Wow, what a day. Today was the first day of both the VKFF activation weekend and the VHF/UHF Field Day.
I decided to head up to Monkey Face Lookout in the Watagans National Park to participate.
It was about a 45 minute drive drive from home, up the M1, on to Freemans Drive, Mount Faulk Road and then Monkey Face Road.
There was a bit of a loop getting off the M1, it may look longer but it made for a faster trip.
To say that it was a bit of a climb would be an understatement. By the time I got to the lookout, Google Earth reported me as being 319m above sea level.
From above you can see that I was well within the park.
Bangalow Campground was one of my initial options until I realised how much better a location the lookout was.
This puts us in to a little more geographic context.
Here we are all set up. I ended up having to move the table back a little closer to the squid pole to remove 10m of coax as it actually was affecting things. What you can’t see is that I took my “Flowerpot” 2m/70cm vertical and velcrod it to a sapling a couple of yards the other side of that small fence.
I set up the star picket and pole just to the side of the road.
Here is the north-western end of the linked dipole. There were no trees of sufficient strength to attach either end of the dipole, so I used 45cm star pickets and tent poles.
Here is looking at the south-eastern end. Again set up on a 45cm star picket and tent pole.
Looking back along the south-eastern end of the dipole to the squid pole.
The views really were spectacular.
When I could bring myself to get closer to the edge.
So, as I mentioned, I had to move the setup back a little to remove the unnecessary 10m run of coax.
I took these as I was packing up in order to catch the sunset.
Looking back at the gear while packing up. The table and radio is already in the car. The 2m/70cm “Flower pot” vertical is the plastic pipe against the fence.
The day started with me thinking that I could just log in the contest version of VK logger. However, I discovered that the version that I had was simply removing the signal reports that I was giving and replacing them with 5-9. This would not do for the normal HF park contacts so I ended up using the normal version for the most part and teh contest version when I was on 6m or 2m.
I did get a few calls before UTC rollover which always helps.
The furthest I got on both 2m and 6m was Gerard, VK2IO, about 115km away in the Blue Mountains.
Oh, you may have noticed that I didn’t bring a 6m antenna. I have found that my 40m dipole works very well on 6m, even though it’s horizontally polarised and many 6m operators run with vertical polarisation.
One thing that I did find out about my lightweight lithium ion battery is that if I am charging my iPad from it, it produces a hell of a lot of noise on 6m. I had to unplug the iPad from charging whenever I wanted to use 6m.
I finished up just before sunset and was packed up while I still had light and the drive back down the mountain also had enough light for me to feel safe.
Contact of the day would have been VK6XN on 20m; 3013 km away in Kalamunda National Park, in Western Australia. 20m was surprisingly good to me today.
Modes SSB: 90 Parks VKFF-1880: 1 VKFF-0041: 7 VKFF-2132: 1 VKFF-2135: 1 VKFF-0333: 2 VKFF-1493: 1 VKFF-0011: 3 VKFF-2451: 1 VKFF-0920: 1 VKFF-0198: 1 VKFF-0628: 1 VKFF-0372: 1 VKFF-1410: 2 VKFF-2590: 1 VKFF-2070: 1 VKFF-0910: 1 VKFF-0253: 1 VKFF-2253: 1 VKFF-1338: 4 VKFF-0965: 1 33 park contacts - 20 unique Bands 80M: 8 40M: 52 30M: 9 20M: 12 6M: 5 2M: 4 86 unique contacts (4 duplicates) 90 log entries