2018-07-30 Wambina Nature Reserve

Trekked out VKFF-2014 today. It was a pretty hard slog; in all of
  • getting there
  • the trek up and down the hill five times (I’ll explain later)
  • Contacts

First off, I had Bill message me that he only had 45 minutes left in a very rare park, so I intended to grab the magnetic loop and rush to the park to get him in his last few minutes. Unfortunately someone had broken the PL259 off the end of the coax on the loop and not bothered to tell me (grrrr). Then, as you can see from the APRS map I stupidly believed my maps application and went around to the north of the reserve. As such, Bill had gotten back on the boat by the time I got myself set up.

Second, that hill from the gate to where I worked from. My God! I ended up not going all the way to the top, just a decent way up. Google Earth shows the height I got to as around 75m above sea level. While it felt more, I think my setup spot was about 25m above where I parked the car. To set up I had to make the trek twice so I could get the table and chair up as well (I have to work on a more compact chair).

I could tell by the time I got to about 12 contacts that it was going to be a slow day.

2:59-3:59 UTC - 17 contacts
4:00-4:59 UTC - 4 contacts
5:00-5:59 UTC - 8 contacts
6:00-6:59 UTC - 7 contacts
7:00-7:13 UTC - 10 contacts

A *HUGE* thank you to Bill (VK4FW) for helping me get over the line in the last 45 minutes or so.

By 6:30 UTC I had pretty much resigned myself to having to come back another day for a dozen or so more contacts (and I was really NOT looking forward to that hill).

I tried all the bands my antenna will do (15, 20, 30, 40 & 80). Nothing on 15 & 20, One on 30, 17 on 80 and the rest on 40, actually I only used 7.144MHz on 40 as well.

I nearly missed VK4RZ on 10.130 as he called me back as I was just lowering the dipole to change bands (phew).

Also thanks to those who tried to get me DX on 20m without luck.

The third up/down trek on the hill was after talking with Bill to try to get me over the line. I headed back to the car to grab my lantern as I was pretty sure I was going to need it. I really did not want to walk down that hill in the dark.

Managed to get the last call at 7:13 UTC and started packing up after sunset. Almost lost one of my ropes in the dark. Fortunately I remembered where I must have put it down and it was in the middle of the track about 10m from where I had set up.

I got everything except the log, table and chair down in the first trip down taking those down in the dark, hanging the lantern in my hand under the table.

Exhausting day, but we qualified the park.

Thanks all.

The blue dot is approximatey where I set up the table and pole to hang the dipole from. The gate where I parked the car is just to the north of the park symbol at the south end of the shaded area. Actually the gate would be just under the ‘v’ in the word ‘Reserve’.
The APRS route that I took too and from the park. OK I stopped off for something to eat on the way home. You can see me heading around to the north (wrong) side of the park on the way in.
Here is where I set up. Even where I was you can see the slope of the hill against the trees. Yes, the pole was leaning a little to the down-hill side.
Looking up-hill to the North-east.
Looking down hill. The photo does not do justice to just how steep that was.
A bit more out of focus than I meant (sorry), but that was how I set up. I normally have the large iPad in front ofthe FT-818 so I can see and send spots easily, but wit the slope of the hill, and therefore the table, it kept wanting to slide off. The iPad mini had a bit more grip on it’s case.
I thought I should take a photo of the park sign tat was beside where I parked. Yes it was full dark by the time that I left. Don’t you love how the camera decided to focus on the leaf in front of the park sign?

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