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, July 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.

For his first bicycle-portable test of the new KX2 Mini Travel Kit, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, bicycled from West State Street Park in Athens to Bulldog Shelter in Strouds Run State Park. For this ride and POTA activation, Eric chose to not bring the two little dogs, Theo and Ginny, in the trailer.

Eric began his ride from West State Street Park at 1716 UTC and arrived at Bulldog Shelter at 1745 UTC to find a family already there, fishing and preparing to grill some lunch. Eric asked, and the family graciously consented to allow him to use a table at the opposite end of the shelter house for his operation.

Eric set up his Elecraft KX2 transceiver on the picnic table. He bungied the Goture Red Fox Super Hard 720 carbon-fiber mast vertically to his bicycle, sloped the Tufteln 35' EFRW antenna from the KX2 up to top the mast, and deployed three 17' counterpoise wires—using the recently-acquired Tufteln Antenna Counterpoise Add-On Kit—directly on the ground. Tying a bit of shiny golden ribbon found on the ground to his radiator to help prevent anyone from walking through the nearly-invisible black wire, Eric was on the air at 1800 UTC.

As at his previous operations at this location, Eric had good cell-signal 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 quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO came at 1804 UTC with stalwart POTA hunter K9IS in Wisconsin. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's eleventh QSO coming at 1822 UTC with KG5CIK in Texas. This run included a P2P QSO with K4EAK at Sandhills East Wildlife Management Area (K-7914) in Georgia; a QSO with the American Radio Relay League's station, W1AW, in Connecticut; and QSOs with operators located in Wisconsin, Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, North Carolina (2), Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Eric finished his activation by consulting POTA Spots and hunting P2P QSOs, and he succeeded in completing four P2P QSOs, all on 20m. At 1828 UTC, he made a P2P QSO with AB9CA at Okobojo Point State Recreation Area (K-8181) in South Dakota. At 1831 UTC, he made a P2P QSO with W4TRA at Haw River at Summit Center State Park (K-2736) in North Carolina. At 1833 UTC, he made a P2P QSO with N0EVH at Weston Bend State Park (K-1796) in Missouri. Finally, at 1837 UTC, he made a P2P QSO with N4AKV at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site (K-3872) in South Carolina.

In all, Eric logged fifteen QSOs, with five P2P QSOs, all on 20m, in thirty-seven minutes of on-air time. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at five watts output.

Eric had planned to do some back-to-back testing with the Tufteln 35' EFRW antenna configured with the three counterpoise wires and the same antenna with the standard one counterpoise wire, to see if the two additional counterpoise wires noticeably improved performance, but with several small children running around, Eric chose to not take the time to do the testing during this operation. Also, as a test of battery-life, Eric hadn't charged the KX2's internal Li-ion battery after his recent hike on Chestnut Trail, and the battery powered the radio during this operation with no problems.

After packing up his station and loading up the bicycle, Eric bicycled back to West State Street Park.

Although the KX2 Mini Travel Kit had traveled on the bicycle to Bulldog Shelter without any problems whatsoever, on the ride back to West State Street Park, about a half-mile from the end of the ride, Eric hit a speed-bump a little bit too fast and one side of the Nova 1 bag jumped off of the rear-rack fixture. Eric will need to engineer a way to positively keep the bag on the fixture regardless of the road conditions or terrain.

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.