May 17 was the third and last day this year in which we could use the special AX prefix on callsigns instead of the usual VK (the special event was that it was International Telecommunications day), so I headed out to revisit Colongra Swamp Nature Reserve.
Unfortunately on taking out the DSLR camera to snap entry pictures, I found the battery dead, so these photos are from my phone (and these ones were actually taken on my way out, but fit better at the start of the blog).
It’s a relatively close park to home.
Heading north up to Doyalson then back south-east towards Budgewoi and Halekulani.
I went a little further up the trail this time than my last activation here.
As you can see, I’m well inside the park boundaries. I actually set up right beside the track, and not as far in to the trees as the image might suggest.
I parked the car just outside the gate, threw the backpack on, picked up the pole and accessories bag (and useless camera) and walked the short distance up the trail.
This image puts things in to a little more geographic context, although I’m only showing this particular park.
Above is looking west from my chair. I really wish I had stepped things out properly. I “thought” that I stepped out about 20m from the tree to the north that I wanted to throw one end of the antenna over. After setting the pole up, I was about 1.5m short, so went to a lighter tree a little lower further north.
Above gives a better idea of just how “far” off the trail I was.
It’s a bit tricky to see but I threw the rope for teh northern end through the lowest fork in the tree in the centre.
It was definitely a lighter tree than the one I had planned on but turned out just fine.
Above is looking back north from the other end of the antenna.
There were very few options for the southern end, so I used the velcro to loosely attach the 6m pole to a shrub, …
…, and tied the rope to it such that the southern end went up about 4m,
Looking back at the setup walking back from the south,
This was supposed to be a nice picture capturing the sun behind the tree in front of me to the west. I’m less skilled taking photos with the phone than I am with the camera, it seems.
Again, I started much later than I had intended, having some domestic things to take care of before embarking.
As I was setting up, I heard Mark VK4SMA calling from VKFF-0300 and was desperate to get the logger with the correct park setting through GPS while he was there. With the amplifier set to 50 Watts, I got him as my first contact at 12:59:pm (02:59 UTC), followed ten minutes later with another park to park with Gerard AX2IO/P using CW further down 40m.
During the first half hour I picked up 13 contacts on 40m. As this is a return park, I only needed 10, but I also noticed that it had only been activated twice before (once by me, and once by Gerard), so I stuck around to give more chasers a chance to catch me.
Headed to 20m, pumped the amplifier up to 100 Watts, and picked up Andrei ZL1TM SSB, followed by Jess W6LEN and John VK5HAA CW. Unfortunately while trying to get Andrei I had a problem occur with my key which precluded finishing that one or getting any more CW today.
As an aside, it looks lie the spring had either stretched or loosened up a little. After I got home, I re-adjusted it and it seems to be ok now.
Before leaving 20m, I noticed Jack VA3UU giving a general CQ out and came back to him. Jack was about 30 miles out of Toronto, Canada,. Funnily enough I was probably a similar kind of distance from Toronto on Lake Macquarie.
20m dried up, so after trying for a further 15 minutes I went back to 40m, leaving the amplifier on 100W.
Another two quick park to parks with Liz AX2XSE/P (in VKFF-1909) and Leslie VK5LOL/P (in VKFF-0820). Over the course of the next hour, I added another 22 contacts in South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.
I decided to give 30m a try and when I was about to give up on it, Danny VK5DW came back to me, followed by Rob VK5AAC/2 and Mark VK3PI.
At 3:55pm (5:55UTC) I dropped down to give 80m a try, adding three more including a surprised Lee (AX2LEE) who didn’t expect to get anyone on 80m at that time of day.
Headed back to 40m to finish off the activation at at 4:05pm (6:05UTC), as I saw a spot for Adam VK2YK/5 who had noted earlier that he was going to head out for a park, so I was able to add him to the tally.
I managed to add another eight contacts before deciding to call it at day at about 4:30pm (6:30UTC), given that sunset was going to be a little before 5pm and I didn’t fancy packing up in the dark like I did at the last activation.
I managed to get packed up before sunset and remembered to go and snap teh photos at the park entry.
Modes CW: 3 SSB: 53 Parks VKFF-2018: 1 VKFF-1905: 1 VKFF-0820: 1 VKFF-1909: 1 VKFF-2888: 1 VKFF-0300: 1 6 park contacts - 6 unique Bands 40M: 46 20M: 4 30M: 3 80M: 3 55 unique contacts (1 duplicate) 56 log entries