by William Eric McFadden

From the park's website:

Located outside of the city of Athens and within easy driving distance of Ohio University, Strouds Run State Park draws a mix of trail and lake users. Miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding provide scenic views from rugged trails. Dow Lake offers boating, paddling, and swimming for both day-use and overnight visitors. A shady seasonal campground, perfect for tent camping, is a short walk to the lake.



Eric's station On Saturday, September 12, 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. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, performed the activation at the Bulldog Picnic Shelter while other members of the Athens County Amateur Radio Association (link) activated the same park using SSB in the PCARS Ohio State Parks on the Air (OSPOTA, link) operating event.

Eric, who is president of ACARA and served as captain for this year's OSPOTA operation, arrived at the Bulldog Picnic Shelter at about 1220 UTC and found ACARA member Joe Weber, KE8LRZ, and his son already there. The trio unloaded the McFadden family van of just about everything the ACARA would need to activate Strouds Run State Park: the ACARA's Elecraft K3 transceiver and a switching power supply; a logging computer; an 80/40m fan dipole, feedline, and mast; and a 2kW Honda inverter-generator, fuel, ground rod, fire extinguisher, and extension cords. Left in the van were the Easy Up tent, 6' folding table, and folding chairs Eric had brought in case the Bulldog Shelter was found to be unavailable. (In this year of coronavirus, group facilities at Ohio State Parks remain unavailable for reservation.) ACARA members Bob Moore, KB8KSM, and Jeff Slattery, N8SUZ, arrived just in time to help with the set up of the the mast, the antenna, the transceiver, and the logging PC.

At about 1615 UTC, after the ACARA OSPOTA operation was underway and running smoothly, Eric set up his POTA station at the other end of the the Bulldog Picnic Shelter. Because Eric's tripod was in use supporting the ACARA's 80m/40m fan dipole, and since there was nothing convenient to strap his mast to, Eric deployed his 28½' wire vertical on his MFJ-1910 33' telescoping fiberglass mast which Eric simply leaned into a tall pine tree. Eric set up his KX3 on his folding camp-chair adjacent to the mast and was on the air at 1635 UTC.

Dow Lake Eric was pleased to find he had sufficient cell-signal to be able to spot himself on the POTA Spots website (link) and to find potential park-to-park (P2P) QSOs to attempt.

Because the ACARA OSPOTA operation was on 80 and 40m, Eric began his operations on 30m. His first QSO was a P2P QSO at 1642 UTC with N0EVH who was performing an activation of Jewell Cemetery State Historic Site (K-3354) in Missouri. Eric's second QSO on 30m came almost immediately with N4DPM in Florida.

Changing to 40m at 1650 UTC, Eric's first QSO there came at 1654 UTC with WB9HFK in Illinois. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's sixth QSO on 40m coming at 1700 UTC with AE4WX in North Carolina. This run included a P2P QSO with N1RBD who was performing an activation of Crooked River State Park (K-2170) in Georgia.

Eric changed to 20m in order to complete a P2P QSO at 1712 UTC with KQ6QB who was performing an activation of Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park (K-0754) in California.

Eric changed to 80m for a QSO at 1717 UTC with K8RAT in Ohio. This gave Eric his ten required QSOs for a valid activation of Strouds Run State Park, and he returned to the ACARA OSPOTA operation.

As time allowed, Eric returned to his station to make four additional P2P QSOs:

Dow Lake Sometime after his QSO with WB2SMK, Eric chose to tear down his station and concentrate on the ACARA OSPOTA operation and eventual tear-down of that station. However, Eric made one final POTA QSO. At 2113 UTC. Eric used the ACARA's K3 transceiver set to 5 watts, the LDG automatic antenna tuner, and the 80m/40m coaxial-fed fan dipole to make a 20m P2P QSO with K0BWR who was performing an activation of Prairie Dog State Park (K-2349) in Kansas. While the LDG ATU was able to quickly match the 80m/40m fan-dipole on 20m, Eric was surprised the loss in the feedline due to high SWR didn't thwart his attempt at the QSO and quite happy to accept his report of "229".

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

Eric was pleased that the QRP signal from his KX3 didn't cause interference in the ACARA's K3. He wasn't terribly surprised, though, that the K3's 100-watt signal did cause significant interefence in the KX3's receiver. Increased distance between the stations and the use of a resonant antenna would probably have helped reduce the interference.

The weather for this operation was about perfect for a field-radio outing and the operating location on the shore of Strouds Run Lake gave many interesting sights including Canada geese, a blue heron that was present on the lake for almost the entire eight hours of the OSPOTA operation, and even a bald eagle. The lake also served up quite a few sights of humans in canoes, kayaks, boards, and even a pedal-boat.

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