Saturday, 31 March 2018

SOTA Boboyan Range VK1/AC-044

With Wade VK1MIC doing an activation of Bimberi Peak, VK1/AC-001 on Saturday, decided to try chasing him from another summit nearby, VK1/AC-044, Boboyan Range.

As per other activations drove South down the Boboyan Road, stopping  briefly at Hospital Hill lookout to admire the view of the mountains to the West. Bimberi Peak is not visible here, but the path on 2 m to there was between the 2 closest mountains, known as Yankee Hat 1 and 2.

Continued on a few more Km to the South and parked at a road side cutting, used previously for activations. The walk to the summit from here is a bit over a Km. Initially a bit scrubby until getting to the top of the ridge, then becomes easier going. I did find the pack carrying a bit harder, other times used my light weight FT-817D, this time had the FT-857D for extra power, also extra weight :(

Got to VK1AD Andrews unofficial trig, a small rock pile around the highest point on the summit. Note Boboyan Range is not an officially named summit, just a high point in the range that satisfies the rules for a SOTA peak.

Set up the squid pole, initially just for 2 m, trying to catch some of the others out on summits. I ended up moving it later to a log as there was a branch near the top of the squid pole.

Another view with the 80/40/20m linked dipoles laid out through the trees.

Shack on the tarp.

Started on 2m FM on the ribbon Jpole with a S2S with VK1CT/p Chris on VK1/AC-041 Isaacs Ridge. Then another S2S with VK1AD/p Andrew on VK1/AC-008 Mt Ginini.

2 m simplex contact with VK1MA Matt, and another S2S with VK1FWBK/p Bill on nearby VK2/SM-093 Mt Livingstone, although a bit of a challenge with the Clear Range to get through..

Another simplex contact with a chaser, VK1FXNZ. Note could not hear some of the Canberra stations a lots of mountains shielding my 2 m signal.

Finally Wade VK1MIC/p came up on 2m FM from VK1/AC-001, Bimberi Peak, very strong at times. He had high winds so only worked 2 m FM. At least he easily qualified it with plenty of local contacts.

Moved to HF, 40 m. A park to park with VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-0957 Yarringa Marine Marine National Park. Note I was in Namadgi National Park, VKFF-0377.

Then worked some of the regular SOTA/Park chasers. VK5IS, VK3FSPG, VK3MPR, VK5WG, VK3ZA, VK4HNS, VK3TP, VK4TJ, VK2LEE, VK7ME, VK7EE, VK3CAT, VK3GMC.

Another park to park with VK4FW/p Bill in VKFF-0727 Woroon National Park.

Briefly tried 80 m, seeing I had the room for the dipole. 1 contact with VK2NP Cliff in Sydney. Not bad for 80 m in the afternoon...

Tried 20 m. Managed another S2S with VK1CT/p Chris on VK1/AC-041 Isaacs Ridge. Then 3 ZL contacts, ZL1BYZ John, ZL3IN Paul and ZL1WA Jacki.

Returned to 40 m for another park to park contact, VK3ZPF/p Peter again, this time in another park, VKFF-2166  North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve.

After lunch packed up and headed home.

Friday, 23 March 2018

WWFF 220 Park to Park Award

After quite a few Park to Park contacts from park activations recently, managed to qualify for the 220 Park to Park Award. Awards are issued every 44 QSOs, so this is my 5th Park to Park Award.The WWFF Award scheme has been redesigned recently, this award is a bit different to earlier ones.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Conjola National Park VKFF-0108

After activating Corramy Regional Park in the morning headed to nearby Conjola National Park in the afternoon. The park lies to the North of Ulladulla and West of Sussex Inlet. I decided to visit a picnic area, Monument Beach Picnic Area, but wen I got there found the picnic table there not really suitable for operating from. Instead set up in a corner of the car park, using a bollard for squid pole support. Being a week day the car park was fairly quiet.

Operating location in the park from Protected Planet.

Shack on the table.

Got on 40 m. After working VK3SQ Geoff made a park to park contact with VK2JNG/p Gerard in VKFF-1348 Maroota Ridge State Conservation Area. He was quite weak, a 41 signal and there was an annoying buzzing noise around 7.144 Mhz. I moved away from the noise and called CQ after spotting myself on ParksnPeaks. Usual hunters started calling


Another park to park with VK4DX/p Mike in VKFF-1653 Springwood Conservation Park. Also low and noisy.


Not many calling, conditions quite poor. 20 m was even worse. As had made over 10 contacts enough for a VKFF point packed up. As close to the Walter Hood monument headed along the track to visit it, having not been here before.

Sign at start of walk.

The monument. Fenced off to stop vandals I suspect.

List of the ships crew and passenger killed in the wreck on 26th April 1870.

The monument wasn't far from the beach

Back at the picnic area a sign explaining a bit more about the wreck. It got caught in a gale and pushed off onto rocks just NE of here

Sign with the explanation of what happened to the Walter Hood. A sad story and a reminder of how dangerous this coast can be in bad weather.

WWFF Corramy Regional Park VKFF-1781

I had a week off work and was stopping at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast. This was one of the parks I activated.

Followed the Princes Hwy North of Mollymook, turning off onto "The Wool Road" which takes yoo to Basin View and St Georges Basinm Sanctuary Point. A short distance along the road a sign for Corramy Regional Park on the right.

Turned off onto a dirt road on the right, leading to Wandandian Creek Day Use Area.

There was a picnic table here by the water, nice, but not really suitable for a radio activation.

Instead set up by a walking track, using the access gate for squid pole support

Location of my operating spot. Map from Protected Planet

Shack on the table

It was quite pleasant sitting there in the shade. Got on 40 m. Being a week day fairly quiet, but got some hunters calling once I spotted on ParksnPeaks.


Tried 20 m. I heard VK7MD and VK7JON having a chat there so worked them, not strong and lots of QSB, 20 not too good. Also worked VK4TJ John and his other 2 calls.

Packed up and headed to Sanctuary Point nearby for lunch.Only 13 contacts so a park I need to revisit, I don't mind as it was very pleasant.

Monday, 12 March 2018

WWFF Activation Swamp Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-0987

I had Canberra Day holiday on Mon 12th March, and in the afternoon headed off to do a quick WWFF activation of VKFF-0987 Swamp Creek Nature Reserve. Only needed 8 more contacts for the 44 needed for WWFF, and close by to home.

As per other activations here parked at the gate off Uriarra Rooad, close by to Uriarra Crossing.

My last activation spot was in the full sun, a bit warm, so set up the station near the fence in the shade of some large gum trees to the right of the gate, and still within the park.

Radio on the table.

This was a test activation of a recently purchased "Roman" power pack, containing 2 x 22 Ah batteries, giving me 44 Ah capacity. At around 14 Kg a bit heavy for moving too far, but ideal for WWFF activations close to the car. Should let me run say 40 W for a few hours. I'll still use my LifePO4 battery for SOTA and where there is a bit of a walk to set up in a park.

Got on 40 m. After spotting myself on ParksnPeaks made the following contacts

VK3PF Peter
VK3VAR Howard
VK3ARH Allen

As I had made 8 contacts had qualified the park, packed up and headed home.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

WWFF Activation Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920

On Sunday afternoon had a contact with VK4AAC/1, Rob, in VKFF-0991, Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve. As had spoken to him many times in different parks decided to drop in and say hello in person, and while in the area activate a new park, Cuumbeun Nature Reserve, VKFF-1920.

Caught up with Rob and his partner Doris in the Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve, and had a good chat. He had an impressive station, a 40 m doublet on a squid pole, with the ends up high, and twin lead feed attached to the front of his 4WD. He is retired and spends his time wandering the countryside in a caravan, activating parks for WWFF in different areas. Something I'll probably eventually do when I eventually retire...

After chatting to Rob and Doris headed off to activate Cuumbeun Nature Reserve. Having travelled the Captains Flat Road before I knew where I could activate it from, not far along the Captains Flat Rd from the Kings Highway was an entrance gate to the park.

Sign for the park near the gate.

Set up in the bush, not far from the sign. Used a small gum tree sapling for squid pole support.

Operating spot in the park. Map from Protected Planet.

Shack on the table. It was a warm day, got a little bit of shade from the trees.

Got on 40 m. My first contact was of course a park to park with Rob, VK4AAC/1 in VKFF-0991 Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve. As he was only a few Km away he was 59+...

Then worked several park hunters, keen to get this 1st activation of this park.

VK1LAJ Aaron
VK2VW Brett
VK3ZZS/7 Tom
VK3BBB Brian
VK4VXX/3 Greg
VK2USH Steve

Another park to park with VK5HSX/3 Stef in VKFF-0973 Mount Alexander Regional Park

A few more park hunter contacts

VK3VAR Howard
ZL2ALK Lamont with a very good signal from New Zealand

Saw a spot for VK6MB/p Mike in VKFF-0650 Midgergoroo National Park on 20 m, so changed the links and QSYed to 20. Managed a weak 52 contact with him, we were both in electrically quiet parks so no problems even though signals were weak.

Tried a few calls myself on 20 m, but no luck.

Packed up and headed home for dinner.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

WWFF Activation Crace Nature Reserve VKFF-0838

With the 5th year anniversary VK5 National & Conservation Parks weekend there were heaps of portable stations out in parks, so decided to join them Saturday morning for some park to park contacts. I chose to return to VKFF-0838 Crace Grasslands Nature Reserve, which I had activated back in November last year but failed to get the 44 contacts needed for WWFF.

As per last time headed to Mitchell and headed down Hoskins St, to where it bends about to become Nirta Pl. Parked near the access gate to the Nature Reserve.

A map of the park on the gate

As per last time used a handy star picket someone had hammered in the ground near the entrance. Set up the 20/40m linked dipole, one end tied to the fence, the other to a rather spiky bush.

Looking back the other way towards the gate. The mountain in the background is Mount Majura.

Shack on the table. Got on 40 m, using about 30 W power.

Started with 3 park to park contacts before starting my own calls. VK3XV/5 Tony in VKFF-0885 Grass Tree Conservation Park.

Then VK5LA/p in VKFF-1040 Kapunda Island Conservation Park. This is an island in the Murray River near Loxton, Andy and some others were activating some small islands, so an unusual park.

VK5DW/p Danny in VKFF-1058 Media Island Conservation Park, another Murray River island near Loxton.

Found a frequency and spotted myself on ParksnPeaks, worked the following park hunters.

VK3ARH Allen
VK2IO Gerard
VK3SQ Geoff
VK2VW Brett

Another park to park with VK5WAT/3, actually Peter VK3YE using a CW QRP club call in VKFF-2031 Langwarrin Flora & Fauna Reserve Conservation Park. He was a good 59 signal.

Then several more park hunters

VK2YK Adam
VK3PF Peter
VK3BBB Brian
VK3FADM/1 Wayne in nearby Harrison
VK7EV/m Eric
VK2USH Steve

Then some more park to park contacts

VK5KLV/p Les in VKFF-0812 Clements Gap Conservation Park
VK5PAS/p Paul in VKFF-0904 Little Dip Conservation Park
VK5FMAZ/p Marija in VKFF-0904 Little Dip Conservation Park
VK4AAC/2 Rob in VKFF-0478 Tarlo River National Park

VK4HL/3 Kerin

Another park to park with VK3ANL/p Nick in Gresswell Forest (part b) Nature Conservation Reserve

VK7QP Linda
VK3MRG/p Marshall.

As getting close to lunch time and had qualified the park headed home for lunch.

WWFF Activation Old Naas Travelling Stock Route VKFF-0992

After activating Crace Nature Reserve in the morning it was such a nice day that I decided to activate another park. Chose Old Naas TSR as I had not made the 44 contacts last time, due to a flat battery. After having lunch at home drove South through Canberra to Tharwa, then continued South on Naas Rd, stopping at the park just before the turnoff to Top Naas Rd and the bridge over the Gudgenby River. This is only a small nature reserve, with little shade, so like last time set up in the remnant vegetation section just off the road.

Set uo the squid pole on the sign, one leg of the dipole tied to a nearby bush and the other to an old fence.

Set up the operating table behind the bush to the right of the sign, in some shade.

Got on 40 m, running 30 w and powered by my LifePO4 battery. Found the band surprisingly good, full of S9 plus signals.

Started by working a few park to park contacts

VK3PF, Peter in VKFF-2094 Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve
VK2IO/P, Gerard in VKFF-0232 Heathcote National Park

VK2USH, Steve

then another park to park with VK5PAS/p Paul and VK5FMAZ/p Maria in VKFF-1047 Lake St Clair Conservation Park

VK2YK Adam

Another park to park with VK3DAC/P, Fred in VKFF-0763 Lerderderg State Park

Spotted myself on parksnpeaks as had good mobile coverage. Worked several more park hunters

VK3SQ Geoff
VK2NP Cliff
VK7QP Linda
VK2VW Brett
VK4TJ John
VK3ARH Allen
VK2KNV Peter
VK4AAC/2 Rob
VK2UH Andrew
VK3VAR Howard
VK5PL David
VK3PNG Bruce
VK2PKT  Keith

Another park to park contact with VK5HSX/3, Stef inVKFF-0964 Creswick Regional Park


Another park to park with VK5KLV/P, Les in VKFF-1105 Telowie Gorge Conservation Park

VK2APL Philip
VK2VGB Colin
VK3OAK Malcolm
VK3BBB Brian
VK5HS Ivan
VK5NJ John
VK3UCD David

A park to park contact with VK1MIC/p, Wade, actually a SOTA contact as well on SOTA summt Mt Ainslie, VK1/AC-040, which is also in VKFF-0850 Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve. Wade was setting up for the evening VK-EU S2S event.

Worked a few more park hunters.

VK4VXX/3 Greg
VK3MPR Steve
VK3MJP Martin

As had made 50 contacts had actually qualified the park on this activation alone, plus the contacts from my last activation here... Plus 8 park to park contacts :) Packed up and headed home for dinner.

Monday, 5 March 2018

WWFF VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 550 Award

Following a series of new VKFF park activations recently I managed to reach 550 park references confirmed on Logsearch, and applied for the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 550 award

For interest tallied up the number of parks worked in each VK call area in Excel.

VK1 21
VK2 150
VK3 135
VK4 70
VK5 138
VK6 13
VK7 22
VK8 0
VK9 1
Total 550

So VK2 provides the most parks, not surprising as it now contains over 500 parks and is close by.
VK3 and VK5 parks are still quite well worked. VK4 has become a lot more active lately, the main challenge is distance from me, as per VK6. VK1 and VK7, not having a lot of parks and activators have lower numbers.