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.



Eric's station on the picnic table overlooking Dow Lake On Saturday, April 15, 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.

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 the swim-beach area at Strouds Run State Park on a sunny and warm morning to perform his 58th activation of the park and to participate in the POTA Support Your Parks — Spring event.

Eric arrived at the Strouds Run State Park swim-beach area at 1415 UTC and decided to perform his activation on a well-placed picnic table overlooking Dow Lake. He deployed his 28½' wire vertical on his 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast which he bungied to the picnic table, set up his KX3 on the picnic table, and was on the air at 1431 UTC.

Eric's mast bungied to the picnic table As he had expected, Eric found he had good cell-signal at this location and 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 on 20m by finding himself a frequency to run and calling "CQ POTA", and was pleased to be auto-spotted on POTA Spots. QSOs came slowly, with Eric's first QSO coming at 1434 UTC with K4AHO in Florida. This was followed at 1439 UTC by a QSO with AE4LH in Texas, and at 1442 UTC by a QSO with KG4ZQZ in Florida. At this point, 20m seemed to just dry up, and Eric's repeated calls of CQ went unanswered.

Switching to 40m, Eric found a clear frequency and began calling "CQ POTA" and was again quickly autospotted. Eric's first QSO in this run came at 1446 UTC with K4SWL in North Carolina. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's sixth QSO in this run coming at 1455 UTC with N4DT in South Carolina. This run included a P2P QSO with WD9DWX who was activating Splinter Ridge State Fish and Wildlife Area (K-4227) in Indiana and QSOs with operators located in North Carolina (2), Virginia, Indiana, Connecticut, and South Carolina.

It was during his run on 40m that Eric learned from his friend K8RAT that significant solar flaring was underway, seriously disrupting propagation on the lower HF bands. When responses stopped coming to his calls of CQ on 40m, Eric finished his operation by checking POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities and succeeded in making five additional P2P QSOs:

Band Time UTC Station Park
17m 1504 W4LX Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area (K-6291), IN
20m 1508 W4LX Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area (K-6291), IN
40m 1511 W2OM Hartland Swamp Wildlife Management Area (K-9050), NY
40m 1514 K2LT Deer River State Forest (K-5199), NY
40m 1516 KG4BIG Veterans Memorial Wildlife Management Area (K-3836), KY

In all, Eric made fourteen QSOs, with six P2P QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at five watts output.

During his activation, Eric enjoyed listening to a chorus of frogs and songbirds, and he was pretty sure he caught a glimpse of one of the park's resident bald eagles across the lake.

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.