Today, members of the Dx Adventure Radio Club (DA-RC), in the company of friends and family, took to the field for the 11m & PMR International Field Day, operating as an FD station from the summit of Mount Nebo in the D’Aguilar National Park.

The experienced Field Day Team comprised of 43DA392 Graeme, 43DA305 Karl, 43DA1112 Leonie and myself, 43DA001 Darren, + radio mates 028 Noel and 015 Peter.

Almost 600m above sea level (ASL) and part of the spectacular D’Aguilar Range which embraces other mountains such as Mount Pleasant, Mount Glorious and Mount Mee, Mount Nebo is roughly 30 km north-west of Brisbane and the ideal dxstination for some field day work in this year’s FD event.

We arrived on the mountain summit at 09:30am local time, in sunny yet slightly overcast WX, and were QRV by 10:00am with the callsign 43DA/FD-079.

This had been allocated by the event organisers in France.

A 4 element Moxon antenna, designed by 30DA016 Dave in Spain, was erected on a 10m NBS telescopic mast and guyed by 3 ropes to nearby trees for support.

We also installed a G5RV dipole for WWFF Parks work on some of the other HF Ham bands.

Furthermore, a transceiver and various dxcessories, including a Manson 60 amp power supply, Sennheiser HD-280 Pro headphones and a HP laptop for 11M cluster access, were installed on a nearby picnic table, roughly 15m from our power source.

This was a red 2kVA Honda generator we’d hired from Kennards for the day, which purred like a sleeping kitten for the duration of our stay.

About the same weight as 1 ½ cartons of XXXX beer and with an impressive 3.6 litre fuel tank, this unit is said to deliver “better than commercial quality electricity” and, with the eco-throttle on, can deliver up to 10 hours of continuous ops.

Our choice of location here was Jollys Lookout, in the South D’Aguilar section, which featured a large picnic area with pavilions, wood barbeques, toilets, a viewing platform and sweeping 180° views out to Moreton Bay and north to more of the D’Aguilar ranges including the Glass House Mountains.

According to the history books, Brisbane’s first Lord Mayor, William Jolly, enjoyed the view from this vantage point so much he agreed to build a road here from Brisbane!

Referenced as VKFF-0129 by the Worldwide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) Organisation, the D’Aguilar National Park is reputedly the largest tract of bushland near an Australian state capital. 

Beneath us, steep walking tracks lead to rocky waterholes, mountain streams, sheltered pockets of sub-tropical rainforest, eucalyptus woodlands and a number of deep crevasses.

Unfortunately, there was no propagation during out 4 hour stay on the summit, however, we were successful in working many stations on groundwave, covering some extraordinary distances too due to our height ASL, uninterrupted vistas and brilliant yagi take-offs.

Only a few minutes into our “CQ DX” calls as 43DA/FD-079, we were stoked to work 43AU161 Jay and his better half, Nikki, at 5/3 from their home station west of Bundaberg.

Some 390 km from our location and in the heart of Queensland’s sugar growing country, this was a very special contact indeed for the Team.

At 11:25am local time, we were delighted to work decade long DA-RC member and productive DX Hunter 43DA050 Geoff who thumped in at 5/7 from his home in Caloundra.

This is a small coastal village in the Sunshine Coast Region, 100 km from our site on the mountain.

It’s almost 10 years to the day that 43DA050 Geoff and I collaborated to participate in the Eleven Meters United (EMU) Field Day as 43DA/FD001 so it was fitting to have him in the log for this one.

Not long after Geoff is ITL, big gun DX Hunter 1116 Peter in Hervey Bay was logged at 5/2 on his new home-made dual driven 9 element beam.

Pete’s QTH is regarded as the Whale watching capital of Australia and the ideal take off point to potential IOTA dxstinations in the Queensland State (South Coast) Centre group such as Fraser, Lady Elliot, Great Keppel and Curtis islands.

At 11:41am, tech-guru 43DA648 Ray on the Sunny Coast appeared on the band, thrilled to work our FD station with reports of 5/5 both ways.

At 11:45am, with the Moxon at a beam heading of 160° 43MD069 Kevin on Macleay Island in the Queensland State (South Coast) South group is a prized addition to the log.

One of many islands in the Moreton Bay Marine Park, Kevin’s island shares the IOTA reference number OC-137 with many other islands previously activated by the DA-RC (e.g. Stradbroke, Russel, Karragarra and Moreton).

Soon after, 43DA392 Graeme is on the road with his partner Karen, in search of coffee and a bite to eat while the rest of us guys slave away on the radio hihi.

On his drive down the winding mountain road, Graeme calls in from the mobile and is logged by the FD-079 Team at 5/9+.

Throughout the course of the day, we welcome a number of visitors keen to know more about the station and our intentions — bird watchers, trekkers, cyclists, picnickers, photographers and wildlife enthusiasts all dropped in to say hi and ask a few questions.

An unwanted guest was a 6ft diamond python (See pictured above) that had curled around the rafters of one of the pavilions to digest a possum or small marsupial it had caught in the scrub.

We also admired the many different species of birds which hovered from branches nearby, or even perched on the Moxon, watching for scraps from the humans below.

These included bush turkeys, magpies, butcher birds, goldfinches, willie wagtails, blue-winged kookaburras and many more types that were unidentifiable.

After lunch with the family, with the Moxon pointed north, CQ calls from 43DA/FD-081 Mike in the Curra State Forest, north of Gympie, were heard on the call frequency.

Some 200km from our station on Mt Nebo, this pictographic pocket of land is part of the Gympie National Park and is referenced as VKFF-0682 in accordance with the World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) program.

Mike’s audio is akin to the whisper quiet operation of the genny which purrs away in the background but, with no QRN from dirty electrics, we can still pull him out of the noise floor without a problem.

The exciting contact with 43DA007 Mike’s portable station wrapped up an immensely enjoyable day, for myself and the Team.

24 contacts in total, among them 4 DA-RC members and a number of great radio mates, such as 373 Wayne and 186 Jason, were highlights of our time in the field.

We look forward to participating in next year’s 11m & PMR International Field Day also and again combining our passion for radio comms with our love of the great outdoors.

73 de Darren, 43DA001