by William Eric McFadden

From the nature preserve's website:

This 491-acre preserve encompasses a variety of habitats typical of Appalachian Ohio. The area is diverse in vegetation and ranges from various successional stages to mature forests in the deep ravines and on the steep hillsides. The area is dissected by Jordan Run, a tributary of the Hocking River, and has steep topography, varying from 680 to 900 feet in elevation. Large beech and oak trees are found in the cool moist ravines while the drier uplands are dominated by oak hickory forests, typical of the region.

Due to the diversity of the landscape, a large variety of ferns and wildflowers abound. Some of the more interesting plants include weak aster, green adder's-mouth orchid and Virginia meadow-beauty. Mistletoe, a parasitic plant on trees, has also been reported from this preserve. The most notable landscape feature is a large pond created by beaver, complete with many trees bearing the marks of these industrious animals and a stick-built den. The pond, which stretches for several acres, draws a variety of migratory waterfowl.

The preserve was a gift of Henry I. Stein, who gave the area to the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves in 1974 as a memorial to his sister, Marie J. Desonier.



The Desonier State Nature Preserve sign and parking area On Friday, March 11, 2022, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Desonier State Nature Preserve in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Following successful activations of Muskingum River State Park (link) and Blennerhassett Island State Park (link), Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, visited Desonier State Nature Preserve on a beautiful but gusty late-Winter afternoon, arriving at about 1915 UTC. Eric was accompanied by his small dog, Theo. Because Ohio forbids pets at all State Nature Preserves, Theo was kept on-leash and was not taken beyond the parking area. This was the third POTA CW activation of Desonier State Nature Preserve, the first and second being Eric's activations on August 19, 2019 (link) and February 27, 2022 (link).

Oak Ridge Trail trailhead Upon arrival, Eric unexpectedly found that fellow SEORAT member Jeff Slattery, N8SUZ, was just starting his own activation of Desonier State Nature Preserve. Eric parked as far away from Jeff's station as he could in the small parking area in hopes of minimizing interaction between the two stations. Eric quickly deployed his tried-and-true 28½' wire vertical on a Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Eric set up his KX3 inside the car and was on the air at 1923 UTC.

As he had expected, Eric found he had good cell-signal at this location, and he was able to spot himself to POTA Spots (link) and to use POTA Spots to identify possible park-to-park (P2P) QSO opportunities.

Because Jeff was operating on 40m, Eric chose to start his operation on the not-harmonically-related 30m band. Finding himself a frequency to run on 30m, Eric spotted himself on POTA Spots and began calling "CQ POTA", pleased that he wasn't hearing Jeff's 100w 40m SSB signal at all in his KX3's receiver. Eric's first QSO came at 1926 UTC with AB4KN in Georgia. QSOs came briskly, with Eric's eighteenth QSO coming at 1944 UTC with AI5P in Colorado. This run included QSOs with operators located in Georgia (2), Tennessee (2), Minnesota, Illinois (2), Connecticut, Wisconsin, Missouri, Alabama, New York, North Carolina, Maine, New Hampshire, Michigan (2), and Colorado.

Theo, the little CW dog Switching to 20m, Eric found himself a frequency to run, spotted himself on POTA Spots, and began calling "CQ POTA". Eric's first QSO on 20m came at 1949 UTC with W5ODS in Oklahoma. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's seventh QSO in this run coming at 1955 UTC with VA2YZX in Quebec. This run included QSOs with operators located in Oklahoma (2), Colorado (2), Florida, Michigan, and Quebec. During this run, Jeff completed his own activation, tore down his station, and headed back to his home QTH in Athens. As on 30m, during this run, Eric heard no sign of Jeff operating his 100w station only about 50' away.

To finish his activation, Eric checked POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities. At 1957 UTC, he made a P2P QSO on 30m with KD1JT who was activating Stratton Brook State Park (K-1721) in Connecticut. This was followed at 1959 UTC by a P2P QSO on 40m with WA4RXO who was activating Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (K-3844) in North Carolina.

In all, Eric made twenty-seven QSOs, including two P2P QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made with five watts output.