2016 VKFF Anniversary activation weekend.

Tom, VK5EE and I decided that as we had not been out since April it was long past time that we got off our fat backsides and ventured out into the great outdoors.

This weekend is always a good one to get the airwaves hopping.

We had decided to activate three parks for the Sunday and so, after Tom had finished his duties as broadcast officer for the South East Radio Group we headed North from Mount Gambier toward Penola.

PENOLA C.P. (VKFF-0803, 5CP-177)

Just before Penola we turned left on to the new heavy vehicle by-pass and skirted around Penola.  (The by-pass stops at Clay Wells road, (which goes West toward Robe). We turned left onto Clay Wells Road and travelled for approx. 13 km to the Penola Conservation Park which is located on the right hand, or Northern side of Clay Wells road.

penola-c-p

 

Just West of the start of the park is the Park sign on the main road frontage. We turned in there and drove in about half a km. Here the track opened out into a nice clear area with some signs about the park and a picnic table.

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We threw a weighted line up into the gum just behind the picnic table and hauled the end fed half wave 40 metre antenna up so that the apex was at about 10-12 metres and we were good to go. (This was achieved after two or three massive tangles in the very light throw line that I use which was, of course, greeted with maximum laughter from Tom who sometimes is worse than no help at all)?

Apart from a large number of big Bull ant mounds this was a very nice spot to operate from. (Somewhat spoilt by the braindead idiots who had been there before us and pulled track marker posts out of the ground and left rubbish lying about). The Bull ants did not bother us by the way.

I managed to work nine stations and I thank all of those who called while I was on the mike.

penola-c-p-log-27-11-2016

I will return to this park again as it is a nice spot to operate from. Quiet too.

 

CALECTASIA C.P. (VKFF-1010, 5CP-028)

We turned right out of Penola C.P. and continued West on Clay Wells Road for approx. 15 kms. which bought us to Calectasia C.P. which is on the left hand, (Southern), side of the Clay Wells Road just before you get to Bakers Drain.

Unfortunately there are power lines running along the frontage of this park and they have provided us with shocking noise levels each time we have activated this park. It is hard to get the car off the road as well as the entrance is very soft sand and it is very easy to get bogged. (As I have managed to do three times now).

calectasia-c-p

I am reluctant to bother with this park again as it is not pleasant at all with very limited options for antenna placement. We tied one part of the end fed to a tree 20 metres inside the park but the squid pole support and everything else was set up on the track leading to the gate. This is not strictly according to the rules but sometimes we just have to do the best we can.

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My apologies for the photo as it was taken last year when I did this park but I did not take any new ones this time as I totally forgot to do so.

I managed 6 contacts during my turn operating from here and I thank those who called.

 

REEDY CREEK C.P. (VKFF-0931, 5CP-196).

Carrying on West from Calectasia we travelled just over 32 km until we reached Kangaroo Inn. Just as we reached the Western edge of this little settlement we turned right into Jorgensens Road, (Good white metal road),

27-11-2016

We drove North for, (I am guessing this time) about 4-5 km, passing the bulk of the park on our right. At the Northern end of the park is a white metal intersection with the road to the right being a farm entrance driveway with a red mail box on a post, (I think it is an old milk churn painted red). We turned in and turned around and set up on the driveway as the park itself is really overgrown and it would be almost impossible to put up an antenna in there, let alone move around, without the risk of seeing a snake.

This park will be a huge fire risk when the reeds dry out.

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Luckily for us the farmer had very thoughtfully mowed all the area along his driveway and we were able to set up on nice clean ground. Again we slung the antenna up into the massive gum tree that stands there, (only two attempts required and no tangles), and we were able to orient the end fed as an inverted V without blocking the track at all.

This is another very pleasant spot to operate from with no noise at all registering on the KX3 meter. Fantastic.

Tom did most of the operating from this one but the band had died a bit and I only managed 2 contacts from here. Many thanks Greg, VK5GJ and Norm, VK5GI who were portable in the Aldinga Scrub C.P. VKFF-0866.

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I would like to again thank all those who gave Tom and I a call during the day and I offer a special thanks to Paul, VK5PAS for his untiring efforts in promoting Amateur Radio in general and portable activity from parks and peaks in particular.

I look forward to my/our next outing in a park and hope to work you then.

Thanks for reading this. I hope that you enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3rd. Annual VK5 Parks Weekend

Another fantastic day out in the bush. Great weather and pretty good propagation although some qsb was about.

I was supposed to activate three parks for the day

  • Furner C.P. 5CP-072
  • Reedy Creek C.P. 5CP-196 VKFF-0931
  • Calectasia C.P. 5CP-028 VKFF-1010

Unfortunately I ran out of time and my hip started acting up so I decided to give Calectasia a miss and headed home in “sook” mode.

The Shopping Trolley Mk. 11 performed well and I am quite pleased with it at this stage.

Anyway- time for the detailed info.

First up was the Furner C.P.:-

FURNER C.P. 5CP-072. VKFF-0882 

WHERE IS IT?

 

Furner C.P. 5CP-072. VKFF-0882

I turned off the Princes Highway and headed East on Eastern Road. There are two tall phone towers on the left as you travel along. After about 2 km there is a block of scrub on the left. When the pine tree plantation starts turn left onto the track between the scrub and the pines and follow it around as marked by the yellow line on the map.

I set up about where the line on the map ends.

WHAT IS IT?

Furner Conservation Park

I was a little later getting set up than I had anticipated so I started a bit behind the eight ball.

03.04.2016

As I pulled up I saw a nice fat female deer but she ran off before I could get the camera out.

After the obligatory photo of myself standing alongside the park sign I moved up the hill a bit and set the 40 metre P.A.R. mono band end fed up as an inverted V roughly East West along the fence line and I set up the station on the fire break just inside the park fence.

I saw a couple of bull ants but they did not bother me during the activation. There were, however heaps of Lady Bugs flying about but they seemed to avoid me. (Not so the car though as there were about 50 – 80 of them in there when I packed up).

I was very lucky as I had been listening on our 2 metre repeater, (146.900 MHz) on the way up and heard from Tom, VK5NFT that conditions were pretty poor but from the time I turned on the KX3 conditions seemed to have improved a lot as I had very little trouble working anyone

I worked the first contact at 01:57 U.T.C. and the last at 02:54 U.T.C.

Here is my log:-

2016-04-04_132828

I thoroughly enjoyed this activation and would like to thank all those who gave me a call.

Thanks also to those kind Amateurs who spotted me on Parks n Peaks. Very much appreciated as there is no doubt at all that spotting helps attract the callers.

Here is the only bit of video that I was able to record:-

When I checked the camera I had forgotten to turn the external microphone on?????????.

 

Reedy Creek C.P. 5CP-196. VKFF-0931

Where is it?.

Reedy Creek C.P. 5CP-196. VKFF-0931I travelled back out to the Princes Highway by retracing my route in. Once at the highway I turned right and travelled a few kilometres North until I reached the Beachport Penola cross road where I turned right. When I reached Kangaroo Inn I turned left onto the Robe Penola Road and after about 200 metres I turned Right into Jorgensons Road. The park is about 5 – 6 kms. on the right. For this one I threw my throw weight up into a tree at a height of about 10 metres and set up the 40 metre P.A.R. end fed. (Again as an inverted V).

03.04.2016

WHAT IS IT?

Reedy Creek Conservation Park

 

Conditions were quite good again from this park and I was kept pretty busy. As I approached the required 44 contacts to qualify the park for the W.W.F.F. award I kept looking at my watch and debating to stay and get the extra few or head for park number 3 as I had said I would. In the end I decided that I would pack up and head for Calectasia as the time was getting on. Once I started to pack up my hip started to give me a bit of stick.

Here is my log for this Park:-

Reedy Creek C.P. F.L.E. LogI headed off to Calectasia but when I got there I nearly got the shopping trolley bogged in the very soft sand. Together with the time slipping away, the sore hip and no pain killers I decided to skip the park and head for home. My apologies to everyone for that but I will go back and do all three again soon.

Again, many thanks to all who called and especially those who put spots up for me.

My video of this activation is here:-

The cap on backwards is purely to keep the sun off the back of the neck, not as a fashion statement.

I look forward to working all of you from a park again soon.

73

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New Shopping Trolley – Antennas and radios.

It has taken a little while but my Icom 208H and the Yaesu FT-857 are now in the new car.

Both are out of sight and I must thank Norbert, VK5MQ for an extremely tidy installation.

 

Front on view

Front on view

As you can see from the photos I had a custom made aluminium number plate mount made for the front. This was then powder coated to match the grill colour.

Viewed from the side

Viewed from the side

I think it looks pretty good without looking too cumbersome.

The Icom 208H position

The Icom 208H position

The two metre dual band whip works OK but I still have some work to do with the HF side of things. I have yet to make a bracket to mount the remote head of the 857 and it may be necessary to run a tuner of some sort for the 40 metre mono band antenna, (Fitting on R.H.S. of mounting plate), as it has a limited bandwidth.

I am currently thinking of putting the 857 remote head just in front of the gear selector on the front edge of the silver part of the console. It would be mounted in such a way that it is easily removed for security as it will be pretty visible in that spot.

The white cable which is visible in the console shot is the audio lead from both radios into the cars auxiliary socket to the in car audio system. It works well with no hum and stacks of volume. (If required).

So far it looks to be pretty well free of any vehicle generated noise of any real consequence. (Fingers crossed).

Cheers,

Col. VK5HCF

 

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SHOPPING TROLLEY – Mk. 2

 

Well.

After 10 years and 88,000 kms the 2005 Ford Fiesta, (a.k.a. “The Shopping Trolley”) has gone.

IMG_0771

This was a great little car which served us very well and which was economical and reliable.

However I felt that it was time to upgrade and the xyl agreed. (?)

 

After a bit of research and some looking around we found an ex demo 2014 Kia Rio SLI with 140 km. on the clock and we traded the Fiesta on it.

1980 x 1280

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After 4 days of ownership we are very happy with our choice.

The real test however will be when it ventures out to a park.

I am confident that it will perform well but we will have to wait and see.

Watch this space for warts and all comments.

Cheers,

 

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Another certificate

Paul ,VK5PAS has sent me this very attractive certificate just for being “Out and About” in a park or two over the VKFF annual activation weekend which was held on Saturday 28th. and Sunday 29th. of November 2015.

 

Another for the collection

Another for the collection

Paul seems to have a flair for graphic design as all of his certificates are first class  and are well worth putting in a frame and hanging on the shack wall.

Unfortunately my shack is pretty small and so I resort to placing mine in one of those folders with the clear plastic sleeves in it. This probably saves the printed images from the ravages of sunlight as well.

Anyway,

Thanks for your fine efforts Paul. It is always a pleasure to go out and spend a bit of time in the bush away from all the RF noise generated by led lights, plasma tv’s  and all the other trappings of modern society which our standards people pass without much testing and which are extremely RF dirty. (sigh).

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My portable operating table and the radio and clock mounting plates.

Hi all,

Following a question from a Ham Radio Australia Facebook page member I put together a very quick video showing what I have done. It is a bit rough and ready but it works.

As I only have a Ford Fiesta as transport I have to keep all my gear small. (This happens to suit me fine).

The slots in the table were made by using an Ozito Multi Function Tool and the small plunge type saw.

The mounting brackets are light guage aluminium sheet roughly cut to shape with a pair of straight shears. Being flat the plates fit easily in my little case with the radio, assorted cables, coax adapters clock etc.

Here is the video:-

I hope that this help someone by giving them a better idea or just by using this as a guide.

73

Col. VK5HCF

 

Posted in MY SETUP | 8 Comments

Telford Scrub C.P. (VKFF-0805). 8th. January 2016

This was a Friday twilight activation and our first for the New Year.

Tom, VK5EE and I decided to head to Telford Scrub C.P. as it is only about 14km. North of Mt. Gambier.

Telford Scrub C.P.

Telford Scrub C.P.

There has been a small fire adjacent to the car park which was obviously spotted very early as only about  200 square metres had burnt. At a rough guess I would say that some thoughtless fool threw a cigarette butt onto the ground without bothering to make sure that it was out. Very lucky. The park has deteriorated since our last visit and there has obviously been no maintenance work carried out. A very sad state of affairs but, like every other government department, there is no money available.

 

Information leaflet

Information leaflet

We arrived at 3 p.m. and set up in the car park using the 40 metre P.A.R. end fed as an inverted V. We ran this out more or less East West and parallel with the road. On turning on the radio the noise was S7 and it would have been a pain to operate like that so we decided to take it all down and move up the track into the park. We threw the fishing sinker up into a gum tree at about 8 metres and set up the inverted V in a North South direction so that it was at right angles to the power lines out on the road. This dropped the noise level down to an acceptable S2-3.

We fired up with me calling C.Q.

For the first 5 minutes or so I thought that we would be packing up and heading home but then David, VK5PL gave us a call and the contacts slowly but surely followed.

The band was quite severely affected by qsb with a couple of stations disappearing all together but with a little patience we were able to gain valid contacts. Others were booming in. It is amazing how propagation can be so different from one location to another.

At one point Tom suggested that we swap the KX3 for his FT-857 as he was lusting for some more power. We swapped the radios over but I could pick no difference even though Tom was now using 50 watts. (I think he is trying to trash my battery?) Tom has the unfortunate habit of subscribing to the “More is good” members of the watt brigade whereas I prefer to “Do more with less”. Next thing you know we will be carting a 200 Amp/Hr battery around and nursing our hernias. Mention has been made of an amplifier.(sigh).

Although the contacts were a bit slow in coming we both had a good number and we thank all of those who called in, particularly the couple who faded right out but who persevered and with a bit of patience the contacts were completed.

Tom worked the following stations:-

Ron, VK3VBI,

Gavin, VK3MLU?

Greg, VK5GJ,

Mick, VK3PMG,

Ray, VK3YAR,

Damien, VK5FDEC,

Adrian, VK5FANA,

Don, VK3MCK,

Hans, KHZ,

Peter, VK5PET,

Gerrard, VK2IO,

Jeff, VK4RF,

Jeff, VK4HA,

Jeff, VK5JK,

and last but by no means least

Joe, VK3YSP.

These were all on the FT-857 at 50 watts.

Using the KX3 and 10 watts I was lucky enough to be called by:-

David, VK5PL,

Dennis, VK2HHA,

Greg, VK5GJ,

Adrian, VK5FANA,

Peter, VK3PF,

Mick, VK3PMG,

Paul, VK3DBP,

Amanda, VK3FQSO,

Les, VK5KLV,

Shaun, VK5FAKV,

Roscoe, VK3KRH,

Chris, VK3AWG,

Jeff, VK5JK,

and

Peter, VK5PET,

Many thanks to all of you and we hope to catch you again soon.

Start of the 100 metre long boardwalk

Start of the 100 metre long boardwalk

I will post some video shortly.

73.

 

 

 

 

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