by William Eric McFadden



One member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team succeeded in activating North Country National Scenic Trail as part of the ARRL's year-long National Parks on the Air (link). Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, made a solo trip to Tom Jenkins Dam in Burr Oak State Park to activate the North Country National Scenic Trail, TR04 (link).

Eric arrived at Tom Jenkins Dam about 1545 UTC and quickly set up his station in the picnic shelter. The station consisted of his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit, his MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass telescoping mast and tripod, and a custom clipboard. Eric

Eric very quickly erected the 33' mast and used it to support his 28' end-fed wire antenna with three radial wires. The KX3 station was deployed just as quickly. Eric was on-the-air at 1606 UTC.

Eric's first QSO was with N4RLD at 1612 UTC. It took very nearly a full hour to make the ten QSOs required to make this a valid activation. Eric's eleventh and last QSO was with K9FO at 1703 UTC. All QSOs were made on 40m CW except for two which were made on 20m; all QSOs were at the 5-watt level.

Sometime during the operation, Eric was joined in the picnic shelter by a family and their two dogs out for a picnic cook-out. Except for one of the dogs peeing very, very near Eric's folding solar panel, these neighbors didn't pose any problems.

The weather was perfect for this activation: sunny, 68°, and with a nice breeze. Eric was very pleased it wasn't windy because he is concerned his 33' fiberglass mast, which had been weakened during a windy three-fer activation in Maryland, might fail during windy conditions. Fortunately, the mast didn't fail and remains available for other upcoming activations. At this point, Eric is trying to decide whether to buy replacement sections from MFJ for this mast or to buy a new and more rugged mast from Jackite (link).