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.
The 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.
Above puts the location in to context with the geographical area.
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.
The photos really don’t do justice to how windy it got.
This gives a better idea of where I set up.
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.
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.
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.
There were much higher places to set up on the way in, but not in this wind.
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.
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.
I tried off the South Eastern leg to the sign above the parking payment machine (So glad I bought an annual pass).
Set up the star picket and pole just neat the picnic table.
Looking back to the barbecue shelter and the car.
Threw a rope over a branch to tie off the north-western end of the linked dipole.
Looking back along it from the north-western end.
Note the lean on the pole to the south-east. This is important later on.
A better picture of how the south-eastern end was tied off.
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
The island above is Bird Island – VKFF-2528. I can’t see me getting out there, somehow.
Looking at the set up from neat the car.
The obligatory location photos
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.
Modes SSB: 20 Parks 0 park contacts - 0 unique Bands 40M: 15 30M: 4 80M: 1 20 unique contacts (0 duplicates)
Quick Trip Home
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
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.
So, you can see I was just to the north west of the Reptile Park and Gosford.
And tis one places us a little bit more in to geographic context.
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.
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.
My friends were back today.
There were three of them wandering around.
I finished around sunset and decided to wander around taking some photos.
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.
Somersby Falls really is a lovely place to visit and I can highly recommend it.
Modes SSB: 18 Parks 0 park contacts - 0 unique Bands 40M: 10 30M: 4 80M: 4 18 unique contacts (0 duplicates)
A few things that I need to make sure of before I head out on Saturday.
- Make sure that everything that needs to be charged is charged. i.e. logging tablet, camera, batteries, …
- 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.
- 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.