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!

Mount Arapiles, VK3/VW-022, VKFF-0765, 11th April 2016

After leaving Butcher Gap Conservation Park and Kingston SE we drove to Naracoorte where we stayed overnight. The next day, Monday, we were to drive to the Grampians National Park to stay in the small resort town of Halls Creek for a few days. There we would meet our son and his family from Sydney. We had plenty of time for the journey so we had planned to re-visit Mount Arapiles, Sota peak, VK3/VW-022, worth one point to the SOTA activator. However, while I had qualified the peak on a previous visit, I could now activate the peak again in a new year for an additional SOTA point.

Here is the link to that activation:

Also since the last activation, Mt Arapiles-Tooan State Park has now been added to the available parks for the purposes of the WWFF program as VKFF-0765. So there are now two reasons to visit this magnificent location.

While driving to the summit, accessible to two-wheeled vehicles, I noticed that the sky was threatening rain. Perhaps this was the remnant rain which passed over the Coorong National Park as we drove from Adelaide. At Mount Arapiles the wind was blowing but not quite at gale force. On my previous activation I did not set up at the summit – there were simply too many rock climbers and visitors around.  This time I decided to seek a more sheltered spot.

We spent just over an hour at Mt Arapiles and I qualified the summit with 20 contacts and made a reasonable start towards WWFF qualification.

Here is my SOTA log for the activation.

Mt Arapiles Log

view from Mount Arapiles

JCD photo

This photo shows a view looking towards the summit of Mount Arapiles showing the grain cropping land of the Wimmera in the background. The views from Mount Arapilies are spectacular. The Northern end of the Grampians is just visible in the photo. The distance between Mount Arapiles and the Grampians is stated on a plaque at Reeds Lookout in the Grampians as 45 kilometres.

Once again thank you to all of the chasers. It was great fun.

Sota peak Mount Arapilies, VK3 VN 022, 4th January 2014

Mt Arapilies - summit

Mt Arapilies – summit

I decided to activate Mount Arapalies today, 4th January 2014.  The temperature was in the low twenties, there was no rain but the wind was blowing a gale. I drove up the single lane sealed track to the top: an easy drive and from the car park, walked to the summit where the trig point is located and also the site of the CFA fire-watch tower. The tower was occupied and I could hear radio chatter through the door of the building. I resisted the urge to knock and make myself known!  And I resisted the urge to call on the Mount Arapilies two metre repeater on 146.850 and try and stir up some business. As it turned out I made the right decision. There was no shortage of contacts. My first contact was at 01:02 and my last, 34 (33 successful) was at 02:42. The discrepancy was because of my obsessiveness over my signal report to a NSW mobile station. He just couldn’t understand his report.  He was 5 and 0 with me and the zero proved the problem.

I decided not to set up on the summit as the wind was ferocious. I tucked myself away in a secluded spot and it wasn’t so bad. There are plenty of activation spots for the less adventurous, like me, if it is really windy. The place was busy: mainly walkers and rock climbers.

My first contact was with VK3CAT/p, Tony, in the Alpine National Park. Then followed VK5WG, Nev; VK5LY, Larry; VK3FB/p, Len; VK3FPSR, Peter; VK5CZ, Ian; VK5PAS, Paul; VK3YSP, Joe, at home; VK3FD, QRP 2.5 watts, Ian; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5STU, Stu; VK5FUZZ, Paul; VK3IL/p, David; VK3ARR, Andrew; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5JDS/p, Darryl at Port Lincoln; VK3VBI, Ron; VK2DAG; VK3ANL, QRP, Delta Loop, Nick; VK5FRCP, Rex; VK3SOL, Fred; VK2YW/m, John; VK3YN, Mark; VK3BYD, Warren; VK3UT QRP, Greg; VK5HCF, Col; VK5IS, Ian; VK3MEG, Steve; VK1NAM, Andrew; VK3YDN, John, VK2PDW, Wayne; VK3VEK, Kevin and VK3JP, Ron.

The dedication plaque for Fire Service lookout

The dedication plaque for Fire Service lookout