Douglas Apsley National Park, 22nd February 2014, VKFF – 145

I was a bit sceptical about the likely success of an activation extending over the mid-day period with propagation as it is! But I managed 12 contacts and therefore gained sufficient points for the VKFF requirements. My first contact on 7.100 was with VK1RX/P1, Al, on SOTA summit VK1 AC 001; then VK2QR/P2, Rod on SOTA summit VK2 SM 006; VK3PF/P3, Peter on VK3 VT 017 also in the Alpine National Park; VK7FGGT, Greg; VK2IB/P3, Bernard, on SOTA summit VK3 VE 041; VK3ZFP, Peter in the Brisbane Ranges National Park; VK3FLAK, Bob; VK3FQSO, Amanda; VK3APC/P3, on VK3 VC 025; VK3ZPF, Peter; VK3AMB, Bernard and, finally, a great contact with VK2TPM, Peter running 20 watts on 14.210, with a FT897D and a balcony antenna. Taking out the duplicates I finished with 12 contacts and a successful activation for the VKFF award. The VKFF number is VKFF145.

Douglas-Apsley National Park is mid-way up the East Coast of Tasmania. I cannot find a description of how it obtained its name in any of the official literature on the park. But a good explanation is that the hyphenated name is created from the names of the two rivers which flow through the Park: the Douglas and the Apsley. The Park is described as a dry eucalypt forest. I activated from a corner of the car park at the Apsley water hole. When I finished my activation I enjoyed the walk to the water hole: perhaps about 15 minutes. It was occupied by a ‘loud’ family which ensured that any wild-life in the area would probably go somewhere else. The family had a radio, not wireless, with blaring pop music at a high level! I reflected on an experience at Maria Island where my activities attracted the attention of officialdom. A vehicle arrived at my operating position when I was trying a difficult contact. Up went the background noise! One of the staff members asked what I was doing. After providing an explanation of my activities and showing him my log book, and my information sheet, he relaxed a little. However, he suggested that I should have sought out the rangers and gained permission before undertaking my activities. In the mean-time half an hour had elapsed. I wonder if the family at Douglas-Apsley gained permission from the rangers to enable them to ‘take over the water-hole’? In fairness to the Tasmanian Parks staff at Maria Island, seeing me in action was a first! They knew nothing about amateur radio and the Parks programs in Victoria and South Australia. The field is wide open for the Tasmanian amateurs to consider developing a program.