2019-03-10 Munmorah State Conservation Area (VKFF-1361)

Realising that I hadn’t been out since Australia day (more than a month) I decided to take a short drive back to Tea Tree Picnic Area and spend the afternoon on air.

I had a couple of things in mind in going here.

The first is to add it to the list of parks that I’ve done five VKFF activations from (ten contacts per activation) to work towards getting the “Boomerang Award”, which requires a number of parks having five activations.

The second was that I wanted to start trying to get ten CW contacts whenever I went to a park, so I could consider it qualified purely as CW.

The Trip

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First off, I thought I had turned on APRS when I left home. It turns out that I didn’t. I turned it on about 100m after I left. Also, at the end of the day I took a side trip south from home to grab some KFC, that’s what the other trip is.

It was about a 26 minute drive.

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I didn’t drive straight home, I did a little exploring. The car park to the East-North-East has a huge open grassed area that also might be nice to try working from.

Google Earth and Park Boundaries

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OK, it was close, I was actually on the north side of the barbecue area when I took these.

Regardless, well within the park boundaries.

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You can see the lookout and walk to the beach above. I took some photos from the lookout before packing up. It’s a really lovely spot.

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Definitely inside the park.

Worries setting up

While I was running out the linked dipole I noticed the following three concerns. This is what happens when you don’t actually apply the heat shrink.

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It just meant that I needed to be extra careful not to put a lot of tension on that side of the dipole. It held out for the day.

Something to address before I go out again.

Operating

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I spent only a little time on 30m getting only one contact there, but oh my goodness, what a contact.

I tried a few CQs in CW on 10.128. There was quite a bit of activity all over 30m, which is why I ended up so high up in the band. I heard an SM0 responding after I called. Thinking “I’m only running 6 watts, he can’t be responding to me”, I sent out a “QRZ” and he came back with my call and his.

So I ended up with a portable park call talking to Roland, SM0BRF in Sweden on CW.

This was incredibly exciting for me for a couple of reasons.

  • First DX on this radio
  • First DX using CW
  • Actually, first real DX in about thirty years

I exchanged emails with Roland last night. He suspects we were actually going long path as well. That means that 6 watts got me just under 24,500 km!

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On a more prosaic, yet interesting note, I was talking CW with VK3BYD on 40m a bit earlier. Smashing signal at 599, indeed he was full scale, when the squid pole collapsed, dropping the middle of the dipole to about 3m and one end down to less than a metre. The active end lay on top of bush at about 2m up. He was still 599 and hearing me clearly! Sometimes the ionosphere likes you.

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Even with the table up, the best place for the log was still on my leg.

A Couple of Antenna shots

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Scenery

Of course when you have views like this you have to take some photos.

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The Stats

Modes
 CW: 10
SSB: 20

Parks
 VKFF-1162: 2
 VKFF-1079: 1
 VKFF-0761: 2
5 park contacts - 3 unique

Bands
 40M: 26
 30M: 1
 80M: 3

30 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

I did give 20m a try, but had no luck at all there.

Overall a highly enjoyable day.

While it was my fifth trip to this park, the “Boomerang Award” requires that none be on consecutive days. This is a sensible precaution to avoid folks cutting a single trip for two days when all they did was start activating before UTC rollover. I have actually done seperate days, but rules are rules.

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