Planning for this National Park activation for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award started back in late November 2011. I posted an email to the KRMNPA Yahoo group asking if any of the group wanted to come along with me. I made the invitation intentionally blunt so there was no doubt what people were in for if they came along. From the KRMNPA group I got no takers. A couple of the members said they would like to join me but were busy elsewhere. This was all quite fine by me as we are a varied group with different levels of experience, ability and desires.
|French Island National Park|
My next source of people to hike with was the Scout Radio & Electronics Service Unit. Here I got more interest with Matt, VK2ADF, Kevin, VK3KAB, and Adam VK3YDF, offering to come along. Adam came on the 2010 activation and this year had offered to paddle a kayak across, carrying additional weight of required. Matt is based in Sydney at present and was in Melbourne on holidays.
|Base of 10m squid pole|
Matt and I then headed 20 minutes down the road to the Stony Point Caravan Park where we parked the car, loaded up our packs, bought our ferry tickets and headed out on the pier.
|Peter’s operating position|
Matt had a 20 m ground plane based on a 6 metre squid pole and my multi-band switched inverted vee antenna was held up by my 10 metre squid pole. Both poles were tied off to tree stumps conveniently left by Parks Victoria.
|Matt’s operating position|
Our first sked was at 1:00 pm on 10 m. I was keen to work at least one contact using my own call sign before we worked the VK3SAT club call sign. My first QSO was just before 1:00 pm with Greg, VK2GJC, from Ulladulla on the south coast of New South Wales. We then worked 7 stations on 10 m pausing only to move the rigs inside the tents out of the rain.
|Lowering the pole to change band|
The rain came and got heavier and the tent leaked a little. I had placed the radio back in its box and made sure it was protected against water ingress as best as I could. The same couldn’t be said for my bum bag which got wet, as did the ferry ticket inside. I was able to dry the ticket off during the morning by sitting it on top of the radio while making more QSOs.
At 10:28 am we made our last contact and just after 11:00 we were all packed up and heading back to the ferry. We made good time to Tankerton, working Graeme VK3GL, on the VK3RMC UHF repeater along the way.
We stopped at the small picnic table hear the jetty for a little while waiting for the ferry time and then headed out to meet the boat. An uneventful trip across and we were back on the mainland.
I must, of course, thank Matt VK2ADF for coming along and working over 30% of the QSOs. I’d also like to thank all the stations that made the effort to work VK3SAT. I’d like to make particular mention of Alex, VK4TE, who made every sked and worked us on all 5 bands and also Ian, VK3FD, who was so keen to work the National Park on 5 bands that he went mobile and got as close to us as he could on the mainland to be sure to make the higher band QSOs.
A special mention to Kevin, VK3KAB, who was unable to make the trip but still went portable on Sunday at Tooradin, setting up his Buddie Pole, to work us on 20 and 10 m.
More information about French Island can be found at http://www.frenchislandinfo.com
This activation didn’t get me any new parks as I have been here before, but it did give many others, including Matt, the opportunity to claim a new park for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks award.
Depending on the interest and demand I might just head back in 2014.
|Mutli-band Inverted Vee @ 8.5 m and 20 m ground plane|
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