I spent the entire Friday 14th September 2018, and the preceding day, in a training course at work. So once I got home late on Friday afternoon, I had some tea and then drove down the road to activate the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754, using the special call of VI5MARCONI.
Totness Recreation Park is about 40 km east of Adelaide, and just a short drive from my home in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.
Due to its very close proximity to home, I have activated Totness many times over, and have well and truly qualified it for WWFF.
I set up in my normal operating spot, off Haines Fire Track. There is a small carparking area here at the gate, and a cleared area between the park boundary fence and the start of the scrub, with plenty of room to stretch out the dipole.
Sadly, the majority of the 40m band was totally unusable due to the Over the Horizon Radar (OTHR). It was across 40m from 7.125 and above and was strength 8 to 9. And below that I was flat out trying to find a clear frequency due to the large number of South East Asian stations.
Although I still experienced interference, I chose 7.121 and started calling CQ. This was answered by Darren VK6FVIA in Western Australia. It was a nice way to start the activation, with a 2,120 km contact to the west coast. Gerard VK2IO then called in, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then my lovely wife Marija VK5FMAZ.
I logged 15 contacts on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and New Zealand. It was now a little after 7.00 p.m. local time, so I headed to the 7130 DX Net. Unfortunately the OTHR was very strong and it made things very difficult. The Net Control Roy VK7ROY was struggling to hear me at times, and others. During the net I moved down to 7.121 where I spoke briefly with John VK6VZZ mobile. John and I could hear each other well, but Net Control was struggling to hear us both, so we QSYd off frequency for a shot time to say g’day. I ended up logging a total of 5 stations on the net, from VK6, New Zealand, and the USA.
I then headed to the 80m band and called CQ on 3.615. Unfortunately a net came up on 3.618 shortly after I had started, but I perservered and logged a total of 19 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK8, and New Zealand. It was nice to log Andrei ZL1TM on 2 bands.
When callers slowed down on 80m, I decided to have another listen on 40m, where I logged a further 4 stations from VK3 and VK4. Oliver ZL1XS gave me another shout as well, to let me know that I was 10/9 in New Zealand.
To complete the activation I moved back to 80m and had a tune across the band. I heard Mark VK2PH with a booming signal, talking with David VK3FDZE. So I gave them a shout, and we were soon joined by Tony VK5TT and then Joseph VK7JS. David was new to the hobby, so I was very pleased to speak with him. Tony was in Melbourne, but was operating remote back to his station in the Adelaide Hills, and as a result his signal was 5/9 ++++. And Joseph was using an indoor magnetic loop and had a strong 5/8 signal.
With 48 contacts in the log, and the time now creeping up to 9.00 p.m. local time, I decided to pack up and head home.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-