by William Eric McFadden

From the wildlife area's website:

...the 379-acre Wildlife Area is a combination of fields, rolling hills, pine stands, and hardwoods. A beautiful eight-acre lake is located in the center of the area. The lake is 29 feet at its deepest point with an average depth of 13 to 14 feet.



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, and after performing a successful activation of Fallsville Wildlife Area (link), Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, stopped at the Fallsville South Wildlife Area to perform his activation. Because it was already mid-afternoon, because he hoped to perform a third activation following this one, and because the drive home would take over two hours, Eric planned to make this a very quick activation.

Arriving at the West Lane access point at about 2015 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 2020 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.

Finding himself a clear frequency on 40m, Eric began calling "CQ POTA" and was pleased to be quickly auto-spotted to POTA Spots. His first QSO came at 2022 UTC with his friend K4SWL in western North Carolina. Since his previous activation of the day had been entirely on 40m, Eric wanted to try other bands for this park.

Switching to 20m, Eric found a clear frequency, began calling "CQ POTA", and manually updated his spot on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO on 20m came at 2026 UTC with W8LEO in Texas. This was followed at 2027 UTC by a P2P QSO with WA7RAR who was activating TouVelle State Park State Recreation Area (K-9152) in Oregon. After these two QSOs, Eric's calls went unanswered.

Switching back to 40m, Eric found a clear frequency, began calling "CQ POTA", and was pleased to be quickly auto-spotted on POTA Spots. Eric's first QSO in this run came at 2032 UTC with WS4S in Tennessee. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's seventh QSO in this run coming at 2037 UTC with VA3NQ in Ontario. This run included a P2P QSO with K0BXB who was activating Richard Bong State Recreation Area (K-4265) in Wisconsin and QSOs with operators located in Tennessee, Michigan (2), Ontario (2), Wisconsin, and New Jersey. Eric noticed that signals he was hearing in this run on 40m were quite a bit weaker than signals on 40m had been at Fallsville Wildlife Area less than hour previously.

Switching to 30m, Eric made a single QSO, at 2043 UTC with AA5UZ in Louisiana.

Eric finished out his activation by checking POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities, and at 2048 UTC he made a P2P QSO on 20m with KK6KSD who was activating Pixley National Wildlife Refuge (K-0204) in California.

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