I haven’t updated my blog in a long time which is quite telling really, as it shows that I haven’t done much activating at all! However, I have still been chasing activators from parks and peaks and the biggest acheivement being in SOTA as I finally managed to get to the magical 10,000 chaser points, making me the 8th Super Shack Sloth in VK! I have also managed to get a few more certificates through both the SANPCA and WWFF/VKFF award schemes so I have some great new wallpaper for the shack wall. 🙂
Mid January saw the family and I taking a mini-holiday to Mt Gambier and staying with Greg (VK5ZGY) and his XYL Gabi at their home for 4 days. They are very proud of their town and chauffeured us around in their 4×4 taking us to both the touristy places and also the known-only-to-locals spots. They made the trip a thoroughly enjoyable experience and next time we come back it will be for a much longer time as our 4 days was pretty jam-packed jumping from here to there to make sure that we were able to fit in as much as possible in our short time with Greg and Gabi. I wasn’t able to fit in much radio, and to be honest, it was a little sad each time we went to a conservation park knowing that I wouldn’t have time to jump on air, but I will be back at some stage with the intention of activating each of the parks that we visited. I did, however, manage to get quite a few geocaches while we were in Mt Gambier. I even managed to score a discarded CD alongside the road walking back from a geocache…it was a One Hit Wonders compilation that had possibly fallen out of someone’s car window as they had swerved around the corner. Finders Keepers! 🙂
On the 15th of January, Greg’s radio club had a tour organised at Mt Burr to get a walk-through of the radio communications facilities that are located there and I casually made mention of it being a SOTA summit on the Thursday night when Col (VK5HCF) was over visiting for a BBQ dinner with us all. He hopped on his mobile and within 5 minutes had it all organised for me, with gates being left open prior to the tour so we could have access to the summit before everyone else arrived. Greg had said that Col was the one to get things done and he wasn’t joking! Thanks Col! 🙂 I didn’t actually get a picture of my activation as I was running a little late in getting everything organised, but I set up on the right hand side of the road, close to the communications area with the squid pole held against the gate post with occy straps, and the arms of the antenna strung along the fence. I sat on a rock and had the radio/battery set up on another rock. It was a VERY quick activation and I was on air for about 15 minutes before the cars of all the club members started arriving for the tour. Bob and I dismantled the station and had everything packed up in time to get inside ready for the tour. It was also wonderful putting faces to some of the callsigns that appear regularly in my logs such as Tom (VK5EE) and also Tom (VK5NFT, formerly VK5FTRG) although I probably recognised them more when they spoke as you do get used to hearing people’s voices on air. The tour was very interesting for us, but the kids had had enough after about an hour and a half and so when the tour had unofficially ended about 9:15pm, they didn’t need much convincing to jump back in the car and head for home, so we were sorry that we couldn’t stay for more of a chat with everyone.
On the 16th of January, we were booked into a coastal food tour with Greg and Gabi and met at the Mt Gambier library to get on a bus for a trip to Port MacDonnell. It was very interesting with a friendly and knowledgeable tour guide on native foods available in the area and the bus was completely full so it was a popular choice obviously and we were lucky that Greg and Gabi had booked us in! Halfway through the tour, with the sounds of the ocean so close, Bob and the kids wandered away from the group and headed to play on the beach instead and tried their hand at some rock climbing and collecting seashells until the tour was over. The next morning, Greg and Gabi took me out for a half-hour of geocaching, picking up a few caches that were located within about 10kms of their home QTH whilst Bob loaded up the car ready for the trip home which was a great way to end the trip. I wouldn’t be surprised if Greg and Gabi take up geocaching themselves!
When we arrived home, a trip down to our newly established garden had us all so excited. Bob had installed a tap-timer before we left to ensure the plants were kept watered while were away and it was a happy sight to see our first produce ready to pick!! Since then we have had plenty of tomatoes and zucchinis and just today we had our first capsicums! Everything has been grown from seed, so it makes it that little bit more special to me when I pick our vegetables.
Anyway, today is my middle daughter’s 10th birthday so I will leave you with a pic of her cake we made..which I am off to eat now! 🙂