by William Eric McFadden

From the park's website:

The Muskingum River Parkway State Park has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is recognized as the Muskingum River Navigation Historic District. In its day, the system of locks and dams helped open the state and the entire Midwest to trade and development. It is the only remaining system of hand-operated locks in the nation.

The locks help boats safely bypass ten dams on the Muskingum River from Zanesville south to the Ohio River at Marietta. These locks are operated at no charge for recreational boats. Ten of the eleven locks still function— the northernmost lock, Ellis #11, is no longer in operation but offers a campground. The remaining locks have a variety of amenities and many communities along the Muskingum River offer recreational and sight-seeing opportunities for boaters and non-boaters alike. Visitors may enjoy watching the river from the park's picnic shelter south of Lock #7 on State Route 376.

From the Muskingum River Water Trail map and brochure:

The Lowell Dam and Lock were constructed between 1837 and 1841. Its bypass canal runs parallel to State Route 60 before connecting to the single-chamber lock, forming Buell’s Island. Buell’s Island is the largest of the river islands and was named for Perez Barnum Buell, a land developer in the area around 1838. A large recreation park with ball fields is managed by the Village of Lowell. Eleven historic buildings are found on the island, including the restored Strait Run School, built in 1860 and moved to the island in 1994.



The Sign: Welcome to Historic Lock and Dam #3 Lowell On Friday, March 18, 2022, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Muskingum River State Park in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Having decided that his goal within POTA for the next few months would be to earn the Oasis Repeat Offender Activator Award for Muskingum River State Park by visiting all ten of the river-navigation locks and dams that make up the state park, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, re-visited Lowell Lock and Dam #3 on a beautifully warm but overcast day, arriving at the lock at about 1545 UTC. Eric was accompanied by his wife, Vickie, KC8MAJ, and the little dogs, Mindy and Theo.

This was to be Eric's twelfth activation of Muskingum River State Park, with his previous activations having occurred at...

The up-river gates Before arriving at Lowell Lock and Dam #3, Eric, Vickie, and the dogs drove along Water Street to find and enjoy the sound of the water roaring over the dam. Returning at the lock itself, Eric parked his car and, while the dogs scampered and Vickie tried to identify the early Spring-weather wildflowers, Eric decided to perform his operation on a picnic table instead of inside his car. He deployed his 28½' wire vertical on a MFJ-1910 33' telescoping fiberglass mast and re-purposed TV antenna tripod. For a change, Eric set up his four-band Elecraft K1, powered with a Talentcell 12v 3000mAh lithium ion battery pack, on the picnic table and was on the air at 1615 UTC.

Even though he had expected to have cell-signal at Lowell Lock #3, Eric had previously announced his activation on POTA Spots (link) with hopes that POTA Spots would automatically spot him based on Reverse Beacon Network (RBN, link) spots. However, being impatient, Eric spotted himself before the POTA Spots algorithm could automatically spot him.

Harbingers of Spring Eric began operations on 40m by finding a frequency to run and calling "CQ POTA". Eric's first QSO came at 1623 UTC with WA4RCW in Tennessee. QSOs came steadily if not quickly, with Eric's seventh QSO coming at 1635 UTC with K9VIC in Illinois. This run included QSOs with stations located in Tennessee (2), Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Maryland, and Illinois.

Switching to 30m, Eric found a frequency to run, began calling "CQ POTA", and updated his spot. His first QSO on 30m came at 1642 UTC with W5WMG in Kansas. As on 40m, QSOs came steadily if not quickly, with Eric's sixth QSO on 30m coming at 1646 UTC with WB0CFF in Minnesota. This run included QSOs with stations located in Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Connecticut, and Minnesota.

Unidentified but pretty blue flowers Finally, switching to 20m, Eric found a frequency to run, began calling "CQ POTA", and updated his spot. Eric's first QSO on 20m came at 1650 UTC with K9IS in Wisconsin. This was followed by a QSO at 1650 UTC with AI5P in Colorado, and by a QSO at 1656 UTC with AB0H in Missouri.

Eric was pleased to have worked K9IS in Wisconsin on all three bands.

In all, Eric made sixteen QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW. The Talentcell 12v 3000mAh lithium ion battery pack drove the K1 to 5w output on 40m and to 3w output on 30m and 20m.

Eric was pleased with the performance of his four-band Elecraft K1 and is looking forward to using it for other activations.

Eric also submitted his log to the World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio (WWFF; link) program.