Sunday, 27 November 2016

Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve VKFF-0989

For the Sunday of the VKFF Activation weekend, decided to activate a famous park in the ACT, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve VKFF-0989. This park is well known to Canberrans and to many visitors to the ACT. It is located off Paddys River Road to the SE of Canberra. or via Point Hut Rd then Tidbinbilla Road. Overseas readers may know of NASAs Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Complex. This is close by. The park has its own website

It has only been activated once before for a WWFF activation by VK5BJE/1, John. His blog is at

Went via the Tidbinbilla Road route. Entry to the park.

A short drive up the road you will come to the visitors centre. If you don't have a pass you will need to park here and go inside to purchase a ticket. I paid $11.50 for a car day pass. This gets you a pass ticket with a bar code that opens a boom gate, to let you into the park.

As per John's activation first drove to the picnic areas near the entrance, but as a bit lower down the hill found no mobile phone coverage, so gave this a miss. Needed to be able to access ParksnPeaks...
Drove on a bit further. Found some spotty coverage on the road, but this vanished as I got further into the park, it is surrounded by high mountains. Returned along the road to an area known as Dalsetta. This is a car park with some picnic tables and the start of several walks, eg Gibraltar Peak. For those who have lived in Canberra for a while this is the site of the old visitors centre. A good sign here shows the location.

Toilets nearby, handy for a long park activation.

Found a picnic table close by with shade from a couple of large gum trees, even an old post nearby for squid pole support, and good mobile phone coverage. Perfect :) Set up the shack.

After getting the radio going found I had a furry visitor watching me.

He seemed more interested in the radio than myself. Perhaps keen to work some DX?

Quite a lot of Kangaroos nearby in the shade of the trees, one of the attractions of the park. There are also Emus, Koalas and water birds to look at further on.

Got on 40m. Started with several park to park contacts:

VK3XV/p Tony in VKFF-0775 Werribee Gorge
VK5PL/p David in VKFF-1739 Para Wirra Conservation Park
VK5ZGY/p Greg in VKFF-1025 Dingley Dell Conservation Park
VK5FANA/p Adrian in VKFF-1706 Eastern Spencer Gulf Coastal Park
VK2QR/p Rob in VKFF-0054 Brindabella National Park

Then spotted myself and works some park hunters. VK7CW Steve, VK5NFT Tom, VK3SQ Geoff.
Gerard VK2IO/p came up in VKFF-1386 Upper Nepean State Conservation Area

A few more hunters Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG, VK3SFG Sergio, VK1MT mobile VK2 Matt.
Some more parks

VK5KLV/p Les in VKFF-1757 Upper Spencer Gulf Marine National Park
VK3NBI/p Bryce in VKFF-0796 Ewens Ponds CP
VK5GJ/p Greg and VK5GI/p Norm in VKFF-1061 Moana Sands Conservation Park.
A fairly weak contact with VK3SG/p Leigh in VKFF-0264 Kinglake National Park
VK5PAS/p Paul in VKFF-0906 Marne Valley Conservation Park
VK7DW/p Andrew in VKFF-1145 Notley Gorge State Reserve

A few more hunters, VK3KMH Mike, VK2ZK Dave, VK2JDC Dave, VK2XXM Robert, VK2XSE/m Liz.

As usual worked Rob VK4AAC/3 in VKFF-0728 Cobboboonee National Park.
Grabbed Neil VK4HNS/p in VKFF-0326 Moogerah Peaks National Park

Some more hunters, VK7PLR Peter, Vk4GJC Geoff, Vk2GPT Glen and VK2LDN Glen.

Later saw a spot for VK3PF/p Peter in VKFF-0962 Colquhoun Regional Park. After working him Allen VK3ARH/p in VKFF-0757 Enfield SP grabbed me for a contact.

Gerard VK2IO/p had moved on to a new park, VKFF-1292 Burragorang State Conservation Area.

There was a spot for a SOTA activation, VK3LED/p Col on VK3/VC-017 The Jim Jim, so worked Col on this rarely activated summit.

Some more park hunters, VK3YE Peter, VK1AD/VK1NAM Andrew.

Worked Paul VK5PAS/p in another park, VKFF-0832 Swan Reach Conservation Reserve

A few more hunters. Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, VK3MRH Ron, VK3ELH Simon and VK2VU Gary.

After all this radio activity got the LO signal on my TS480, so the battery was about flat... Packed up after lunch. Luckily got 45 contacts so just managed to qualify the park activation for WWFF.

A few more photos in the park. The nearby walk to Gibraltar Peak. This is the rocky peak in the centre. Quite a nice walk, but left it today.

A view looking up Tidbinbilla valley. Mt Domain on the left and Tidbinbilla Mountain on the right, both SOTA peaks, hard walks.

Further into the park, the wetlands walk.

Koala Sanctuary

Tidbinbilla Mountain from a lookout in the park.

Looking down from the lookout back towards the visitors centre.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Ian
    I must have missed your post on Tidbinbilla. It is excellent and the photos are really good. I must say that I reckon your spot is better than at Webbs Picnic Ground. It is more open and having mobile coverage would be good. I actually got my hand key out and hooked it up but in the end decided just to chase hunters as I might not get back to the park again for a while. If I had mobile coverage I would have done the activation a bit differently. It was good fun all the same. I am surprised I was the first to activate the Park. I am chuffed!Thanks for bringing your post to my attention.
    73 John D, VK5BJE/VK5PF