2020-04-25 Palm Grove Nature Reserve

I had plans to go to two or perhaps three parks today to add to my boomerang parks. I left things sufficiently late that I only got one in

Today was special as, being ANZAC Day, we get to use the AX prefix instead of VK.

This is my third trip out to this park.

APRS

aprs-1

Unfortunately, I stuffed up with APRSdroid heading out (for some reason my phone was in Airplane made, … go figure), so we only have the return trip marked. It was about a 30 minute trip from home.

aprs-2

After taking the Peats Ridge exit from the M1, I headed up Peats Ridge Rd taking the Wisemans Ferry Rd heading north, then a dogleg through Dog Trap Rd on to Kilkenny Rd.

aprs-3

I parked up the end of this road, grabbed my backpack, pole, antenna bag and camera (about a 20kg load out with two 12AH batteries in the pack) and hiked down Cedar Brush Walk (part of the Great North Walk) until I was inside the park, pretty close to where I put that ‘X’ on the map.

I can say that there have been a few changes and some of the trees that I would have previously used are there no longer.

Setting Up

The first thing that I realised was that I’d left my star picket in the car. I was not going to trek back uphill to the car so I velcrod it to this sign setting up about ten yards further down the track than in the last two trips.

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There was no wind all afternoon so the pole didn’t move around at all. I quickly tied off the ends at full stretch to a tree on one side and tossed a rope over a branch at the other.

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You may notice that my table is a different colour. We had a small smouldering fire at home and my previous table got caught up in it (as did my red chair). I picked this one up for $30 from BCF as they had a 25% off sale. I was fortunate to have another chair that I could use.

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The Activation

Something else that slowed me down getting started is that I realised that the beta version of VK-logger that I was running had been disabled as Peter had released the new version, so I had to download and configure the new version.

I heard a really strong German station on 40m and really wanted to work him. I called with my special day prefix (as AX2MG/P) and was told “No Europe, No Europe”, and the gentleman refused to listen to me try to explain that I was not in Europe. Oh well.

Anyway, I got started at about 4:00pm (06:00 UTC), on 40m. Twelve calls on 40m in the first hour and one on 20m, the HUGE distance ground wave out to Wyee with VK2HPN.

I tried a few other bands (15m and 30m) with no success before heading down to 80m at about 5:10pm (07:10 UTC) and picking up three more before heading back to 40m after about 15 minutes.

I picked up another six on 40 metres before deciding to pack up around 5:45pm (07:45 UTC) as it was starting to get dark. I heard a few people getting Gerard (AX2IO/P) on 40m but couldn’t quite hear him.

Anyway after I’d put the radio and batteries away I got a message from Gerard asking if I’d like to try 80m. I frantically set everything back up and added what I thought were the 80m segments. I heard him calling on 3.615, but he couldn’t hear me. I noticed my VSWR was off the scale. Turns out that on one end of the linked dipole I’d attached the 15m stub instead of the 80m segment (I’ve really got to mark those).

After getting the antenna right I got my one and only park to park today with Gerard at 5:53pm (07:53 UTC).

By now it was actually full dark down in this valley so I took my time being very careful packing up by the light of the torch on my phone (I’d though “I won’t need the lantern” before leaving).

I have to say that the trek back up hill to the car with that load out showed me just how out of shape I am! I was sat in the car for a good ten minutes getting my breath back before I felt OK to drive home.

The Statistics

Modes
SSB: 23

Parks
 VKFF-1317: 1
1 park contacts - 1 unique

Bands
 40M: 18
 20M: 1
 80M: 4

23 unique contacts (0 duplicates)

23 log entries

So no, I didn’t actually use the key today. I only needed ten calls to get a VKFF activation on this park for it to add towards boomerang, so that’s one step closer.

One thought on “2020-04-25 Palm Grove Nature Reserve

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