VKFF Hunter 1000 Parks, 4th December 2022

I was delighted to also receive this award for making contacts with radio amateurs in 1000 unique parks.Hunters have had a great time through November and early December because of the increased activity with special park expeditions to Tasmania (VK7) by VK3SRC, VK7XV, VK5PAS and VK5MAZ . These amateurs helped compress the gap between 975 and 1000. Once again thanks to all of the activators and especially the volunteers whom do all of the work behind the scenes to keep the WWFF program going.

Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-0971, Sunday 6th November 2022

I last visited this park on 2nd October 2022 as part of my quest to qualify for the first level of the Boomerang Award for activators. However, I should have read the rules more closely: for an activation to count for this award you need ten contacts on the one UTC day. I reached the required number of contacts but they were spread over two UTC days. Here is a link to that activation:

https://wordpress.com/post/vk5bje.com/8399

Sunday was a warm early summer day, almost clear sky and no wind and I chose to visit the park in the mid afternoon.

I commenced my activation at 03:59 on 7.155 Mhz on the 40 metre band.

03:59 VK3ZPF, Peter 59 57

04:17 VK2IO/P Gerard, 51 45, Park to park Gerard was at Cape Banks Aquatic Reserve, VKFF-3251

04:07 VK2VH Rob 59 55

04:08 VK4AAC/2

04:08 VK3GJG 59 54

04:17 VK2EXA 59 45

04:19 VK5HAA 59 55

04:23VK2YK/5

04:23 VK5GA

04:29 VK3VJP 57 57

04:31 VK5YX 59 56

04:37 VK2MET. Alan, 53 52

04:37 VK1AO

04:39 VK5IS 59 59

04:40 VK5BJF

04:43 VK3BWS/P 57 41 Barry Park to park

Band conditions were better than the last few days despite QRN (mainly electrical storms in the north west and north east of the state) and atmospheric frying noise. Fading was slow and deep and I was most aware of this after calling CQ on 7.032. I called a few times and was answered by a station sending too fast for me to decode in my head. And his signal disappeared for seconds in the deep fades. I might have had a chance of a contact if the QSB was not so tough. So VK5PF didn’t get much of a run! Thanks to all who gave me a call.

Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-0971, Sunday 2nd October 2022

On Sunday morning I decided I would visit Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, Wottons Scrub block, for a chance at completing five activations of this park with at least ten contacts per visit. Please check previous posts for details of this attractive park. As per usual with this park I had the place to myself. I enjoyed a slow, relaxed pathway to ten contacts, swapping antennas and I am fairly certain the the sun was responsible for a gap in the contacts mid to late morning: making contacts was hard going. Here is the link to my previous visit to this park.

https://wordpress.com/post/vk5bje.com/8307

Contacts

1.10.2022

23:23 7.135 Mhz VK5VC 59 57 Charlie. Charlie was conducting the call-back on 40m after the Sunday morning Wireless Institute of Australia broadcast. I listened to the broadcast on VK5RAD, two metre FM repeater, as I was driving to the park. He invited me to take the frequency after the call-back. Thank you Charlie.

23:38 VK5NPP 57 53

23:40 VK5AR/P 58 53

23:42 VK5PAS, Oceania DX station 59847, 59001. Paul went on to make over 1009 contacts in the Oceania DX contest. See Paul’s blog for a detailed report.

23:45 VK5YP, 59 53, Wayne at Kadina

23:48 VK5ZX/P in Riverland near SA/Vic border. Matt. 59 52

2.10.2022

7.130 00:54 VK5KAA 59 59 Gordon

14.316 01:15 VK5KAA 56 51

14.300 01:20 VK4BAR 59081 59002

14.190 01:30 VK2R (operator, Gerard, VK2IO) 59167 59003, Gerard was in VKFF-3260, making a Park to Park contact.

14.290 02:00 VK2W, 59055 59003

14.300 02:15 VK4BAR, 59082, 59006

Total 12 contacts, one duplicate. Thanks to all who gave me a call.

For all contacts made on 40 metres I used a Buddipole Pro vertical antenna. I am not in a position to make a comparison with the 40/20 metre home brewed dipole but it seemed to work well. It is smaller and fairly easy to erect and get going. I experimented in trying to get it tuned in the first instance following the instructions. In the end I found that using my analyser confirmed my settings . My practice took place at home and on some park visits. I could get a really good match. On Sunday I decided I would rely on my practice to get it going on two bands. I did not use the analyser. The radio, an IC705, showed a vswr of about 1 to 7, on 40 metres, therefore usable. However the AH5 tuner quickly adjusted the tuning so that the radio was looking into a 50 ohm load. Finding the correct positions for the taps on the antenna coil (centre loaded) is foolproof. The most critical adjustment is that for the counterpoise. There are coloured indicators on the wind-out wire for each band and on 40, 20 and 15 no adjustment of the whip is required.

On 20 metres the first two contacts were made on the vertical and the remainder on the dipole. I had a tune around the bands and the DX was strong. Operating at ten watts I decided not to get amongst the DX stations. I worked a few Australians on 20 metres and all were easy contacts. I found to ensure a repeatable installation the counterpoise needs to be close to a metre above ground (three feet above the ground, US manufactured antenna) and I used a steel electric fence pole, just a bit over a metre long and with plastic insulators strategically placed along the pole and a place for your foot to drive it into the ground. Using the top insulator the counterpoise is at least three feet above ground. I had trouble with the tuning until I sorted out the counterpoise. The antenna is very well made and I mounted mine on an aluminium camera tripod. I will take some photos next time I use the antenna in a park.

I suspect theoretically the dipole will work better on close-in stations and the vertical, with a lower angle of radiation, may be better with DX stations.

I will try the vertical on DX soon.

Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, VKFF-0782, 6th September 2022

I decided to return to this park to activate it for the Boomerang Award. It was my fifth activation with at least 10 contacts. I will now concentrate on other local parks. My last activation was for National Wattle Day on the 1st September 2022.

I used my ICOM 705, AH5 coupler and a five band linked dipole antenna. I used a seven amp hour LiFePO4 battery. I chose the same location as for the activation on the 1st September. I made 18 contacts.

VK5BJE

80 metres ssb

00:50 VK5NPP

01:01 VK5KAA

40m metres ssb

01:06 VK5PAS

01:09 VK5NPP

01:15 VK3PF

01:17 VK3SQ

01:18 VK3ZSC

01:22 VK1TTY

01:23 VK3PRG

01:24 VK2IO

20 metres ssb

01:44 VK5HAA

01:48 VK1AO {Alan}

01:50 VK2IO

40 metres ssb

01:56 VK3DAE

02:00 VK5AO

02:21 VK5PL

02:29 VK2HQ/P

VK5PF my CW call

40m CW

01:30 VK3PF

National Wattle Day, 1st September 2022

Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, VKFF-0782

I decided I would return to Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, VKFF-0782, to celebrate National Wattle Day. I last activated this Park on 15th January 2016.

Here is a link to that activation – https://vk5bje.com/2016/01/17/mark-oliphant-conservation-park-vkff-0782-15th-january-2016/.

As well I activated this park on 2nd August 2020 for National Tree Day.

Since my last activation the authorities have developed a new car park, provided a picnic area with a table and seating, modernised the signage, planted new trees and marked out some new trails.

Fungi – photo taken in June 2021

As well the plaque noting the dedication of the park to the memory of Sir Mark Oliphant is now in a better position clearly visible to visitors. This park is a popular walking location and has a number of steep trails, is a site for scientific experiments under the auspices of Flinders University and seems to be much busier with cars seemingly always in the car park.

When I arrived on Thursday afternoon I had in my mind the concept of Terra Nullius. I thought the new picnic area would make a great activation spot and save me the work of carrying my gear further into the park. I decided I would leave that area alone and set up a few more metres into the park just off the main track. It took me a few trips back and forth to the 4×4: table and chair, radio and batteries and a three bags of antennas. In the end I set up my home made 40m and 20 m dipole in inverted v fashion with the ICOM 705, AH5 coupler and my palm key.

Other bits and pieces included two log books (one for VK5BJE and one for VK5PF), a clock on UTC time and my Samsung tablet and Netgear Nighthawk modem. The Samsung tablet, with its android operating system, replaced an ancient Ipad which I used for many years in the field. I posted my QRV and details on a windows machine before I left home. However, when I changed to 20 metres and wanted to post my frequency and reference, I could not get Parksnpeaks to accept my post. I kept getting a message suggesting I needed two FFs and that my reference was incorrect. I tried various approaches to entering the reference number. In the end I settled on 14.032 and called QRL? a few times and then called CQ. I did not attract any interest! If anyone with more developed computer skills than me can offer a suggestion on what has caused the difficulties with my attempts at posting I will be very pleased. However, after a flash of inspiration, I have found the issue after observing a trial posting (by Adam, VK2YK, VK5GA) at the Amateur Radio Experiments’ Group (AREG) buy and sell on the 3rd September. When I arrived home I checked my WordPress site. WordPress gives three options for viewing: desktop, tablet and mobile. This can be understood another way: portrait or landscape. I was using my tablet in portrait mode/mobile mode and it would not bring up the drop down list for selecting a park. Turning the tablet on to a horizontal plane, or as a desktop brought up the drop down park list. This may be a problem for other young activators as well as the not so young!

I enjoyed 14 contacts on 40 metres, including six park to park qsos, before deciding it was getting cold and the rain was about to start. I am glad I made the effort to help celebrate National Wattle day and the 1st day of Spring. It rained as I drove home – great timing!

Contacts

7.155 ssb

05:22 VK2EXA

05:26 VK2MET/P park to park VKFF-0490

05:27 VK3BEZ/P park to park VKFF-0764

05:28 VK5GY

0530 VK5FANA

05:33 VK3SQ

07:35 VK5DG park to park VKFF-0900

05:36 VK1TTY

05:38 VK3PRG

05:40 VK1DA Andrew

05:42 VK2MOE/P park to park VKFF-3030

05:44 VK1VIC park to park VKFF-0164

05:46 VK2IO/P park to park 3198

Thank you to all of the activators and chasers who gave me a contact. Contacts are always very much appreciated.