Today was the first day of the annual VKFF Activation challenge. You bet I was going out today.
I had grand plans for doing multiple parks a good distance from home.
Those plans died with the weather.
Relatively strong winds when I left home and a 70% chance of rain. I really wanted to go somewhere relatively close that I knew I could work from the car in.
Wyrrabalong National Park was actually the first park I activated. I’ve been tere at least a dozen times, but it seemed tailor made for today.
And I have to say, wow what a day!
As you can see below it’s a pretty short trip from home.
Just head down Wilfred Barrett Dr and turn right in toPelican Beach Rd.
I’ve been here a lot so I know I was inside the park, the below are just for context.
That dot is actually pretty close to where I set the main pole up.
Definitely inside the park.
So you can see I was about half way between Toukley and Long Jetty and only about a hundred (OK maybe 200, as I discovered when I walked it) yards from the ocean.
I picked my usual spot here next to the bin. The choice is deliberate. It’s very easy to use velcro straps to hold the large pole to the metalwork stopping folks from overfilling (or stealing) the bin. I didn’t bother with the 80m legs on the dipole as my initial thought was to get a quick ten or so contacts and move on.
The south end was hung over some branches about 3-4 metres up and teh north end was tied to my 6m squid pole, probably up about 4m.
I didn’t go for the full height today. Most of the time it was only about 7 metres up, others I took it to 8 metres. This was mainly because we started the day with a bit of wind, …
…, which managed to get the flag flying properly.
Yes, that’s how I use the straight key when portable. I actually hold it in place with my left hand. When doing voce, the log is usually on my right leg.
It’s a bit of a mess, but that’s generally the case when I set up to operate portable from the drivers seat.
I started operating at 1:37pm (02:37 UTC) on 40m, getting Gerard (VK2IO/P) in his first (or was it second) park.
I was pleasantly surprised with the excellent short skip on 40. Quite a few closer in contacts that I normally wouldn’t get. 16 contacts on 40m by 2:08pm (03:08 UTC).
Lots of folks were pointing out how good 10 metres was too. I figured that if 10 was good, It may be worth jumping up to 15, as I wouldn’t need to change the links on the antenna.
Wow. I don’t think I’ve had much in the way of contacts on 15 in about a year. Definitely made up for that today with 20 SSB contacts in about 30 minutes.
Dropping back down to 20 metres, five SSB and seven CW in the next 50 minutes.
Then I bit the bullet, pulled the dipole pretty much all the way down so I could remove the 10 metre links.
14 SSB contacts up until 4:01pm (05:01 UTC).
I think it was then that I gave 17m a go without success for about 20 minutes
At 4:24pm (05:24 UTC) dropped to 40m to get VK2IO in a new park and back up to 10 again a few minutes later.
Three more SSB contacts there before dropping down to 28.044 for some CW, picking up five there.
Back to 15 metres for some CW, adding another four to the total by 5:00pm (06:00UTC).
Called for a while on 12 metres and managed one contact with John (VK2FAD), just over in Budgewoi (less than 10km), who spotted me there on the DX cluster but I didn’t get any more on that band. That took about an hour. I probably called a few other bands too over this time with no response.
Back to 40 at 5:59 (06:59UTC) to get Gerard in yet another park and then 15 again fo two more over the next ten minutes.
At 6:12pm (07:12UTC) I managed a park to park on 40m with Brett (VK3FLCS). It was a pretty rough contact but we just managed to exchange park idents and signal reports. By this stage 40m was getting an awful lot of static.
I finished the day with four CW contacts on 40m. It would have been five but I jus couldn’t keep up with one respondent.
Last contact was at 6:42pm (07:42).
Modes CW: 20 SSB: 64 Parks VKFF-0340: 1 VKFF-0522: 1 VKFF-2114: 1 VKFF-0191: 1 VKFF-2264: 1 VKFF-1162: 2 VKFF-2115: 1 VKFF-0961: 1 VKFF-1352: 1 VKFF-0971: 1 VKFF-2250: 2 VKFF-0028: 1 VKFF-1577: 1 VKFF-0272: 2 VKFF-0945: 2 19 park contacts - 15 unique Bands 10M: 14 15M: 26 40M: 23 12M: 1 30M: 8 20M: 12 84 unique contacts (0 duplicates)
You can see why I was very happy with the day!
After I finished packing up, I locked up teh car and went for a walk.
Last time I was here, they were still building this lookout.
On a nice day, these views would be spectacular.
and this is what the platform looks like stepping back from it.
I then made the (probably silly) decision to walk down towards the beach.
Aboce is looking to the north.
and this was to the south. A combination of a pretty ordinary day and a lot of smoke haze.
All up, I had a pretty fun day. Looking forward to tomorrow.