by William Eric McFadden


Southern Ohio RATpedition, Day 2

Eric operating under a poncho -- click to enlarge Three 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; Miles McFadden, KD8KNC; and Tom Witherspoon, K4SWL, 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 on a cold, rainy December afternoon.

Upon arriving at the Interpretive Center, Eric stamped his Passport 2016 and he and Tom spoke with the ranger who readily gave the trio permission to perform the operation at the park gate at the intersection of the park and the North Country National Scenic Trail.

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. Tom's station consisted of his Elecraft KX2 and LnR EFT Trail-Friendly end-fed wire supported by a friendly tree.

At the gate, Eric phoned the Wright-Patterson AFB security forces to alert them of the activities and then set up his station in the wind-break provided by the stone wall and operated under a military poncho to protect his KX3 and paper log-sheets. Tom chose to operate under a nice tree and used his body to protect his KX2 and log-sheets. Eric and Tom were on the air by 2000 UTC.

Eric operating under a poncho -- click to enlarge Tom operated only SSB on 20m and quickly managed to make enough QSOs to validate his activation. Eric began operations on 40m and his first QSO there came at 2004 UTC with W4JL. Eric slowly scared up QSOs on 40m with his 5th QSO on 40m coming at 2009 UTC with KD2FSH. Tom having finished on 20m, Eric switched to 20m and his first QSO there came at 2019 UTC with VE6UX. Eric very slowly made another four QSOs on 20m with his 10th and final QSO coming at 2028 with WP4CW in California. All Eric's QSOs were made at the 5-watt level.

For Eric, a highlight of the operation was the park-to-park QSO with AE5X who was activating Amistad National Recreation Area (RC01).

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