Monday, 25 April 2016

WWFF Red Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0860

With a day off work for ANZAC day and nice weather decided to activate another Canberra Nature Park for the WWFF award, VKFF-0860 Red Hill Nature Reserve. This park has not been activated before.

This is a very easy park to visit, there is a road going to the lookout on the top of Red Hill. It is just South of Parliament House at the end of Melbourne Avenue, take Gowrie Dr, where you enter the park.

Gowrie Dr continues at a turnoff to the right heading down to the Federal Golf Club, Red Hill Dr continues to the top. The road passes by a lookout over Parliament House. The trees are getting a bit high though to see it properly, here is a view through a gap in the trees.

The road ends in a loop around a round building, Red Hill Cafe and Restaurant. Parked in front of the building. Summit marker out the front of the restaurant. The restaurant on the top floor is called On Red. Very expensive, have not dined there before. The cafe below used to be good but has also become too expensive lately to visit, a pity as it has nice views.

Summit marker. Interestingly the map shows the Red Hill Summit to the North as 720 m, must have 2 peaks about the same height. Note there is not enough prominence for the summit to qualify for SOTA. There is also another hill just South of here, Davidson Hill, at 749 m. Also does not qualify for SOTA. Anyway both are within Red Hill Nature Reserve so good for a WWFF activation.

Walked around the back of the restaurant to a track along the ridge, The Red Track. A sign about it.

Another view looking down to the suburb of Red Hill. The commercial area of Fyshwick beyond, Canberra airport on the left, Queanbeyan in the distance. The oval just below is in Canberra Grammar School Red Hill.

A bit further on a sign about the Red Hill geology.

Off track behind this sign spotted a good area to set up the radio on the Western side of the hill. Used a small gum tree sapling to support the squid pole.

Shack in the shade of the trees.

Got on 40 m. Managed to get a park to park contact with Tony AX3VTH/p in VKFF-0264 Kinglake NP, just before he went clear on 7.144 Mhz. Then worked Paul AX5PAS/p with a good strong signal in VKFF-0881 Ferries - McDonald CP.

Moved down to 7.135 Mhz and got spotted, then the pileup began... Lots of good strong signals from chasers in VK2, VK3 and VK5. Another Park to park contact with AX4FR/5 Chris in VKFF-0832 Swan Reach CP.

Worked my usual VK4 contact with Rick VK4RF/VK4HA with a good S8 signal. Stopped calling to chase Brian VK3MCD/p on SOTA peak VK3/VE-014.

Finished up with a local contact with Matt VK1MA, a huge signal on Red Hill. Headed back home. A total of 31 contacts, so need to return to complete the 44 contacts needed for a WWFF point.

A view to the West towards Woden and the Brindabellas from Red Hill

Map showing my operating spot

Sunday, 24 April 2016

SOTA Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043

With a fine sunny Sunday decided to activate a nearby SOTA summit, Mt Stromlo. This is only a short drive from home, reached the top car park area after a 20 minute drive, and walked the short distance to the trig on top. No-one operates SOTA from here, the S9 QRM on HF from nearby power transformers makes it hard to work anyone.

Some cloud to the East along the coast but clear skies over Canberra. Clear to the West too. Buildings house a satellite laser ranging station for Geoscience Australia used to track the distance to orbiting satellites.

Walked past the laser ranger buildings to a road heading down on the left, here there is a locked gate that makes a suitable support for a squid pole. Set up the 20/40 m linked dipole.

Shack on the tarp near the gate.

There was a SOTA spot on 2 m SSB for Al, VK1RX/p on Mt Gingera, VK1/AC-002. Quickly set up the 2m ribbon jpole to work him. He was a good S7. Also worked Andrew, VK1AD in nearby Woden.

Went to 40 m. Signals nice and strong from the usual chasers in VK2, VK3 and VK7. No VK4 or VK5 contacts today though.

Tried 20 m. The band sounded in poor shape, not many stations audible. Did work John ZL1BYZ in Auckland with a good S8 signal, no one else.

Saw some spots for activations on 40 m so returned there. Summit to Summit contacts with Mal VK3MEL/p on VK3/VS-004, also Compton VK2HRX/p on VK2/CT-012.

Packed up and headed home for lunch.

Monday, 18 April 2016

WWFF Hunter Award 264 References

I recently worked my 264th unique WWFF area, allowing me to apply for the WWFF Hunter 264 Award on Logsearch. Note awards are issued for every 44 references hunted, ie worked on air..

Received promptly from the Awards Manager Pit YO3JW. Thanks Pit. Here it is.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Mt Rob Roy VK1/AC-031

I  hadn't activated Mt Rob Roy VK1/AC-031 since it also became a WWFF park, VKFF-0861, so decided to revisit it.

As per other activations parked in a side lane off Orange Thorn Crescent in Banks and started the very steep climb at the start of the walk. It did eventually level off. Reached the gate for the section of farmland you need to cross to get to the park. The park gate was open so left it that way, found it shut on returning.

Reached the turnoff to Rob Roy Link track, taking this up the hill.

 Climbed over the gate to enter Rob Roy Canberra Nature Park, WWFF park number VKFF-0861

The link track joined up to Rob Roy Eco Track.

After around 4 Km the track reached the highest point and started descending, here on the left a rough track to the summit. Note the rock pile marker here started by Andrew VK1AD.

Reached the summit trig, or what was left of it...There used to be a wooden trig pole here supported in a metal tripod, only the tripod remained...

This used to be a squid pole support...Headed back down the hill, finding a suitable tree stump for the squid pole not too far away from the summit.

A large flat rock nearby provided a spot to operate from.

Got on 40m. Started with an S2S with Al VK1RX/2 on VK2/ST-015 Mt Budawang. Then another 2 more S2S contacts, with Phil VK2HPN/1 on nearby VK1/AC-041 Isaacs Ridge, and Andrew VK1AD/2 on VK2/ST-044 Bobbara Mountain near Yass.

A bit later worked another S2S with Mitch VK3XDM/P on VK3/VC-007 Mt Macedon.

Usual chasers chased me once finding a spot and getting spotted. Signals from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5. Rick VK4RF/VK4HA called me 3 times before getting through, lots of QSB.

A park to park contact too. Rob VK4AAC/3 in VKFF-0959 Baranduda Regional Park.

Nev VK5WG called me, he was very weak and couldn't copy me well enough for a contact, he was barely S1 with me. So switched to 20 m

On 20 m he was a good S8, I was S7, so worth changing bands. Also got Mike VK6MB with a fair signal.

After 29 contacts the bands seemed to have died out, so packed up. Had a look near the summit for the trig pole, eventually found it in the bushes down the side of the hill, and dragged it back to the top, leaving it under the tripod.

I could see no way the wind could have moved it to where I found it, can only think someone decided to lift it out of the tripod support as some odd challenge? I had a go at inserting it back in the tripod from below, but not enough clearance to do so. Lifting it up unable to lift the end high enough to get it in. Hopefully can be fixed as probably an historic trig, an unusual design.

Headed back down for lunch.

Friday, 8 April 2016

VKFF Hunter Honour roll 250 Parks Award

Following contacting several new VKFF parks last weekend I had enough contacts for the next VKFF Honour Award for hunting 250 parks.

I like to work out statistics...Here is a breakdown of the number of parks worked per VK call area, with the % of the total 250.

State Worked % Total
VK1 14 5.6
VK2 44 17.6
VK3 91 36.4
VK4 25 10
VK5 68 27.2
VK6 4 1.6
VK7 3 1.2
VK8 0 0
VK9 1 0.4

Looks like VK3 is the most popular, followed by VK5, VK2, VK4. Nice to get some VK6 and VK7 park activations in the log now. VK8 remains missing, but it only has 17 parks and a low amateur population for its size so this is expected, Good to work some of the locals in VK1 parks, VK1AT Jim and VK1VIC Tony the most active, besides myself.

Another view of the numbers is the % of total parks worked. Gives me an idea how many more parks in each state I still need to hunt.

State Total Parks %Total Parks
VK1 45 31
VK2 244 18
VK3 119 76
VK4 285 9
VK5 290 23
VK6 95 4
VK7 45 7
VK8 17 0
VK9 6 17

So I've worked 3/4 of all the VK3 parks, and almost a third of the VK1 parks. Lots left...

Here is the award from the Awards Manager Paul VK5PAS, thanks Paul.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Murray River Parks Award 20 Parks hunted

After confirming some recent WWFF activations of parks along the Murray River reached the required 20 parks for the next level of the Murray River Parks Award.

Applied and received promptly from the Awards Manager Paul VK5PAS.