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 October 4, 2023, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team took advantage of beautiful weather to perform a successful, impromptu, bicycle-portable activation of Strouds Run State Park (K-1994) as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

While bicycling from his home to the local Honda dealer to pick up his car following service, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, diverted to Bulldog Shelter within Strouds Run State Park with his small and lightweight KX2 Mini Travel Kit for the impromptu activation. Eric began his ride at 1555 UTC and arrived at Bulldog Shelter in Strouds Run State Park at 1642 UTC, finding the picnic shelter to be entirely 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 directly on the ground. Eric was on the air at 1654 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 1655 UTC with AE5X in Florida. Propagation on 20m was unexpectedly good and QSOs came quickly, with Eric's thirteenth QSO coming at 1709 UTC with NK3H in Massachusetts. This run included a QSO with WB9CYY in Wisconsin who was using his heavily re-worked Heathkit HW-8 transceiver (see PDF on this page) and QSOs with stations located in Florida (3), Arkansas, Texas, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New York (2), Tennessee (2), New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

Eric finished his operation by consulting POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities and he managed to complete five P2P QSOs on 20m:

In all, Eric logged eighteen QSOs, with five P2P QSOs, in twenty-nine 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 the dealership to significantly lighten his wallet and pick up his car at the Honda dealer.

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.