by William Eric McFadden

Three Hundred Miles, Five Parks, and One Very Long Day — Park 4

From the forest's website:

The Memorial Forest Shrine is dedicated to the memory of more than 20,000 Ohio citizens killed in conflict since World War II. It is open 7 days a week from 8am-5pm and it is handicap accessible.

Hiking trails wind through the primitive and scenic areas of the forest and park. These trails lead to such attractions as Pine Run Creek, the Fire Tower and Clearfork Gorge.

An 8-mile snowmobile/mountain bike/bridle trail can be used during appropriate weather conditions.

Cross-country skiing, sledding and picnicking can also be enjoyed in and around the forest and park.

Ten back-country park and pack campsites are available on a first-come/first-served, self-registration basis.

A 24-plus-mile mountain biking trail loop offers riders a choice of two trailhead locations. One trailhead is located on State Route 3 across from Mohican State Park's Class A Campground. The other is located on ODNR Mohican Road 51, near the former Mohican Youth Camp.



On Saturday, June 8, 2019 two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team undertook an aggressive operation to activate five POTA units in central Ohio. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC, drove over 300 miles, encountered two state route road-closures, and were on the road for almost sixteen hours to visit and activate Alum Creek State Park (K-1933), Delaware State Park (K-1946), Mt. Gilead State Park (K-1979), Mohican-Memorial State Forest (K-5444), and Mohican State Park (K-1977) in central Ohio as part of the the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

After successful and easy operations at Alum Creek State Park, Delaware State Park, and Mt. Gilead State Park, the next stop was Mohican-Memorial State Forest, K-5444.

By this point in the five-unit ordeal, Eric and Miles were running about hour late. The pair arrived at the mountain bike / snowmobile trailhead parking area at about 2000 UTC. Eric quickly set up his MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass mast and his 28½' end-fed wire vertical with three 17' radials on a flat grassy area adjacent to the gravel parking lot, and he set up his KX3 on his folding camping chair's swing-up table. Eric was on the air at 2013 UTC.

Band conditions on 40, 30, and 20m had begun to deteriorate by this time as a solar storm began to strike the Earth and QSOs were more challenging to make at this location than they had been at the earlier activations of the day.

Eric started on 40m and five minutes of calling CQ finally resulted in a QSO at 2018 UTC with NC4M. Nine minutes on 40m gave Eric seven QSOs with the 7th QSO coming at 2029 UTC with N2ESE.

Eric switched to 20m but seven minutes of calling CQ failed to produce even a single QSO.

Switching to 30m produced a QSO with WA5KBH at 2044 UTC. Several minutes of calling CQ failed to produce any more QSOs on 30m.

Returning to 40m resulted in a QSO with WT4U at 2054 UTC, a QSO with W0ZAP at 2059 UTC, and an eleventh and final QSO at 2100 with W4WHF.

All Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level. Miles didn't operate but did most of the expedition photography, helped with set-up and tear-down, and helped with navigation.

In order for this set of five POTA activations to be eligible for the five-unit POTA Rapid Deployment (RaDAR) award, Eric and Miles chose to hike the mountain bike / snowmobile trail to their chosen location in the fifth and final park, Mohican State Park, a hiking distance of 1 kilometer. For this trek, Eric carried his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit backpack, with his newly-acquired and as-yet-untested Goture Red Fox Super Hard 720 carbon fiber mast carried in an external pocket on the backpack. Miles carried the folding camp chair, N2CX-inspired 20/30/40m wire vertical and feedline, and clipboard.