Friday 19 May 2017
My hosts Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ both had to work, so I was free for the entire day. I decided to at least bag the two nearest SOTA summits. I set the vehicle GPS to take me to the first target and arrived without incident.
Mount Gawler VK5/SE-013 541 m 2 points
The summit trig is on private property, but there is a large activation zone. I set up just outside the boundary fence at a spot where I could see the trig through the trees. Just as I was about to start calling, the property owner drove up to the gate, heading into town to make some purchases. I said hello and introduced myself – Paul had offered to ring to arrange access right to the trig, but I had declined.
I started calling after spotting myself, and worked 9 stations on 40 m SSB. I then moved to 20 m SSB, working John ZL1BYZ and David VK5PL in the nearby Barossa Valley. A new Unique and Complete in the log.
I then set the GPS for Mount Lofty and had a pleasant drive through the Adelaide Hills.
Mount Lofty VK3/SE-005 727 m 4 points
Cleland Conservation Park VKFF-0778 5CP-042
Following advice from Paul, I found a spot in the car park and set up just off a walking track – away from most of the tourist traffic but well inside the AZ.
I spotted myself and started calling on 40 m SSB, with John VK2YW first in the log. In 25 minutes I worked 13 stations. On 20 m SSB, 15 minutes of calling yielded 9 stations. Next I tried 30 m, yielding another 8 callsigns. I tried calling on 2 m FM, but heard nothing. Several stations later indicated that they had heard me, but clearly my handheld was being swamped by the high level of signals from the nearby transmitter towers. Back to 40 m SSB for another 17 stations, yielding a total of 47 contacts, thus qualifying the Park for WWFF. A new Unique and Complete in the SOTA log.
I packed up and made my way to the AGM venue to pick up my registration pack. As expected, I ran into many people that I knew. Therefore, it was not a simple short visit.
I headed back to Paul’s location and as I was approaching, received a message advising that Paul and some others were enjoying a ale in Hahndorf. Given the traffic in 5town I decided against returning to join the others and sat in the car reading the various materials in the registration pack.
Later in the afternoon, we all jumped in a vehicle to head to the Friday evening welcome function. Lots of people attended, so there was much discussion.
Saturday 20 May
The WIA AGM, Open Forum and Conference
The day started with yet another queue: signing in for the AGM and being ticked off on the attendance list.
The AGM was an interesting affair, with several individuals expressing various opinions. The vote to accept the Minutes of the previous AGM on Norfolk Island ended up being counted three times, with all three methods used having a clear majority to accept the Minutes.
The various awards were announced and handed to the recipients that were present. We then broke for morning tea.
After the tea break, the new Board members introduced themselves and delivered a presentation on how they intended to work managing the WIA over the coming year. Their first formal meeting was not scheduled until the following morning. At the end of the Forum, Doc VK5DOC launched his new book “Cellar dwellers on the go”. We then broke for lunch.
After lunch, we had a number of presentations on various amateur radio activities in South Australia. The Conference presentations went well (apart from occasional dropouts in the microwave link to Mount Lofty) and all speakers were well received.
We headed back to Mt Barker to freshen up before returning for the Conference Dinner, where we had a good evening and three presentations: The launch of the ParksnPeaks iOS app, Craig VK5CE talking about his IOTA exploits and finally a couple of brief videos from the launch of the Horus balloons at the 2012 AGM in Mildura. Some of the vision captured by the second balloon was used to assist in the creation of realistic special effects in the movie Gravity.
Sunday 21 May
We returned on Sunday morning to the Conference venue to gather prior to heading out into various nearby Parks. Although I had offered to take some people out, I had only one taker – Robert VK3DN. We headed off to Charleston Conservation Park, where we found David VK5PL already on site and set up. We had a brief chat with David and then headed off to the next closest Park, about 20 minutes away.
Porter Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0787 5CP-189
We finally parked at the southern entry gate to the Park and set up beside the track about 50 m in from the gate. Robert assisted me in stringing out the dipole. I started tuning around on 40 m SSB. First in the log was Andrew VK1AD/2 on VK2/SM-027. Next up were Allen VK3ARH/5 and Chris VK5FR/p, both on VK5/SE-005 in VKFF-0778. There were plenty of Park to Park contacts, including some Park duplications with all the operators out in nearby Parks keen to make contact. Robert watched and listened for a little while and posted a picture of me operating to Facebook (I am not sure where…) before departing to assist in setting up for the afternoon’s activities.
In all I worked 15 different Parks and ended up with 47 contacts in the log.
I packed up and headed back to Hahndorf and made my way to the Hahndorf Oval, venue for the various afternoon activities.
There was plenty to view around the Oval. When I arrived, the Horus team were setting up the balloon for the afternoon’s launch. There was microwave gear at opposite ends of the Oval, plus Steve VK5SFA had a couple of his magnetic loop antennas set up. Inside the pavilion, there were several displays of various amateur activities, including some that had been discussed in the previous afternoon’s presentations.
Most people watched the Horus balloon launch and the fun then began as people attempted to make contact with VI5WOW through the cross-band repeater package in the balloon payload.
The Lions team began serving the BBQ dinner at around 1730. The food was basic but good. Lots more discussion occurred before we finally headed back to Mount Barker for the night.