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What did you do today?

Chigger

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A good exercise, at least the youngsters were out in the bush for a while. Empathise with your frrustrations with the weather. For me floods are everywhere, country roads are rutted quagmires which makes nearly all of my campsites inaccessible.

Think it a looong time before the floodwaters drain away and roads are fixed.
 

Wentworth

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I did a section of the Great North Walk. Fairly warm to be out in the bush, but still a beautiful day with great scenery.

I didn't do much crafty aside from some triangulation with topo and compass and trimming a walking stick to size.

A rail worker offered to fill up my water at the beginning of the walk, but recommended a sillcock key so I could do the same at the unmanned spots. It twigged a memory of some members discussing them earlier in the year. I'll have to go looking.

All in all a great time. The big skink tried climbing in my pack as I was chilling by a creek.
 

Chigger

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Now that the continual almost daily rains have slowed down a bit and being a little bit warmer ventured out to the Turon River near Sofala for a couple of days camping.
As this is a pretty well frequented camping area took a couple of bags of firewood with me. Really should not have bothered as some other campers had left a great pile of cut logs.

Firewood Turon River campsite.JPG

In any case the recent floods had washed up heaps of wood and grass making the campsite a firelighters paradise. Only had to take a few steps to get fuel for the fire.

Kookaburra's were about.

Kookaburra.JPG

No lack of ducks either.

Ducks on Turon River.JPG

Apart from one evening rain shower the weather was quite barmy. Early morning mists on the river portended a warm day to come.

Morning mist Turon River.JPG

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Morning sunlight Turon River.JPG

Splitting logs ready for the evening fire.

Splitting wood Turon River.JPG

Flint/steel charred punkwood and tinder ready.

Ready for a flint and steel firelight.JPG

A few strikes and ignition.

Ignition.JPG

Fire burning well.JPG

The dried grass washed up by the floods proved to be excellent kindling along with the red stringybark.

The Turon River has a number of campsites like this one and can be quite idyllic during the week. Although at weekends the campsites can get somewhat busy particulry over the school holidays.

Next time I will take a fishing rod and gear as noticed fish jumping. A freshly grilled fish over the coals would be quite welcome.
 

Wentworth

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Great photos of the river Chigger.
We both enjoy Sofala and stopped by the river last trip for lunch, probably in a similar spot. There was a particularly game currawong that was keen to try our food, jumping on our chairs to get to it.

I took advantage of the blue skies today (annual leave) and explored some local bush off track.
I tried some geebung and native sarsaparilla. The gahnia were also in seed, but not full red yet.

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I found some xanthorroea so knocked together a hand drill set- my hands are a bit soft to form an ember at the moment, all I got was smoke. So I cut it down to a bow drill set and had more luck.

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I also made a few feathersticks and a bit of cordage out of dried grass for fun.

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I replaced my phone with a nokia tough model and haven't been able to find a pouch big enough to fit the hefty size, so I knocked this one together out of leftover ripstop and webbing. It's not a thing of beautiful but did the job well and kept the phone handy on the packstrap for photos.
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Wentworth

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I also gathered some punky wood after the recent posts. I'll see if it's punky dry enough for charring next time.

IMG_20221208_142808.jpg
 

Chigger

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Great photos of the river Chigger.
We both enjoy Sofala and stopped by the river last trip for lunch, probably in a similar spot. There was a particularly game currawong that was keen to try our food, jumping on our chairs to get to it.

I took advantage of the blue skies today (annual leave) and explored some local bush off track.
I tried some geebung and native sarsaparilla. The gahnia were also in seed, but not full red yet.

View attachment 29475

I found some xanthorroea so knocked together a hand drill set- my hands are a bit soft to form an ember at the moment, all I got was smoke. So I cut it down to a bow drill set and had more luck.

View attachment 29476
I also made a few feathersticks and a bit of cordage out of dried grass for fun.

View attachment 29477

View attachment 29480
I replaced my phone with a nokia tough model and haven't been able to find a pouch big enough to fit the hefty size, so I knocked this one together out of leftover ripstop and webbing. It's not a thing of beautiful but did the job well and kept the phone handy on the packstrap for photos.
View attachment 29479

A good effort with the fire drill, those embers would easily start a fire.
 

Chigger

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I also gathered some punky wood after the recent posts. I'll see if it's punky dry enough for charring next time.

View attachment 29482

If you have a multimeter put in on ohms range and poke the probes into the punkwood. If there is any resistance at all displayed it means the wood has moisture in it.

Actually finding true soft spongy punkwood can be a bit hard to find to tell the truth. Takes a lot of looking about.
 

Chigger

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Today baked up more charred punk wood so as to have a good supply on hand. As well cooked up a bit of charcloth which I occassionally use at home so as to save my supply of rotty punkwood.

Takes a bit of searching to get a good rotted log.

And as this is the final weekend of this year before Christmas will take the opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and every thing wonderful in bushcraft for 2023.

Thanks again to Blake and all the mods for the wonderful time here on Bushcraftoz.
 

Yamaotoko

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Finished this up tonight, a quick & dirty little pouch to hold some native spices as a gift for my father in law for Christmas (kangaroo leather gifted to me by my father last Christmas). He’s an old farmer & bushman, a great guy to sit and learn from. He left Scotland when he was 17 (I think 🤔), passed through Aus on his way to NZ, spent years riding in the mountains with Māori, but was always fascinated by the indigenous Australians. He missed a chance to come out here shearing in his early 20’s and still regrets it.

Last Christmas I gave him ‘Dark Emu’ to read and he devoured it. This year I’ve got him ‘The Dreaming Path’ and this little spice pouch to live by his bbq; Pepperberry, Saltbush and Cut Mint, looking forward to seeing what he cooks us up!!
 

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Wentworth

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A couple of photos of an overnighter off track in some rainforest.

The mozzies were out in force so I lit a fire to keep them at bay. It didn't keep the sandflies away, but gave me an opportunity to make another bowdrill kit from scratch.

This time I made the bearing block a similar shape to the sawn antler I'd seen Ron Hood use and found it easy to hold.

The evening was spent carving a spoon by the fire and tuning into NZ shortwave stations.

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Chigger

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Good firelighting effort with the bowdrill and imagine the mozzies at a rainforest. As for RNZ I often listen to their broadcasts which can come in here very strongly. As well 4835 KHz is worth a listen as well in the evenings.
 
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Yamaotoko

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…The evening was spent carving a spoon by the fire and tuning into NZ shortwave stations.
…As for RNZ I often listen to their broadcasts which can come in here very strongly. As well 4835 KHz is worth a listen as well in the evenings.
Can you guys recommend a good, compact shortwave? I’ve got an old, rusty crusty cheapie I picked up at a garage sale years ago while travelling, it’s not very precise and I’m sure the tuner is half stuffed… but still, it’s good for picking up Chinese pop music at night if I sling a wire up into a tree! Definitely time for a new one.
 

Chigger

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Without hesitation would recommend the Techsun PL-880. I have one and often take it out on camping trips. Has a rechargeable battery and a handy spool wire aerial to enhance shortwave.

A well regarded portable radio in the shortwave listening community. Apart from the Chinese stations there is still BBC, Radio France, VOA and others to listen to.

In Australia in the evening Solomons Island 5.020KHz, Cuba 5025KHz, 4KZ on 5.055, and 4835KHz has good music at times. Plenty of others about.


Something else which is a real assest for AM broadcast stations in difficult locations is a AN-100 loop aerial. I was staying at a caravan park on the Hawkesbury River and could just barely hear ABC 549KHz (located in Orange ) which is my favourite radio station.
Set up the loop and 549 came in clearly.
 

Wentworth

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Yamaotoko, I use a CCrane Skywave which runs on 2x AA batteries and does the job nicely.
Tecsun also have good radios like the PL365.

Chigger, thanks for the tip on 4835 KHz, I'll check it out.
 

Yamaotoko

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Thanks for the recommendations guys, really appreciate that. I have stumbled across Tecsun radios in the past, but never really considered them because, for me, the short wave really is only a ‘play thing’ which comes out on camping trips, so I could never justify the prices, but I’m starting to realise I’m at an age where it’s ok to have some nice things just because, so I’ll keep these on my radar.

One thing I was never too sure about with them though, is their size, to me they seem big, like something meant for home, or maybe car/caravan use. How do you go packing these for a walking trip? My brother gave me one of those little Degen Solar/crank shirt wave radios for my birthday maybe 12+ years ago, reception was weak, sound was terrible, it could barely recharge anything, but I always had it with me because it was so small, so I got lots of enjoyment out of it…
 

Wentworth

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Thanks for the recommendations guys, really appreciate that. I have stumbled across Tecsun radios in the past, but never really considered them because, for me, the short wave really is only a ‘play thing’ which comes out on camping trips, so I could never justify the prices, but I’m starting to realise I’m at an age where it’s ok to have some nice things just because, so I’ll keep these on my radar.

One thing I was never too sure about with them though, is their size, to me they seem big, like something meant for home, or maybe car/caravan use. How do you go packing these for a walking trip? My brother gave me one of those little Degen Solar/crank shirt wave radios for my birthday maybe 12+ years ago, reception was weak, sound was terrible, it could barely recharge anything, but I always had it with me because it was so small, so I got lots of enjoyment out of it…
My skywave is fairly small. I pack it in a clip top lunchbox when it goes in the pack. That way if I drop my pack, the radio won't get damaged.
 

Chigger

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Did not realise you wanted a backpack type radio. The Techsun PL 368 is a pocket sized radio and has a numeric keypad for quick frequency entry.


The Australian agent does not have them, might have to try Ebay. Avoid the PL 365 as its hard to make frequency changes with it. I have one and rarely use it.
 

Yamaotoko

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Did not realise you wanted a backpack type radio…
I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily looking for a backpack radio as such (I would consider one of these to replace my Tivoli PAL radio at home), but I do know that the more portable something is, the more likely I am to use it -> and the more you use something, the more comfortable you become with its operation -> the more comfortable you are operating a (*insert pretty much any tool/gadget*) the more likely you are to use it.

…at least that’s true for me…

…Avoid the PL 365 as it’s hard to make frequency changes with it. I have one and rarely use it.
Thanks for the tip, this is the kind of hands-on review I love!
 
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