I decided I wanted to head south today, so these two parks were the likely two suspects.
Unfortunately, as per what seems to be becoming the norm, I left a lot later than I intended so ended up finishing and packing up in the dark
Ku-Ring-gai Chase National Park – VKFF-0272
A decent drive from home. About an hour.
I had intended to go on to Depot Rd (just east of the Pacific Highway, but it turned out to be a locked gate on a private National Parks road. As there was nowhere really safe to pull over and set up, I ended up going all the way down to the picnic area at sea-level.
A really lovely spot, though I can recommend getting a bit closer to the water to avoid getting cold in the shade as it gets past midday.
OK, that’s about where the car was. If you look really carefully you’ll see a signpost behind that spot on the grass. That’s where I set up the pole, running to the tree to the south and another to the north.
The below shots place my location in to context.
I velcrod the squid pole to that sign beside the car (it’s always quicker to use something readily available instead of the guyed star picket).
I am so glad that I threw in another roll of marine cord today (I normally only have one roll as spare). After last weekend, I brought the 10m lengths i had inside to dry out; and left them behind.
Given that this was a public picnic area on a gorgeous day, there were a lot of families and kids running around, so I made sure to get the antenna well above teh height that anyone would have coat-angered themselves on it.
There was actually a little breeze to get the flag fluttering.
This is where I tied off the southern end of the dipole.
Looking back to the pole from the southern end.
This is where I tied off the northern end of the dipole.
Looking back from the northern end.
I know it looks messy, but it does the job. When I am operating the tablet on the right sits on my right leg.
I started transmitting SSB on 40m at 12:41pm (2:41UTC), much later than I had intended given that I wanted to do two parks.
By 1pm, I had 22 contacts; half way. Wow.
I went 40m CW at 1:05, by 1:27 the tally was up to 33, with 10 CW contacts.
Heading up to 20m, I picked up another three SSB then went CW again, picking up 8 CW contacts, including Steven (KG5CIK) and Jess (W6LEN).
Finished up at 2:43pm after adding a 30m contact and another 40m one.
I had a number of folks stop to chat. One father was excitedly explaining to his young daughter what I was doing and tat I could talk to people all over the world with this gear. This family also gave me a sausage sandwich as they had made one too many. I thanked them kindly for their generosity (and it was lovely).
There was also a lovely older gent who when I explained what I was doing expressed surprise as he thought ham Radio died out years ago. It turns out that his father was one of te first doctors in Australia to have a two way radio installed in his car.
Modes CW: 18 SSB: 28 Parks VKFF-2487: 1 VKFF-0022: 4 VKFF-0859: 2 VKFF-1467: 1 8 park contacts - 4 unique Bands 40M: 34 20M: 11 30M: 1 45 unique contacts (1 duplicate) 46 log entries
There was one duplicate in there. I managed to talk CW to Gerard (VK2IO/5 in VKFF-0022) twice on 20m. This is why I always try to get a few more than the required 44 contacts.
Berowra Valley National Park (VKFF-1162)
The trip up to this park was about 20 minutes.
I looked for a place to activate on Google Earth last night and decided that the end of Beaumont Rd looked just about perfect.
As you’ll see in the images below, there was a bus/truck turning circle at the end of teh road that was wholly within the park.
I actually set up off the road to the east of the above dot, running the antenna pretty much north/south.
I had a look at the trail, but it looked as if the boundaries were specifically trying to exclude it.
This places us in a little better geographic context.
I remembered to take a photo of a park sign here (I forgotat the previous park)
For the daylight hours there was a decent breeze again to unfurl the flag.
This is the northern end, just draped over a light branch and tied off below it.
Looking back from the northern end.
The southern end was tricky. You can see that the branch I used was just far enough away for the 80m leg.
I had total this as the sun was setting. The photo is not doing justice to how beautiful it looked.
I started transmitting at 4:26pm (6:26 UTC), Given how close we are to winter solstice, it was pretty obvious that I was going to be working into the evening to get my numbers, though I did get 24 in the log by 5:05pm, all on 40m SSB.
Going CW on 40m I managed three courtesy of John VK4TJ. After calling for a while with no response I went to 20m.
Of course as soon as I got the dipole back up after adjusting for 20m I heard VK4RF calling me on 40m. I quickly pulled the antenna down, put if back on 40m, and tried calling but to no avail.
Back to 20m. Spent some time calling SSB and CW to no effect so I headed down to 80m. After a little calling thereI got Gerard again in VKFF-0022 at 5:34 then managed 8 more SSB contacts and 3 more CW.
It was well dark by now and I was working by the light of the FT818 dial and my little charger pack LED lights. Fortunately the breeze died away so it really didn’t get as cold as I feared that it might.
John suggested that we could give 30m a go so I tried that. I managed to get an SSB and a CW contact on 10.132, but John and I wore all but unworkable to each other.
At this point I still needed a handful more and was getting concerned.
Headed back to 80m and managed three more SSB and three more CW curtesy of Rob, VK4HAT.
During this activation I had a lot of vehicles turn in the area I was set up beside, including a nice big semi-trailer, which made listening interesting as he did it; and one four wheel drive that really caused a lot of interference.
I had one driver stop to ask me about what I was doing, so we had a nice chat.
Packing up in the dark is always a lot of fun.
As expected it took a little longer so I would be sure that I wouldn’t hurt myself doing it. Instead of putting everything into the backpack and doing one trip back to the car I did multiple trips as the car was only 30-40m away.
I did have a bit of a scare.
Last week I noted that one of my coax runs had lost connectivity on the centre conductor. During the week I took the opportunity to replace the RG-58 PL259 connectors on the RG174 with the connectors that I bought from SOTAbeams that were made for this kind of cable.
One of the nice things about these connectors is that the outer part screws off allowing very easy soldering.
When packing the coax, I noticed that one of the outers had come off.
Fortunately, as it was dark, flashing the lamp around caught a reflection of it, so I didn’t lose it.
Modes CW: 11 SSB: 35 Parks VKFF-0022: 3 3 park contacts - 1 unique Bands 40M: 27 30M: 2 80M: 17 46 unique contacts (0 duplicates) 46 log entries
Another two new parks in the log. Unfortunately Steven and Jess couldn’t hear me in the second park but I did get them in the first.
I was damned tired on the way home. About 10km from home, going through Tuggerah I decided that I ws no longer in a state to drive so pulled into the local golden arches for a bight to eat and some coffee; basically to sit down away from the drivers seat for a bit before heading home.
It’s now 11:26pm as I’m writing this and I am really ready for bed; especially given I want to go north to try and do another activation tomorrow.