It was coming up to the annual big radio clash: the Remembrance Day Contest (RD) was again on the same weekend as the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW). Some ILLW operators do not wish to participate or even exchange reported with RD participants – some become very unhappy. I had been suffering from a lingering head cold/flu lurgy that did not want to go away. So I made no plans and waited to see how I felt at the time. Plus it was the proofing weekend for the magazine, so I needed to await news that the proof was available and send notification out to the proof reading team.
Some of the members of the Eastern Zone Amateur Radio Club (Inc.) were planning to again activate the Citadel Island Lighthouse, which sits these days in the grounds of the Gippsland Regional Maritime Museum in Port Albert.
By early afternoon I had news of the magazine proof being available, so I quickly sent of the required email, packed some gear and headed off toward Port Albert. The drive was about an hour, via Loy Yang, Gormandale and Yarram.
I had activated this Park on Good Friday 2015, in the early evening. On that occasion I worked about 26 stations – enough to qualify the Park for VKFF, but well short of the 44 required for WWFF.
I arrived at my target spot well down Old Port Foreshore Road and parked up against the locked gate that prevents public vehicles travelling any further. Forest Explorer shows that this is inside the Park, but the road itself is within the 100 m of the Park boundary as permitted by the rules.
I was set up a few minutes earlier than expected and quickly worked Rod VK2TWR on 40 m SSB to get things started. Over about 40 minutes I worked 18 stations on 40 m SSB before moving to 20 m, where I worked 14 stations over the next 35 minutes. I worked several ILLW and RD stations during the activation. Notable contacts were Gerard VK2IO/p in Popran National Park VKFF-417, Mike 2E0YYY/p on G/SP-013, John VK6NU/p on VK6/SW-042 and Mike VK6MB/p in VKFF-137.
Things were a little quiet on the band and the temperature was start to drop, so I packed up. The 32 contacts made meant that my total number of contacts was over the required 44 for WWFF. I then drove around to the Maritime Museum and spent half an hour chatting with Mike VK3NMK and Bernard VK3BFH in between them operating the station on 40 m. The museum staff were busy cleaning up at the end of the day, but were stirring up lots of dust, triggering lots of sneezing and coughs on my behalf. So I said my farewells and headed for home in time for a late dinner.