Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-0781, 3rd January 2023

I decided to return to Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park and try for a final activation of at least ten contacts for the Boomerang Award. The VKFF Boomerang Award recognises and rewards activators for multiple activations (at least five) to encourage ongoing visits to parks and generate activity.

I posted my intention to be on air at 00:01 UTC and I was a few minutes late. I was looking for a snake free location! Snakes have become active since the recent burst of warm/hot weather and I like to see what is around me (now more difficult because of the long grass). I get engrossed in my radio activity and it is too easy to not keep an eye open on the surrounds.

I made 11 contacts on HF: one on 80 metres and the remainder on 40. All these contacts were voice (ssb) and I used my VK5BJE call-sign.

Here is my log:

3.610 00:23 VK5KAA 59 58

7.144 00:48 VK5AYL 59 49

00:48 VK5KAA 59 49

00:51 VK2OAK/P p2p VKFF-2084 It was good to get a park to park contact with Malcolm 59 both ways.

00:52 VK3KYF 59 57

00:54 VK7QP 57 44

00:58 Vk3ZSC 56 57

01:00 VK3ACU/P qrp 53 51 Jordan was using an IC705 with power being drawn from the internal battery. I was using my IC705 with an external LiFePO4 battery.

01:04 VK3AHR 59 59 Ron at Wodonga

01:06 VK3PF 59 45

01:08 VK3SMW 59 56 Steve

I then posted on ParksPeaks that I would operate on 7.032 CW, as VK5PF. I called for 15 minutes without success. When I arrived home I checked my post and it was not on the list in ParksnPeaks. I am less surprised now about no CW contacts! I changed my radio for CW as I decided to use my stainless steel paddle which which is held in place by three strong magnets on the steel case of the radio, an FT857D. The IC705 is en-cased in a composite plastic material. Magnets do not work but I have Palm Key which also has magnets but is easier to use being held with the left hand and operated by the right. That is not an entirely satisfactory arrangement so the quest continues. the underlying parameter is to keep everything as simple and as light as possible.

The photos show, Chinese stainless steel paddle; the paddle attached to the FT857D by very strong magnets, the IC705 showing my operating frequency and finally my paper log. I can just decipher my writing!

The stainless steel paddle works well – but bear in mind it is not a precision instrument but with the internal electronic keyer in the radio the cw is quite acceptable.

Finally, I wish to thank all of the chasers and VK3OAK, Malcolm, for the park to park contact. Conditions on 40 metres are improving and I was delighted with my contact with VK3AHR at Wodonga, 5 and 9 both ways. VK2 and further north is conspicuous by absence from my log.