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A Drama or Two

Wednesday January 9th 2008
  Saturday 22nd December 2007 Cranked the tower down and spent two hours on quad maintenance. Checked the tower structure, re-aligned the spreaders and elements and replaced the cable ties which attach the wires to the spreaders.
Checked the gamma match components and read SWR which looked good. At some stage it is intended to take the quad down altogether and re-build it. (needs new clamps, 'spiders' etc.)
Daughter brings home a digital video camera to take on her planned trip to New Zealand in January. "How does this thing work, Dad ??" "I don't know the book !!!"
Cyclone forecast for this region for New Years Eve.
  Monday 24th December 2007 Reports of light snowfalls in Tasmania overnight. It is supposed to be summer!
  Friday 28th December 2007 Monsoon trough now overhead. Light rain showers sunlight.  
Monday 31st December 2007: Decided to tackle Question 1 (contest points calculation) of the bright sparks quiz on, seeing as no-one else seems to have nailed it. I have no idea how scoring is done on dx contests. First answer was way out. Thanks Darren for the subsequent calculation hint.  
Tuesday January 1st 2008: Public holiday here so decided to spend an hour or so on the window dressing of my Guestbook to start the new year. Also spoke with John TR301 in Bendigo re the current status and plans of the Tweed Radio group.
Wednesday 2nd January : Arrange for international roaming so that daughter's mobile phone will work in New Zealand.  
Thursday 3rd January 2008: After researching dx contesting on the net, re-calculated points for quiz question 1 and correctly this time ! A low pressure system exists in the Timor sea about 300km south west of Darwin and is gathering intensity.
Cyclone watch announced on the local media.
Plenty of time to batten down the hatches.
A cyclone is the same as a hurricane or typhoon.
  Info from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology states:
Tropical Cyclone Advices are issued whenever a tropical cyclone is expected to cause winds in excess of 62km/h (gale force) over land in Australia*.
A tropical cyclone advice may be a watch and/or a warning, depending on when and where the gales are expected to develop.
When is a Tropical Cyclone Advice Issued?
A tropical cyclone watch is issued for coastal communities when the onset of gales is expected within 48 hours, but not within 24 hours.
A tropical cyclone warning is issued for coastal communities when the onset of gales is expected within 24 hours, or are already occurring.
Each advice issued for a particular cyclone will be numbered sequentially, starting at number 1 for the first advice. A tropical cyclone advice may contain a combined watch and warning, that is it will provide information on the area under watch status and the area under warning status Intensity as per pic below:
Friday 4th January 2008: Long-term locals here tell me that cyclones do not come in here from the south west.
The low pressure system south west is now named tropical cyclone Helen.
9.30:AM (12.00utc): Scheduled start of part 1 of the Oceania Dx contest.  
2:00:PM A cyclone warning is announced. TC Helen now Category 2 is moving on an easterly track and is expected to cross the NT coast about 150km south west of Darwin at about midnight.  
5:30PM Time to lower the quad tower !  
6:30PM Got a signal report from Dave in Jakarta, who was lucky to get home by road through the mayhem caused by torrential monsoon rain and landslides on Java Island after a week's tour.  
  7:30PM Spoke with 43SW001 Steve in OC contest. Wind gusts and rain showers noted.  
  This is what the Darwin radar showed us at 10:06PM. It shows where rain is falling and gives an idea of the cyclone pattern and size. The inner circle is the 128km radius and the outer is 256km from the radar unit.  
Saturday 5th January  6:45AM Awoke and noticed that the ceiling fan was not working ....grrr, no power!
Inspected the backyard from a window to see a new addition out there.
  A 75ft (23m) high tree which grew in the back corner was now laying right across the yard, missing everything except the rotary clothes line.  
  Another large (dead) tree trunk had also fallen, flattening part of the wire-mesh boundary fence.  
  A third tree (a large palm) lay on its side next to the first one. Decided to wait a few hours for the electricity to be restored.  
7:00AM Took Max for a short stroll up the street to have a look around. Plenty of tree branches down etc. and no-one else nearby appeared to have any power either.  
  8:00AM The radio sounded a bit quiet, so upon checking the quad found that it was damaged slightly. Still raining lightly so too hazardous to get up and fix it.
Fire up daughter's laptop and check in on the net for news and weather reports etc.
Info from the B.O.M. site showed that the wind had gusted at 100km/hr overnight.
TC Helen had stayed on an easterly track, lost intensity and was now a low pressure cell about 100km south of us, over the townships of Bachelor and Adelaide River, flattening trees and dropping plenty of rain.
12:45PM Mains power restored ....great! Son says it had been off since 3:00AM (8 hours off).  
1:40PM Worked Pete 43SE144 in contest (quad is still low).
Electricity workers are busy restoring power around the area (more than 1500 reports of problems, mainly caused by fallen trees and limbs)
3:30PM Quad tower back up to normal height.  
  7:30PM The sun has set and our lights are flickering. daughter notices sparks coming off our powerline at a pole. Decided not to report it as there were still plenty of houses without power. We have power....but for how long?
Sunday 6th January 6.50AM Awoke to the silence of no ceiling fan ...power is off again ....grrrr!  
7.20PM Eventually get through to the power co. to report power out. Not given an E.T.A.  
9:00AM Used the car battery to re-charge the laptop PC. We have a gas stove and hot water system which helped immensely. Daughter is trying to get organised for her trip to New Zealand.  
  11:00AM Started work on the fallen tree in the backyard with the chainsaw, after an hour spent in sharpening it's chain by hand ....grrr!  
12:10PM Worked 43SE144 Kerry for the contest.  
12:18PM Worked 43FR010 Darren in contest. My signal report not so good. Back-up station 12V battery here is starting to fail. Son says the power went off again at about 2.00AM. Daughter gets ice for the icebox as the refrigerators have de-frosted.  
5:00PM Still no electricity so decide to buy a small Chinese genset from the local hardware warehouse, along with a cheap pedestal fan. Up and running with extension cords everywhere about the house (TV, fans and a lamp and the 12V PSU work on it ok)  
  6:30PM Ongoing effort to clear the fallen tree. XYL cooks dinner on the gas BBQ before dark.  
Monday 7th January 6.50AM Still no electricity. (Off for 29 hours so far) and the genset would not fire up when I tried it before heading to work.  
6:30PM Off to get more fuel for the genset and ice for the icebox. XYL cooks dinner on the gas stove. Daughter complains that she cannot do any clothes ironing.  
8:10PM Decided to re-report the power outage to the power co., who said they did not have the original report.....grrrrr!  
  8:40PM Power repair workers turn up to inspect the situation and decide to return soon after.  
11:30PM Son drives daughter to the airport to catch her flight for the first stage of the New Zealand trip.  
Tuesday 8th January 12:15AM Power workers return and attend to the line problem. Because our genset is still running, they disconnect the power line from the house as a precaution.  
12:45AM Power is restored - after about 48 hours.  
  Wednesday 9th January 3:00PM A different power repair team turn up here to fix the power outage. Not sure if they were responding to the first or the second report.  
 -Postscript -
Friday 21st March 2008

The situation at the moment !
The boundary fence is now back in place with most of the tree now cleared!
Now waiting for the chainsaw to be repaired. (fuel leaking)
Max checking progress on the tree stump clean-up.  
Monday 25th May 2009
(14 months later)
Things don't always happen quickly here! It is the dry season and a lot of the timber has been carted away for mulching.
 A small palm tree has been transplanted from elsewhere in the garden during the last wet season to the position near the star picket. The fence has been partly covered by a creeper.
The chainsaw fuel leak was repaired about 1 week ago. Max has another collar and the tree stump is still alive and re-sprouting! Wonder if it will be there next year ?
  Thursday 3rd September 2009
After a bit more work and a replacement chain for the chainsaw, most of the large tree stump has been removed.
Max disappears to safer parts when the chainsaw is in operation!
The yard behind was tidied up a couple of months ago.
  Saturday 2nd January 2010
Same area almost 2 years after the trees came down!
Things grow fast here!
  25th December 2012 (almost 5 years later) !  
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Page added 10th Feb 2008
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