Monday, 4 December 2017

WWFF VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 500 Award

Following the VKFF Activation weekend I got a lot of new WWFF parks confirmed, and was able to apply for the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 500 award.

As I am now the VKFF representative for the VK1 region was able to approve and issue myself with this award, prior to taking this over they were issued by Paul VK5PAS. A bit unusual but easy enough to do. Will also be issuing awards to other VK1 calls as required. Here it is.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

WWFF 176 Park to Park Award

As a result of the many park to park contacts made last weekend for the 2017 VKFF Activation Weekend, managed to confirm over 176 unique park to park contacts, and apply for the award.

Received promptly from the awards manager Danny ON4VT.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

WWFF Activation Crace Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0838

For the Sunday of the VKFF Activation Weekend I was planning to visit VKFF-0992 Old Naas Travelling Stock Route, however with wet weather forecast later in the day decided to do another closer by park, Crace Grassland Nature Reserve, VKFF-0838.

It is about a 20 minute drive from home. I took Gungahlin Drive, turning off onto Sandford St in Mitchell, then South into Hoskins St until coming to the park gate at the bend in the road.

A close up of the park map on the gate

Not far from the gate was a metal picket spike in the ground, this made a good support for the squid pole, set up the radio shack there. Able to get one dipole leg to a nearby bush and the other to the fence.

Operating location on a map of the park, map courtesy of Openstreetmaps

Radio on the table. Note the blue Aerogard insect repellent, there were lots of flies here...

Got on 40m. First contact a park to park with Rob VK4AAC/p in VKFF-1511 Clear Mountain Conservation Park. Not very strong but readable with the low noise in the park.

Spotted myself on parksnpeaks and got some park hunters. VK4PDX Col, VK7FRJG Rod, VK4TJ John.

Another park to park with Gerard VK2JNG/p in VKFF-0268 Koreelah National Park. Followed this with park to park contacts with Paul VK5PAS/p and Maria VK5FMAZ/p in VKFF-0832 Swan Reach Conservation Park. And another park to park with Mick VK3PMG/p/VK3GGG/p in VKFF-2111 Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve.

Then some more of the usual park hunters. VK2VW Brett, VK3PF Peter, VK4RF/VK4HA Rick.

After 40 m went quiet decided to try 20m. Lowered the squid pole and changed the links to 20m. I got John, VK4TJ again, a lot easier to copy on 20m as the storm static crashes were not as bad.
I worked Gerard VK2JNG/p again in VKFF-0268 Koreelah National Park. A bit stronger than 40m but lots of QSB.

Didn't seem to be much activity on 20m so returned to 40m. Got VK4NHS/p Neil in VKFF-0198 Girraween National Park. Followed by another park to park with Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-1984 Pitt Town Nature Reserve. The NVIS short hop propagation had only just opened up from him to me.

Some more park hunters. VK2YK Adam, VK3ARH Allen, VK1CT Chris in nearby Gungahlin.
VK2PKT Keith in Parkes.

A couple more park to parks. VK5GY/p Gordon in VKFF-0875 Caroona Creek CP, VK3ANL/p Nick in VKFF-2113 Ironbark Road Nature Conservation Reserve.

A hunter contact with VK7JON Jonathon. Then another park to park with VK4SMA/p Mark in VKFF-0121 Crows Nest National Park

At this stage I could see rain approaching over the hill, so quickly packed up. The first few drops were falling as I drove off. Got quite heavy driving home. After getting home it stopped, however glad I had packed up when I did as the rest of the day the rain was on and off.

Total of 25 contacts so another park I'll need to revisit for the 44 needed for WWFF.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

WWFF Activation Mt Pleasant Nature Reserve VKFF-1775

With it being the VKFF Activation Weekend decided to activate a newly added Canberra Nature Park, Mt Pleasant Nature Reserve, VKFF-1775.

The park is centered around Mt Pleasant, a small hill near the Canberra suburbs of Campbell and close to Duntroon, an historic Royal Military College in Canberra.

Drove down Fairburn Ave and turned off into Robert Campbell Rd. Then turned off this onto General Bridges Dr, following this to the end, Mt Pleasant lookout.

A sign on the Easterns side of the lookout explaining the history of Duntroon. Canberra airport on the left and Queanbeyan on the right.

View from the lookout looking West. Lake Burley Griffin, the Captain Cook waterjet and Black Mountain behind the end of the cannon.

A view looking down on Russell Offices. Parliament House on the left, Canberra city centre on the right behind the trees.

A sign of the history of Mt Pleasant.

The Mt Pleasant summit is actually not in the Mt Pleasant Nature Reserve, so headed to the other end of the lookout to a walking track entering the reserve.

Decided to set up the radio using the large log just off the walking track. Location on a map of the park, from

Park station on the table, using it and the log for squid pole support. Used a couple of nearby trees for dipole legs support.

Shack on the table. My FT-857D set to 30 w output, running off a LifePO4 battery. Canberra airport in the background, I could watch planes taking off and landing while operating...

Got on 40m. Heard Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0911 Morgan Conservation Park, just about to go to 20m, so quickly grabbed him before he left, along with with his wife Marija VK5FMAZ/p.They had a good strong signal. Paul kindly offered me the frequency, 7.144 Mhz the park call frequency, so stayed where I was and worked the hunters.

Being a parks activation weekend most of the contacts were other park activators.
VK3XV/p Tony in VKFF-0624 Heathcote-Graytown National Park
VK3NLK/p Nikolas in VKFF-0750 Arthurs Seat State Park
VK3PF/p Peter in VKFF-2199 Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve

Usual park hunters, VK2XXM Robert, VK2YW John, VK2HHA Dennis, VK4RF/VK4HA Rick.

A few more park to park contacts
VK5GI/p Norm and VK5GJ/p Greg in VKFF-0999 Bandon Conservation Park
VK3FLCS/p Greg in VKFF-2158 Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve

Several more hunters, VK3SQ Geoff, VK2VW Brett, VK4NH Ray, VK4DXA Roy, VK2MZ Rob.

Another park to park with Ade VK4SOE/p in VKFF-0198 Girraween National Park

More hunters, VK2DSG Les, VK2PKT Keith, VK4GSF George, VK4TJ John, VK3OF Rex.
From then on worked only parks

VK2IO/Gerard on SOTA Summit Mt Banks, VK2/CT-032, also VKFF-0041 Blue Mountains National Park
VK4NHH/p Rob in VKFF-1639 Samford Conservation Park
VK3ARH/p Allen in VKFF-2070 Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve
VK4AAC/p Rob in VKFF-0200 Glass House Mountains National Park
VK4HNS/p Neil in VKFF-0471 Sundown National Park
VK2JNG/p Gerard in VKFF-0492 Toonumbar National Park

Worked the VK7 couple VK7JON/p Jonathon and his partner Helen VK7FOLK/p in VKFF-1802 Ferndene State Reserve

Heard Liz VK2XSE/p in a rare park in far Western NSW, VKFF-1269 Balowra State Conservation Area. This is out near Cobar and is quite isolated. Worked her and spotted her on parksnpeaks as no mobile coverage out there.

A few more park to park contacts

VK3ZPF/p in VKFF-2135 Main Ridge Nature Conservation Reserve
VK3ARH/p Allen in another park, VKFF-0757 Enfield State Park

As the weather was changing to stormy decided to pack up for the day and head home. 35 contacts with 20 of these park to parks so a good activation.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

WWFF Activation Dunlop Grasslands Nature Reserve VKFF-0839

With the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award activation weekend on there were lots of VK3 National Parks on the air, so decided to chase them from a local WWFF park for park to park contacts. I decided to return to Dunlop Grasslands Nature Reserve VKFF-0839. Needed to get 16 contacts to complete the 44 needed for a WWFF point, plus its a nice park to visit.

As per last time drove to the Canberra suburb of Fraser, parked next to the gate closing off Binns St, and walked to the reserve. As some distance to walk just took a carry bag with the radio, battery, antenna, and squid pole, no table and chair this time. Sign for Dunlop Grasslands Nature Reserve, a Canberra Nature Park.

Near the sign a gate for entrance to the park. Despite the sign didn't see any cattle, only kangaroos. As you can see the gate was locked, so just climbed over it.

Walked into the reserve until finding the log under the large gum tree I operated from last time.

Set up here. Map showing the location in the park, from website.

Set up the squid pole on the log. Dipole legs tied out to a couple of nearby trees.

Shack on the log. Made a good table/seat with some shade.

Got on 40m. On air just in time to hear Gerard VK2IO/p in a park, asking for last calls before going QRT. I quickly called him. He was in VKFF-2014 Wambina Nature Reserve.

Also worked Andrew VK2UH in Yass, for once I could hear him, NVIS has not been good lately for close by stations... Then chased another park activation on ParksnPeaks, Jonathon VK7JON/p in VKFF-1133 Bay of Fires Conservation Area.

Went on to work some of the regular park hunters. VK2NP Cliff, VK2HHA Dennis, VK2YK Adam,
VK4TJ John.

Got called for another park to park with VK3ANL/p Nick in VKFF-2104 Gresswell Hill Nature Conservation Reserve with a good signal.

Worked usual park hunter Rick VK4RF/VK4HA with a good signal, then a stream of park to park contacts.

VK3PF/p on Arthurs Seat SOTA summit VK3/VC-031, also VKFF-0750 Arthurs Seat State Park
VK3SRC/p Joe in VKFF-0621 Churchill National Park
VK4HNS/p Neil in VKFF-1574 Knapp Creek Conservation Park
VK5PAS/p Paul and VK5FMAZ/p Maria in VKFF-0113 Coopracambra National Park
VK3FLCS/p Brett in VKFF-0264 Kinglake National Park

Worked a few more park hunters. VK3SQ Geoff, VK2PKT Keith
Another SOTA summit, VK3IL/p on VK3/VE-036 Mt Winstanley

Another park to park with VK2JNG/p Gerard in VKFF-0491 Tooloom National Park with a good strong signal.

Worked VK3SFG Sergio, then VK3OAK/p Malcolm in VKFF-0728 Cobboboonee National Park

Had a very weak call from VK7BEN/p Ben, he was difficult to copy but think I got him in VKFF-0347 Mount Field National Park. 

Gave 20 m a try. Managed to contact VK6NI Nigel, VK7BEN/p again, a little bit stronger on 20 m and VK5QI Mark.

Went back to 40 m before packing up for a last listen. Heard VK3PF/p calling in another park, VKFF-0333 Mornington Peninsula National Park.

Well and truly qualified the park, headed home.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

WWFF Activation Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1918

Having stopped overnight at Batemans Bay on a bit of a weekend break with my partner decided to do a first time activation of a nearby WWFF park, Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1918.

The park is to the North of Batemans Bay and consists of two sections, one on the Western side of Cullendulla Creek, mainly mangroves, and another section on the Eastern side and to the South called Square Head. From Batemans Bay drove North on the Princes Highway, turning off onto Cullendulla Drive. Turned off this onto Blairs Road into Long Beach housing estate. Turned off and parked at the car park for the start of the walking tracks into Square Head.

Set up the WWFF station in the car park. Operating spot shown, map from

Used one of the bollards in the car park for the squid pole support, table and chairs set up nearby for the radio.

Looking up the hill at the shack

Close up of the shack. My FT-857D running off a LifePO4 battery. Set the power to 30 W.

Got on 40 m. Disappointingly a lot of local electrical QRM, probably from the nearby houses on the edge of the reserve. Many had solar panel systems which can be quite noisy electrically.

I first worked Peter, VK3TKK/p in VKFF-0231 Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. He was about to go clear, so quickly called him, even though I had not even looked up the VKFF number of my park yet.

Made the mistake of spotting myself on 7.144 Mhz. It sounded quiet to me but was only 2 Khz below the VK2 WIA broadcast on 7.146 Mhz from Sydney. There was no short hop propagation there but they were affecting chasers, so moved to 7.140 Mhz. Must remember this for Sunday morning activations...

Went on the work VK2XXM Robert, VK3OHM Mark, VK6ZRW/7 Ray, VK3MRG/p Marshall and VK2VW Brett.

Got called again by Peter, VK3TKK/p, this time in another park, VKFF-0373 Murray-Sunset National Park. So another park to park contact.

Got called by Gerard VK2IO in Sydney, who advised I had come out of the noise to a good strong signal. So NVIS short hop was working again. Went on to work VK5BJE John, VK3BBB Brian, VK3FLCS Brett.

Spoke to VK2HEY/p Ross, in Sydney but using a remote station in Cowra. He was quite strong. VK7MPR Mark, VK2YW John in Wagga very strong, and VK2PKT Keith in Parkes, also strong.

Hunters seemed to dry up, so packed up for lunch after 16 contacts. Don't mind returning to this park for the remainder of the 44 contacts, very attractive with lots of Burrawang Palms and Spotted Gum Trees.

A photo from a walk I did earlier here.

View across to Batemans Bay from the Southern end of Square Head

Sunday, 29 October 2017

WWFF Activation Callum Brae Nature Reserve VKFF-0836

With a nice warm sunny Sunday afternoon decided to do another WWFF park activation. Returned to Callum Brae Nature Reserve VKFF-0836, to try and complete the 44 contacts needed for a WWFF point. Its a pleasant wooded Canberra Nature Park popular with bird watchers.

As per last time entered the park at the North East gate off Narrabundah Lane in Symonston. Sign for the park

Park gate. Gap next to the gate for walkers,

A map of the park on the gate

Set up the squid pole using a small gum tree sapling, and table and chairs nearby. Had my partner, Sarah along for a listen so 2 chairs set up.

FT857D radio on the table, plus afternoon tea stuff...

Started on 40 m, set the power output on the FT-857D to 30 W. Seems to be a good power output to use without draining the LifePO4 battery too much, and strong enough for chasers to copy easily.

Started with a park to park contact with VK3SMA/p, Mark in VKFF-0719 Lockyer National Park.
A bit low down but quite readable with the low noise floor in the park.

After working Mark got called by Brett VK2VW, who asked me to move down 5 to 7.130 Mhz.
Brett had a good 59 signal. After working Brett stayed on the same frequency and spotted myself on ParksnPeaks for more chasers.

Worked Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, VK3FMKE Keith and VK1FWBK Bill.

Got called for another park to park contact with Nick, VK3ANL/p in VKFF-2113 Ironbark Road Nature Conservation Reserve, near Melbourne. He had a good S8-S9 signal.

This was it for park to park contacts. Went on to work the following chasers

VK5FANA Adrian
VK2YK Adam
VK3FI Noel
VK3BBB Brian
VK2IO Gerard
VK2ZK Dave
VK3KYF Garry
VK5FMAZ Marija
VK5HS Ivan
VK2UH Andrew.

I briefly tried switching to 20 m and tried a few calls, but no answers. There was heavy Pacific, Asian and European QRM from a world wide contest on, probably being drowned out...

Gave it away after 25 contacts. With my earlier activation 62 contacts, well over the 44 needed for the park point for WWFF.

For bird life saw some Crimson Rosellas, Eastern Rosellas, Magpies and heard some Gang Gang Cockatoos, which have a distinctive creaking door type call. A pleasant spot for an afternoon activation.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 50 Years Hunter Award

The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service turns 50 this year

To celebrate, the VKFF awards manager created awards for hunting or activating 5 VKFF references in NSW parks during October.

I made the following contacts:

Date Band Mode MyCall DXcall Operator Reference
22/10/2017 80m SSB VK1DI VK2IO/P VK2IO VKFF-2018
22/10/2017 40m SSB VK1DI/P VK4HNS/2 VK4HNS VKFF-1347
15/10/2017 80m SSB VK1DI VK2IO/P VK2IO VKFF-1905
7/10/2017 40m SSB VK1DI VK2JNG/P VK2JNG VKFF-0116
5/10/2017 40m SSB VK1DI VK2JNG/P VK2JNG VKFF-1958

References worked

VKFF-2018 - Wianamatta Nature Reserve
VKFF-1347 - Maroomba State Conservation Area
VKFF-1905 - Castlereagh Nature Reserve
VKFF-0116 - Cottan-Bimbang National Park
VKFF-1958 - Macquarie Nature Reserve

Here is the award

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

WWFF Activation Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990

With a nice warm Sunday afternoon decided to activate a local WWFF park,  Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990. The 2017 VKFF Team Championship was on, so even if not part of a team there was a chance to grab some park to park contacts.

I have activated this park before, and set up at the same place at the end of Stockdill Drive in Holt, just before the water treatment works. After passing through a pedestrian gate set up on the table at the start of the path leading down to the river, using a park sign for squid pole support. There are 2 chairs as my partner Sarah came along to listen in.

For the first time using a newly acquired radio, a Yaesu FT-857D. Finding my FT-817 with 5 W too low a power to be heard that well now days, and my IC-7300 a bit big and too good to knock about in the field, so the FT-857D fits the purpose well of a small, high powered radio for park activations.

After some fiddling found the menu setting to set the power to 20 W and got on 40 m. Started with a park to park with Marija VK5FMAZ/p and Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-1763 Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park. Both were good 59 signals.

Another park to park with VK4WIP/p Mark in VKFF-0300 Main Range National Park.

Spotted myself on ParksnPeaks and  worked the usual chasers. VK7JON John, VK5HS Ivan, VK3BBB Brian, VK4TJ Brian.

Had a faint call from another VKFF Team Championship pair, VK5KLV/p Les and VK5KPR/p Pete in VKFF-1757 Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park. They were using 5 W but could hear them okay.

Worked another chaser VK3KMH Mike, then another park to park with VK4HNS/2 Neil in VKFF-1347 Maroomba State Conservation Area

Went on to work more chasers. VK7ZGK Graham, VK3AW Laurie, VK5KSW Steve, VK3LO Colin and VK2YK Adam.

While chatting to Adam felt a few spots of rain. Looking to the West noticed a line of rain moving in, so figured a good time to pack up... You can see the rain approaching in the photo.

With 16 contacts and my previous activation had more than the 44 needed for a WWFF point.

When I got home, instead of emailing my log to Paul, VK5PAS, was able to upload it myself to Logsearch. I am now the VKFF representative for the Australian Capital Territory, VK1 call area, so will be uploading logs for all VK1 VKFF park activations from now on.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

WWFF VKFF Hunter 475 Honour Roll Award

Noticed on the WWFF logsearch page I'd managed to get confirmed contacts with over 475 VKFF parks, so applied for the award.

Received promptly from the VKFF awards manager, Paul, VK5PAS.

Friday, 29 September 2017

SOTA Rileys Mountain VK2/SY-002

After doing some walking in the Blue Mountains West of Sydney, wanted to do one more SOTA activation on the way home to Canberra, so drove to the start of the walk to Rileys Mountain VK2/SY-002. This is only the 2nd summit of 2 in the SY - Sydney Region, a new region for me to activate.

This is reached via Mulgoa Road, then following Fairlight Rd to the end to a car park for the walk. The track and summit is in Blue Mountains National Park, which is also WWFF park VKFF-0041.

Sign for Rileys Mountain walk

Walked along the track for 2.4 Km. Fairly easy dirt track walk, if a little warm as the day was around 25 c. After about a 20 minute walk reached a track on the left to Rileys Mountain Lookout

A short walk later reached Rileys Mountain Lookout. Spectacular views over the Nepean River. View to the South.

View to the North. Think it is Penrith in the distance.

The Nepean River about 200 m below.

The dot is a small power boat. Zoomed in on my camera.

Quite rocky and scrubby at the lookout so would have been tricky to put up the dipole there. Returned to the lookout track turnoff and used the sign for squid pole support, strung out the dipole legs up and down the road.

Shack on the tarp.

Started with a S2S on 40 m SSB with Glen VK3YY/p on VK3/VC-016 Mt Beenak. Then worked Nick VK3ANL/p activating a WWFF park, VKFF-2103.

Went on to work some of the regular SOTA/park hunters. Tony, VK3CAT, Col VK3LED, Steve VK7CW. Peter VK3GQ, Nev VK5WG, Peter VK3PF, John VK4TJ, Adam VK2YK. Allen VK3ARH/m. Rick VK4RF/HA, Gerard VK2IO.

Finally before packing up another park to park with Gerard VK2JNG/p in VKFF-1947 Kattang Nature Reserve near Port Macquarie. He was a very strong signal and was receiving my 5W signal strong too.

Track log of walk.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

SOTA Mt Tomah VK2/CT-043

After activating Mount Banks VK2/CT-032 continued along Bells Line of Road to Mt Tomah. Turned off onto Rainbow Ravine Rd and Charleys Rd, reaching the summit, a communications tower.

From reading other activators logs I didn't even try setting up here, there is apparently heavy QRM from the tower... just wanted to take a look.

Drove back to the picnic area at the junction of Bells Line of Road and Rainbow Ravine Road. Gerard VK2IO had operated here in his blog. This is still within the summit activation zone. I set up in the same spot and has S8 of noise all over 40 m :(

Packed up and drove a bit up Rainbow Ravine Rd. Just down from the rural fire station hall found a patch of scrub with a sapling suitable for squid pole support. The fire station hall can be seen. Apparently the hall is also another noisy site... Was still in the activation zone here.

Looking back down the hill.

SOTA shack on the tarp. Quite pleasant in the semi shade.

Got on 40 m. Still about an S1 of noise but considerably easier listening to the picnic ground nearby.

Worked the following stations. VK3PF Peter, VK2WRL/p Ben, VK3IQ , VK2IO Gerard.

Got called by VK3MCD/p Brian on VK3/VE-105 Mt Big Ben for a S2S.

Packed up and headed back to Katoomba.