by William Eric McFadden

From the park's website:

Strouds Run State Park is located in the scenic forested hills of Athens County, in the midst of the unglaciated Appalachian Plateau. Although untouched by the vast ice sheets that moved across portions of the state over 12,000 years ago, Strouds Run displays the effects of the glaciers — in the deep ravines and high hills — where the valleys served as outlets for torrents of glacial meltwaters. The erosive power of these waters carved the valleys and hillsides, creating the familiar topography Ohioans know today. Large deposits of glacial outwash, primarily sand and gravel, were deposited along these streams and strongly affected the type of biological communities present today.



Eric's station, with Mindy-dog -- click to enlarge On Saturday, May 2, 2020, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Strouds Run State Park in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program. On the first seasonably-warm and dry spring day in several weeks, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, performed the activation at the park's Horseman's Area while maintaining proper social distancing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Eric was accompanied by his wife, Vickie; his daughter, Kate; and their three dogs, Bo, Mindy, and Theo.

The crew arrived at the Horseman's Area at 1720 UTC to find the area to be almost completely full of cars and a truck with a horse-trailer. Although the parking area was nearly full, no people were to be seen. Eric parked the family van on the grass at the extreme edge of the parking area and quickly deployed his 28½' wire vertical on his Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Because of the need to ensure social distancing, Eric set up his KX3 inside the van. Eric was on the air by 1731 UTC.

Eric started operations on 80m and at 1737 UTC made a QSO with his good friend and fellow SEORAT-member K8RAT at 1737 UTC. With no other replies to his calls of CQ coming, Eric switched to 40m at 1739 UTC.

Eric's first QSO on 40m came at 1743 UTC with W5GDW in North Carolina. QSOs on 40m came very steadily, with Eric's tenth QSO on 40m coming at 1800 UTC with AA9F in Illinois. This run of QSOs included a Park-to-Park (P2P) QSO with K0BWR who was performing a POTA activation of Marais Des Cygnes National Wildlife Refuge, K-0293. Eric switched to 20m at 1802 UTC.

Theo-dog -- click to enlarge Eric's first QSO on 20m came at 1803 UTC with EA7GV in Spain, following his second call of CQ, before Eric could even self-spot his new frequency. Eric's seventh QSO on 20m came at 1815 UTC with WD1ACB in Kansas. This run of QSOs included two QSOs with OH1XT—the second coming so Jari could tell Eric of Eric's increased signal strength into Finland—and a QSO with AA6A who was performing a SOTA activation. Eric switched to 30m at 1819 UTC but no QSOs were made there.

In all, Eric made eighteen QSOs, including the dupe with OH1XT, with one Park-to-Park (P2P) QSO. 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 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.