World Wildlife Day, 3rd March 2023, posted 4th March 2023

Scott Creek Conservation Park,VKFF-0788

Official UN poster

Late on Friday afternoon 3rd March 2023 I decided to visit Scott Creek Conservation Park to activate for the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) program in amateur radio, also commemorating World Wildlife Day.

I have activated this park many times and I chose a new location to set up my station. I usually choose Gate 8, a high point about 420 metres above sea level. However, this time I chose to set up at Almanda Mine after checking out two other locations: Gate 14 and the car park near Mackereth Cottage. Gate 14 would be a reasonable spot but the open area near Almanda mine was very good. But I soon found a major issue: there is no mobile phone coverage and I could not spot my station. I decided I would persist and hope some kind fellow-amateur would put up a spot on parknpeaks.

I was going to start my search for contacts on 20 metres and did call on 14.044 CW using VK5PF and on 14.310 using sideband. I was not successful in raising any interest. So I added to the links in my dipole to make it resonant on 40 metres and called on 7.144 Mhz, after checking the frequency was not in use. I called CQ and was answered by Stuart, VK3UAO, who kindly spotted me. Have a look at Stuart’s very fine page at Thanks very much Stuart for the spot.






VK3PF p2p VKFF-2443

VK3BEZ p2p VKFF-2443


VK3ZPF p2p VKFF-2219






I made 13 contacts in a little over half an hour and then packed up and returned home. I didn’t see any wildlife in the park, but at home, I was entertained for about half an hour, by six yellow-tailed black cockatoos who decided a hakea bush just outside the kitchen window needed a fresh prune! I like these highly sociable birds who stay close to to each other and talk away while they eat the nuts from the bush. At one stage there were five birds in the bush not much over a meter high, with junior sitting at the high point and having an occasional munch!

Thanks to all of the operators who gave me a call – always appreciated. And I enjoyed participating in World Wildlife Day for 2023.

The photo above is a certificate of participation in the World Wildlife Day 2023. All of the photos used in the certificate were taken by Paul, VK5PAS.

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788, 8th February 2023

This photo shows VK5BJE working VK5TIL. park to park, from Scott Creek Conservation Park. Photo by JCD

I enjoyed two contacts from this park to Troubridge Island late afternoon on the 8th February. It was quite warm and pleasant in the park. My setup was my Yaesu 857 D set for ten watts FM. I used a speaker tripod (light as it is made from aluminium with an extension and a gain vertical antenna on top). The contact was on the two metre FM calling frequency of 146.500. We exchanged signal reports and call-signs – 5 and 3 both ways.

The second contact, about two minutes later at 07:10 UTC was on the ssb calling frequency of 144.100 Mhz. signal reports were 5 and 5 for both of us, possibly demonstrating the superior talk power of ssb and the value of my three element beam. Jenny, held the beam aloft, and horizontal, facing west, and I called VK5TIL.

The operator at VK5TIL was Adam (VK2YK) and we were both delighted with the contacts.

I have activated Scott Creek Conservation Park many times. An index is located on the first page of this blog. Find Scott Creek and click. Below is the eqsl confirming our contact on 144.100 ssb.

World Amateur Radio Day, 18th April 2022

Re-opening of Scott Creek Conservation Park, April 2022, 23rd April 2022, VKFF-0788

World Amateur Radio Day

I can do no better than to start this post with a direct quotation from the IARU. Each year for World Amateur Radio Day a different theme is chosen and this year the flavour is one of history and gaining access to radio frequency spectrum.

‘Every April 18, radio amateurs worldwide take to the airwaves in celebration of World Amateur Radio Day. It was on this day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union was formed in Paris.

Amateur Radio experimenters were the first to discover that the short wave spectrum — far from being a wasteland — could support worldwide propagation. In the rush to use these shorter wavelengths, Amateur Radio was “in grave danger of being pushed aside,” the IARU’s history has noted. Amateur Radio pioneers met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU to support Amateur Radio worldwide.

Just two years later, at the International Radiotelegraph Conference, Amateur Radio gained the allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters. Since its founding, the IARU has worked tirelessly to defend and expand the frequency allocations for Amateur Radio. Thanks to the support of enlightened administrations in every part of the globe, radio amateurs are now able to experiment and communicate in frequency bands strategically located throughout the radio spectrum. From the 25 countries that formed the IARU in 1925, the IARU has grown to include 160 member-societies in three regions. IARU Region 1 includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia. Region 2 covers the Americas, and Region 3 is comprised of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific island nations, and most of Asia. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recognized the IARU as representing the interests of Amateur Radio.

Today, Amateur Radio is more popular than ever, with more than 3,000,000 licensed operators!’

Scott Creek Conservation Park fire January 2021

Scott Creek Conservation Park was badly damaged by a fire on January 24th 2021. The Park was immediately closed to the general public and has only just re-opened after a break of 14 months. During the time the park was closed work began to make the park safe again. There are a number of matters that needed attention: tracks repaired; fences replaced; fallen trees cleared; trees with obvious damage needed attention, pruning or removal and holes and hazards on the ground repaired. As well a thorough inspection of the park was undertaken. I used to walk in the park almost every day and had my favourite tracks, high and with views. I was often pedestrian mobile in the park with a hand held vhf/uhf amateur transceiver. I did drive around the perimeter on public roads but then put the park out of my mind for the time being. I began walking more regularly in Mark Oliphant Conservation Park. However, that had to cease when the Government decided to increase the amount of parking at the main gate. I called by the park yesterday 22nd April 2022 and had a look at the completed work. It is excellent and my wife and I spent some time speaking with a couple of contractors and they were pleased we had noticed their work. It is good to see the plaque honouring Sir Mark Oliphant clearly visible again. I have done most of my walking in Mylor Conservation Park over the last eight months or so and enjoy that park.

So my contribution to world amateur radio day was to set up my station just inside Gate 9 and hope that the weather would remain fine. I worked (had contacts or qsos) with 16 stations in the VK call areas of 2, 3 and 5, that is, 2 in NSW, 3 in Victoria and 5 in South Australia. Conditions on the air were really good and signals were strong. I used to activate from Gate 8 (see earlier posts for the park) but the new fence is on a different alignment and there is just parking for one car at Gate 8. The Senior Ranger is keen to get the fence shifted to increase parking places.

Here is a link to my last Scott Creek Conservation Park radio activation.

Contacts (qsos)

I was on the air at 04:45 UTC and worked the following stations:


04:49 VK5BJF

04:53 VK5PX

04:58 VK5KKT

05:04 VK5PL

05:08 VK5FANA

05:14 VK5BBB

05:15 VK2CCP/3

05:17 VK5ZPF

05:20 VK2YK/5

05:23 VK3PF

05:26 VK5WWW

0530 VK5KLV

05:33 VK5HAA

05:34 VK2VW

05:36 VK2HFI

Sixteen stations in just over 45 minutes is not difficult to achieve and during that time I was visited by the Senior Ranger and we talked about radio and other things for a few minutes. He knew who I was and I know about him – probably because my wife is very active with the Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park!

I swapped to the 20m antenna and the band was alive. I listened to SP4LVG, from Poland, whose signal was over strength nine. I was competing with some Australian amateurs running a lot more power and I could not break through. As the rain was now making its presence felt I packed up my gear, but tripped!

I managed drive home and then the Emergency Department at a city hospital became my QTH (home) until Friday evening. I will be a home station for Anzac Day.

Typically destroyed section: JCD photo
Earth has been burnt bare: JCD photo
More destruction: JCD photo
Growth at Last: JCD photo

Operating Conditions

I used my Yaesu 857D transceiver set for 10 watts, powered by a seven amp hour LiFePO4 battery, a linked dipole, a log book and clock set for UTC time. A squid pole completed the set up and I went to Gate 9 for the activation. I do not recommend Gate 9 as an activation spot: there is not enough space without going off track. Gate 8 is now unsatisfactory as the new park fence is is on a different alignment and there is space for only one vehicle. The Senior Ranger for the park is going to get the fence re-established on its earlier alignment. I enjoyed the activation and thanks to all of the operators who gave me a call. I was pleased to work Adam VK2YK/5 who was in Porter Scrub, VKFF-0787, making one park to park contact on the day.

VI5MARCONI at Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788 & 5CP-207, 16th September 2018

VI5Marconi 20m

Special QSL card for VI5MARCONI 20 metres

VI5MARCONI is a special event station established to celebrate the direct radio telegraphy transmission between the United Kingdom and Australia. The actual day of the transmission was the 22nd September 1918. See the page for the special calls and more historical details.  One hundred years ago seems like a long time back in the past but really it is not. It depends upon your age, how you regard the past and how remote it seems. If you are in your 20s it would seem along time ago, but as you age and develop a broader perspective over a longer period of time it seems not that long ago. I was a boy in the 1950’s and I knew people who remembered and lived within the reign of Queen Victoria. My maternal Grand-mother was one such person as was my singing teacher and Church Choir-Mistress.

I have always been interested in the history of wireless and was pleased when, last evening, Paul, VK5PAS, contacted me and suggested we activate Scott Creek Conservation Park using the VI5MARCONI special event call-sign. We confirmed our arrangements and met at Gate 8 at about 09:45 local time. The Bureau of Meteorology suggested a cool day, temperature of about 13 degrees Celsius and moderate winds. As it turned out we had long sunny breaks and sitting in the sun we got quite warm.

John & Paul Scott Creek 2 918

This photo shows our station. The radio in front of my keying hand is my Ten Tec Model 539. JCD photo.

Knowing that the messages sent in 1918 were achieved using wireless telegraphy it was appropriate to try some CW from the Park. That was my task. I called CQ for quite a few times on 80 metres but did not get an answer. I was more successful on 40 metres. I used Paul’s Yaesu 857D and my Camelback hand key (K4VIZ). The Ten Tec Model 539 was a standby radio set up for CW.  See my post of 10th August for more details on my morse keys and photos.

John and Paul Scott Creek 918

VI5MARCONI at Scott Creek Conservation Park, JCD photo

In 2004, a book review by me, was published in Amateur Radio Magazine, of Weightman’s biography of Marconi (1).  Here is a reference to that book review. I thought I would re-read the book as part of the celebration this month of the first wireless telegraphy message from the UK to Australia. A quick skim read did not produce any references to the contacts between the UK and Australia. This is not surprising given Marconi’s efforts were largely centred on the UK and North America.

The Park

I have been to Scott Creek Conservation Park many times for both walking and radio. Here is a link to my last post about Scott Creek CP. As well Paul and I have also activated the Park on many occasions. It is a splendid park and will repay many visits.


We made 91 contacts from the Park. I left at about 12:45 local time to go home and have lunch and a rest before band practice later in the afternoon. Thanks to all of those operators who gave us a call.

The following stations were contacted:

7.144 Mhz



















7.032 CW



7.144 ssb












7.032 CW



7.130 ssb




VK3PF/P          VK3/VG-015
















VK4ALE/P         VKFF-1493

















VK3PF/P         VK3/VT-020





14.183 ssb






14.310 ssb












VK4VXX/6         VKFF-1236

Paul has been generous with this activation giving me equal status. He made 63 contacts as against my 28.


Special QSL card for VI5MARCONI 80 Metres

vk2marconi vk5pf version for wp

Special QSL card for wireless telegraphy (CW) contact with VI2MARCONI on the 40 metre band. The three QSL cards displayed in this post confirm private (not VI5MARCONI) contacts made be me.


Dawes, John, 2004, Book Review, Weightman, G., 2003, ‘Signor Marconi’s Magic Box: How an amateur inventor defied scientists and began the radio revolution’, Harper Collins, London, (in) Amateur Radio Magazine, 72, 3, March 2004, pp 24 & 41.

book review p1

book review p1a

book review MJD second page

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788, 30th March 2018: walking for fitness and pleasure.

One day to go and the first month of Autumn will be in the past! I now have a medically supervised regime in place which requires me to walk with moments of additional load achieved by either walking more quickly or walking up a hill. Scott Creek Conservation Park provides many opportunities for walking up and down hills! The theory is that this will eventually strengthen the heart muscle and reduce episodes of Atrial Fibrillation (AF). AF occurs when the heart does not pump properly but rather flutters, resulting in poor circulation and efficiency. I am taking part in a trial, comparing an exercise group with a non-exercise group, and am in the experimental group. So I decided to go for a walk in Scott Creek Conservation Park departing from Gate 8 (my favourite radio activation spot). The weather was excellent for a walk: cool, mainly sunny but a handful of rain-drops as I started out. Others had a similar idea and I passed a large group of walkers as I was heading down the hill speaking into my hand held radio. They were on the way up the hill but offered a greeting and we spoke for a while. Yes I did take a radio: two in fact (IC-80AD and a Yaesu VX5) and a few spare batteries!

I also posted an alert on Parks and Peaks indicating I would be active at 00:30z on 146.5 FM. Next time I will self-spot and indicate a QRV time!  QRV means ‘are you ready?’ But it is also used to indicate a time when the operator will be ready.

As I left gate 8 I tuned to VK5RMB, the Murray Bridge Repeater and heard some activity. I recognised a voice I knew and arranged to try 146.5 FM with Tony, VK5MRT at Strathalbyn. There was no direct path. I was a bit surprised at this. So I kept walking and then tuned the radio to VK5RSV, the South Coast Amateur Radio Club’s two metre repeater. I was hoping to stir up some activity, as the area immediately south and south west of the Park, I suspected would provide some good contacts. All I heard was silence!

I kept on walking and tried VK5RSV again. This time VK5XD, Neville answered me. He offered to QSY (change frequency to 146.5 Mhz) and success followed. Neville’s signal was full scale on my Icom IC-80AD, I was amazed. Neville lives in the suburb of Warradale, near Glenelg, but further inland. I received a report of 5 and 5. I had a quarter wave length antenna on my radio and was using full power, five watts. Neville told me he was using 50 watts into a collinear antenna.  We should have experimented with lower power!


00:51z 146.500 FM VK5XD 59s 55r

VK5XD qsl

Here is Neville’s splendid eqsl.

So what was the cost? Well my GPS showed a total activity time of 53 minutes. But the moving time was just 25 minutes! So I spent nearly half my time playing radio rather than walking. Perhaps I had better leave the radios at home?

I have activated Scott Creek Conservation Park many times. Here is a link to my previous activation.

Scott Creek walk 30th March

The walk I took begins at Gate 8 and follows Cup Gum Track. I stopped just before the fairly steep descent to the junction of Gum Track Track with Currawong Ridge Track.

Currowang ridge traCK

The elevation gain was 35 metres. The plot is shown below. The times are clearly shown including radio time.

Scott Creekwalk 30th elevation

This walk is one of a number I have taken in the Park over the last few weeks. Most, but not all, of the walks have been on sections of the track I have previously described as a loop. See my earlier posts on this beautiful park.
Gate 4
Another walk began at Gate 4 taking the right hand side track down to the creek line.
 Gray fantail in flight
Grey Fantail in flight. This little bird did not take much notice of me but was busy catching insects.
Gray Fantail 2
Gray Fantail in motion.
Common brown
Common brown butterfly.
Stumpy tail lizard
Stumpy tale lizard. A pity about the stick over the end of his nose: but I did not want to disturb her sun-baking any more than necessary.

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788 & 5CP-207, 2nd November 2017

Paul at Scott Creek

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:

The 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.

Golden whistler


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.

  1. 0248 VK2HHA 7.135MHz
  2. 0249 VK2MRH
  3. 0252 VK3PF 7.155 MHz
  4. 0254 VK3GGG
  5. 0155 VK3PMG
  6. 0256 VK3SQ
  7. 0300 VK3ANL
  8. 0302 VK2NEO
  9. 0309 VK7MPR Mark with his new upgraded call-sign: the F has gone. Congratulations!
  10. 0314 VK1LAJ/P
  11. 0318 VK2IO/P 52 55 Gerard P2P VKFF-2012 Wallumatta Nature Reserve
  12. 0320 VK7JON
  13. 0325 VK5BW
  14. 0333 VK7FOLK
  15. 0336 VK3VGB/P
  16. 0343 VK2FANT
  17. 0348 VK5KBJ It was great to have a contact with Barry who has also been on the sick list
  18. 0351 VK5GJ
  19. 0355 VK3VIN
  20. 0400 VK3UP
  21. 0415 VK2JNG/P 7.170 MHz Gerard 53 54 P2P VKFF-0431 Richmond River Nature Reserve
  22. 0428 VK5BW 3.610 MHz 59 59 Barry at Bridgewater on 80 metres: less than 10 kilometres from us.
  23. 0433 VK5GJ
  24. 0446 VK5FANA  We were disappointed with just three contacts on 80 metres. We learned that the usual operators on this band were otherwise occupied during the afternoon.
  25. 0457 VK2NP 14.310 MHz
  26. 0501 VK4PDX
  27. 0503 VK2IO/P Gerard P2P VKFF-2012 Wallumatta Nature Reserve
  28. 0506 VK2JNG/P Gerard P2P VKFF-0431 Richmond River Nature Reserve
  29. 0508 VK4RF
  30. 0508 VK4HA
  31. 0509 VK2HOT
  32. 0512 VK4HNS We then moved to 14.183 and listened to the ANZA net and at the appropriate break in the proceedings Paul booked both of us into the net. The net controller was Col, VK4CC who, with his usual style, was a splendid net controller. As the afternoon moved on we were invited to make three calls each.
  33. 0533 FK8HZ Maurice in , Noumea, New Caledonia 59 58
  34. 0543 VK1TX Tex who called me from Canberra 59 59
  35. 0556 YJ0MB Mike Vanuatu
  36. 0602 VK4NH Ray
  37. 0607 E51JD Jim South Cook Islands
  38. 0617 VK4DXA Ray
  39. 0623 7.144 MHz VK3NBL
  40. 0626 VK2VW
  41. 0628 VK5NRG
  42. 0638 VK2SVN
  43. 0635 VK3NCC
  44. 0639 VK3KRH
  45. 0644 VK3BBB
  46. 0648 VK2ZK
  47. 0650 VK4NH
  48. 0651 VK4DXA
  49. 0652 VK3HSB/P 59 59 P2P VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park
  50. 0654 VK2LEE
  51. 0656 VK3FMKE

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 made 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.

WIA Certificate of Appreciation

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788 & 5CP-207, 25th March 2016

A Good Friday activation

On Friday afternoon, Good Friday, VK5PAS, and I, visited Scott Creek Conservation Park for a joint activation. In addition to the usual HF station we wished to add to the number of bands used by adding some VHF and UHF capability. But more on that later.

I have activated this park many times and have qualified the park for the WWFF program. Here is a link to my last activation:

Our objectives were:

First, to field test a Spiderbeam asymmetrical dipole designed to work on five HF bands. This antenna is quite impressive and well-made, but like most, if not all, Off Centre Fed (OCF) antennas, presents a higher than desirable VSWR on some of the bands. Paul, who is the reviewer, will say more about this. If you use 100 watts and want an excellent antenna for camping, are prepared to use a coupler (antenna tuner) on occasions, this antenna is worthy of consideration.

Second, to conduct an HF activation. This task mainly fell to Paul (VK5PAS), who operated on the 40, 20 and 15 metre bands.

Finally, to try and sample antennas for six metres (a dipole), two metres, a Cushcraft three element beam and a six element log periodic style antenna (made by ATN antennas) for 70 centimetres.  I did not bring any 23 cm gear and nor did I operate on six metres and 70 centimetres. I will in the future. The beam antennas are supported by a three piece aluminium mast which is guyed. This mast can be erected by one person but it easier with two! Thanks to Paul for driving the tent pegs into the ground while I held the mast.  I use good quality semi-rigid coax fitted with N connectors for VHF and UHF. The antenna is rotated by the armstong method and an orienteering compass provides the bearings. My radio for this activation was a Yaesu 897 operating at 20 watts. Two LiFePO4 batteries were used: of 4.200 and 8.400 amp hours capacity.


This photo, courtesy of Paul, VK5PAS, shows my operating position, about 20 metres from where Paul’s station was located.

The weather was good, warm with the temperature in the low twenties, sunny and with just a gentle breeze.


This photo, also from Paul, VK5PAS, shows my two metre antenna, a simple three element beam fed with quality semi-rigid coaxial cable (unfortunately the identification markings have rubbed off with lots of use).


The final picture, also courtesy of Paul, is a close up of the beam showing the gamma match.


After field testing the OCF dipole I set up my two-metre station at 05:25z. I checked the Mount Gambier beacon, VK5RSE, on 144.550, at Mount Graham. This beacon is listed in the Wireless Institute of Australia call-book as having 25 watts transmit output. The beacon was showing 5 and 2 on my FT897 and climbed to 5 and 5 on the peak of the QSB cycle. The QSB cycles were even and thus predictable. At this point my confidence soared. The Mount Lofty beacon, VK5VF, 144.450, about ten kilometres from our operating location (as the wedge-tailed eagle flies) was really loud! I placed a post on Parksnpeaks and hoped for the best. I called on 144.110 for a few times without success, so I soon moved to the calling frequency of 144.100.

05:42 VK5KC, David, 5 and 9, both ways

05:44 VK5AKK, Phil, 5 and 9, both ways

05:54 VK5MC, Chris at Millicent in South Eastern South Australia 5 and 4 and 5 and 5

05:57 VK5GY, Gordon, operating at Bullock Hill Conservation Park, 5 and 5 both ways. Gordon was holding his beam in one hand! Gordon told me he is celebrating 40 years of being an amateur (in the UK and Australia) so I shared my 40 year story with Gordon and gave him a second call (06:01) as VK5PF, 5 and 5 both ways.

Paul told me there were operators on 40 metres who wished to contact me – so we swapped stations.

So on 7.150 I had the following contacts:

06:06 VK5FMID, Brian, 5 and 9 both ways

06:08 VK2IO, Gerard 5 and 7, 5 and 4

06:08 VK4AAC/P3, Rob 5 and 9 and 4 and 7. Rob was in a noisy caravan park.

06:11 VK5KHZ, Hans, 5 and 9 both ways

06:13 VK3ZMD, Mike 5 and 8, 5 and 7

06:17 VK5FANA, Adrian 5 and 9 both ways

06:18 VK4FW, Bill near Kingaroy, 5 and 9, 5 and 4

06:19 VK3CDR, Chris 5 and 9 both ways

06:22 VK4GSF, George, Toowoomba, 5 and 9 both ways

06:23 VK3GWS/P, Grant at Beechworth 5 and 9 both ways

While I was working away on 40 metres I could hear Paul on two metres. We decided to swap radios when it went a bit quiet on 40 metres. I called CQ on 144.100.

06:36 VK5DK, 144.100, Col at Mount Gambier, 5 and 9, 5 and 8. I was delighted: a good haul on two metres with a modest station – 20 watts and a three element beam! Col, of course, has a great set up on two metres and most other higher bands.

06:40 VK5NC, Trevor at Mount Gambier, 5 and 3, 5 and 4

06:46 VK3LY, Bill from Nhill, 5 and 3, 5 and 1

I called a few more times and then decided I should set up on 146.500 FM. VK5FANA, Adrian, advised he would travel to the top of a nearby hill and give me a call. Unfortunately we did not make a contact. I suspect we could have made it but our efforts did not correspond in time.

Later using Paul’s hand-held radio I had contacts with:

07:20 VK5PET, Peter, Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, 5 and 9 both ways

07:21 Rick, VK5FGFK (and a second contact from me, VK5PF), Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, 5 and 9 both ways

and later, 07:40, with David, VK5KC on 52.200 ssb, 5 and 3 both ways. Twenty two contacts on three bands: 10 on 40m; 11 on two metres and one on six metres was my total for the day and 11 contacts on two metres were very satisfying.

Here is a link to Paul’s, VK5PAS, YouTube channel which captures some of the fun and excitement of this style of portable activation. Thanks to all of the operators who gave us a call.






Scott Creek Conservation Park: follow-up activation 15th March 2015

I promised to return to Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-788 this morning but it was raining: the Bureau had predicted a 30% chance of showers. These slowly cleared through the morning and in anticipation I posted an alert on ParksnPeaks indicating that I would visit the park in the afternoon.

I returned to Gate 8 and set up in the usual spot. I was on the air at 04:11 and my first contact on 40 metres on 7.100 was with VK3MTB/P3, Tim who was in Mount Worth State Park, VKFF-771; 7.095, VK3FQSO/P3, Amanda, on VK3/VU-012; VK3FLAK/P3, Bob also on VK3/VU-012; VK5BW, Barry; VK5YX, Hans; VK3HRA, Allan; VK5XR, Allan at Tailem Bend; VK5WG, Nev; VK3PMG, Mick; VK5BW, Barry; VK3CRG, Craig in Brisbane Ranges National Park, VKFF-055;  VK5VL, 7.098, Frank; VK3YRA, Ray; VK3NSC, Steve; VK3FSTU, Stewart, VK3OHM, Marc; VK5TN, Robin; VK3EJ, Gordon on 7.135 and VK3MTB/P3, 7.095, Tim at 05:53 in Mount Worth State Park, VKFF-771, making 20 contacts in all. Taking account of duplicates, VK5BW and VK3MTB/P3 the number reduces to 18, which with 30 from the Friday afternoon/evening activation means I have qualified the park for the WWFF award. Thanks to all who gave me a call, and especially those who persevered with the less than ideal conditions during the afternoon.

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-788, 14th March 2015

The Park

This afternoon and early evening was my fifth activation of Scott Creek Conservation Park. You can read about the Park in earlier entries. It is a beautiful public space. I walk in the Park on a regular basis and here are some more pictures I took on my walk on Wednesday 11th March. I cannot explain the signal dropout on my Garmin 62S after I turned the corner and began a steep climb up Currawong Ridge Track. I have walked this track lots of times and all images have been intact. Perhaps as it is steep I held onto the backpack straps near the GPS62s in my left hand breast pocket on my shirt?

Scott Creek Walk 11th March 2015 showing photo locations

Scott Creek Walk 11th March 2015 showing photo locations

Mount Lofty from Scott Creek Conservation Park

Mount Lofty from Scott Creek Conservation Park

Approaching Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Approaching Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Closer to Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Closer to Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Gate 8 looking into the Park

Gate 8 looking into the Park

My operating position at Gate 8

My operating position at Gate 8

Turn right at Gate 9 onto Stringy Bark Track

Turn right at Gate 9 onto Stringybark Track

Walking sown Stringybark Track before it gets really steep!

Walking down Stringybark Track before it gets really steep!

Vandals at work: or your taxes being wasted: Almanda Mine Scott Creek CP

Vandals at work: or your taxes being wasted: Almanda Mine Scott Creek CP

New growth following an (un)controlled burn.

New growth following an (un)controlled burn: Currawong Ridge Track

Contacts I thought I should activate Scott Creek Conservation Park to celebrate the adding to the VKFF list of a number of South Australian Conservation Parks. The occasion was the usual Friday evening South Australian Parks activity: so I could call this entry another ‘Twilight Park’ activation. I was aiming for 44 contacts. In the end I achieved 30 contacts. I could have achieved my goal of 44 if I had been able to stay longer but I had to pack up at about 18:45 hours local. At pack up time 20 metres was really firing! I will return to Scott Creek in the future to qualify the park for the WWFF award. I arrived at the Park at about 16:00 local and spent the first 45 minutes doing a final tune on a new three-band linked dipole for 10 metres, 17 and 30 metres. A few more finishing touches will give me a second very rugged antenna for portable use. My first contact, on 7.098 MHz, was at 06:40 with VK3FQSO, Amanda then followed, VK5ZAR/P, Arno in Ferguson Conservation Park VK3PMG, Mick VK5HEL, Geoff at Ettrick Conservation Park VK5GJ, Greg VK3OHM, Marc VK3DAC, Fred VK5FLEX, Pike River Conservation Park VK5ZGY, Greg VK3DBP, Paul VK5FANA, Peter at Bird Island Conservation Park VK3PF, Peter VK5PAS, Paul at Charleston Conservation Park, VKFF-777 VK5KLV, Les at Mount Remarkable National Park (Mambray Creek) VKFF-360 VK5KPR, Peter VK5WG, Nev VK3TKK/M, Peter VK5PEP, Peter at Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VK3AV, Bernard VK5NQP, David at Cromer Conservation Park, VKFF-779 VK3FPSR, Peter VK3ANL, Nick VK2FMIA, Doug at Horton Falls National Park, VKFF-594 VK2KBC/M3, Sheepyard Flat, Mansfield VK5NAQ, Peter VK5GY/P, Gordon at Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-781 I thought 40 metres was getting a bit quiet and after having a look around the band I decided to migrate to 20 metres. However, when I checked the history page on ParksnPeaks I saw there were quite a few other stations active which I missed. My third last contact was on 14.275, 07:49z, VK4KUS, Steve, then VK2GJC. Greg from Ulladullah, whose excellent log-keeping enabled him to tell me we last had a qso on 80 metres in 1992 and finally on 14.205, EA8CCQ, Orlando in the Canary Islands. I gave Orlando 5 & 9 and I was 5 & 5.

VK2FMIA, Doug's splendid QSL card - proof beyond reasonable doubt!

VK2FMIA, Doug’s splendid QSL card – proof of a contact beyond reasonable doubt!

Another twilight activation at Scott Creek Conservation Park, 27th February 2015

The Park

I made my way to Scott Creek Conservation Park to my favourite activation spot at Gate 8. It was a warm afternoon with the peak temperature being 32 degrees but by the time I arrived at the Park, just before 1700 hours local it was in the high twenties, cloudy, humid and threatening to rain. A few spots occurred while I was operating and when packing up. This is my fourth activation at this Park but when the weather cools I will become more adventurous and travel further to some of the many other Parks in the Adelaide Hills. Oh, so many parks and so little time!


7.100 ssb

06:30 VK5GJ,  Greg, 59s, 59r

06:32 VK5ZAR, Arno, 59, 46

06:34 VK3DAC, Fred, 58, 55

06:35 VK3TKK/M, Peter, 58, 43

06:37 VK3PMG, Mick, 59 59

06:39 VK5KPR, Peter, 58, 57

06:42 VK5HCF/P5, Col, 59, 59, Gower Conservation Park

06:43 VK5EE/P5, Tom, 59, 59, Gower Conservation Park

06:44 VK5FAJS/P5, Alan, 59, 59, Gower Conservation Park

06:45 VK5PAS/P5, Paul, 59, 59, Paul, Onkaparinga National Park

06:48 VK3OHM, Marc, 59, 59, Marc

06:49 VK5TN/M5, Robin, 59, 59

06:51 VK3YDN, John, 58, 58

06:53 VK3BHR, Phil, 59, 59

06:56 VK3PF, Peter, 59, 47

06:57 VK5WG, Nev, 59, 58

06:58 VK5KLV/P5, Les, 59, 58, Les, Winninowie Conservation Park

07:01 VK5ZRY/P5, Richard, 58, 59, Ramsay Gate Conservation Park

07:05 VK4FR/P5, Chris, 59, 59, Morialta Conservation Park

07:07  VK5UV, Rod, 57, 57

07:11  VK5FANA, Adrian, 59, 59, Clinton Conservation Park

07:15  VK5NQP, David, 59, 55

07:17 VK5FMJC, John, 59, 57

07:20 VK3FQSO, Amanda, 59, 57


07:30 EA6ALW, Javia, 59, 57, Spain


07:39 EA3AKP, John, Catalonia, Spain


07:53 GW3UZS, Geoff, Cardiff, Wales, 58, 45

08:02 GW4XSX, Mike, West Coast Wales, 59, 54


08:09 VK5PAS/P5, Paul, 59, 59, Onkaparinga National Park 

I enjoyed a total of 29 contacts. On 7.100 I used the Yaesu 897 set for 10 watts with a linked dipole and my 4800 MAH LiFePO4 battery. On 20 metres I set the power to 20 watts for the contacts to Spain and 40 watts for the contacts to the UK. It was a great time and thanks to all who gave me a call. I always appreciate the chasers. I used my home made linked dipole. It performed well after a recent service. See my blog dated 1st February to read about the antenna failure on the last activation. Soldered joints, even though not load bearing seem to create the weak spots. All the links, made from 30 amp Anderson Power Poles, are crimped. I am unable to avoid soldered joints at the dipole centre. These are well covered by clear silicon which seems to help.  Portable antennas get quite a work out and I am surely impressed with the wire I purchased from Mark at Tet-Emtron.