Once we had wrapped up at Big Heath C.P. Tom, VK5EE, and I headed over to the Mary Seymour C.P. which is less than 1 km to the South.
Click on picture to enlarge.
Having operated from this Park several times before we knew that a couple of the spots that we have previously used are less than ideal.
DO NOT consider setting up on the North Eastern corner. High tension Power Lines run North South along the Eastern boundary and the RF noise is horrific. Having learned our lesson on that one we had then tried a spot along the drain as marked on the map here. Unfortunately, this spot was a bit cramped and the options for antenna orientation were limited.
Click on photo to enlarge.
We decided to travel along the Western boundary in search of a new spot. We had almost given up due to the apparent thickness of the scrub when we found a clearly marked track leading in and headed East. On driving in a couple of hundred metres we found a reasonable clearing, (Old quarry we think), which had room to set up in. I hopped out, grabbed my modified Star Dropper support stake and tried to hammer it into the ground. 50mm and I had struck solid rock. Move a metre and try again. Same result. Move 10 metres – same again. Hmm. Plan B called for. We strapped the squid pole to a convenient, if somewhat gnarly, bush and we were good to go.
Still smarting from the less than happy experience with my NEW dipole we set up the PAR end fed for 40 metres. Once again the KX3 failed to give us any sound and so, once again, Tom’s FT-857 came to the rescue. (No tuner was used this time).
Tom began well with a steady flow of callers. Unfortunately we were swamped a number of times by full power stations just taking over the frequency. (Due to skip they may even have been there when we asked if the frequency was in use, but were unable to hear us even though, at times we ran 100 watts). QSB was also prevalent with a number of stations going from barely audible to 57 or so and back to almost zero again in quick time.
Click to enlarge.
We did a bit better in this Park as Tom was able to get 5 contacts while I managed eleven.
At this point, (about 2.20 p.m.), we decided to call it a day as the hit rate had slowed dramatically.
We packed up and headed for home about an hour to the South in Mt. Gambier.
Whilst travelling we decided that neither of us was really all that enthusiastic about going out again on Sunday and we therefore decided that we should abandon that plan.
When I got home I posted the cancellation notice on the VK Parks and SOTA summits site.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.
We must now have a good look at the gear in an effort to find what went wrong and, if possible, fix the problems.
This weekend has pointed out the need to always check your gear before you head out for an activation.