2018-11-22 Three parks in a day – Wyrrabalong (VKFF-0550), Munmorah (VKFF-1361) and Brisbane Water (VKFF-0056)

Wyrrabalong – VKFF-0550

I decided to today to see if I could get three or four “quick fire” parks done. Looking at the forecast yesterday, I noted only a 5% chance of rain. What I didn’t notice was the high winds. I also forgot about turning on APRS, so we don’t have the travel maps.

I elected to go to the first location that I set up in for this park back in June.

img_0981The blue dot isn’t quite where I set up. I velcrod the pole to a bin mount at the to the upper left of where it is and parked beside it.

img_0982

Above puts the location in to context with the geographical area.

20181122_113131

Given the wind and how likely it looked that the heavens would open; not to mention the dust cloud that the radio warned me was heading my way, I ran the coax through the drivers window and set up in the car.

I didn’t put the 80m legs on the linked dipole as there really were a lot of cars in the car park and a lot of people coming and going.

I should point out at this stage, that while I did bring the decent Nikon to take pictures with, I hadn’t checked its battery. It was flat. So all of todays photos were either taken on my phone or the tablet.

Speaking of flat batteries and the tablet, …

Yes the tablet was flat, so I had to delay my start about fifteen minutes while I put a little charge on it, so I could use it for my logging.

20181122_113140

The photos really don’t do justice to how windy it got.

20181122_114408

This gives a better idea of where I set up.

20181122_114412

It really was pretty dismal weather.

I only ended up with ten contacts here, though I did have a couple of pleasant chats with folks curious about what I was doing.

It was sufficient to call it a VKFF activation.

The Statistics

Modes
SSB: 10

Parks
0 park contacts - 0 unique

Bands
 40M: 7
 30M: 3

10 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

Anyway, I packed up and then headed off to the next park. Perhaps I would fare better there.

Munmorah State Conservation Area – VKFF-1361

I was quite looking forward to coming here as it was a pleasant spot with a great lookout over the beach.

As I wanted to use 80m, I couldn’t use the location I had used before on the path to the lookout as it simply wasn’t long enough for both sides of the dipole.

img_0983

I ended up setting the pole up on the star picket just to the side of the picnic table. Given the then bright sunshine, I moved the radio under cover into the barbecue shelter, setting my small table up in there.

img_0984

There were much higher places to set up on the way in, but not in this wind.

img_0985

This gives an idea of the geographical context of the park. I had planned that I’d head over to Collongra swamp after this, but events changed my mind, as you will see later.

20181122_140521

My neat little set up. Notice that I’m using the new lightweight battery today. I was also using it to put some charge on the tablet and my iPad.

Decided that it had been a while since I’d done some video. Here we see me taking advantage of being completely hands free with the headset plugged in through the adapter I made (for the electret mike) and using VOX. The day was staring to turn out really nice, except for the wind.

20181122_140532

I tried off the South Eastern leg to the sign above the parking payment machine (So glad I bought an annual pass).

20181122_140536

Set up the star picket and pole just neat the picnic table.

20181122_143852

Looking back to the barbecue shelter and the car.

20181122_143916

Threw a rope over a branch to tie off the north-western end of the linked dipole.

20181122_143922

Looking back along it from the north-western end.

20181122_143926

Note the lean on the pole to the south-east. This is important later on.

20181122_144003

A better picture of how the south-eastern end was tied off.

20181122_144010

Looking back from the south-eastern end.

At the end of the activation, before I packed up I decided to get some photos of the beach

20181122_144056

The island above is Bird Island – VKFF-2528. I can’t see me getting out there, somehow.

20181122_144100

20181122_144103

20181122_144216

20181122_144229

20181122_144422

Looking at the set up from neat the car.

20181122_144457

The obligatory location photos20181122_144529

20181122_145911

Remember how earlier I said that the lean to the south-east on the pole was important?

While I was packing up I was chatting with a gent who was asking about what I was doing. While lowering the pole, I did not pay attention to how taught the south-east leg of the dipole was getting. Turns out that I had set the tension such that the length of the run was about a metre or so shy of the actual distance between the pole and the sign I had tied it off to.

While chatting it went “SNAP” and I went “BUGGER!”.

Instead of heading to Collongra or Somersby falls after a bight to eat, I had to divert home in order to fix this.

The Stats

Modes
SSB: 20

Parks
0 park contacts - 0 unique

Bands
 40M: 15
 30M: 4
 80M: 1

20 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

Quick Trip Home

20181122_163611

Actually replaced the 3-4 inches of hookup wire, adding a new spade connector and heat shrink. Good as new.

Time to head off again.

Brisbane Water National Park – VKFF-0056

img_0986

The blue dot would place me in the middle of the rocks in the falls. I was actually the park overlooking them. This is another park that I was looking forward to revisiting.

img_0987So, you can see I was just to the north west of the Reptile Park and Gosford.

img_0988

And tis one places us a little bit more in to geographic context.

20181122_180159

Now, this is a sound “CRAAAAAACK” that I never want to hear again. If you look carefully you can see this third bottom segment of the squid pole has a nice long split in it.

20181122_180206

Here we see the result with the upper segment lying beside it where it fell.

With luck this should still be usable in the coming weekend if I wrap some gaffa tape around it. For today, it just meant that I ran the dipole substantially lower, which given the wind, I probably should have done in the first place.

Of course thirty minutes later the wind was gone.

20181122_181437

My friends were back today.

20181122_182721

There were three of them wandering around.

I finished around sunset and decided to wander around taking some photos.

20181122_191442img_20181122_192842img_20181122_192849img_20181122_192913img_20181122_192946img_20181122_193009img_20181122_193043img_20181122_193113

This one might be an entry for the VKFF photographic competition. I am really impressed that I managed to catch it with the logging tablet.

img_20181122_193224img_20181122_193330img_20181122_193355img_20181122_193403img_20181122_193450img_20181122_193509img_20181122_193527Somersby Falls really is a lovely place to visit and I can highly recommend it.

The Statistics

Modes
SSB: 18

Parks
0 park contacts - 0 unique

Bands
 40M: 10
 30M: 4
 80M: 4

18 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

Epilogue

A few things that I need to make sure of before I head out on Saturday.

  1. Make sure that everything that needs to be charged is charged. i.e. logging tablet, camera, batteries, …
  2. Have a plan for if the dipole breaks as the park I’m going to is a lot further from home. i.e. bring another antenna, like the 40m dipole or perhaps the 22m wire and L-match.
  3. Be aware of the wind. Don’t put the pole up too far if it’s really gusty.

I had planned to try to cut a 6m vertical to take with me. I’ve run out of time. I’ll make do with the 40m dipole, even if the polarisation will be wrong.

One thought on “2018-11-22 Three parks in a day – Wyrrabalong (VKFF-0550), Munmorah (VKFF-1361) and Brisbane Water (VKFF-0056)

  1. Hi Alan
    Thanks for the posts. An excellent description of the parks and locations: a pity about the weather. 40m propagation between VK2 and VK5 has been very poor. I am sorry I am not in your log.
    73
    John
    VK5BJE/VK5PF

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s