POTA on 30M?

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K1GC
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:13 pm

POTA on 30M?

Post by K1GC »

Where do people stand on POTA using 30M or other WARC bands that have the rule "Contest activity shall not take place on the 10, 18, and 24 MHz bands?" I have hunted park activators on 30M and always feel a little awkward, knowing some say it is fine and others are dead against. Today I briefly activated on 30M for a few contacts, but then I got to wondering if I was sullying my call sign in the process (half joking) and changed bands.

Parks On The Air is not a contest compared to other clear examples, but it has some overlaps in terms of potential traffic and band overload, so it has never been clear to me if these bands are truly kosher for POTA/SOTA activity. Obviously 30M is used for POTA and SOTA, but I just wonder what portion of the community thinks that is a bad idea or disrespectful of the intent of the rule? I have never been able to find any clear opinion from a larger HAM radio governing body like IARU. I don't think the POTA guide mentions anything either and I thought perhaps others may have more insight into this question.
Brian - K3ES
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 12:55 pm
Location: NW Pennsylvania

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by Brian - K3ES »

I use WARC bands regularly when doing POTA activations. 30m is a solid go-to band for me, especially when there are contests on 20m and 40m. It also covers distances between the ranges where contacts are being made on 20m and 40m. POTA is not a contest, and I have always found plenty of space on 30m and 17m, but then I'm primarily doing CW.
M0RGM
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:28 pm

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by M0RGM »

POTA is not a contest and therefore I would have no issue using the band as either an activator or hunter.

Just my thoughts...

Richard M0RGM
SkipRD
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri May 27, 2022 12:58 pm

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by SkipRD »

Everyone keeps saying "POTA is not a contest." I know that's what POTA says, and it may be true. But POTA certainly has some contest-like elements. (We do have a leader board to show who's beating who in the activations department, and we do give out awards for performance, etc.) Has anyone come up with a reasoned basis for why "POTA is not a contest," other than that's just what we say? Not criticizing, just asking ...

73 Skip K4EAK
K1GC
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:13 pm

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by K1GC »

Thanks for the thoughts on this so far. Skip, your point/question is one I have seen elsewhere and why I was trying to understand this better. While POTA is not a contest in the traditional sense, it has similar elements and was not the intent of the WARC rule to prevent overloading relatively small bands with this kind of traffic?

On the other hand, Logbook of the World and QRZ have their own awards that people try to achieve and they do so using these bands. I think the difference is that with POTA and SOTA we are often spotting ourselves and driving considerable traffic via the systems around each program. The awards for LoTW and QRZ are recognition of cumulative efforts and there is not a program mechanism driving the contacts.

I would like to be able to use 30M for POTA/SOTA, but I would also like a clear understanding for why it is not disrespecting the rule. I can see the arguments from both sides, and neither is stronger for me at this point.

73, Douglas K1GC
N8TGQ
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:06 am

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by N8TGQ »

The way I see it:

1) Do you have to register to participate? Its a contest

2) Are there rules you have to follow? Its a contest

3) Do you have to submit logs in AIDF format? Its a contest

4) Do you get awards based on your "score"? Its a contest


The only difference I see is POTA never ends!
KN3A
Posts: 23
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 11:42 am

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by KN3A »

POTA is not a contest. SKCC is also not a contest (however they have designated contests with submitted scores). There are awards you can achieve with both groups. SKCC and POTA are welcome on the WARC bands, and also 60 meters.

Scott
KN3A
N8TGQ
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2022 5:06 am

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by N8TGQ »

I gave my reasons why I think they are contests.

What are the reasons you don't think they're contests?

Is it just because you say they're not contests?

Is there a notice from the FCC that they're exempt?
K1GC
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:13 pm

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by K1GC »

I have an email to IARU asking if they have weighed in on this topic. I will be sure to share if I get a response.

One thing I noted in searching the IARU site, was how they define a contest:
Contesting consists of making the maximum number of contacts with other radio amateurs in a defined time.

That definition on its own would be support that POTA/SOTA are not contests, but I suspect the complete answer may be more nuanced.

I also had not found this until today, but POTA has this position in their activator guide (not sure how I missed it).

POTA is not a contest—you may wish to avoid major contests and utilize the WARC bands, other modes for HF, or use VHF/UHF, or satellites.
N2EC
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2022 2:34 pm

Re: POTA on 30M?

Post by N2EC »

I think POTA is different than a contest in that it is run more like a series of special event stations. Since activators are required (there are no hunter-to-hunter contacts), and are inherently limited in number (you actually need to be in a park), the number of operating frequencies being used at any given time is quite small.

In a traditional contest all participants need to either operate or hunt so lots of bandwidth is used for the operators (probably about half and half), but in the case of POTA there is a very large asymmetry with only a handful of activators to a huge pool of hunters. I rarely see more than 60 stations on at the same time in the POTA spots internationally, and I don't think I've ever seen more than 5 on a given WARC band at a time. Sure, there are a lot of contacts being made, but they aren't taking up a lot of bandwidth.

Contrast that with a big contest where it can be virtually impossible to find a place to operate on 40 and 20. In fact, during those times, you'll see a lot of POTA ops take refuge in the WARC bands on POTA (I know I have), but even then it is usually less than 5 at a time.

If anything, I see it as a net benefit to the hobby. If we have bands that nobody is using, they're likely to be reallocated. Plus, as mentioned, they do a great job of filling in gaps in coverage distances. To be honest, trying out the WARC bands on POTA is what introduced me their characteristics and as a result I operate on them a lot more now (both at the shack and in the parks). That said, the people are on the "money bands" of 40/20, so that's where you'll see most of the activators. That's unlikely to change.

As long as the WARC bands aren't being saturated, I don't see POTA usage as any different than calling a non-contest CQ. Maybe if POTA activations grow by an order of magnitude or more it will have to be revisited, but right now so few people activate on the WARC bands that it isn't even close to a problem.
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