Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Monday, 1 January 2018

SOTA Mt Ainslie VK1/AC-040 end of year activation

In Australia we have UTC rollover in Eastern Australian Summer Time at 11 am, meaning you can activate a SOTA summit in one year, then claim it again in the new year for another lot of points, and not be in the dark.

Essentially just an excuse for a National SOTA summit to summit party... I picked VK1/AC-040 Mt Ainslie as it is an easy drive up to and set up.

I had a late night with my partner for the traditional new year, and we ended up sleeping in. By the time had breakfast got and all my SOTA gear ready, and drove to Mt Ainslie and set up, I had 8 minutes left of 2017 to make 4 contacts!

Squid pole on Mt Ainslie, looking North.


Looking South.


Shack on the concrete base, my FT-857D running 40 W.


Got on 40 m at 23:52 z as this had the most activity. Pounced on other activators, making the following summit to summit contacts:

VK3ARR/p Andrew on VK3/VC-019 Mt Warrenheip
VK1MA/2 Matt on VK2/ST-005 Webbs Ridge
VK1FWBD/p Wade on VK1/AC-043 Mt Stomlo

and the 4th contact as 23:57 z VA3OZI/VK Mathew on nearby VK1/AC-042 Black Mountain.

Just for good measure I managed a 5th contact for the year with
VK1ATP/p Paul on Yellow Rabbit Hill at 23:59z

Probably the fastest I've qualified a SOTA summit...

After 11 am and UTC rollover into 2018 I could relax and take my time.

Worked the following:

VK3AFW/p Ron on VK3/VE-031 Mt Skene
VK3ARR/p Andrew on VK3/VC-019 Mt Warrenheip
VA3OZI/VK Mathew on VK1/AC-042 Black Mountain
VK1AD/2 Andrew on VK2/ST-006 South Black Range
VK2JDL Phil
VK3OAK/p Mal on VK3/VS-008 Mt Cole
VK1MBE/2 Andrew on VK2/ST-008 Baldy Range
VK5PAS/p Paul on VK5/SE-013 Mt Gawler
VK3BHR/p Phil on VK3/VN-016 Mt Alexander
VK3HN Paul
VK7FAMP/p Angela on VK7/CH-057 Mt Dromedary
VK7CW Steve
VK3FPSR Peter
VK3SQ Geoff
VK3GGG/p VK3PMG/p Mick on VK3/VS-015 Blue Mountain
VK3PF/p Peter on VK3/VE-126 Mt Stanley
VK2SG/3 Leigh on VK3/VG-001 Mt Cope

Started to get warm in the sun, and had qualified the summit so gave it away.

This was also a WWFF activation as the summit is in VKFF-0850 Mt Ainslie Nature Reserve.






Sunday, 31 December 2017

WWFF Activation Mulanggari Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0856

As had the morning free, decided to activate a park close to home that I needed some more contacts to get the 44 needed for WWFF, Mulanggari Grassland Nature Reserve.

This is close to Gungahlin in NE Canberra, as per last activation parked at an entry point off Gungahlin Drive. Locked gate, need to enter the park on foot.



 Sign showing some of the endangered flora and fauna in the reserve.


Set up the squid pole on the reserve sign, dipole legs to a stake and the fence nearby.


Shack on the table near the reserve sign


Got on 40 m. Worked the following park hunters

VK2USH Steve
VK2NP Cliff
Vk3GGG/VK3PMG Mick
VK3ZPF Peter
VK2IO Gerard
VK2GAZ Garry
VK2PKT Keith
VK4TJ John
VK3NLK/p Nick
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick
VK5EE Tom
VK5PAS Paul
VK1FWBD Wade
VK3ARH Allen
VK2HMS/p Mick
VK4NH/2 VK4DXA/2 Ray

Tried 20 m. Worked the following hunters there

VK4RF/VK4HA Rick
VK5PAS Paul
VK4SYD Rob
VK6XN Hans
VK2PKT Keith

VK2PKT was a surprise as he is in Parkes, only 250 Km away... short hop for 20 m.

As getting warm in the sun, and had enough contacts, gave it away after 12:30 pm and headed home for lunch.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

WWFF Activation Mount Painter Nature Reserve VKFF-0853

As had time off work decided to activate a local WWFF park. I picked Mount Painter VKFF-0853 as it is only a few minutes drive from home, and only needed another 8 contacts to complete the 44 needed for WWFF.

As per previous activations parked off Coulter Drive in Cook and walked up the hill into the park.


Some good views over Belconnen to the North.


Reached the saddle before Mount Painter itself. Didn't climb it today as a bit warm.


As per other activations used a seat at the saddle for squid pole, radio and operator support. Black Mountain and Telstra Tower behind.


Shack on the seat. Set my FT-857D to about 30 W output.



Got on 40 m and spotted myself on ParksnPeaks. Appeared to be the only park activator on. Usual park hunters called.

VK3SQ Geoff
VK2JDR David
VK2EXA Greg
VK2IO Gerard
VK2NP Cliff
VK3ZPF Peter
VK2GKA Karl

Tried 20 m. Worked

VK4TJ John
VK3ZPF Peter
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick
VK5PAS Paul
VK3GGG/VK3PMG Mick

Saw a spot for VK2YK/p Adam in VKFF-1399 Worimi State Conservation Area on 40 m, so returned there to get him for a park to park contact.

Stayed on 40 m and worked the following hunters

VK2PKT Keith
VK2HHA Dennis
VK2YW John
VK4SYD Rob
VK2IFT John
VK3UH Ken

As getting close to lunch time, warming up, and had more than enough contacts, packed up and headed home for lunch.


Wednesday, 27 December 2017

WWFF Activation Coornartha Nature Reserve VKFF-1914

Heading back home to Canberra after Christmas/Boxing Day at my brothers place at Pambula Beach. Activated Bournda National Park in the morning, had lunch at Bega and continued on to Cooma. I had seen on a map of parks a newly added one to the NE of Cooma, Coornatha Nature Reserve, VKFF-1914, so drove there via the Numeralla Road. About 10 km from Cooma reached the park gate.


The gate was not locked so could drive in. Closeup of the park sign. Coornatha Trail behind. The far sign says locked gate ahead. This appears to be the only access road into the park.


Continued along the Coornatha Trail up the hill until finding a suitable spot to operate, a dead tree that I could attach the squid pole to. Drove the car nearby and set up the radio.

Location on a map of the park. Map from ProtectedPlanet website.


Radio and antenna next to the car.


After so many activations my LifePO4 batteries were almost drained, so used a power lead I made up to connect the radio to the car battery. Basically a lead with clips on one end to connect to the battery terminals, the other end having Anderson Power Pole connectors to connect to the radio. Its a bit limiting as you need to have the car parked close to the antenna, but worked in this case. Shack on a rug near the car.


Got on 40 m. Started with a park to park with VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1908 Cockle Bay Nature Reserve.

Then another park to park with VK4FMHT/p Matt in VKFF-0129 D'Aguilar National Park.

Then the usual park hunters

VK3GGG/VK3PMG Mick
VK2UH Andrew
VK3ZPF Peter
VK3FLCS Brett
VK2NP Cliff
VK2HHA Dennis
VK1AT Jim
VK4TJ John
VK3SQ Geoff
VK1FWBK Bill

After 40 m dried up tried 20 m. Worked

VK5EE Tom
VK3GGG/VK3PMG Mick
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick

Saw a spot for Peter VK3PF/p on 40 m on a SOTA summit, VK3/VE-097 so returned there to work him.

And finally contacted VK/HB9DQM/p Manuel on VK2/SM-001 Mt Kosciuszko, Australias highest peak. This was also a park to park as the summit is in VKFF-0269 Kosciuszko NP.

Packed up and headed home.



WWFF Activation Bournda National Park VKFF-0050

After spending Christmas and Boxing day at my brothers place at Pambula Beach on the NSW South Coast, time to head home. Decided to activate Bournda National Park, between Merimbula and Tathra, after which I could cut across to Bega and return home to Canberra via the Bemboka-Cooma route.

Bournda National Park is quite large and covers Bournda lagoon, Wallagoot Lake and Bondi Lake, and was established in 1992. I travelled along the Sapphire Coast Drive, turning off onto Bournda Rd.


I took the first turnoff on the left to the picnic area Scotts Bay, on Wallagoot Lake, and set up on one of the picnic tables at the far end.


Location of my operating spot. Map from Protected Planet website.


Looking back at the rest of the picnic area. A pleasant grassy spot.


View of the table from the other direction


Shack on the table.


Got on 40 m and spotted myself on ParksnPeaks. A steady stream of park hunters called.

VK2USH Steve
VK2IO/m Gerard
VK2NP Cliff
VK3ARH Allen
VK4ANL Nick
VK3SQ Geoff
VK4HN/2 VK4DXA/2 Ray
VK2GKA Karl
VK4TJ John

After 0000 UTC went to 20 m.This went quite well, made several more contacts.

VK3GGG/VK3PMG Mick
VK5PAS Paul
VK4HNS Neil
VK3NLK/p Nick
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick
VK3DAC Fred
VK3ANL Nick
VK2DMS Merv
VK3SQ Geoff
VK2VW Brett
VK5DW Danny
VK7RM Ron
VK4SYD Rob
ZL2AJ/m Warren
VK3TKK/m

Saw a spot on 40 m for VK4SMA/p Mark in VKFF-1631 Plunkett Conservation Park, so got a park to park contact in.

Packed up and headed to Bega for lunch.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

WWFF Activation Mimosa Rocks National Park VKFF-0317

While stopping at my brothers place at Pambula Beach for Christmas we went for a walk in Mimosa Rocks National Park. After doing the walk I drove off to do a quick WWFF park activation.

Mimosa Rocks National Park is a large park on the NSW South Coast, between Bermagui and Tathra, and to the East of Bega. It is named after the paddle steamer Mimosa which sank on the rocks at the Northern end of the park in 1863. Map of the park from Protected Planet.


I decided to activate at Gillards Beach, as my brother advised there was a picnic table there that I could use for an activation.

Turned off the Tathra-Bermagui Rd onto Gillards Rd, taking me to Gillards Campground


At the Northern end of Gillards Campground a lookout over Gillards Beach


Near the lookout a picnic table with space for a squid pole above. Set up here.


Operating position on a map, taken from Protected Planet


View of the table looking back to the car park.


Radio shack on the table


Go on 40 m. Started with a park to park with VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-2013 Wamberal Lagoon Nature Reserve.

Then spotted myself on ParksnPeaks and worked a heap of park hunters
VK3PF/m Peter
VK4NH/2 VK4DXA/2 Ray
VK2USH Steve
VK3ZPF Peter
VK2EXA Greg
VK2PKT Keith
VK2AZ Hillary

Another couple of park to parks, with VK5PAS/p Paul in VKFF-0916 Mount Magnificent Conservation Park and VK1MA/2 Matt in VKFF-0269 Kosciuszko National Park, at Thredbo.

Several more park hunter contacts

VK7JON Jonathon
VK3ARH Allen
VK3GGG/VK3PMG Mick
VK3GRW Greg
VK3SQ Geoff
VK3VVC Allen
VK2YK Adam
VK2HHA Dennis

And another park to park with VK3TKK/p Peter in VKFF-0763 Lerderderg State Park.

As getting late in the day and had a BBQ dinner at my brothers place packed up after 20 contacts. A nice park I will enjoy returning to to complete the 44 contacts for WWFF sometime.