Antennapalooza is a annual event held in Drouin West, about 100km due East of Melbourne. It’s a friendly and informal event for amateur radio enthusiasts to gather and listen to presentations on various amateur radio related topics.
We try to keep the presentations light, with the focus on practice rather than theory.
Antennapalooza 2023 is now in it’s eighth year with annual improvements to the venue, facilities and spread of topics. In 2023 the them is “Station Efficiency”.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BRING?
This is largely up to the individual and depends upon how long you can stay. Folding chairs are a good start. A table is useful. For power 12V operation is recommended, or 240V from an inverter. Try to avoid switch-mode power supplies and switch mode light fittings if you can as these can generate lots of interference on HF sometimes.
If you plan on being thirsty, then an esky with ice & drinks could be a good thing to bring along. For antenna work, it is worthwhile bringing some extra rope and pegs in case you need to combat gusts of wind. There will be step ladders on-hand which may be useful for some people while setting up.
WHAT CAN YOU TIE ANTENNAS TO?
There are a few trees dotted around of various sizes. Tying an antenna to those is no problem. Alternately, bring a pole and lash it to a convenient fence post. People will be walking about at night, so try to ensure that wire antennas don’t droop below head height.
WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT IF YOU STAY OVERNIGHT?
Well, it will get dark, so bring some light with you. In fact, you will need to bring most of what you intend to use, drink and eat with you. Weather at that time is unpredictable, so bring warm clothing. The open fire will help. Daylight Savings will be active, so there should be good light well into the evening.
WHAT ABOUT POWER?
No AC mains is available at the main location, but a battery charging shed nearby has power for re-charging battery packs. One of the themes of this event is to encourage preparation and independence when using Amateur Radio equipment in the field.
If you have a caravan that you’d like to bring, but don’t wish to take it down the bottom area, there is level space at the top of the property that is easy to access. (regular toilet/bathroom facility is available there.) 15A, 240V mains suitable for caravans is available at a power box on the side of the cattle ramp. Town water is also available at that point.
Generators are discouraged for more than short intervals, as generally, people don’t like to talk over the sounds of petrol engines. Gas lighting is good value if you have it, as it is efficient and makes no noise on HF
DISABLED TOILET ACCESS
The portable toilets in the field are trailer mounted. These are not wheelchair friendly. At the top of the rise is a permanent building (you pass it on the way in) there are toilet facilities there which are wheelchair friendly.
SAFETY & ADMINISTRATION
The aim is to provide an opportunity for Members to do their own thing and enjoy themselves. . Antenna work can be a dangerous thing, often requiring ladders and guy ropes. There will be a designated Safety Officer who will keep an eye on proceedings. If the Safety Officer sees some activity where it looks like people are endangering themselves, or others, then visitors may be asked to improve a situation or change the way that work is being done.
If kids are brought along, then it will be up to the parents to keep an eye on them. A First Aid kit will be on hand in the Pavilion area.
TAKE AWAY FOOD
The nearest town is Drouin, some 6km to the South. Here there are both Coles and Woolworths supermarkets. As you enter the main street, on the left there is a fine Pizza shop called Jakks Shack (as used in 2013) and a nearby Fish & Chip & Roast Chicken shop called Fin & Feather. If Chinese take-away appeals, turn Left at the first roundabout, then turn immediate right into the laneway to access a rear car park where you will see Kims Kitchen for some excellent Chinese food. If you want to pre-order by phone, here are the numbers:
Pizza Jakks Shack 5625 4800,
Fish & Chips Fin & Feather 5625 1007
Chinese Kims Kitchen 5625 2626
DON’T HAVE A COW
These paddocks are usually grazed by cattle, but on the day, any remaining livestock will be penned elsewhere and the grass will be cut short in the event areas. As this is Australia, there are no certainties about snakes, but we can say that in the past 23 years, no snakes have been sighted on the property.
SEE YOU THERE!