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 Saturday, August 12, 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.

Hoping to beat the hot and rainy weather forecast for the afternoon, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, bicycled to Strouds Run State Park in the late morning with his small and lightweight KX2 Mini Travel Kit.

Eric began his ride from home at 1345 UTC and he arrived at Bulldog Shelter within Strouds Run State Park at about 1435 UTC. He was surprised but pleased to find the Bulldog Shelter to be unoccupied and he decided to perform his activation within the shade provided by the picnic shelter.

Eric set up his Elecraft KX2 transceiver on an available picnic table, bungied his Goture Red Fox Super Hard 720 carbon-fiber mast vertically to his bicycle, sloped the Tufteln (link) 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 1451 UTC.

As at his previous operations at this location, Eric had good cell-signal but, once again, his inexpensive smartphone had lost data-over-cell and usual remedy of reseting the network/Bluetooth/Wi-Fi and restarting the phone did not solve the problem. Eric would not be able to spot himself on the POTA Spots website or to use POTA Spots to identify possible Park-to-Park (P2P) QSOs. Fortunately, the available cell-signal did allow Eric to send and receive texts, and his good friend K8RAT was more than willing to ensure that Eric remained spotted on POTA Spots.

Eric began his operation on 20m by finding himself a frequency to run, sending a text to K8RAT with the frequency, and calling "CQ POTA". Unfortunately, 20m was not very productive—almost ten minutes of calling "CQ" resulted in only two QSOs. The first came at 1454 UTC with WA8BZT in Texas, and the second came at 1456 UTC with WI5D in Missouri.

Upon seeing a text from K8RAT saying that 40m seemed to be in better shape, Eric switched to that band and immediately found a POTA activator KE8EUX calling "CQ". Eric answered the CQ and at 1508 UTC he logged a P2P QSO with KE8EUX at Maybury State Park (K-1518) in Michigan.

Finding himself a 40m frequency to run, Eric texted K8RAT the frequency and began to call "CQ POTA". 40m turned out to be very productive, with Eric making thirteen QSOs in just fifteen minutes. Eric's first QSO in this run came at 1512 UTC with K9ARQ in Illinois. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's thirteenth QSO in this run coming at 1523 UTC with KS4S in North Carolina. This run included QSOs with operators located in Illinois (4), Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina (3), Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan.

In all, Eric logged sixteen QSOs, with one P2P QSO, in thirty-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.

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.