2018-07-11 Blue Gum Hills Regional Park

I activated VKFF-1778 yesterday. You may note it’s close proximity to Pambalong State Conservation Area (VKFF-2697). There is a reason I did this park.

When I was at Tuggerah State Conservation Area (VKFF-1383) the day before, I needed my tent peg mallet to put some pegs in to guy the star picket holding the squid pole. After searching my bags and the car, it was nowhere to be seen. The only possibility that I could think of was that two days earlier, as I had packed up in the dark, that I had left this black mallet at Pambalong.

So I decided that yesterday morning I would head back to the park to see if I could find it, and as Blue Gum Hills Regional Park was so close, it would be a shame not to go there as well; especially as I was looking at a 45 minute drive to get there.

Well, I arrived at Pambalong and walked in. I remembered that I had set the squid pole up a bit over 20 paces from the park sign. OK I stepped the 20 paces out. Looked down. Found Mallet. No lottery tickets for me for a while. I’ve consumed my luck.

Anyway, off to Blue Gum Hills.

I’d had an incident at home earlier in the week where the top segment of my squid pole was snapped in two places. Not really an issue (I thought) as I don’t raise that segment as it’s too thin to support the SO239, PL259 , the antenna and the coax.

Three times yesterday, the pole collapsed on me while I was erecting the antenna and had not paid proper attention to making sure that I’d raised the pole properly. The first time, a 3 inch segment from the bottom of the top segment actually broke off. This means that each time the pole fell, the top segment came out of the pole; requiring me to detach the pole from the picket to put it together again.

The third time it happened I put the top segment back in with about half an inch protruding and applied gaffa tape to to stop it reoccurring.

I mentioned that at Tuggerah I made contacts on all bands I called on. Yesterday I went one better. I got contacts on all bands that the antenna was cut for. Contacts on 15m, 20m, 30m, 40m and 80m. 15m was a bit of a surprise. I got to South Australia, Victoria and Queensland; all with reasonable signal reports. I was a little disappointed not to hear or contact any JA.

Of note, I contacted John VK4TJ on all five bands I worked.

It was a little slower yesterday. First transmitted at 12:31 (2:31UTC) and last contact at 14:49 (4:49UTC), so a bit over two hours, which in hindsight is actually pretty good.

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The blue dot is where I set up. I went to the back of the park as in the area where it would have been easier to set up there were kids kicking a ball around (it’s school holidays here).
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Had to get a picture of this guy. He spent a lot of time around me during the day. I recall talking at one point and going “wow, I just got buzzed by a kookaburra.
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The set up for the day. The squid pole is velcrod to a 180cm star picket, which I have guyed for stability.
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Again the setup As you can see I was out in the middle of the sun. It got pretty warm. I only got brief periods of cloud cover. It was a day to work in a T-shirt. Oh, in the distance you can see where the NW leg of the antenna comes down. I anchored it to a tent pole that I velcrod to a 45cm star picket angled at about 60 degrees. The whole antenna setup looked very clean. The SE leg was anchored with some cord over a branch about 2.5m up a tree.
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30 contacts in to the activation. The laminated card under the iPad is a list of the CW and SSB band plans from 80m to 10m for easy reference.
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Sign near the car park. I didn’t get a picture of the entrance sign as there wasn’t a good place to park near it, and the sign was a good distance from where I ended up parking.

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