by William Eric McFadden


Day 1 of An Adventure Against Nature and Adversity

The Garfield House -- 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) during rain/snow/sleet, winds 18mph gusting to 32mph, and a temperature in the 30s. above freezing.

Upon arriving at the Visitor Center, Eric spoke with the ranger at the desk and stamped his Passport 2016. Eric had already jumped through the necessary hoops to procure a Special Use Permit for a previous activation and the ranger allowed Eric free-reign to set up and operate within the park.

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

The Windmill -- click to enlarge Because of the weather, Eric chose to operate within the car which he parked at one of the parking lot, with the end-fed wire antenna supported by the 33' fiberglass mast deployed on the grass adjacent to the car. Eric was on the air by 1844 UTC.

Eric began operations on 20m and his first QSO there was with VE6UX at 1849 UTC. QSOs came quickly until Eric's 11th QSO on 20m at 1857 UTC with AG4CG. Eric switched to 40m and his QSO there was with K8RAT at 1904 UTC. QSOs on 40m came quite quickly until Eric's 44th and final QSO at 1933 UTC with KR9L. All of Eric's QSOs were CW made at the 5-watt level.

Toward the end of the operation, the wind had become so gusty that it almost pulled the antenna tripod stakes out of the ground; Miles had to rush out and add additional stakes to secure the mast.

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

Miles and Eric would have enjoyed touring more of James A. Garfield National Historic Site but had a third activation yet to go before their return to southeast Ohio.