2019-06-15 Freshwater National Park (VKFF-0187) and Clear Mountain Conservation Reserve (VKFF-1511)

It’s the day before I have to head back home from Queensland (cold permitting). I had planned to do 3-4 parks. Of course it didn’t work out that way. I arrived at the first and discovered that I’d left my tablet logger at home. Fortunately the first park was only 11 minutes each way from my parents house in North Lakes.

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Freshwater National Park (VKFF-0187)

APRS

In the APRS map you can also see the detour I took when I realised I needed petrol (aside, Costco is CHEAP!).

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My thought had been, after investigating with Google Earth, to simply set up on the side of the road on Deception Bay Road just to the East of Tallowwood Dr, but on my first drive past that didn’t look promising.

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While driving back to pick up my logger I noticed a gate with a track. I ended up going about 50 meters down that track to set up.

Google Earth

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Definitely within the park boundaries.

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Above and below give a better idea of the location of the park.

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The Activation

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I set the pole up in the middle of the track but set my table up a little bit back under shade.

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Taken after I was doing some CW on 7.024.

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The pole with the flag attached.

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Another of the setup. I did multiple trips to carry this in as I hadn’t packed the backpack and everything else to facilitate a single walk. It was no more than 50m from the car anyway.

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I found a nice high branch that I was able to hook the centre conductor side of the kinked dipole over.

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Looking back from the Southern end of the dipole.

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And one not quite as high for the northern end.

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Looking back to the pole and the car from the northern end.

How it Went

Started transmitting around 11:26am (01:26 UTC), getting Mike VK6MB/3 in another park.

I only realised after this that I’d not turned the linear on, well it wasn’t plugged in properly to the power. Transmitting with 5W would probably explain the 3-3 he gave me.

The day proceeded very quickly. I had 24 contacts by midday (02:00 UTC).

Finished up with 50 calls by 1:10pm (3:10 UTC).

The Statistics

Modes
 CW: 12
SSB: 38

Parks
 VKFF-1721: 1
 VKFF-1756: 1
 VKFF-0474: 2
 VKFF-2136: 1
5 park contacts - 4 unique

Bands
 40M: 49
 20M: 1

50 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

50 log entries

False Start

My plan had been to next head to Deception Bay Conservation Park.

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I thought I’d found a good entry point off a vacant lot on Joseph Cr.

It was not to be. The fence and gate were heavily overgrown and even if I’d gotten through it was swampland.

I went back to the car to work out where to go instead.

Clear Mountain Conservation Reserve (VKFF-1511)

Even though it meant a 30 minute drive, this looked like a good bet.

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Interestingly, the route took me past the two parks I activated last Sunday.

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The spot that I chose was on Mango Trees Rd off Winn Rd.

Google Earth

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Definitely inside the park.

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I parked on Mango Tree Rd just off Winn Rd and walked in. It’s a little steep to get to the park entrance but not too bad, though I’m glad I had a light with me coming out in the dark.

The gate was shut, so I’m glad I didn’t try to take the car up, but there is a nice easy step-over place in the fence beside it.

For this one I did pack the backpack up so I could walk in in just a single trip.

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Above puts us in to a little more geographic context.

The Activation

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This place had a nice sign to show where I was. Like many park signs, it was well outside the park.

The next four photos are courtesy of Scott Watson (VK4CZ) who dropped by to say hi. I stupidly forgot to take pictures while it was still light.

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So, yes, parked just off Winn Rd.

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There’s me set up down the trail. I had the outer conductor side of the dipole running towards where this was taken. The centre ran dow n to a branch a good 5m up that I managed to throw the mallet over (with light rope attached).

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Is that what I look like when I’m operating?

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Thanks for dropping by Scott.

dsc_0114I remembered I had not taken pictures while packing up. This was the only one I took after I’d rolled up one side of the dipole. Lights on radio  for effect :-).

How it Went

Started transmitting as 3:35pm (5:35 UTC) grabbing a few park to parks (VK3OHM, VK2MB/3 and VK2IO/5). with Gerard just about to pack up and head off to his next park.

Another quick start with 21 contacts by 4pm (6:00 UTC).

I think the highlight of the activation was when I went up to 20m and found VK6XN and VK6MMB on SSB and then switching to CW, got VK7CW, KG9CIK, and surprisingly given how close he was, VK4TJ.

Final call was at 5:21pm (7:21 UTC). Well after sunset and it was getting dark.

I quickly went to roll up the antenna as I didn’t want to coat-hanger anyone coming through in the dark. This is when I realised I hadn’t taken any photos and took taht last one above.

Thank goodness for a full moon and the light on my phone. I managed to get packed up and left just after 6pm (8:00 UTC).

The Statistics

Modes
 CW: 5
SSB: 47

Parks
 VKFF-1721: 1
 VKFF-2229: 2
 VKFF-2914: 1
 VKFF-2276: 1
 VKFF-1036: 2
7 park contacts - 5 unique

Bands
 40M: 35
 20M: 7
 30M: 1
 80M: 9

52 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

52 log entries

Epilogue

While I didn’t get as much done as I’d liked, I was pretty satisfied with the day.

Once I got back to my parents, we all (mum, dad and my son Jacob) went out for a lovely dinner.

The only real disappointment about my trip up to Queensland is that I appear to have picked up a cold. Given the drive back is a good 10-11 hours, I’ll have to make a judgement on how I’m feeling in the morning, but I do need to be working on Monday and I do have something else I’m supposed to be helping out wit on Monday evening.

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