My motivation for a third visit to the Greater Bendigo National Park was to complete 44 contacts for the WWFF program. Here is a link to my last activation of this park: https://vk5bje.com/category/greater-bendigo-national-park/
After leaving Ballarat we travelled to Bendigo.
Photo shows the corner of Hart Road (a track) and Wallenjoe Road
We planned to stay one night and then travel to Koondrook on the Murray, near the Gunbower National Park, for a cruise on the Murray River and a further activation of that Park. However, those plans did not eventuate and we stayed a second night in Bendigo. The additional night enabled us to catch up with another University friend from the 1960s. The three of us were all in a residential college at the University of Melbourne and our friendships have survived over 50 years. I attended the wedding in Mildura of the couple from Ballarat while I was in College. The fourth member and his wife live in Tasmania.
On the way to Bendigo we stopped at Daylesford for coffee. While seated at an outdoor table I noticed the man on the adjoining table. He had a back pack with him and was engaged in conversation with two other men. Then the two left and he was on his own. Suddenly a voice emerged from the backpack and I could see he had radio antennas protruding from it. I engaged him in conversation and he told me he was an amateur radio operator and was also a volunteer with the local CFA brigade. His name is Stewart and his call is VK3FSTU. We conversed for quite a while until we had to leave. I said I would monitor the two metre Mount Alexander repeater and after we were well on our way up the Calder Highway heading to Bendigo he gave me call. This is just one of many such experiences I have enjoyed over the years meeting fellow amateurs on the road.
On the way to Bendigo I was feeling a little unwell. I noticed that my heart rate was varying. The condition is called Atrial Fibrillation and was diagnosed late last year. I have been prescribed medication and have been taking this regularly and more recently the condition has become better controlled so I was a little surprised. I did plan to activate the Park during the afternoon of my arrival but decided against that idea. I posted an update to my alert indicating I was having TCXO (temperature controlled crystal oscillator) trouble! A little rest during the afternoon and all was well again so a mere 12 or so hours later I was off to the Park.
On the morning of the 17th, before UTC rollover, I decided to go back to the Huntly block. I have activated this park from four locations, three different, but I recommend the Huntly block. Here are the coordinates for anyone who is interested:
S 36 38.828 and E 44 18.329.
Take the Midland Highway for about seven kilometres past the fountain, to Lean’s Road (a left hand turn as you leave Bendigo) them drive Lean’s Road to Wallenjoe Road and take (a right hand turn) to Wards Road. At this intersection Hart Road (a track) turns off at 45 degrees. My activating spot is about 500 metres along the track into the Park and is suitable for a normal tw0 wheel drive vehicle.
For this activation I used my Yaesu FT857D set for ten watts with a linked dipole capable of operating on 80 metres.
I was on the air before UTC rollover (16th December 2016) and commenced operations on the 80 metre band. Here is my log of contacts:
3.594 21:58 VK5KAA, Gordon in the Adelaide Hills, a neighbour, s55 r53. The half hour time difference between Victorian and South Australia meant I could join my regular morning net.
21:59 VK5ZK, Garry 59 54
22:00 VK5TW, Trevor 58 45
22:01 VK3LY, Bill de Nhill 59 58
What a great start to the activation speaking with four of my mates on 80 metres and the first time I have used an 80 metre dipole in the field for 15 years.
I then moved to 40 metres and found 7.110 free.
22:05 VK5BC, Brian, also a mate of mine 59 57 22:15
Then followed a succession of regular chasers, all well known:
22:24 VK5IS/2 Ian 56 57
22:26 VK5PAS 59 57 (it was great to hear Paul on 40 metres, but I was planning to go back to 80m later to catch some of the ‘closer’ in amateurs who might miss out if I stayed on 40m.
22:29 VK5MRT Tony 57 57
22:33 VK4HNS/4 Neil holidaying at Gundawindi
22:35 VK5FMAZ 59 59
22:38 VK5FMWW 59 58 Mike at Second Valley
22:39 VK5FVSV 59 58
22:41 VK5HS 59 55, Ivan at Renmark
22:42 VK2XXM 58 58 Robert Grafton
22:45 VK2VW 59 59 Brett
22:47 VK1DI 59 58 Ian Canberra
22:50 VK7NWT 59 57 Scott
22:54 VK5PAS 59 59 Paul
3.610 23:00 VK5PAS/M 56 35 Paul in his vehicle in the drive
23:02 VK3GGG 58 57 Mick
23:05 VK5PMG 58 57
22:07 VK3VBI 58 57 Ron
23:09 VK3ACJ 59 59 Peter near Lake Eppalock
23:17 VK5EE, 59 54 Tom
7.144 VK5GJ, Greg 59 57
23:31 VK4HNS/4 Neil 58 32
23:33 VK5GI 58 45 Norm
I quite enjoyed my visit to the Greater Bendigo National Park, made all the more fun by those who gave me a call. Contacts are always appreciated.
Nice to get you in the log on both 40m and 80m. Great signals.
Pleased you caught up with old friends. Friendships that last 50 years are certainly ones to be valued.
And yes isn’t it amazing who you bump into on these trips. Sometimes even in the most remote of locations.
Very hard going trying to work you on your trip, even in vk1, but happy I was able to hear you at this one.
Spoke to Bill 3ly this morning on 2m ssb, and he said he had to duck off shortly for his 80m net, good signal he was too.
Thanks for the activations on your trip.
I was struggling to get sufficient contacts from the Greater Bendigo National Park and working you on two bands was a bonus. Thanks for going out to your vehicle and firing up. I enjoyed the activation and I have been to that location twice now and have seen only one vehicle on the track. It is the best of the three locations I have activated from in the Park.
There are times when 44 contacts can be a real challenge, that’s why I try to ‘advertise’ the presence of activators as much as I can via parksnpeaks, Facebook, the Yahoo site, SMS message, etc. It certainly helps dragging in the hunters.
I haven’t been to Greater Bendigo. I will have to put it into my bucket list of parks to activate.
Band conditions were generally quite challenging on the trip and they will get worse. However, I appreciated the contacts with you. I have worked Bill on 2m, 70cm and 23cm ssb from home and I reckon I could probably work you. Bill was encouraging me on the first 80m net at home since our return to fire up the 2m radio. I will – soon and I will look out for you: 8:00 am local time, 8:30 your time.
We got there John, great contact this morning on 2m ssb, worked Bill as well, and 18 stations in total. Great conditions.
Look forward to the next 2m contact.
Wasn’t it great! Two metres and great signals between us. After the net, when conditions had deteriorated a little, I still was able to work Bill, VK3LY, 5 7 each way and Garry VK5ZK 5 and 5. I was running 45 watts when we first worked and then wound up the power to 100 watts. I have to reduce the drive to 45 watts when I run my amp for 200 watts. Everything was fine.