Sunday 23 July 2017
The weather forecast for Sunday did not look great, with strong winds all day and two cold fronts to pass through the region during the afternoon. I decided to risk the weather and head out to another of the new Parks. I was away a little after 0900 local and travelled to Heyfield, finding that the Bakery is not open on Sundays…. Lunch would therefore wait until mid-afternoon during the return trip.
The Glenmaggie Regional Park needs careful attention to the mapping detail, as it appears to be made of at least two separate sub-parks, the area managed by Parks Victoria and some areas closer to Lake Glenmaggie that are managed by Southern Rural Water, the local Rural Water Authority. As best as I can tell, the two areas are called “Glenmaggie Regional Park”. Be aware that there is also a Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Area nearby, which is not part of the Regional Park.
The Glenmaggie Regional Park is part of the Gippsland Plains region and sits to the east of Lake Glenmaggie. Part of the Park is the Blores Hill Mountain Bike Trail Network. Given that was a Sunday and there were lots of MTB riders and their vehicles nearby, I headed down towards the end of Sandy Point Road and set up just off the road in an area which is shown as part of the Park on the mapping on the Parks Victoria website. I was about 200 metres east of the end of Sandy Point Road.
I tossed a line over a tree branch, getting the dipole centre about 12 m off the ground. I set up an IC-7000 set to 25 W on the tailgate of the Ranger, powering it from the secondary battery in the rear of the ute. When I switched on the radio at around 0100 Z, I could hear stations working Gerard VK2JNG/p in Garrawilla National Park VKFF-0588 on 7.144 MHz. In my eagerness, I worked Gerard and then Allen VK3ARH/p in VKFF-1879 with the dipole ends still on the ground! But two P2P contacts made for a good start to the activation!
The next 10 minutes brought another 5 contacts, after which the going became harder. Lots of calls were made with few replies. One of the contacts was with Sam VK2HAX, who was a very difficult copy. I thuink that Sam may have been in the Barrington Tops National Park, as I saw some Spots for him a little later in the afternoon. After 30 minutes, I swapped to 80 m and worked another 6 stations.
Back to 40 m for some more Chasers, including Nigel VK5NIG/p and Stu VK5STU/p, both out in VKFF-1699. I saw a Spot for Trevor VK4KWI/p on a Summit in a Park, so I spent some time listening for him and waiting for the QSB to improve the signal a little. We finally completed a contact, so another P2P in the log.
Just before 0300 Z I swapped to 20 m SSB, with lots of calls and no replies. I was listening and about to revert to 40 m when Ian VK5MA/6 popped up out of the noise – I had seen a Spot for him in VKFF-0647, but had heard nothing for the last 5 minutes. After working Ian, I swapped back to 40 m and managed to again work Gerard VK2JNG/p, now in VKFF-1179. After a few minutes of calling, I went back to 80 m for a while, managing to attract two more Chasers. Approaching 40 contacts in the log, I went back to 40 m. Several minutes calling were unproductive. I spent a couple of minutes listening to Gerard working his Chasers, when I heard Pail VK5PAS/p and Marija VK5FMAZ/p call Gerard. I waited and then followed them down the band a little to work them both in VKFF-1750. I moved down7.090 and started calling CQ there, which had the desired result of a few extra callers.
I finally decided to pack up after a contact at 0416 Z, with 52 contacts in the log. The sky to the west was looking increasingly dark. I quickly packed up and drove to the end of Sandy Point Road to take a photo across Lake Glenmaggie towards the mountains.
I then drove back to Heyfield for an afternoon snack from the take away store and then headed for home. Only about 15 minutes later and I was driving through heavy rain….
Thanks to all the Chasers and to the other Activators for the Park to Park contacts. Another good day out playing radio in the field, away from the higher levels of QRM now experienced at home.