Island Boy in the Dessert! POTA Coconino National Forest, Sedona, AZ

This is  KH6ML, and I’m excited to share a detailed recount of my recent amateur radio activation from the picturesque Coconino National Forest in Sedona, Arizona. This trip wasn’t just another entry in my logbook; it was a testament to the spirit of adventure that amateur radio stokes in all of us, coupled with a dash of technical challenge and a whole lot of natural beauty.

Preparation and Setup: Armed with my QRP FX-4C transceiver and a Chameleon antenna, I ventured into the Coconino National Forest, determined to make the most of the conditions. My setup was lightweight yet powerful—ideal for the POTA (Parks on the Air) activation I had planned. Operating on a modest 20 watts, I hoped to reach as far as possible from this unique and remote location.

It’s always thrilling to send out that first CQ and await the replies from the ether.

Contacts and Highlights: The response was better than I had hoped. I managed to establish QSOs with fellow hams in eleven different U.S. states—ranging from nearby Arizona to as far as Massachusetts and Florida. Each contact added a layer of joy and achievement to the day. But the surprises didn’t stop at U.S. borders; I also reached operators in France and Spain, adding an international flavor to the adventure. These contacts were particularly special, reminding me of the incredible reach and connecting power of amateur radio.

Challenges and Learnings: Every outdoor activation brings its set of challenges. From ensuring all equipment is functioning correctly to managing power resources—each aspect needs careful attention. Moreover, verifying the logging details against POTA guidelines to ensure every contact was valid added another layer of diligence to the task.

Reflections: Looking back, the day spent in Coconino was more than just successful—it was a profound reminder of why I pursue this hobby. It’s not just about logging contacts; it’s about embracing the unknown, solving problems on the fly, and connecting with a community of like-minded individuals who share this passion. The serene and majestic backdrop of the Coconino National Forest only magnified the experience, grounding it in the calm and beauty of nature.

Stay tuned for more tales from the field as I continue to explore, connect, and activate from new and exciting locations. Until next time, 73!