The National Parks on the Air event has been one of the most popular operating activities in the history of amateur radio in these United States.
The only other event to even come close would have to be the Centennial QSO Party and, guess what, both events were birthed in the minds that congregate in Newington, Connecticut.
The numbers are simply staggering.
Over 500,000 contacts, 9000 park activations, with 488 NPOTA units activated to date. Now more than halfway thru the year-long event, the conversation has already turned to sadness that it will eventually end, and questions about what comes next.
That’s an incredibly good thing for our hobby. I’ve been licensed since 1977 and I’ve never seen such enthusiasm and goodwill surrounding events in our fraternity. Amateur radio evangelists have been on point with local press and the number of positive stories about ham radio in popular media have soared.
What comes next is a good question. Because something amazing has got to follow NPOTA.
The ARRL is in the unenviable position of having set the bar so high with this program and the Centennial QSO Party that there will be pressure to equal them. That may not be fair or realistic, but our friends at HQ had best be working on it.
I’m reasonably certain that if you have an amazing idea for the next big thing, someone in Newington would love to hear about it. You should consider that making use of LoTW and leaderboards have been at the center of the two events.
And in the case of NPOTA, we got to play our radio games in full view of the public.
If you’ve come up with something that fits into that strategy, I hope you won’t keep it to yourself — share it with someone at the ARRL and let’s keep the ball rolling forward into the future.