by William Eric McFadden



Perry's Victory and International Peace Monument viewed from the air -- click to enlarge Two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team succeeded in activating Perry's Victory and International Peace Monument as part of the ARRL's year-long National Parks on the Air (link). Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and Miles McFadden, KD8NKC activated Perry's Victory and International Peace Monument, NM20, (link) in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island on Lake Erie. The pair were flown to the island by Eric's father and Miles' grandfather Tom McFadden, W8EOG, in a 1969 Cessna 182 Skylane.

Low ceilings delayed the VFR departure from Newark/Heath Airport until about 1430 UTC. After "scud running" through slowly clearing skies, the trio landed on South Bass Island about an hour later. After arranging to rent a golf-cart and drive the one mile to the Monument, Eric stamped his Passport 2016 and spoke to the park staff who (figuratively) bent over backwards to accomodate the activation. Eric chose to set up near the Visitor Center's back porch, in direct view of the impressive 352' tall Perry's Victory and International Peace Monument.

The park staff provided a folding table and three comfortable chairs. As at previous activations, Eric's station consisted of his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit with a new 28½' end-fed wire and three new 17' radials, his MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass telescoping mast, and a custom clipboard. Eric was on the air by 1645 UTC.

South Bass Island Lighthouse and Keeper's Dwelling -- click to enlarge Because of the ongoing CQ World Wide RTTY Contest, Eric started operations on 30m. His first QSO was with K1PT at 1649 UTC. QSOs came more slowly than Eric had anticipated gived the unit's relative rarity. Eric made six QSOs on 30m before switching to 40m; his first QSO on 40m was with W1VT at 1711 UTC. Eric made seven QSOs on 40m before switching to 20m; his first QSO on 20m was with 9A3NM, in Croatia, at 1729 UTC, quickly followed by QSOs with DL2ND in Germany and 9A7W in Croatia. Eric made five QSOs on 20m, his eighteenth and final QSO being with N6PE at 1734 UTC. Having made a sufficient number of QSOs to validate the QSO, having a rumbling tummy from it being well over an hour past lunchtime, and hearing the siren-call of the island to explore, Eric chose to shut down the operation after working N6PE. All Eric's QSOs were CW made at the 5-watt level.

Neither Miles nor Tom operated. Miles helped with set-up and tear-down and did much of the activation photography.

Following the operation, the park staff graciously allowed Eric to stow his gear in a closet in the visitor center. The trio then watched the short movie about the War of 1812's Battle of Lake Erie, found lunch in a lakeside restaurant, and then ascended the Perry's Victory and International Victory Monument to to enjoy the view under the now-beautiful sky from atop the 352' tall Doric column. After collecting the gear, the trio then explored more of the island in the golf-cart and even found and photographed the 1897 South Bass Island Lighthouse and Keeper's Dwelling before returning to airport and flying south again back toward home.