by William Eric McFadden

From the park's website:

The heritage of early West Virginia and the pioneer spirit of Watters Smith are both preserved in the homestead restoration at this 532-acre historical park. This historical park, located in Harrison County, features log cabins, period-accurate buildings and a museum that depicts pioneer life from 1796 to the early 1900s. The grounds are open to picnicking and hiking, and the park also is a popular site for birdwatching.



The Watters Smith log cabin On Saturday, Novemver 16, 2019, two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Watters Smith Memorial State Park in West Virginia as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC, were accompanied by Eric's wife and Miles' mother Vickie, KC8MAJ, and the family's two small dogs, Theo and Mindy.

Eric, Miles, Vickie, and the dogs arrived at Watters Smith Memorial State Park on the beautiful Fall day at about 1745 UTC and made their way to the large parking lot near the park's museum. While Vickie attended to the dogs, Eric and Miles deployed the 28½' wire vertical on the 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast supported on the drive-on mount and Eric set up his KX3 in the van. Eric was on the air at 1800 UTC.

There wasn't enough cell-signal to allow Eric to self-spot himself so Eric began calling CQ, hoping to be automatically spotted on the POTA Spots website via RBN.

Starting to 40m, Eric's first QSO came at 1807 UTC with WK2S. QSOs on 40m came very quickly, with Eric's eighteenth QSO coming at 1829 UTC with AE1N.

Switching to 20m at 1835 UTC, Eric's first QSO there came at 1841 UTC with W6LEN. Eric's fifth QSO on 20m came at 1851 UTC with W5RST.

Eric finished his operation with a total of twenty-three QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level.

Neither Vickie nor Miles operated but Vickie kept the dogs happy and Miles helped with set-up and tear-down of the station and did all the driving.

Eric also submitted his log to the World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio (WWFF; link) program although he didn't make enough QSOs to to achieve a valid activation within the program which requires 44 QSOs be made. However, the WWFF program allows these 44 QSOs be made over any number of visits so a valid activation within WWFF is still possible if subsequent visits to the park are made.