by William Eric McFadden


Two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team succeeded in activating Cuyahoga Valley National Park as part of the ARRL's year-long National Parks on the Air (link). Eric McFadden, WD8RIF and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC activated Cuyahoga Valley National Park, NP14 (link) at the Columbia Run Picnic Area.

The pair arrived at the Boston Store Visitor Center to find it nearly empty of visitors. After Eric stamped his Passport 2016, he and Miles drove the short distance north to the Columbia Run Picnic Area where they set up for the activation.

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. For this activation Eric chose to use a handy tree to support the 28½' end-fed wire instead of using the mast. Because of the cold temperature, Eric chose to operate inside the car. Eric was on the air by 2104 UTC.

Eric had planned to begin operations on 20m but discovered that just as at the activation of James A. Garfield NHS earlier in the day, his KX3/KXAT3 refused to match the 28½' end-fed wire on 20m—clearly, something was wrong with the wire or the KXAT3 ATU. As at the previous park, Eric switched to 40m and the KX3/KXAT3 quickly found a match for the antenna. His first QSO came at 2107 UTC with W4SK. QSOs came quickly and steadily until Eric's 22nd and final QSO at 2126 UTC with K4GYD. All of Eric's QSOs were CW made at the 5-watt level.

As at their previous operation at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Eric and Miles were thilled to see the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad passenger train motor past on its way to the Boston Store station. Other highlights of the operation were park-to-park QSOs with N8XX who was activating the North Coast National Scenic Trail (TR04) in Michigan and with N2CX who was activating Monocacy National Battlefield (BF06) in Maryland.

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