A friend had requested advice regarding a delicate matter that had arisen. I suggested an option would be to start documenting the chronology of events leading to the current situation. I offered to head across to his home to assist with the task. So I headed off from home a little prior to 1000 local time, arriving in Maffra just after 1100 local (0000Z).
We soon had the computer fired up and started the documentation task. Whilst waiting for a task to complete, I checked ParksnPeak and saw that Ian VK5CZ/p was out on a SOTA summit. I dashed out to my car to grab the CW paddle to hook up to the rig. A few minutes later, I managed to work Ian on 40 m SSB: our first successful outcome for the day. We returned to the main task at hand. I managed to miss a couple of spots posted by Liz VK2XSE/p, but listened for her and even called. A couple of minutes later, Liz spotted that she was going QRT.
About an hour later, we heard a weak signal in the noise, as I had left the transceiver running on 7.144 MHz. Gerard VK2IO and Lee VK2LEE were attempting to work out where Tony VK3XV/5 was operating. I jumped in and managed to finally get the Park reference from Tony along with 33 reports both ways. I spotted Tony and heard the others complete contacts with Tony.
With the documentation task completed, we posted a response to the correspondent causing angst, then left to grab some lunch. We also decided to head off to the nearest Park to try an activation, after having checked the RADAR to note that the light showers would soon be past our intended location.
We headed off to the west in separate vehicles, through Tinamba and on towards Glenmaggie. I found a spot inside the Park boundary to stop and set up the station.
Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877
We parked to the east of Tyson Road, north of Tinamba Seaton Road, well inside the boundary of the Park. I quickly tossed a line over a tree branch at about 10-11 m and hauled up the centre of the doublet. We soon had the antenna legs run out and the station assembled. Opening ParksnPeaks showed that things were busy, with VK3XV/5, VK3TKK/p and Rob VK4AAC/3 all on air.
I quickly listened to the spotted frequencies and could only hear Tony, so soon had VKFF-1011 in the log for a Park to Park (P2P) contact. I spotted for 80 m and moved down and started calling., A few minutes later, I worked Peter VK3TKK/p in VKFF-2316, followed by Rob VK4AAC/3 in VKFF-2100 – two more P2P contacts. Shortly after, I worked Steve VK3KTT. I soon had seven contacts on 80 m SSB in the log. I moved up to 40 m and found a clear frequency to start calling. 15 minutes later and I only had two contacts in the log…. I moved to 40 m CW, which yielded five contacts in the next ten minutes, then nothing. I tried 20 m CW and worked another three stations. 20 m SSB yielded only a single contact with a local, who was also worked on 40 m, 15 m, 10 m and 6 m SSB plus 2 m and 70 cm FM.
Back to 40 m SSB, I worked Rob VK4AAC/3 again from VKFF-2100, plus David VK5PL. With no further responses to CQ calls, I decided to try my first session using FT8 in the field. I hooked my laptop up to the IC-7300 and was soon receiving signals on the FT8 frequency on 20 m, but I was not transmitting. I soon corrected the settings and was transmitting. I called a ZL station but was unable to complete despite continuing transmitting. My signal was reported at -16 but the other station gave up after several minutes. I tried a few CQ calls but had no responses. I dropped back down to the 40 m FT8 and soon had several calls in the log: VK2AJG, VK2IO, VK5WU, VK3NRB and VK1MIC. With no more responses, I changed back to 40 m SSB and was quickly answered by Paul VK5PAS, followed by Adrian VK5FANA. Paul posted another spot for me and I soon had another couple of contacts. I finally had 44 in the log – I thought at the time it was 45, but I had one duplicate contact. I moved up to 20 m FT8 and worked Ross VK3NRB on FT8, making it 45 contacts for the day. I decided to pack up and head for home.
Thanks to all the Hunters for your contacts.