I spent some time over the WWFF activation weekend in November chasing some stations: sufficient to bring my total to just over 400 and thus qualify for the 396 award.
I spent some time over the WWFF activation weekend in November chasing some stations: sufficient to bring my total to just over 400 and thus qualify for the 396 award.
VK5PAS/P at Scott Creek Conservation Park, near Gate 8
Around lunch time on Thursday the phone rang. Paul, VK5PAS, had taken delivery of two radios: a new Yaesu 857D and a pre-loved Yaesu 897D (purchased at our radio club’s silent auction) and he was keen to try them out given his forthcoming interstate visit to Victoria and New South Wales. Paul and Marija have lots of portable activity proposed. Paul invited me to come with him to Scott Creek Conservation Park, very close to my home, to put the radios through their paces. I met Paul at the park about 25 minutes later. He had just arrived at Gate 8 when I arrived. Now I would like to correct the impression given by Paul on air that he had to twist my arm and almost wrestle me to come! Rather, I jumped at the chance! Some of you will know I have been out of action for the last three months and, other than one failed attempt to activate the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in late September and early October, I have not been active. I just didn’t have the energy. However, I am getting stronger every day and feel considerably more like getting back to my usual activities and the weather was good. It was lightly overcast and potentially warm and as the afternoon passed we moved into the shade and it was really very pleasant in the park. Paul and I have activated this park together on previous occasions and I took a group to the Park as part of WIA AGM Radio is Magic events on the Sunday morning late May (see below).
Here is a link to my previous radio activations on this park:
Scott Creek Conservation Park is located in the Adelaide Hills and is one of the key metropolitan parks. It is close to Belair and Onkaparinga River National Parks and Cleland Conservation Park including Mount Lofty Summit. Scott Creek Conservation Park has an active Friends Group and here is a link to their web pages:
On Sunday morning 5th November I decided to pay a visit to the Friends Bird-banding Group. The first photo shows a Golden Whistler, the photo below on the left is of a Yellow Faced Honeyeater and on the right a Horsfield Cuckoo. These birds are caught in a net measured and released. The data is forwarded to Canberra where it is available to researchers.
We commenced operations on 7.139 MHz after looking around the band a bit higher to see if we could hear any other stations nearby. VK2JNG/P, Gerard was on air but we could not hear him. We later worked him P2P on two bands.
We had a most enjoyable day. Three contacts were made on 80 metres, 14 on 20 metres including three Pacific Island Nation DX stations and 34 on 40 metres. Five Park to Park contacts on a weekday were a bonus! The way we shared the station was that the person with the microphone called CQ, QRZ or answered a caller and then the second operator took over and followed the same procedure. Our logs are almost but not quite identical. The times and order of stations will differ because of our approach to sharing.
Scott Creek Conservation Park WIA AGM 21st May 2017
I did not complete an entry for this activation as I became unwell soon after the AGM. However, although not many contacts were make it was an important event because a number of local amateurs were hosts to visitors interested in learning more about portable operations and techniques. In my case, I had three amateurs who wanted to come to Scott Creek Conservation Park for the opportunity of learning and getting on air. We met at Gate 8 at about 0900 local time. Each of my visitors, all amateurs, made contacts on HF on the 40 metre band and on VHF on two metres with VK5PAS/P, Paul and his crew at Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, about five kilometres away. We each kept out own log of contacts. I made four contacts on HF.
It was a beautiful late Autumn day and my wife dropped off morning tea and some chairs and we socialised as well as discussing appropriate gear for portable operations. It was great!
0016 VK1AD/2 7.095 MHz Andrew was in the Kosciusko National Park, VKFF-0269 and on VK2/SM-027 Mt Nungar worth ten SOTA points to a chaser. I thought that this contact was a great start to the morning.
0019 7.095 VK3PAT Chris at Cape Conrad Coastal Park, VKFF-0744
0116 7.095 VK3ARW/5 Allan at VK5/SE-005 Mount Lofty and Cleland Conservation Park, VKFF-0778
0017 VK5FR/P Chris at VK5/SE-005 Mount Lofty and Cleland Conservation Park, VKFF-0778
Four contacts were made but all great and all Park to Park as well as SOTA in three instances.
This activation and the one described above (2nd November) make five WWFF activations by me at Scott Creek Conservation Park, the threshold number for the Boomerang Award.
Finally, I was pleased to see our South Australian AGM and Convention Organising Group was recognised by the WIA. Here is my certificate. Our group worked for 16 months to ensure a successful WIA and Convention. The Sunday afternoon Radio is Magic demonstrations and field day activities were very popular and lots of positive comments were received.
I have been very quiet during the months of July and August (in hospital for most of August). I have been unwell and have had surgery. What have I missed the most? Getting out into Parks and operating portable. I have even been unable to chase portable operators but was pleased to gain the certificate for 352 references worked. I am hoping to go portable late September early October. I will say more about this on other forums.
Here is my log of contacts with operators in the 20 parks located along the Murray River. Four contacts were from portable locations, all in Parks, the remainder were from my home station and only one contact was made using CW (morse code) from my home station using my second call (VK5PF) (thanks Warren, VK3BYD). I want to improve my number of cw contacts! The first contact, on 16th July 2013, was with Larry, VK5LY/3, now sadly deceased.
|1||VKFF-0069||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK5LY/3 (VK5LY)||VK5BJE/7||2014-02-21||40m||SSB|
|2||VKFF-0115||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK5PAS (VK5PAS)||VK5BJE||2013-06-02||40m||SSB|
|3||VKFF-0231||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK5LY/3 (VK5LY)||VK5BJE||2013-07-16||40m||SSB|
|4||VKFF-0269||OC / VK (VK-NSW)||VK1NAM/2 (VK1NAM)||VK5BJE||2014-11-14||40m||SSB|
|5||VKFF-0372||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK5PAS (VK5PAS)||VK5BJE||2013-09-21||40m||SSB|
|6||VKFF-0373||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK3VTH (VK3VTH)||VK5BJE||2013-09-11||40m||SSB|
|7||VKFF-0547||OC / VK (VK-NSW)||VK2LAD (VK2LAD)||VK5BJE||2016-09-11||40m||SSB|
|8||VKFF-0554||OC / VK (VK-NSW)||VK5PAS/2 (VK5PAS)||VK5BJE||2015-10-22||40m||SSB|
|9||VKFF-0739||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK4AAC/3 (VK4AAC)||VK5BJE||2016-04-01||40m||SSB|
|10||VKFF-0740||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||AX3VTH/P (VK3VTH)||VK5BJE||2015-04-24||40m||SSB|
|11||VKFF-0741||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK4AAC/3 (VK4AAC)||VK5BJE/P||2016-09-11||40m||SSB|
|12||VKFF-0767||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK3BYD (VK3BYD)||VK5PF||2016-06-25||40m||CW|
|13||VKFF-0768||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK3VTH/P (VK3VTH)||VK5BJE||2015-09-20||40m||SSB|
|14||VKFF-0823||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK5PAS/P (VK5PAS)||VK5BJE||2015-05-01||40m||SSB|
|15||VKFF-0827||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK5PAS/P (VK5PAS)||VK5BJE/3||2015-04-19||40m||SSB|
|16||VKFF-0831||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK4AAC/5 (VK4AAC)||VK5BJE||2016-02-25||40m||SSB|
|17||VKFF-0911||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK4AAC/5 (VK4AAC)||VK5BJE||2016-02-16||40m||SSB|
|18||VKFF-0919||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK5ZGY/P (VK5ZGY)||VK5BJE||2016-04-06||40m||SSB|
|19||VKFF-0929||OC / VK (VK-SA)||VK4AAC/5 (VK4AAC)||VK5BJE||2016-02-18||40m||SSB|
|20||VKFF-0961||OC / VK (VK-VIC)||VK4AAC/3 (VK4AAC)||VK5BJE/P||2016-04-02||40m||SSB|
I am pleased to gain the award and it represents many great memories. A special thanks to those who have activated the parks making the award possible.
As indicated in my previous post relating to VK5WOW and VI5WOW I applied for the General and Gold Awards. Three contacts were obtained while operating from Victorian National Parks and the remainder were from my home station and while at Hahndorf. Here are the certificates:
Unfortunately I could not indicate my preferred name, which is John. Nevertheless I am pleased to add these to my collection of virtual wall-paper!
The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), the peak body for radio amateurs in this country, held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Convention at Hahndorf in the the Adelaide Hills over the weekend of 19th to the 21st May 2017. The theme for the weekend was Inspiring Leadership – the Future of Amateur Radio.
As part of the event two special call-signs were obtained and the two stations were operated, in the case of VK5WOW, from early April through the AGM weekend and for VI5WOW, for just two weeks over the convention weekend beginning May 14th. The suffix ‘WOW’ contains the common word used as an exclamation of surprise or wonder. This became the basis of the sub-theme (Radio is Magic) used on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday for showcasing some of the innovative developments in our hobby. VK and VI are unique Australian prefixes used in radio as is VH for aircraft (as you see every time you fly). Amateur call-signs have the prefix VK and VI is allocated for special events as in the case the AGM. The number 5 is allocated as the unique call area number for South Australia.
A special award named General Award can be achieved by obtaining five contacts with VK5WOW or VI5WOW. Within those contacts the chasing station had to work another station (either VK5WOW or VI5WOW for the Gold Award) in a National or Conservation Park or the chaser had to have at least one digital contact with either of the special stations. A digital contact could be either using a digital voice mode or a computer generated mode such as Radio Teletype (RTTY).
I enjoyed 12 contacts with both VK5WOW and VI5WOW and will apply for the special awards. Perhaps the highlight was working VI5WOW cross-band on the balloon. The up-link frequency was 145.775 FM with the CTSS frequency of 91.5 and the down-link frequency was 438.850 FM. I used my ICOM 80AD with the two frequencies programmed in adjoining channels and used the channel selector switch to move to the down-link frequency after transmitting and vice versa.
In addition I applied to use the VK5WOW call sign in the lead up to the weekend event. I also used the VI5WOW call sign briefly on the Sunday at the showcase event. I was able to make digital contacts on the 15 and 20 metre bands, including overseas contacts and a digital voice contact on the two (2) metre band as well as ssb contacts on the lower HF bands.
Here are my contacts from my home station as VK5WOW:
0246 UA0AD -11 -18 Russia
0254 JA1KXQ -12 -21 Japan
0311 VK2EBN -08 -14 NSW
0316 VA7QI -18 -14 Canada, BC
0333 VK6AS -13 -18 Western Australia
0351 JH3OWW -13 -12 Japan
0405 JA8ECS -12 -11 Japan
0413 JN1VXT -12 -21 Japan
0442 BG8IXQ -13 -13 China
0453 JI1NSF -24 -20 Japan
0524 JE8VZK -11 -07 Japan
0515 HL1TKF -11 -21 Korea
0543 WE5EE -14 -17 USA
0615 VK4AAT 59 57 Queensland
0621 VK5PAS 57 57
0624 VK5DPG 57 57
0627 VK4HNS/P 57 56
0636 VK2GAZ 55 57
0640 VK6EA 58 58
0647 VK7GG Tasmania
0654 VK5KLV 58 59
0653 VK2NNN 58 57
0658 VK5ZK 57 53
0858 VK5FANA 57 59
0904 VK5PAS/M 57 59
0915 VK5WAW 43 31
0930 VK2GAZ 53 32
0934 VK3AN 53 55
0949 VK5KBJ 57 59
0953 VK3ARH 54 59
0956 VK3NLK 57 59
0957 VK5BZ 57 57
1004 VK5KBJ 59 59
1006 VK5KC 59 55
1028 VK5COM 52 52
1033 VK5FMWW 59 54
YE6YE 20m JT65A 20170516 0152 -18 -20 Indonesia
YB5QZ 20m JT65A 20170516 0220 -11 -01 Indonesia
VK4SJ 20m JT65A 20170516 0220 -09 -01
ZL1BDW 20m JT65A 20170516 0230 -12 -09 New Zealand
VK2HFP 20m JT65A 20170516 0346 -09 -08
FK8CE 20m JT65A 20170516 0414 -13 -12 New Caledonia
VK2LGW 20m JT65A 20170516 0422 -16 -01
VK3OHM 20m JT65A 20170516 0434 -18 -22
VK5WU 20m JT65A 20170516 0444 -16 -16
VK4NJR 20m JT65A 20170516 0536 -09 -01
VK3OHM 40m JT65A 20170516 0558 -15 -01
VK5ZK 40m JT65A 20170516 0604 -08 -01
VK4RF 80m SSB 20170516 0926 54 55
VK4HA 80m SSB 20170516 0927 54 55
VK4RF 80m JT65A 20170516 0944 -12 -10
ZL1BV 80m JT65A 20170516 0956 -12 -21
2017-05-21 VI5WOW/P operator VK5BJE
VK3PF/5 2m DSTAR 59 59 Hahndorf
These tables have been derived from Fast Log Entry by DF3CB and my contribution to the overall score was an additional 67 qsos. I was pleased to be able to add JT65 and DSTAR to the mix of modes as well as SSB (voice).
For digital modes on HF I use an ICOM 7000 operating at 20 watts and a three-element tri-band Yagi antenna and an off-centre fed dipole on the lower bands. My HF voice and cw station is an ICOM 7600 operating at 100 watts PEP sharing the same antenna system as described above. I use a hand key for CW and my call-sign VK5PF.
As a member of the organising group my use of the special call-signs had to be squeezed in between my work for the weekend. All feedback received about the weekend has been very positive, but it was a lot of work over about 16 months to get everything ready. Was it worth it? The short answer is yes.
This certificate recognises 44 contacts made by me with operators in 44 parks. That is, the contacts were made while we were all portable. Thanks to the other park operators who make these contacts possible.
Here is my certificate for making contacts with amateur radio operators in 308 parks. It was a lot of fun and hard work on occasions as band conditions have deteriorated.
Lake Tyers State Park is just a few kilometres from Lakes Entrance and after a visit with our son and his family to Lake Tyers Beach, a walk and lunch at the Take Tyers Beach Tavern, we thought we should visit for radio and bird-watching purposes. ‘Lake Tyers State Park extends from Lake Tyers Beach to Mount Nowa Nowa. Tall eucalypt forests surround the northern shores of Lake Tyers, and a thin sand spit divides the lake from the ocean’ State Government Parks Brochure.
Now I can relax!
We actually spent time at the park on two subsequent days: 23rd and 24th April. On the 23rd April we drove to Lake Tyers House Road and followed the road towards the sea. The map shows four roads/tracks into the Park. We drove down a track closer to the Highway (the Parks Guide called it Devils Hole Track) and not quite as far in as Happy Valley Track. The four wheel-drive track was quite sandy and care is needed as it was soft. We came to a clearing and I set up there. The bush was magnificent although not like the rain forests of the mountain parks. This track does not provide access to the water.
Before arriving at the Park with our family we visited the Stony Creek Trestle Bridge on the now closed Orbost line. The bridge is 276 metres long and 19 metres high and was built early in the 20th century. It is only about four kilometres from the highway at Nowa Nowa and is well worth a visit.
While there the Veterans’ Motor Cycle Club arrived to visit the bridge. These folk all had Indian motor-cycles, both new and vintage. It was a most impressive display of these wonderful machines. I was given a most informative tour of the motor-bikes and they invited me to take some photos.
Day One Contacts
04:58 VK5FMAZ/P Marija at Cooltong Conservation Park, VKFF-0823
VK5PAS/P also Cooltong Conservation Park
VK4FW/P Nour Nour National Park VKFF-0701
VK5HYZ/P Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0788
VK3PF/4 D’Augilar National Park VKFF-0129 & VK4/SE-043
VK3ANL/P QRP VK3/VU-002
All contacts were on 40 metres, 15 Watts from Yaesu 857D and linked dipole. I tried 20 metres without success.
Day two contacts
On day two, 24th April, we drove to the Westerly boundary of the park (visible from the highway) and at the first access point to the park after leaving Lakes Entrance. We drove down the road towards the sea and took Petersons Road to Toorloo Arm. Petersons Road is clearly marked on the Visitors’ Guide but not named in the map shown above. We could see private property from where I set up near the southern boundary of the Park. The Visitors’ Guide map is much better than the map I have reproduced. I did not have a copy of that map on the days we visited.
All contacts were on 40 metres and I was on the air at 03:25.
VK2LAX/P Rod in VKFF-0417
VK3TKK/P Port Campbell National Park VKFF-0420
VK4VXX/2 Mutawintji National Park VKFF-0374
VK3TKK/P Twelve Apostles Marine National Park VKFF-0420
VK5FMAZ/P Morgan Conservation Park VKFF-0911
04:49 VK5PAS/P Morgan Conservation Park VKFF-0911
I then moved to 21.076 to try JT65A. I was hoping to work some Asian DX. As I was setting up and using my 40 metre antenna, I heard loud signals but by the time I was ready to operate the band had gone dead.
Lakes Entrance is a great spot for a holiday. We certainly enjoyed our stay and for the week we were there the weather was splendid.
While at Lakes Entrance we did some walking along the lakeside, on 90 Mile Beach, took a cruise on the Lakes and saw lots of wild-life including seals.
The entrance to the Gippsland Lakes. Permanent dredging is required to keep the entrance open.
We took a three hour cruise on this very comfortable ship. The cruise was excellent.
Gaff rigged ‘Couta’ yatch: one of many racing on the Lakes.
White faced Heron
The cruise was excellent for anyone interested in wild life and photography. These are just a few of the photographs I took.
I was able to activate five Parks (three more towards the Keith Roget Memorial National Park Award) and two SOTA summits conjointly on this holiday trip. The visit to Kara Kara National Park was my second activation.
Once again thanks to all who gave me a call and a special thanks to those who spotted me in the various locations.
Jenny identified sixty species of birds (‘qsos’?) on the trip and her trusty Morcombe Field Guide is nearly falling apart!
Our main objective as a family was to meet at Lakes Entrance. We had booked a cabin for the ‘oldies’ and a camping site for our Sydney family. We left Healesville early as we had arranged to meet Peter, VK3PF, at Traralgon for coffee and to see his new 4 x 4 vehicle. Peter had made some suggestions designed to give us the optimum route to Traralgon and at 10:00 am we were at our meeting place. Peter called on the repeater to indicate he was not far away (and after a three-way contact with Brian, VK3BBB) we were soon enjoying a coffee and chat which extended for an hour and a quarter. Peter was setting off to drive to NSW and we only had to get to Lakes Entrance. It was great to catch up and I really liked the way Peter has set up his vehicle. There will be lots of activations in the future! And there were lots for Peter while he was away on his trip to Queensland which commenced after he left us.
Day one 20th April 2017
On the 20th the family decided to visit the Buchan Caves. They had a great time and I drove the extra 15 kilometres to the Snowy River National Park to begin my quest for 44 contacts. I wanted to get to this Park in far East Gippsland. On a previous trip I managed to activate all of the National Parks in the East of Victoria with the exception on the Snowy River National Park. One of the Rangers at the Buchan Caves gave me a simple map and after leaving the bitumen road to Orbost from Buchan and taking Basin Road (gravel road in good condition) and then Old Basin Road, I was soon at the Five Ways junction. I took a left hand turn and 300 hundred metres up the road I was soon at an excellent location pointed out by Peter. There was plenty of room, even for the 80m dipole, and absolutely quiet, except for the birds.
The arrangement was that we would meet in Buchan for lunch at 13:00 hours, so I had a bit over an hour for my activation.
The Park Sign near Five Ways
The Snowy River National Park is 114,505 hectares and was reserved as a National Park in 1979. It is 390 kilometres from Melbourne. Once again we had the excellent Victorian Government Visitors Guide. I recommend these guides and you can down load them to your personal device.
Five Ways Junction
I was soon set up, using a convenient stump as a base for my squid pole and at 00:58 had my first contact with:
7.100 VK7PRN s 59 r 57 I could not spot so I started on 7.100 but soon moved to 7.144 Mhz. I indicated on Sunday evening on ParksnPeaks that I would be activating the Snowy River National Park.
VK3FOWL/P Julie at a school
VK4TJ 52 51
Twenty-eight contacts in an hour with time for a few photographs and then pack-up time and back to Buchan for lunch. All contacts, with exception of that with VK4TJ, were 5 and 8 to 5 and 9 and my received signal an s point less than I gave. The 40m band was in great condition.
After lunch we returned to the Park to spend the afternoon together and try and take some memorable photos. We drove to the Bally Hooley day visitors area. We had the place to ourselves but there was a family camping nearby. I did not try to activate from there as I did not want to disturb campers or day visitors. The junction of the Snowy and Buchan Rivers is a beautiful location. We spent quite a few hours enjoying this iconic part of the Park.
This photo shows some reflections in the Buchan River which was still and there was no wind.
Another view of the reflections.
Bally Hooley Day Visitors area which adjoins a camp ground. The track to the rivers begins at this location.
This photo shows the junction of the Snowy (on left) with the Buchan River (on right).
Meanwhile back at the camp I saw this goanna heading for a camper’s tent: when she/he saw me a change of direction was called for. I thought the goanna was used to people and probably lives nearby.
Day Two 23rd April 2017
Our family had to return to Sydney on Saturday as the children were due back as school on Monday morning. We decided to go back to the Park and I set up in the same area as I used on the 20th April 2017.
I was on the air at 00:23 on 40 metres and again conditions were good. I had alerted chasers to my activation the night before.
My first contact was with VK5WOW, operator Hans, VK5YX, 59 and 58. ‘Wow’ was I happy to get a contact with the special event station for the Wireless Institute of Australia Annual General Meeting and Convention to be held in Hahndorf over the weekend beginning 19th May 2017!
‘Wow’ is an exclamation when you are impressed or surprised. It relates to the sub-theme of the convention that ‘Radio is Magic’! We are hoping to create some ‘Wow’ moments over that weekend.
VK3HBZ, John at Bairnsdale, a local. Signals were 5 and 9 both ways.
VK3YE/P Peter getting his feet wet!
VK1AT/3 Raymond Island, Gippsland Lakes
VK3PF/4 VKFF-0129 and SOTA summit VK4/SE-045
VK3TUN/P David at Wyperfeld National Park, VKFF-0549
VK5QI/P Mark at Morgan Conservation Park VKFF-0911
ZL1BYZ 5 and 1 John
VK1AD/P2 SOTA summit VK2/ST-093
VK2IO/P2 SOTA summit VK2/HU-093
VK5CZ/P SOTA summit VK5/SE-010
VK5MBD Bill at Overland Corner at the Riverland Radio Group meeting
VK5ZK, Garry at Goolwa
VK1FWBD/2, Wade at VK2/IL-005.