VK4WIL - Lockyer Valley Radio Club 

John Moyle Memorial Field Day 2012

VK4WIL Camped up at Eagle Ridge near the Repeater Site east of Plainlands.

A portable station was set up on Eagle Rise approximately 60km from Brisbane and just outside the town of Laidley; 1 x camper trailer, 1 x large tarp and operating from two 6x3ft tables back to back (under large tarp) and one smaller 3x2ft table (under camper trailer annex).

Antennas were erected on the Friday afternoon by 4QH, 4SN, 4MN and 4FAKE and although we were only initially intending to set up some of then, a decision was made later in the day to get them all up. This would allow every one a sleep in prior to the start of the contest or to spent the time refining the operation of the various antennas. Good move as the 12 element 2m yagi when assembled has excessive SWR; totally unusable. Some tinkering and thinking and a timely suggestion from 4BYX saw a stub constructed which at least allowed its use the next day. All other antenna's were assembled, erected and proved usable without a hitch.

Antennas erected were an inverted V, an all (HF) band trapped vertical, a 3 element triband yagi (20, 15 and 10m), a 6m half wave vertical, a dual band vertical 2m / 70cm, a 12 element 2m yagi, and a 16 element 70cm yagi. 

Three operators sleep over on Friday night to secure the site (4QH, 4SN and 4FAKE) with the remaining personel arriving well before the 01:00 UTC starting time.

Bands and Modes operated were: CW / Digital / SSB 80m, 40, 20m one side of table 1 (4SN, 4BYX); SSB / FM 40m, 20m, 15m, 10m, 6m (4QH), SSB / FM 2m and 70cm (4MN, 4BYX, 4FAKE) adjacent on table 2; SSB 80M, 40m on table 3 (4FAKE, 4HS). Band conditions were generally good except on VHF / UHF. 

Unfortunately, initially heavy and then constant rain settled in from around 2-3pm and stayed with little respite until well after midnight.

The kitchen area was sited at one edge of the large tarp; the wrong position as we discovered when the rain set in. Drainage point from tarp and from there in under the area of the tarp to where the kitchen and CW / Digital / SSB station was located. Low headroom and the flow of run off made preparing and cooking meals an interesting exercise. 

The lighting arrangements we employed were a beacon for a multitude of insect life from what seemed like, miles around. Not, amazingly, around the flood light set up to provide a constant load for the generator; too yellow, which is a point to be noted for the next similar operation.

Sleeping arrangements were crowded on the Saturday night as most (3 out of 4) decided to camp in the camper trailer annex due to wet and very muddy conditions. Wayne (4HS) made (the very sensible decision) to bunk in his Suzuki leaving the annex floor to be shared by 4SN, 4QH and 4MN (three's comfortable, four's too much of a squeeze. The owner of the camper trailer (4FAKE) had the permanent bed high above the squishy floor. At some point in the night 4QH left the building citing "intolerable noise". The remaining occupants were unsure as to his meaning but appreciated his gesture non the less.

Early Sunday morning. Very, very messy but thankfully no rain falling although the weather map showed the possible threat of a little drizzle. The decision was made to pack up and make our exit before any additional rain trapped us on the hill until the weather broke - maybe weeks from now. Pack up started around 6am and despite the usual drama's (lost allan keys, missing spanners) arrived back at 4SN's place around 10:30am (where I left my vehicle for the weekend - small 2 wheel drive which could have been an early casualty on the trip down if parked anywhere higher than the road at the bottom of the hill, an undesirable and insecure spot). 

Paper logs were merged and recompiled into the required format by 4SN. Because of the early pack up time, the section entered was revised to 6hr Multi-Multi which was probably only contested by 3 or 4 (VK4) groups so the Club may do OK even allowing for the reduced time. VHF / UHF generally was a waste of an operator; 38 contacts in all most in short blocks with long gaps in between.

Everybody who attended put on weight and grew in statute; not because we ate to excess or swelled with pride but because of the wet mud which was attracted to whatever footwear was worn, even barefoot was tried with a similar result. A good time, if not as long a time as we originally planned for, was had by all and the trip down the slippery slope was only mildly interesting and safely navigated.

Thoughts for next years contest: due to lack of participation in digital modes and VHF / UHF we not contest those sections. If we run a similar operation in 2013 as we ran this year, it would mean an operator available to run an additional HF band. An early request to the powers that be for fine and dry conditions, for a change, may also be appropriate. 

Author : Peter VK4MN


Our First Place Award!


Where do all the poles go?


The completed camper trailer and tarp


HF Beam in place waiting for the mast to be pumped up

VK4MN & QH assemble the 2 Mtr beam. Unfortunately the contacts had corroded.
Bob VK4BYX came up with the fix and the beam was put into use.
Antennas completed. Left to right, 2 mtrs, 70cm, Tribander, 5 band vertical.
Don't like those clouds moving in!


The generators were hidden under the tarp to keep out the rain.


Peter VK4MN (foreground) and Ken, VK4QH


Ken VK4QH and Michael VK4FAKE (background)


Michael VK4FAKE having a good run on 7MHz


Bob VK4BYX in background.


Wayne VK4HS
Alan VK4SN's CW and PSK position.  
In the PC case below the desk is a stub kit that was a great asset in eliminating interference between bands. 


And then there was RAIN!
And then there was mud...

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