by William Eric McFadden

From the Strouds Run State Park website:

Located outside of the city of Athens and within easy driving distance of Ohio University, Strouds Run State Park surrounds Dow Lake and draws a mix of trail and lake users. Miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding provide scenic views from rugged trails. The lake offers boating, paddling, swimming and a shaded campground.



On Thursday, November 10, 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.

On a beautiful, sunny, 70° afternoon, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, took a half-day of vacation and visited Bulldog Shelter within Strouds Run State Park. Eric was accompanied by his wife, Vickie, and the two small dogs, Theo and Ginny.

Eric arrived at the Bulldog Shelter at about 1950 UTC and was pleased to find that the picnic shelter was unoccupied.

Eric's station For this activation, Eric continued to test his recently-acquired Yaesu FT-817ND and his homemade VK3IL-inspired 40m end-fed halfwave (EFHW) antenna (link). Eric deployed his 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast on his drive-on base and used the mast to support the far end of his EFHW, sloping the wire down to one of the picnic shelter's corner-posts; there, he secured the matching unit in place using a Prusik Knot (info on and ran his 20' RG-58 feedline to his FT-817ND which had been set up on a conveniently-located picnic table. Along with his FT-817ND and 40m EFHW antenna, Eric used his HamGadgets Ultra Pico Keyer (link), his American Morse Equipment Mini-B single-lever paddle (link), and his Bioenno 4.5Ah LiFePO4 battery. Eric's LDG Z11 automatic antenna tuner was in-line but was set to "bypass". Eric was on the air at about 2002 UTC.

As expected, Eric found he had good cell-signal at this location and he would be able to spot himself on the POTA Spots website and to use POTA Spots to identify possible Park-to-Park (P2P) QSOs.

Eric began his operation by verifying a good SWR-match on 20m, finding himself a frequency to run, and calling CQ, and was pleased to be quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO came at 2006 UTC with KC2EE in Texas. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's thirteenth QSO coming at 2021 UTC with K7ZYV in Mississippi. This run included QSOs with stations located in Texas (2), Oklahoma, Florida (2), Ontario, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi.

Switching to 40m, Eric verified a good SWR-match, found himself a frequency to run, began calling CQ, and was again pleased to be quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO in this run came at 2023 UTC with his good friend K8RAT in Ohio. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's fifth QSO on 40m coming at 2028 UTC with AD8EV in Ohio. This run included QSOs with stations located in Ohio (2), Virginia, Wisconsin, and Illinois.

Theo-dog Eric finished his activation by checking POTA Spots for P2P QSOs. At 2033 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO on 20m with K0DME who was activating Boyd Lake State Park (K-1210) in Colorado and at 2036 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 20m with N5BO who was activating Fort Raleigh National Historic Site (K-0820) in North Carolina. At 2039 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO on 40m with KU8T, who is #2 on the POTA Top Activator List in terms of number of parks activated with valid activations of 935 parks, and who on this day was activating Chain O' Lakes State Park (K-2252) in Indiana. At 2042 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO on 40m with N4JAW who was activating Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve (K-7956) in Kentucky. Finally, at 2045 UTC, Eric completed a P2P QSO on 40m with K9NUD who was activating White Pines Forest State Park (K-1031) in Illinois.

In all, Eric made twenty-three QSOs, including five P2P QSOs, in just about an forty-three minutes of operating time. 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 for an operation at Strouds Run State Park, KFF-1994.