by William Eric McFadden

From the Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve website:

Conkles Hollow is one of the most spectacular features within the Hocking Hills region. Its sheer cliffs of Black Hand sandstone rise nearly 200 feet above the valley floor. The deep, cool gorge, which is only 100 feet wide in places and is considered by some to be the deepest in Ohio, has numerous waterfalls cascading over its sandstone cliffs. The cliff tops with their magnificent overlooks and the quiet gorge beneath offer visitors an opportunity to explore different habitats, each with its own unique plant and animal communities.

From the Hocking State Forest website:

Hocking State Forest features 9,815 beautiful acres in Hocking County, including 59 miles of hiking on three trails, 40 miles of bridle trails, 23 horse campsites, a rockclimbing and rappelling area, and a fire tower.


On Saturday, November 6, 2021, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed successful simultaneous activations of Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve (K-9400) and Hocking State Forest (K-5442) in Ohio. Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, performed the two-fer activations at the Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve parking area on Big Pine Road just as nightfall was arriving while enroute home after spending the day driving around Columbus. Eric was accompanied by his wife Vickie and their two dogs, Mindy and Theo.

Eric, Vickie, and the dogs arrived at the Conkles Hollow SNP parking area at about 2235 UTC. Enough light remained for Eric to ensure that his chosen operating location had no overhead power lines, and Eric quickly set up his 28½' wire vertical on his Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Because of the rapidly approaching darkness and the rapidly dropping temperature, Eric set up his KX3 inside his car. Eric was on the air at 2242 UTC.

Because Eric had anticipated having no cell-signal at the Conkles Hollow SNP parking area, he had arranged to have his friends K8RAT and K4SWL watch the Reverse Beacon Network (RBN, link) and spot him to POTA Spots (link) when they saw him appear on RBN. In fact, Eric discovered he had just enough cell-signal to allow him to exchange texts with his friends but not access POTA Spots to spot himself or to look for possible park-to-park (P2P) QSOs.

Eric began operations on 80m and, perhaps because of the darkness then covering the eastern portion of North America, he was able to valide his activation entirely on 80m. Eric's first QSO came almost immediately at 2243 UTC with his friend K8RAT in north-central Ohio. This was followed at 2244 UTC by a QSO with his friend K4SWL in western North Carolina. QSOs on 80m came quickly, with Eric's fourteenth QSO coming at 2303 UTC with NN3E in Maryland. In this run, QSOs were made with stations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Tennessee, Massechusetts, Wisconsin, New York, and North Carolina in the United States and Ontario in Canada.

Because of the then-complete darkness and his suspicion that the park closes at dusk, Eric ceased operations following his 2303 UTC QSO. (In fact, the park is open ½-hour before sunrise to ½-hour after sunset, so he probably quit and tore down his station at exactly the right time.)

In all, Eric made fourteen QSOs, all on 80m. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at the 5-watt level. Because of the rapid fall of darkness, Eric was able to make no photographs of his activation.