Belair National Park, VKFF – 022, 1st June 2014

After most, but not all, of the new-comers had successfully activated Mount Lofty Summit within Cleland Conservation Park, we moved to Belair National Park. I guided the little group of hopefuls to one of my favourite spots in the park where there is plenty of room for a squid pole and wire antennas and not too many people going by. This was my third activation of Belair National Park. I had previously activated the Park on the 26th January 2014 and on 1st  August 2013 making a total of 33 contacts.

There was some interest in alternative power technology so I set up my FT897 and a LiFePO4 battery to show the participants the power and weight advantages of Lithium chemistry batteries compared with Lead Acid batteries. I had just one contact, with VI50CONV, operator John, VK5DJ, the special event station for the South East Radio Group for their forthcoming convention to be held during the June long weekend. So I was pretty pleased with that but then it was time to encourage the newcomers.

Map showing Mount Lofty Summit, Belair NP & other CPs. (Adelaide & Environs free map)

Map showing Mount Lofty Summit, Belair NP & other CPs. (Adelaide & Environs free map)

We also compared the recovered audio from the FT897 with Paul’s FT450. I thought the two radios sounded good with audio that was easily copied in an outside environment, but to my ears the FT450 had the edge. Paul’s view was he thought that the FT897 was better. Not a scientific experiment but an interesting subjective experience.

After VK5PAS, Paul, VK5GW, Graham, VK4FR/P5, Chris and I had lunch (high quality and low calories!) then Chris and I adjourned to my QTH to explore and try out our new ten amp chargers on our LiFePO4 larger capacity batteries.

Paul, VK5PAS, has a much more detailed account of the day on his blog at

Mount Lofty, VK5 SE 005 & Cleland Conservation Park, 1st June 2014

Today on the first day on Winter, when the heavens threatened rain and it was cold, VK5PAS Paul and I, with twelve budding SOTA and Parks activators, travelled to Mount Lofty and then, later in the morning to Belair National Park, to encourage these new comers to pick up the microphone and call CQ SOTA or CQ Parks. It wasn’t the day for Paul and I to activate the Parks, but, when I was invited to operate I did and was delighted to work four stations on Paul’s FT817 on 20 metres: VK5ZAR, Arno; VK2IO, Gerard; VK2KTT, Paul and VK5YX, Hans.

This was my second activation of Mount Lofty and it was an enjoyable day. Paul and I previously activated this summit from the same spot on 6th November 2013. Both Paul and I hope that some of the newcomers, including two brand new amateurs with Foundation Calls, will continue with their endeavours and become regular chasers and perhaps even activators.