I visited Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve on the 23rd of December 2016 and managed 22 contacts. One of the challenges at Tidbinbilla is that there is no mobile phone coverage and you call CQ and hope someone hears you. Nearly always that happens but you might have to wait a bit or change bands. Here is a link to that activation:
We were making our way home from Sydney back to Adelaide and we decided to return to Canberra to see the Versailles: Treasures from the Palace exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia on Saturday 31st of December. It was stunning and well worth the visit. We spent over four hours at the Gallery. France was bankrupt by 1788 and, if you are fortunate enough to visit the Palace of Verailles, you will probably understand why there was a revolution. The wealth and grandeur on display there was won at the expense of the people of France. The exhibition in Canberra displays some of the wealth in paintings, carpets, statues and other artifacts. I have wondered in the past about how out of touch with the people were the absolute monarchies, the Sun King and his two successors in France and Ludwig in Bavaria and the splendid castles he left. These wonders are now of course held in the name of the people and attract tourist dollars. Of course I have visited Ludwig’s castles as a Wagnerian and simply marvelled at the scenes from his operas which adorn the walls.
So after Saturday I thought I should spend some of Sunday, New Year’s Day, in a Park. I decided to return to Tidbinbilla and complete the activation and gain enough contacts to give me the 44 required. I arrived at the Park and drove straight in: there was no way to pay the fee as the office was closed and there were no envelopes or card facilities! If you look at a map of the park you will see there is a loop road beginning about four kilometres past the Tidbinbilla Visitor Centre. I drove the loop to see whether there were other good activation spots and there were (perhaps the most interesting area is where the road crossed the Tidbinbilla River) but I decided to return to Webbs where I activated on my last visit. It is a great spot and I once again had it to myself.
The photo shows Webbs at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve: there is plenty of room for a half wave dipole on 80 metres!
I checked 80 metres first of all and there were a few contacts underway up and down the band with good strong signals. I could even hear the South Australians on 3.594 Mhz, weak but perfectly readable. I give a few calls but they could not hear me. I was using my 857D set for 15 watts and they are all 100 watt stations. I called CQ on 3.612 Mhz for a few minutes hoping I would gain a contact or two but it was all in vain. I decided to move to 40 metres and checked 7.115 Mhz. It was clear and I called CQ at 21:57z. There were no responses. I decided to have a look around the band and heard VK1AD/P.
My first contact at 22:02 on 7.095 Mhz was with Andrew at, VK1AD/P, who was activating SOTA summit VK1/AC-023. We were both 5 and 5. Andrew kindly spotted me. There is no mobile phone coverage at Tidbinbilla.
22:04 VK1VIC/2, 51 43, Tony, VK2/ST-001. I thought I should quickly move back to 7.115 and checked the frequency once again and at 22:07 was called by Mick, VK3GGG/VK3PMG. His signal was 5 and 6 and I received a 5 and 3.
22:12 VK2FENG, Helen, 51 53
22:12 VK5IS, Ian, 59 57
22:13 VK1MA, Matt, 59 55, VK1/AC-008 and VKFF-0377
22:16 VK5KLV, Less at Port Augusta, 58 57
22:18 VK2IG, Mike, 55 51
22:22 VK5WG, Nev, 59 57
22:23 VK2HFA/P 57 53 near Port Macquarie
22:28 VK4AAC/5, Rob at Hahndorf 59 37. Rob was at Hahndorf (Australia’s oldest German town) where the WIA AGM for 2017 will be held.
22:30 VK5HYZ 57 53 David
22:32 VK7FAMP 53 43 Angela
22:35 VK2YES/P 52 57 Mario
22:37 VK7LTD 56 43
22:54 VK3ANL/P 55 45 VKFF-0750 & VK3/VC-031
22:57 VK3XV/P 59 57 Tony at Ham Hill
22:57 VK5RV 59 59 Ron
23:03 VK3FPSR 59 54 Peter
23:07 VK5PAS/M 59 58 Paul near Mount Bryan
23:09 VK7FRJG 55 55 Rod at New Norfolk
23:12 VK3SQ 59 58 Geoff
23:14 VK5ZAT/P 52 54 Nick
23:19 VK2YW 59 59 John
23:21 VK2IO/P 57 58 Gerard
23:24 VK3YSA/M 58 44 Anthony Melbourne
23:28 VK3XDM/3 53 52 Mitch VK3/VC-003
23:29 VK3EQ/3 53 57 with Mitch
23:38 VK1MA/1 53 53 Matt VK1/AC-008
23:45 VK5CZ/5 51 51 Ian VK5/NE-035 Ian
23:46 VK5NHG 51 51 Hugh with Ian
23:50 VK3ZPF, 57 57 Peter VK3/VC-005 in Yarra Ranges National Park
Thanks to all who gave me a call at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Thirty three contacts , together with those from my previous activation, means I have more than the 44 contacts required to qualify the park.
VK1MA/1, Matt was in the Brindabella Ranges (see photo above) at Mount Ginini and had a very strong signal, 5 & 9 but he was running more power than me and was elevated. I was operating at 15 watts and received 5 and 5.
On the way back to Canberra I decided a coffee at the Cafe at the Space Tracking Station would be in order. I also wanted to see some dishes that the microwave enthusiasts would love!
This photo shows a lunar rover in the Tidbinbilla Museum at the Space Tracking Centre. I recommend this as a splendid place to visit and the volunteer guide was very helpful and knowledgeable.
Finally, I would like to say how much I enjoy visiting the ACT. It is a beautiful place.
Sorry I missed you at this one. Being spotted somewhere, wether that be on parksnpeaks, Facebook, Yahoo, etc, certainly helps dragging in the hunters. Its a real shame that some people work the activator and then just move on without doing this.
Marija and I were fortunate enough to visit the Palace of Versailles during our trip to Europe 2 years ago. It is certainly very impressive.
Jenny and I visited a few years back and enjoyed the experience. At the time it represented decadence and the people paid. The exhibition was really good and brought back lots of memories. Thanks for the comment.
Interesting story as usual John. Thanks for writing it. Glad you enjoyed your time in vk1.
We really enjoyed our time in Canberra and I also caught up with a retired professional colleague of mine I have known since the late 1960s and had lunch together. I reckon as the trees have grown around the city and as it has expanded it has improved. David, my colleague, and I went to the Aboretum and the views across the city from the lookout are stunning. The two buildings at the Arboretum are also magnificent. I enjoyed our contact from Mt Ainslie and Mt Taylor. Next time we visit I might explore some of the other summits.
John D VK5BJE/VK5PF
I activated Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve as part of the VKFF Activation Weekend, and like yourself found no mobile coverage in the Webbs picnic area by the visitors centre. Drove on a bit further and found coverage on Telstra around the Dalsetta walking tracks spot, with a nice picnic table on a hill. See my blog http://vk1di.blogspot.com.au/2016/11/tidbinbilla-nature-reserve-vkff-0989.html
Agree its a really pleasant park to visit. Glad you enjoyed your stay in the ACT.
73 Ian VK1DI
Thanks for the comment. I enjoyed my second visit to Tidbinbilla and, had I not missed your post, I would have set up at Dalsetta. It looks like a really good spot.
73 John D, VK5BJE/VK5PF