by William Eric McFadden

From the Tygarts State Forest website:

​​​The state bought Tygarts State Forest in Carter County in 1957. In 2022, US Fish and Wildlife Service's Imperiled Bat Conservation Fund and Kentucky Natural Lands Trust provided support and funding to the division to acquire an additional 238 acres adjoining the original boundary. It is presently 1,184 acres in size and adjoins Carter Caves State Resort Park.



On Saturday, June 24, 2023, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Tygarts State Forest (K-4693) in Kentucky as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF; his wife Vickie; and their two small dogs were to spend Friday and Saturday nights in the Lewis Caveland Lodge at Carter Caves State Resort Park before continuing west to Lexington for the annual McFadden Family Reunion on Sunday. After getting settled into their room in the lodge, and after enjoying the dinner buffet at the Tierney Cavern Restaurant at the lodge, Eric performed a Late Shift activation of the adjacent Tygarts State Forest at the Ridgtop Trailhead. Eric was accompanied by little dog Theo.

After initially being badly misdirected by Google Maps, Eric arrived at the Ridgetop Trailhead's small parking area shortly before 0000 UTC. Eric parked his car along one side of the parking area and deployed his 28½' wire vertical on a 31' Jackite fiberglass telescoping mast supported on a drive-on base. Setting up his Elecraft KX3 on his folding camp-chair at the base of the mast, Eric was on the air at 0005 UTC.

Eric was pleased to find he had good cell-signal at this location 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 by consulting POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities and at 0007 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 40m with AB9CA at Morgan-Monroe State Forest (K-4215) in Indiana.

Finding himself a frequency to run on 40m, Eric began calling "CQ POTA" and was pleased to be auto-spotted on POTA Spots. His first QSO in this run came at 0010 UTC with his good friend K8RAT in north-central Ohio. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's twenty-fifth QSO in this run coming at 0033 UTC with K4ISW in Virginia. This run included QSOs with operators located in Ohio (2), Illinois (4), Pennsylvania (3), Michigan (2), South Carolina, Montana, New York, Florida, Ontario, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia (2), North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey, Kentucky, and Maine.

With daylight fading, Eric chose to finish his activation with twenty-six QSOs, all on 40m. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at five watts output.