by William Eric McFadden


Several members of the Southeast Ohio Radio Adventure Team and the Athens County Amateur Radio Association (link) succeeded in qualifying Sailing Club Island (OH-065L) in Charles Mill Lake in northeastern Ohio as part of the U.S. Islands Award Program (link). Team-lead and ship-captain Jeff Slattery, N8SUZ was joined by Eric McFadden, WD8RIF and Miles McFadden, KD8KNC for the qualification attempt.

Jeff owns a lovely cabin on the banks of Charles Mill Lake in northeastern Ohio and he has registered nine islands on Charles Mill Lake with the U.S. Islands Award Program. Conveniently, Jeff also owns a 24' Grumman Fun Ship pontoon boat, the perfect platform for island operations on a placid lake.

For a July, 2016 attempt at a multiple-qualification, Jeff invited Eric and Miles for a weekend at the cabin. Unfortunately, Jeff had left his go-to portable antenna and feedline at home in Athens, Ohio. Fortunately, Eric had with him his Enhanced KX3 Travel Kit and MFJ-1910 33' fiberglass mast and tripod. The mast, tripod, and 28' end-fed wire with three radials worked perfectly for the qualifications.

Following the morning's successful qualification of Little Eagle Island (OH-058L) (report), Jeff directed the boat to Sailing Club Island (OH-065) where a nice landing was found. Sailing Club Island isn't very high, so Jeff decided to deploy the station right on the landing.

While Eric and Miles went through the well-rehearsed steps to erect the fiberglass mast, pull up the 28' wire vertical, and to deploy the radials, Jeff assembled the rest of the station: an ICOM IC-706MkIIG transceiver, an LDG autotuner, and the large marine battery.

For the U.S. Islands Award Program, to qualify an island, one must use one callsign to make at least twenty-five QSOs with stations in at least two DXCC entities. With the help of Ted Jacobson, W8KVK and Mike Hansgen, K8RAT providing spotting-support, Jeff was able to make forty QSOs in the U.S. and Canada in just about an hour and forty-five minutes. 40m SSB was good for 39 stateside QSOs. In order to get the second DXCC entity, in this case a station in Ontario, Canada, Jeff had to QSY to 80m SSB.

Eric, being primarily a CW operator, was content to log. Miles also did not operate but helped with set-up and tear-down, carrying gear, tying and untying the boat, and poling the boat away from the shore.