by William Eric McFadden

From the forest's website:

The 27,822-acre Zaleski State Forest is the second largest forest in Ohio's system of state forests.

Zaleski State Forest operates the only state-owned sawmill in Ohio. The mill produces rough sawn lumber for use by Ohio’s state forests and state parks as well as other government agencies.

Historic Moonville Tunnel is located within Zaleski State Forest on the Moonville Rail Trail right-of-way.



Eric's station On Saturday, April 1, 2023, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Zaleski State Forest in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

For Athens County Amateur Radio Association (link) support of the annual Iron Furnace Trail Run (IFTR), Eric, was assigned to an aid station within Zaleski State Forest. Eric was assisted at this location by his son Miles, KD8KNC, and Tony Peric, KE8VFA.

After Eric and Miles set up the 2m station for IFTR-comms, and well before the first runners were due to arrive at the aid station, Eric decided to attempt to perform a quickie POTA activation of Zaleski State Forest. Quickly setting up his 28½' wire vertical on his 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast on a drive-on base, Eric set up his KX3 inside the car (because of the mud at the site following a day and night of rain), and was on the air at 1316 UTC.

As he had expected he would, Eric found he had no cell signal at this location and would be unable to spot himself on POTA spots or check POTA Spots for park-to-park (P2P) QSO opportunities. Anticipating this, Eric had previously announced his tentative activation on POTA Spots in the hopes that he would be auto-spotted to POTA Spots once he began calling CQ.

For this activation, Eric chose not to wear headphones so that Tony could follow the action. Tony's current living situation precludes a home HF station and is keen to put together a portable station. He has been been following Thomas Witherspoon's blog-posts at (link) and Youtube channel (link) and is almost ready to purchase a transceiver.

Finding himself a clear frequency on 20m, Eric began calling "CQ POTA". After several minutes of calling, Eric's first QSO came at 1322 UTC with KD1CT in New Hampshire. His second QSO came at 1325 UTC with K7TAF in Florida. Thereafter, QSOs came steadily enough that Eric was confident he had been spotted to POTA Spots. Eric's fourteenth and final QSO came at 1339 UTC with WI1G in Massachusetts. This run included a P2P QSO with N4CD who was activating Spring Creek Forest State Preserve (K-4423) in Texas and QSOs with operators located in New Hampshire, Florida (3), Texas, Massachusetts (3), Kansas (2), Idaho, Arkansas, Michigan, and Minnesota.

By this time, the aid station volunteers had arrived and had completed set up of the aid station, and the first runner was almost due, so Eric decided to end his activation with these fourteen QSOs.

In all, Eric made fourteen QSOs in twenty-three minutes. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level.

Eric also submitted his log to the World Wide Flora and Fauna in Amateur Radio (WWFF; link) program for KFF-5007.