by William Eric McFadden

From the Stonelick State Park website:

Tucked away in the rolling hills of southwest Ohio, Stonelick State Park — 1,058 acres of land and 200 acres of water — offers a quiet retreat for visitors. The still waters of the lake and tranquil woodlands provide the perfect setting for a host of outdoor recreational pursuits. Camping, boating, fishing, disc golf, swimming, hiking and picnicking are some of the fun and relaxing activities here. Stonelick is pet friendly (pets on a leash) in all areas, except on the sand beach and the Camper Cabin.



The park sign On Sunday, May 21, 2023, three members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed successful activations of Stonelick State Park (K-1993) in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Following a Friday and a Saturday spent at Hamvention (link) at Greene County Fairgrounds in Xenia, Ohio, on a day with dismal-looking solar numbers, and following successful yet challenging activations of Cowan Lake State Park (report) and Culberson Woods State Nature Preserve (report), Eric McFadden, WD8RIF; Thomas Witherspoon, K4SWL; and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC, visited a picnic area near the swim-beach within the park, arriving about 1915 UTC.

Thomas selected a picnic table for his operating location and quickly threw a line through a tree and pulled his 40m end-fed halfwave wire antenna into place, deploying his Elecraft KX2 on the picnic table. Eric chose a bench overlooking Stonelick Lake, strapped his 31' Jackite fiberglass telescoping pole to the bench to support his 28½' wire vertical, and deployed his Elecraft KX3 on the bench. Thomas and and Eric were both on the air about 1922 UTC.

As they had hoped, cell-signal was good at this location and the operators would be able to spot themselves on the POTA Spots website and to use POTA Spots to identify possible Park-to-Park (P2P) QSOs.

The ionosphere was still reeling from the recent X-class solar flare and the resulting radio blackout made Thomas's and Eric's jobs of making QSOs challenging.

Eric started his operation by answering Thomas's CQ at 1922 UTC for a 40m P2P QSO.

Finding himself a frequency to run on 20m, at 1928 UTC, Eric made a QSO with N5IM in Texas. This was followed at 1930 UTC by a QSO with W3HH in Florida.

Finding a frequency to run on 30m, Eric's first QSO in this run came at 1942 UTC with KU3X in Pennsylvania. This was followed at 1946 UTC by a P2P QSO with K3RTA who was performing a two-fer activation of White Clay Creek State Park (K-1743) and White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic River (K-0898) in Delaware. Eric's fourth and final QSO in this run came at 1948 UTC with AC5K in Missouri.

Checking POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities, Eric made a P2P QSO on 30m with K5SJC at Eleven Mile State Park (K-1217) in Colorado. This was followed at 2005 UTC by a P2P QSO on 20m with WD2E at Dry Tortugas National Park (K-1217) in Florida.

Finding a frequency on 40m to run, at 2008 UTC Eric made a QSO with N4GF in North Carolina. This was followed at 2011 UTC by an ESP-level P2P QSO with W2EAW who was activating Washington Rock State Park (K-1635) in New Jersey, at 2013 UTC by a QSO with WB8DTT in Michigan, and at 2016 UTC by a P2P QSO with WB0RMK who was performing a two-fer activation of Minnesota Valley State Recreation Area (K-7145) and Minnesota Valley State Trail (K-9384) in Minnesota.

Eric completed his activation by again checking POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities and at 2018 UTC he made a P2P QSO on 40m with KB3EOF who was activating South Mountain State Battlefield State Park (K-6390) in Maryland.

In all, Eric made fourteen QSOs, including nine P2P QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at five watts output. Eric also submitted his log to the World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio (WWFF; link) program.

Thomas's 40m EFHW antenna seemed to be more effective than Eric's 28½' wire vertical, and Thomas had less trouble validating his activation. He has published a report about this activation: Beating the POTA propagation blues at Stonelick State Park!.

Miles did not operate but helped with set-up and tear-down, and he did most of the activation photography.