Sunday, 29 April 2018

WWFF Wanna Wanna Nature Reserve VKFF-2016

Sunday afternoon looked like a nice day to get out and activate a park, so decided to activate Wanna Wanna Nature Reserve. After studying maps I knew there would have to be a walk in to this park, so packed the pack with my FT-857D and just a tarp as would not be able to carry in a table and chair like other parks. Drove to Queanbeyan then Captains Flat Road, turning off onto Clydesdale Rd on the right after 10 km. Then turned off onto Pony Pl on the left. The park was along Pony Pl on the right. Parked in front of the locked gate. Sign for the park.

Despite the sign the area over the fence was not in the reserve, this is mainly an access road running between 2 private properties to get to the reserve.

Loaded up the pack and started walking along the access road. After 500 m the property on the left ended, and the park began. I had seen on maps a "through trail" so headed for this to get into the middle of the park. The through trail turned out to be very indistinct, don't think it had been used for years...

Luckily the park was mainly open woodland, in fact quite suitable for an activation as lots of old logs and stumps everywhere. I set up on a large log and set up the radio, squid pole and myself on it as a handy seat. Sorry no photo of it as I usually take one later, and ended up leaving in a hurry...

Google maps showing my walk in and operating spot, practically in the middle of the park, mid way up a hill.

Got on 40 m. A low signal park to park with VK4AAC/2 Rob down the coast in VKFF-0102 Clyde River National Park. He was at the same place I operated there, Holmes Lookout overlooking Batemans Bay.

Found a spare spot and spotted myself on ParksnPeaks, after calling CQ had an instant pileup...

Signals all S9+. VK3PF, VK5PAS, VK3ZPF, VK2EXA, VK2IO. 40 m was in great shape.

Another couple of park to park contacts. VK5LA/p Andy in VKFF-0372 Murray River National Park and VK7QP/p Linda in VKFF-1834 Three Thumbs State Reserve.

Continued working park hunters, all strong S8-S9 signals. VK3BBB, VK2FOUZ, VK2HHA, VK3ZMD, VK2YK, VK2PKT, VK3TKK/m.

Worked VK1MIC/p Wade testing out an antenna in nearby Gungahlin in a suburban park with a good signal.

Called by VK4NH Ray, who gave me his other calls, VK4DXA and ZL4TY/VK4. It was at this stage the rain started, becoming quite heavy. I quickly told others calling I had to leave,threw the tarp over the radio and packed up. Headed back to the car, getting there just before the heavier rain started. On the drive home some lightning and hail, glad I had given it away... Heard that Wade VK1MIC/p had also packed up due to the storm.

Park hunters were still calling as I packed up. Another park to return to.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Digital Modes Club (DMC) Awards

After installing the UAAC Award program added one more award group, the Digital Modes Club (DMC).

Joined up using their website and applied for membership, which is free. Note you also need to apply for a login to the website to download awards.

Added my membership number into userdata in UAAC and imported in an adif file of all my digital QSOs. As these cover all bands and digital modes had qualified for several awards. Downloaded the awards from the DMC website, once logged in.

DXCC Hunter Award, 50 countries

Worked Europa Award, 20 European countries

ITU Zones, 40 worked Award

CQ Zones, 30 worked so far out of 40.

Worked 150 DMC members

WAC - Worked All Continents, digital modes

WAS - Worked all 50 States in the USA. I had achieved this a few years ago on JT65 mode across several bands.

30 Meter Digital Group Awards

After applying for the FT8DMC awards in UAAC, saw there is another award scheme listed for the 30 Meter Digital Group. Set set about applying for their awards as well.

First applied for membership on their website Membership is free.

Received an email with my membership certificate

Entered in my membership number into the userdata secion of the UAAC awards manager, imported in an adif list of all my 30 m digital contacts from my log and let it find my awards.

Unlike FT8DMC awards, contacts on other digital modes count, eg JT65, so quite a few qualified. Applied via the UAAC application. Found the awards just get emailed to me from the managers.

Firstly award for just making 30, 300 and 3000 QSOs on 30m. Easy enough to apply for the 30 award as I had 65 contacts in the log on 30m digital

In Continental awards, I had 5 Oceania DX entities in the log

3D2TS*              2017-03-19  06:41  30M   JT65     3D2
4F3BZ*              2017-09-15  10:09  30M   FT8      DU
VK7TR               2014-05-12  07:39  30M   JT65     VK
YB1TJ*              2017-09-13  12:37  30M   FT8      YB
ZL3RCK              2014-05-11  07:54  30M   JT65     ZL


Oceania-5:                    5 Oceanian DX entities

So applied for the basic award

In world awards usual working zone type awards

CQ Zones 15 worked

WL7CG*              2014-05-12  07:48  30M   JT65     BP61    01
AD6KH               2014-09-24  07:37  30M   JT65     CM95QL  03
WB4CIW              2014-04-29  07:53  30M   JT65     DM79CF  04
VE9DX*              2014-05-11  10:02  30M   JT65     FN75AJ  05
EA4DBS*             2014-05-11  05:14  30M   JT65     IN80CJ  14
IC8TEM              2014-09-19  21:02  30M   JT65     JN70CN  15
UR4UHE              2014-09-19  05:19  30M   JT65     KO50    16
JA1XBX              2014-05-12  10:02  30M   JT65     PM95    25
4F3BZ*              2017-09-15  10:09  30M   FT8      PK04    27
YB1TJ*              2017-09-13  12:37  30M   FT8      OI33    28
VK6DW               2018-02-26  10:14  30M   FT8      OF88    29
VK7TR               2014-05-12  07:39  30M   JT65     QE38WJ  30
ZL3RCK              2014-05-11  07:54  30M   JT65     RE66FT  32


CQ Zones-10:                  13 CQ zones

ITU Zone award for 15 zones worked

WL7CG*              2014-05-12  07:48  30M   JT65     BP61    01
AD6KH               2014-09-24  07:37  30M   JT65     CM95QL  06
WB4CIW              2014-04-29  07:53  30M   JT65     DM79CF  07
KK8MM               2014-09-17  11:37  30M   JT65     EN82GH  08
VE9DX*              2014-05-11  10:02  30M   JT65     FN75AJ  09
SM4EMO              2018-04-14  06:55  30M   FT8      JO79    18
F5RFS               2014-09-12  07:10  30M   JT65     IN96    27
HB9EFK              2014-09-12  20:20  30M   JT65     JN46JE  28
UR4UHE              2014-09-19  05:19  30M   JT65     KO50    29
EA4DBS*             2014-05-11  05:14  30M   JT65     IN80CJ  37
JA1XBX              2014-05-12  10:02  30M   JT65     PM95    45
4F3BZ*              2017-09-15  10:09  30M   FT8      PK04    50
YB1TJ*              2017-09-13  12:37  30M   FT8      OI33    54
VK4FNQ              2017-09-15  22:57  30M   FT8      QG39    55
3D2TS*              2017-03-19  06:41  30M   JT65     RH91    56
VK6DW               2018-02-26  10:14  30M   FT8      OF88    58
VK7TR               2014-05-12  07:39  30M   JT65     QE38WJ  59
ZL3RCK              2014-05-11  07:54  30M   JT65     RE66FT  60


ITU Zones-15:                 18 ITU zones

There are plenty more awards to chase, must get on 30 m digital more often!

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Worked All New Zealand Award

After qualifying for the FT8DMC Award for Japan, decided to try for the New Zealand Award.
According to the award rules, I need 4 ZL1 QSOs, 3 ZL2  QSOs, 2 ZL3 QSO and 1 ZL4 QSO.

I was only missing a ZL1 and a ZL2, so a bit of FT8 work on 40 m tonight and I had them in the log :)

ZL1BQD              2017-09-12  10:28  40M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL1BDW             2017-09-16  04:39  30M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL1MVL              2017-09-16  04:22  40M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL1BRL               2018-04-24  07:31  40M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL2AUB              2017-08-31  08:19  80M   FT8      ZL2   
ZL2IFB                2017-09-02  22:42  17M   FT8      ZL2   
ZL2WD                2018-04-24  08:00  40M   FT8      ZL2   
ZL3TRR               2017-09-02  23:50  20M   FT8      ZL3   
ZL3TE                  2017-09-03  11:27  80M   FT8      ZL3   
ZL4AD                 2017-09-01  08:15  80M   FT8      ZL4   


WANZ-WANZ:          10/10 ZL stations

Applied via the UAAC award software. Received promptly an email from the award manager, ZL1MVL Ian (who is one of the qualifying contacts made!)

Here is the award, downloaded from the EPC website

FT8 Digital Mode Club Awards

Noticed on the QRZ page of someone I worked on FT8 a list of various awards from FT8DMC, so a bit of googling found the FT8 Digital Modes Club.

Joined up and got issued with a certificate. Joining is free.

To claim the awards, found I need to apply using software called UAAC, or Ultimate Award Application Center. Downloaded this from the European PSK Club website. This is actually used for checking and issuing awards for several organizations. Selected FT8DMC

After filling in my user data, callsign and membership number, imported in an adif file of all my FT8 contacts and let it work out what awards I can claim.

Only 1 so far, WAJCA, Worked All Japan Call Area, for working JA0-JA9. Results as follows

JA0IXW              2018-04-21  06:14  10M   FT8      JA0   
JA1VGV              2018-02-25  04:13  10M   FT8      JA1   
JA2BQX              2017-09-16  00:36  10M   FT8      JA2   
JA3EQC              2018-02-25  03:53  10M   FT8      JA3   
JA4GZK              2018-02-25  03:49  10M   FT8      JA4   
JA6IUQ              2018-04-21  06:05  10M   FT8      JA6   
JA7GAP              2018-02-25  03:57  10M   FT8      JA7   
JA8ABZ              2018-04-21  06:32  10M   FT8      JA8   
JA0EVI              2017-09-02  23:27  17M   FT8      JA0   
7N4OHN              2018-04-20  08:09  17M   FT8      JA1   
JA2EDG              2018-04-20  07:56  17M   FT8      JA2   
JF7RJM              2018-04-20  08:02  17M   FT8      JA7   
JA9CAC              2017-12-03  05:53  17M   FT8      JA9   
JG1LRE              2018-01-08  07:13  20M   FT8      JA1   
JR1EMO              2017-09-15  08:29  30M   FT8      JA1   
JA2ATE              2017-10-18  11:04  30M   FT8      JA2   
JE3MTQ              2018-01-18  10:13  30M   FT8      JA3   
JA4PXC              2018-03-09  09:07  30M   FT8      JA4   
7L3LNF              2017-09-04  10:07  40M   FT8      JA1   
JA5JQH              2018-03-08  12:02  40M   FT8      JA5   
JA9KA               2018-03-06  10:05  40M   FT8      JA9   


WAJCA-WAJCA:        10/10 japanese callsign areas

Applied for the award through the software. Award approved by the award manager. 
Once approved you can download as follows

All your FT8DMC awards can be downloaded from EPC Club. Check the link below.

Registration is required, you can register to EPC Club from the following link:

Once registered was able to download this award from the EPC Club download link.

Nice award. I'll have to chase some of the other awards available.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 600 Award

After confirmation of the required number of parks in WWFF Logsearch, able to apply for the next Hunter Honour Roll level of 600 parks worked.

For overseas readers wondering what the bird is its a Galah, common in grasslands and a frequent visitors to large lawns here in Canberra.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

FT-857D travel container

When trying backpacking the FT-857D, I simply placed it in a plastic bag and stuffed it in my backpack. While this works it does not protect the radio from accidental bumps, and wet weather,so looked for a travel case to put it in.

In the end I found a suitable solution, a plastic click lock type container used to transport food.
A 3.9 litre container, found I could just fit the radio, power lead and microphone in the case, if packed just right. Leads tuck in to the side, and the microphone in a bit of a gap.

Able to close the lid and snap lock it in. As a tight fit found the radio won't move about at all, so good for transporting in my pack or in a bag for portable operation.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

WWFF Tallaganda State Conservation Area VKFF-1375

After activating Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997 in the morning, and not able to find how to get to Wanna Wanna Nature Reserve, decided to activate Tallaganda State Conservation Area VKFF-1375 instead.

I have been to this park before for SOTA activations of Mt Palerang, VK2/ST-009 but at the time the park was not part of WWFF, so time to give it a try.

Drove to Forbes Creek, and followed the Mulloon Fire Trail until entering the park at the Mulloon Creek picnic ground. Sign for the park just after the creek crossing.

As nice as this picnic ground was, it was unsuitable for a park activation, as being down the bottom of the park surrounded by steep hills probably not too good for radio. Plus no mobile reception for spotting. I did stop and check, there was no signal at all on the mobile...

Continued on the Mulloon Fire Trail to the junction with Palerang Fire Trail and Gourock Range Trail, parking in a large clearing on the side of the Palerang Fire Trail. This is usually where I park when climbing Mt Palerang. Wandered about here and could just get a low signal on the mobile, dropping in and out but better than nothing. Set up here using a stump for squid pole support

Location of the operating spot in the park, map from Protected Planet.

Radio on the table. Note I also needed the cord from my 80 m dipole to lash the pole to the stump, it was really quite windy here despite no wind at all on the other side of the range...The usual bungy cord straps not enough to hold it still in the strong wind.

Got on 40 m, running 40 w. Started with a park to park with VK4SMA/p Mark in VKFF-0309 Maryland National Park. He was going clear, so grabbed the park calling frequency 7.144 Mhz off him.

Next caller was Peter VK3PF who offered to spot me, my internet connection was poor here.
Worked VK3BBB then another park to park with VK3NLK/p in VKFF-0747 Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.

Went on working VK7QP, VK7DW/p, VK2XXM.

Another park to park with VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1313 Dharawal State Conservation Area.
Weak but workable.

Some more park hunters

VK2VW, VK3ZMD, VK4TJ, VK3CU, VK5PAS/m and VK5FMAZ/m, Paul and Maria mobile heading home after their activations.


Another park to park with VK4FW/p Bill in  VKFF-0074 Cania Gorge National Park. He was very strong.


As I had 46 contacts had qualified the park. Packed up and headed home to avoid driving in the semi darkness, when the kangaroos become active...

WWFF Activation Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997

With a nice warm Sunday decided to activate another WWFF park, this time picking one never before activated, VKFF-1997 Stony Creek Nature Reserve. Drove to Queanbeyan, then onto the Kings Highway, turning off onto the Captains Flat Rd. Followed this for 5 Km before turning off on the left into the park.

As can be seen the park boundary is run down... The fence was falling to bits, and one of the fence posts was on the ground. I found out why later when I saw someone illegally riding a motor bike through the park...they would have got through the fence easily.

Near the gate a faded sign showing some of the parks Flora and Fauna.

Set up the squid pole on the park sign, dipole legs tied to a couple of nearby tree branches.

Operating location in the park. Map from Protected Planet.

FT857d radio on the table. Started on 40 m running 40 W.

Got on 40 m and worked the activators already on. Park to park contacts with VK5PAS/p Paul and VK5FMAZ/p Maria in VKFF-0868 Bakara Conservation Park, with good signals.

Found VK3ZPF/p Peter on SOTA summit VK3/VN-011, also VKFF-0755 Cathedral Range State Park. A good 57 signal even though he was only using 5 w.

Worked some of the usual park hunters


Saw some spot on ParksnPeaks, activators moved to 20 m, so followed them up there.

Worked again VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0868 Bakara Conservation Park, and VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-0755 Cathedral Range State Park, both good signals on 20 m.'

A surprising call from VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1167 Dharawal National Park in Sydney, only around 300 Km away... Weak but readable, some back scatter I guess.

Some more park hunters called, all quite strong.


Made a very weak contact with VK2JNG/p Gerard in VKFF-1971 Mundoonen Nature Reserve near Yass. Not that far away, but too far for ground wave, so probably more back scatter. He was very low down but could copy with no radio noise in the park.

Saw a spot on 40 m for VK4SMA/p Mark, so went back there to work him in  VKFF-0309 Maryland National Park.

And a spot on 20 m for VK4FW/p Bill, so another band link change there to work him in VKFF-1470 Baywulla Creek Conservation Park.

As getting warm and lunch time parked up after 22 contacts. Was going to activate nearby Wanna Wanna Nature Reserve next, but could not find the access road, one to return to after looking at the maps...

Instead headed off to another park in the afternoon, VKFF-1375, Tallaganda State Recreation Area.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 575 Award

After some recent VKFF park hunting, including several from within parks myself, managed to confirm over 575 parks in WWFF Logsearch, and the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 575 Award.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

WWFF Wanniassa Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0865

Easter Sunday the weather was quite warm so decided to head outdoors and do another park activation, this time to a local park I have not activated before, Wanniassa Hill Nature Reserve, VKFF-0865.

Looking at Google maps and street view looked like there was an access gate into the park off Long Gully Rd, close to the Erindale Dr turnoff, so made my way there and parked next to the gate.

Map of the park near the gate

Set up the 40/20 m linked dipole off the squid pole attached to the park sign, tying the ends to a couple of nearby trees.

Map of my operating spot, from Protected Planet website.

Shack on the table near the sign.

Got on 40 m. As usual grabbed the parks already on air first for park to park contacts.

VK4SMA/p Mark in VKFF-0679 Geham National Park
VK2XSE/p Liz with VK2KNV/p Peter in VKFF-0536 Willandra National Park

Then spotted myself on ParksnPeaks to work some park hunters

VK3FRAB Damien
VK3YE/P   Peter
VK7JON    Jonathon

Another Park to Park with VK3TKK/p Peter in VKFF-2047 Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve

Then a heap more park hunters

VK2YW John
VK7QP Linda
VK3PF Peter
VK2AET Scott
VK7ME Mark
VK5HSX/3 Stef
VK5HS Ivan
VK2IO Gerard
VK7KR Kevin
VK4TJ John
VK4/AC8WN John
VK4/VE6XT John
VK2CDS David
VK2FF George
VK3FSPG    Steve
VK3MPR     Steve
VK3OAK     Malcolm

Saw a spot for another activation on 7.144 Mhz, so called in to work VK3LT, Victoria and VK3CU, John in VKFF-2118 Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve. Both good S9 signals.

Some more park hunters, band quite good.

VK3SQ    Geoff
VK3UP Terry
VK4AAV Peter
VK3BCM Brian

Decided to give 20 m a try. It was almost dead... After a few calls made a weak contact with ZL3RIK Rick. This was contact 44 so had qualified the park.

Returned to 40 m, to grab one more contact, VK5XG/p Graham, not in a park but just off camping for the Easter weekend. Had a bit of a chat about portable operating.

As qualified the park and 40 m getting noisy with strong high powered EU stations, gave it away and headed home.