After being absent from the Park Activator lists for far too long I decided that now would be a good time to extract the digit and get back into the swing of things. With an abysmal setup at home, (Antenna wise anyway), being out in the bush is excellent therapy as the noise floor is, usually, almost non existent.

I therefore rang Tom, VK5EE, as he has come along on quite a few of my previous activations. Tom readily agreed that we should go out as this weekend was the sixth anniversary of the start of the South Australia National and Conservation Park activity. Paul, VK5PAS instigated this and then followed on with getting the VK Flora and Fauna Park activity off the ground here in Australia. How successful has that proved to be.

Anyway – having decided that we would go out to help celebrate the weekend we then needed to decide which Parks should receive our attention.

After checking the list of who was planning on doing what we settled on activating Big Heath C.P. on Saturday morning, Mary Seymour on Saturday afternoon and then Penambol C.P. on Sunday morning followed by Ewens Ponds in the afternoon.

With the planning stages out of the way I built up a new dipole antenna as we felt that we would need 80 metres in our arsenal because the propagation has been very “iffy” for 40 metres.

I picked Tom up at 9 am on Saturday and off we went. The drive up to Big Heath was uneventful.

Click on picture to enlarge

On arriving I decided that we should try a different spot this time and so we followed the road in until we got to drain M. As there was a nice large gum tree standing alone between the track which followed the drain to the West and the drain itself we had our antenna support.

Click on picture to enlarge

We hauled the “Cebik” dipole, (44 feet per side as I ran out of wire while building it, (sigh), and fed with 300 Ohm ladder line), up into the tree and we were ready to go.

Click on picture to enlarge.

Getting the dipole strung up proved to be a bit of a pain. One leg had to be tied to a tree which was almost at the bottom of the drain and Tom had a fair bit of trouble trying to climb back up the bank to get out. Then the feedline got wrapped around the dipole legs and needed a few laps to unwind it.

On connecting my KX3 to the manual tuner, which was coupled to the ladder line, we could hear nothing. Altering the tuner settings made no difference. Bugger. Swapped a short co-ax jumper  for another one and we had some noise – but not much. We swapped the manual tuner over with Tom’s LDG YT-100 and we had noise but not much. Took the KX3 out and put Tom’s Yaesu FT-857 in line and BINGO – we had some signals. Dam – it looks as though the KX3 is faulty – along with the MFJ manual tuner and a co-ax jumper lead. Not a good start.

Anyway – to cut a long story short we started to make some contacts. It was very obvious that the bands were not in good shape with a lot of QSB. Also, the dipole did not want to tune at all on 80 metres. Things were looking pretty sad at this point but we persevered.

Tom, VK5EE. Looking busy.

Tom worked a total of six contacts from this park while I only managed two.

Overview of the operating spot. The causeway in the foreground.

Another very pleasant hour or two in the bush but it was now time to move across to the Mary Seymour C.P. for the afternoon activation.

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  1. Paul VK5PAS says:

    Hi Col,

    Thanks for taking part in the weekend. The bands were certainly challenging.

    Sorry to hear about the 80m antenna.


    Paul VK5PAS.

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