by William Eric McFadden

From the wildlife area's website:

Fallsville Wildlife Area is a 1,785-acre state wildlife area located 7 miles north of Hillsboro. The property is in Highland county.



The park sign On Monday, April 10, 2023, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team performed a successful activation of Fallsville Wildlife Area in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

On the way home from a trip to Wilmingon, Ohio, to have 2m repeater cavities aligned, Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, stopped at the Fallsville Wildlife Area to perform his activation. Because it was already mid-afternoon, because he wanted to perform two additional activations after this one, and because the drive home would take over two hours, Eric planned to make this a very quick activation.

Arriving at the Careytown Road access point at about 1915 UTC, Eric first walked his little dog Theo, after which he set up his 28½' wire vertical on his Jackite 31' telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on mount. Because of his desire to make this a very quick activation, and despite the weather being perfect for an al fresco operation, Eric chose to set up his Elecraft KX3 inside the car. Eric was on the air at 1926 UTC.

Eric's station Eric was pleased to find that he had good cell-signal at this location and that he would be 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 finding a clear frequency to run on 40m and calling "CQ POTA", and he was pleased to be quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO came at 1929 UTC with VE3OT in Ontario. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's twelfth QSO coming at 1940 UTC with KB3AAY in Maryland. This run included a P2P QSO with VA3DXP who was activating Shirleys Bay Conservation Reserve (VE-1621) in Ontario, and QSOs with operators located in Ontario (2), Georgia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina, Connecticutt, Michigan, South Carolina, Illinois, New York, and Maryland.

Having validated his activation by making more than the minimum of ten QSOs, Eric chose to end his operation without trying any other bands and without hunting for P2P QSOs.

In all, Eric made twelve QSOs, including one P2P QSO, in fourteen minutes of on-air time. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made with five watts output.

While tearing down the station, Eric noticed the sound of running water and remembered from his research about the park that a small waterfall was within easy walking distance of this trailhead. He decided that seeing the waterfall would be well worth a few minutes of time, so he and Theo walked the short distance on the sometimes rough and sometimes muddy trail to find the waterfall.