Tuesday was an easy day: our package included a morning orientation tour of the Island.
The tour headed down toward Kingston, with a stop at the Queen Elizabeth Lookout for some great views over the historic area of Kingston and south to Nepean Island not far off shore and Phillip Island a little further (about 6km). After some photos were taken, we drove down through Kingston, past the Governor’s residence, the cemetery and onto to “The Bloody Bridge”. We then retraced our route back to the Kingston site and to the Pier, then around Emily Bay to Point Hunter for another photo opportunity.
The next part of the trip took as back toward Burnt Pine, past our hotel and out Cascade Road to the Cascade Pier, the alternate landing site for boats. We then travel back through Burnt Pine and around the airport to reach our morning tea spot.
The trip continued along Headstone Road to St Barnabas Church, with its spectacular stained glass windows.
We then travelled out toward Anson Point to view the rugged west coast, together with a view of the NDB and the old telegraph cable station as we drove on. It was back toward Burnt Pine to return to the hotel.
Several of us left the bus at the Island’s only roundabout, in Burnt Pine. I did some window shopping around Burnt Pine plus buying some WiFi access, which did not work at the Hotel! I walked back to the hotel and bought a sandwich for a late lunch. The Hotel has its own WiFi payment system, based on time connected – forget to log off and your time will quickly disappear. There were also reports from others that the system was slow. On Tuesday afternoon I had some social chats with other amateurs at the hotel, plus worked several stations on the Island toward the WIA Norfolk Island Award – requiring 20 contacts for those amateurs on the Island with other amateurs on the Island.
Another good meal was had at the hotel on Tuesday evening with several of the other amateurs.
On Wednesday morning I took the courtesy bus into Burnt Pine and visited a café for a coffee and to check emails. Reading emails was interrupted several times by meeting amateurs who wanted to chat.
Lunch was at the Governors Lodge Hotel, across the road from our hotel. Ten dollars for a yummy curry dish with rice, poppadum and a little salad. The group started off as Ron VK3AFW, Ruth and myself, but quickly grew to include Paul VK5PAS, Marija VK5FMAZ and Luke VK3HJ.
Mid-afternoon, Ron VK3AFW asked if I wished to join him for his scheduled activation of Mt Bates – he had hoped for some long path contacts into Europe.
Mt Bates, mark II
I started off from Mt Pitt a few minutes ahead of Ron and was set up on Mt Bates by time Ron arrived. I quickly worked 7 VK stations and a ZL before the receiver was blanketed by a strong signal – clearly Ron had activated his tuner to get a good antenna match. I switched to 2 m FM to work some more stations on Norfolk and then spent about 45 minutes calling on 15 m with only one contact to JA. Norfolk Island has only 2G mobile coverage, so I had no capability of spotting myself. Ron worked stations on 20 m CW. I worked a few more on 2 m FM, plus 70 cm FM via the VK9RNI repeater which had been installed by Fred VK9DAC – not valid for SOTA, but valid for the Norfolk Island Award. We started packing up at just after 0600 UTC and finished to walk back to the car in the dark.
Later, I joined Heath VK3TWO/9, Monique VK6FMON/9, Paul VK9PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ for dinner at The Jolly Roger: great food and excellent live music. At dinner, we met a local singer/musician Trent Christian, who has held the call VK9TC, but has let the licence lapse. Trent is a direct descendant of the famous Christian family and has also held an amateur callsign on Pitcairn Island. We chatted with Trent for a while before allowing him to focus back to his wife and friends. Later Trent played and sung a set from up on the stage.
The entertainment was excellent, as was the food: definitely a recommended place to eat.
Another morning trip into town: I first stopped at The Pioneers clothing store at the roundabout to order an embroidered baseball cap with my name & callsign. The cap was ordered at about 0945 and ready to pick up at 1115, with plenty of time for the courtesy bus pick up at 1130. In between, I did more window shopping and checked email over a coffee at The Olive Café.
In the afternoon, I was invited to join Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ for a trip out to the north of the Island to visit the VK9NT team, together with Heath and Monique. The VK9NT team had antennas tied off at impressive heights up into the nearby Norfolk Island Pine trees. With the nearest neighbour several hundred metres away and the mains power delivered underground, radio conditions were without any local interference. The site was within a couple of hundred metres of the edge of the cliff, with the ocean beyond.
After looking over the site and some photos being taken, we retired inside, where there was much discussion over tea, coffee and cake before we headed back to town.