NPOTA 100th Birthday CrewEarly in the morning of December 31, 2016, NPOTA regulars, KA0VNY, N0TRK, K0CTU & KE0BHP met at Nebraska Crossing and grabbed a quick breakfast at McDonalds. KB0FBI and K0KUP joined the caravan to Homestead National Monument for the final day of National Parks on the Air. The group arrived at the site right at 9:00 am bringing with them chili - provided by KA0VNY and cinnamon rolls from N0TRK and set up 3 stations: one on 40 meters, one on 17 meters and one on 20 meters.

The bands were not in the greatest shape, but the trio of stations managed a steady stream of contacts. Over the course of the day WE0BEP, K0NEB and NU0C joined the group and helped with the operation and logging.

At about 4:00pm, CST they began the final phase of the year long operation. While most of the equipment was packed into the various cars, K0CTU and N0TRK just didn't want to stop. They moved their operations into the car so that their host for the day, Ranger Doris, could close up the buildings at 5:00pm CST - also known as 23:00 UTC.  Only an hour left in the event.

Since the team had been given the secret to exiting the park even after the gates had been locked (and confirming with park staff weeks before that it was OK) K0CTU and N0TRK began operations on 20 meters from their car.

The stations that they worked were strong, but not numerous. So, with the setting of the sun, the pair changed from their trusty 20 meter MFJ Ham Stick to their reliable 40 meter MFJ Ham Stick. For their efforts the propagation gods granted them with an NPOTA pile up. They worked in the dark and cold of the evening, grabbing as many call signs as quickly as they could with a quick "you are 59 from Mike November 46, QRZ". But at 23:59 with the logging of NA4MM from Montgomery Alabama, it was over.

The total for the day on all bands was 575. Numbers are still being tabulated, but at this point we know K0USA managed at total of 25 site activations and has confirmation of working 164 unique National Parks units.

Over all, National Parks on the Air has generated 1,104,684 QSOs out of 21,057 activations around the country.   Nearly 1500 unique callsigns took part in the activations, and nearly 17,000 hams have uploaded logs to Logbook of the World. The final deadline for all logs, both the NPS Site Activators and the Chasers is January 31st. So we have to wait until February for the final results.

Now, the group has to work on getting those QSL cards out! But the rumor is that they will be back at Homestead as K0USA/NE150 and of course for the Darkness over the Prairie event during the total eclipse in August.