by William Eric McFadden

Skeeter Hunt RATpedition!

From the Strouds Run State Park 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.

Sandstone, the principal bedrock outcropping in the region, is very resistant to erosion and forms the uplands and steep sides of the valleys. Twisting roads and forest trails pass through these deep ravines and lead to dense stands of beech, hickory, oak, maple and tuliptree. Seasonal displays are offered by flowering dogwood, redbud and spring wildflowers -- with fall presenting a pageant of colorful foliage. These woods are home to white-tailed deer, fox, raccoon, opossum, squirrel, wild turkey and a variety of songbirds. Woodthrush, white-breasted nuthatch, scarlet tanager, pileated woodpecker and the rufous-sided towhee inhabit the forest canopy. These rugged hills and woodlands are truly reminiscent of the wilderness that characterized the Ohio country in the days of early settlers.


Skeeter Hunt Logo Description

On Sunday, August 21, 2022, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Strouds Run State Park (K-1994) as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program while also participating in the New Jersey QRP Club's Skeeter Hunt (link) field operating event as Skeeter #28.

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, performed his activation of Strouds Run State Park at the park's Bulldog Shelter, choosing this location because of the available covered picnic shelter and an approaching thunderstorm. Eric was accompanied by the small dogs Theo and Ginny.

Eric and the dogs arrived at the Bulldog Shelter within Strouds Run State Park at about 1700 UTC and was happy to find that the picnic shelter was unoccupied. After walking Theo and Ginny, Eric deployed his 28½' wire vertical on his Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast which he leaned into a stately Oak tree at the corner of the picnic shelter. Setting up his KX3 on a picnic table, Eric was on the air at 1716 UTC.

Eric found cell-signal at this location to be unexpectedly poor and he wasn't able to spot himself on the POTA Spots website or to use POTA Spots to identify possible Park-to-Park (P2P) QSOs. However, he had earlier announced his activation on POTA Spots and he hoped that POTA Spots would automagically spot him once he appeared on the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN).

Expecting 40m to be nearly useless due to a series of recent solar storms, Eric nevertheless began operations on 40m by finding himself a frequency and calling "CQ BZZ". Eric's first QSO came at 1718 UTC with noted POTA hunter KD1CT in New Hampshite and Eric knew then that he had been automagically spotted to POTA Spots. QSOs on 40m came very quickly, with Eric's forty-first QSO coming at 1819 UTC with W1MT in Virginia. This run included fifteen QSOs with operators participating in Skeeter Hunt, a P2P QSO with WB3GCK who was participating in Skeeter Hunt at Valley Forge National Historical Park (K-0761) in Pennsylvania, and QSOs with operators located in New Hampshire (2), Pennsylvania (5), Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina (4), Ohio (3), Indiana (2), Maryland, Tennessee (2), Virginia (7), South Carolina (2), Illinois (2), New York (2), Connecticut, Maine, Wisconsin, Missouri, New Jersey (2), and Massachussets.

When the frenzy on 40m died down, at 1820 UTC Eric found himself a frequency to run on 20m and began calling "CQ BZZ". Eric's first QSO on 20m came at 1823 UTC with Skeeter Hunt organizer W2LJ in New Jersey. This QSO was followed at 1824 UTC by a second P2P QSO with WB3GCK who was participating in Skeeter Hunt at Valley Forge National Historical Park (K-0761). Skeeter Hunt QSOs with NK6A in California and with AA2YO in New Jersey quickly followed. All of the QSOs in this run on 20m were with operators participating in Skeeter Hunt, so it's unclear if Eric had been spotted to POTA Spots after leaving 40m.

Eric completed his operation by hunting for "Skeeters" and at 1832 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 20m with NK8O who was participating in Skeeter Hunt at Lake of the Ozarks State Park (K-1768) in Missouri.

By this time, the skies were turning gray, so Eric called his Skeeter Hunt participation complete with forty-six QSOs in just about ninety minutes of on-air time. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at five watts output.

With the forty-six QSOs, sixteen QSOs with Skeeters, three QSOs with non-Skeeter QRP stations, twenty S/P/Cs and x4 for field/homebrew as multipliers, and 100 bonus points, Eric's calculated score is 6,580 points.

Eric also submitted his log to the World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio (WWFF; link) program for an operation at Strouds Run State Park, KFF-1994.


Attribution: Skeeter Hunt Logo copyright NJ QRP Club.