in 2024, and we are also preparing for the Georgia State Parks on the Air event on the first weekend in April, 2024!