As I was looking at Paul, VK5PAS’s spreadsheet of activations for the VK5 4th Anniversary activation weekend I realised that Tony and XYL Sheryl would be activating Penambol C.P. on the Saturday afternoon.
As Penambol C.P. is only 15 minutes from Mt. Gambier I decided that I would arrange to meet them there and “catch up”.
Tony has provided me with many contacts over the last few years, (From parks in both S.A. and Victoria and the odd S.O.T.A. summits as well), so I was keen to have a face to face and thank him personally for his efforts, particularly with The Keith Roget Memorial Parks Award scheme. (I am the fortunate holder of the “Worked all 45 Victorian Parks Award).
I arrived at the park at about 2 p.m. S.A. time to find a bloke sitting on a deck chair with a Heil headset on. A “Troopy” was parked inconspicuosly in a small clearing in the scrub that surrounds the operating spot – which I had suggested that Tony might like to try so I was pretty sure that I had the right bloke.
As I got out of the car Tony yelled out hello and away we went. I totally destroyed Tony’s q.s.o. rate and he even lost his spot.
A short time later Sheryl walked into the park from the gate. She had been for a walk along the Butterfly Walk and, after introductions and a bit of a chat, she headed off along the Wombat Walk with her camera in hand.
Tony was using a Par 20/40 end fed antenna to good effect, no doubt helped along by his 100 watts from the Elecraft K3 and his 100 Amp/hour battery. Tony has an excellent setup for his portable operating although it does mean at times that he has a bit of heavy carrying to do.
Tony and XYL Sheryl are a very nice couple and they obviously really enjoy being out and about together in this great Country of ours.
At this point I moved a few hundred metres away and set up my new homebrew multiband antenna, ( an 80 metre half wave dipole fed with 450 Ohm ladder line), to try it out. I had a listen on 80 metres, (it showed 1:1 swr on the KX3 using the internal tuner but I heard nothing. I heard a few stations on 40 metres (1:1 indicated again) but Tony was so close that he swamped the band so I gave him a very quick call to help his tally, and then packed up. (I had not intended to activate this Park anyway).
Whilst I was setting up I walked down the track a bit and hung one of the dipole ends up in a tree branch when I noticed a movement on the track. About 3 -4 metres away was a sight to strike terror into the heart of any grown man. A couple copulating in plain view. Some have no shame.
I was a bit reluctant to leave the antenna where it was but decided that, as the Tiger snakes did not appear to know that I was there, it should all be OK and carried on with my testing.
Unfortunately the swr on 20 metres was an indicated 4.6:1 so further work is required on that one. (I will probably have to add / subtract a bit from the length of the feedline.
The snakes were still hard at it when I started to pack up. (Stamina?)
After I had finished my quick test I packed up and headed back across to Tony’s operating spot and again interrupted his qso rate. (He lost his frequency again as well.)
I chatted to Tony and Sheryl for a short time then we said our goodbyes and I headed for home.
I am very glad that I decided to go to Penambol as it is always nice to put a face to a name or callsign and this afternoon was no exception.