The day started with another trip into town for another coffee whilst checking email. After lunch, I started entering my paper log into FLE. During the afternoon, further AGM attendees arrived on the flight from Sydney. There was some socialising once people had settled in. There were also some short opportunities to operate from the station set up at the hotel.
Dinner on Friday evening was at the Norfolk Island RSL in Burnt Pine: a good meal with entertainment provided by Trent. Many participated in the RSL raffle. Before dinner, a promotional video of the trip to Phillip Island was shown, but unfortunately not really showing a good view of the saddle between Red Knoll and Jacky Jacky. After the video, there was a significantly smaller number of people still expressing interest in the excursion! Comments were made of a possible visit in the following week, after I had departed for home.
Saturday was taken up with the WIA AGM in the morning, with an Open Forum after morning tea. After lunch, there were Conference presentations in two streams. I presented on the progress of SOTA in VK and ZL since the scheme started in VK3 in February 2012. Some of the slides used data presented by Wayne VK3WAM at the February VK3 SOTA gathering – thanks Wayne.
Saturday night was the annual dinner. The keynote speaker was the Honourable Gary Hardgrave, Administrator of Norfolk Island, who spoke about the island’s intriguing history and the challenging times of change ahead. After main course, we were entertained by Doug McVeigh VK0DMV, who gave an illustrated talk about his recent time at Casey Station in the Australian Antarctic, its wildlife, the science conducted, and the cooperation between many nations in sharing their resources on the icy continent.
On Sunday morning, I led a group of around 9 up to Mt Bates. We did get a station up and running, despite several issues of gear left behind and an intermittent connection on my dipole. Most of the amateurs in the group were on air – some only on VHF & UHF, but some using the HF set up to qualify the summit for SOTA. I managed to arrange for the gear left behind to be delivered to the summit by the second group coming up to the summit.
Sunday afternoon was initially relatively quiet. I joined Keith VK5OQ/9 for a trip to Mount Pitt, where we set up stations on 3.4 GHz using gear supplied by Roger VK2ZRH/VK9NJ and 10 GHz using gear brought by Keith. With three amateurs on Mt Pitt, we quickly had the systems set up and running, waiting in very windy conditions for the other team to set up. Roger travelled with Ross VK2VVV to Kingston and eventually found a spot near the convict barracks with line of sight to Mount Pitt. Once Roger was set up, we had solid signals on 3.4 GHz over a path of about 5.4 km. There were several amateurs visiting Mt Pitt, with most checking what we were doing. Several had a contact, including WIA President Phil VK2ASD having his first microwave contact. After concluding on 3.4 GHz, contacts were made on 10 GHz, setting an initial distance record for VK9N.
Late in the afternoon we jumped on a bus to travel to Puppys Point on the west coast of the Island for a Fish Fry: good local food with entertainment from Trent plus three of the local girls doing traditional island dance, including encouraging some of the punters to join in with some lessons.
After dinner, several of the WIA group went to the Jolly Roger for drinks and further discussions. WIA Director Robert VK3DN joined Matt on stage, playing guitar for a long set and displaying previously hidden talent.
Monday was time to pack up and await the bus transfer to the airport for the trip home. I almost left my toiletries bag behind…. The return journey was straight forward, with a little time to kill in Sydney after clearing Customs & Immigration and transferring to the domestic terminal. I arrived back in Melbourne at about 2000 and met my friends for a lift back to their home for the night. I then returned home on Tuesday.
Overall a good relaxing trip, with some SOTA and WWFF activations included. I largely avoided the tourist tours. It was great to catch up with many amateurs that I had not seen for some time. In addition to the social interactions, of course I had visited Mt Bates VK9/NO-001 on three occasions and had enough contacts over the week to qualify the VKFF reference for another Park activated.