NPOTA and mobile flex6700

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  • Updated 3 years ago
Well just finished RV trip.  This was a combined Lewis and Clark Trail trip and NPOTA.  Left Pensacola May 8th.  Worked our way to Louisville, Ky and then West to the headwaters of the Missouri River, up to Glacier National Park, then down to Salt Lake City and then East


10564 miles and three oil changes on the RV

Logged LOTW QSO’s  10,749

Confirmed LOTW            5,955

Activated 122

As of today I am #7 out of 1,023 activators

The  XYL did a blog of the trip and I had a SPOT real time tracker going both can be linked from my QRZ page.

Mounted the Flex 6700 behind the driver seat and ran SmartSDR from a small Intel I5 NUC cube computer.  I used a 15 inch usb monitor mounted on the dash. Everything running on 12v.   Had the Maestro shipped to me in Kentucky but didn’t get the RadioSport cable until Salt Lake city.  I never did get it to work with router to the radio.

Antenna:  A hex beam on a 35ft Will-Burt pneumatic Mast or a 31 ft vertical wire held up by                            telescoping fiberglass pole with SG-237 auto tuner at the base.  Sometimes I would       put out a few radials but most of the time would just use the RV chassis as counter.

 A few thoughts on radio operation.

1.  It is a whole lot different being on the receiving end of a Pileup.

     It is very fun but a lot of pressure to log the contacts correctly.

     I tried to never QRT from a site if people were still calling.

     I tried to work at least 100 stations from each park. An average activation was from one to

     two hours. The most sentimental, for me, was AA18, Oklahoma City

    a.  Two important things: consistency  of exchange which I didn’t do all that well.

    b.  ID the park and your call very very often.  I did ok on that.

I would work a good many of the strong stations then pick out a weak s2 or 3 station and then call for any other stations in what ever area that happened to be. I don't like stations that only work by the numbers.  I would mix it up.  My objective was to work every station that needed the park.

Being chased, it is not necessarily  good to have a lot of power.  Your not trying to bust the pile. Your usually not trying to maintain a freq as in a contest with a crowded band.  If you run 1000 watts and have a high noise level, then 300 people are going to hear you that you have no chance of hearing but together they are going to be enough to cause qrm.  I would call cq at 100 watts and once I had things going I would drop to around 50.  Since I was running on straight battery I would have plenty without running the generator.  If the flex shuts down do to low voltage it takes an eternity to re boot  and everyone thinks your gone.

2. You will never find all the noise sources in an RV. LED lighting and solar panels can be a big problem. I would get in what you would think would be a remote, noise free location in a park parking lot and have a huge noise level.  Look up and see they are eco minded and have solar charging batteries for the lights.  Most of the time you could not get far enough away to still be “legally” on the park property.  But it was heaven when I was on a mountain top no power lines, nothing.  On 20m I could run 10 to 20 db preamp and hear stations that were only thinking about giving me a call.  I never wanted to leave and was so sad when I had worked everyone.


I used N1MM with a DXpedition log for each activation.  That was probably not the best option but it worked.  I now have 122 logs that I would like to merge somehow and sort by call sign and number of times worked.  I had some stations with contacts from well over 20 parks. If I had internet via tether to my phone I would upload after the last contact from a park.  I would monitor the freq for a late caller while getting the log saved and loaded.


My biggest lid mistake was getting my park designation wrong twice. The first time was the xly’s mistake.  She was writing my notes for the activation and wrote the thing down wrong  The second was all me. I had written “PV whatever it was” but then when I started xmitting I said no this is a National Park and should be NP whatever”  fortunately I didn’t make but 2 or three contacts before someone ask are you in Alaska?   No No No Montana...  Car 54 where are you....From then on I checked and double checked and checked again my location. 

 5.  It is unbelievable  how many people have bad to very bad audio.

 6.  Unlike some DX pileups I’ve heard, stations for the most part were courteous.

  7. Pet peeve. People  tuning up on freq. Sometimes  it was intentional qrm

But most of the time it was not

Minor .peeve. You got a good run going a some nice person wants to rag chew, with their station set up etc.  You acknowledge how good it is working and thank you for the contact.  Then he comes back with the current wx report and then the extended forecast.  How do you be nice and get back to the people patiently waiting?  This is not to say that on occasion I would not break the flow  with “what part of WVA you in  or hi Jay haven’t heard you in awhile glad to have you back" but that was usually when I needed a sip of lemonade to clear my throat.

  8. There are  a heck of a lot of nets on the air. Too many for me to keep track of the freq and times. I ended up on “their” frequency several times.  The worst was the Collins net. I had been on over an hour when they decided to all tune and then call cq while I still had a consistent pile up going.  Another time I had a hug pile going and one of the net people called made the contact and then ask if I would consider QSY.  That was not a problem and worked well. I found another freq and the net person spotted me on the new freq. 

It was great fun and there are still 5 months to go.


Photo of roger na4rr

roger na4rr

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Posted 3 years ago

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Photo of EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

EA4GLI - 8P9EH - Salvador

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Great post! Thanks for sharing! Any pictures?? 
Photo of K9APW - Dick - Verona, WI

K9APW - Dick - Verona, WI

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Roger??? What is your CALL sign???  Nice story and great help for us chasing NPOTA units.  I am sure I probably worked you but you have not ID'ed yourself in the posting???  QRZ?? Your call??
Photo of roger na4rr

roger na4rr

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Sorry  Thought it auto put in my signature

Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Roger,
Sounds like a great trip....we just got back from a road trip to Yellowstone a few weeks ago.....had my K2 in the car for some casual Q's while Lida drove.   Would have been something if we crossed paths.   Hope to see you in Orlando at HamCation in 2017.  

By the way my NA4RR Hexbeam is working great.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
6700 - HW.................. V
SSDR / DAX / CAT...... V
Photo of roger na4rr

roger na4rr

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Here you go Dick

NA4RR K9APW 2016-06-01 23:39:03 40M SSB 7.20900 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Details NA4RR K9APW 2016-07-13 21:34:59 20M SSB 14.34600 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Details NA4RR K9APW 2016-07-15 01:25:46 20M SSB 14.27600 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Details NA4RR K9APW 2016-07-30 15:55:26 40M SSB 7.24500 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Most recent QSO record received 2016-08-03 19:10:05Z