On Sunday, October 16, my partner Helen VK7FOLK and I participated in the inaugural VKFF Team Championship event. The event was organised by Paul VK5PAS and went from 00:00 – 06:00 UTC. Teams of 2-4 people were able to enter and there were various categories including one for Foundation calls and QRP only. There were a number of other teams throughout the country in locations including Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
We entered in a category which permitted the use of a single transmitter shared by both Helen and I. The plan was to operate on 40 metres using the linked dipole inverted vee with fishing pole and the Buddipole on 15 metres set up as a vertical dipole. I always set up the Buddipole when I am near the coast.
We arranged to operate from the Narawantapu National Park VKFF-0005 which is located on the North West coast of Tasmania approximately 1 1/2 hours drive from our home in Burnie. Earlier in the week the weather forecast didn’t look too bad but unfortunately as it got closer to Sunday it was evident that we were going to face rain :-(. We left home shortly after 9:00 am and we were in the park area by 10:30 am. This was our first time operating from the park so it took us a while to find an appropriate location. We decided to operate from Bakers Point in a day area that we found approximately 25 metres from the coastline.
Narawantapu National Park to my surprise was originally named Asbestos Range National Park You can find out more about it here. We will definitely return there again at some stage because the weather on the day had us confined to the car and we saw very little. It is supposed to have lots of wildlife and we saw warning signs to slow down in case of Tassie Devils, which was ironic since our team name in the championship was, you guessed it, the Tassie Devils .
Due to the persistent rain we hurriedly set up the inverted vee only which took us just minutes with the fishing pole and we were up and running shortly after 00:00 UTC (11:00 am local time). It was too wet to set up the Buddipole which requires more time and I also had little expectation of contacts on 15 metres. My expectation with the event timings was all inter VK on 40 metres and I was correct in my assumption.
Helen and I started the event with a park to park contact with Tony VK3XV who was at the Ararat Hills Regional Park and then we did various stints on the microphone. I am not sure whether the event being on the same weekend as Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) had an impact or what the propagation was like but 40 metres was fairly quiet.
We noticed that when Helen was on the microphone with her low power level that some stations were experiencing problems copying her with very deep QSB. This was less pronounced in my case with my power level. I operated briefly with 40 watts and then spent most of the event at 70 watts. I upped this to 100 watts for my final stint since the going was slow and it made no difference.
Looking back at the logs we ended up with contacts in the ACT (VK1), New South Wales (VK2), Victoria (VK3), South Australia (VK5) and Tasmania (VK7). Queensland (VK4) was elusive again with no contacts logged by either of us in that state. It was great to get park to park contacts with the following teams:-
- The Odd Couple – Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP
- The Walkie Talkies’ – Paul VK5PAS & Marija VK5FMAZ
- Team Pezo – Peter VK5PET and Steve VK5ZEO
- Team Kookaburra – Mick VK3PMG and Tony VK3XV
- Special K’s’ – Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR
We also had park to park contacts with other stations including Gerard VK2IO who was activating Tuggerah State Conservation area for the first time and Ian VK1DI. Despite being stuck in the car for the event duration we had an enjoyable afternoon and packed up at around 04:00 UTC (3:00 pm local time) as the rain was heavy by then and consistent.
Final tally was VK7JON 38 contacts and Helen VK7FOLK 25,