by William Eric McFadden

From the nature preserve's website:

Undoubtedly the most spectacular feature at Christmas Rocks is the scenic vista from the top of the formation known as Jacob’s Ladder. This Black Hand Sandstone formation towers some 250 feet above the valley of Arney Run.



The park sign -- click to enlarge On Sunday, September 19, 2021, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Following a successful activation of Shallenberger State Nature Preserve (link), Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, performed the activation of Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve at the trailhead parking area on Crooks Road. This was the first CW POTA activation of Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve.

Eric arrived at the parking area at 1530 UTC to find several cars already in the small parking lot. Parking as far away from any of these vehicles as he could, and remaining aware of the overhead power lines, Eric deployed his 28½' wire antenna on the 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on base. Having forgotten to bring his camp-chair, Eric set up the KX3 inside the car and was on the air at 1536 UTC.

The nearby Mink Hollow covered bridge -- click to enlarge Eric was pleased to find he had good cell-signal at the operating location and he was able to access POTA Spots (link) to spot himself to to check for park-to-park (P2P) QSO opportunities.

Eric began operations on 80m and his first QSO came at 1540 UTC with K8RAT in central Ohio. This was followed at 1540 UTC by a QSO with KC5F in North Carolina.

Pausing to check POTA Spots for P2P opportunities, at 1542 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 40m with K0BWR who was activating Hillsdale State Wildlife Area (K-7929) in Kansas.

Finding his own frequency on 40m, Eric had a nice run of thirteen QSOs in twenty-five minutes. This run included a P2P QSO at 1551 UTC with K3UQ who was activating Strider Wildlife Management Area (K-7733) in Maryland and a P2P QSO at 1602 UTC with N4UCM who was activating Rib Mountain State Park (K-1473) in Wisconsin.

In all, Eric made fourteen QSOs in about thirty-two minutes. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made with five watts output.