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 Sunday, August 6 2023, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful bicycle-portable activation of Strouds Run State Park (K-1994) as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Despite a weather forecast calling for a 50% chance of rain, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, bicycled with his KX2 Mini Travel Kit from home to Bulldog Shelter within Strouds Run State Park. Eric did not get rained on during his ride to the park, but he did encounter rain on his ride home from the park.

Eric began his ride from his home at about 1340 UTC and arrived at the Bulldog Shelter at about 1430 UTC and was pleased to find the picnic shelter to be empty except for a man walking his puppy, neither of whom were bothered by Eric's use of the picnic shelter.

Eric set up his Elecraft KX2 transceiver on the picnic table, bungied his 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 of the mast, and deployed three 17' counterpoise wires—using the Tufteln Antenna Counterpoise Add-On Kit—directly on the ground. Eric was on the air at 1439 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.

Expecting radio conditions to be challenging due to an ongoing coronal mass ejection event, 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 1443 UTC with reliable POTA hunter K9IS in Wisconsin. Eric's second QSO came at 1445 UTC with N2EIM in New Jersey, and his third came at 1447 UTC with N0VRP in Texas. All three of these stations were honest "599", and this gave Eric hope that conditions on 20m weren't actually terrible.

After several unfruitful minutes of calling CQ, Eric paused to check POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities, and at 1456 UTC he called W4FLL on 20m but was answered, instead, by K5RHZ, Chas in Texas, and he and Eric had a short ragchew. Chas was running 100w into a three-element yagi. When he heard that Eric was running only 5w into a 35' wire, Chas dropped his power to 5w and Eric truthfully reported that Chas was still a solid 599.

Returning to run his own 20m frequency, Eric began calling "CQ POTA" and at 1501 UTC he completed a P2P QSO with WB3GCK at Valley Forge National Historical Park (K-0761) in Pennsylvania. At 1505 UTC he completed a QSO with K5PE in Texas, and at 1507 UTC he completed a QSO with K1OA in Massachusetts.

Pausing again to check for P2P QSO opportunities, at 1513 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO on 20m with AE5X at Fanning Springs State Park (K-1865) in Florida.

Returning again to run his own 20m frequency, at 1521 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO with VA3DXP at Shirleys Bay Conservation Reserve (VE-1621) in Ontario.

Eric finished his activation by consulting POTA Spots and hunting P2P QSOs. At 1525 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 20m with AB1II at Quincy Shores State Reserve (K-8425) in Massachusetts, and at 1541 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 20m with WB2SMK at Ushers Road State Forest (K-5355) in New York.

With the wind continuing to gust and rain looking ever more likely, Eric decided it was time to quit.

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

Eric took some photos, tore down his station, used the "available facilities", loaded his bicycle, and began his ride home. Within minutes of starting his ride home, Eric encountered some light rain. Fortunately, the rain didn't last long.

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.