by William Eric McFadden

Support-Your-Parks Summer 2019 RATpedition, Day 1

From the park's website:

Nestled within the beautiful 9,000-acre Scioto Trail State Forest in Ross County, Scioto Trail State Park's 218-acres are a wooded refuge just south of Chillicothe. The ridgetops and winding forest roads offer breathtaking vistas of southern Ohio's Scioto River Valley. The beauty and remoteness of Scioto Trail offers the best of escapes to park visitors. Camping, fishing and paddling are just a few of the adventures awaiting outdoor enthusiasts.



On Saturday, July 20, 2019, on the first day of the two-day Support Your Parks Summer 2019 event, two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team undertook an aggressive operation to activate five POTA units in southern Ohio. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC, drove over 150 miles and were on the road for eleven hours to visit and activate Great Seal State Park (K-1954), Hopewell Culture National Historical Park (K-0737), Scioto Trail State Forest (K-5448), Scioto Trail State Park (K-1990), and Lake White State Park (K-1971) as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

The fourth stop was Scioto Trail State Park, K-1990.

Eric and Miles arrived at the parking lot for the walk-in camping area at Stewart Lake at about 1900 UTC, mere minutes after leaving the firetower in Scioto Trail State Forest. After a quick survey of the area, Eric and Miles set up the station adjacent to the car and in the shade of large trees. They quickly deployed the 28½' end-fed vertical supported on a Jackite 31' fiberglass mast mounted in a drive-on support and set up the KX3 on Eric's folding camping chair. For this operation, Eric powered his KX3 with the car's battery instead of the usual 10-cell AA NiMH pack. Eric was on the air by 1914 UTC.

Eric began operations on 80m for a QSO at 1918 UTC with his friend and fellow SEORAT-member, K8RAT. Not expecting much additional activity on 80m at that time of day, Eric switched to 40m to continue operations.

To test the POTA Spots website, Eric began operations on 40m with several long CQ calls formatted precisely as specified by instructions on the POTA FAQ (link), "CQ POTA WD8RIF WD8RIF K1990 K", sent by the KX3's internal memory keyer at 18wpm.

As soon as the first spot appeared, the QSOs began. Eric's first QSO on 40m came at 1929 UTC with W8UV. Twenty minutes brought fifteen QSOs, with the final QSO on 40m coming at 1949 UTC with N1AM.

Switching to 20m, Eric's first QSO there came at 1955 UTC with KO4SB. As at the three parks activated earlier in the day, QSOs on 20m came briskly. It took Eric just thirteen minutes to make eight QSOs on 20m, with the final QSO coming at 2008 UTC with AA2VG.

After tear-down, Eric and Miles made the short drive to the fifth of the five parks, Lake White State Park, K-1971.

Eric's log for this operation contained many callsigns that Eric was to see throughout the day as he completed activations at five locations: K8RAT, N2ESE, KU8T, WT4U, W5GAI, WK2S, KO4sB, N4DPM, KD1CT, K4ARQ, plus others.

All Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level. Miles didn't operate but helped with set-up and tear-down, photography, spotting, and navigation.

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.