2018-08-18 Saratoga Island

I’d by lying if I said today was not a challenge.

My plan today was to head out to VKFF-2317, quickly knock over the 16 that I needed and then consider heading down to complete the 18 required in the park I did yesterday.

I ended up not being set up (but wait) until about 1pm (3:00UTC).

I found a good place a few metres to the south of where I put the pole last tie so I could get a good northern run.

I thought, OK, I’ll go and get a few photos before I start. Walked back to the second sign with the camera. “click”. Nothing. Huh?

No SD card. I took it out to post yesterdays photos and left it in the MacBook. Photos today courtesy of my phone.

Walked back to take a picture of the pole. Click. Pole collapses sufficiently that I have to detach it from the star picket to get the top segment back out.

It actually collapsed on me quite a bit over the next 30 minutes, generally whenever I was about to call another park operator.

Then on a collapse it managed to cut through the wire of one end of the dipole.

I’ve got some photos of that and the jury rigged repair that I did; which reminds me that I have to get the soldering iron and some heat shrink out this evening to fix it.

I ended up running the pole only around 4-6 metres up. This didn’t stop the collapses but it certainly reduced the frequency. I suspect the issue was that when it blew back through vertical it would move sufficiently enough to fall. I have found when there is a permanent lean on it, it’s pretty stable.

Anyway I finally got up and running.

Over the course of an hour and a half I managed to get the required 16 to complete the qualification, including five park to parks with four of them being unique. Unusually I managed to catch Gerard VK2IO on 40m as well as 80m today. We’ve been having a bit of bad luck catching each other on 40m due to proximity recently. Not quite close enough for ground wave. Too close for skip.

Finished up here at 2:55pm (4:55 UTC). Packed up and walked back.

Oh boy, I was glad that I brought the gum boots today!

While it was lowish tide when I came out. It had certainly come in while I was on teh island. I had to wade through some of the water to the north of the island to get back to the eastern end, and then I got about 12 inches deep wading across to the mainland.

It was about 3:30 when I got back to the car with everything (putting everything but the quid pole and star picked in to a backpack has definitely streamlined entry/exit). I had heard Gerard talking about the weather coming in so asked him about the current conditions i Sydney. Decided it was best to leave Lane Cove for another day, especially as it would be an hour and 12 minutes from where I was, so certainly hitting sunset along with the poor weather.

One last thing that I feel that I should add.

“Challenging” is in the eyes of the beholder and all about perspective.

My last contact of the day was VK3FOWL. As well as being in a park (VKFF-0973), Julie was on a SOTA summit – VK3/VN-016 (Mount Alexander). It was snowing.

This put my “challenges” in to perspective 😀

I really was there. Unfortunately there was no decent point to attach my dipole 20-30m either side of this sign or I’d have put the pole up on it.
Didn’t forget the gum boots today.
This was before the pole started collapsing taken from near the sign.
Just before the first collapse. It came down seconds after I took this.
Looking out to Woy Woy
Looking towards West Gosford
Back to where I was set up (you can just see the pole).
This is where the pole coming down managed to slice one end of the dipole. Of course the phone wanted to focus on the trees in the background.
The severed end. The phone decided tat the plants on the ground were more worthy of focus.
The jury rigging to make it work temporarily
Location within the park marked by the blue spot
A larger view of where the park sits in relation to Saratoga.
I forgot to turn on APRS until I actually parked outside the sailing club, so this shows me moving around the island and then going home.
Moving around the island. In the future, I’ll try to remember to force a log point at each end point of the antenna.

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