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 park sign and Eric's station On Friday, March 25, 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 a successful activation of Muskingum River State Park at Beverly Lock #4 (link), Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, visited Desonier State Nature Preserve on a cold, blustery, overcast day, arriving at about 1800 UTC. Eric was accompanied by the small dogs, Mindy and Theo. This was the fifth CW POTA activation of Desonier State Nature Preserve, with all the previous CW activations having also been performed by Eric.

Upon arrival, Eric found the parking area to unoccupied. Eric parked and quickly deployed his 28½' wire vertical on a Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Because of the cold and wind, Eric mounted his KX3 inside the car and was on the air at 1806 UTC.

Oak Ridge Trail south to High Ridge Trail trailhead 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.

Eric began operations on 40m by finding himself a frequency to run, calling "CQ POTA", and spotting himself to POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO came at 1809 UTCm with KC9IL in Illinois. QSOs initially came briskly before QSOs stopped coming altogether, with Eric's ninth QSO coming at 1819 UTC with N4RKK in Florida. The run on 40m included a nice P2P QSO with Eric's friend K4SWL who was performing a two-fer activation of Rendezvous Mountain State Game Land (K-6941) and Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest (K-4859) in North Carolina and QSOs with operators located in Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan (2), Alabama, Ontario, Ohio, and Florida.

Being slightly disappointed 40m didn't deliver enough QSOs to validate his activation, Eric checked POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities and at 1829 UTC he completed a P2P QSO 20m with W5RST who was activating American Horse State Fishing Lake (K-7685) in Oklahoma.

Switching to 20m, Eric began calling "CQ POTA" and spotted himself to POTA Spots. Several minutes of calling resulted in only a single QSO, at 1834 UTC, with KB2IOF in Texas.

Returning to POTA Spots to check for P2P QSO opportunities, at 1842 UTC Eric completed a P2P QSO on 40m with KE4EA who was activating Croft State Park (K-2891) in South Carolina.

Eric finished his operation on 30m, where he made two QSOs. At 1845 UTC he made a QSO with K9VER in Wisconsin, and at 1846 UTC he made a QSO with N4DPM in Florida.

In all, Eric made fourteen QSOs, including four P2P QSOs. All of Eric's QSOs were CW.

Following the activation, Eric walked a short distance down the Oak Ridge Trail to the north, leaving the dogs in the car because pets aren't allowed in Ohio State Nature Preserves.