Sunday, 28 February 2016

SOTA Mount McDonald VK1/AC-048

With a warm day forecast decided to do a morning only SOTA activation of a nearby summit. Mt McDonald is about a half hours drive from home and a 2.6 Km 40 minute walk so easy enough to do before too hot.

As per other activations parked off the Brindabella Road in the car park for the walk. Sign for the walk.

Climbed up the mountain. Some good views towards the Tindbinbilla Range to the South West.

Looking due South along the Bullen Range.

Reached the summit. trig and the remnants of an old fire tower burnt out in the Canberra 2003 fires.

View from the summit to the East looking towards Mt Stromlo on the right. Black Mountain tower visible

As too hot in the sun didn't use the trig for the squid pole, instead used a stump by the fire tower structure, which had some shady gum trees growing around it.

View from the trig looking South. I used it to support one of the dipole legs.

Set up the SOTA shack in the shade of the trees.

Got on 40 m. Conditions not great, close by NVIS skip gone, seemed to be limited to parts of VK3, VK5 and VK7. Worked same chasers again after UTC rollover. A massive strong signal from Matt VK1MA.

Switched to 20 m. Got Paul VK5PAS, not as strong as usual but enough to work with no problems. Also worked Tony VK5TT in Adelaide.

As the sun had gotten higher lost my shade and getting warm, so packed up after about a half hour operating. A total of 12 contacts. Headed back down and home for lunch.

Friday, 26 February 2016

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve VKFF-0862

Noticed a few WWFF activations happening on Friday after work, so decided to also activate a local WWFF park. Returned to "The Pinnacle", a Canberra Nature Park only a few Km from home. I had activated it once before and made 35 contacts, so should be easy enough to make up the 44 needed.

Sign for the park off Springvale Drive.

Last activation I made was just down from the Pinnacle itself, a rocky hill, however would have been too warm in the sun there this time, so looked for another operating spot in the shade. Picked a access spot off Springvale Drive for accessing some water reservoirs.

Map from A locked gate, but with a large gap in it for walkers to fit through. One of the water tanks visible.

Carried my camping table, chair and radio through the gate and set up beside a track marker for a horse riding trail through the park. Dipole legs tied to a couple of nearby trees.

Shack on the camping table in the shade. Using my TS480 radio with 10-20 watts output power.

Got on 40m. Headed for 7.144 Mhz, the WWFF calling frequency, to hear Stef VK5HSX/p in VKFF-0780 working Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0897. Paul had some antenna problems but sorted it out. He was a good S9. Worked them both easily for park to park contacts.

Tuned about and worked David VK5HDW/p in VKFF-0785, then got called by John VK5BJE/p in VKFF-0825. So a good start, the first 5 contacts all park to parks :)

Found a spot and called CQ parks. Once spotted on ParksnPeaks started a small pileup of callers. Some very strong VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7 stations, also Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, who was initially weak, then S9 after he switched from the wrong antenna...

Saw another 2 activations on ParksnPeaks, Les VK5KLV/p in VKFF-0820, and Adrian VK5FANA/p in VKFF-0819. Both good strong signals.

Had problems with the wind, the squid pole detelecoped on me twice, having to raise it up again.
Around 7:20pm local time starting to get dark and it fell down yet again, so decided a good time to pack up.

Made 20 contacts, including 7 park to parks, taking me to 55 contacts from this park and qualifying it for WWFF.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 225 Award

I recently got to 225 Australian park references confirmed in WWFF Logsearch, so applied for the  VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 225 Park Award. Received promptly from Paul VK5PAS.

A nice photo of the Grampians National Park.

Monday, 22 February 2016

WWFF Hunter 220 References Award

After hunting a number of new WWFF parks recently reached another milestone, 220 references. Awards are issued every 44 references. Here it is.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

WFFF VKFF Activator (Platinum) Award

Noticed on the WWFF Logsearch website that I'd qualified for the VKFF Activator Platinum Award, for activating 40 different VKFF parks. I have actually activated over 50 parks but some of these parks failed to even make the 10 contacts required for a VKFF activation point... Lots well below the 44 needed for the WWFF point...Anyway promptly received from Paul, VK5PAS, thanks Paul.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

SOTA Mount Taylor VK1/AC-037

After activating Tuggeranong Hill decided to do another 1 point summit on the way home, Mount Taylor. Drove to the car park at the end of Waldock Street and started walking.

Joined the Summit trail to the top

Good view to the North to Woden from the ridge lower down

Reached the top after about a 15 minute walk. As per my last activation avoided the crowded trig and set up the shack in the shade of some trees on the Western side of the summit, not far from a communications tower.

Another view of the setup from the other direction.

Shack on the tarp in the shade of the tree

Got on 40 m. Some good signals from VK1, VK2, VK3 chasers. Usual contact with Rick VK4RF/VK4HA. As was getting warm probably close to 30 c packed up after only 13 contacts.

The summit is in a Canberra Nature Park, WWFF reference VKFF-0854. So will need to return to get it qualified with the 44 contacts needed for WWFF.

SOTA Tuggeranong Hill VK1/AC-038

Time for another visit to one of the Canberra local summits, Tuggeranong Hill VK1/AC-038. As per other activations parked in the lane off Callister Cres in Theodore and started walking.

Note Tuggeranong Hill is in a Canberra Nature Park, VKFF-0863. Usual steep climb up the road to a small hill before the main summit

Got to the trig. Noticed a small wattle tree behind it, looked like a nice shady spot to operate under.

Set up the squid pole on the tree, and was promptly attacked by dozens of small black ants, some biting me on the arms :( Very quickly secured the squid pole, flicking ants off me, and set up the shack on the tarp. The ants didn't spread as far as the tarp, seemed intent on just defending their tree...

Shack on the tarp. Nice and cool in the shade.

Got on 40 m. Good signals from chasers in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5. A S2S with Gerard VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-054.

After contacts dried up to 40 m switched to the 10 m dipole. Band was well open to VK4 on Summer Sporadic-E, also worked Steve VK7CW, and a nice opening to VK3. Initially to Western Victoria such as to VK3DAI and VK3PMG, then closer in to Melbourne with VK3CAT Tony and VK3AFW Ron. Tony reported I appeared out of nowhere as the band opened up...didn't stay open for long though.

A few more VK4s, including my usual 10m Summer contact Ross VK4CQ, his usual 59+ signal...

Starting to get warm so packed up and had lunch at the nearby Conder shops. 59 contacts so qualified the park for the WWFF award, which requires 44 contacts.

Friday, 5 February 2016

WWFF Park to Park Certificate 10

Noticed on the World Wide Flora and Fauna Blog  the announcement of a new "Park-to-Park" Award, initially for 10 Park to Park contacts.

A check on the WWFF logsearch website showed that I had qualified with more than 10 contacts

WWFF P2P References
1VKFF-0032 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2HBG/P2015-11-2840mSSB
2VKFF-0041 (from VKFF-0834)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2IO/P2016-01-2440mSSB
3VKFF-0092 (from VKFF-0991)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2IO/P2015-11-2940mSSB
4VKFF-0473 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2IO/P2015-11-2840mSSB
5VKFF-0625 (from VKFF-0377)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK3ANL/P2015-12-0640mSSB
6VKFF-0816 (from VKFF-0851)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK4AAC/52016-01-1540mSSB
7VKFF-0826 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5GJ/P2015-11-2840mSSB
8VKFF-0916 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5PAS/P2015-11-2740mSSB
9VKFF-0923 (from VKFF-0991)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5PAS/P2015-11-2940mSSB
10VKFF-0934 (from VKFF-0841)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5PAS/P2015-11-2840mSSB

Applied for the award and received promptly from Danny, ON4VT. Thanks Danny.

Here is the award, number 4 issued!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

WWFF 176 Hunter Award

While on the WWFF Logsearch site noticed I've qualified for another WWFF hunter award, for working over 176 parks. This is different to the VKFF award scheme, awards are issued in increments for every 44 parks hunted. Applied for and promptly issued by the Awards Manager, Pit YO3JW, thanks.

Here is the award