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 evening 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 2235 UTC and was happy to find the picnic shelter was unoccupied.

Eric's station consisted of his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit, his MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass telescoping mast and tripod, a 58' end-fed wire for 80m, and a custom clipboard. Eric was concerned about an approaching thunderstorm and he quickly erected the 33' mast and used it to support the 58' end-fed wire antenna in an inverted-vee configuration with four counterpoise wires. The KX3 station was deployed just as quickly and Eric was on-the-air by about 2250 UTC.

Eric started operations on 80m despite a very high level of lightning-crash QRN. Eric's first QSO was with NZ3O at 2255 UTC. His second QSO with fellow SEORAT-member K8RAT followed at 2256 UTC. Eric's sixth and final 80m QSO was with Athens-local WT8E at 2306. Eric changed to 40m but was dismayed to discover the KX3 could not get better than a 2.7:1 match with the 58' end-fed wire on 40m. In the heat of the moment, Eric forgot to try using his 4:1 balun on 40m—the balun probably would have allowed a good match. Instead, Eric quickly dropped the 58' end-fed wire and deployed the 28' end-fed wire with three counterpoise wires. After calling "CQ" for many minutes on 40m with no takers, Eric switched to 20m. His first QSO on 20m was with K7JPF at 2329 UTC and QSOs were fairly steady until Eric's 11th and final QSO with VE4DXR at 2339 UTC. All QSOs were made on were at the 5-watt level.