Last weekend saw the running of the John Moyle Memorial Field Day. The John Moyle Memorial Field Day, or JMFD for short, is held on the third full weekend in March. The contest is run each year in memory of the late John Moyle who was a long term editor of the Wireless Weekly, (later Radio & Hobbies – later Radio Television & Hobbies) magazine from 1947 until his untimely death in 1965. Serving in the RAAF during WWII, he served with distinction and was responsible for a number of innovative solutions in keeping radio and radar equipment working under wartime operations and difficult working conditions.
For this year’s JMFD I had been thinking of heading to a National Park, either Point Nepean or The Lakes, but the need to shuffle my daughter between two 21st birthday parties on Saturday night changed my plans. Knowing I had to leave the station mid-contest I set about finding a suitable portable site located midway between the two parties. I settled on Wattle Park in Box Hill South. Unfortunately when I arrived to set up there was a wedding in progress at the chapel and the car park was full. I then drove around for about 45 minutes looking for another suitable site but I couldn’t find one near Box Hill. So I settled on a park in Wantirna South. I have operated from Nortons Park, part of Jells Park, before and found it had an unusually high noise level on 20m. However, since I was short on time it would have to do.
I parked near some suitable trees and started setting up. I threw my trowing weight into the main tree and pulled through a main rope to support my 20, 40 & 80m trapped dipole. I was untangling the coax when a car pulled into the car park and a plain clothes copper got out. It seems that this car park is a popular place for nocturnal criminal activity and he was just interested in what I was doing. A quick check of my credentials and he was on his way.
I got the antenna in the air about 7:45 pm local time, about 1 hour later than I had planned. I was entering the six hour section and I had a set finish time of 30 minutes after midnight as the second party finished at 1:00 am. So at best I was going to get 4 3/4 hours on air, but since I had to do a party shuffle mid-contest I guessed my time on air would be cut to about 3 hours.
Conditions were good and it seemed activity was up from previous years and contacts were rolling in well. I left the antenna set up when I went off to shuttle my daughter from one party to another. I figured it was dark enough that nobody would see the antenna and it would still be there when I returned. I was careful during set up to keep all the ropes well above head height and safe.
At the end of my interrupted working period I had about 3 1/4 hours of actual on-air time and 77 contacts in the log.
Hopefully next year I can get a full six hours activity and post a competitive score again.