Wow what a great time members of the Riverland Radio Club Inc. had activating the Murray River National Park for this the 6th year anniversary of the VK5 National & Conservations Parks Award weekend, sitting along side the magnificent Murray.
This was to be a club activity for the Saturday, March 23rd. Members interested in park activations, and those newly licenced, were encouraged to come along to have a go and if they wished get a bit of mentoring from those with a bit more experience.
VK5HS Ivan booked campsite ‘Black Box 3’ in the Lyrup section of the Murray River National Park.
Ivan was the first to arrive at about 0800hrs local and got down to the critical business of getting the billy boiling. VK5FVIN David who is one of the clubs newest members, doing a club Foundation Course recently, was there eager to learn. Shortly after VK5DW Danny, VK5LA Andy and VK5TRM Rob had all come wondering into camp.
OK so with coffee in hand, thanks to Ivan, Danny got into pushing up a linked dipole for 10m through 80m with a plan to start on 40m. With the dipole atop the 7m squid pole and the ends draped out to about 2m it was time to open the HF go kit.
Cool… all go time, but NO! All seems a bit quiet, checking just a bit further and BUGGER. Faulty antenna, open circuit on one leg. Thank goodness we had another, so after a quick swap out we were up and running. A couple check ins to the clubs BRL Net from Ivan and David confirmed we were good to go.
Danny smashed out CQ Parks for a while and found it a bit of hard going but got enough to register. Good thing it was slow going as he was using VK Port-a-Log for the first time.
David, a new call, wanted to have a look at an Icom IC-718 for which VK5PE Pete obliged by bringing one along. We powered it up and threw the mic at David. He was a bit nervous at first explaining he will just watch for a bit. Pete was having none of that and with just a little encouragement from us David got on HF for the first time as a HAM. The photo above shows Pete (right) mentoring David (left) through making the contacts. David ended up making about a dozen contacts and by the end of that he was sounding more and more confident and fluent. Good work David, well done!
Andy, probably our clubs most prolific parks operator, had set up a station about 30m away using an end fed antenna and his Icom IC-7300. He was operating on 20m for a while, and yes the 2 stations being so close caused a bit of issues but we were all having a lot of fun anyway. Here’s Andy getting cracking signals on 20m, the signal so good the 7300 case was bulging on every syllable.
VK5FDOG Pongo another new call had arrived by now for a bit of a look see, asking loads of questions and meeting most of the other members face to face for the first time. He’s been a little active calling into the clubs BRL Net a couple times.
Back over on the other side the second linked dipole was still working fine but couldn’t do 80m… so down it come and up goes a third linked dipole that could do 80m (thanks to VK5PE Pete). We got a few solid contacts with VK5PAS Paul, VK5FMAZ Marija, and others.
Ivan had set up a crossed 2m/70cm yagi for satellite operations so the new calls could have a look at how that works, His set up includes full duplex so he demonstrated how you could tell how well you were getting into the satellite by the quality of your own returning voice. Three passes were accessed during the day with contacts made as far as ZL. Even David had a crack making a few contacts on the birds… I think he was just a little chuffed with himself.
Rob had a bit of Sonde RX gear with him so he demonstrated that as well to round out a bit of variety in he hobby.
By now, with 7 club members there and lunch time approaching, Ivan started to prep for the lunch cook up. Andy had sorted the cutting of the spuds and onions, Ivan cut some tomatoes, and all these goodies with the mandatory snags and chops on bread topped with a homebrew, of a different kind, tomato sauce from Ivan’s personal stock.
By this time VK5TS Rob and partner VK5FSGP Sandy, yet another new call, had also arrived. Sandy had muscled in on the IC-718 (OK it was free at the time) and quickly made a couple contacts. One with VK5FMAZ Marija, announcing that now the ladies had control of the radios.
VK5MRE Ron, fresh from the morning club BRL Net Control duties and other domestic matters, called in on the club 2m repeater for directions. There’s a campsite 3 and a Black Box 3 so he was advised he just needed to come just a little further along the track… and he made it just in time to join us for lunch.
We pulled stumps at about 1530hrs local by which time 10 club members had attended. For our little club this was terrific and what a great time we had. We would like to thank all the contacts we made for being out there and helping to make our day that much more fun.
I hope you enjoyed our story and thanks for reading.
73’s from the Riverland Radio Club Inc.