by William Eric McFadden



Eric operating -- click to enlarge Two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team succeeded in activating Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park and North Country National Scenic Trail as part of the ARRL's year-long National Parks on the Air (link). Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC, activated Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, HP11 (link) and the North Country National Scenic Trail, TR04 (link) at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center following their attendance of the WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous (info) at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. They were accompanied by Eric's daughter Kate and her puppy, Bo.

The trio (plus dog) arrived at the Interpretive Center about 2015 UTC, about an hour earlier than Eric had announced because the flying portion of the WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous had ended earlier than published. Eric was warmly greeted by the park staff in the Interpretive Center, who readily gave Eric permission to perform the operation at the park gate at the intersection of the park and the North Country National Scenic Trail. Eric stamped his Passport 2016 and proceeded to the gate to set up his station.

As at previous activations, Eric's station consisted of his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit, his MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass telescoping mast, and a custom clipboard.

At the gate, Eric decided not to setup his folding table but to place the KX3 on the lovely stone wall, instead. With Miles' help, Eric quickly deployed his antenna and radio. Following a report from N2CX that the USAF security forces wish to be notified of such operations in advance, and because Eric's operation would extend beyond the Interpretive Center's closing time, Eric phoned the security forces using the phone numbers they had given to N2CX. The security officer seemed happy to have the "heads-up" and no security members visited the site during the operation.

Eric was on the air by 2046 UTC and made his first QSO at 2048 UTC with his good friend and fellow Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team member, K8RAT. The high noise level previously encountered at this location was abseant and propagation excellent. QSOs came quickly and steadily until Eric's 18th and final QSO at 2216 UTC with W0IS. Eric operated only 40m CW and all QSOs were made at the 5-watt level.

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

Given band conditions and Chaser-enthusiasm, Eric have continued to operate longer than he did. However, the early departure from the WWI Dawn Patrol Rendezvous had made possible a quick activation of Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (MN18) on the way to Athens so Eric decided to tear down after the initial pile-up was worked down. Since Eric's entire operation was complete some 45 minutes prior to his announced start time several NPOTA Chasers were disappointed to miss the opportunity of working Eric at HP11. For this, Eric apologizes to those Chasers.