Tuesday, 30 April 2019

FT8DMC 100 Prefixes on 17 m

Noticed in UAAC I'd qualified for the 100 Prefixes award on 17 m. Applied for the award, once approved downloaded the award.


Thursday, 25 April 2019

Queanbeyan Nature Reserve VKFF-1988

For ANZAC day holiday the weather was very good, warm and mostly sunny, so headed out in the afternoon to activate a WWFF park Queanbeyan Nature Reserve VKFF-1988. I had activated it before but conditions were poor then and only got 13 contacts, so returned to finish the 44 needed for WWFF. As per last time entered the park off Hoover Rd in Queanbeyan. Sign for the park just after the locked gate.



Set up the squid pole using the sign for support, dipole legs tied to the fences.


Shack on the table. FT-857D set to about 40 w output, running off a 4300 mAH Lifepo4 battery.


Got on 40 m. Started off with a Park to Park with AX5PAS/p Paul in VKFF-1886 Watts Gully Forest Natural Features Reserve with a strong signal. Then worked VK2IO/p Gerard on SOTA summit VK2/NR-039 Glenugie Peak. I had activated this peak myself, between Coffs Harbour and Grafton. Gerard also had a strong signal.

Went on to work several park hunters.

VK4CZ
VK2NP
ZL4TY/VK4
VK4DXA
VK4NH
VK4FDJL
VK4TJ
VK4/AC8WN
VK4/VE6XT
VK2VW
ZL1TM
AX4HNS
VK4HNS
VK5FANA
VK3DBP

Another Park to park with AX3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-2224 Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve. He was also on SOTA summit VK3/VC-029 Briarty Hill

Worked VK7QP, then another Park/Peak, AX1DA/p Andrew on VK1/AC034 Bullen Range and VKFF-0984 Bullen Range Nature Reserve

Worked VK3MPR, then decided to try 20 m.

Only managed 1 contact on 20 m, AX4DV Merv.

Saw a spot on 80 m for AX2MG/p Alan in a park, so quickly added the 80 m extension wires to the dipole and worked him in VKFF-0056 Brisbane Water National Park.

Worked AX3PF/VK3PF then again worked AX3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-2224 Warramate Hills Nature Conservation Reserve on 80 m.

After contacts with VK2NP and VK6MB/3 made another park to park contact with AX5PAS/p Paul in VKFF-1886 Watts Gully Forest Natural Features Reserve. Not quite a strong as on 40 m but still an easy copy. Returned to 40 m to work a few more hunters

VK5DW
VK5MRE
VK5WU
VK3FSPN
VK2YK

Got a surprise call from IK1GPG Max in Italy! I have worked him a few times on 20 m but never on 40 m, so conditions fairly good.

Made one more contact, VK5PL, before packing up and heading home.


Monday, 22 April 2019

Macquarie Pass National Park VKFF-0298

After activating Roberston National Park on Easter Monday, my partner and I headed down to nearby Macquarie Pass National Park, VKFF-0298. This park is located on both sides of the Illawarra Hwy descending down from Robertson to Albion Park. We first headed down the pass to do the Cascades Rainforest walk. Sign for the park at the bottom of the pass.


There is a car park and picnic area here, sign at the start of the Cascades Rainforest walk.


The walk is only about 1 Km each way and suitable for families. You follow a walking track, but easy enough to drop down into the creek in places.


Lots of fan palms.


Not a lot of water in the creek after a prolonged drought.


The walk ends at Cascade Falls. I have seen it better, the lack of rain shows.


Returned to the picnic area at the start of the walk. You could probably set up and activate here, however on Easter Monday the place was busy with picnicers and children running around, so gave it a miss and headed back up the mountain.

There are not many places to pull off into the park... I eventually found a parking spot with a locked gate. Forgot to get a photo, however Google Street view shows it, near a Welcome to South Coast NSW road sign.


Operating spot, map from Protected Planet


Past the gate found an open area on the right with a fallen log for squid pole support. Shack on the tarp.


Got on 40 m on 7.144 and spotted myself. Started with a SOTA contact, VK3ZPF on VK3/VT-046 Mt Tassie. Then worked the usual park hunters. There was a bit of a pileup at times.

VK3PF
VK4TJ
VK4/AC8WN
VK4/VE6XT
VK3AHR
VK3DAC
VK3UCD
VK2VW
VK3BSG
VK2FSAV
VK4FDJL
VK4FARR
VK4SMA
VK3MIJ
VK3MDH

An S2S contact from VK5PAS/p Paul activating VKFF-2892 Knott Hill Native Forest Reserve. Paul had a good strong signal and moved off to work park hunters.

Continued on 40 m

VK4RF
VK4HA
VK5WU
VK3NAD
VK5FMWW
VK3SQ
VK3ARH
VK3HRA
VK5CZ
VK3TKK/M
VK2HHA
VK3PI
VK5FANA
ZL1TM
VK4HNS
VK4CZ
VK3BYD
VK5FLEA
VK4NH
VK4DXA
ZL4TY/VK4

As starting to get late and still having a few hours drive home, packed up, and stopped briefly for a pie at the nearby Roberston Pie shop :)





Robertson Nature Reserve VKFF-1992

Spending the Easter long weekend with my partner at Roberston in the Southern Highlands, noticed there was a small WWFF park right in Robertson township, Robertson Nature Reserve VKFF-1992. So on Sunday morning set off to activate it. Turned off the Illawarra Hwy down Myla St, just before the Robertson Inn, then East onto South St. Sign for the park.


Walking track behind the sign. As dense rain forest up to the park boundary no option other than to do the walk and look for a suitable spot on the track to activate from. Sign at the back of the reserve sign, explaining this is a remnant remains of rain forest that once covered the nearby area before being cleared for farming.


The rain forest looked quite lush, despite a lack of rain recently.


Some vines up high in the trees


The walk is a loop track. Headed South on the loop, passing a seat, then headed East along the bottom of the loop. Saw a bit of a break in the canopy and a sign post for squid pole support, set up. Dipole legs running along the walking track.

Operating Spot. Map Satellite View from Google Maps.


Operating spot besides the walking track.


Shack on the tarp. Not long after setting up found this spot had lots of mosquitoes :( Anyway got on 40 m and spotted myself, mobile coverage good despite the vegetation


Worked the following on 40 m. Most signals were quite strong, 40 m seems to go through rain forest fairly well.

VK3PF
VK3UH
VK4HNS
VK3MCK
VK4FARR
VK3SQ
VK2YMU
VK3DAC
VK5NJ
VK4TJ
VK4/AC8WN
VK4/VE6XT
VK2VW
ZL1TM
VK6MB/3

As had 15 contacts qualified for VKFF, packed up as the mosquitoes were too annoying...

Continued around the loop. Some more rain forest. Interesting vines.



Walked back to the car, headed for my next park, Macquarie Pass National Park.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Barren Grounds Nature Reserve VKFF-1885

Stopped in Robertson with my partner over the Easter long weekend, visiting some of the attractions of the Southern Highlands. After visiting Carrington Falls in Budaroo National Park went to nearby Barren Grounds Nature Reserve for a WWFF activation. Drove down the Jamberoo Mountain Rd, turning off onto Barren Grounds Rd and the Barren Grounds Picnic Area. A few picnic tables but most were in use. Sign for the park at one of the shelters.


Interpretive sign for the park


This reserve is quite old, found a plaque for Frank Griffiths who managed the reserve from 1949-1958. Note the old name "Barren Grounds Faunal Reserve No. 3"


The picnic spot is mid way along an 8 Km loop track, the Griffiths Trail. Sign for the North East exit onto the loop trail


Sign for the South West exit onto the loop trail


Noticed "The Lodge 50m". Set off to there to look for an operating spot away from the crowds in the picnic area. Arrived at a large stone building.


Locked, looking in the windows deserted. Around the back of the building found a picnic table at the back of a courtyard. Set up the radio shack on this, squid pole attached to the table and dipole legs out to a couple of trees.


Location in the park. Satellite map from Google Maps satellite view You can make out the table near the building.


Got on 40 m. First grabbed a couple of park to parks, VK2TK/p Adam in VKFF-0230 Hat Head National Park. Then VK5LA/3 Andy in VKFF-2338 Jallumba Marsh Flora Reserve

After working VK3CRG and VK2HHA worked Paul VK5PAS/p and Maria VK5FMAZ/p in VKFF-2893 Christmas Hill Forest Natural Features Reserve.

After settling down and spotting on a frequency I got swamped... massive pileups of callers, conditions must have been very good. Stations worked on 40 m, most quite strong

VK7QP
VK4CZ
VK3AHR
VK4NH
VK4DXA
ZL4TY/VK4
VK2VH/3
VK4AAC/3
VK2VW
VK3PF
VK4HA
VK4RF
VK2PKT
VK2WQ
VK5WU
VK3FPSR
VK3KMH
VK3ANL
ZL1TM
VK3SVW
VK4TJ
VK4FDJL
VK3AB
VK4HNS
VK3ARH
VK6MB/3
VK4FARR
VK3IL
VK5HS
VK3MKE
VK2XSE
VK5FANA
VK3MWD
VK4MWB
VK2HRX/3

Got called by Adam VK2YK/p in a new park,  VKFF-0578 Arakoon National Park

Went on to work

VK5MK/M
VK3ZNK
VK4SMA
VK3NL
VK3MPR
VK3PF
VK3UH

With 47 contacts had qualified the park. Starting to get cool and dark so packed up.

Just near the hut a Banksia ericflolia in flower, as per the park sign.


I found Barren Grounds Nature Reserve quite attractive despite the name, and as a bush walker will have to return some time to just do the walks.







Sunday, 14 April 2019

WWFF Urambi Hills Nature Reserve VKFF-0864

As band conditions on Sunday didn't sound too bad decided to do a WWFF activation of a park I still needed to get 44 contacts, Urambi Hills Nature Reserve. As per last time parked off Meredith St in Kambah and walked a short distance into the park. Sign for the park.


On my last activation it was very windy so had set up at this sign, however today hardly any wind, so set off on the walk to the top of the highest hill. There are 4 hills in the reserve, passing the first one on the way to the second, the highest.


Mid way up the second hill. Good views to the West over the Brindabellas


On top of the hill the locals have constructed a few kids cubby houses out of logs and bricks.


Just behind this a seat. I didn't set up there as it seemed to be used by everyone who walks up here. So set up just below the seat, using a small bush for squid pole support.


Operating spot. Map from protected planet


Looking South East across to the next hill in the reserve. Lake Tuggeranong and Tuggeranong township to the left of the hill.


Shack on the tarp in the shade.


Got on 40 m on 7.144, the FT857D set to about 40 w. I did have some power problems with the rig powering off, luckily only a loose fuse box cover in the power cord, once snapped in properly no problems.

Worked VK5HS first, then a park to park with VK6MB/3 Mike in VKFF-0269 Kosciuszko National Park

Went on to work VK3YB, VK4FDJL, VK4TJ and his 2 other calls, VK2YK.

Another park to park, with VK2XSE/p Liz in VKFF-2724 South West Woodland Nature Reserve
This was followed by another park to park with VK3ZNK Nik in VKFF-0745 Cape Liptrap Coastal Park

Went on to work some more park hunters.
VK5KMWW
VK3PF
VK4SMA
VK2VW
VK3ANL
VK3DAC
VK2IO
VK3AMX
VK3SQ
VK5WU
VK3MKE
VK3FSPN
VK3AHR
VK5YX
VK5TR

Saw a spot for another park, this one on the locals, VK1FTRA Tait in VKFF-0848 Kama Nature Reserve so gave Tait a park to park contact.

After working VK2PKT headed for 80 m as had seen a spot there for VK3ZPF/p in a park.

By the time I got the 80 m extension leads hooked up and tied up he had gone. So called on 3.610 and got VK1LAJ and VK3PF. A park to park on another band with VK3ZNK/p Nik in VKFF-0745 Cape Liptrap Coastal Park.

VK3ZPF/p Peter must have seen my spot and returned to 80 m. Worked him in VKFF-0556 Yarra Ranges National Park. He was also on a SOTA summit VK3/VC-002 Mt Donna Buang.

I had 31 contacts, with the 33 contacts last time in the park making 64 contacts so easily over the 44 needed for WWFF. Packed up and headed home.

View looking down the hill.





Monday, 8 April 2019

eQSL Oceania 10 Award

Some new awards have been added to the eQSL awards, and managed to qualify for one of them, the eOceania award. This is available for working 10, 15, 20 etc up to 60 countries in the Oceania region. I have 13 countries confirmed so far.



Wednesday, 3 April 2019

FT8 European Ros Club 17 m 100 Grid Squares Award

Noticed in Altimate AAC software that I'd managed to qualify for the award for working 100 Grid Square Locators on 17 m. Applied for the award and after approved downloaded from the ERC site.


17 m is a band I've only been active on for a few years, with some contacts on JT65, and most on FT8. My equipment is nothing special, an IC7300 running 50 w into a dipole. For interest tried plotting all the grid squares worked on 17 m digital on Google Earth. Easy to do using Log4OM logging program.

Contacts in Oceania. Some Indonesia Australia and New Zealand contacts, nearby islands.


Contacts into Asia. The most common contacts as Asia is open most of the day into VK


European contacts not so common, sometimes opening up in the early evenings here. Nothing from Africa...


North America also fairly rare, the odd opening in our mornings. Good spread across the USA, with a few contacts into Canada and Alaska. Hawaii also workable in the afternoons along with Asia. Nothing from South America. Need more sunspots!