Parks and Amateur Radio

In 2016, the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) helped the National Park Service celebrate their 100th anniversary by encouraging hams from across the country to activate NPS units, promote the National Park Service and showcase Amateur Radio to the public. Thousands of hams participated in this year-long event by taking their portable radios with them to national parks for National Parks On The Air (NPOTA).

WB2FUV 2021 Field Day at Roosa Gap State Forest (NY) POTA K-5279

Another popular activity is ARRL Field Day on a weekend in June, when thousands of hams set up their stations in remote locations to practice emergency preparedness. These locations are often local, state or national parks. For more information, go to

Every year, amateur radio operators participate in public service activities, from coordinating a local marathon to providing vital communications in the wake of natural disasters when wireline, cell phones and other conventional means of communications fail.

Amateur radio operators who enjoy the challenge of operating their radio equipment outdoors as a recreational activity have formed a number of international organizations to foster this activity. These organizations include Parks On The Air (POTA), Islands On The Air (IOTA), Beaches On The Air (BOTA), Summits On The Air (SOTA) and World Wide Flora & Fauna (US) (WWFF-KFF) Each organization runs an awards program to recognize the outdoor activators and the chasers who hunt for them across the radio frequencies. Each organization has bylaws and protocols.

AT-ontheair is not sanctioned by any of these national organizations, although members of SOTA, POTA and WWFF-KFF are likely to participate in AT-ontheair.