Successful POTA
Illustrated Guide to Parks On The Air by WV1W
Second Edition - Updated for 2023

I have been licensed since 1975. For quite a while I was so bored with the hobby that I donated my home station to the Red Cross.

Then, the ham bug bit me again. This time, I stumbled upon Parks On The Air which dramatically renewed my interest and enjoyment of the hobby.

During the past few years I operated in parks over 600 times. I'm in the top 1% of 16,800 activators with 162 POTA awards including 33 "Kilos" and 120 "op-2-op" awards.

As a "hunter" I've worked over 3,865 parks, but the best part is all the new ham friends I've come to know through repeat contacts and over 57,000 POTA QSOs.

I made plenty of mistakes and found affordable solutions to activating successfully. Successful POTA is a collection of this knowledge, with a wealth of tips for newbies and projects for the more adventurous who enjoy making their own antennas.

This is the Second Edition updated for 2023 with twice the content as first published (more rigs and antennas) and new sections on antenna mounts, CW, digital modes, QRP, Late Shift activations, and my secret POTA Tricks for getting more contacts.

There is something in this book for everyone interested in POTA, and all levels from Tech to Extra. No need to take my word on it; just read the comments below!

(click cover to zoom)

• Getting Started
• Choosing a Rig
• Portable Power
• Antennas & Mounts
• Masts & Supports
• Coax & Connectors
• Tuners & Analyzers
• Packing Your Kit
• Activating & Spotting
• Logging & Uploading
• Frequencies for POTA
• CW & Digital POTA
• Late Shift Activations
• Secret POTA Tricks
• and more!

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activation checklist

Tested Techniques
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Success = Fun!

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Over 3,500 readers so far!


The book looks great! I did get to read it and you have covered all the bases in it.
Mike, K8MRD Radio Stuff
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Great information. Both of his books are very well done. I'm looking forward to the third. He has tens of thousands of POTA QSOs, so he knows what he's talking about. Highly recommended. Much more informative than the ARRL POTA book in my opinion.
Biff M on Amazon
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Pathway to POTA and SOTA success. A very practical and minimalistic guide to portable amateur operation in the field. The author shows a grasp of the subject in a small and concise reference book. I recommend book.
Marcus R on Amazon
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Excellent read. The perfect reference for POTA operators.
Earl H on Amazon
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Great POTA guide. Good information on POTA. Book contains valuable tips and tricks from an experienced ham. Easy read and would highly recommend for anyone wanting to try POTA.
Brian P on Amazon
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The book exceeds my expectations, it's great, easy to read and understand very clearly... thanks for leaving us your tricks and experiences to be able to continue in the hobby...
73 WP4O, Peter
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Don, I just wanted to say your book is a great read! I read it first thing this morning. All great content. I especially enjoyed the antenna section and your reviews of equipment. Thanks again!
73, Greg (KK7KLN)
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Must read if you are thinking about POTA! Great resource if you are thinking about getting your feet wet in the world of Parks On The Air. Well written with useful visuals.
Jeremy (KN6FWT) on Amazon
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Great Read. Very interesting and helpful! Well worth the money and great for getting started with POTA. Thanks Don for sharing your experiences.
DrDave on Amazon
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If you want to learn how to activate POTA sites or if you want to learn how to QSO with POTA activations. It is well written and filled with good information. My guess is that there are enough tips and suggestions in the book to save you five times the cover price of this book by your avoiding costly mistakes.
Kindle Customer on Amazon
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Great For Beginners with tips for POTA Veterans. Don Dickey has assembled a very informative book for POTA activators. For instance his advice to bring more than one antenna is a lesson I learned by hard knocks. You will not be disappointed with this POTA hand book.
George P. (AE9R) on Amazon
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This book is a very complete guide to the POTA program. Great aid to prepare and work the parks. Well worth the price. I have bought extra copies and given them to fellow operators.
Joan on Amazon
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Nice summary of Parks On The Air. If you are at all curious about POTA, then this is a good book to start with. Not only does it give you idea of what to take to the park, but it gives you a good idea of what to expect when you are on the air. It is well written. This is for all levels of Amateur Radio (Tech to Extra). Grab your rig, go to your favorite park, and start having fun. 73, Raymond K (KE0OAP) on Amazon
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Excellent guide for pota. Well written and comprehensive. Perfect for hams new to hf. Don gives a toolbox filled with skills.
Paul Z (KA9GOU) on Amazon
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Super super book. Thus is a very practical and informative book. Great insight an information. Kudos to the author.
Richard on Amazon
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Great book! Fast, easy, & fun read with lots of good info.
George, W1GKS
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I just finished reading your POTA book, enjoyed it very much and learned a few things. 

Glenn, K0KER
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Hi Don, I wanted to tell you that your book was great. I have been a ham for 10 years and I, like you, had POTA reinvigorate me.

The book was perfect for gear. I wish I had that book several hundred dollars ago. I, like you, use a FT-891. Great idea on the tree trimming poles. I went out and ordered 4.

Also the 2 software programs were good options. I’d like to figure out how to use a raspberry pi and a tablet, but that is POTA 3.0.

Again, a great read. I told Walt KB3SBC and he ordered a copy. It’s definitely the go-to guide for POTA. Thanks,
Bill, W3FRB
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Good read! I like the section with home brew antenna ideas 💡 and covering etiquette is excellent (need more of that on 75/80 meters LoLz 😆). Overall, two thumbs up 👍👍
73 de KI4LLA, Darrell
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This book is awesome! I have already finished! And will be reading it again!

You have a great writing style. You impart a lot of knowledge and its a very fun read. Although i have learned a lot from videos, this filled in lots of gaps. Especially about logging and spotting.

Your antenna info is spot on. I have been experimenting madly, and have come to similar conclusions.

Again, thank you!!! A fantastic book, that everyone interested in POTA should read.

Mark, WB9YOJ
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Don, The book downloaded beautifully on Kindle. We were very happy with it. My husband Tom K6KTH and I both found it interesting and helpful. He loved all of the antenna information! He's my techy and keeps me on the air.
Dede, K6DDZ
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Good morning, Don. Thanks for all the info. I did download your book and enjoyed it tremendously. Got some tips that I plan on incorporating within our POTA setup. Thanks again and we also look forward to working you via park to park. Enjoy the day and stay safe and healthy. 73
Graham, W3GAA
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Don ... Read your book last night, it was fantastic. Had me up for hours making a plan on how I can start activating on a budget ... 73
Mark, KC3JTF
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I have enjoyed your book! It is a top quality resource for those getting started in POTA, and thoroughly describes the considerations and decisions we, as activators, are faced with. I encourage you to market it further, especially to those new hams who learn best by reading! It will surely save some from the headache of a failed activation and increase the enjoyment others take from POTA!
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Don, I did download it and read it last night! It is very informative and answered all of the questions I had about getting into POTA. Thanks,
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It is a great read. Thanks for all the valuable information provided. I'll soon be getting a couple more. They make wonderful gifts. Take care and 73,
Nomar, NP4H
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Great primer on POTA!
That certainly answers a bunch of the questions I had!
A fine job!

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© 2024 D.K. Dickey