VK9N - Norfolk Island Christmas activation

Hi all, just a quick note to advise that I will be visiting Norfolk Island 19-26 December 2016 for a family holiday. Whilst there I am planning on activating Mt Bates (VK9/NO-001) at least once as well as a holiday style activation on most HF bands from the rented house.

I hope to be able to take or be able to borrow sufficient battery power for a more QRO style activation whilst on Mt Bates - I guess that time will tell on that front. Whilst the primary goal is a family holiday so there will be some mandatory family time, I should have enough spare time to be flexible in activation timings to suit those who need this association. Would love to get some DX S2S contacts in there as well!

I have secured the call sign VK9NM for the duration of my time on the island, so hope to work a heap of you from the summit or the rented house on Norfolk.



Hi Matt,
Enjoy the family holiday :wink:
Will listen out for you but like you will be involved in other things but will try to make the trip.
Good luck.

Hi Matt,
Any chance of a late afternoon activation of Mt. Bates to coincide with Long path to EU on 20m (SSB) please? If so, I’ll find a summit here to get out to and possibly even drag the IC-7300 up there!

73 Ed.

I’ll do my best to chase you from VK6 Matt, QRO of course on 20 and below. I need that second vk9 :slight_smile:

With sufficient advance notice I might try and get to a park or summit. I haven’t looked what’a available where we are then yet.

Enjoy the holiday

Andrew VK3JBL

Hi Matt,

It’s a great place for AR. To save carrying a mast and battery you might like to contact the local fishing gear shop and arrange to buy a squid pole there. You might also arrange the hire or purchase of a battery from an auto shop.

I took my own 5 m squid pole and LiFE battery and a 20 w Chinese rig when on NI for the WIA Convention. I did not fancy carrying a heavy battery on the admittedly easy walk to Mt Bates. I think Paul VK5PAS and Heath VK3TWO bought squid poles there.

Internet connections are available at guest houses and you can go to the local Telstra office and buy a SIM to use telephone data for internet connectivity for alerting, spotting, email etc. Speed is low, cost < $50 IIRC. Peter VK3PF could tell you more or just rock up with money in hand.

A 20 m dipole is all you need for the activation although 30 m and 17m and 15 m might be handy if you have time after working the pile up. At that time of the year 10 m and 6 m might open up. A 44 ft doublet centre fed with 300 ohm feeder and a 4:1 balun at the tcvr atu will get you on 40 m thru to 6 m. 40 m comes good in the early evening and 80 m is OK at night. Hope you have some time for AR. The place has a lot of Australian history, lots of activities geared for tourists.

There are some nice park areas to activate from.


Have arrived on Norfolk Island this afternoon. Shopping completed and beer stocks are adequate for now - an additional resupply will be required in the morning.

Only have a short window of daylight to get an antenna up for this evening to see how propagation is, but will see how that goes.

An activation of Mt Bates (VK9/NO-001) should occur midweek with a focus on EU (so 20m longpath probably the best option - times to be looked at but probably around 0730Z. At the moment I have only a single 4200mAh battery, but will try to borrow a small car battery to allow for a more prolonged activation.

VK1MA - and currently VK9NM

Hi Matt,
Good luck with the activation. You may find 0800-0900 UTC is when the Long Path is opening to EU at the moment, so don’t be surprised if at 0730 you’re not hearing anything, that far away could be good for VK/ZL/JA at 0730 though.

When you decide which day fits, I’ll see if I can get out to a local summit here for an S2S.

All the best - Merry Christmas - Ed DD5LP/VK2JI.


I’m likley to be out on some summits S of Canberra in the next few days, most likely Wed and camping so 07:30 UTC will prob work. A S2S would be good. I’ll watch your alerts.

Hi Compton/Ed, Norfolk Island is about 19 degrees of longitude further east and a little to the north of my QTH in VK1, so I would expect it to be a between an hour or two earlier for LP into EU than VK1 offers. Unfortunately due to weight limitations, I do not have a squid pole unless I can purchase one locally.

At this stage anticiate having 80-10m available for an activation - note that sunset is about 2 hours earlier than east coast VK, so with the sun setting at around 1830 L (i.e. zulu +11 - so about 0730Z, this will I expect be around my time for optimum paths to EU.

Now have the OCF dipole up for the home QTH on Norfolk Island, so willl see how the propagation is over the next night or two. At this stage I anticipate that my first activation will be Wednesday night (around 0630Z), but will alert sometime Wednesday local my time). Unfortunately have a strong QRM source at the rental place - trying to isolate sources now.


Hi Matt,
all understood - as you say Long Path is best around sunset your time, sunrise my time. So 07:30 UTC

If you are talking Wednesday evening your time, that’s Wednesday morning with me, and should be possible from here to get out to a 1-pointer summit (from where I have had S2S to VK before).

See how your holiday goes - that’s the reason you’re on NI after all - isn’t it!

73 Ed.

SOTAWATCH needs your Alert, Matt!

Will watch for alerts and listen for you Matt. 2300z seemed to work well back into SW USA on 15m and 17m when I was in VK7 and VK2.
GL & 73,
John K1JD

Sorry Matt,
I’m pulling the plug on my activation. I was out at 0830 UTC with the dog this morning and it was simply too cold (around -8°C with Windchill taking it down at least another 5°). To be on the summit on time, I’ll have to be setting up at the latest at 0700 UTC, when it will probably be another 5° colder.
You’re probably worrying about finding shade from the hot sun over there - things are different over here…

I wish you sucess with the activation and will try listening from home however with the raised background equipment electrical noise in a residential area, it’ll be less likely that I’ll hear you.

73 Ed DD5LP.

Hi John, unfortunately the current antenna situation somewhat precludes 15m/17m (80m OCF possibly to be cut to a 40m OCF shortly) as the tuner needs 12V (and I only have that connector arrangement from a mains powered plugpack). I hope to pick up some wire and fishing line to hang antennas up in the morning so I may have something for 15/17, for a Friday morning activation (Thursday night zulu time). If I do, I will alert accordingly. Noise has unfortunately made anything under 12m unusable from the rental place, so have not been very active other than on 6m during an opening this afternoon my time when I managed to work ZL and SE VK.


Hi Ed, no problems. Have looked carefully at timings and have had to schedule the first activation for 0600Z as local sunset is around 0730Z - not being a drive up summit and an unfamiliar track in an unfamiliar surrounding means I need to plan to be heading off at latest last light. I did bring a headlamp, so will have that, but better safe than sorry - although if I am comfortable with walking back in the dark, the propagation is there and the battery lasts long enough I will extend it, I will see how it goes.


As per my last post, my alert for Mt Bates VK9/NO-001 is up for 0600Z Wednesday. Intention is to prioritise EU and further afield contacts as I will be hopefully back up there on Friday morning for a more localised activation for VK/ZL chasers, but will work what I can if the conditions are poor.

A shopping expedition in the morning to try and find a larger battery and some wire for different antennas may broaden the scope for the activations, but to be determined once I see what I can find in the local shops (isolated island means very limited options). Will also hopefully pick up a local sim card to make it easier to self spot (believe it or not, despite being part of VK, global roaming at exhorbitant costs is the only way I can use my VK mobile phone here).


Hi Matt,

I got a wifi card from one of the ISPs there when I was with the VK9NA team. But I think Norfolk Telecom had a better deal and would have given me phone access too.

Mt Bates is only a few hundred metres off the road that leads to Mt Pitt, where we did most of our vhf and microwave work. If you drove to the turnoff I don’t think it is very far to walk, in or out. your headlamp would be sufficient. I’d suggest going up to check it out, must be all of 5 minutes drive from Burnt pine.

I will try to get to a sota summit for an S2S on Wednesday pm. 10m might be a good option, I worked about 8 ZLs this afternoon from Mt Taylor, plus 3HRA proving how short skip it is under Es conditions. Steve NSS was a huge signal here as usual.

I don’t remember where John Anderson vk9ja lives, but if you find him do say hello from me.

73 Andrew VK1DA VK2UH

Sorry Matt,
Nothing heard here from the home station - hope you got some contacts into EU, I know Herbert (OE9HRV) was out and he runs a bit of power portable, so hopefully he made it through to you.

A couple of other VK’s were also out but unfortunately there was heavy QRM on their frequencies over here, so I don’t know if I would have been able to work Compton or Andrew or not (I suspect not, skip appears to be short at the moment).

73 Ed.

Conditions were not good on LP. I think an OH called me on CW but I suspect it was speculative, didn’t respond to my reply.

Some ssb contacts on 7, nil CW, then 3 contacts on 10mhz CW, then a good run on 14 MHz in the conditions, including several good signals from JA.

At the end the Lifepo4 battery had sunk below 12v and the 703 had gone into qrp mode at 5w, then the battery voltage sank quickly and I closed down.

Think I’ve got my 44 for that park now as a fringe benefit and consolation prize.

Unfortunately no EU - the only contact outside of VK/ZL was a single JA - still I did manage to get 30 odd contacts whilst there. Unusually for me I was running lower power than usual due battery limitations which caused some issues for chasers with higher noise floors, but I think even if had of been able to run high power the path was just not there.

I did hear an EU WWFF activation on 7.144 with multiple chasers after finishing up on 20m, but couldn’t break through the pileup. Noise on 40m became steadily worse with very strong thunderstorm QRN (likely from the storm activity in northern VK2).

As a consolation when I got back to the rental place I managed to work about 50 stations around 1400Z on 40m from EU, AS and NA (evidently the storm activity had reduced).

Weather is looking like rain tomorrow, but I am thinking of a second activation on Saturday morning my time - TBA.