Chasing of multiple varieties

by vk3arr

The family trip up to Goulburn was a bust, the Spare Child deciding to contract some form of viral gastro and using up the Qantas spew bags and a few cups from McDonalds drafted into action. We made it, but spent most of the time wondering when the next spewplosion was coming. We made the trip back through Beechworth to break up the journey, and it sounds like I just missed Andrew VK1NAM at the Beechworth Bakery.

We arrived home Saturday afternoon, tired and needing a new holiday. Hawthorn, too, had won the Grand Final, which meant I felt the need to keep the news off for the evening, until the painful image of Hawks supporters being happy cleared the screen.

The next day, we had a bunch of things to do in the morning to restock and replenish after our week away. I managed to hear Andrew VK1NAM portable in Victoria at 5 and 7, but had to run before I could manage to work him. This started a bit of a frustrating period. I heard VK2WU on Feathertop VK3/VE-002, but he was stuck in the snow and only activated for a brief time. My QRP signal was drowned out by other chasers, and he packed up before I got a chance to work him.

The second chasing frustration was in the form of our chickens, who had managed to work out a way to get out of their run and were taking every chance possible. I spent a large portion of the afternoon chasing chickens rather than SOTA, trying to save the vegie gardens in the back.

wpid-20130929_174700.jpgChickens where they should be

After a chicken catching exercise, I worked Allen VK3HRA on VT-026 with a 54 signal to go with his 53, and then Glenn VK3YY on VT-006. We exchanged 52s, but the local QRM was back and getting in the way. I also worked Peter VK3PF on VT-046 for a 57 signal from me and a 56 from him. This was clearly a better signal than Peter and I normally exchange, so something good was up.

I missed Ian VK1DI. I could hear him at 41 but with QSB and a wood oven to fire up, I lacked the patience to try to work him. I was trying to get a lot of heat into the oven so we could cook a lamb roast. It worked and it was great.


After the fire was going, I managed to work Andrew VK1NAM/3 on VC-009, exchanging a 53 from him, and a 51 sent by me. The QRM was still around, but we managed to complete the contact.

I heard Marshall on VT-010 at 41, and Andrew VK1DA 5 and 3, but couldn’t chase them because of the chickens. After 30 minutes of chasing them, I wondered if roast chicken were a better option for the evening meal.

Later in the afternoon, I worked Andrew VK1NAM/3 again, now on VC-011. He had a much stronger signal, 5 and 7, and I had managed to double the strength to a 5 and 2. My reports were still down, but the main thing was I was in the log. Despite that, I was wondering if I had something wrong my end.

I think it turned out to be band conditions with the skip zone on 40m extending out a bit. I worked Allen on Mt Dandenong for a 33 signal from me, and Brian on Flinders Peak for a 45 signal. Flinders Peak is very close to me, and Mt Dandenong would be less than 100km line of sight. I suspect both of these contacts were ground wave, because after that I worked Ian VK1DI with 57s both ways no problem on VK2/ST-034, a distance of around 600km, so 40m was still working somewhat, just not locally.

Lessons learnt for this week:

  • Chickens are the antichrist
  • Spewing children aren’t much better