Hallett Cove Conservation Park sign
On the 12th Feb 2016 I went to the Hallet Cove Conservation Park as part of the Friday night parks activation, and to find out how many contacts I could make with a lightweight pack, consisting of: ozQRP MDT (40m DSB transceiver), EFHW (22.5m) with L-match and alternating between a 1.3Ah SLA & a 60Wh Li-Ion pack; another goal was to work out battery was better. The Li-Ion pack has a buck converter for 12v which puts out about S1-5 noise on 40m. With either battery, weight is about 1.3kg.
I found a seat in the park with some decent trees and got the antenna up. With the trees available the best shape I could do was an inverted-L about 4m above ground, which pointed west over the Gulf St Vincent. Remember, at this stage I’m going lightweight, so no squipole, etc…
Set up with the MDT calling CQ
Conditions weren’t great, I could just hear VK5FANA and VK5PAS, and neither could hear me. Although the signal from VK5KHZ a few 100m away made me wish I had an AGC in the radio.
After about an hour of looking around and calling, I got 4 contacts, one of which was interesting, with Rick, VK4RF. I had his maidenhead from a previous contact, so when I got home I put it into a calculator and I got 1632km. The MDT has about 1.5W output DSB (@12v), which makes it 0.91mW/km, and if you want to get technical, only one of my sidebands was being heard, which makes it 0.46mW/km. Not record breaking by any means, but it’s a personal record!
The path on a map, no ocean underneath to help propagation
At about 0830UT I went back to the car to get all the bits to set up the FT-857D (table, chair, battery, linked dipole, squidpole). I had to fight with the trees a few times to let me get to the dipole to switch bands, and by the time I carted it all into the park and set up, 15 & 20 had closed up and 40m was either QRM or QSOs. After it got dark I decided to pack up at about 1000UT and headed home.
I also tried out the dipole in an inverted-V configuration vs the EFHW as an inverted-L and found no appreciable difference between the to on RX, was listening on the MDT (EFHW) & 857 (dipole) simultaneously.