Sunday, 30 April 2017

WWFF Gossan Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0842

With a nice sunny Sunday morning decided to do a local WWFF activation, returning to Gossan Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0842. I activated this park back on 23rd Mar 2015, after the Canberra Nature Parks were added to WWFF, and only managed 25 contacts, so needed to return to get the 19 needed for the 44 contacts for WWFF.

As per last activation parked in Weatherburn Place Bruce and walked up the hill, using the "Gossan Four" track

a short walk to the top of Gossan Hill. Operating spot shown, from Protected Planet.

Summit marked by a large rock pile. Good views to the West over the Brindabella mountains.

Gossan Seven Track sign with Belconnen town centre beyond.

Last time used this track marker for squid pole support, this time used an old fence post. Other fence posts used for dipole leg support. Looking up the hill.

Looking down the hill

Shack on the tarp near the fence post. Usual FT-817 running 5 W.

Note no paper log book... Decided to try electronic logging, as seems to becoming common now for SOTA and park activators, and would save me transferring the paper log to electronic form back home, a tedious process...

Like others got a cheap android tablet, a Lenovo Tab 3 7 inch tablet. Installed VK3ZPFs VK port-a-log program. I initially fumbled about adding contacts, but got the hang of it after a while. Found a setting to keep the recorded frequency with each contact so saved some retyping. Still a bit of fiddling quickly entering chasers with multiple callsigns, and when being called by multiple calls at once just had to try and remember who had also called later...

I also used my phone to just monitor parks and peaks for activity.

Started by working Andrew VK1AD/2 and Al VK1RX/2 on SOTA peak Mt Wee Jasper VK2/ST-017. Also worked Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-0490 Tomaree National Park.

After spotting myself on 7.095 Mhz went on to work lots of hunters in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5. A couple more SOTA contacts, VK3ARR/p Andrew on VK3/VC-002 Mt Donna Buang, and VK1FWBD/p Wade on VK1/AC-040 Mt Ainslie.

Gerard VK2IO/p popped up again later in a new park VKFF-1410 Port Stephens/Great Lakes Marine Park.

Briefly tried 20m. Worked VK4UH Kevin, VK4FW Bill and VK6XL Allen with good signals.

Returned to 40m to contact VK3PF/p Peter on VK3/VE-033 Mt Number 3.

Gave it away at 12:30 pm as I had made 38 contacts and with the 25 before qualified the park.

At home connected the tablet to the PC via USB cable, it showed up as a storage device, and just copied off the adif logs for importing into my logging program. Simple 😃

Stations contacted on 40m


Stations contacted on 20m


Monday, 17 April 2017

WWFF Oakey Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0858

Easter Monday had some time in the afternoon to do a WWFF park activation. Decided to visit Oakey Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0858 as a new park for me. Parked on a side road off Derwent St Lyons near the electricity substation, with a gate and sign for the park.

Location of the park, taken from Protected Planet.

Climbed up a walking track to the summit. Steep but not too long.

Did flatten out approaching the trig. Nice grassy area with Kangaroos grazing.

Oakey Hill trig.

View to the North. Black Mountain and the tower on the left, Canberra city in the Centre, Mt Ainslie on the right.

Set up the squid pole on the trig. Dipole legs tied to a small log and some weeds as no trees nearby.

FT-817 Radio on nearby rocks. Bit of a seat.

Got on 40m. Started with a park to park with Helen VK7FOLK/p in VKFF-1137 Gunns Plains Conservation Area. Also worked a special event station VK5WOW/p in VKFF-0776 Black Hill Conservation Park.

Usual park hunters from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.

Tried 20m, worked VK4TJ John, VK4FW Bill, and a weak signal from VK4FE Fred up at Port Douglas.

Approaching sunset, packed up after 25 contacts. Another park to revisit for the 44 needed for WWFF points.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

WWFF Woodstock Nature Reserve VKFF-0988

With a warm sunny Sunday decided to reactivate a nearby WWFF park, VKFF-0988 Woodstock Nature Reserve. I had visited it a couple of times before but due to poor propagation still had not made the 44 contacts needed for a WWFF point, still needed another 12 contacts.

As per other activations drove to the car park off Stockdill Drive in Holt, at the start of the walk to Shephards Lookout. I took the park access gate to the right of the walking track.

After a short walk set up in the bush to the right of the track. Used a fallen tree for squid pole support.

Radio on the table. Used the IC-7300 for a bit more power, set to 20w. Note the radio touch screen in the full sun was hard to read, used my own shadow for a sunscreen...

Got on 40m. Started with a park to park with Bob VK5AFZ/p in VKFF-1767 Lawari Conservation Park, a newly added WWFF park. Found a spot and spotted myself, usual park hunters from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK7.

Another couple of park to park contacts with Marc VK3OHM/p in VKFF-0741 Lower Goulburn National Park, and Mike VK3XL/p in VKFF-0747 Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.

Worked Marija VK5FMAZ/p and Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0788 Scott Creek Conservation Park.

Worked several more hunters in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7. Another park to park with John VK5BJE/3 in VKFF-0264 Kinglake National Park.

Finished with another Park to park with special event station VK5WOW/p in VKFF-0788 Scott Creek Conservation Park, run by Paul VK5PAS. The pileup after this call was massive... I managed to get logged after Paul asked for QRP stations, I turned my power down to 5W and worked him...

After trying for another 12 contacts I had made 48, so actually qualified the park on this activation alone... headed home.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

SOTA Mt Cowangerong VK2/ST-001

After activating Mt Tumanang VK2/SM-049 headed for nearby Mt Cowangerong, VK2/ST-001, the Captains Flat BOM rain radar site. Parked near the start of the side road off Cowangerong Fire Trail and walked the short distance to the site.

Didn't set up too close to the radar, it is a QRM generator on HF... used the spot I used last time just down the road to the North of the site, using a gas pipeline warning sign for squid pole support. Dipole legs up and down the road.

Shack on the tarp just off the road.

Got on 40 m and spotted myself. First call was Wade VK1FWBD/p still on Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037. He was packing up and saw my spot so got back on for the S2S contact.

Went on to work the regular chasers, from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK7. Most good signals.

A WWFF park contact with Neil VK4HNS/p in VKFF-0546 Wondul Range National Park. Not a park to park contact though as I was outside the boundary of Tallaganda National Park.

Tried 20 m, one contact only with the usual ZL chaser John ZL1BYZ.

Packed up after 23 contacts and headed home.

SOTA Mt Tumanang VK2/SM-049

I've been meaning to give SOTA peak Mt Tumanang VK2/SM-049 a try but been put off by the description of the rough Cowangerong Fire Trail. VK1MBE Andrew mentioned a better access method using South Forest Way, so gave this a try.

Drove out to Captains Flat from home in Canberra, taking about an hour. Drove past the Cowangerong Firetrail, and took the next road on the right, South Forest Way. This was a well maintained unsealed road, able to make good speed. Looking at the map, decided to cut across to Cowangerong Firetrail using Gum Creek Rd off to the right.

Gum Creek Rd was a bit rougher... narrow and slow going. There were a few deep puddles to cross, but no real problems. Quite a pretty drive in places with tree ferns. Joined up to the Cowangerong Firetrail, about 5 Km South of Mt Cowangerong, VK2/ST-001.

Found that I hadn't missed the rough bits... lots of dirt mounds to carefully drive slowly over. My Nissan Xtrail has a fair ground clearance but sure there were some hits underneath...Eventually reached the end of the Cowangerong Fire trail, joining the Tumenang Firetrail, thankfully wide and smooth. Note the sign for Tallaganda NP, this only applies to bush on the right side of the road.

A few Km down the fire trail found my way blocked by a large logging truck, and a grader. They were harvesting trees on the non National Park side of the road. Spoke to the driver, who said there was a road closed sign, but I missed seeing this the way I had come in. They had certainly not come the way I did! Anyway he backed up to a point where I could pass and continue.

The fire trail enters the park completely and I parked on a bend to the North of the summit. From here about a 600 m climb to the top, with an 80 m rise. See map.

Fairly light scrub, in 15 minutes reached the trig. A large rocky trig with a big disk on top. Typical of the ones in this area. 

Set up the squid pole on a stump just down from the trig.

Shack on the tarp. The sun came out but it was still cool at altitude, about 15c.

Got on 40m. Found some activations just packing up so a bit of a quick round to grab them before they went clear. Worked VK5PAS/3 Paul and VK3QB/p Chris in VKFF-0749 Shallow Inlet Marine Park with strong signals.

Then worked Peter VK3PF/p and Sergio VK3SPG/p on SOTA summit VK3/VT-071 Mt Square Top, also just about to go clear.

Worked Wade VK1FWBD/p on VK1/AC-037 with a good signal.

Spotted myself on 7.095 after Peter/Sergio were gone and got a good pileup going. Usual chasers from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK7. 

Briefly tried 20m, only worked one chaser, the reliable John ZL1BYZ with a good signal. A total of 20 contacts made.

Packed up after lunch. Was just able to pass the stopped logging truck on the left side. Going back along the Cowangerong Fire Trail came behind a 4WD with a canopy containing several hunting dogs. A couple of the dogs jumped out into the bush and he stopped. He had some radio tracking device on them so left him to track them down.

Returned back the same way, the on to Mt Cowangerong Vk2/ST-001.