by William Eric McFadden



Eric operating--click to enlarge Two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team succeeded in activating James A. Garfield National Historic Site as part of the ARRL's year-long National Parks on the Air (link). Eric McFadden, WD8RIF and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC activated James A. Garfield National Historic Site, NS39 (link).

The pair arrived at the Visitor Center a few minutes later than planned. Eric had already jumped through the necessary hoops to procure a Special Use Permit to operate at this single-asterisk "sensitive" NPS unit. This was good because the ranger working the Visitor Center was unfamiliar with NPOTA, but since Eric had a valid Special Use Permit, the ranger allowed Eric free-reign to set up and operate within the picnic area.

After Eric stamped his Passport 2016 he and Miles chose a picnic table and set up the station. While they were setting up, a second ranger--one who did seem familiar with NPOTA and amateur radio, warned them that storms were moving from the west.

Eric's station was his now-standard NPOTA station: his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit, an MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass mast, and a custom clipboard.

Eric operated only CW on 40m and his first QSO was with K8RAT at 1624 UTC. QSOs came continuously until the drizzle started just as Eric was completing his 29th and final QSO with N4USS at 1648 UTC. All of Eric's QSOs were made at the 5-watt level.

Miles did not operate but helped Eric with set-up and tear-down and did all of the activation photography.

Miles and Eric would have enjoyed touring more of James A. Garfield National Historic Site but had to drive immediately to their next destination, First Ladies National Historic Site (NS16).