Eternal damnation at Point Glorious

Today’s task was to travel to Cooloolabin Dam in Queensland’s most-populated South East coastal region. According to the Bonzle Digital Atlas, the dam occupies approximately 160 hectares of land. The signs nearby proclaimed the virtues of a lookout called Point Glorious, situated west of Yandina in the Mapleton National Park.

Cooloolabin damnation

In all honesty, the hobby of long distance FM reception was not intended to play any part in today’s proceedings. However, since a greater Rockhampton district (Mount Hopeful) powerhouse broadcast was audible in the carpark at the dam, a feat which was entirely unexpected, a trip to Point Glorious seemed like a good option. Cooloolabin Dam’s carpark has an estimated altitude of 301 metres above sea level and is located approximately 21 kilometres from the coastline, according to the Bonzle Digital Atlas. Not bad elevation for a carpark!

Cool change at Cooloolabin

Obviously, a lookout respite also provides an opportunity for some pretty pictures to put on the blog. Sure, scantily-clad women would be preferable for many readers. Unfortunately, no willing candidates were found, despite an exhaustive search today, just these photos.

The unsealed road to Point Glorious offers a steep uphill mountain bike ride lasting 45 minutes according to the official guidebook from the Sunshine Coast Council and Tourism Queensland. Unfortunately, the mountain bike was not readily available for the trip. Even if it had been brought along, this blogger’s calves were aching from the treadmill session the night before. The video below documents this trip as undertaken by snake expert Ray Cam 01:

The Dabbler’s Dream™ is kept readily on hand for bush exploration attempts just like a water bottle. Point Glorious lookout is nine kilometres from four 20 kW ABC broadcasters and 15 kilometres from three 20 kW ABC broadcasters. Why so many? For overseas readers, all you need to know is that wasted spectrum and overlapping reception areas are something the publicly-funded ABC broadcaster specializes in!

Where Bundaberg’s rum distillers should have been on the band, loud ABC talk stations occupied the frequencies. In this blogger’s experience, the radio is a write-off 15 kilometres from a major 100 kW broadcast site so this was expected. These Silicon Labs’-based radios are still the king of strong signal performance in the portable world, such that few enthusiasts dare not to own one.

Take the long way home

Instead, the factory radio and antenna provided with the vehicle above were called into service. The antenna was a short helical whip design. Typically such designs incorporate a FM pre-amplifier to compensate for the lack of efficiency at the resonant frequency.The Japanese-made factory radio featured Digital Signal Processing much like every modern FM car radio. Selectivity seemed to be roughly the same as the JVC HS-IVi tuner which offers a step up in performance from a conventional radio that usually incorporates 3 x 180 kHz ceramic IF filters. Like fellow blogger Dbrmuz, when confronted with an unfamiliar car radio, one soon realizes how nothing on the market comes close to Blaupunkt’s SHARX IF filter designed for the congested German band. But the phrase ‘any port in a storm’ comes to mind!

Point Glorious

Point Glorious lookout has an elevation of 400 metres and predominantly faces northwards. Scribbly gums and grass trees adorn the lookout according to the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management. But as athlete Neil Ennis’ photograph above shows, mist and smoke haze may sometimes obscure the view. Travel Journals.net proffers the critical statistics:

A 100 square km area around Point Glorious has an aproximate population of 149,178… and an average elevation of 148 meters above the sea.

Point Glorious perspective

2.49 km north east of the Point Glorious lookout is a bloated belly of a mountain called Eerwah which has a sharp peak of 379m above sea level accessible to hikers only. Eerwah is a difficult three hour climb, according to Aussie Bushwalking. 4.06 km south west is another towering beast called Mount Bottle and Glass according to Travel Journals.net. This panorama shows significant obstructions at the lookout from the south-east all the way to the north-west.

Point Glorious lookout

Let’s finish with a relaxed bandscan, which was taken in flat conditions according to Mr Hepburn’s prediction, archived below. The bandscan will provide azimuth and distance details so readers can more readily grasp the signal paths involved upon the Sunshine Coast.

Willie forecast

The view of this blogger is that any bandscan should be representative of permanent troposcatter reception at a lookout. Please note that a few uncontrollable factors meant that the Point Glorious bandscan was not ideal. Firstly, the stop was hurried, with a maximum of 10 seconds spent listening to each frequency. Secondly, images were present on a number of vacant channels which may have masked the reception of very weak troposcatter or jet-reflected signals. Thirdly, the receiving equipment itself was a limiting factor for the reasons mentioned above. This bandscan was a lot of fun but certainly not an exhaustive scan. Let’s get cracking!

Rockhampton stations (80 kW) were crystal clear to the north-northwest at 389 km. ‘How clear?’ you may ask! Well, here is what News Radio on 105.5 MHz sounded like.

Bundaberg stations (3 kW) were strong from the north at 190 km. Further west, Rebel FM Biggenden (1 kW) was strong at 143 km.

Hervey Bay & Booral stations (500 watts-10 kW) were permanent from the north at 126-132 km. Based on the terrain, it seems likely that Hervey Bay commercial stations are regular reception on the Sunshine Coast.

Southport stations (25-26 kW) were permanent from the south at 167-174 km. These Gold Coast stations can be heard driving around the streets of Maroochydore as long as one is well away from the high-rise strips. High rise attenuates FM signals much like a mountain range does.

Beaudesert stations (200 watts-5 kW) were clear from the south at approximately 155 km. The factory radio permitted easy separation of Breeze FM 92.1 next to local station 91.9 Sea FM, which broadcasts from a site only 33 km away.

Warwick stations (80 kW) were strong from the south-southwest at 250 km. The dam was in that direction which probably would have made this path far easier.

Kingaroy & Wondai stations (5-15 kW) were strong from the west at 103-114 km despite the terrain obstruction in the path.

X-trail 4WD vehicle

Portable recordings were undertaken on the Samsung Yepp using 192 kbps constant bitrate MP3 with the internal monophonic microphone. The factory radio was housed inside a 2011 Nissan X-trail, as photographed by Garro 9.2 above. FM Scan was used for all azimuth and distance calculations with the exception of Beaudesert where As the Cocky Flies was used.

Additional photography of this region

Tony Elmer

FM DXing

Neil Paskin

Species

Andy Wizma

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One Response to Eternal damnation at Point Glorious

  1. dbrmuz says:

    So after spying your first attempt at driving up that road,your female passenger DIDN’T immediately leg it? You must be hung like a rogue elephant! Kudos to you sir.I shall now continue my virtual trip up yon gravel road.

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