Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park, VKFF-0765 & VK3/VW-022, 15th December 2016

On the 14th December 2016 we left home on our driving holiday to Sydney to see our son and his family for Christmas. This is the seventh such road trip and before that he lived in Perth. We made at least three visits to Western Australia to see him and they were all camping trips with added expeditions, always involving radio and often staying in and activating National Parks before the WWFF program was conceived. Many, but not all, contacts were pre-arranged.

Our first overnight was at Naracoorte and early the next day set out for Ballarat where we were visiting old friends from our University days in the 1960s. On the way we visited Mount Arapiles-Tooan State Park to activate the summit. I was not eligible for the one point on offer as I had activated Mount Arapiles in March. Here is a link to that activation, my second:

However, I was keen to secure sufficient contacts to qualify the Park for the WWFF program aiming for at least 44 contacts. I made 24 contacts with VK 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 stations and, with those already in the bank, now have the 44 needed. Here is my log for the activation:

Date:15/Dec/2016 Summit:VK3/VW-022 (Mt Arapiles) Call Used:VK5BJE/3 Points: 0 Bonus: 0 Delete

Time   Call   Band   Mode   Notes
00:06z VK5FANA 7MHz SSB
00:10z VK2UH 7MHz SSB
00:13z VK3PF 7MHz SSB
00:14z VK2KYO 7MHz SSB
00:15z VK3RW 7MHz SSB Ray Benalla
00:17z VK2HHA 7MHz SSB
00:19z VK2IO 7MHz SSB
00:22z VK7LTD 7MHz SSB
00:23z VK1DI 7MHz SSB
00:29z VK5GJ 7MHz SSB
00:37z VK5PL 7MHz SSB
00:39z VK5PAS 7MHz SSB
00:42z VK5ZK 7MHz SSB
00:44z VK2EXA/3 7MHz SSB
00:55z VK3KAI 7MHz SSB
01:01z VK3GP/M 7MHz SSB
01:12z VK5GP 7MHz SSB Glynn Murray Bridge
01:14z VK5NRG 7MHz SSB
01:18z VK5GI 7MHz SSB
01:18z VK5ZPG 7MHz SSB
01:18z VK3GV 7MHz SSB
01:18z VK5ZPG 7MHz SSB
01:19z VK3SQ 7MHz SSB
01:20z VK5FANA 7MHz SSB
01:25z VK2UH 7MHz SSB
01:26z VK1DA/2 7MHz SSB

I did set up my antenna for 80 metres, but the only way I could do this was with each leg at 90 degrees to the other. I could not get the VSWR down low enough to use it. One of the challenges of setting up a portable antenna (a dipole) for 80 metres is the space required and on Mount Arapiles this was a challenge. I have subsequently used the antenna in a more traditional layout and it works really well. See my forthcoming post from Greater Bendigo National Park.

I would like to thank all of those operators who, during the busy Christmas period, took time out to give me a call. I hope Santa brought you all a new radio!

Eqsl award: worked three hundred prefixes confirmed

eqslThis award is for three hundred confirmed contacts via the eqsl system. The contacts comprise a mix of ssb and digital (JT65HF).  You might wonder what happens to the ‘wall paper’. No, I don’t frame certificates and place them on the wall. I turn them into place mats by laminating them in plastic. I now have enough place mats to set up a restaurant!

Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award Merit, November 2016


I was pleased to receive the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award at Merit level. It took me over four years to secure the award chasing contacts in Victorian Parks when I had some free time, mainly at weekends. I also secured Parks while operating portable in National Parks in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. Many of the Victorian National Parks we have visited both as National Parks or as Crown Land, but what this award did was to encourage me to become familiar with the more recent parks, their history and geography and the reasons for their protection. I congratulate Amateur Radio Victoria and the Awards Manager, Tony Hambling, VK3VTH, VK3XV for sponsoring this award. I recall reading about Keith Roget early in my amateur radio career while living in Melbourne. I have recollections of hearing him in the field and marvelled at the heavy radio transceivers and batteries required for voice activations before minaturisation and solid state technology became common place. Finally, thanks to all of the portable operators who enjoy operating low power radios from Parks, and who all now radio friends!

WIA Norfolk Island Award 2016

It was my intention to attend the Wireless Institute of Australia Annual General Meeting held on Norfolk Island over the weekend of 27th, 28th and 29th May. I indicated this while in Canberra attending the 2015 AGM. A change in health status made attending risky. So I could not join the considerable contingent from VK5 (over thirty persons). However, I shared in the event as best I could, vicariously, by chasing stations for the Norfolk Island Award and multiple contacts with VK5 stations on Norfolk Island and through enjoying posts on Facebook. I have reproduced my application log below.

Norfolk Island award blogNI award blog

As you can see there are a few issues noticeable to seasoned observers. My claimed contacts are highlighted. First, there is only one contact shown for 40 metres with VK9PAS/9. While I heard VK6FMON, Monique, and VK5FMAZ, Marija, operating QRP stations from Mount Bates, on 40 metres, conditions were just not able to support two-way contacts. Secondly, I was only able to secure one CW contact, with Ron, VK3AFW/P9 on the 20 metre band. I used my VK5PF call, reserved for CW. And finally, there are no contacts with the Australian DX station, VK9NT. This wasn’t for want on trying. I restricted myself to just two modes: ssb and CW and listened quite a bit for them. One evening I listened to the station on 80 metres: signals into the Adelaide Hills were excellent, over S9 and the band was quiet. I thought I had a chance, but I just couldn’t make it with 100 watts! And then they closed down the station!

Thanks to the WIA awards team. It was fun chasing these stations and the Award certainly created some interest on the mainland.



Park to Park – 10

I am pleased to display my latest certificate for ten park to park contacts. VK2IO/P was chased three times: thanks Gerard but also thanks to the other intrepid park operators.

Count Reference DXCC Activator Chaser Date Band Mode
WWFF P2P References (Mixed/Mixed)
1 VKFF-0023 (from VKFF-0781) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK2IO/P 2016-04-02 40m SSB
2 VKFF-0055 (from VKFF-0766) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK3XV/P 2016-04-16 40m SSB
3 VKFF-0069 (from VKFF-0967) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK4AAC/P3 2016-04-17 40m SSB
4 VKFF-0113 (from VKFF-0781) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK3PF/P 2016-04-02 40m SSB
5 VKFF-0195 (from VKFF-0751) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK2YK/P 2016-04-15 40m SSB
6 VKFF-0528 (from VKFF-0766) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK2IO/P 2016-04-16 40m SSB
7 VKFF-0595 (from VKFF-0967) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK2IO/P 2016-04-17 40m SSB
8 VKFF-0781 (from VKFF-0793) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK5FMAZ/P 2016-04-10 40m SSB
9 VKFF-0792 (from VKFF-0781) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK3VTH/P 2016-04-03 40m SSB
10 VKFF-0821 (from VKFF-0781) OC / VK VK5BJE/P (VK5BJE) VK5ZGY/P 2016-04-03 40m SSB


Worked all eAustralia award, 26th April 2016

eqsl v2 worked all VK

I received this award late April. It was unexpected. I was checking my eqsl accounts and saw that I had qualified for this award. A simple click of the mouse and the next day it was in my inbox. I have actually worked more than eight (8) Australian call areas but not every amateur uses the eqsl system and therefore I am unable to claim a higher score. I should point out that the Wireless Institute of Australia recognises confirmations of contacts via eqsl. I am a bit disappointed in the wording which leaves women amateurs out of the picture: ‘Know all men by these presents…’  Nevertheless I am pleased to gain this award. I wish to encourage those who do not use the eqsl system to consider adding to your QSL program.

WWFF more awards October 2015

VK5BJE Sapphire award 2015

VK5BJE Sapphire award 2015

VK5BJE Hunter 100 2015

VK5BJE Hunter Honour Roll 100 2015

VK5BJE Hunter Honour Roll 125 2015

VK5BJE Hunter Honour Roll 125 2015

Some more awards: ‘virtual wall-paper’ but I am pleased to receive them. They represent a lot of contacts, great fun and ‘virtual’ visits to lots of parks.