POTA Postcard Field Report: Finally Snagging a Kilo on the Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378)

It’s funny: I’ve met POTA activators who’ve been hitting the field for only a couple of months and have already obtained a “Kilo” award for confirming one thousand QSOs from the same Parks on the Air entity. Most of my active POTA friends have multiple Kilos.

Me? Until December 29, 2023, I had never obtained a Kilo at any POTA site!

Something you should know about me: I don’t check my POTA stats or awards frequently…as in maybe once or twice a year–?  I’m the same with my YouTube stats and even website stats. I’m just not a terribly numbers-motivated person.

That said, I fully recognize that numbers give us a snapshot of how and where we activate. Only recently, I checked my awards page to see if I’d ever snagged a Kilo and was surprised to find that no, I had not.

I say “I was surprised” but truth is, my activations tend to be really short. I think my average number of logged hunters per activation is probably 20-25.

I checked the POTA website and I had 48 activations in the books for the Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378). My total number of contacts confirmed was 994.

Yeah, I was six contacts short of a Kilo. What!?! This needed to be remedied!

So technically…

The KX2 was my NPOTA companion (pictured here at the Carl Sandburg home during NPOTA).

In truth, I probably could have achieved a Kilo much earlier because POTA allows you to submit logs from 2016’s ARRL National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) event. During NPOTA, I activated the Blue Ridge Parkway (guessing here) about 50 times; it was my most accessible NPOTA park and I hit it several times a week. However, I have not submitted my NPOTA logs to POTA, so my POTA numbers do not reflect my NPOTA activities.

Postcard field report

I’m still catching up after a challenging first few weeks of 2024. In fact, since I made that post, so much more has happened. January 2024 has been a tough month.

I’m nearly a month behind on email, so if you’ve written to me with questions, you likely haven’t received a reply. I’ve simply needed a break during this time.

Speaking of busy, I have a pretty hectic day in store, but I’m eager to post one of my field reports (I enjoy this) so we’re going to do it “postcard” style. I’ll let my activation video and logs tell the story of this brilliant little activation on December 29, 2023.

Spoiler alert: I got my Kilo!


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Here’s what this five watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:


Activation Video

Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation.  As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.

Note that Patreon supporters can watch and even download this video 100% ad-free through Vimeo on my Patreon page:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Check it out!

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this activation!

I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video as much as I enjoyed creating them.

Also, thank you for your patience while I’ve been offline and spending time with my sweet family. 

Of course, I’d also like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support.

As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me! Have an amazing week ahead!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

30 thoughts on “POTA Postcard Field Report: Finally Snagging a Kilo on the Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378)”

  1. Congratulations on your Kilo Tom! Is quite the accomplishment using CW & QRP, especially considering your activations aren’t that long.

  2. I know the feeling, having just completed my own Kilo of K-1001. Sometimes I felt a little guilty constantly activating the same park, but it’s half the distance than the other parks in my area, and I work (mostly) full-time, so it’s my default option.

  3. Glad to be one of your contacts for your kilo achievement!! Still working on my first at K-2950, about half way there! Thank you for all the activation videos!!

  4. Thomas:

    Congratulations on your Kilo! I also generally do not chase awards or certificates; however, there is a geniune feeling of accomplishment when one earns a POTA Kilo. That award is a reminder of how much time one has spent in the field because, for those of us who work solely or mostly CW, we don’t rack up the contacts as quickly as other modes. So kudos to you, Thomas!

    Teri KO4WFP

    P.S. I love the idea and format of your postcard report.

    1. Thank you, Teri!
      I think this year, I’ll aim to acheive a couple more Kilos. I’m not too far off with a couple of the parks I frequent.
      No doubt, you’ll be Kilo-ing too this year!

  5. I would guess if you operated more SSB (especially if you used 100W), you’d have gotten there much more quickly. So many potential chasers won’t use CW. But what fun is that? 🙂

    1. Yes, I thought about adding that to the article. SSB contacts are much, much faster than the typical CW exchange in POTA. That said, I still gravitate to CW more often. 🙂

  6. Congrats Thomas – with all that has been going on it is a great thing to know you are setting and achieving goals such as this.

  7. watching the activation video, an outdoor operating tip is to put a just right sized rubberband around the bottom of the Rite-in-the-Rain spiral notepad to keep the pages from flipping in the wind. It’s easy to roll it slightly up or down to move it out of the way of the line you’re logging on.

    1. A very nice pro tip, Matt! Now if I can just remember to add a rubber band to my field kit when back at the QTH!

  8. Wonderful video. Congratulations on the kilo. I’m similar to you in that I rarely look at my stats or awards. I admire the operators that shoot for numbers because sometimes I feel like I might be missing out on the fun. Then I hunt/activate and remember that I’m having more fun than should be allowed and, simultaneously, getting some good radio therapy in.

  9. Hey Thomas,

    Congrats on the Kilo! Can’t wait to hear about your Kilos at other parks.

    One unfortunate caption issue on that video (see picture below). I’m pretty sure Blue Ridge Parkway doesn’t feature *that* kind of center. With all of the tech that Google / YouTube has, you think they could get captions right — especially since you are such a clear speaker.

    God bless you and 72 / 73 from Will, AF7EC


  10. Hi Thomas, another great activation and congratulation on your Kilo. I want to thank you for taking my call. This will have a very special meaning for me as well. I appreciate all your advice and motivation in helping me try to re-learn CW. This was my first contact with you and it was in CW. I will have to say I was very nervous. I found my pin on the map. When I look at your log book, I also see that I was your 6th call of the day and your 1000th at this park. I enjoy your videos and QRPer.com is amazing with all the great contributors and information that benefits all people activating QRP. All my POTA activation’s have been SSB so far, but I hope that sometime this year I will be able to do a CW activation. In the mean time I will continue to try and hunt some CW. I thank you and all the other activators that have patience and even slow down for the slower operators. Once again congrats on your Kilo and I look forward to following your activations.

    72 Tim, VE3VTH/VA3UZ

    1. Hi, Tim,

      Thank you so much for hunting me and being my 1000th contact at K-3378!
      You did a fine job with the contact and it was an honor to put you in the logs. Well done on your CW journey and I really hope you manage to do an activation in CW this year so I can return the favor!

      In the meantime, I hope you continue hunting me and building those skills in CW. 🙂

      All the best & TU OM!

      Cheers & 72,

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