Back to ‘The Prom’, back to hiking

Next Monday, 14 March 2011, is a public holiday in Victoria so I am making the most of the break and I am head back to Wilson Promontory. Unlike my last trip to the Prom, this time I will be hiking into an overnight camp carrying my radio gear with me. A bit like the French Island trip but without the ferry and about 25 km longer.

My plan is to work 20 m and 80 m SSB from the most southern point on mainland Australia, a place called South Point and also work 20 m SSB from the beach at the top of Oberon Bay.

There are a number of challenges with this trip, apart from the physical one of getting myself and my gear there and back safely.

  • BITX20 – I built this 20 m QRP transceiver specifically to take away hiking as the FT-7 is too heavy. This trip will be its first time away. Will 5 Watts be enough for some QSO? Will it work reliably?
  • MKARS80 – Like the BITX20 this 80 m QRP transceiver was also built for portable work. Although not the first time it has been used portable, it will again be interesting to see how it stands up to the challenge.
  • Antenna at South Point. South Point, from photos I have seen, is little more than a rocky outcrop stretching into Bass Strait. I am taking along my 10 m squid pole, and the antenna is a combined 20/80 m Inverted Vee, that is yet to be made. In my normal operating mode I either secure the squid pole to a tree stump or bollard or I use four guy ropes pegged to the ground to hold it vertical. Securing the pole on a rocky outcrop will need a totally different approach. To add to this challenge everything I will need has to be thought of in advance and taken with me. My thoughts at present are to take some extra rope along and tie off to the boulders. My schedule will see this antenna erected in daylight and recovered in the dark.
  • Antenna at Oberon Bay. The beach here is just sand, sand and more sand. Here I am planning to use my 20m droopy ground plane. Erecting the squid pole in just sand will again present its own difficulties. I’m thinking of taking some 45cm lengths of PVC pipe to bury as sand anchors and tie guy ropes off to them.

If all goes to plan I will be operating portable from South Point from 07:00 to 09:30 UTC Sunday 13 March 2011. I will be working around 14.190 MHz before sunset and 3.650 MHz after sunset.

Monday morning I will be working from Oberon Bay from about 2330 UTC to 0030 UTC Monday 14 March 2011 around 14.190 MHz.


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