On Sunday morning, 29th May 2016 I was tied up in a 3 and 1/2 hour long Post AGM meeting with the other WIA Directors. So Marija headed off to the Norfolk Island markets with Heath VK3TWO and his wife Monique VK6FMON. The market is held every Sunday between 8.00 a.m.-11.00 a.m. and features seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, cut flowers, home cooking, craft and souvenir items. Trent Christian was singing there as well.
During the Board Meeting is was voted that Phil VK2ASD would remain as WIA President and Fred VK3DAC would remain as WIA Vice President (both unopposed).
At the conclusion of the meeting Marija and I had some lunch at the Paradise Hotel and chatted to other amateurs. We then headed off down to Kingston, as I was hoping to have a look at the Sirius Museum. I wasn’t even aware until visiting Norfolk Island, that the HMS Sirius (the flagship of the First Fleet) had been wrecked on the reef off the coast off Norfolk adjacent to Kingston way back in March 1790. Sadly that museum was closed, but we did visit another one of the museums at Kingston which was extremely interesting. It was the Pier Store which contains a great collection including objects from the Bounty (a cannon, kettle and ironstone platter). The collection is contained within the Pier Store, which was originally known as The Beach Store and was built in 1825 as Commissariat at the end of Kingston Pier.
Whilst at Kingston we had a look at the former Parliament building which has been taken up by Norfolk Island residents protesting against changes to the island’s governance.
We then had a look at ‘Bloody Bridge’. The name is believed to be based on the story of the death of a convict work-gang overseer. During the construction of the bridge, a work gang of convicts murdered their overseer and walled him up in the bridge. The next day the replacement overseer saw blood oozing from the mortar of the bridge.
Marija and I then headed for Anson Bay Reserve in the north western corner of the island, for my final play on air on Norfolk Island. Anson Bay is reputed to be Norfolk’s most spectacular beach, being nestled in to the bottom of one of Norfolk’s many steep cliff faces. This makes the beach less accessible and more secluded than other beaches on Norfolk Island. The reserve is 5,54 hectares in size and was dedicated in February 1937 for cable landing, shipping and recreation purposes. The cliffs here rise about 80 metres above sea level.
Above:- Map showing the location of Anson Bay on Norfolk Island.
During summer, Wedge tailed shearwaters (also called Ghostbirds) form large groups offshore and, at dusk come in to land in their burrows along the cliff edges at Anson Bay. These are the largest of the tropical shearwaters. Other birds that frequent the area are White Terns, Little Shearwaters, Red- Tailed Tropicbirds, Scarlet Robins, Golden Whistlers, Norfolk Island Green Parrot, and Norfolk Island Boobook Owl.
Above:- Wedge tailed shearwater. Image courtesy of nzbirdsonline.org
The Pacific Cable Board station at Anson Bay provided the first telegraphic contact between Norfolk Island and the outside world by cable linking Australia and New Zealand to Fiji and North America from 1902. The Anson Bay cable station at Anson Bay cost over $6,000,000. Two observation posts were also located in the reserve during the Second World War, to defend against possible lands by enemy forces.
I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 25-30 watts, and the 20m/40m linked dipole for this activation. The antenna was supported on the 6m telescopic squid pole. I started off calling CQ on 14.205 and this was immediately answered by Jim VK9PC on Norfolk Island, followed by my good mate John VK5BJE back home in the Adelaide Hills. Next up was Eric KC7ES in Arizona with a beautiful strong 5/9 signal (5/8 received). The 20m band was in very good shape and a pile up soon ensued with callers from Australia, USA, Serbia, New Zealand, Croatia, Hawaii, and Canada.
I was very pleased to be able to get at least two Europeans in the log….Branko YU4DX in Serbia and Dragan 9A6W in Croatia. Both were only a 5/5 to me on Norfolk. Not the normal very strong 5/9 long path signals that I am used to back on the Australian mainland. I was also able to make contact with Tony VK3XV who was portable in Leaghur State Park VKFF-0762 in Victoria. Tony had a beautiful 5/9 signal coming in to Norfolk from his portable station in central Victoria.
I worked a total of 90 stations, at around which time, Luke VK3HJ/9 rolled up on his bicycle. I booked in to the ANZA DX Net at this stage and worked a total of 7 stations there from VK and USA. Luke also said g’day to a few stations whilst I took the opportunity of enjoying some cake provided by Marija. The Over the Horizon Radar had kicked on at 20m by this stage, but didn’t cause any signficant grief.
After having a bit of a chat to Luke, he cycled off back to the QTH of VK9NT. I moved to 14.210 and called CQ and this was answered by Brian VK3UCD, followed by Ivan VK5HS, then Simon VK3SIM, and then Ian VE7SCC in Canada. I worked a total of 38 stations on 14.210 from VK, Canada, Japan, Russia, and Italy. It was good to get Max IK1GPG in the log, Max is a regular WWFF hunter and although not strong (5/3) was very readable. I was also pleased to work Mark VK4XW who advised that I was his first contact into Norfolk Island.
When things slowed down I tuned across the band and found VI9ANZAC on 14.244 being operated by Chris VK3QB/9 at Puppies Point. We had a Fish fry planned at Puppies Point that evening at 5.30 p.m. and that was rapidly approaching. But the band was in very good shape and it was very difficult to go QRT. After working Chris I went back to 14.310 and worked a further 10 stations in VK and Japan. This included QSOs with Nigel VK5NIG/p and Stuart VK5STU/p, who were both portable on SOTA peak Mount Gawler VK5/ SE-013 (5/6 sent and 5/7 received).
Time was marching on, so I decided to try 40m for a short time and then head off to the Fish Fry. That never occurred. I was swamped with a big pile up on 7.144 from Australia, New Zealand and the Canary Islands, and I could not get away. Marija drove up to Puppies Point and socialised for a while and kindly brought me back a meal which I tried to consume whilst working the pile up.
I eventually decided to hit the switch. It was now 7.00 p.m. and the mosquitos were biting. I had a total of 216 contacts in the log.
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
- VK9PC (Norfolk Island)
- VK3TWO/9 (Norfolk Island)
- VK3NCC mobile
- VK3XV/p (VKFF-0762)
- VK2BIT mobile
- VI9ANZAC (Norfolk Island)
- VK5NIG/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-013)
- VK5STU/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-013)
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK2SI mobile
Here is a short video of some of my contacts from Anson Bay…….
After packing up we headed down to Puppies Point and caught up with all the stragglers, including Trent Christian, Heath VK3TWO, and some of the VK9NT crew before heading back to the Paradise Hotel.
Above:- with Trent Christian (ex VK9 Norfolk Island and VP6 Pitcairn Island)
Here is a video put together by Nigel VK5NIG and Stuart VK5STU of our contact whilst they were on Mount Gawler summit for SOTA.
Edgecombe; J, 1999, ‘Norfolk Island-South PAcific. Island of history and many delights’.
Norfolk Island Parks & Foretsy Service, 2003, Plan of Management Anson Bay
Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge-tailed_shearwater>, viewed 3rd June 2016