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 the afternoon of September 15, 2023, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team took advantage of beautiful weather to perform a successful bicycle-portable activation of Strouds Run State Park (K-1994) as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

After running some errands, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, bicycled from West State Street Park to Strouds Run State Park with his small and lightweight KX2 Mini Travel Kit. Eric began his ride at 1817 UTC and arrived at Bulldog Shelter in Strouds Run State Park at 1848 UTC. Eric asked, and the signal occupant of the shelter didn't mind him joining her, and her tiny little dog didn't mind, either.

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 directly on the ground. Eric was on the air at 1900 UTC.

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. Finding himself a clear frequency, he began calling "CQ POTA" and was pleased to be quickly auto-spotted to POTA Spots. His first QSO came at 1906 UTC with KJ7DT in Idaho. Eric's second QSO came at 1909 UTC with KI1H in Florida. Then—nothing.

Switching to 40m, Eric found a clear frequency, began calling "CQ POTA", and was again quickly auto-spotted to POTA Spots. His first QSO in this run came at 1913 UTC with KK4UZK in Virginia. Despite sometimes deep QSB, 40m was productive and QSOs came quickly, with Eric's tenth QSO in this run coming at 1923 UTC with AB3GB in Pennsylvania. This run included a QSO with Eric's good friend K8RAT in central Ohio; a QSO with N5FY, the proprietor of Tufteln and the maker of the antenna Eric was using this activation; a P2P QSO with VE3KZE who was performing a two-fer activation of Lynde Shores Conservation Area (VE-1494) and Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Recreation Site (VE-6003) in Ontario; and QSOs with operators located in Virginia (2), Ohio (3), Ontario (3), Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

Eric finished his operation by consulting POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities. At 1927 UTC he made a P2P QSO on 40m with K2UPD who was activating Bear Swamp (Cayuga County) State Forest (K-5107) in New York. At 1929 UTC, he made a P2P QSO on 30m with big-time POTA activator KU8T who was activating St Joseph River State Wildlife Area (K-9503) in the far northwestern corner of Ohio. Finally, at 1932 UTC, he made a P2P QSO on 20m with KW5CW who was activating Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site (K-6553) in Texas.

In all, Eric logged fifteen QSOs, with five P2P QSOs, 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, loaded his bicycle, and began the ride back to his car at West State Street Park.

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.