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.



Eric's station On Easter Sunday, April 17, 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.

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, visited Desonier State Nature Preserve on a beautiful but slightly chilly day, arriving at about 1420 UTC. Eric was accompanied by his small dog, Theo. This was the sixth CW POTA activation of Desonier State Nature Preserve, with all the previous CW activations having also been performed by Eric.

Upon arrival, Eric parked away from the other vehicles in the parking area and quickly deployed his 28½' wire vertical on a Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Because of the cold temperature, Eric mounted his KX3 inside the car and was on the air at 1434 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.

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 1437 UTC with KZ4KX in Kentucky. QSOs came quickly on 40m, with Eric's eleventh QSO coming at 1448 UTC with W8EWH in Michigan. This run included QSOs with operators located in Kentucky (2), Wisconsin (2), Virginia, Illinois, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina (2), and Michigan.

Pausing to check POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities, at 1450 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 40m with WG8X who was activating West Branch State Park (K-1999) in Ohio. This was followed at 1456 UTC by a P2P QSO on 40m with KD3D who was activating PA 161 State Game Land (K-8859) in Pennsylvania.

Returning to 40m to run a frequency, Eric's first QSO in this run came at 1458 UTC with his good friend K4SWL in western North Carolina who was playing with a Penntek TR-35 transceiver. This was followed at 1458 UTC by a QSO with WA4RCW in Tennessee, at 1459 UTC by a QSO with WA3GM in Pennsylvania, and at 1500 UTC by a QSO with AD8EV in Ohio.

Switching to 20m, Eric found a frequency to run, began calling "CQ POTA", and updated his spot on POTA Spots. His first QSO on 20m came at 1506 UTC with N1HN in Maine. This was followed at 1507 UTC by a QSO with W5WMQ in Kansas, and at 1509 UTC by a QSO with WA5IEK in Mississippi. During this run, Eric struggled to finally copy the callsign of HA9RE in Hungary but then the band changed and Eric wasn't able to complete the QSO.

Switching to 30m, Eric found a frequency to run, began calling "CQ POTA", and updated his spot on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO on 30m came at 1518 UTC with N2ESE in Vermont. This was followed at 1520 UTC by a QSO with W1VKE in Massachussets and at 1521 UTC with NN9K in Illinois.

Eric finished his activation by texting his good friend K8RAT in central Ohio to meet him on 80m and at 1526 UTC the QSO was successfully completed.

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

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