Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve, VKFF-2115, 10th, 11th and 12th October 2018.

We arranged to meet our extended family from Sydney, our son, his spouse and two grand-children, in the Grampians. It was the second week of the NSW school holidays and they camped and we took a cabin at a holiday park at Halls Gap. We stayed at this park on a previous holiday and enjoyed our time.

We left home on Friday 5th October and drove, via a number of SA conservation parks, to Naracoorte. On Saturday we moved to Ballarat to meet up with University friends from the 1960s for dinner and lunch on Sunday with an additional couple from Bendigo (also University friends). We had a great time.

On Sunday afternoon we travelled to Halls Gap. Our son and his family arrived not long before us and were setting up their camp. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all warm and sunny days.

On Monday Nick, Kylee and I visited the south Grampians to climb The Piccaninny. This was a great walk and we were able to take some wild flower photos. The views of Mount Sturgeon were also spectacular. While we were travelling and walking Jenny spent enjoyable time with our grand-children. Tuesday was wet all day. This made the falls quite spectacular. We visited a winery and had lunch out. Wednesday we set out for the day and Nick received a phone call from the holiday park indicating that his gazebo had turned up side down and collapsed in the strong winds.  We were on our way to falls near Dunkeld. After the call we returned to the family’s camp to see the damage and clear up the debris.

Of course I wanted to activate a Park or two. In the end I was only able to activate one park near the Grampians, Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve. This park is 1165 hectares and  ‘is characterised by high quality, species rich open wood-land’. I was impressed with the park and birdlife, although rubbish had been dumped in one area near my second activation spot.

Jallikar NCR blog

The park map shows roads marked in red and my first location was near the entry from the Ararat-Halls Gap Road. Look for Londonderry Road  which becomes Bellellen Road. A short distance into the park I found an attractive clearing which can be seen in the photo below. The second photo shows the open woodland. On Saturday, my second activation in the Park, we drove all of the roads and tracks looking for birds and another activation spot. We found a wooded location just off the main road which dissects the park and close to our earlier location just after the road leaves the private property.

Jallukar map

Map Courtesy of http://www.parks.vic.gov.au

The excellent facility within ParksnPeaks (wwwparksnpeaks.org) has a link to the map.

allikar woodland for blog

Very attractive open woodland

shack Jallikar blog

My shack: a Yaesu 857D, 20 watts, hand morse key, linked dipole, 33 amp hour battery and LiFePO4 batteries and and a tablet for spotting myself. The park, as a forest, was previously used for harvesting wood for domestic purposes. Note the large stump on the left.



23:58 ssb 7.144 VK2XSE/P Liz in VKFF-0107. Gaining a Park to Park contact as number one in the log gave me a flying start. And was I fortunate in beginning just before UTC roll-over!


00:01 VK2XSE/P VKFF-0107

00:07 7.150 VK5FANA

00:08 VK4TJ

00:09 VK4/AC8WN

00:11 VK4/VE6XT

00:12 VK2IO

00:12 VK2VW

00:14 VK2UXO

Contacts were difficult to achieve. I tried 80m, 20m and 40m a second time and soon after 01:00 packed up as it was time for lunch and time to join the rest of the family.


00:30 7.144 VK2IO

00:31 VK7KPC/P Peter in VKFF-0005

00:36 VK5KLV

00:38 VK2JNG/P Gerard in VKFF-0597

00:11 VK4GSF

00:43 VK2XXM

00:45 VK4HNS

00:48 VK5FANA

00:53 VK4FDJL

00:58 VK2UH

01:01 VK3SQ

01:03 VK2XSE/P VKFF-0554

01:07 VK2HHA

01:11 VK1XP/M

01:12 VK2XP/1

01:14 VK5CZ

01:15 VK2GZ

01:17 VK2AHR

01:19 VK2MRN/M

01:20 VK2UXO

01:22 VK4TJ

01:24 VK4/AC8WN

01:25 VK4/VE6XT

01:29 VK2KNV/M

7.170 VK2JNG/P

03:08 7.135 VK5BC/2

03:12 7.144 VK2JNG/P

03:15 VK3PF/2 VK2/SW-021

03:19 VK7KPC/P VKFF-0005

03:20 CW 7.032 VK2IO

03:30 CW VK4TJ

03:34 CW VK4XUE

03:35 CW VK2NP

03:45  7.150 ssb VK2XSE/P VKFF-0554

03:47 7.145 ssb VK2AWJ

03:57 7.135 ssb VK2AB

04:07 14.310 ssb VK4TJ


04:15 VK2GJC

Thanks to the chasers who helped to make this a successful activation.


vTimber Jinker JCD photoTimber Jinker at Edenhope, Victoria. JCD photo

Timber Jinker facts

JCD Photo

Retreiving an antenna

At the Saturday location the wind became stronger in the afternoon and my antenna became tangled in a tree. I used a second squid pole and a forked branch attached with rubber bands to retrieve it, successfully.

Nick & Kylee for blog

Nick and Kylee on the track to Piccaninny

sign post for blog


The GPS breadcrumb trail for the Piccaninny walk. Parks rank medium.

Mount Abrupt for blog

Mount Abrupt

wikdflower 3

Wax-Lip Orchid on Piccanniny track.

wid flower for blog

Dwarf Bush Pea

Silverband falls blog

Silverband Falls

silverband falls 2

Silverband Falls


Parks Victoria brochures

Elliot, R & Brownlie, J., nd, Wildflowers of the Grampians, Halls Gap Tourist Information Centre.






Mount Zero, VK3/VW-020 & Grampians National Park, 13th April 2016

SOTA Summit, Mount Zero, VK3/VW-020, is within the Grampians National Park, VKFF-0213. I have activated the Grampians National Park a number of times. Here is a link to my last activation:


I wanted to activate a second summit in the Grampians National Park. I have previously activated Mount William. Mount Zero is worth one point to the activator, and it is a much harder one point to earn, than the one point earned at nearby Mount Arapiles! However, I did not think that the walk and time spent on Mount Zero would keep two active Grandchildren busy (as well as their parents). So the family, including my xyl, Jenny, all went rock climbing at Hollow Mountain. This suited me as Hollow Mountain car park to the Mount Zero car park is only a further two or three kilometres, but over a badly corrugated road.

Jayden Hollow Mountain 2

The photo shows our six year old (nearly seven) grandson near the top of the cliff. The organiser of the rock climbing experience said her youngest climber was aged four and her oldest in her/his eighties. All three women (three generations) in the party abseiled down the cliff. Congratulations to them. JCD photo

In preparing for this activation I read a number of blogs from other amateurs who have successfully activated the summit. They were all helpful. However, my only reservation about the advice given was that I did not adequately consider the age differences between them and me. I am a few years older than all of them! The walk is rated at medium. I would rate it as hard. The track is marked with yellow triangles and, towards the summit, additional markers. I had trouble on the return journey missing markers near the end of the track. I thought I would find my own way back to the car park though the bush and I was only one hundred metres out! So that was no great drama. I did not feel in the mood to retrace my steps by climbing back up the track to see the markers. The car park, or rather vehicles in the car park, are visible on the return walk so I knew I was close to the target.

Another message I received from the blogs, and also over the air with am amateur who has previously activated Mount Zero, is that the summit area is small and very exposed. As there were walkers, climbers and ‘boulderers’ on the mountain I chose to activate from a ledge just below the summit. I wondered what the persons were who were carrying something looking a bit like a single bed up the mountain?  I stopped and had a exposition from a young chap so equipped! The ‘mattress’ is a safety device for when you fall! He was a ‘boulderer’!

I was given until about 13:30 local time to complete the activation and return to Hollow Mountain car park. However, I was given a reprieve via a phone message from my xyl who indicated that the family’s climbing experience would take longer. That was bad timing as I was already on the way down!

Here is my log for the activation:

Mt Zero Log 1

I should point out that the contact at 01:26z with Warren, VK3BYD/P was dual mode, that is he used CW and I responded in SSB. How did Warren know to do this? Well I have had contacts from home in CW using my CW call, VK5PF. I did not have any CW gear on the summit – that will come!

Also the contacts at 01:33z with VK2UHI/P , Steve and his son, Thomas, VK2FTES/P were summit to summit and park to park as Steve and Thomas were activating Mount Kosciusko, VK2/SM-001 and VKFF-0269. Logs in the SOTA data base cannot be edited and the other choice is to delete the log and start again!

My SOTA gear

Once again I wish to thank all the chasers who helped make this activation so enjoyable.

Was all the effort worth one SOTA point! Absolutely yes! I recommend the walk.

Grampians National Park, VKFF-0213, 28th December 2015

While driving from Ballarat to Horsham I decided to go back to the Grampians National Park, VKFF-0213 and try and complete my score to at least 44 stations so as to activate the park successfully for the WWFF award. After studying the maps we had we saw that the Park adjoins the Western Highway at two locations. We decided to take the first turn off, travelling West from Ballarat, following the Roses Gap Road. We did not go as far as Roses Gap. We probably would had stayed at Halls Gap but our favourite location was booked out – no surprises there, but no harm done by checking. We found a quiet spot and while Jenny went bird-watching I played radio!

I have previously activated this Park from Mount William, SOTA summit VK3/VS-001. Here is a link to that activation:


Internet coverage was problematic and I could not spot myself.

I found quite a few frequencies which appeared unoccupied and after checking 7.090 I called CQ at 04:57 and was answered by VK3MCD/P, Brian, 59s 56r. I did not want to occupy the SOTA calling frequency and migrated to 7.105 where I stayed until moving to 20 metres. Signals were really good but some VK5 stations suggested that conditions were not as good there.

At 04:59 VK5ATQ, Trevor 59s 56r

05:02 VK3MRH, 59s 59r Rod at Wodonga

05:05 VK7VKV, 59s 56r Ray in the Central Highlands of Tasmania

05:05 VK3FOWL, 59s 59r Julie

05:06 VK5HAC, 59s 59r Bob Salisbury

05:08 VK3YFC, 59s 59r, Joe

05:09 VK2VW, 59s 56r, Brett

05:10 VK3AWG, 59s 59r, Chris

05:12 VK3AMX, 59s 59r, Alex

15:15 VK3IL/P, 58s 56r, David at Philip Island

05:17 VK5SRP, 59s 58r, Phil

05:18 VK5PL, 59s 59r, David

05:21 VK3DBP/QRP, 57s 58r, Paul

05:22 VK3SIL, 59s 59r, Simon

05:23 VK3PF/P, 57s 58r, Peter on Mount Lawson, VK3/VE-129

05:25 VK5PAS, 59s 59r, Paul

05:26 VK3ZPF/P, 59s 59r, Peter in VKFF-0791 P2P

05:27 VK5HSX/P, 59s 53r, Stef in the Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115 P2P

05:27 VK3DAC, 59s 55r, Fred

05:30 VK2HAA, 59s 59r, Dennis Albury

05:31 VK2QR, 59s 59r, Rob Tumut

05:32 VK3PMG, 59s 56r, Mick was the closest station to me, just down the road at Stawell.

05:34 VK3FIRM, 59s 59r, Mike Eltham

05:35 VK3UH, 59s 59r, Ken Yarram

05:36 VK5FANA, 59s 59r, Adrian

05:83 VK5FDEC, 57s 57r, Damien

05:40 VK3BYD, 59s 59r, Warren

I then moved to 14.310 and heard Adam, VK2YK/P, on 13.310. I tried to work him unsuccessfully. I could hear him and heard him say he was going QRT. I took over the frequency and called CQ.

05:47 VK4RF, 59s 59r, Rick

05:49 VK4HA, 59s 59r, Rick

05:51 VK4MNM, 59s 57r, Mike

05:44 ZL2OPB, 58s 57r, Owen, New Plymouth

I called CQ for a few more time and all was quite. There were no VK6 stations audible. I decided to return to 40 metres and found 7.110 to be unoccupied.

06:01 VK2HAV, 57s 51r, Brad, Batemans Bay

06:06 VK5FRGY/P, 59s 59r, Garry Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-0783

06:07 VK3FAPH, 59s 57r, Aaron

06:08 VK2IO, 59s 46r, Gerard

06:11 VK3OF, 59s 58r, Rex

06:13 VK3NBL, 59s 58r, Ray, Melton

06:14 VK2UH, 59s 59r, Andrew, Yass

06:16 VK7NWT, 59s 57r, Scott

06:17 VK5ZGY, 58s 58r, Greg

06:19 VK7DIK, 57s 59r, Dick

06:20 VK5AK/QRP, 57s 57r, Bob, home brew transceiver

06:22 VK5FAKV, 59s 59r, Shawn, Renmark

As we were travelling on to Horsham I decided to pack up. I called a few more times after the last contact and all was quiet. Forty five contacts were made, which with my previous activation, will ensure that the Grampians National Park is complete as far as the WWFF award is concerned. Thanks for the spotters and the callers. You are all greatly appreciated. It was a fun activation. I used my FT897 running 10 watts for 40 metres and 40 watts for 20 metres. The radio was powered from my 33 amp hour ‘thumper’.

The Park

The Grampians are a series of abrupt sandstone mountains that rise from the surrounding plains. Sighting the Grampians from the plains, especially from the Western Highway, is always interesting no matter what the weather.



Sota Peak, Mt William, VK3 VS 001, Grampians National Park, 3rd January 2014, VKFF – 213

The start on the walking trail to the Mount William summit

The start on the walking trail to the Mount William summit

The climb to the  summit was quite strenuous and after checking out the Major Mitchell monument and the commercial radio installations I found a place  just four or five metres from the top where I could set up my station. Thanks to the 22 amateurs who made contact with me this morning on Mt William.

My first contact was with VK3HRA/P3, Allen who was on SOTA summit VK3/VS-001; VK3FPSR, Peter;  VK5WG, Nev;  VK3AMB, Bernard; VK3DET, Ernie; VK5STU/P5, Stu on Mount Gawler, VK5/SE-013; Vk5PAS, Paul;  VK5LY, Larry; VK2DAG, Matt; VK5WG, Nev; VK5NIG/P5, Nigel on SOTA summit VK5/SE-013; VK5CZ, Ian; VK3ANP, David; VK3FPSR, Peter; VK3IL/P3, David; VK3HRA, Allen; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5MBD, Bill; VK1NAM, Andrew; VK3BHR, Phil; VK3BQ/P2, Andrew in Mount Kosciusko National Park and VK3XPT/P7, Perren at Devonport.