Belford National Park VKFF-0023

I did some google earth investigation along with checking where Gerard had activated this park. Gerard activated it from the side of the road, which actually manages to be inside the park. I noticed that there was a management trail at the northern end of Kirkton Road that looks like it had potential.

At this point I should apologise that I forgot to turn on APRS when I left, so no maps.\; save to say it was a bit over an hours drive up the M1, Hunter Expressway and New England Highway.

There was a sign like this on either side of the road marking the trail. There is a small entry gate  beside the locked gate.

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This is a wide image from google earth of where I set up. You can see Weerakata to the south east, which I activated a few months ago.

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A slightly closer image. To my north there was a paddock with some horses and cows.

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The final check to make sure I was fully inside the boundaries.

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I got my first contact at 12:50pm Eastern Daylight.

I left my photo taking well in to the activation (sorry). I took the one below to show how close the links for 10 & 12m are. The end of the orange wire is the 10m segment and the in focus link is for 12m.

The other thing that I realised was that I forgot to heat shrink my heat shrink. This is the first workout for the newly modified linked dipole. I have cut segments for resonance on 10m, 12m, 18m, 20m, 30m, 40m & 80m. I should also be able to do 15m and 6m on the 40m length. You can also see that I’ve changed the way that I’ve tied off the links to make it a bit easier when I was trimming them, and less of a loop when they are connected.

Oh one other thing. It’s not that I ran out of green wire, I still have quite a bit of it. I just happened to just a 10m dipole a few weeks back and given that I have just made a 10m vertical for home, it was excess to requirements. Waste not, want not. I also found somewhere else that I can buy the green Anderson style connectors. RS Components stock them

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My workspace today.

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I normally keep the tablet with VK3ZPF’s VK-Auto-log on my right leg. If you are not using it and are activating from Australia, you should really give it a go.

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With all the storms that we had between Lithgow and Yass, the noise level on 40 metres made life difficult.

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When doing CW, I move the tablet to my left leg and put the key on my right. I also need to hold it in place with my left hand when using it. The key is one I bought from UTWQ in the Ukraine from eBay. Very cheap and works well.

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Looking at the set up towards the top of the squid pole. The top of the linked dipole is about 9 metres up.

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Tied the South-West end of the dipole here.

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The North-West end of the dipole is on the green rope looped over the branch on the tree, third from the right below.

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Looking back to the pole from the North-West end.

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and further down the track from the same place.

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More of the set up from the trail.

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I really wasn’t very far from the car.

DSC_0053There was some great short skip on 40 metres when I started. I got 15 calls in the first 15 minutes. In the first two hours (and 12 minutes), I got to 27 and then it slowed down.

By 3:30pm I had managed to get to 42, needing 44 to qualify the park.

80m was pretty awful with the storms to the south. Ove the curse of the next hour I tried to get two more on 80, 40, 20, 12 and 10. at 4:35, I managed to catch John (VK4TJ) on 20 metres and get to 45.

Stats for the day

Modes
 CW: 7
SSB: 38

Parks
 VKFF-0747: 1
 VKFF-0484: 1
2 park contacts - 2 unique

Bands
 40M: 25
 20M: 5
 30M: 12
 80M: 2
 10M: 1

45 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

I was happy to catch Peter (VK3PF) on 28.480. We were down a bit but there was zero noise.

I tried calling on the calling frequencies for 10m (28.490) and 6m (50.110), but didn’t have anyone coming back to me. With the amount of sporadic E that we’ve been getting, I’ll be checking these two bands more frequently.

Epilogue

After talking to John, I started to pack up. It was at this point that I realised I had made a really bad mistake today.

I didn’t start drinking water until about an hour after I started operating. I should have been drinking water from the time I started setting up. I also had eaten very little today. It got above 30 degrees Celsius for most of the activation.

When I started to pack up I realised that I was suffering from heat exhaustion. Took me a while to pack up and by the time I got back to the car I realised that there was no way tat I was in a state to do an hours drive to get home.

I started the car up and turned the aircon on to full while I was packing the car. I then pulled up google maps and looked for the closest fast food. That was a Mcdonalds in Greta and was only about nine minutes away. OK nine minutes I could do.

Grabbed a bite to eat and a couple of drinks (large and medium vanilla coke) and sat in the aircon for a while until I started to feel a bit more confident of the drive home.

Even then, about 20 minutes from hime, I had to pull over into an phone bay on the side of the M1 to close my eyes for ten minutes.

The lesson today is twofold.

1. At least eat a decent breakfast before heading out.
2. Start on the water bottles while doing set up and use them frequently throughout the day.

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