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 Clark Hollow Road in Tar Hollow State Park to activate the North Country National Scenic Trail, TR04 (link).

Eric had intended to perform this activation at the Tar Hollow Fire Tower but found his route to the tower blocked by a fallen tree. A park police officer told Eric that the NCNST crosses Clark Hollow Road at the old park buildings and that Clark Hollow Road also leads to the fire tower. Eric drove to Clark Hollow Road and found the NCNST trailhead. Since it was already passed his published on-the-air time, and since the location looked nice for an activation, Eric chose to do the activation at the old park buildings instead of continuing to the fire tower.

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 1430 UTC.

Eric had announced he would start operations on 20m but after many minutes of calling CQ on 20m with no answers, he changed to 40m. His first QSO was with K0FG at 1438 UTC. QSOs came slowly but by 1500 UTC Eric had validated the activation with a QSO with AK4YC. Eric did wonder if QSOs would have come more easily and quickly high on the ridgetop at the fire tower. All QSOs were made at the 5-watt level.