by William Eric McFadden



The James A. 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).

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.

Eric's station -- click to enlarge Because of the cold temperature, Eric chose to operate within the car which he parked at one of the parking lot, with the 28½'end-fed wire antenna supported by the 33' fiberglass mast; unlike at most previous operations, Eric strapped the mast tripod to the front wheel of the car instead of securing it to the ground using spikes. Eric was on the air by 1855 UTC.

Eric had planned to begin operations on 20m but discovered that his KX3/KXAT3 steadfastly refused to match the 28½' end-fed wire on that band—a first-time occurance. Eric changed to 40m, where the KX3/KXAT3 quickly found a match for the antenna, and his first QSO came at 1857 UTC with NE4TN. QSOs came steadily and quickly until 32nd and penultimate QSO came at 1933 UTC with KS4L. Eric then changed frequency on 40m to find and work N2CX at 1936 UTC who was activating the TR01+TR03+HP08 three-fer in Maryland. All of Eric's QSOs were CW made at the 5-watt level.

Hightlights of the operation were the aforementioned park-to-park QSO with N2CX and a park-to-park QSO with KA2ESK who was activating SS07.

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.