Saturday 19 January 2019
After a week of hot weather, I decided to head out to activate a Park about an hour’s drive away. But first I had some domestic tasks to complete. I was finally on the road a little before UTC rollover on Saturday morning, after having posted an Alert on ParksnPeaks.
I arrived on site a little before 0100Z and found a spot to set up inside the Park boundary.
Won Wron Flora Reserve VKFF-2488 Not previously activated
I was located only about 10 m inside the Park boundary, having driven a short distance down a rough track and parked the vehicle. I tossed a line over a tree branch to haul up the dipole and set up with the radio on the tailgate of the vehicle. I was in partial shade for the first 40 minutes or so.
Once set up, I checked the Spots and listened around for a couple of stations without success. I made a number of calls trying to work John VK3CU/p and Vicki VK3LT/p in Alpine National Park. I spotted myself and started calling. Several minutes later, I had a call from Paul VK5PAS on 40 m SSB. After a short chat with Paul, I started to log Gerard VK2IO, but I did something wrong and had to wait while Port-a-log restarted….. Operator error! The next 10 minutes saw another 8 contacts in the log, all on 40 m SSB, then nothing. I continued calling, but gave up and moved to 40 m CW. The next 20 minutes saw 7 more contacts – slow going. I returned to 40 m SSB to work another six stations over the next ten minutes. With no further responses, I decided to try 20 m for a while. But before I started calling, I erected a sun shade structure at the rear of the vehicle, as it was getting to be quire hot in the sun.
Ten minutes of calling yielded only three callsigns in the log before I tried 20 m CW, yielding another three callsign – actually the same three calls, but now on CW after the SSB contacts!
I moved down to 80 m, after running out the extensions of the antenna. I worked Geoff VK3SQ and heard Compton VK2HRX. Compton could not hear my responses, so I returned to 40 m SSB to make the contact. After several minutes of calling with a few responses, I tried 30 m, using the antenna in an offset feed arrangement. The tuner seemed to cope and I worked three stations over about 20 minutes of calling. I returned to 40 m SSB with a very low response rate until Ken VK3UH called me, about 3 hours and 20 minutes after I started calling at the start of the activation. After a chat on 40 m SSB, we tried several different bands. It took us a few minutes on some band changes, but I soon had Ken in the log on a total of five different bands. The total was now up to 45 contacts – Park finally qualified!
I started to pack up and then headed back out to the main road and made my back to the main road and then on to home. It had been a long day!