I was wafting through Facebook, and I saw a post on the ARRL NPOTA page about a "busted" activation that only yielded 5 QSOs - a minimum of 10 is needed for a valid activation. Mind you, not 10 QSLs - 10 QSOs.
I looked at the pictures he posted and everything looked pretty good. I am thinking that it was just a case of lousy band conditions. He definitely deserved an "A" for effort. BUT, (there's ALWAYS a "but", isn't there?) his setup, while looking marvelous, appeared a bit too elaborate for my taste.
And that, I think, is where a lot of NPOTA activators and I part company. I've seen many photos of setups that approach Field Day scenarios. Like ....... did anyone notice the cover of the latest DX Engineering catalog? There was an NPOTA setup there that looked better than our SPARC Field Day.
It seems many NPOTA activators are there for marathon sessions - hours upon hours, handing out hundreds of QSOs. That's good for all the chasers and I applaud them; but I like the simpler approach.
The KISS principle, or "Keep It Simple, Stupid" has worked well for many portable ops, such as SOTA, the QRP Sprints, etc. Break out the rig, hook up a battery, throw a wire up in a tree (or to a portable mast where using trees is a no-no), or perhaps a doublet, or a vertical or magloop and go to town. The emphasis being on the word "portable".
It seems to have worked very well for the SOTAteers (Steve WG0AT comes to mind) all these years, and for NPOTA activators such as Joe N2CX and Eric WD8RIF, Ed WA3WSJ and "yours truly" among others. And if dropping those names wasn't enough, if you follow the adventures of the "Premier" portable op, Jim W1PID, then you know the words I speak are true.
Keep It Simple = less to forget, less to break, less to not work, less to lose, more time to actually operate (who wants to spend all their valuable time setting up and tearing down an elaborate setup?) and hopefully, more success!
Simple doesn't handicap the superb ops - for a reminder, here's a re-post of KX9X's Pigeon Key video:
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!