After a bit of scouting out on Google Earth and the National Parks site I decided to try and qualify VKFF-0511. There were two possible sites. The one that I ended up doing and one to the Northern end of the park off Scenic Dr, Caves Beach.
Now here is where you don’t necessarily trust every thing that you read on the National Parks site about an area. If their write-up is to be believed, it is possible to drive a short distance off the highway in to a parking area. The actuality is a number of big concrete blocks and a locked gate at the highway entrance.
Fortunately it was safe enough to park beside the highway and walk about 100 metres up the trail to the sign with the park name, and Google Earth showed that at that point we were well inside the park boundaries.
Given that, I was tempted to simply velcro the squid pole to the sign. Unfortunately we had some branches about 5-6m above the sign that would have prevented raising it to full height.
I ended up going just a little to the north of the sign and setting up the star picket. I was able to run the antenna to branches about 3-4m above the ground both over the old concrete tanks to the north-west and to a tree to the south-east.
A little aside here. The site I elected was on the Yondeo trail. Yondeo used to be the old Anglican Church youth camp-site. In my youth I visited it quite a number of times and have some vague memories of it (Hey it was 30-40 years ago). The church sold off the site to developers who never developed the land and it ended up as National Park. There are still ruins of some of the buildings. Indeed I noticed soem piles of wood that I eventually recognised as parts of walls from buildings due to the paint colour on them matching my memory. I think the small concreted square just to the north-west of me was one of the toilet/shower blocks. It’s peculiar that it’s now called “Yondeo”, as the name of teh site when it was in the church was an acronym, YONDAIO (Youth of Newcastle Diocese, All In One).
Anyway, I started transmitting at about 12:30pm (2:30 UTC).
While I attempted all bands my antenna could do (15m, 20m, 30m, 40m & 80m) I was only able to get exchanges on 40m and 80m. Most of them on 40m.
Around 5pm (7:00UTC) I was getting worried as I could not get contact #44.
Thanks to John VK4TJ, for getting me over the line with AM (I normally only do single sideband). I really need to get the morse going again.
In the end I had 46 contacts. 41 SSB, 5 AM. I also ended up with six park to parks with four of them unique.
Of course after packing up I did a little walk up to the north-east and realised that there was a huge open area that would have made a much better location to set up.