The VK5KI trip to Kangaroo Island 2022 is done and dusted. We had a good time, but also suffered a lot of damage due to the freak weather which hit the site while we were there. None the less, we managed over 1100 QSOs in the roughly 48hrs on the air, which included about 9 hours of downtime due to storms.
Chris VK5FR and myself, Grant VK5GR headed to the island on Friday July 29th on the 9am ferry. We arrived by 10am and headed firstly to visit Tony VK5AVB, a new resident on the island. In addition to Mos VK5MOS there are now several new amateurs getting their tickets on Kangaroo Island, so the need for me to keep heading down from Adelaide to activate VK5KI is now somewhat diminished. Tony has built himself a very impressive station, and while he is still new to Amateur Radio, he is learning fast.
After that pitstop, we made our way to our accommodation and started constructing the station. Things went well, and with a visit from Tony and Mos, we managed to complete construction earlier than expected, with two fully functioning stations operational by Friday evening.
After dinner we set up the two stations in the dining rooms and hit the airwaves!
The next day we operated much of the day on the air, but the weather started to pick up. By midnight it was blowing so badly that the hexbeam VSWR was swinging wildly (as it was being blown out of shape). We shut down and grabbed some sleep before recommencing around 5am Sunday morning.
By 11am however the next storm front arrived and then catastrophe struck. The main 20-10m station beam suffered catastrophic failure in a violent gust of wind that we estimate topped 100kmh. We then had thunderstorms roll over the site. One of the spreader arms also splintered – and that was that! The wind event also damaged the portable pump up tower, effectively putting the station out of action until we could reconfigure the remaining vertical antennas for different bands.
We were off air after that for about 5 hours, waiting for the storm to subside enough that we could reconnect and retune the remaining antennas and recommence operation.
As soon as the contest ended, we then started packing up. After about 40 hours of actual on air time we had managed 1103 QSOs, 284 of those were in the actual IOTA contest (due to the terrible weather conditions). All up the following map gives a good picture of where we managed to work as VK5KI during our stay!
Thanks to everyone who called us. As this is likely the last time for a while that I head to Kangaroo Island, I especially wish to say thank you to our hosts on the island who graciously allow us to use their holiday rental property for this sort of amateur radio activity as well as to Chris VK5FR who partnered with me on this exercise and to everyone who made the effort to give VK5KI a call!
Till next time – 73 de Grant VK5GR / VK5KI
QSL Cards – OQRS / LOTW / Clublog
All QSOs have now been uploaded to Log Book of the World and Club log and should be available for IOTA electronic matching. Those seeking QSL cards can contact my QSL Manager, Charles M0OXO who’s speedy service will ensure quick delivery.