by William Eric McFadden

Support-Your-Parks Summer 2021 RATpedition, Day 1; park four of ten

From the park website:

In the midst of some of Ohio's most rugged, scenic territory of Jackson and Vinton Counties lies 292-acre Lake Alma State Park. A quiet 60-acre lake and a gentle creek meandering through a wooded valley provide a restful setting for park visitors.



Welcome to Lake Alma State Park -- click to enlarge For the Parks on the Air program (POTA; link) Support Your Parks Summer 2021 Plaque Event on the weekend of July 17-18, 2021, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed an aggressive two-day activation schedule with an overnight stop in Portsmouth, Ohio. The route of Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, would cover over 300 miles, would include fifteen stops in two states, and would lead to twenty-one successful POTA activations with 421 QSOs made. Over the weekend, Eric would encounter rain, thunderstorms, and brilliant sunshine.

Following a successful activation at Waterloo Wildlife Area (K-8633) (link) and a two-fer activation of Lake Hope State Park (K-1968) and Zaleski State Forest (K-5455) (link), Eric's third stop of the day was Lake Alma State Park (K-1967).

A view of Lake Alma on a cloudy day -- click to enlarge Eric arrived at Lake Alma State Park at about 1445 UTC. Eric quickly set up his 28½' wire vertical on his Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Because of the threat of rains and thunderstorms, and because of his aggressive time schedule, Eric set up his KX3 inside his car. Eric was on the air at 1452 UTC.

The cell-signal at this location allowed Eric to use the POTA Spots website (link) to spot himself and to look for possible park-to-park (P2P) QSOs.

Eric began operations by finding a frequency to run on 40m and by 1509 UTC he had completed twelve QSOs. This run included a P2P QSO with special-event station N4G which was activating Crowders Mountain State Park (K-2726) in North Carolina.

Eric's station -- click to enlarge Pausing to check POTA Spots for additional P2P QSO opportunities, at 1513 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 30m with W9AV who was activating Lower Wisconsin State Riverway State Park (K-5643) in Wisconsin. This was just the first of many P2P QSOs with W9AV Eric would be making over the weekend.

Finding his frequency to run on 30m, Eric made an additional ten QSOs between 1517 UTC and 1531 UTC. This run included a P2P QSO with special-event station W0W which was activating California National Historic Trail (K-4566) in Missouri

Pausing again to check POTA Spots, at 1534 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 20m with special-event station W5R which was activating Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site (K-6553) in Texas.

Because his aggressive itinerary didn't allow for much time at any of the parks, Eric tore down his station in order to proceed to his next location.

In all, Eric made twenty-four QSOs, including four P2P QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level.

Eric also submitted his log to the World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio (WWFF; link) program.