Dave Kjellquist, WB5NHL

For those considering participating in the ARRL NPOTA be sure to contact the NPS before attempting to operate. I contacted the Cowpens National Battlefield and received the following response from Margo Blewett of the NPS.  BTW, a special use permit requires a $10 non-refundable fee and cost go up from their depending your needs from the NPS.

"It is the actual broadcasting that will require the [special use] permit. Below is what I found on the site. Please understand that we would love to have you here broadcasting the park and we are especially excited to have you promote the Centennial of the National Park Service. Broadcasting on the air within the park would take place within areas of visitor usage, especially when you need access to electric. It may be easier to tuck a broadcaster away in a park like Yosemite than in a small battlefield park like Cowpens. Any such operations do require a [special use] permit. I am happy to help you if you need anything further. You may also reach me at 864-461-2828. Thanks, Margo

" Kutzko notes that depending on the size of a given operation, participants may need to secure a special-use permit. “This may take some time,” he said. “It’s possible the answer will be ‘no.’ Be mindful of the size and sensitivity of the NPS unit you want to activate, and be realistic about your plans.” NPOTA Activators will need to follow all NPS rules in whatever unit they activate.

In general, the more portable and compact your station is, and the more creative and adaptable your plans are, the greater your chances of success. While there is no formal partnership between NPS and ARRL for this event, the League has been in discussions with the NPS over the past year, and it is aware that increased Amateur Radio activity in their parks is likely during 2016. "

A member of our contest club contacted the NPS at the Congaree National Park and got the following reaction.

"I have checked with Congaree National Park here in Columbia and they have no idea that anything like this was even in the works.  I gave them an idea of what it was and they still didn't get it.  Finally,the Park Ranger got the idea, but he wouldn't commit to allowing us to operate.  I explained how we would operate, we'd not necessarily need power as we have a trailer with a generator, etc.  The first thing he said was no generator."

After all this, the ARRL Roanoke Director (a good friend) contacted ARRL HQ and received the following

"They said that these issues were not typical (at all) of the responses they have received to date.  Their feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.They added that there was an activators guide that handled situations as noted below, a document to give to the NPS and an FAQ that had a special section on generators.

 Special use permits are discussed on the ARRL website, as Margo found.  The ARRL has no control over those permits. There is no document that constitutes an agreement between ARRL and NPS to allow/guarantee amateur operations.

What all activators will need to do is to be diplomats.  For example, to educate the NPS staff, let them know who we are and what we do;  to put forward that ARRL has partnered with the NPS to add to the celebration of their centennial.  This is covered in the activators guide."

The bottomline is you are on your own. The ARRL has no agreement in writing regarding this "partnership" activity!

Dave,   WB5NHL    #143

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