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 Friday, April 21, 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 Bulldog Shelter in Strouds Run State Park on a warm and breezy morning to perform his 59th activation of the park. Eric was accompanied by the little dogs Theo and Ginny.

Eric's station Eric arrived at Bulldog Shelter at 1320 UTC and, finding it entirely unoccupied, decided to perform his activation in the picnic shelter, and to use his Yaesu FT-817NB transceiver and homebrew 40m end-fed halfwave antenna. After walking the two small dogs, Eric deployed the 40m EFHW as a sloper, with the top suspended atop his 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass supported on a drive-on base, and the wire sloping down toward the picnic shelter. Deploying his FT-817ND on a well-placed picnic table, Eric was on the air at 1332 UTC.

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.

Yaesu FT-817ND plus LDG Z11 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. Eric's first QSO came at 1335 UTC with N4OW in Florida. QSOs came steadily, with his ninth QSO coming at 1346 UTC with ND8N in Arizona. This run included a P2P QSO with N9MM who was activating Sam Houston National Forest (K-4417) in Texas and QSOs with operators located in Florida (4), Arkansas, Texas, Idaho, Missouri, and Arizona.

Pausing to check POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities, at 1349 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 20m with N2VGA who was activating Estero Bay Preserve State Park (K-3617) in Florida.

Switching to 40m, Eric found a clear frequency, began calling "CQ POTA", and was again auto-spotted on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO in this run came at 1355 UTC with W8JWL in Michigan. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's thirty-fourth QSO in this run coming at 1431 UTC with K3STL in Pennsylvania. This run included a P2P QSO with K2PQ at Cape May Point State Park (K-1610) and New Jersey Coastal State Trail (K-6544) in New Jersey, a P2P QSO with K3ES at Cook Forest State Park (K-1345) in Pennsylvania, a P2P QSO with N4CD at Pinconning Township (Cody-Esty Road) State Game Land (K-6759) in Michigan, and QSOs with operators located in Michigan (5), Indiana (3), Virginia (2), Ohio (6), Ontario (3), Pennsylvania (5), New Jersey, Tennessee (2), North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin (3), Kentucky, and Georgia.

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

Eric was pleased with the performance of the Yaesu FT-817ND and of his homebrew 40m EFHW antenna on 20m and 40m.

After Eric tore down the station, he and the dogs enjoyed a 1-mile hike along the shore of Dow Lake on the Blackhaw Trail.

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