Douglas Apsley National Park, 22nd February 2014, VKFF – 145

I was a bit sceptical about the likely success of an activation extending over the mid-day period with propagation as it is! But I managed 12 contacts and therefore gained sufficient points for the VKFF requirements. My first contact on 7.100 was with VK1RX/P1, Al, on SOTA summit VK1 AC 001; then VK2QR/P2, Rod on SOTA summit VK2 SM 006; VK3PF/P3, Peter on VK3 VT 017 also in the Alpine National Park; VK7FGGT, Greg; VK2IB/P3, Bernard, on SOTA summit VK3 VE 041; VK3ZFP, Peter in the Brisbane Ranges National Park; VK3FLAK, Bob; VK3FQSO, Amanda; VK3APC/P3, on VK3 VC 025; VK3ZPF, Peter; VK3AMB, Bernard and, finally, a great contact with VK2TPM, Peter running 20 watts on 14.210, with a FT897D and a balcony antenna. Taking out the duplicates I finished with 12 contacts and a successful activation for the VKFF award. The VKFF number is VKFF145.

Douglas-Apsley National Park is mid-way up the East Coast of Tasmania. I cannot find a description of how it obtained its name in any of the official literature on the park. But a good explanation is that the hyphenated name is created from the names of the two rivers which flow through the Park: the Douglas and the Apsley. The Park is described as a dry eucalypt forest. I activated from a corner of the car park at the Apsley water hole. When I finished my activation I enjoyed the walk to the water hole: perhaps about 15 minutes. It was occupied by a ‘loud’ family which ensured that any wild-life in the area would probably go somewhere else. The family had a radio, not wireless, with blaring pop music at a high level! I reflected on an experience at Maria Island where my activities attracted the attention of officialdom. A vehicle arrived at my operating position when I was trying a difficult contact. Up went the background noise! One of the staff members asked what I was doing. After providing an explanation of my activities and showing him my log book, and my information sheet, he relaxed a little. However, he suggested that I should have sought out the rangers and gained permission before undertaking my activities. In the mean-time half an hour had elapsed. I wonder if the family at Douglas-Apsley gained permission from the rangers to enable them to ‘take over the water-hole’? In fairness to the Tasmanian Parks staff at Maria Island, seeing me in action was a first! They knew nothing about amateur radio and the Parks programs in Victoria and South Australia. The field is wide open for the Tasmanian amateurs to consider developing a program.

Freycinet National Park, 21st February 2014, VKFF – 188

I visited the Freycinet National Park this morning and set up just inside the Park boundary. We have previously visited this old and iconic Park in the 1970’s and decided we would avoid the crowds and we found a 4 x 4 track and made our way up that for about 300 metres. Despite working pretty hard and changing bands I could only manage seven contacts. However, I was able to snare two SOTA contacts which will take my score to over 500 (small beer you might say).

I will say more about the Park later but at 21:59 I managed  to contact VK2FGTW, Greg, who was activating VK2 HU 093; then VK3MRG, Marshall; VK1RX/P1, Al, SOTA summit VK1 AC 031; VK5PAS, Paul, on 14.140 and then back to 40m: VK5LY/P2, Larry activating a Park in NSW (VKFF 069); VK5PAS, Paul a second time; VK5HCF, Col and finally VK3YSP, Joe making seven contacts.  It was all good fun and great to re-visit this Park.