Spring Gully Conservation Park, 2nd October 2014: a mini activation

Spring Gully CP Look Out: off Sawmill Road JCD photo

Spring Gully CP Look Out: off Sawmill Road JCD photo

I went back to Spring Gully Conservation Park for a third activation this morning. The real purpose was to try out a home brew three band end-fed antenna. The antenna is currently designed for 30, 20 and 17 metres, but I will probably extend it to 40m when I get home. One design fault with the antenna is the running insulator which is in the 20 metre section does not allow for centre mounting. I will move it to the 30m section which will ensure the antenna is mounted at the top of the squid pole in the centre and not off-centre in the 20 metre section. The current arrangement means that too much of the 30m section hangs too low which reduces efficiency. Andrew, VK1NAM, inspired me to build this by his excellent article on a half-wave end-fed system he built.

I tried out the 30m antenna. I had qso’s on 10:115 ssb with VK2AXB, Grant at Orange 5 and 8 and 5 and 2; I could hear VK4NZ, Jim in Mackay, Qld, 5 and 1, but he could not hear my signal; VK4JWT, John in Brisbane was 5 and 6 and he gave me 4 and 1; VK3AAU, David in Warragul very kindly drove to a high point to work me (away from the noise): he was 5 and 8 and gave me 4 and 7 and finally, VK3SQ, Geoff, at Beechworth 5 and 8 and 5 and 6. I used my FT817 at five watts and the SOTA tuner which will handle six watts (parallel-tuned) for the lower bands. I did not post an alert in case all went pear-shaped. It didn’t and the antenna could be useful on a summit.

Later in the day we held a mini-hamfest in Clare. I had already arranged to meet VK5KC, David, who, with his wife, came to Clare for a family weekend. Later in the day I received a call from VK5PAS, Paul, who was driving towards Jamestown to activate some summits and parks and indicated he would activate Spring Gully Conservation Park as he was passing through Clare. Earlier in the morning I had met with Ian, VK5CZ, tractor mobile, who was working. And later, with the aid of the Spencer Gulf Repeater (146.700 – 600 KHz) and 146.500, we arranged to catch up at the end of the day. The meeting place was in the Clare Caravan Park and a picture was taken, which is highly likely to appear on Paul’s Blog.

Sadly our visit to the Clare Valley will come to an end tomorrow as we turn around and drive back to the Adelaide Hills and home. I have had a great time climbing Mount Bryan, visiting Parks, socialising and playing radio.

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Red Banks Conservation Park, 1st October 2014

Red Banks Conservation Park was proclaimed a Park in 2002. Previously is was owned by the Council and used as a recreation area, often inappropriately for off-roading. It is a stunning area. There is a variety of vegetation from scrub to large trees, for example, river red gums, two creeks dissecting the Park with permanent water and massive red-cliffs. There is a camping area with ten camp-sites marked and a day use area separate from the camp-ground. We travelled to the day use area.

I set up my FT897 on five watts and engaged in 11 contacts with locals on 40 metres before moving to 20 metres. I increased the transmit power to 40 watts and easily worked  Paul, EA5/GM0OPK. I used my large LIfePO4 battery and linked dipole.

Red Banks Conservation Park. Using the Yaesu 897. JCD photo

Red Banks Conservation Park. Using the Yaesu 897.
JCD photo

I enjoyed the following contacts on 40 metres: VK5GJ, Greg at 03:36; VK3VBI, Ron; VK3FKJC, Kevin; VK5NQP, David; VK5LY, Larry; VK5WG, Nev; VK5LI/M, Craig; VK5NFB, Don; VK5LY, Larry for a longer qso; VK5BAR, Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society, Inc., David, VK5KC operator and then I migrated to 20 and at 05:34, had a contact with Paul, EA5/GM0OPK, 30k North of Valencia. I gave Paul 5 and 7 and he gave me 5 and 4. I tried to have a qso with Enrico, I6EH, but the E in my call-sign proved too big a stumbling block. I gave him 5 and 8 and he gave me 5 and 4. I will not count the contact.

Red cliffs at Redbanks Conservation Park

Red cliffs at Red Banks Conservation Park

The view from my operating position at Redbanks CP

The view from my operating position at Red Banks CP

Mokota Conservation Park, 1st October 2014

Mokota Conservation Park: notice rocky spine! JCD photo

Mokota Conservation Park: notice rocky spine!
JCD photo

Mokota Conservation Park was proclaimed in 2002. The land, 455 hectares, was purchased by the State and Federal Governments to conserve native grassland. The park is treeless. On the highest section small rough hewn rocks emerge from the ground giving the appearance of a backbone running up the hill. Interpretative signs are placed strategically to assist visitors. See the photo below.

I set up my station near the entrance using the park fence to support my squid pole and linked dipole. The radio I used was the Ten Tec Argonaut, Model VI, with the power set at five watts. I was very pleased to work two SOTA stations, including VK1ATP/P7, Paul, in Tasmania and Ian, VK1DI/P1, on Black Mountain in Canberra.

The following contacts were had on 7.100: VK1DI/P1, Ian, on VK1/AC-042 at 00:27; then 7.090, VK1ATP/P7, Paul on VK7/EC-045; 7.100, VK5WG, Nev; VK5FPAC, Bob; VK5AKM, Keith; VK5LDM, Dennis; VK5AKM, Keith, then on 14.150, VK2AXM/M2, Max travelling to Newcastle. Eight contacts – and I called on 20 metres for a few minutes before Max called me and we enjoyed a 20 minute qso before conditions deteriorated.

Mokota CP: no trees just grassland

Mokota CP: no trees just grassland

Five Wedge-tail Eagles under siege! JCD photo

Five Wedge-tail Eagles
under siege! JCD photo

There are five wedge-tail eagles in the photo. The attacker (a magpie?) is above the eagle highest in the picture. Double-click on picture to expand.