by William Eric McFadden

From the wildlife area's website:

The center of Dillon Wildlife Area lies 10 miles northwest of Zanesville and 15 miles east of Newark along State Route 146. The area lies along the Licking River and the upper portion of Dillon Reservoir. Dillon is a flood control reservoir and most of the land base is characterized by broad, terraced floodplains, which are frequently flooded during the late winter and spring.



Eric's station On Saturday, November 27, 2021, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Dillon Wildlife Area in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, visited Dillon Wildlife Area at the Canal Lock Trail trailhead on a very winter-like, gray, dreary, and cold late-Fall afternoon. Eric was accompanied by his wife Vickie, KC8MAJ, and the two small dogs, Mindy and Theo.

Eric, Vickie, Mindy, and Theo arrived at the Canal Lock Trail trailhead at 2050 UTC to find the muddy parking area to be unoccupied. While Vickie explored the area with Theo and Mindy dogs, Eric quickly deployed his 28½' wire antenna on the 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on base. Eric set up the KX3 inside the car and was on the air at 2100 UTC.

Bridge Trestles Eric was pleased to find he had very good cell-signal at his location and was able to spot himself on POTA Spots (link) and to use POTA Spots to look for park-to-park (P2P) opportunities. (However, partway through the activation, Eric's inexpensive Android smartphone stopped sending text, texts getting stuck in "Sending" mode, and Eric had to resort to email to notify his friends K8RAT and K4SWL of his band-changes.)

Because this was the weekend of CQ Worldwide CW Contest, Eric had decided to concentrate his efforts on the contest-free WARC bands—in particular, on 60 and 30m.

Because it wasn't yet dark and contest activity wouldn't be strong on 80m, Eric began operations on 80m in order to give his friend K8RAT in central Ohio an opportunity to work the park. Eric's first and only QSO on 80m came at 2102 UTC with W8TAM in Michigan.

Pausing to check POTA Spots for P2P opportunities, at 2106 UTC Eric made a P2P QSO on 30m with NJ0Q who was activating Rice Lake State Park (K-2516) in Minnesota.

Finding a frequency on 60m, Eric's first QSO there came at 2109 UTC with his friend K4SWL in North Carolina. QSOs on 60m came quickly, with Eric's ninth QSO on the band coming at 2120 UTC with AA8IK in Michigan.

Switching to 30m at 2121 UTC, Eric's first QSO there came at 2125 UTC with N4OW in Florida. QSOs on 30m came quickly, with Eric's sixth QSO on the band coming at 2128 UTC with KO4KCB in Georgia.

In all, Eric made seventeen QSOs in about twenty-eight minutes. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made with five watts output.