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 11, 2023, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team took advantage of beautiful but blustery Fall 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.

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 1637 UTC and arrived at the unoccupied Bulldog Shelter in Strouds Run State Park at 1708 UTC.

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 1719 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 1722 UTC with KK4Z in Georgia. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's ninth QSO coming at 1731 UTC with VA7JCF in British Columbia. Then, things slowed down and it took eight minutes of calling "CQ POTA" before Eric made his tenth QSO, with G4ELZ in England, at 1739 UTC. This run included QSOs with operators located in Georgia (2), Texas, Tennessee, Illinois (2), Alabama, Florida, British Columbia, and England.

Pausing to consult POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities, at 1743 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 20m with WA5PQL at Waco Mammoth National Monument (K-0975) in Texas.

Switching to 30m, Eric found what he thought was a clear frequency, began calling "CQ POTA", and was quickly auto-spotted to POTA Spots. His first QSO in this run came at 1752 UTC with KF4UCC in North Carolina. After this QSO, it became apparent to Eric that he was weakly hearing someone else running the frequency, so he moved frequency slightly, began calling "CQ POTA", and manually updated his spot on POTA Spots. His first QSO on the new frequency came at 1757 UTC with N9PUZ in Illinois. QSOs came quickly, with his seventh QSO on the new frequency coming at 1803 UTC with K8RLE in Michigan. These two runs on 30m included QSOs with operators located in North Carolina, Illinois (2), Georgia, Michigan (2), Tennessee, and Ohio.

Eric finished his activation by again consulting POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities, and at 1805 UTC he made a P2P QSO on 30m with K9EI at McCormick's Creek State Park (K-2260) in Indiana.

In all, Eric logged twenty QSOs, with two P2P QSOs, in forty-six 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.