VKFF-1488 – Buckley’s Hole Park
It was in year 2003 when I last visited and operated from Bribie Island. It was still valid for IOTA program and the pile-ups were huge. I spent a weekend in the caravan park with a very basic 20m vertical and two elevated radials and worked the world twice over.
Shortly after that, IOTA decided to delete the island from the directory due to its proximity to the main land. The distance from the main land has narrowed to next to nothing at low tide at the northern end of the island.
Interestingly, I still get emails from various hams asking where I was operating from as they still need OC-137 Queensland State South Coast group, which Bribie Island belonged to before its deletion.
So, here I am on the island again, nearly 15 years later. The scenery has changed a lot, what once was a completely uninspiring and run-down waterfront, now looks amazing. Well done local council, this place looks truly worth visiting again. I surely will.
I chose Buckley’s Hole Conservation Park because I can access the park by a car and also operate from the car. I’ve recently injured my foot and while it’s healing well it needs some more time of minimal movement to get really well. I feel like I’m “running on spare” and this is what has primarily kept me off any SOTA activations, but I hope to get up there soon.
Access to the park is very easy, there is a dirt road that runs off the Tully Street in Bongaree and takes you straight to the middle of the park. Follow the sign to the Red Beach. At the end of this road there is a car park, but it can be really busy and hard to find a free spot.
I was lucky, though and found a really nice spot where I could erect the squid pole and the linked dipole. The beach was only 20m farther away, full of dog owners taking their canine babies out for a splash. I wish I had my Benny with me.
I’ve set up the antenna in a few minutes and went straight to 15m but the band was pretty much dead for me. Nothing, not one station.
The next step was to go to 20m, and that worked really, really well. The band was open, I worked a few JA stations and quite a few VKs. This time VK5s were coming strong and it was also nice to hear Stuie, VK8NSB after many years. Most of the QSOs were made on SSB with just a few on CW.
Around 5pm there were no more replies to my CQ, so I moved to 40m SSB. The good run continued and I had quite a few callers there as well. I also worked OK1CF and a few JAs. Once the calls dried up I moved to CW, but the band was wide open into EU long-path and the stations working in a CW contest were everywhere, the band was literally full. So I spent about 10 minutes there and returned to SSB. A few more minutes of CQing without anyone replying and I decided to call it a day.
In the end there were 53 QSOs in the log in just about 90 minutes on air.
I’m thinking of coming back here, this time with a 1/4 wave vertical for 40m with a few elevated radials, aiming for NA and long-path Europe. Verticals and salt waterfront just do magic!
After you went quiet on 40m SSB I looked for you on CW. I found all the contest stations, tuned around but didn’t hear you. There was no CW spot so I assumed you had given up – and wouldn’t have blamed you. Thanks for the contacts on 20m SSB, CW and 40m SSB.
– Gerard, VK2IO
Yeah, the band was really crowded and I thought it would be tough to get my tiny signal out of that melee 🙂