My XYL was very generous this past weekend in sanctioning my focus on radio projects.
Most of the weekend was spent sorting components and generally trying to tidy up the shack so that I can see the benches again, interspersed with antenna testing and tuning. More of that in another blog.
On radio 40 metres (7MHz) was the main band of choice with conditions quite variable.
Most of my contacts for the weekend were with stations operating as part of the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) movement with only a couple of chaser contacts resulting from SOTA activations.
Andrew VK1DA/portable was my first contact on Saturday afternoon, with a beautiful signal from his Yaesu FT817D and 5 watts. Andrew certainly had a height advantage being at 1449 metres on Boboyan Ridge VK1/AC-044 and his signal on 7090 was rock solid.
Next was Tony VK3VTH/portable on 7085, operating from the Lerderderg State Park VKFF 763 , 5×9 with his 100 watts and end fed inverted L antenna. Tony is very well known in WWFF circles as an activator and has been heard many times on the band working portable.
On Sunday Justin VK7TW/portable popped up on 7085 later activating Mount Faulkner VK7/SC-007 for the very first time. This was also the very first time that I had worked a VK7 on a summit and although Justin was at 900 metres for this contact his signals were reasonable and mostly above the electronic noises of suburbia. It is amazing to look at the location for Mount Faulkner VK7/SC-007 and appreciate how many SOTA sites are in the vicinity. Must remember this when I travel to VK7 with my XYL for a holiday.
I was bounding into the shack (or limping) every so often to have a rest from chopping wood, a physically demanding pastime which I would not recommend too often. Not too many stations around but did manage to work four WWFF activators in a row, namely:
John VK3FMPB – VKFF 775 at Werribee Gorge State Park, Victoria John is a member of the WANSARC radio club and very passionate about portable operations and WWFF.
Brett VK4FTWO – Borderline signals above my local noise level with some very fast QSB. Had to wait for the right moment to give Brett a call and very glad to exchange reports. I did write down where Brett was activating from but for the life of me can I decipher my own hand writing at this stage? No. Will have to confirm Brett’s exact operating details so that I can add it to my “Hunter” log when I apply for the Bronze award.
Gerard VK2IO – VKFF 544 at Wollemi National Park , New South Wales. Gerard had the strongest WWFF on the band at 5×9+30 dB on my Yaesu FT-890 meter. Gerard was using an FT100D and a ZS6DK doublet antenna at 9 metres. Very impressive signal.
Paul VK5PAS – VKFF881 at Ferries Macdonald Conservation Park, South Australia. Paul is a very avid portable enthusiast supporting both SOTA and WWFF programs. Always a pleasure to work Paul and having now dipped my toe into the WWFF world I can see the amount of work Paul has and continues to contribute to the Australian WWFF scene as the Australian VKFF Co-ordinator. Paul’s FT857D, 40 watts and linked dipole were doing a marvellous job and as this park was only registered recently I was pleased to work Paul and no doubt Paul was pleased to be the first to activate the park. That’s a win-win. Incidentally Paul worked 57 stations throughout Australia and New Zealand in 90 minutes which is a fair effort! Pauls blog on this activation can be found at http://vk5pas.org/2015/08/03/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park-vkff-881/
To round out the afternoon I had a brief QSO with Andy VK2RM on 7092. His TS440 and G5RV were riding the crest of a propagation wave at 5×9+20 sent but then a short time later the band shifted considerably and it was time to say a hurried goodbye. Andy’s audio was very punchy with some echo behind it, but as he was operating from his kitchen the echo may have been expected. Andy did wind his audio back and it was much more pleasant to my ears anyway.
So that rounded out a very enjoyable series of contacts on the weekend.
And in between contacts I was swinging the axe and log splitter chopping and carting wood so that our open fire could cut a swath through the cold nights in Melbourne at the moment.