2019-04-14 Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve (VKFF-1994)

Last week I noticed a tiny little park that I had driven by that looked really very convenient and easy to activate. So, that’s what I did today.

Unfortunately I missed getting VK4SYD/P as I was packing my gear and he was spotting at that time. I got him later, but not in a park.



So, the trip was a little over an hour from home.


Heading out I kept on Wheatly’s Road at the end of the M1, but going home GPS routed me through Tarro, which seems just a little quicker, and not driving through 50 km/h suburban streets as much.


What was really nice is that there was a convenient parking area that was easy to get too off Seaham Road; and it was also well within te park boundaries (see below).

Google Earth and Boundaries


The above puts the location in to regional context, although I left out the other parks for clarity.


It’s really not a very large park, just off Seaham Rd and near the Williams River.


Right next to a small Anglican Church building.


As you can see, where I set up was well within the park boundary. I ran the antenna with the non-active segment running East-South-East and the active segment running pretty much west.

Setup and Activation


Grabbed a shoot of the park sign through the passenger window.


It was a really simple set up next to the car. What was really convenient was that the wire fence was on star pickets that were anchored pretty solidly, so I simply velcrod the squid pole to one of them.


Looking back at the pole from the East-South-East end of the antenna.


and from the Western end of the antenna.


The little church building next door.


Tried to fake up a photo of me using the key. It’s really hard to use a DSLR with your left hand.


I spent some time on 10.127 and got a few contacts there.


The Bushman spray today was essential. There were a lot of mosquitos. It is a swamp. I had the linear amplifier out and while I started on 40m at 6 watts, I went to 25 watts on 80m and stayed on 25W for the rest of the day. The blue cable plugs in to the mike jack on the FT-818 and runs in to a little splitter box that I’ve made up. I plug the hand mike in to that box so I get to use PTT, Up, Down and Fast. I also plug in the electret mike on the headset to the back of the box. There’s some circuitry in the box that takes the 5V line from the mike connector and sets up power for the electret on the headset. I plug the headphones on the headset directly in to the rig. This makes it really easy to use.

Having the headphones on is also useful for weak signals.

dsc_0204It rained. Oh boy did it rain.

Well, this picture is after the first brief shower that lasted about five minutes. I was able to rapidly get the gear in to the car and protected.

This shower only lasted about five minutes, after which time I set the gear up again (I’d left the antenna up) and got a few more contacts.

I noticed dark clouds coming over again and stupidly thought, “Oh this will be another quick one”, and just threw a towel over the gear, which would have been fine for a light shower.

It wasn’t neither brief nor light.

After a few minutes I could see that the towel was not going to protect the gear so had to brave the downpour to get it all back in to the car.

The towel was drenched after only a couple of minutes.

I managed to get everything back in the car, but I ended up drenched completely through (use your imagination for how far through).

I left the antenna up, the coax on the ground, the table out and the battery under the table. Turned on the car and tried to warm up (unsuccessfully).

About half an hour later the rain dropped back to a light drizzle.

By this time I’d had enough, packed up and headed off to Raymond Terrace McDonalds (the side trip on the APRS map above) and grabbed a bite to eat and a nice hot coffee.

As an aside, my decision was justified. Even though it was sufficiently sunny to require sun glasses on leaving, by the time I got to my coffee, it was again bucketing down.

The Statistics

 CW: 15
SSB: 42

 VKFF-2060: 1
 VKFF-0269: 1
 VKFF-2059: 1
3 park contacts - 3 unique

 40M: 33
 20M: 2
 30M: 13
 80M: 9

57 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

57 log entries

These are the spots that I sent out during the course of the day.

Date Time Callsign Award Site ID Freq Mode Spotter Comment
14-04-2019 00:29:13 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 7.165 SSB VK2MG Alan [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 00:53:59 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 7.032 CW VK2MG Alan? QRS be gentle [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 01:17:55 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 3.605 SSB VK2MG Alan [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 01:24:49 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 3.544 CW VK2MG Alan. QRS be gentle [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 01:40:04 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 10.127 SSB VK2MG Alan [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 01:55:17 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 10.106 CW VK2MG Alan. QRS Be gentle [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 02:10:35 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 7.165 SSB VK2MG Alan [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 02:33:01 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 18.144 SSB VK2MG Alan [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 02:38:58 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 18.082 CW VK2MG Alan. QRS Be gentle [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 02:51:00 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 7.165 SSB VK2MG Alan [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 03:04:18 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 14.284 SSB VK2MG Alan [VK port-a-log]
14-04-2019 03:19:45 VK2MG/P WWFF VKFF-1994 14.044 CW VK2MG Alan QRS Be gentle [VK port-a-log]

The only band that I tried but did not get any contacts in was 17m.

I did hear VI9NI on 18.074, but they were marginal and given that, I didn’t trust my CW skills to get a complete contact. It turns out that with the QRM I was starting to get on 40m CW I managed to miss ZL1TM there, although we touched base SSB and CW on 20m.

Lessons Learned

I really need to pack a change of clothes. It was incredibly uncomfortable spending two hours or so in soaking wet clothes.

I should also have been a little more cautious watching the dark clouds rolling in.

3 thoughts on “2019-04-14 Seaham Swamp Nature Reserve (VKFF-1994)

    1. I have set up inside the vehicle before. I probably should have but I didn’t yesterday.

      It’s a little cramped and when I set up it didn’t look like a lot of heavy rain coming.

      I’ve also set up under the rear hatch too, in order to keep out of the sun. I’m considering chucking in some kind of fly that I can hook up to the roof racks and some small poles for when I am able to set up near the car. I should also invest in some kind of connection to the car battery when I can set up that close. That or have another large battery so I don’t need to be so concerned about using the linear.

      Normally I’m setting up a lot further away from the car.


  1. Hi ALan
    A splendid write up and good photos. I notice the amp. I might hear you over here in VK5
    a bit more! You were next to a church and on the 16th, I was next to a prison, while activating Kinchina CP. Strange where the parks are located.
    73 John D

    Liked by 1 person

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