Wednesday, March 9, 2022

POTA'ing in Arizona, the potential for new sites and wine-speak

Our rental cabin here in Arizona is near the town of Sonoita - a one-horse town surrounded by mountains, vineyards and ranches as far as the eye can see.

On drives into the town, I pass a windmill and a mountain range to my east and for days, that little voice in my medulla oblongota would say "The sun rises in the east...might make a good picture for Instagrammification or, if I may be so presumptuous, some wall-art." For the garage.

I could ignore it no longer and, despite a morning temperature of 19F/-7C, I arose early, layered my handsome form with warm clothing and drove my optic-radio kit down there with a POTA activation planned once the photonic capture was completed.

Sunrise on the road to Sonoita

There are two types of POTA sites in the area: actual, bonafide sites and potential POTA sites. I've driven past many wildlife refuges and conservation areas that, in other states, would be official POTA sites. But here, many have not yet been added to the list.

Lake Patagonia State Park was my next destination and it was a beautiful place from which to play radio. It hasn't been highly activated and there were always multiple callers - more than I had time to answer, so I'm planning a return trip to that park.

There is a lot of BLM land here and another activation took place from there, Las Cienagas National Conservation Area. BLM stands for Bureau of Land Management - many square miles of land; all of it available for free "dispersed" camping for up to two weeks.

We saw RV's of all types scattered amongst the grasslands. Many of the RVers were full-timers, staying in one spot for two weeks, moving 50 miles, staying in another spot for two weeks. Free living, to a certain extent.

One camper came over to chat while I was activating. "Hey man, are you birding?"

"No, man - I'm hamming."

They are fun to talk to. Most are couples, some are families with children and only a few are individuals, both male and female. They spend each and every night under star-filled skies with yelping coyotes providing the soundtrack.

And maybe, for fun, they read wine descriptions from the local vineyards:

In the glass, this La Montana delivers all the juicy blue- and black-fruited scents  rubbing elbows with a well-behaved woodsy spice. Deceptive weightlessness in the mouth almost conceals a friendly tannic structure - a seemingly skilled vinuous conversationalist, actively engaging, without inducing palate fatigue, yet ready to tangle with an onslaught from the dinner table. Roasted carrot cacophony, braised lamb barrage, a porchetta pummeling. La Montana is ready. Are you?

How could I not buy a bottle of such melodic elixir? (I can wine-speak too).

POTA logs have been uploaded.




  1. Hi John. What rig are you using for POTA these days? I know at one point you had an original mchf. What are your thoughts on it?

    1. While on the road (until early April) I'm using an FT-891 and a 20m Hamstick, SSB only. Once I get settled, I'll be back to my IC-705 and TR-35. I do have a mcHF with offers from 3 people who want to buy it but every time I use it to make sure it works, I end up wanting to keep it!