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).

Tom Jenkins Dam -- click to enlarge Eric arrived at Tom Jenkins Dam about 2045 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 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 2102 UTC.

Eric's first QSO was with K8RAT at 2102 UTC after just one call of CQ. Thereafter, QSOs came steadily until Eric's twelfth and last QSO, a short rag-chew again with K8RAT, at 2121 UTC. All QSOs were made on 40m CW and all were at the 5-watt level.

The weather was perfect for this activation: sunny, 75°, and with a nice breeze. There was enough of a breeze that Eric deployed the fiberglass one section shorter than full-height in order to reduce wind-loading and possible failure due to the compromised sections. (See windy three-fer activation in Maryland). The mast didn't fail and even with one section undeployed, there was enough height to fully support the 28' end-fed wire.