Well that was an interesting weekend.
I combined the RD contest with activating a park that I had previously qualified, thinking that it would be an excellent place for doing the contest only with 5 watts.
Unfortunately while I brought the camera I managed to leave its SD card at home so no decent photos.
I have taken a screenshot from google earth showing where in the park I was. The yellow pin marks the spot. It looks like I was 161m above sea level.
Peter, VK3ZPF was good enough to share with me his contest version of his logging software for Android that I ran on a 7″ tablet. It certainly made life much simpler.
I arrived a bit later than I wanted to, listening to the opening address on the FT-70D on the local repeater while setting up.
My plan had been to get out a few hours early to set up so I could also spend some time experimenting with my plans for using 160m. To get that out of the way quickly, when I did get to start playing wit it, it was a failure. The coils were too heavy to hang from a 10m squid pole with any height as they just introduce soo much bend on the pole. I’ll have to re-think that idea.
Conditions were not helpful to running QRP. While the weather was lovely for teh majority of the contest, we had an awful lot of static on 40m & 80m, which is where I made my contacts. This made it difficult for folks to hear me requiring a lot of patience and repeating myself to get details exchanged.
The other challenge of working QRP is getting through the pile-ups. Much patience was necessary. There were a few that I must have spent more than 20 minutes chasing.
Just before sunset I decided to relocate one leg of the dipole, simply for my own safety. I had originally run the southern leg down hill into the bush. Changing bands would have had me moving around there in the dark and I really didn’t like that idea. I pulled out the older 10m squid pole and set it up on the south-western end of the car park, ting off that leg to it with a tight loops so it didn’t slip down the pole (too much) and then raising to to about 4-5m. This actually worked surprisingly well.
I ended up feeling pretty tired around 11:30pm and decided to catch a nap before working through the 1am-6am time slot where all contacts are triple points.
The big mistake I made here was “I can nap in the drivers seat of the car”. I really should have taken the time to clear the space in the back of the station wagon and lay out the thin mattress. As it was, when the alarm went off for 1am, I really could not bring myself to get up. Similar with every other time I woke during the night.
I ended up starting working again around 8am. I really should have gotten myself motivated during the night to do more.
The static died off a little on Sunday, but it was still getting in the way. There were a few folks I could hear very clearly who couldn’t hear me.
Anyway we got to the end of the contest and I noticed a few park operators starting to activate parks so I spent some time chasing park to park contacts before packing up.
In the end I had 83 contacts that counted for points (83 points) as I had two that I’d made within 3 hours of previous contact on the same band.
For WWFF purposes I made 87 contacts with 9 park to parks (7 unique).
I think the whole could have been a lot easier if I’d used a headset too. I have to look at putting one together.
I also need to sort out how a way to do 160m. I’ll keep updating the album on that for how I go with it.
It was an exhausting weekend (hey it took me until Tuesday to do this writeup), but definitely a positive learning experience.
The only other comment I’d make about it is, wow didn’t it get quiet on 40m at 13:01 on Sunday (contest end). :
I ended up coming third in the QRP Phone category for the contest, and first in NSW for it.