2019-07-20 Brisbane Water National Park (VKFF-0056) Trans-Tasman Low Band Contest

OK this one is a little late getting typed up.

I’ve been having fun participating in contests so I decided to do the Trans-Tasman Low Band contest last Saturday. I also took the opportunity to make my fifth qualifying activation at Brisbane Water National Park to add it to the list for the Boomerang Award (I now have three of the five parks I need up to five activations on non consecutive days).

The contest started at 6pm local time so I first headed up to the radio club for a chat with folks before going another 2km down Woy Woy road to where I was going to activate.

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The Central Coast Amateur Radio Club is on Dandaloo St above, two doors to the right of Kariong Eco-Garden.

I arrived a bit before 4pm and took my time setting up.

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First I laid out my workspace then I moved on to setting up the antenna.

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There was a moment when a breeze had the flag flying perfectly, but unfortunately I missed the shot.

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I set up beside the passenger door. There was a little wind on the WWFF Australia flag.

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This is the northern end, I found a nicely placed tree that was just far enough away to be useful.

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Looking back to the pole from the northern end of the linked dipole.

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Another branch for the south-eastern end. I’ve used that branch before, it’s perfectly situated.

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Looking back to the car from the south-eastern end of the linked dipole.

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Just before I took this shot I had a local ranger drive up for a pleasant chat about what I was doing. Nice guy. He also used to be the ranger for Yengo. He warned me to be careful as this was a spot frequented by nightly drug users (I didn’t see any that night).

So what are you to do when you are ready to go but it’s still 90 minutes or so until the contest starts? Why, do a normal park activation of course.

Park Activation

I had planned to do the contest QRP (limiting myself to five watts). I started off a pre-contest activation on five watts on 40m at 4:36pm and picked up 15 contacts, including a park to park with Liz VK2XE in VKFF-0379.

I then headed up to 20m and upped the power to 50 watts hopeful of perhaps getting some DX. I got Martin VK6AHR and then went to 100 watts and only picked u another four contacts on 20m. 30m got me another four, before heading back to 40m with the hundred watts and picking up another nine, including the special event station VI50ML, commemorating the moon landing.  I finished off the pre-contest activation with two more on 80m.

I tried a couple of times to get Steven KG6IC on both 30 and 20 metres but the bands weren’t playing ball with me for that.

The Statistics

Modes
SSB: 35

Parks
 VKFF-0379: 1
1 park contacts - 1 unique

Bands
 40M: 24
 20M: 5
 30M: 4
 80M: 2

35 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

35 log entries

Trans-Tasman Low Band Contest

As I was already on 80m when it hit 6pm and I had a frequency I was calling on, I made the decision to start on 80m and turned the linear off, dropping back to five watts. This was probably a poor decision. Contacts came slowly calling on one frequency on low power (I wonder how many folks didn’t respond as I mentioned QRP in the CQ). After only nine contacts i the first 75 minutes I decided to start tuning around and chasing instead. This was much betterBy the end of the first two hour segment I’d brought my total to 16 and I’d started calling a few stations on CW.

Teh  next two hour segment was much better, adding 27 contacts.

At about 9:45pm I made the decision to give 40m a go. I really should have gone there first. 40m was full of DX and very few folks in the Trans-Tasman. I only picked up three contacts and one of them was the same contact as we crossed in to the next segment.

About 10:15pm I went back to 80m and scanning the band. This segment netted me 28 more contacts, including a park to park with Gerard, VK2IO/VK8. I also managed to (finally) get VK2AFY (2km up thread) into the log in this segment.

All up I ended up with 70 contacts in the contest. On entering the data to VKCL logger it turns out that I ended up with 420 points. This contrasts with my ad-hoc activation in Dharug National Park last year where I picked up 309.

The Statistics

Modes
 CW: 11
SSB: 59

Parks
 VKFF-0523: 1
1 park contacts - 1 unique

Bands
 40M: 3
 80M: 67

44 unique contacts (26 duplicates)

70 log entries

Epilogue

 

All up an enjoyable, if sometime frustrating activation. I had a chat with Steve, VK2SKC, Brad VK2NMZ and Bob VK2AOR on the trip home on the local repeater and had a bite to eat with Brad at Tuggerah McDonalds. I should have had him snap a photo of me in the outfit I was wearing to keep warm. It defies description and would have been worth a laugh, but I did keep warm.

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