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.