by William Eric McFadden

From the park's website:

Located amid the breathtaking scenery of the Paint Creek Valley in southwest Ohio, the 5,652-acre Paint Creek State Park features a 1,148-acre lake with fine fishing, boating and swimming opportunities. A modern campground and meandering trails invite outdoor enthusiasts to explore and enjoy the rolling hills and streams of this scenic area.



Buzzards atop the Tainter gates
On Saturday, September 21, 2019, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Paint Creek State Park in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, was accompanied by his wife Vickie, KC8MAJ, and their two small dogs, Theo and Mindy.

After driving through rain most the way between Chillicothe and Bainbridge, the quartet arrived at the Paint Creek State Park Tainter gates overlook area at 1540 UTC to find clearing skies and, after taking a few minutes to look at the the hundreds of buzzards drying themselves atop the lake's Tainter gates, Vickie and Eric set up Eric's station in the picnic shelter, deploying Eric's 28½' wire vertical supported on his 33' MFJ-1910 telescoping fiberglass mast. Eric was on the air at 1601 UTC.

Eric started operations on 80m and succeeded in making a QSO with his friend and fellow Radio Adventure Team member Mike, K8RAT, at 1602 UTC.

Switching to 40m, Eric found the band to be noisy in an ionospheric-conditions sort of way but useable. Eric's first QSO on 40m was with K4ARQ at 1606 UTC. QSOs came steadily, if not quickly, with Eric's ninth QSO on 40m coming at 1622 UTC with AA5UZ. Subsequent calls of "CQ POTA" by Eric after this point went unanswered.

Switching to 20m, Eric's calls of "CQ POTA" resulted in a QSO at 1627 UTC with K5UP. When subsequent calls of "CQ" went unanswered, Eric used hunt-and-pounce to make two QSOs with stations in Washington State participating in the Salmon Run operating event.

All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level.

Vickie did not operate but helped with set-up and tear-down, helped with navigation, and took care of the dogs during the operation.

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.