Summer makes it not only easy but desirable to get out and operate portable. But an activation of even one summit burns up 3 to 4 hours. On several evenings lately the prospect of sitting outside at twilight on nearby Garden Hill (Kangaroo Ground) seemed better than sitting in a hot house. So some summer portable sessions have ensued. The Garden Hill landmark is Memorial Tower at Kangaroo Ground. I have been coming here since I was a young bloke in the 70s.
Thursday 7th January 2016: Time to try out my new compact squid pole. When I bumped into David VK3IL half way down The Hump VK3/VE-019 on Mt Buffalo last August there was no squid pole in sight to confirm his intentions to activate. I later asked him about his pole and he informed me that he used a short pole which he carries in his pack. After having lugged my 1.4 meter long nine meter squid pole in my right hand (1.4kg) for most of my 30+ summits I knew what I had to do. Fortunately Santa came good last December with the exact thing, a ten meter squid pole in ten one meter segments (1.3kg) from DWwire.
I set up about 150 meters away next to a fence for support. The new squid pole went up just as easily as it’s longer cousin. On it I hosted the center loaded 40 vertical against 4 radials laid out over the ground.
Conditions on 40 meters were good. Before long I heard Josh VK2MED/P CQing on 7151 from Abercrombie Caves south of Bathurst. R5 s7 to 8 both ways. Josh was camping afyer having been trained out of the central coast. We had a good chat for about the minutes and helped pass each other’s evenings. After finishing with Josh I answered a CQ on 7130 who turned out to be C21DA, Darren on Nauru, received 5×5 with QRM. Fun to work DX on 5 watts and the new squid pole.
The shorter squid pole will sit mostly inside my day pack which will make activations where there is a lot of walking, bush bashing or snow easier.
Sunday 10th January 2015: Arrived at 7.30pm, this time with my second and much larger and heavier battery, a 12v 5aH battery that I keep at home and don’t take to summits, only to discover that it was showing 8.2v on the radio volt meter. Strange as it always seems to charge properly. Nonetheless managed a contact with Ray VK3NBL who initially gave me 59, then later reported QSB and QRM. The sunset (rather than any exotic DX) made this visit worthwhile.
Sunday 14th Feb 2016: Returned and set up on the east side of the tower at a picnic table. Noisy conditions but I managed to sched with Peter VK3YE for a most enjoyable rag chew about our respective homebrew interests and projects. The first photo was taken from the top of the tower, east side, looking down to the operating position, light grey squid pole just visible. Second photo is looking west to the tower entrance, after the setting sun had dropped.
Thursday 24th March 2016. Easter Thursday, or Good Friday eve, got there late and got set up around 9pm to a lively band. South east Asian stations were loud, and there were a number of JAs in QSO with other JAs. Worked VK3SJ, and my second and third ZLs with 4×3 and 5×4 reports. Finally at around 10pm worked VK4NAL/VK6. So an excellent night with contacts stretching from Western Australia to New Zealand, all on 5 watts QRP SSB. From about 10pm the Americans woke up, several had huge signals. I called but he did not hear me. One day…
Good Friday 25th March 2016. Similar conditions to last night tonight, lots of JAs and some US mainland ragchews amongst the myriad of asian language babble. Worked Paul VK5PAS in a park not too far from Adeliade and Jim VK2LC 70km north of Sydney. In tonigjt’s photo the full moon rises behind the Kangaroo Ground Memorial Tower.