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.



Sunday, 24 December 2017

WWFF Activation Yurammie State Conservation Area VKFF-1403

While driving down to my brothers place at Pambula Beach for Christmas stopped by to activate Yurammie State Conservation Area VKFF-1403. I activated this park last year before and after Christmas, so this was my 3rd activation. Conditions were poor last 2 times and got chased off by rain, so hoped to do better this time.

Parked at the locked gate for the road to Yellow Pinch Dam as before.


Walked into the park behind the sign and to the North. Set up as per last time using a stump for squid pole mast support.


Radio on a nearby rock.


Got on 40 m, FT857D set to 30 w output. Started with a SOTA contact with Gerard VK2IO/p on VK2/IL-006.

Then worked the following hunters:

VK2HHA Dennis
VK2NP Cliff
VK1FWBD Wade
VK3SQ Geoff
VK2YMU Robert
VK3TKK Peter
VK4AAC/2 Rob
VK4TJ John

When 40 m dried up for contacts moved to 20 m. Worked the following:

VK2USH Steve
VK5PAS Paul
VK3DAC Fred
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick.

As getting late packed up and headed to my brothers place at Pambula Beach for Christmas Eve.

Only 14 contacts, so need to return yet again to finish the 44 needed for WWFF.




WWFF Activation Kuma Nature Reserve VKFF-1954

As travelling down to my brothers place at Pambula Beach for Christmas, had a look on the map for parks to activate on the way from Canberra to the South Coast. Spotted VKFF-1954 Kuma Nature Reserve, just outside Cooma on the Monaro Highway, heading towards Nimmitabel.

Drove past and spotted it easily enough, an access point near the turnoff to Old Dangelong Road. There was a car parking area and a style allowing pedestrian access to the reserve.


Map of the park from ProtectedPlanet website.


A bit about the park, taken from http://grasslands.ecolinc.vic.edu.au/grassland/kuma-nature-reserve

History
Gazetted in 2003, this reserve is the largest area of natural grassland conserved within the NSW Southern Tablelands. The site was identified during assessment work for fauna and flora for construction of a gas pipleine. It was established as an offset area for another, unrelated development, and when the pipeine, was constructed, it was diverted away from the reserve. Prior to gazettal, the reserve had been used for sheep grazing.

Signifigance
A large and diverse site with the nationally listed endangered ecological community, Natural Temperate Grassland of the South Eastern Highlands. The site conserves habitat of three threatened reptile species, the Endangered (Commonwealth & NSW) Grassland Earless Dragon, and Vulnerable (Commonwealth and NSW) Striped Legless Lizard, and the Vulnerable (NSW) Little Whip Snake. Threatened flora are also present: Hoary Sunray (Leucochrysum albicans) and Silky swainson-pea (Swainsona sericea). Other significant and regionally declining flora species occur.

I found from some reading on the net Kuma is the original aboriginal name for the area, where the town name Cooma comes from.

I set up using the park sign to support the squid pole, about the only structure available. Note the nearby power line. It made 40 m QRM with about an S8 of noise.


Shack in the grass. To save space in the car I didn't have my camp table and chair this time. I'd forgotten to pack my tarp, so just sat on my pack...


Got on 40m. Despite the QRM from the power line managed to work several chasers with good signals.

VK3SQ Geoff
VK1MT/2 Matt, mobile not far away
VK2HHA Dennis
VK2NP Cliff
VK1FWBD Wade
VK2EXA Greg

A park to park with Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-1906 Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve

Went on to work

VK2YK Adam
VK4TJ John
VK2USH Steve
VK5PAS Paul

Switched to 20m. First to call back VK5PAS Paul with a 59 plus signal. He was only S7 on 40m.

Worked some more park hunters
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick
Vk4AAC/2 Rob
VK2IO/p Gerard, again in VKFF-1906 Cecil Hoskins Nature Reserve
VK2VW Brett
VK5PL David

As getting on and still some way to drive packed up after 18 QSOs. Headed to Nimmitabel for lunch.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

2017 VKFF Activation Weekend Certificate

For activating 2 parks during the VKFF Activation Weekend, received a certificate from the WWFF VKFF co-ordinator Paul, VK5PAS. Thanks Paul.


Friday, 22 December 2017

WWFF Activation Swamp Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-0987

The start of the Chrismas/New Year break for me today, and good weather so decided to do another WWFF park activation. Looking at close by parks decided to return to VKFF-0987 Swamp Creek Nature Reserve, as I still needed more contacts to reach the 44 for WWFF.

As per last time drove down Uriarra Rd to Uriarra crossing, then turned left after crossing the bridge. Drove up the hill and parked near a gate on the right allowing access to the park. Last time I set up near the gate, but this was in the full sun and now had too many prickly grasses, so set up the hill a bit in the shade of a tree.


Even weeds have their uses, this one made a good support for a dipole leg!...


Looking back down the hill to the gate, Uriarra Rd and the Brindabella mountains in the distance.


Shack on the table, my FT-857D set to 30W output.


Got on 40 m. Started with chasing VK3PF/p Peter on SOTA summit VK3/VE-071 with a good signal. Next a park to park with Adam VK2YK/p in VKFF-1882 Awabakal Nature Reserve

Spotted myself on ParksnPeaks on 7.150 Mhz. Got VK3ZPF Peter, then another park to park contact with VK2IO/m Gerard in VKFF-0041 Blue Mountains National Park. He was in the car park for the walk to SOTA summit VK2/SY-002 Rileys Mountain where I'd spoken to him earlier at home.

Then some of the regular park hunters.

VK3SFG Sergio
VK3GGG/VK3PMG Mick
VK4TJ John
VK1FWBD Wade
VK2NP Cliff
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick
VK3SQ Geoff
VK2EXA Greg
VK3AW Laurie

After contacts on 40m dried up went to 20m. Another couple of contacts with VK3s via sporadic e
VK3ZPF Peter again
VK3DAC Fred

Saw a spot for a SOTA activation by VK2HRX/p Compton on 40m, so returned there. He was on VK2/HU-024.

As the table was now in the sun and temperature starting to get warm decided to call it a day and return home. Made 18 QSOs, so only 36 total, need to return to this park again sometime.




Sunday, 10 December 2017

WWFF Activation Red Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0860

With a nice sunny Sunday afternoon decided to do another WWFF park activation. Returned to Red Hill Nature Reserve, as I needed 13 more QSOs to reach the 44 needed for WWFF.
Drove up Gowrie Dr, entering the reserve.


After the Federal Golf course turnoff the road becomes Red Hill Dr. At the top of the hill there is a lookout with some signs, and a plaque on Parliament House below.  Unfortunately not much of a view of it from here as the trees have grown up...


To the left of the plaque there was an access road for a mobile phone tower. There was a gate and a fence below, used one of the fence posts to support the squid pole.


Location within the park. Map courtesy Openstreetmaps.


Parliament House down the hill below. SOTA peaks Mt Ainslie and Mt Majura behind it.


Shack set up on the tarp. FT857-D set to 30w output. It was in the shade of the tree at the start, not so later...


Got on 40m. Started with chasing a couple of other park activations. Park to park contacts with VK4AAC/p Rob in VKFF-0198 Girraween National Park and VK4SMA/p in VKFF-1542 Flinders Peak Conservation Park.

Spotted myself on Parknpeaks and worked the following hunters
VK4TJ John
VK4RF/VK4HA Rick
VK1CT Chris
VK4FARR Glen
VK3CMR Clive

Another park to park with VK1LAJ/p Aaron in nearby VKFF-0851 Mount Majura Nature Reserve.

Went on to work:
VK3GMM Max
VK3UP Terry
VK3FMKE Keith
VK2ZVG Steven
VK4SYD Rob.

Band conditions were not good. Tried 20 m with no luck. As had 14 contacts had made the 44 total needed, decided to pack up and go home






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.