Bird Dogging POTA in Augusta, Georgia

As I had no appointments scheduled for Monday, February 26 during the day, I planned a POTA outing in the Augusta, Georgia area which is a two-hour drive from my home QTH. The destination: Spirit Creek Educational State Forest (K-4654).

Source: Google Maps

Apple Maps routed me west on I-16 and then northwest through Statesboro, home of Georgia Southern University (the Eagle Nation). On the drive, I passed acres and acres of farmland, some of it for cotton. I noticed a few of the fields had a reddish tinge and were full of a plant I had not seen before. I did some detective work once back home and  think the plant is red sorrel, a member of the buckwheat family that is native to Europe. I am guessing the red sorrel is a cover for the field between crops.


Red sorrel?

Apple Maps also routed me through Waynesboro which is the “Bird Dog Capital of the World.” The city hosts the largest field trials in the world. Field trials are a competition to evaluate a dog’s ability to find and point coveys of quail. Waynesboro is bird dog crazy; even the town’s water tower is decorated with a bird dog. Wow – the interesting stuff I learn about my home state!


However, we aren’t here to discuss bird dogs but POTA. After sitting longer than I usually drive to a POTA destination, I arrived at my destination. The 570-acre property is surrounded by private land with the entrance tucked between two residences. The road through the forest appears decently maintained and is easier on which to drive than my previous forays into such properties.

Not far into the forest was an open area for parking and a kiosk with hunting information. Upon checking the kiosk, I read the only thing in season right now is small game and knew I’d be unlikely to come across anyone on a Monday morning hunting. However, to be on the safer side of things, I set up in the parking area rather than somewhere else in the forest.


Speaking of hunting, Bob WK2Y who lives in Atlanta, reached out to me after my Hiltonia WMA article. He emphasized the need for ops to wear blaze orange in such places whether in hunting season or not because of hunting violations which are more frequent than I realized. (I plan on addressing that topic in a future WMA article.) Because of this, I now always keep a blaze orange vest in my kit for Daisy and me. I’ve ordered a blaze orange hat as well as purchased hot pink magnetic decals for my car. (The website said “hot pink” though I think “bright pink” is more like it but close enough.)

In the parking area was a pine tree perfect for my EFRW.

Note that I did call in advance to check on whether I may put an antenna in a tree and was told it would be no problem. The state of Georgia seems pretty chill about antennas in trees so far at the properties I have visited that they manage.

It took me a few tries to snag a branch in the general area I wanted. But once I did, it was not long before the Tufteln EFRW antenna was installed and I was ready to get on the air.

My tree

Even though the activation seemed on the slower side, I was pleased. I had 33 contacts – 22 on 20 meters, four on 17 meters, and one on 40 meters.

After an hour on the air, I decided to do some hunting of my own to support fellow activators. This park gave me the most activators I’d hunted yet – five: Ed N2EIM in NJ, Robert NM1L and Gerald W9MET in Florida, Werner N8BB in Michigan, and Ben K3GG in Pennsylvania. Every time I successfully hunted an activator, a huge smile broke out on my face and a loud “YES” was uttered. (There might have been some fist pumping, too.) One can easily see why ops enjoy hunting POTA.


The temperature had warmed up quite a bit by this point – 74 degrees in February! Daisy and I donned our blaze orange attire again and set off up the road. We passed areas of hardwoods as well as open fields with pine plantings. About a half a mile up the road, we came to Spirit Creek which, in my opinion, looked on the sad side as creeks go. Well, you can’t have it all, right?

Ready to go on a walk!

After a drink of water (not from Spirit Creek, mind you) for Daisy and a few sips of tea from my thermos, it was time to head back  home to take my son to his riding lesson. I reflected on the return drive as to whether I’d return to this site and decided no. For one, two hours one-way is a long drive which meant the activation essentially ate up my entire day. Plus, the property was not nearly as scenic as Yuchi Wildlife Management Area and Evans County Fishing Lake. But, you never know until you visit.

I now have 18 parks activated toward my goal of 60 new-to-me parks. Considering it is only February, I’ve made excellent progress. In fact, such excellent progress that I am going to take the first week of March off for POTA and maybe revisit one of the WMAs during the second week of March. That gives me two weeks to chill, regroup, and pick a new park for #19 on my journey. Will I stay in Georgia or head to South Carolina finally? Stay tuned…

Equipment Used

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7 thoughts on “Bird Dogging POTA in Augusta, Georgia”

    1. Tony:

      I love the EFRW from Tufteln. It has worked well, doesn’t require as much room as a dipole, and I can switch bands easily. Of course, the one I have is for QRP but I’ve reached a point that I’ll probably always be QRP for portable.

      I don’t get to Wormsloe much anymore as it is a farther drive unless I am on that side of town for my son’s D&D sessions on Sunday afternoons. However, I’ve been setting up shop and playing at the north end of the Skidaway Island for that. I can’t do a park activation there, unless I head to the state park, but that end of the island seems much quieter than Wormsloe or the state park. We are fortunate to have so many nice places to play ham radio in the Savannah area!

      Teri KO4WFP

  1. Nice job, Teri; a question if possible…

    Did you already activate the Ossabaw Island state park ?

    I’m asking since salt water plays miracles for antennas, and you may find out that even a short vertical will work incredibly

    again, nice job, congratulations; oh and… who was the Italian Ham you contacted ?

    1. Andrew:

      No, I have not activated Ossabaw Island State Park. You have to have a boat or charter one to access the park and, as such, it is not a high priority on my activation list right now. I have visited quite a few of the Georgia barrier islands prior to being a ham and they are a special place to spend time.

      I activated at Wormsloe which is on the Intracoastal Waterway so salt water is very close to where I and others set up their antennas. I also did more QRP work with SKCC this past weekend on Skidaway Island and was located on top of a bluff above the Intracoastal Waterway. I used the AX1 and it did well; however, I modified it so I am not sure if it was the nearby salt water or modification or both that were responsible for its performance.

      The Italian ham I contacted was Rodolfo I4RHP. While waiting at an appointment this morning, I caught up on my QSL cards and Rodolfo’s was one I mailed.

      Teri KO4WFP

  2. Thanks; I4RHP is about 2:30 hours north west from home 🙂

    As for the island… well… if you never activated it, and since the tsrget is activating “new to you” parks, I believe you may consider it 🙂

    1. Andrew:

      Touché, Andrew, re: activating Ossabaw Island. That would be a challenge, lining up transportation to that island; however, it would make for an interesting activation and probably an interesting article as well. So I’ll keep it in mind.

      Teri KO4WFP

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