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 13, 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.

For the second day in a row, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, bicycled from his home 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 1343 UTC and chose to climb Madison Avenue instead of Cable Lane, figuring the former would be the easier climb. However, the climb up Madison Avenue was still a slog, and Eric isn't sure the climb up Cable Lane is really much that more difficult. He arrived at Bulldog Shelter in Strouds Run State Park at about 1432 UTC and was pleased to find the picnic shelter to be unoccupied.

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 1444 UTC.

As at (most of) 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's good friend K8RAT had texted that "7MHz sounds nasty", but when Eric turned on his KX2, he immediately heard a station calling "CQ POTA". Eric called him and at 1445 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 40m with KE8UEX at Horseshoe Lake State Game Land (K-6706) in Michigan. Checking POTA Spots for other P2P QSO opportunities, at 1447 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 40m with W8AJF at White Pines State Nature Preserve (K-3871) in North Carolina. To Eric, 40m didn't sound nasty, and both KE8UEX and W8AJF were relatively strong and both heard Eric well, so Eric decided to stick to 40m.

Finding himself a clear frequency on 40m to run, Eric began calling "CQ POTA" and was pleased to quickly be auto-spotted on POTA Spots. His first QSO in this run came at 1456 UTC with WB3DDJ in Pennsylvania. QSOs came quickly, with the seventh QSO in this run coming at 1502 UTC with WB8JAY in Ohio. This run included QSOs with operators located in Pennsylvania, Ohio (3), Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina.

When 40m seemed to dry up, Eric found himself a clear frequency on 20m to run, began calling "CQ POTA", and was again quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. Alas, 20m was not very productive, and Eric made only one QSO there, at 1512 UTC, with KK2B in New York.

Checking POTA Spots again for P2P QSO opportunities, at 1519 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO on 40m with big-time Ohio activator WG8X at Flint Run State Wildlife Area (K-9464) in Ohio.

Returning to run a 40m frequency, Eric made three more QSOs. At 1524 UTC, he completed a QSO with K3RKC in Pennsylvania. At 1524 UTC, he completed a QSO with AF8E in Ohio. Finally, at 1527 UTC, he completed a QSO with W3BBO—who had tried earlier but got lost in the QSB—in Pennsylvania.

In all, Eric logged fourteen QSOs, with three P2P QSOs, in forty-three 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, loaded his bicycle, used the "necessary room", and began his ride home. (Eric chose to descend on Cable Lane instead of on Madison Avenue—the latter is far too rough to ride down on.)

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.