Tuesday, 31 July 2018

WWFF Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve VKFF-1899

After activating and having lunch at Tyagarah Nature Reserve continued driving North on the Pacific Hwy. Turned off at Ocean Shores and continued on to New Brighton. Followed N Head Rd South into Brunswick Heads Nature Reserve

Drove to the end of the road, a car park where I parked. A sign here for the park. Sorry a bit dark.

Quite thick rain forest off the road, making walking off into it here for an activation hard. There were 2 tracks here, one to the Brunswick River and another to the beach. Figured the beach would provide the best for operating as nice and open for the antenna. Loaded up the backpack with the FT-857D, LifePO4 battery and antenna and set off to the beach.

On the beach to the North of the track saw a leaning over tree suitable for squid pole support. Set up here. Looking to the North.

Looking to the South. Byron Bay lighthouse in the far distance. The dipole legs just tied to low lying bushes.

Location on a map from Protected Planet

Shack on the tarp.

Got on 40 m. Conditions fairly poor, slow going working stations.


Tried 20 m. Only one contact, ZL1HX who I heard calling CQ and answered. He was quite strong, although not much in the way from here to New Zealand...

Tried 80 m as I had heaps of room for the antenna. A bit more luck there.


With 11 contacts enough to count for a VKFF activation, packed up and headed North into Queensland, VK4, stopping overnight at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.

WWFF Tyagarah Nature Reserve VKFF-2007

After stopping overnight in Ballina drove North to Byron Bay, then North of Byron Bay until heading for Tyagarah Nature Reserve, VKFF-2007. This is a park that has not been activated before for WWFF. Access driving North is a bit tricky, you need to pass it on the Pacific Hwy, do a turn over a fly over later and head South, where you can turn off onto Greys Ln. Turn off this onto Black Rock Rd where you enter the park.

Drove down this to just before the beach, where I spotted the Coast Fire Trail on the left suitable for an activation spot. Parked opposite it. Note this is paid parking, costing $8, there is a parking station at the nearby beach car park.

Set up the station, used the table for Squid Pole support

Operating Spot. Map from Protected Planet website.

Looking back the other way towards the car park

Shack on the table. Nice in the mid morning sun.

Got on 40 m. Worked


I had a visit from a couple of park rangers who wanted to know what I was doing. I explained to them Amateur Radio and the WWFF Awards program. Showed them the WWFF Australia website and the ParksnPeaks app on my phone. They seemed happy enough I wasn't doing something illegal, just a bit unusual.

As had 14 contacts packed up. After the activation had a look at the beach. Looking North

Looking South

In the distance Byron Bay, the most Easterly point of the Australian mainland can be seen, along with the Byron Bay lighthouse. Zoomed in

Monday, 30 July 2018

WWFF Broadwater National Park VKFF-0058

After leaving Coffs Harbour continued North on the Pacific Hwy. When driving through the town of Broadwater saw a sign for Broadwater National Park, so decided to go activate it.

Drove down the Broadwater-Evans Head Rd, turning off onto Broadwater Beach Rd. Sign for the park.

At the end turned left on Finns Trail to a picnic area in the park. There were picnic tables, so for a change no need to use my own table and chair. Set up easily on the table.

Location of my operating spot. Map from Protected Planet.

Looking to the North

Shack on the table

While operating got a visit from this cute wallaby :)

Got on 40 m. Signals quite strong, but as a week day slow going. Worked the following

VK4AAC/3 Rob in VKFF-2404 Moyston Flora Reserve
VK2MG/p Alan in VKFF-2014 Wambina Nature Reserve

Alan was struggling getting 44 contacts... He went to 80 m to get more contacts, I did the same as 40 m was too quiet.

On 80 m worked

VK2MG/p Alan again in VKFF-2014 Wambina Nature Reserve.

As had 10 contacts and needed to keep driving, packed up. Had a brief look at the nearby beach. View to the North

View to the South

As you can see it was a really nice day. Continued driving North to stop overnight in Ballina.

WWFF Kororo Nature Reserve VKFF-2638

After stopping overnight in Coffs Harbour headed for a nearby park for a first activation, Kororo Nature Reserve VKFF-2638. This park is quite small and is in the suburb of Korora, just North of Coffs Harbour and just North of "The Big Banana" tourist park (Coffs Harbour is famous for growing bananas :))

Drove on the Pacific Hwy, turning off into the Old Coast Rd. Just after the turnoff there is a road on the left that runs past the Eastern edge of the park.

The vegetation is thick sub-tropical rain forest, no hope of walking into it. Drove along until seeing another sign for the park, and a spot where I could be off the road and within the park boundary. Set up the shack using the park sign to support the squid pole.

Operating spot, from Protected Planet.

Looking along the road. Note power lines nearby, did give me a little QRM, also noise from the busy highway nearby.

Shack on the table

Got on 40 m. Worked some of the usual park hunters. Fairly slow as a week day.


A park to park with VK4FW/mm Bill in VKFF-1540 Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park. This is a marine park off the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he was marine mobile.


As had 12 contacts enough to qualify under VKFF, packed up and continued driving North up the coast.

Sunday, 29 July 2018

WWFF Middle Brother National Park VKFF-0314

After activating Darawank Nature Reserve headed North on the Pacific Highway, until turning off onto Haydons Rd, entering Middle Brother National Park.

I had activated the SOTA summit Middle Brother a few years ago, but the activation zone was outside the park so have not done this park. Also, the SOTA site was very noisy on HF so wanted to get away from it. I initially tried Bird Nest picnic area, this proved to be too small an area to string out dipoles, in fact a lot of the park is dense rain forest so hard to find an open area to operate.

In the end found an old 4WD track off Grey Gum Ridge Rd, set up the antennas running up and down the track.

The other end of the dipole near the junction with Grey Ridge Rd. Unfortunately power lines running along the road meant still had a bit of noise on HF

Shack on the table. I used the table to support the squid pole.

Got on 40 m. Found a few Park activators on so worked them first for park to parks

VK4SMA/p Mark in VKFF-1620 Nerang Conservation Park
VK4CZ/p Scott in VKFF-1190 Bellthorpe National Park
VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1777 Berowra Valley Regional Park

Worked some park hunters


Packed up and headed to Coffs Harbour for the evening.

WWFF Darawank Nature Reserve VKFF-1923

Taking some leave from work to head up to Northern NSW and SE Quuensland, to escape the chilly Canberra winter for a while. Drove from Canberra through Sydney to stop at Forster the first night.
The next day there was some early morning rain, cleared up enough to activate a park North of Forster, Darawank Nature Reserve VKFF-1923. This park has not been activated before.

Drove to the small seaside village of Black Head, and headed South on N Boundary trail, a sandy road, that led to Tuncurry Beach.

This is an access point for 4WD driving on the beach to the South. Close up of the sign showing beach driving access.

My car is only AWD, not 4WD, and you need a to lower tyre pressure to avoid getting bogged. Plus you also need a permit...I decided to just walk into the park from here.

Just to the South of the access point a faded old sign for the park, set up next to it.

Operating spot from Protectedplanet.

Shack on the table near the sign

Got on 40 m. The band was noisy with storm static. Worked


Not receiving nearby VK2, so set up the 80 m dipole extensions and tried there.


Looked like rain not that far away offshore, decided to pack up before it started.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

SOTA Isaacs Ridge VK1/AC-041

Local SOTA activator Andrew VK1DA was going for SOTA mountain goat, so along with some of the other SOTA activators decided to chase him from a nearby peak for a summit to summit contact. I picked Isaacs Ridge, as it has a good path to Andrews summit VK2/ST-006 South Black Range, and as an added bonus activating a new WWFF park for me, VKFF-0845 Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve.

As per previous activations parked off Long Gully Rd. A walk starts here for walkers, mountain bike riders and horse riders in the park.

Map on the fence for Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve

Walked straight up the road to the top of the hill, short but steep... Just to the South of the transmission towers some concrete post survey markers, used one to support the squid pole. Initially just set up the 2m folded dipole ribbon antenna, left the dipole wires down until later as in a hurry to get going on 2m first.

Location of my operating spot. Map from Protected Planet website.

Shack on the tarp at the base. Using my FT-857D for extra power.

Got on 2m calling frequency 146.500 FM. worked VK1AD/p Andrew on VK1/AC-043 Mt Stromlo and Matt VK1MA/2 on VK2/ST-001 Mt Cowangerong both with strong signals.

Then Andrew VK1DA/2 came up from VK2/ST-006 South Black Range. I was his 3rd contact, his 4th being with Andrew VK1AD/p for the 4 needed to claim the 1000 summit points and Mountain Goat. Well done Andrew!

Went on to work Al VK1RX/p on nearby VK1/AC-038 Tuggeranong Hill, a huge signal. Worked Matt VK1MA/2 again after UTC rollover at 10:00 am.

Went on to work the following on 2m FM

VK1MIC/p Wade, VK1CT/p Chris in a park VKFF-0859 Percival Hill NR, VK1FJDO, VK1AD/p on VK1/AC-043, VK1AT Jim at home.

Tried putting up the 40 m dipole. The band seemed quite dead, not even the usual Sunday WIA broadcasts coming in that well. After a few calls worked Tex VK1TX on ground wave. As obvious the MUF was low added in the wire extensions and moved down to 80 m.

Had more luck on 80 m. Worked VK1DA/2 Andrew again with a massive signal from VK2/ST-006. Got a call from Peter VK3PF/p activating VK3/VT-046 Mt Tassie. A park to park with Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-0092 Cattai National Park.

Geoff VK3SQ also called me on 80 m with a strong signal. Worked a couple more F calls on Mt Stromlo, VK1/AC-043 VK1FCLU/p and VK1FDHA/p.

Tried 40 m again. Managed a summit to summit with Mathew VA3OZI/VK2 on VK2/MN-079 - Mount Yarrahapinni. A bit weak but workable.

Packed up and headed back down. View down the hill to the South West.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

VKFF Activator Honour Roll 100 Award

After my activation of VKFF-2653 Mcleods Creek Nature Reserve on Sunday I had activated 100 different VKFF parks, with more than 10 contacts in each, and able to apply for the VKFF Activator Honour Roll 100 Award.

Note I've actually activated 106 different VKFF parks, in 6 of these failed to make 10 QSOs or more... Thanks to the park hunters for the contacts.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

WWFF Mcleods Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-2653

Recently another 284 parks were added to the NSW WWFF list, catching up on parks that were not added before due to limitations on how many can be added at a time. I had a look on a map at these new parks and noticed several close by to Canberra, including one not too far away to the North, Mcleods Creek Nature Reserve, VKFF-2653.

This is just to the East of the small village of Gundaroo. After lunch my partner and I drove there via Gungahlin, Gundaroo Drive, Captains Flat Road, then Sutton Road. About a 37 Km, 40 minute drive from home. Once reaching Gundaroo took Rosemel St on the right, this becomes Marked Tree Rd. The park is on the right after a few km, a locked gate with the park sign behind.

Just through the gate on the right the remnants of an old stock yard, probably used for holding sheep. Passed all the gear over the gate and set up using one of the stock yard posts for squid pole support.

Operating location on a map, taken from Protected Planet website.

looking back the other way

Radio shack on the table.

Good mobile coverage here. Saw a spot for VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0878 Eurilla Conservation Park so got on 40m and worked him, he was a strong S9. I spotted myself on 7.130 on ParksnPeaks and worked several park hunters


Another Park to park with VK3PF/p Peter in VKFF-2034 Adams Creek Nature Conservation Reserve

I started getting heavy QRM from Europe from a contest, so moved down to 7.080, on the way working VK5FMAZ/p Maria also in VKFF-0878 Eurilla Conservation Park

Some more contacts


After no more calls on 40 m added the 80 m wire extensions on to the dipole ends.Worked Paul VK5PAS/p and Maria VK5FMAZ/p again in VKFF-0878 Eurilla Conservation Park, a good S7 on 80m.

Worked VK2IO Gerard and VK2NP Cliff in nearby Sydney, they could not hear me on 40 m as NVIS was not working.Went on to work


As the winter sun was setting it was getting quite cold. Overnight the temperature had fallen to -5 c and with thick fog in the morning the temperature had only struggled up to a maximum around 7 c.

Packed up and headed for the warmth of the wood fire in the nearby Gundaroo pub 😃