Warby-Ovens National Park, 15th December 2015

Warby-Ovens National Park, VKFF-0742, was a short detour on our way from Wangaratta (where we stayed on Monday evening, 14th December) to Gundagai.  The weather was great, warm, with a hot day in store and I thought time for a quick activation from Ryans Lookout (where I had previously activated the Park on a trip to Sydney). Here is a link to that activation:


The Park was very dry, but Ryans Lookout is only a short distance into the Park and is accessed from a sealed road. I set up my station, FT897 running ten watts, linked dipole supported by a squid pole attached to a Park bench. Battery power came from my 33 amp hour ‘thumper’. This battery is good when I need slightly higher power and I do have solar panels I can put out when required to keep it charging while it is in use.

This picture shows my set up for this activation including the 33 amp hour 'thumper'/

This picture shows my set up for this activation including the 33 amp hour ‘thumper’.

I was on the air at 23:04 and called CQ on 7.110.

23:04 VK4LS s57 r44, Rob

It was quiet on 40 metres and after looking around the band and calling CQ a few times I decided to migrate to 20 metres. I spent about 25 minutes on 20m calling CQ and looking around the band. I had no contacts.

I then went back to 40m.

7.110 23:31 VK2IO/P s55 r44

23:33 VK5PAS s58 r57. I was glad to get Paul in the log. Jenny sent him a SMS and he kindly gave me a call before heading off to work.

23:42 VK5WG s59 r55, Nev

23:48 VK5FANA s53 r53

23:52 VK5HS, s57 r55, Ivan at Renmark

23:54 VK2PKT, s57 r55, Keith at Parkes

Well seven contacts was all I could manage. I guess many amateurs were at work, preparing for Christmas or not near their radios. Nevertheless , I appreciate those who gave me call. We packed up and began our drive to Gundagai.

A  slight pause for a photo

A slight pause for a photo




Grampians National Park, VKFF-0213, 28th December 2015

While driving from Ballarat to Horsham I decided to go back to the Grampians National Park, VKFF-0213 and try and complete my score to at least 44 stations so as to activate the park successfully for the WWFF award. After studying the maps we had we saw that the Park adjoins the Western Highway at two locations. We decided to take the first turn off, travelling West from Ballarat, following the Roses Gap Road. We did not go as far as Roses Gap. We probably would had stayed at Halls Gap but our favourite location was booked out – no surprises there, but no harm done by checking. We found a quiet spot and while Jenny went bird-watching I played radio!

I have previously activated this Park from Mount William, SOTA summit VK3/VS-001. Here is a link to that activation:


Internet coverage was problematic and I could not spot myself.

I found quite a few frequencies which appeared unoccupied and after checking 7.090 I called CQ at 04:57 and was answered by VK3MCD/P, Brian, 59s 56r. I did not want to occupy the SOTA calling frequency and migrated to 7.105 where I stayed until moving to 20 metres. Signals were really good but some VK5 stations suggested that conditions were not as good there.

At 04:59 VK5ATQ, Trevor 59s 56r

05:02 VK3MRH, 59s 59r Rod at Wodonga

05:05 VK7VKV, 59s 56r Ray in the Central Highlands of Tasmania

05:05 VK3FOWL, 59s 59r Julie

05:06 VK5HAC, 59s 59r Bob Salisbury

05:08 VK3YFC, 59s 59r, Joe

05:09 VK2VW, 59s 56r, Brett

05:10 VK3AWG, 59s 59r, Chris

05:12 VK3AMX, 59s 59r, Alex

15:15 VK3IL/P, 58s 56r, David at Philip Island

05:17 VK5SRP, 59s 58r, Phil

05:18 VK5PL, 59s 59r, David

05:21 VK3DBP/QRP, 57s 58r, Paul

05:22 VK3SIL, 59s 59r, Simon

05:23 VK3PF/P, 57s 58r, Peter on Mount Lawson, VK3/VE-129

05:25 VK5PAS, 59s 59r, Paul

05:26 VK3ZPF/P, 59s 59r, Peter in VKFF-0791 P2P

05:27 VK5HSX/P, 59s 53r, Stef in the Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115 P2P

05:27 VK3DAC, 59s 55r, Fred

05:30 VK2HAA, 59s 59r, Dennis Albury

05:31 VK2QR, 59s 59r, Rob Tumut

05:32 VK3PMG, 59s 56r, Mick was the closest station to me, just down the road at Stawell.

05:34 VK3FIRM, 59s 59r, Mike Eltham

05:35 VK3UH, 59s 59r, Ken Yarram

05:36 VK5FANA, 59s 59r, Adrian

05:83 VK5FDEC, 57s 57r, Damien

05:40 VK3BYD, 59s 59r, Warren

I then moved to 14.310 and heard Adam, VK2YK/P, on 13.310. I tried to work him unsuccessfully. I could hear him and heard him say he was going QRT. I took over the frequency and called CQ.

05:47 VK4RF, 59s 59r, Rick

05:49 VK4HA, 59s 59r, Rick

05:51 VK4MNM, 59s 57r, Mike

05:44 ZL2OPB, 58s 57r, Owen, New Plymouth

I called CQ for a few more time and all was quite. There were no VK6 stations audible. I decided to return to 40 metres and found 7.110 to be unoccupied.

06:01 VK2HAV, 57s 51r, Brad, Batemans Bay

06:06 VK5FRGY/P, 59s 59r, Garry Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-0783

06:07 VK3FAPH, 59s 57r, Aaron

06:08 VK2IO, 59s 46r, Gerard

06:11 VK3OF, 59s 58r, Rex

06:13 VK3NBL, 59s 58r, Ray, Melton

06:14 VK2UH, 59s 59r, Andrew, Yass

06:16 VK7NWT, 59s 57r, Scott

06:17 VK5ZGY, 58s 58r, Greg

06:19 VK7DIK, 57s 59r, Dick

06:20 VK5AK/QRP, 57s 57r, Bob, home brew transceiver

06:22 VK5FAKV, 59s 59r, Shawn, Renmark

As we were travelling on to Horsham I decided to pack up. I called a few more times after the last contact and all was quiet. Forty five contacts were made, which with my previous activation, will ensure that the Grampians National Park is complete as far as the WWFF award is concerned. Thanks for the spotters and the callers. You are all greatly appreciated. It was a fun activation. I used my FT897 running 10 watts for 40 metres and 40 watts for 20 metres. The radio was powered from my 33 amp hour ‘thumper’.

The Park

The Grampians are a series of abrupt sandstone mountains that rise from the surrounding plains. Sighting the Grampians from the plains, especially from the Western Highway, is always interesting no matter what the weather.



Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, VKFF-0782, 11th December 2015

Dedication Plaque Mark Oliphant CP 2015Today, 11th December 2015, was set aside for a late afternoon, early evening, activation day for those interested in portable operation from South Australian national and conservation parks. I chose to return to Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, the closest protected area to our home. I set myself a goal of 25 contacts, which, when added to my score from 28th June 2015 would give me at least 44 contacts so as to successfully activate the Park for the WWFF award. It was not to be. The 40 and 20 metre bands were in poor shape! The bands were noisy (QRN or natural noise: today from stormy weather on the east coast of the country). I made just nine contacts. I was using my Ten Tec Argonaut VI, set for ten watts. There was no propagation close in around Adelaide and the only VK5 station I contacted was Neville (Nev) VK5WG at Crystal Brook in the mid-north of the State. I spotted myself on Parks and Peaks and Nev told me he was waiting for me: Mark Oliphant was a new Park for him!

Here is a link to my previous activation of this Park.


I commenced calling at 05:03 on 7.105 after checking to see whether the frequency was occupied.

05:03 VK5WG

05:07 VK3PF

05:10 VK3FQSO

05:15 VK3XDM/P Mitch was on SOTA summit VK3/VE-007, Mt McKay (10 points)

05:19 VK2VW

05:21 VK3PMG

05:24 VK3RW

05:28 VK3AV

05:31 VK3DBP

I then moved to 14.310 and once again put up a spot on Parks and Peaks.

05:35 I called CQ and VK2IO, Gerard, was 5 and 7. I called him back but he could not hear me. I called quite a few time and was not successful in gaining a contact.

I then moved back to 40 metres and after listening around the band decided I could not hear any of the VK5 park activators so I dismantled my station and drove home.

After arriving home I checked Parks and Peaks and saw that Paul, VK5PAS, was activating Mount George Conservation Park, VKFF-0784, just a few kilometres from my place and I thought I would have a listen for him. I had a great contact with Paul: he was 5 and 7 and I was 5 and 9.

Mark Oliphant CP Main Gate

Main Gate at Mark Oliphant CP with Park sign in background