by William Eric McFadden

From the nature preserve's website:

Rockbridge's natural arch or bridge is more than 100 feet long and 10 to 20 feet wide, and gracefully arches 50 feet across a ravine. It is considered the largest natural bridge in Ohio.



Eric's station -- click to enlarge On Saturday, February 12, 2022, two members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Rockbridge State Nature Preserve in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC, stopped at Rockbridge State Nature Preserve while enroute to Lancaster and Columbus on a cold, gray day, arriving at the nature preserve at about 1645 UTC. They were accompanied by little dogs Theo and Mindy. Eric and Miles set up the 28½' wire vertical on a Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount and set up Eric's KX3 inside the car. Eric was on the air at 1653 UTC.

Eric operating -- click to enlarge As at his previous activation of this park, Eric had good cell-signal at this location and he was able to spot himself on POTA Spots (link) and to use POTA Spots to identify possible park-to-park (P2P) QSO opportunities.

Eric began his operation by using POTA Spots to identify possible P2P QSO opportunities but no P2P QSOs were made at this time.

Eric found himself a frequency to run on 40m and began calling "CQ POTA". Eric's first QSO in this run came at 1657 UTC with his friend K8RAT in central Ohio. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's fifteenth QSO in this run coming at 1714 UTC with WA3TVH in Pennsylvania. This run included QSOs with operators in Ohio, Louisiana, Minnesota, Michigan (2), Pennsylvania (4), Wisconsin, Maryland, Kentucky, and New Jersey (2).

Little dogs Theo and Mindy -- click to enlarge Eric ended his operation by checking POTA Spots again for P2P QSO opportunities. At 1718 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 40m with WW4N who was activating Manhattan Project (Oak Ridge) National Historical Park (K-4376) in Tennessee. At 1724 UTC, he made a P2P QSO with VE2VIA who was activating Parc de la Riviere-du-Moulin Regional Park (VE-0973) in Quebec. Finally, at 1729 UTC, he made a P2P QSO on 20m with K0BWR who was activating Lovewell State Wildlife Area (K-7934) in Kansas.

In all, Eric made eighteen QSOs, including three P2P QSOs, in thirty-six minutes. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made with five watts output. Eric noticed that many of the signal strength reports he gave out during this activation were lower than at his recent activations at other southern Ohio parks. Several of the signal strength reports he received were lower than usual, too.

Miles did not operate but helped with set-up and tear-down, walked the little dogs, and did all of the activation photography.