by William Eric McFadden

From the Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve website:

This nature preserve is one of the best sites in Ohio for viewing spring wildflowers. Especially notable are the spectacular displays of marsh marigolds in April. Later in May the forest floor is blanketed with an outstanding diversity of spring wildflowers including trilliums, violets, Dutchman's breeches, jack-in-the-pulpit, spring beauty and phlox. The woodlands support a variety of nesting birds including Red-headed Woodpecker, Ovenbird, Redstart and Scarlet Tanager. This is one of the few areas in north central Ohio where one can still hear the haunting song of the Veery. The preserve has a wheelchair accessible boardwalk. The site also features parking lot and observation deck. Spring and fall are the best times to visit Fowler Woods to avoid biting insects.



On Saturday, July 8, 2023, two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve (K-9407) in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Following a fun and successful morning spent at the Mansfield Mid*Summer Trunkfest and a successful, if damp, activation of Willard Wildlife Area (link), Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC, visited the Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve.

Arriving at the parking area on Olivesburg-Fitchville Road at about 2110 UTC, Eric and Miles began walking the lovely boardwalk into the forest, hoping to find a suitable wide space in which to set up the station, but were immediately dissuaded by the hordes of mosquitoes hiding in the forest.

Returning to the parking lot, Eric chose to set up his station in the sunshine, in the hope that bright sunshine would reduce the number of mosquitoes. He and Miles strapped the 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast to a conveniently-located gatepost and deployed the 28½' end-fed wire as a vertical on the mast, laying the three 17' counterpoise wires directly on the ground. Placing his Elecraft KX3 on the swing-up table of his folding camp-chair beneath the mast, Eric was on the air at 2121 UTC.

Eric was pleased to find he had good cell-signal at this location and would be able to spot himself on the POTA Spots website and to use POTA Spots to identify possible Park-to-Park (P2P) QSOs. Eric was not so pleased by the very loud noise of traffic on the chip-and-seal road just a few feet behind him.

Eric began his operation on 20m by finding himself a frequency to run and calling "CQ POTA", and was pleased to be quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. His first QSO came at 2133 UTC with N4WN in Florida. Despite deteriorating band conditions, QSOs came steadily, with Eric's eleventh QSO coming at 2152 UTC with W7PQ in Utah. This run included a QSO with EB5AO in Spain and with operators located in Florida (2), Minnesota (2), Texas (2), Massachusetts, Kansas, Idaho, and Utah. The deteriorating band conditions led Eric to give signal reports of 229 and 119 during his last five QSOs in this run. Also, during this run, the threat of rain meant Eric had to keep handy his raincoat and a plastic sheet to protect his KX3.

Switching to 40m, Eric found himself a frequency to run and began calling "CQ POTA", and was again quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. His first and only QSO in this run came at 2157 UTC with KA3WGF in Pennsylvania.

In all, Eric made twelve QSOs in twenty-four minutes. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made at five watts output.

Miles did not operate but helped with station set-up and tear-down and he did most of the activation photography.