NPOTA was such a wild success, I have said and will continue to say that when the bicentennial history papers are written for the ARRL so many years into the future, NPOTA will continue to stand out as one of the all time crown jewels of ARRL operating events. Over 20,000 NPOTA activations were completed and over 1,000,000 QSOs were logged on LotW. I think it will be a very long time before we ever see its likes again.
So much fun was had, so many friendships were made, so many fledgling operators became grizzled veterans. So much good stuff happened that year. Even a book on portable operating by Stuart Thomas KB1HQS, came out as a result of NPOTA.
The QSO was made and I was happy as a clam. However, the day got better when Dave showed up at the park in person a little while later and we got the chance to reminisce about our NPOTA experiences.. Even "better-er", we got the chance to put in some PR or Amateur Radio by explaining to some curious bystanders what NPOTA and our hobby were all about. In return, they shared their "glug" with us, which is a Norwegian concoction of warm red wine, raisins and almonds, It seems that small group of friends also gather at the park every New Year's Eve to share their own tradition; and they were kind enough to include us. So cool!
After Morristown, I headed back home to the Frazee House on the Washington-Rochambeau Trail which is not far from my house. 40 Meter CW was quite good, but pickings on 20 Meter CW were disappointing. Not wanting my end to NPOTA to come so early, I decided to switch from CW to SSB. To my amazement, I was occupied with a pileup on 20 Meters that lasted well over an hour! I was so glad that I had brought the microphone along, as that is something that I don't normally do. It proved to be a providential move for me, and an eye-opener, too.
It was a day of personal Amateur Radio accomplishment and a day of total fun. I met up with KD2FSI, made a slew of contacts at multiple NPOTA sites, and then finished the day in conversation with Bob W3BBO. It just doesn't get any better than that, and it sure seems that days like that don't come around often enough. The memories are cherished long after the event concludes.
I missed the days of "The Golden Days of Amateur Radio" from the 40s, 50, and 60s - but I was fortunate enough to live through and participate and be part of National Parks on the Air. For that, I am very, very grateful!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!