We were going to Wilson’s Promontory to support the protest against commercial development in Victoria’s national parks and Mt. Hoddle would be on the way. Mt. Hoddle (aka Mt. Nicholl) is about 8km from Fish Creek in South Gippsland. The main reason for the activation was to try out my home built backpacking transceiver to see how it would go. I had been to this hill last year.
After parking near the end of Mt. Nicholl Rd., its is a short 200 metre climb to the top. The squid pole was erected on a fence post and the End Fed Half Wave coupled to the transceiver. As luck would have it, conditions on 40m were extremely poor.
The first station worked was VK3PF/VK2TWR, portable on VK2/SM085. Signals were weak, 5×1 both ways. I found out pretty quickly on a windy noisy summit, weak signals are hard to hear. I had to lean over towards the speaker and crank the volume up. Hmm…. need to increase the gain somewhere. I worked VK1MA, signals a little stronger, although way down on normal. VK2YW was on VK2/SW027 and signals again 5×1. VK3ANL was on Federation Range, VK3/VN-003, signals also a struggle. VK5NQP was a nice signal and I received a 5×9 strangely enough. Also worked VK3MCD and VK2DAG.
Sarah_quickly became bored and headed back to the car. I had finished my experiment with the new backpacking transceiver and was pretty happy with its performance. The current consumption is only about 85 ma at 12V (mainly due to the DDS). I could reduce it a little by lowering the DDS voltage as it is currently running on 4.1V, and it can run on 3.3V. 4.1V happened to be the result of the closest standard resistor value for the divider on the switching regulator.
We headed on to the Prom, spent some time in the surf and then ordered ourselves along the beach to spell out “Hands off Parks”, with everyone holding torches at dusk. Photos from a blimp and a nearby hill were taken and published in the media.
Once home, I increased the audio amp gain quite simply (LM386) by adding a 1k2 resistor and 10uF capacitor between pin 1 and 8.