Perhaps one of the most fascinating things going on here in VK7 is the surge in interest in communications above 30Mhz. I think this is largely due to the poor HF propagation conditions and the release of the Icom IC-9700. I think the most visible manifestation of this is that the VHF/UHF field day contests in Tasmania suddenly have quite a few people involved.
I haven’t been able to give it my all in contests of late due to having heaps of things going on but this time I was able to go mobile as a rover between grid squares QE36 and QE37.
This time around my operations were pretty basic, using the IC-2720 in the car for 2m/70cm operations and an FT-2311 for 23cm, all on FM. It was also my first opportunity to use the 23cm yagi I built with the help of VK7MO in November.
I made 33 contacts through the afternoon which was a pretty casual effort given the amount of local activity, however there were some significant lessons learnt about mobile contesting
Being in Tasmania, the idea of “Winter Field Day” is not very appealing, but I think what I would really like to is build some decent, portable VHF/UHF yagis to be able to operate 50,144,430 and 1296 portable.
I went away to the Tasmania’s West Coast in October 2016 and had hoped to work some stations. For radio, the trip was a bit of a disaster with the place we were staying having lots of solar inverter noise. The other thing was that it was very tedious to use a linked dipole in the location I was in. Since that day I had resolved that I would try and end-fed antenna and see how that goes.
The End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) antenna is popular with many QRP Portable stations, particularly for activities such as SOTA or WWFF. The big drawback of the end-fed is the high impedances they have, which means that you need to carry some sort of Antenna tuner to match the impedance with the radio. The thought of lugging around an antenna tuner and then having to retune every time I switched frequency was less than appealing though.
As much as I am a fan of Summits On The Air (SOTA), activating a summit requires a level of portability that I am yet to obtain as well as a level of fitness that I am yet to obtain too, which is why I got pretty excited when I discovered the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) Program.
Recently there have been a number of additions made to the Database for VK7, which originally was national parks only. The inclusion of a number of new conservation reserves meant that I was able to activate Peter Murrell Reserve which was only 30 minutes away as opposed to a significant 2 hour drive to the nearest national park. It also helped that the carpark fell just within the VKFF boundary.
Being such a glorious day weather wise I made the spur of the moment decision to activate the park.
For a long time it has been a goal to take my own station portable to work HF. This week I finally achieved that goal.
It’s taken me a long time to get there, with the project starting in 2006 when I purchased a portable aluminium mast for the car that can be assembled as high as 12m (39.3 feet). With the help of Bruce (ex VK7MBD) a custom tow bar mount was made, allowing the assembly and raising of the mast to be possible by 1 person. After this, things went quiet on that project as a result of my hiatus from the hobby.