Rules

Click here to download a printable PDF of the rules

Purpose

To promote public awareness of ham radio and Florida’s state parks system; to contribute to the recognition and appreciation of Florida’s diverse ecology; to encourage camaraderie and sportsmanship among Florida’s Amateur Radio Operators; and to provide a venue for Florida amateurs to get out and enjoy operating in the great outdoors.

Objective

  • For competing stations to operate from as many of Florida’s 171 state parks, trails, and historic sites as possible, with an emphasis on park-to-park contacts.
  • Out-of-state stations may work only Florida stations located in an Florida State Park.
  • In-state stations not located within a Florida State Park may only contact stations that are operating from inside a Florida State Park.

Contest Period

First Saturday in April – 1400 UTC to 2200 UTC. Eight hours. Most Florida parks open at 8:00 AM local time, and close at sundown. The operating time period of 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM (local) should allow time to enter the park, set up a station, operate, and tear down in time to leave before park closing. Please courteously observe all posted park rules and State Park staff instructions. It is the responsibility of the activating amateur to ensure that the park you want to activate will be open. A list of park locations and contact information can be found at https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails

Modes and Bands

  • Modes of Operation: SSB Only, CW Only, Mixed SSB and CW.
  • Amateur Radio Bands: 80, 40, 20, 15 and 10 meters.
  • Please honor all band plans.
  • Stations may be worked once per band/mode, depending on entry class. In the case of Florida State Park stations, if an operator moves to a different park during the contest period, additional contacts made with that station on the same band will count for an additional point/multiplier.

Suggested Frequencies

These are suggestions, not requirements. To maximize participation, amateurs are encouraged to operate within the General license portion of the amateur bands.  Operators should use good amateur radio practices and be considerate of others – do not cause interference.

Band (Meters) Phone (MHz) CW (MHz)
80 3.825 3.550
40 7.200 7.050
20 14.250 14.050
15 21.300 21.050
10 28.450 28.050

Entry Categories

  • Operator Classes
      1. Single operator – single transmitter
        1. One person performs all operating and logging functions during entire duration of event
        2. Only one transmitted signal is permitted on the air at any time.
        3. One call sign used.
      2. Multi operator – single transmitter
        1. Two or more persons perform operating and/or logging functions
        2. Single transmitter.
        3. One call sign used.
      3. Multi operator – multi transmitter
        1. Two or more persons perform operating and/or logging functions
        2. Two or more transmitters.
        3. Multiple transmitted signals are permitted on the air simultaneously.
        4. One call sign used.
  • Power Classes
      1. QRP (5w or less)
      2. Low Power (>5w to 100w)
      3. High Power (>100w)
  • Modes
      1. CW
      2. SSB
      3. Mixed CW and SSB
  • Location Classes
    1. Station located within Florida State Park(s)
    2. Station located within Florida, not in State Park
    3. Station located outside of Florida

Scoring

  • QSO POINTS – Each complete non-duplicate contact is worth one point.
    • Additional points will be awarded for the various Lakeland Amateur Radio Club (K4LKL) stations that will be activating parks in central FL. For these QSOs, a multiplier will be awarded both for the State Park entity, as well as a 10 point bonus for the K4LKL contact. The locations for these stations will be announced on the website before the contest date.
  • MULTIPLIERS
    • Multipliers are the 171 Florida State Parks, trails, and Historic Sites.
    • Multipliers are awarded for stations worked on each band/mode.
    • Example: If you work KK4FEM in park CCR on 15m CW, 15m SSB, and 20m SSB, you will be awarded three (3) multipliers, one for each contact on each separate band and mode.
  • FINAL SCORE – Multiply QSO points by the total number of multipliers.

New Florida State Park or Deleted Florida State Park

The Florida Division of Recreation and Parks (FDRP) may add or delete Florida State Parks at anytime during the year. For the purposes of this contest, use the FLSPOTA State Park Identifier List at http://flspota.org/parklist as the official Florida State Park List. If a Florida State Park is deleted by FDRP, delete it from the FLSPOTA Identifier List. This has to be done since access to the property may not be possible. If a Florida State Park is added by FDRP, DO NOT add it to the FLSPOTA Identifier list. The new Florida State Park will not be recognized as part of the FLSPOTA contest until the following year. This will ensure long term planning is not disrupted for contestants.

Exchange

  • Stations operating from within a Florida State Park send their call sign and their Florida State Park Identifier. Example: “KK4FEM, ADA”
  • Florida stations NOT operating from a Florida State Park send their call sign and “Florida”. Example: “KK4FEM, Florida”
  • Non Florida W/VE stations send their call sign and State or Province. Example: “KD4BF, Georgia” or “VE3BF, Ontario”
  • DX stations outside of W/VE (including KH6/KL7) send call sign and “DX”. Example: “KL7BF, “DX”

Station Location

For stations operating from within a Florida State Park, all components of the contestant’s Amateur Radio station must be physically present on the property of the claimed Florida State Park. Activations from parking lots, visitor’s centers and other publicly accessible property within the bounds of the claimed State Park entity are acceptable. While it is unlikely that the FLSPOTA Committee will request such documentation, we do reserve the right to verify that a particular operation occurred at the claimed location during the event. Participating amateurs activating State Park(s) are encouraged to secure documentation in one or more of the following forms

  1. A photograph of the contestant(s) in front of the main sign or distinguishing landmark within the park.
  2. Image of GPS latitude/longitude coordinates acquired at the station operating location.
  3. Dated receipt for entry fee or parking pass from the claimed State Park

There is an entrance fee to access most of the Florida State Parks (only $4 in most cases). This fee is the responsibility of the activating amateur.

Special Rule for San Pedro Underwater Preserve

Due to the sensitive nature of the San Pedro Underwater Preserve, the “park boundary” for the purposes of this contest are defined as a circle with a radius of 0.75 (3/4) miles, centered at 24°51.802’N, 80°40.795’W (the site of the wreck). You must be within this circle for your activation to count. Any activators seeking to operate from within this State Park site must abide by ALL applicable boating, mooring, and Florida State Park Service rules. Stay safe, do not interfere with the divers and other boaters around the wreck.

Miscellaneous

  • Call signs and exchange information must be received, confirmed and logged by both stations for a complete contest QSO.
  • No cross-mode contacts and no credit for contacts made through repeaters or satellites.
  • No station may claim simultaneous operation of the same callsign in more than one Florida State Park, State, Province or Country at the same time.
  • No participant shall make a QSO utilizing more than one call sign.
  • Stations operating from within a Florida State Park must make a minimum of five contacts for the activation to count.
  • Multi-Operator entries must only use one call sign during the contest.
  • Contacts made with captive stations do not support the stated purpose of FLSPOTA and will not be counted. This includes contacts made with other passengers in a mobile, as well as so-called “California Train operations”, wherein a group of mobiles travel together for purposes of making contacts within the group. “Cheerleading”, where participants only work one station as they move from park to park,  is also against the spirit of the FLSPOTA event and contacts made using this method will be discounted if detected.
  • Soliciting for contacts is encouraged to promote participation in the event. You can ask a station to meet you on a different band in order to make an additional contact. Use of spotting networks is allowed, and will promote participation in the event. Self spotting on a cluster or spotting network is discouraged, however it is acceptable to ask another operator who is not in your group to spot you.
  • If you are multi-op, you can get assistance from other humans in your operation. We encourage the monitoring of packet or spotting systems during the contest so additional awareness of the contest can be made to encourage participation in the event.
  • Remote operations are not allowed for stations claiming to be operating from within a Florida State Park. For this contest the control operator, transmitter, and receiver must be in the same Location within the claimed State Park (See “Station Location” section above). This does not apply to Florida stations that are not in State Parks, or DX stations.
  • Cheating isn’t allowed. This includes operating more than 8 hours and trying to make it look like you operated only 8. It means running more power than you are supposed to in your category. Using other means such as QRZ.com to fill in those missing or questionable call signs is not allowed. This is a RADIO contest and you should put in your log what you heard during the contest – not what you found on the internet afterwards. If this type of behavior is detected, the event participant will be contacted and potentially disqualified from the event. Let’s keep this clean, fun, and show good ham radio sportsmanship.
  • Decisions of the Florida State Parks On The Air Contest Committee are final.

Reporting

  • Logs may be submitted electronically by either:
    1. Emailing your Cabrillo file named <CALLSIGN>.log to logs@flspota.org, with the subject <CALLSIGN>
    2. Mailing a CD with your Cabrillo logfile named <CALLSIGN>.log to KK4FEM. Must be postmarked no later than 14 days after the event.
  • The file format for electronic logs is Cabrillo (ver 2.x or 3.x).
  • Entrants who use paper logging, or whose logging software does not support the Cabrillo format may submit their logs by either:
  • Contestants MUST fill out both the logsheet and score summary sheet. If you operated from more than one Florida State Park Entity during the contest, then fill out a separate logsheet and score summary for each park you operated from.
  • You may submit scanned copies of both files to logs@flspota.org. Alternatively, you can mail paper copies to:
    Florida State Parks on the Air
    c/o LARC
    PO BOX 90853
    LAKELAND FL 33804-0853
  • Entries must be received (or postmarked) no later than 14 days after the end of the event.

Reasons Why Your Log May Be Considered a ‘Checklog”

  • Non UTC times used
  • Exchanges missing
  • Log submitted past the due date

If you have any questions, please contact the FLSPOTA team by e-mail: info@flspota.org

Awards

Certificates will be awarded to the top scorers in each of the following categories in SSB, CW, and Mixed:

  • High Power
    • Single op
    • Multi-single
    • Multi-Multi
  • Low Power
    • Single op
    • Multi-single
    • Multi-Multi
  • QRP
    • Single op
    • Multi-single
    • Multi-Multi

Additional prizes or certificates may be awarded. If you (or your organization) are interested in sponsoring these or additional awards, contact kk4fem@flspota.org. For the latest information or updates check the Florida State Parks On The Air website:  www.flspota.org or the FLSPOTA Yahoo group mailing list https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/flspota