Parks on the Air and camping is a great combination and if you love both of those activities, I invite you to attend our first ever Wisconsin POTA campout on October 13-15, 2023 at the Clear Lake campground in the Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest (POTA K-7260).

The event is less than a week away! Please scroll to the bottom of the page for important updates.

What to Expect

Your hosts, Michael KB9VBR, Travis W9HDG, and Joe KD9CJX have been getting together for an autumn campout for a few years. Parks on the Air has been always been a highlight of these adventures. This year we are opening up our campout to the greater POTA community. This event will be part social activity and part Parks on the Air activation. You can activate as little or as much as you want, in whatever mode you choose. The sky is the limit. Learn new skills, see now other hams operate, and learn how to deal with interference when a bunch of hams get on the air at the same time. That’s always part of the fun. The weekend is guaranteed to be a blast.

A formalized list of events will be put together as we get closer to the date, but you can expect the following:

  • Friday evening social campfire
  • POTA 101 class for new activators
  • Saturday POTA activations, group and individual
  • Saturday evening pot luck dinner (bring a dish to pass)
  • and much much more

Camp the entire weekend or just come out for the day/evening. We’d love to have you either way.

Dates and Location

October 13-15, 2023

Northern Highlands American Legion State Forest
Clear Lake Campground
8282 Woodruff Rd, Woodruff, WI 54568

Parks on the air POTA K-7260

The campground is located off of State Hwy 47 between Woodruff and Lake Tomahawk Wisconsin

Clear Lake Campground, sites 701-801, is located in the southern portion of the forest on the southwest corner of Clear Lake. All sites in the campground are reservable. This 846-acre, the exceptionally clear lake provides excellent boating and good fishing. There are six vault toilet buildings, six hand pumps for drinking water, one flush toilet building with showers, a sanitary dump station and separate trash and recycling dumpsters. This campground has a large sandy beach with a marked swimming area, a water ski area, a boat landing and several boat trailer parking lots dispersed throughout the campground.

Important Details

Your hosts Michael, Travis, and Joe are in sites 781-783. If you are planning to camp, please reserve a site on that end of the campground loop (or anywhere else in the campground if you desire).

Campsite reservations may be made through the Wisconsin State Park System:

There is no additional charge for the event. You will need a Wisconsin State Park sticker or other admission to enter the campground.

If you are planning to attend, Please email Michael, KB9VBR, via the contact form or Let me know your site number if you are camping, or give me a heads up if you are coming out for the day.

There are not any electrical sites in the Clear Lake campground. Generators are allowed during daylight hours as long as their operation adheres to the campground rules.

There is a modern shower house with flush toilets in the campground. There are no guarantees that it will be open as the campground usually winterizes them mid October. Vault toilets are available.

This is a family friendly event. Alcohol is permitted in accordance to state park rules. We only request that you conduct yourself in an appropriate manner.

This is not a Parks on the Air sanctioned event, you are responsible for your own actions. Event hosts assume no liability.

Please be aware that camping mid October in Wisconsin can run the gamut. The weather may be beautiful and sunny or it can be cold and snowy. Typically Mid October in Northern Wisconsin we expect highs around 50 and lows down to 32. This event will happen rain or shine. Be prepared for changing weather conditions. If you need to cancel due to the weather, that is totally ok.


Since we are all amateurs and communications is the focus of the weekend, here are several repeaters and simplex frequencies we will use for the event. At the bare minimum please have the simplex ones programmed in your handheld so they can be used for in park P2P contacts:

146.520 Mhz Simplex Talk-in and in park P2P channel
146.550 MHz Simplex event channel
446.000 Mhz UHF P2P channel

145.130 (-offset, 114.8) WE9COM, Sayner. Wecomm network. Primary Talk-in. This repeater is not linked
146.940 (-offset, 114.8) W9RRA, Rhinelander. Backup talk-in repeater
147.120 (+offset, 114.8) W9RRA Willow Flowage, linked to 146.940
146.895 (-offset, 114.8) WE9COM, Irma. Wecomm network. This repeater is linked to the system

I will be monitoring the Sayner and Rhinelander repeaters and 146.52 simplex if anyone needs any traffic assistance as they are heading to the campground on Friday. I’ll also leave on my APRS beacon, KB9VBR-9, to help you home into the campground.


We’ve got long and short sleeve T-shirts and a hoodie with the event logo on it. You can order those items from the Spring shop.


If you aren’t sure what to expect, please check out this video from last year’s camping event.

Still more questions, Please email Michael, KB9VBR, via the contact form or I’ll be glad to answer them


Watch this space for event updates and additional information

October 11, 2023:

Joe and I are planning to be in the park by about noon on Friday. I’ll be monitoring 146.52 simplex and the repeaters as we travel. I’ll also beacon KB9VBR-9 via APRS when I’m on the road. Travis will probably arrive around 5:00pm.

This is the big wild card for the event. Since my last update, a significant weather event is forecast to travel through the state late this week. Timing isn’t perfectly known yet, but the general consensus is that everyone in the state will get wet at some point in time between Thursday evening and Sunday morning. The good news is that the worst of it will occur in the lower two thirds of the state.

The NWS Green Bay’s weather story and five day planner give a good indication of what’s going to happen: Expect an accumulated 1 – 1.5 inches of rain from Thursday evening through Saturday night. The bulk of the activity will be Friday and Friday night with windy conditions gusting up to 29mph.

I’m holding optimism that the worst will happen on Friday and things will much better on Saturday. The Saturday forecast is a 40% chance of showers and mostly cloudy skies with a high of 48.

Sunday looks like a nicer day with a low of 37 and mostly cloudy skies with a high of 47.

I know a significant number of campers will be tenting it, and I understand if you want to wait til Saturday to arrive and setup. We may shift some activities around a bit due to the weather. If you are coming in late, feel free to drop me an email.

I’ve been scouting for some dry firewood for the weekend. There is a woodshed and wood available at the park. Gas stations in Minocqua and Woodruff sell bundles of wood. For a larger quantity, Wickman Construction on Hwy 47 in Woodruff (Just past the Walgreens on 47) has larger quantities of wood available. Wood may also be available in Lake Tomahawk, but haven’t been able to verify.

October 6, 2023: Seven days to go before the event! Here’s the rundown of what’s going to happen.

I know there is a bit of excitement for this event. Joe and I talked a bit about it last night on our monthly livestream. If you want to catch what we said, here’s the link to the appropriate spot:

I’ve got a few things I want to update you on for the upcoming event. I will probably have one more email go out next week as we get closer to the date.

We’ve got 25 people registered for the event. There are a few sites reserved in the campground of which I’m not sure if they are participating or not, so there may be a few more added to that number. I’m also expecting a few to show up on Saturday to check the event out.

This is probably the elephant in the room, so I’ll tackle it first. Looking at the ten day forecast, Woodruff, WI is expecting a high of 48 and a low of 39 degrees on Saturday with a 30-40% chance of rain. This is a pretty far outlook, and I’m expecting things to change slightly and am hoping towards the better. At least snow isn’t in the forecast.

My best advice for cool weather camping is to dress in layers, wear a hat, bring an extra pair of dry socks, and carry some plastic sheeting in the event of rain. If you are tenting it, a foam rubber pad (like a yoga mat) is a great way to add insulation underneath your sleeping bag.

Things have grown a bit since our original concept of the event, so meals may be a bit more flexible. We will have a Saturday evening potluck at 6:00pm for everyone to get together and socialize. This will be hosted by Travis, Joe, and I at the 781/782/783 sites. Bringing a dish to pass isn’t necessary, but a sign up sheet is available if you wish to contribute to the dinner. Plates, bowls, and dinnerware will be provided. A Blackstone griddle will be hot and ready to go for your use, too. Contact me if you wish to bring a dish to pass.

Friday dinner will be on your own, we’ll have a campfire going at the 781/782 sites if you want to drop in and say hello. BYOB, you may even hear some tales of ‘Wild Wisconsin.’

Breakfasts will be pretty free form also. I’ll be cooking pancakes on Saturday and word is that some Nueskes bacon may be on the griddle. Drop in if you want some flapjacks ‘Paul Bunyon’ style.

According to T-Mobile, there is 5G coverage in the campground. If the connection is good, and the latency isn’t bad, I will run a livestream on Saturday afternoon. My plan is to wander the campground and visit some of the sites. I’ll know for sure on Friday when I get there if this will be possible.

There will be a POTA 101 class at about 1:00pm on Saturday. This will be held at Site 782. We’ve got a lot of hams new to Parks on the Air attending and I’ll be going through the basics of an activation: equipment, antenna, logging, and handing QSOs. Everyone does POTA a little differently, so I encourage and seasoned POTAites to drop in and share their experiences too.

There will also be a POTA digital class. Mike KD9OBF has volunteered to take that on. His site is 776. Time of the class is to be determined.

On Saturday October 14 the US will experience an annular solar eclipse that morning. We won’t see totality like was experienced with the eclipse of 2017, but we still should experience a 40% covering of the sun from our location at Clear Lake campground. Eclipses have the ability to enhance propagation on the lower bands as the F layers won’t be as energized by the sun. The eclipse starts at our location at 10:30 am, max at approximately 11:50am, and ends at 1:11pm.

I want everyone to be able to get credit towards the N1CC activator award. That’s activating the park on 10 different bands. Same with the activator 6-pack award. That’s 10 6 meter contacts at 6 parks. We will set up times to run a few nets on the more esoteric frequencies: 80m, 60m, 10m, 6m, 2m, 70cm during the day on Saturday. If you don’t have the capability for one or more of those bands, we will try to get you paired up with someone that does.

September 22, 2023: The campout is legit! The story was picked up by AR Newsline and it appeared in their September 22 edition of the Amateur Radio Newsline report for September 22, 2023. If you listen to the podcast, the campout is mentioned at 9:45.

September 5, 2023: Showers/Dump Station. I’ve been informed that the shower house and dump station at the Clear Lake Campground is scheduled to be winterized on October 9-10. That means it won’t be available for use during the Wisconsin POTA campout. You still should be able to dump your tanks, but the hose won’t be operational to flush your system. If you are in need of a dump site for your RV, contact the park off for dump station status. I have also found a couple of options:

Northwoods Travel Center
2219 N Stevens St, Rhinelander, WI

BP Gas
N357 Brandenburg Ave, Merrill WI
US Hwy 51 exit 205

Camping World
15650 County Hwy XX, Rothschild, WI
US HWY 51/I-39 Exit 185
Free for Good Sam members

September 3, 2023: I put together a quick video to promote the Wisconsin POTA campout. You can watch it here:

August 30, 2023: It appears that there are eight sites reserved for the weekend and about 12 people have confirmed with me that they are attending for the day or the entire weekend. This event is certainly a go and I’m pleased with the turnout so far. There’s still room for you, if you wish to attend.

August 23, 2023: Sconny Wandering recently did a video on the Clear Lake campground. He does a pretty good description of them, if you want to see what the sites look like: