Saturday, 29 December 2018

WWFF Yatteyattah Nature Reserve

While staying on the NSW South Coast with my partner for a few days after Boxing Day, decided to try activating a WWFF park never activated before, Yatteyattah Nature Reserve, VKFF-2799.

This is located about 8 Km North of Milton. Took the Princes Hwy through Milton, turning off to where the Yatteyattah Access track is marked. This initially had me puzzled, appeared at first to be just an access road to a farm property, however just before the farm gate another closed gate on the right, and a path between fences heading down the hill. Spotted a NPWS park sign so knew this was the way to go.

The gate was unlocked. Opened it and headed down. As you can see it does not get much use, long grass, even had a small gum tree growing in the track that I needed to drive around... At the bottom a stile and another unlocked gate. Opened this gate as well and drove down a little less overgrown track to a stile over the fence and a sign for the park. Parked and climbed over the stile. A look at the sign.

A map on the sign shows the access track in.

Some quite interesting reading on the sign about the park history. The name is Aboriginal for "water tumbling down" referring to the Falls nearby in Currowar Creek. The falls looked a long way down with no tracks so did not go. This was initially a farm, cemetery and a picnic spot from the late 1800s, with photos of men in bowler hats and ladies in long skirts! In 1967 the area was donated to the council by Mr A Mclean. It was then declared a Nature Reserve.

Another sign on the local wildlife. Quite an interesting park with sub tropical vegetation at the Southern limit here.

Set up the squid pole on the park sign and dipole legs tied to the nearby fence.

Set up the radio on the tarp and towels in the shade in front of the sign, It was a warm day.

Got on 40 m. Able to spot myself on the mobile here. Quite slow going, bad conditions, plus did not seem to be many on this morning.


My 10th caller was Peter VK3ZPF, who I had worked earlier portable back at home so counted as another contact. Not long after working him my battery died, so just made the 10 contacts for VKFF.

A park I will need to return to for WWFF.

Friday, 28 December 2018

WWFF Meroo National Park VKFF-0312

While stopping on the NSW South Coast for a few days, decided to complete a park I still need 44 contacts from for WWFF, Meroo National Park, VKFF-0312.

Last activation I had operated from a camping area in March, however at this time of year all the camp grounds would be full, so picked another spot, Stokes Island lookout day use area.

This is on the coast to the South of Tabourie Lake township. The road in, Blackbutt Rd is a bit rough, dirt, probably 4WD only in the wet but okay when dry for my Nissan Xtrail. Note the picnic area is a 100 m or so from the car park so you need to pack light.

Looking out to Stokes Island

Just up from the lookout was a picnic table with a little bit of shade. Set up the radio on the table.

Attaching the squid pole to the table was not easy. Managed to strap it to the end of a seat, with a large rock at the bottom to stop it moving. Luckily not a lot of wind today.

Got on 40 m. Found no internet access on the mobile so unable to spot myself on ParksnPeaks. So just called on 7.144 Mhz, the parks call frequency for a while.

Eventually got a few contacts, VK2FADV, VK3UP. After working VK3UH and VK2VW got spotted and the contacts came a little quicker. Still slow as conditions were not the best.


And a park to park, also a SOTA summit contact with VK3PF/p Peter on VK3/VE-189 VKFF-0959.

While operating a large yellow brown snake slithered past the table and into the nearby bush. As not keen to hang around it packed up. Had 10 contacts which is all I needed to make up the 44 for the park. 

Thursday, 27 December 2018

WWFF Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1918

Boxing Day my partner and I headed down to the South Coast for a few days holidays. While in Batemans Bay dropped into Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve to complete the 44 contacts needed for WWFF. As per last time parked in a car park off Myamba Parade and set off on the walking track to the park.

A short walk passed the sign for the park above the beach

Followed a walking track behind the sign to the same place I set up last time, using a wooden stake for squid pole support.

Shack on the tarp, also on beach towels. In case you are wondering, it was a hot day, in the 30c temperature, we went for a swim later :)

Got on 40 m. Lots of park hunters called. No park to parks, seemed to be the only one on.


As had 15 contacts plus other activations had over 44 contacts so packed up and went for a swim :)

Monday, 24 December 2018

FT8DMC Worked All New Zealand 40 m Award

FT8DMC have an award for working New Zealand prefixes 4 x ZL1, 3 x ZL2, 2 x ZL3 and 1 x ZL4 on FT8 mode. Having worked ZL2LW recently on 40 m, had enough contacts to qualify for the award on 40 m.

ZL1BD               2018-09-15  07:41  40M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL1BQD              2017-09-12  10:28  40M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL1BRL              2018-04-24  07:31  40M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL1CVD              2018-08-27  08:14  40M   FT8      ZL1   
ZL2LW               2018-12-21  07:40  40M   FT8      ZL2   
ZL2SKY              2018-12-16  07:12  40M   FT8      ZL2   
ZL2WD               2018-04-24  08:00  40M   FT8      ZL2   
ZL3GK               2018-07-14  05:46  40M   FT8      ZL3   
ZL3KR               2018-08-27  08:05  40M   FT8      ZL3   
ZL4BEN              2018-04-27  10:00  40M   FT8      ZL4   

I've also qualified for this award on 20 m and 80 m. Still need ZL2 on 30 m, and heaps on 17 m. Despite hearing the ZL beacons on 10 m and working across on SSB yet to work any ZLs on FT8 on this band.

Saturday, 22 December 2018

FT8 30 Meter Digital Group ANZA-30 Award

The 30 Meter Digital group offer awards for working certain totals of VK and ZL calls on the 30 m band, 15, 30 and 45 total. I managed to get to 30 combined VK/ZL contacts on FT8 recently.

Here is the award

Thursday, 20 December 2018

FT8 30 Meter Digital Group VK Certificate

The 30 Meter Digital Group offer an award for contacting the VK call areas VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 VK6 and VK7 on 30 Meters any digital modes. Don't know why missing VK8 however I found it hard going getting just these alone, even being in VK myself... The worst was VK2, here in VK1 the bulk of VK2 operators are in the Sydney area, around 300 Km away and too close to work on 30 m, so needed to get someone far enough away like Northern NSW.

Managed to work VK2/G3NJV in Mullumbimby Northern VK2, to complete the required contacts.

VK1MA               2018-09-18  08:01  30M   FT8      1
VK2/G3NJV           2018-12-18  09:52  30M   FT8      2
VK3FM               2017-09-15  07:36  30M   FT8      3
VK4FNQ              2017-09-15  22:57  30M   FT8      4
VK5DG*              2014-05-12  09:51  30M   JT65     5
VK6DW*              2018-02-26  10:14  30M   FT8      6
VK7TR               2014-05-12  07:39  30M   JT65     7

Applied for the award using Ultimate AAC software

Monday, 17 December 2018

FT8 mode 6 m contact with Fiji

The 6 m band is a band I have rarely used, mainly because I don't have an antenna up for it. However I've discovered my 40/30/20/17 m fan dipole seems to load up on it somehow using the tuner in the IC-7300, and have been having fun working VK3, VK4 and VK5 with good signals on FT8 mode

Turning on after work today saw 3D2AG, Antoine in Suva Fiji with a strong signal, so gave him a call and worked him. Another country for me on 6 m :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

FT8 WSJT-X v2.0.0 upgrade

As most FT8 users will be aware the latest version of WSJT-X v 2.0 becomes the standard version to use on December 10th, with a request to upgrade from earlier versions by January 1st 2019. With the change from the older 75 bit version to 77 bits the new version messages cannot be read by the older version, so time to upgrade.

Downloaded and installed okay. Starting it up get the message about end of life for the old versions.

There was also a pop up about a LoTW error.

Looking in the quick start guide, a fix for this

LoTW Download Errors: If you are using Windows and experience LoTW download
errors, go here and download the
OpenSSL installer, specifically the “Win32 OpenSSL v1.0.2p Light” version. Note that
this is the correct version even if you are running 64-bit Windows. The direct download
link is Run the
installer with all default options and accept the option to install into the Windows system

After installing Win32 OpenSSL v1.0.2p Light the error was gone.

Receiving okay. Seems to have a lot more colors than the old. It seems to show  CQ Zones on CQ calls.

Looking under Settings there are a heap of color options available to highlight wanted zones DXCC, Grids and other things. Still prefer JTAlert to tell me whats needed.

So how does it work? Tried a contact on 40 m with KE7W, much the same as the old version.

This version allows for longer messages, interested to see if it gets adopted for SOTA and WWFF park activations.