VK2/NR-044 – Woodford Hill

With a Monday available to me suddenly and a trip up to Brisbekistan already booked, I grabbed a hire car and headed south. I could have activated a VK4 summit, but I have one of those already (two, in fact), and VK2 was just over the border. I chose VK2/NR-044 as it is a drive up hill and just off the Pacific Highway, and therefore dead simple to get to.

After living in Brisbane, I drove my car home, and made a resolution at that point to never again drive the Pacific Highway without just cause. I was somewhat skeptical of Google’s driving times, but it does appear that they’ve taken into account the fact that the Pacific Highway is a constant hot-bed of roadworks. Even with my late flight into Brisbane, I was only about 30 minutes after my alerted time. It was good to see the constant roadworks hadn’t improved the road much in the past 6 years.

Equipment today was the FT-857 and the Buddistick, all powered by the ever-reliable 4200mAh LiFe battery. I opted for the Buddistick after the disappointing results in the US, plus I’d not gotten around to untangling the mess I’d thrown in the back of the car. My only concern was going to be mounting the Buddistick, as I no longer had a tripod after destroying it on the UK trip earlier this year. In reflection, I do seem to destroy lots of stuff.

If this was a referendum on which antenna to use, the Buddistick wins hands down. This is because I managed to qualify the summit this time! I have the clamp version – there is a small tripod version, but apparently the tripod is not much use. I used the clamp to clamp the Buddistick to a small tree about 1.5 metres off the ground, and ran the counterpoise out elevated to surrounding trees.

Clamped to a tree, the Buddistick performs well.  The counterpoise is stretching out to the right in low-vis green.

Clamped to a tree, the Buddistick performs well. The counterpoise is stretching out to the right in low-vis green.

I was a little concerned for a bit there, as I called CQ for a while before Cliff VK2CCJ came back to my call. The Buddistick tunes up beautifully on 40m, but that doesn’t make it an efficient radiator. Despite 50-odd watts, the signals were down to Cliff in Newcastle, which should have been nice and close for 40m. After putting up a 5 minute warning before I went to 20m, I pulled in VK2CCW, before Dave VK4DD called in for a chat and to add VK4 to my state list. When it rains it pours, and I got VK2WTY, and Gerard VK2IO mobile about to set up for his next summit, a 10 pointer.

That meant I was hanging around!

20m was fruitful too, with Ron VK3AFW coming back immediately, tuning around the band trying to find me. VK6 went in the log with VK6NI, but with low 41 signals both ways, before I added VK5 with Nev VK5WG. I called for a while, but the well was dry, so I jumped back on 40m to wait for Gerard, who was working CW at the bottom of the band. I left my key at home, otherwise I would have called in.

Gerard found me, we completed the Summit to Summit, which took me to 500 S2S points. This activation was association number 9, so it looks like I’m taking the lady wife down to Tasmania sometime soon and the radio might just slip into the bag 😉 Verdict on the Buddistick is all positive – any concerns I had in the UK were alleviated this time through proper feedline.

I must fiddle a bit with it on the higher bands where it would be more efficient. It’s just a matter of finding the right tuning arrangement. Next time I go to Japan, I will take it and work 10m from a park bench inside a WWFF reference 🙂

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