The POTA Babe Goes Fishing (Sort of)

Parks on the Air offers a diversity of properties. In addition to those that commonly come to mind like state parks, forests, and national wildlife refuges, there are wildlife management areas (WMA) about which I’ve written and fishing lakes. This past week the POTA Babe visited Evans County Fishing Lake (K-7464) here in Georgia.

Source: Google Maps

The drive to the property was pleasant and relatively quick. On the way, I drove through the town of Pembroke. According to Wikipedia, this small community was a railroad town and turpentine shipping center and named after an early resident, Pembroke Whitfield Williams.

I took to heart Thomas’ advice in his recent post “Building Positive Park Relations” and contacted the office managing the property before my visit. I spoke with an employee who confirmed they had no problem with me putting a temporary antenna in a tree at any of the properties that district office manages. I also made a point to introduce myself to the DNR employee on site when I arrived. As soon as I said the words “ham radio operator”, he responded that they love having ham radio folks on the property! (Kudos to all those who have activated there before and were good ambassadors for our hobby.)

park office

Fisherman enjoying the gorgeous day

As I did for the Hiltonia WMA activation, I checked the satellite view of the property on Google Maps beforehand. There are three lakes with Bidd Sands Lake being the largest. (Bidd Sands is named after a beloved member of the local community who gave his life in Vietnam  in support of the men he was leading.) At the east end of the lake is a dyke. That seemed a great place to set up, partially because of the openness but also I was likely to not be in anyone’s way.

Source: Google Maps
Close-up view of the dyke. Source: Google Maps

It was still rather chilly despite the sunny sky overhead so I chose to operate from the car rather than set up my Helinox chair and be out in the open. At the end of the dyke was a large oak tree just begging for the Tufteln EFRW antenna. I had the new Chelegance MC-750 with me but I’ve grown partial to putting antennas in trees. I love the flexibility of effortlessly changing from one band to the other without adjusting a whip and/or counterpoise as you have to do with a vertical.

Bidd Sands Lake looking back toward the office

After a few throws, the antenna was hoisted and Daisy and I comfortably seated in the car. The activation proceeded slower than usual. Over the course of forty-five minutes, I received four callers on 40 meters, fifteen on 20 meters, and three on 17 meters. At this point, I decided to hunt other activators.

I had the privilege of working Randy N5ILQ in Oklahoma, John AC5K in Missouri, and Douglas WT2X in New York. There were others I hunted but either couldn’t hear well enough or could not break through their pile-up due to my QRP signal.


Evans County Fishing Lake QSO Map 2-21-24 Source:

After noting myself as QRT on the POTA site, I packed up my equipment and kept my commitment to Daisy for a quick walk. Unbeknownst to me, I chose a location next to a short nature trail which meandered through the woods where Little Bull Creek flows gently out from under the lake’s dyke. Walking there reminded me of places along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Ready for a walk in the woods

The little bridge under which the creek flowed would be a wonderful spot to spend a few moments lost in one’s thoughts. I stood there marveling at how blessed I am to do this – to be outside on a weekday with my POTA pup, have a quick QSO with ops from all over the nation, and soak in the pretty surroundings. Sigh.

However, before I knew it, the real world beckoned for my return and we loaded up for the drive back to Chatham County. Park #17 was in the bag. I had already picked out #18 for my next activation – Spirit Creek Educational State Forest (K-4654).  How would that go? Stay tuned…

Equipment Used

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18 thoughts on “The POTA Babe Goes Fishing (Sort of)”

  1. Hi Teri, Doing well on your quest to activate 60 new to you sites. Having a goal like yours really makes ham radio a fun and exciting hobby. POTA has changed Ham Radio back into a fun activity that includes experimenting with different antennas, trying out different QRP Transceivers, looking for nice places to visit, meeting new people, being a good ambassitor for ham radio. And being the “POTA Babe” doesn’t hurt either hihi.
    As always, looking forward to your next installment.
    73 de NG9T dit dit

    1. Gary:

      Yes, POTA has been a wonderful addition to our hobby. When I have a goal, I tend to sink my teeth into it and this goal of 60 new-to-me parks is no exception! I never set out to become the POTA Babe but it certainly is fun! Thank you for your comment and I hope to keep the next installments coming.

      Teri KO4WFP

  2. I like the noodle idea for the window!!! Up here in New England, when its too cold to be out in the elements, I operate from the front seat, and leave a rear window cracked open. The downside is, of course, when its very cold-I am never warm! I am going to keep that idea in my mental notepad!!!

    1. William:

      Glad you discovered a tidbit here that will help you on your activations. This is the beauty of ham radio – hams are always helping one another out, whether with a QSO, equipment, or hacks! Keep having fun on the air!

      Teri KO4WFP

  3. Thanks for publishing your POTA outing Teri…and so welcome to see a lake dedicated to a Viet Nam veteran…

    Interesting portable equipment. Do you have a preferred portable rig and antenna setup?

    73 Steve

    1. Steve:

      In the field I use my KX2 nicknamed Craig. That is the only rig I use in the field now. As for an antenna, I use the Tufteln EFRW antenna. I love being able to change between bands “effortlessly”. I also have an AX1 which I don’t use much and just added the Chelegance MC-750 to my kit for another verticle. I anticipate I’ll use the Chelegance more when I encounter parks (especially on my summer POTA trip) that do not allow antennas in the trees or spikes in the ground. (I purchased the tripod attachment for the Chelegance in anticipate of that restriction.)

      Teri KO4WFP

  4. Thanks for the great field report Teri! Your POTA Rove is snowballing and gathering speed and scope.

    Two things that caught my eye… Your Subaru, and the pipe insulation window seal.

    I camp out of my 2 door Jeep Wrangler, and use a Dome Tent. Yours seems a bit easier to deploy.

    I’ve seen various camping set ups on YouTube for Subaru’s, and I have to say it looks cozy.

    The window hack is something I’m definitely going to do for my Wrangler. The cold air and wind need a fix… and yours is the solution!

    1. Rand:

      You have me intrigued with your comment about camping set-ups for Subarus. I don’t think my version of the Crosstrek is able to have a set-up on top of the car; however, when I googled “camping setups for Subaru Crosstrek”, I came across an interesting Reddit that I’ll consider for the future. I’m not sure camping in my Subaru would work if there are two people but it might work with just Daisy and I. Hmmm. You have the wheels turning and I’ve some research to do.

      Thanks for your comments!

      72, Teri KO4WFP

  5. Great writeup!!! I also liked the noodle in the window idea.. Thanks for sharing and I hope to work your station down the log de KD8VSP. dit dit

  6. Thanks for sharing your adventures. I will be in Savannah for a few days on my way to Tampa to meet up with my old ARRL friends to catch some spring training Baseball games and I will go to school on your posts to operate from some of the places you have mentioned with my new Elecraft KH1. Sounds like fun!

    1. Kevin:

      Spring is a nice time of year to be in Savannah (though we’ve had a warmer than usual winter so bring bug spray for the sand gnats during your visit). If you have limited time, I would suggest Skidaway Island State Park which is a pretty place to activate. There is also Fort Pulaski but they have a rule of no antennas in trees or spikes in the ground. They were also doing some construction there in the past so check with the office before assuming you can activate.

      Across the Savannah River from downtown Savannah is the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge just reopened the wildlife drive this past winter. I haven’t activated there yet but spent time prior to my ham life as a volunteer with that refuge for several years. I’d like to set up a vertical and activate off the wildlife drive sometime so you might check into that. (The drive isn’t a great place for antennas in trees as far as I can recall since you are driving along a road/the dykes of the impoundment system.)

      I hope that gives you some places to research and consider activating during your visit.

      Teri KO4WFP

  7. Another great write-up. Looks like a beautiful Park. Here in my area, West Central MO, most of my Parks are Conservation land so I just get to look at grass or timber. Thanks for sharing and good luck on the 60.

  8. Teri,
    Your park descriptions and photos are always a joy to peruse. I appreciate the effort you expend to give us a clear feeling for the parks, even though I am on the West Coast. Love the insulation tube idea for the car window! I use one at home for a sliding window. Always portable.
    Cheers, Ken N6TZV dit dit

  9. What!!??, No 30m???? I have had better luck on 30 than on 40 for the past few months …. give it a try! Always enjoy hearing about your activations!!

    1. Mike:

      I, too, have found 40 meters to not be as friendly as it has been in the past. I used to begin my activations with 40 meters and had a fair amount of callers. But lately, that has not been the case. I usually stick with 20, 17, and 40 meters. However, you are right to remind me to not forget about 30 meters. (Poor 30 meters. Left out of my POTA fun!) I’ll take your suggestion to heart and add 30 meters to my “rotation” of bands I try.

      Teri KO4WFP

  10. Terri,

    I enjoy your POTA reports very much and appreciate their thoroughness in reviewing park characteristics and operating methods. I wish you well on your 60 new-to-you parks goal this year and have no doubt that it will be met or exceeded. One question I have pertains to the length of the Tufteln 9:1 EFRW antenna. What length radiator did you choose?

    1. Will,

      I purchased the 41′ radiator length for my EFRW antenna from Tufteln. Thanks for your comments and glad you are enjoying the reports.

      Teri KO4WFP

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