by William Eric McFadden

From the wildlife area's website:

Turkey Ridge provides access to Raccoon Creek allowing angling opportunities for largemouth bass, bullhead catfish, and bluegill. The major game species are cottontail rabbit, white-tailed deer, turkey, ruffed grouse, and squirrel. Most all furbearers common to the region also occur on the area. A variety of songbirds, reptiles, and amphibians also live on the area in association with the mixture of habitat types.



Eric's station on Bolster Hollow Road On Saturday, April 16, 2022, one member of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team (SEORAT) performed a successful activation of Turkey Ridge Wildlife Area in Ohio as part of the Parks on the Air (POTA; link) program.

Eric McFadden, WD8RIF, visited Turkey Ridge Wildlife Area on Bolster Hollow Road on a quickly warming but overcast Spring day following a trip to McArthur to attend a Vinton County Amateur Radio Club meeting. This was the third CW POTA activation of Turkey Ridge Wildlife Area, the first two being Eric's prior activations of this unit. As at his previous activations of this unit, Eric chose to perform this activation on Bolster Hollow Road, a road formerly used as an SCCA Pro Rally stage road in the Sunriser 400 Pro Rally. Eric was accompanied in-caravan by Kirk Groeneveld, KC8JRV, who had also attended the Vinton County meeting and had expressed a desire to see how Eric deployed his station.

unidentified tiny flowers Eric and Kirk arrived at the operating location on Bolster Hollow Road at about 1500 UTC. Eric quickly deployed the 28½' wire antenna on the 31' Jackite telescoping fiberglass mast and drive-on base and, because of the threat of rain, set up the KX3 inside the car. After seeing how Eric deployed his station, Kirk had to depart. Eric was on the air at 1508 UTC.

As at his previous activations of this unit, Eric had only minimal cell-signal at the operating location, enough to send text-messages but not to reliably spot himself on POTA Spots (link) but he could, with patience, use POTA Spots to look for park-to-park (P2P) opportunities.

Eric began operations by consulting POTA Spots for P2P QSO opportunities and succeeded in making three P2P QSOs on 20m. His first QSO came at 1509 UTC with K4NYM who was activating Rock Springs Run State Park (K-3650) in Florida. His second QSO came at 1513 UTC with KF8IV who was activating Sheldon Lake State Park (K-3056) in Texas. His third QSO came at 1516 UTC with N4CD who was activating Flanagan Lake State Park (K-5656) in Nebraska.

The coffee cup found last time remains, but in a different location Finding a frequency to run on 40m, Eric began calling "CQ POTA" and managed to successfully spot himself on POTA Spots. His first QSO in this run came at 1523 UTC with WA4RCW in Tennessee. QSOs came quickly, with Eric's tenth QSO in this run coming at 1532 UTC with K4CAE in South Carolina. This run included a QSO with Eric's good friend K8RAT in central Ohio and QSOs with operators located in Tennessee, Ohio (2), Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

Switching to 20m, Eric found a frequency to run, began calling "CQ POTA", and had to resort to asking his friend K8RAT via text to update his spot to show the new frequency. Eric's first QSO in this run came at 1536 UTC with KC1MXB in Maine. QSOs came steadily, with Eric's eleventh QSO in this run coming at 1549 UTC with KB4VU in Florida. This run included a P2P QSO with K0BWR who was activating Pomona State Park (K-2348) in Kansas; a P2P QSO with KB4VU who was activating Estero Bay Preserve State Park (K-3617) in Florida; a challenging QSO with NA6MG who was performing a Summits on the Air activation; and QSOs with operators located in Maine, Oklahoma (2), California, Kansas (2), Florida (3), and Utah.

Eric finished his activation by checking POTA Spots again for P2P QSO opportunities and at 1554 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 20m with W6KSR who was activating Silver Strand State Beach (K-3568) in California, at 1557 UTC he completed a P2P QSO on 40m with KU8T who was activating Kil-So-Quah State Recreation Area (K-5683) in Indiana, and at 1601 UTC he completed a challenging P2P QSO on 20m with KA6TVX who was activating San Buenaventura State Beach (K-3553) in California.

In all, Eric made twenty-seven QSOs in about an hour. All of Eric's QSOs were CW and were made with five watts output.