Duct to W.A and S.A Friday 26.3.04

I have been able to make contact on 2m SSB this morning with VK6WG, Wally, at Albany, Western Australia.

Could hear the Mt Barker beacon VK6RST 144.565 CW earlier on from around 2118 utc about S2.

Adelaide beacon up to S7. Roger VK5NY gave me VK6WG's phone number so I gave him a call.

Wally was awake luckily and he told me he was going to put his 'slippers' on and go down to the radio shack.

I waited around on 144.100 listening intently for what seemed like a long time, I put out a call.... no response was heard.

Oh no! were not going to make it, I thought, so I called CQ again, and again there was silence.

Next thing I know there's some one whistling and making all sorts of commotion on the freq, I thought to myself, who's this goose? Then I hear something along the lines of "This is VK6WG listening on the freq, VK6WG". Oh my god the whistler must have been Wally tuning his radio in and setting things up! I couldn't believe it, his signal was 5/8 ! Very nice strength and great audio. This was at approx 2217 utc.

Wally and myself had a bit of a QSO and listened for other stations who may hear us and try to call in. I then sat back and listened to Wally work a number of VK5 stations in the Adelaide area for a while. Wally's signal peaked to S9 on occasion. We still had copy at 2340 utc, over an hour later, at which time Wally was going for breakfast.

I did call (telephone) VK2ZAB to have a listen but he diddn't copy.

I worked the distance of the contact out at 2645 km, missing out on setting a new VK2 - 144 MHz simplex record by only about 54 km.

Only running a temp set up here on SSB - single 17 ele yagi @ 30ft, was running approx 190 watts. I think Wally has a 10 or 13 ele with 50w.

We tried 432 MHz but, with my antenna's in vertical and Wally's horizontal with only 30w we did no good. Im sure we could have made it if I had a horizontal set up. This would have broken the VK2 - 432 MHz simplex record by 340 km.

It was interesting to note reports from VK5NY and VK5ZK, both hearing Esperance beacon but no Mt Barker, whereas I could hear Mt Barker but no Esperance.

For those unaware, Wally VK6WG is around 94 years of age! He certainly sounds fit on the radio, and I have heard reports he is still very active and even climbs his tower!

It was a great pleasure to be able to provide Wally with his first 2m contact into VK2. Wally was like wise, my first simplex VK6.

Adelaide repeaters were also being heard quite strong. Worked Crafers repeater till 1.23 pm! On there we had VK5THA Greg, VK5ELL Mike, VK5ZPS Peter, VK5KBJ Barry, VK5AIM Steve.

On SSB also worked VK5NY 5/9+20, VK5ZK 5/8, VK5ACY 5/9.

Later that night there were condx again which were not as good and didn't last as long. Worked VK5NY, VK5AKK, VK3BG, Murraay Bridge, Crafers and Barossa was also in. The was at about 10.30pm.