2018-10-14 Palm Grove Nature Reserve

As I still needed eleven contacts to qualify VKFF-1983, I risked the rain and headed back.


I started APRS at Wyong Railway Station. You can see the slightly different routes to exit/enter the M1 and head to the park here and below.


That little detour down Wisemans Ferry Road is because I wasn’t paying attention on the way home and missed the ramp to Peats Ridge Rd and had to drive down and U-turn.


Again, I parked at the end of Kilkenny Rd.



Today I remembered to take some pictures of the signs indicating the Great North Walk just near where I parked.


Just checking, yes we are inside the park boundaries.


When stringing up the Eastern end of the dipole, I thought that I had left the extra spool of rope at home as I couldn’t quickly find it. As such I tied the end up in a place that I really wasn’t happy with height-wise. It also curved about 40 degrees around that tree.


Of course after the antenna was in the air I found that spool of rope. Given that I was not sure about the prospect of rain, I didn’t want to take the time to go and move that end.


Looking back to the squid pole, which I got to it’s full height today, meaning that the centre of the dipole was at 9m.


Also looking at the squid pole and set up from just to the west on the trail.

The big blue thing against the downed log was a portable privacy tent (generally used for camp toilets) that I brought to protect against the rain if I needed it. I ended up not using it.


Today I used the white rope at this end, you can see the branch that I looped it over.  I didn’t actually tie it off today. The stick on the end of the rope appeared to be sufficient counterbalance.



Looking back to the set-up position from behind the branch that I hung the west leg over.


I had friendly company today. Isn’t it a gorgeous blue tongue lizard?


So, finally set up and on air. Started slowly around 1:34pm (2:34UTC) but we got the needed eleven contacts within the first twenty minutes.  There were storms around South East Queensland so folks up there were having trouble hearing me above static crashes. I did notice a bit into the activation some issues with the antenna that I needed to deal with.

  1. There appeared to be a knot in the active side in the 30m segment which would have potentially affected 30m, 40m & 80m.
  2. The shield connection on the coax that I was using appeared decidedly “iffy”.

As a  result I took the antenna completely down, undid the knot and then replaced the coax run with the other 10m run that I carry with me “just in case”.

Difficult to tell if it made things better but it did at least psychologically.

Got most of my contacts on 7.144, but we also tried 15m (hah, of course I got nothing there), 30m (nothing there either) and 80m.

I got a few on 80.

Managed to get a few park to park calls today which was a welcome change from the last couple of activations.


Above is the logging application that I use in parks; VK Portalog, by Peter, VK3ZPF, who I also got in the log today on 40m.

At about 3:55pm (4:55UTC), I felt a few drops of rain, and the view to the north-east (where the weather was coming from) looked decidedly unfriendly. I sent out the following Spot

UTC 2018-10-14 4:55:34 WWFF Palm Grove Nature Reserve (VKFF-1983) - VK2MG/P on 3.610 SSB Alan. QRT. Here comes the rain [VK port-a-log]. Posted by VK2MG

and quickly started to pack up as it started to get heavier.

Of course as soon as I had the radio in the backpack and started packing up the antenna it stopped and didn’t start again.

Given that I’d gotten sufficient contacts to qualify the park, I decided to call it a day anyway.


This is where I was parked (the car with the door open). I took this as this location is outside the park by a few hundred metres, but it’s also about 30-40m higher than where I set up. What a shame, this would have been a nice spot to setup.

Todays Statistics

SSB: 22

 VKFF-2544: 2
 VKFF-0742: 1
3 park contacts - 2 unique

 40M: 17
 80M: 5

22 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

22 log entries


One thought on “2018-10-14 Palm Grove Nature Reserve

  1. Hi Alan
    A great post and pictures and gives us far away ‘southerners’ a glimpse of the sub-tropical landscape. Thanks for your efforts and the blog.
    73 John D


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