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, traveled to Tom Jenkins Dam in Burr Oak State Park to activate the North Country National Scenic Trail, TR04 (link). He was accompanied by his daughter's thirteen-week-old puppy, Bo.

Tom Jenkins Dam pumphouse -- click to enlarge Eric and Bo arrived at Tom Jenkins Dam about 1715 UTC and to find the picnic shelter was occupied. Fortunately, the group was just leaving and Eric was able to begin setting up his station in his usual spot almost immediately.

Eric's station consisted of his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit, his MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass telescoping mast and tripod, and a custom clipboard. Eric quickly erected the 33' mast and used it to support his 28' end-fed wire antenna with three counterpoise wires. The KX3 station was deployed just as quickly and Eric was on-the-air by about 1735 UTC.

Bo -- click to enlarge For a change, Eric started operations on 20m. Eric's first QSO was with K4MF at 1741 UTC. Sudden QRM forced a slight frequency change and Eric's second QSO was with KR4UA at 1746 UTC. Thereafter, QSOs came steadily until Eric's 17th and final 20m QSO with W3RLO at 1807 UTC. Eric changed to 40m and his first QSO there was with AH6AX in Maryland at 1814 UTC. Eric's fourth and final 40m QSO was with W2JU at 1819 UTC. All QSOs were made on were at the 5-watt level.

Eric had been concerned that the puppy, Bo, would demand attention or—even worse—get tangled in the antenna or counterpoise wires but Bo was very, very good. Only after Eric paused to change to 40m did Bo start to get rambunctious and she did drag one of the counterpoise wires out of place once—and Eric got tangled in another counterpoise wire when he got up to reposition the first.