Russell Island – OC137

This past weekend I was QRV from Russell Island. The island is part of the Queensland State (South Coast) South group – IOTA OC137.

Unlike previous one-day operations from Coochiemudlo Island, this was a weekend long operation, and I was accompanied by my wife and our daughter. The accommodation was amazing, we rented a small cottage right at the water-front with a view to another island, the largest one in the group – North Stradbroke Island.

We arrived around midday on Friday and unpacking, having the lunch, setting up the radio and antennas took some time but I was on the air around 4pm.

There were some issues with the antenna as I couldn’t get the SWR anywhere in the acceptable area on either 40 or 30m. Pulling the 30m trap apart showed some rust and cleaning it up fixed the things quite nicely.

With the antenna (Hustler 6BTV) all tuned up it was time to get on the air.

Conditions were, ummmmm … challenging. The noise was much higher than expected it would be and the signals were just not strong enough. JA stations on 40 and 30m were in the S5-6 region at best. Normally most of JAs are always over S9.

At times I would call for 20 minutes with no replies. At some point I scanned 40, 30 and 20m and all I could hear were a few VK and ZL stations on SSB, nothing else.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, with the first darkness something kicked-in in the neighbourhood giving me a solid S7 static across all bands. NB didn’t help at all, it was a solid, thick and very mean noise.

That night I ended up going to bed relatively early, just before midnight and I was up just before the sunrise on Saturday.

The noise was still there but faded pretty quickly as the sun showed-up.

Twenty metres opened up quite nicely for about two hours and I even had to work split as the pile up from Japan was unmanageable on the same frequency.

Most of the day on Saturday I spent with my family driving around and exploring the island, and in the afternoon I was back on air around 3pm.

I had emails from a few hams asking for a contact at certain time and band, but the conditions were so unpredictable that it was hard to be sure it would work. In the end we made it in most cases.

That night the noise was much lower, so I could make some decent runs on 40 and 30m, and then on 20 in the morning again. Having put up a 40m dipole earlier on Saturday turned out to be a good idea as dipole isn’t as noisy as the vertical antenna. FTDX3000 makes it very easy to use receiving antenna, so this was a great help.

We had to check out by 11 am on Sunday and get to the 12 o’clock barge back to the main land.

It was fun and I’m hoping that in few weeks time I’ll do another weekend trip to one of the OC137 islands.

IOTA OC137 – Back to Coochiemudlo

I was back to Coochiemudlo Island today and was QRV on 40m, 20m and 15m from, but conditions were rather poor. On top of that, I had some local QRM all the time on all the bands, but couldn’t easily identify what it was.

I was operating with 20w and a three-band linked vertical antenna. The 15 m band was nearly dead, just had a few JA stations in my log as well as few VK/ZL/JA stations on 40m. The rest was all on 20m.

I didn’t even try SSB as it was very, very windy on the island and I’m sure my audio would be badly affected.

Thanks to everyone who called and thanks for your patience with picking up my weak signal, that’s life with batteries 🙂

IOTA OC137 – Coochiemudlo Island

Today I made a day trip to Coochiemudlo Island (IOTA OC137) with my wife and daughter and I thought I’d take my portable radio setup with me and “see how it goes”.

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Well, it went pretty good and I’ll definitely be back this weekend, weather permitting.

I operated form the park, just about 30m from the beach, but considering I used battery power I could only run low power (20watts).

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I used Yaesu FT-891 with 4200mA/h LiFePO battery. The antenna was a 40/20/15 m linked dipole, set up as an inverted-v, hanging off a 7m long squid pole.

We stayed in the park for about two hours and I logged approximately 80 QSOs, mostly JA and UA0 stations, all 20m CW.

Coochiemudlo is a tiny island just off the coast of southeast Queensland, near Victoria Point in Brisbane. It belongs to the Queensland State (South Coast) South group – IOTA OC137.

Please like/follow the VK4DX Facebook Page for more information and announcements of future operations.

Below are a few photos of me operating and of the island itself as taken from the ferry.

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The new blog is here …

Hi, I’m Mike VK4DX from Brisbane. I have recently moved to an apartment building and having no antenna options here I’m completely QRT when it comes to HF bands operation.

However, thanks to a good friend of mine Mario DJ2MX, in recent weeks I have started considering getting on foot and operating from some summits here in SE Queensland. I have also planned visiting a few islands to get a bit active in the IOTA program.

My SOTA experience is pretty much zero, except from what I’ve read on number of VK SOTA gurus blogs. However I’m pretty excited to join up the ranks.

Equipment wise – I have nothing. Not exactly nothing, but nothing that one can lug up the mountain, such as FT-DX3000. I’m in process of getting a new tiny FT891 and building some portable antennas so that I can be ready around end of January.

The only thing I’m still not sure about is the power, I’m guessing the LiFePo 4 batteries are the way to go, the 8400 mAh sounds the right one to get but Hobby King seems to be out of stock at the moment, which is unfortunate. Hopefully they get some stock pretty soon.

While I’m at it (SOTA), I may think of activating some of the VKFF locations, not sure about the program details, but I’m hoping to educate myself about it in coming days.

I hope to see you all on the air, mostly 40 and 20m.