Mike VK6MB, Nick VK6FSEA, Shaun VK6PAL and Jarrad VK6FFAR were all set up and raring to go within an hour at Richard’s (VK6VRO) QTH in South Bunbury for the start of the OCeanic DX contest at 08:00 UTC (4:00 pm local).
Mike kindly brought with him his Elecraft transceiver, home built telescopic mast and inverted vee which covered all bands from 10 to 160 metres. Sadly, our concerns about the weather forecast were proved to be accurate with winds of 90 kilometres per hour blowing and then just 1 1/2 hours into the event, the electricity went out throughout all Bunbury! We were all concerned whether Mike’s mast would go the distance in the dreadful weather but fortunately it did.
We certainly faced our share of challenges with high winds, torrential rain on the tin roof making it extremely challenging to hear anything from the transceiver and needing to use Mike’s Lipo batteries for several hours during the power outage. The propagation was also poor during the event making it challenging to make contacts.
We all rose to the occasion and had a great time. We had some great chats including Mike recalling experiences of his past park activations. We had lots of laughs with all of us getting tongue tied with the VK6BRC club callsign which all added to the fun of the event. There will have no doubt been a few stations we worked scratching their heads wondering what we were all on 🙂
At 16:30 UTC (12:30 am local) we shut down the station for the night and some much needed rest. Mike was the first up and he was back on air around 20:30 UTC (4:30 am local time), using a headlamp whilst others were asleep. Nick spoilt us all around three hours later with fresh coffee and we all had a breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked on the new club BBQ and eaten with gusto.
The VK6BRC team’s final tally was 41 QSOs, 34 multipliers and a score of 6,596. An excellent effort indeed from a team that included first time contest operators. Perhaps for next year’s event we can score a beam of some description or have a club vertical antenna in place.