by William Eric McFadden

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.



Eric's station On Saturday, January 28, 2023, 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 participating in the annual Winter Field Day (WFD) (link) field operating event.

Having made himself a goal of earning in 2023 the Bear Cave Repeat Offender Activator Award by performing sixty activations of the park, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, visited Bulldog Shelter at Strouds Run State Park on an unseasonably warm 55°, sunny, afternoon to perform his 46th activation of the park. Eric was accompanied by his little dog, Theo.

The 40 meter End-Fed Halfwave After first helping the ACARA (link) set up for the club's WFD effort at the Jim Crouse Memorial Radio Station in the Red Cross of Southeastern Ohio chapter house (link), Eric arrived at the Bulldog Shelter a few minutes prior to 2000 UTC to perform his own WFD operation. The unseasonably warm temperature, sunshine, and lack of wind allowed Eric to comfortably operate as class 1O (one transmitter, outdoors) and Eric chose to set up his station on a picnic table in the Bulldog Shelter. For a change, Eric chose to use a 40m end-fed halfwave (EFHW) antenna for this operation, deploying it as a sloper from the top of his 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast held upright on a drive-on base down to the picnic shelter. Eric was on the air a few minutes after 2000 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.

The WFD scores-multipliers are band/mode and, so that he could maximize the number of multiplers he earned, Eric began his operation on 10m, hunting for a WFD station to work. At 2008 UTC, Eric made a WFD QSO with K6SWC in Arizona, earning himself the multiplier for 10m CW.

Switching to 15m, Eric hunted for a WFD station to work and at 2009 UTC he made a WFD QSO with N2GA in Arizona, earning himself the multiplier for 15m CW.

Dow Lake Having earned his multipliers for 10m CW and 15m CW, Eric switched to 20m and, while he was trying to find a frequency to run, found N2TO, who was performing a POTA activation of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (K-0454) in ARRL Section SNJ, just starting to call CQ. Eric called him and a P2P QSO was completed at 2014 UTC, earned Eric his multiplier for 20m CW.

After finding himself a frequency to run on 20m, Eric began calling "CQ WFD" and was quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. (He had announced his upcoming activation prior to his arrival.) Eric's first QSO in this run came at 2020 UTC with K0BWR who was performing a three-fer POTA activation of Oregon National Historic Trail (K-4576), California National Historic Trail (K-4566), and Santa Fe National Historic Trail (K-4579) in KS. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's fourth QSO in this run coming at 2025 UTC with N4WN in Florida. It was at this point that Eric noticed the problem: POTA hunters who aren't participating in WFD are more likely to send their state than their ARRL section, and it's ARRL section that's needed in order to log a WFD QSO in N1MM Logger+. Therefore, Eric decided he'd stop trying run a frequency and hunt WFD QSOs, instead. While hunting WFD stations on 20m, Eric made eleven addition QSOs the band with stations located in the ARRL sections of ME, IA (2), SFL, QC (2), MO, ND, WCF, ORG, GA, OK, NE, ENY, and NNY.

Switching to 40m, Eric hunted WFD stations and made four WFD QSOs, earning himself the 40m CW multiplier, and worked stations located in the ARRL sections of NNY, KY, OH, and NC.

Returning to 20m, Eric hunted six more WFD stations in AR, CT, NTX, WCF, GA, and AL. Eric learned later that one of the stations he worked during period, AA4GA, was performing a three-fer POTA activation at K-7140 Charles Elliot Wildlife Management Area (K-7140), K-7141 Clybel Wildlife Management Area (K-7141), and K-7467 Marben State Fishing Lake (K-7467) in ARRL section GA.

In all, Eric made twenty-eight QSOs, including seven POTA P2P QSOs, in about seventy minutes of operating time. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at five watts output.

During this operation, Eric found that his 40m EFHW antenna provided a good SWR match on 40 and 20m, but he needed to use the KX3's internal ATU to keep the KX3 happy on 10 and 15m. He will later try to find a wire-length that will allow him to use this antenna on all four bands.

For WFD, Eric earned the 500-point bonuses for "Non-Commercial Power", "Operated Outdoors", "Away from Home", and "Setup Antenna", and made twenty-eight QSOs, at two points per QSO for CW, with a band/mode multiplier of four, and a power multipler of two:

(500 * 4) + (28 * 2 * 14 * 2) = 2,448 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.