Exploring the Escambia River for Parks On The Air – What to Expect
Exploring the Escambia River and operating Parks On The Air is an exciting way to enjoy the natural beauty of this region. From kayaking, canoeing, and fishing to camping and bird watching, there’s something for everyone. You can access a wide range of activities that will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful part of Florida.
Whether you’re looking for a day trip or an extended stay in Escambia County, for Hams, operating Parks On The Air here makes your experience unforgettable.
Discover the Escambia River (K-8332) and Cotton Lake!
I’ll be exploring more areas in Florida to operate POTA.
Actual Name: Escambia River Water Management Area. There are 11 recreation sites within this reference. The website includes detailed maps of each. I ended up at Cotton Lake where there are 4 reservable campsites for RV’s. Use the online reservation system, there’s no charge. That’s right, free camping. I know my ham friends like free stuff, hi hi.
The Cotton Lake Recreation Area includes a boat ramp, day-use area and seven campsites that are available by reservation. Campsites 1 through 4 are accessible to RVs, trailers and tents, while campsites 5 through 7 are tent-only sites. Each campsite can hold a maximum of eight people and two vehicles. This recreation area offers picnic tables, fire rings, pedestal grills and a portable toilet. The campsites do not have power, water or waste disposal hookups. The day-use area is open from dawn to dusk and launching and retrieval of boats is allowed at all times.
The 4 campsites that are here would git small travel trailers but not 30 foot ones. Each of the four sites have a canopy to pull under. Not good for my camper due to the Hi-Q antenna. It’s a good 15ft up when extended.
Amenities: No Hookups, dry camping
Recreation: Boat ramp, fishing, water access
Site Amenities: Fire ring, picnic table
Facilities: Porta potty, Trash cans, Pets allowed
What To Expect
This is a wooded area and it would be easy to hang an antenna. I could use my Dog-Gone antenna launcher here since the 22cal would not alarm anyone. It’s hunting season.
Each of the 4 sites has a canopy to pull under. My 22ft trailer would be fine but, my Hi-Q (16ft extended) does not fit. I parked next to the canopy. The back in sites are nice for smaller travel trailers but not a 25ft+ trailer. Large fifth wheels would not be advised here either.
Each site has campfire rings, grills and a nice, large picnic table. Plenty of wood around for campfires.
One Porta Potty with handi access ramp.
Gravel parking area and a nice day use area right on the river.
One boat ramp and multiple garbage cans.
AT&T service: I have three bars and LTE service. I use a booster so I had no trouble streaming movies. I raised my TV antenna and got approx. 30 channels. Football on CBS! and lots of other good stations.
Keep your pets on leashes. It’s a hunting area.
Propagation was good and when I got settled in my first mode was FT8. I’m using my Icom 7300 and 60 – 100 watts into the Hi-Q-5/80 mobile antenna on the rear of my camper. I can get my FT8 going quickly and I don’t need to hang an antenna for it.
I thought I would put an antenna in a tree here, but propagation was good enough using the Hi-Q I stuck with it and started working some CW, The NA contest helped me a great deal and I went down the 20 meter band on CW and made a number of contacts.
No luck on RTTY as of the writing of this POST, but I’ll remain hopeful. I’ll try some more SSB and PSK31 a little later.
I’ll add more videos and pictures to this post at a later date, when conditions allow.
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