Thursday, 31 December 2020

600 Oceanian Stations Award

Latest award, for working 600 Oceanian stations on FT8. No doubt the recent sporadic e openings on 10m and 6m around VK/ZL helped.. Thanks for QSOs.



Tuesday, 29 December 2020

SOTA Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043

With a couple of SOTA activations planned today by VK1AD, VK1MCW and VK1CT decided to get out and activate a summit myself for some S2S contacts. Decided to revisit Mt Stromlo as close by and had not been there for a while.

Drove to the mountain bike car park just below the summit and walked to the trig. Didn't set up here as a known RF interference spot...


Laser ranging station opposite


Dropped down to the North of the summit and set up in the bush. Initially just set up the 2m ribbon slim jim antenna.


Checked the SWR, pretty good


Shack on the rocks


On 2m SSB 144.2 heard Andrew VK1AD/p on Mt Ginini, VK1/AC-008, not that strong but an easy copy. Worked him for S2S. This contact gave Andrew 9000 S2S points, well done!

Went up to 146.5 Mhz FM. Worked Wade VK1MIC with a strong signal, then Dermy VK1DB, and Bill VK1MCW/p on Mt Ainslie, VK1/AC-040 very strong. Also VK1LAJ Aaron.

Put up the linked dipole and tried 40m. Unfortunately had not moved far enough away from the RF noisy summit, had about S8 of noise... Anyway managed to work VK2IO/P Gerard in a park, VKFF-0550 Wyrrabalong National Park. Then worked Ron, VK3AFW, Brett VK2VW.

Another S2S with Peter, VK3PF/p on VK3/VE-159.

Returned to 2m FM as saw a spot for Chris, VK1CT/p on Black Mountain, VK2/AC/042, worked him with a very strong signal.

Finally, a contact with Glen VK1FB/p on VK1/AC-040 Mt Ainslie, doing an activation with Bill VK1MCW, also very strong.

Packed up and headed home for lunch. 



300 European Stations Award

 Latest award from FT8DMC, 300 European stations. Helped a lot by good band openings on 30m, 10m.




75 Australian stations on 6m Award

The 6m band has been good recently for summer short skip around Australia, worked several new stations. Managed to work 75 stations and applied for the ERC, European ROS Club award.



 

Monday, 28 December 2020

300 Digital Contacts on 30m Award

Been active lately working EU on 30m FT8 in the morning, found had worked over 300 stations, so able to apply for the award offered by the 30m Digital Group.




Saturday, 26 December 2020

Worked All Europe 40 EU countries worked

Following some good openings into Europe recetly managed to work 40 European countries, so applied for the Worked All Europe Award.






Undoo Nature Reserve VKFF-2751

After spending Christmas at my brothers place at Pambula Beach headed back to Canberra. After lunch in Cooma headed East along Numeralla Rd to the small village of Numeralla, and a nearby WWFF park, Undoo Nature Reserve, VKFF-2751. This park has never been activated before. After Numeralla crossed the Numeralla River onto Countegany Rd. Saw the sign for the park on the right, almost hidden in the grass.

Reversed a bit and found a rough track entering the reserve. This is the Kybeyan West Firetrail. Took a rough track off this on the left and parked. Set up the station in the shade of some gum trees.

Operating spot. Map from Google Maps

Shack on the tarp in some shade.


Got on 40m. It sounded quite dead... Found VK5MAZ/p Maria on 7.144 doing an activation, saying the band was poor... Worked Maria and Paul VK5PAS/p for a park to park in VKFF-2896 Congeratinga Forest Reserve. Signals were not great but had no background noise.

Spotted myself on Parksnpeaks, had good phone reception. Worked Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-0049 Bouddi National Park, also quite weak.

Went on to work

 VK3ZPF, VK2FPAR, VK2FAPC, VK3FIMD, VK3ARH, VK3SQ, VK7ALH, VK3TKK

Tried 20m. Worked

VK3BCZ, ZL1TM

The band conditions were not good. With 13 contacts had at least got over the 10 needed for a VKFF activation, so packed up and headed home to Canberra.

 

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Kuma Nature Reserve VKFF-1954

Whenever I drive down to my brothers place at Pambula Beach for Christmas, I stop on the way at Kuma Nature Reserve VKFF-1954 to activate it. It is just off the Snowy Mountains highway between Cooma and Nimmitabel and easy access.

As usual parked and climbed over the stile to enter the park.


The park is devoid of trees, usually use the park sign to support the squid pole.


Looking back the other way


Checked the dipole for resonance on 40m, a little high in the band but okay.

Shack on the tarp. Didn't take my table as only here for a short time.


Got on 40 m. It sounded, dead... Not that many signals on. Spotted myself on 7.144 and called. 

Worked VK3FMID, VK3SQ, VK4CZ, VK3ZK/m, VK3MCK, VK2LX, VK4MGL, VK3DPG,

Tried 20m, working VK3DAC, VK2MG

A park to park with VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1908 Cockle Bay Nature Reserve.

Also VK4CZ, a lot stronger on 20m.

Returned to 40 m to grab another park to park with VK3PF/p Peter in VKFF-2223 Wangaratta Common Nature Conservation Reserve.

As nearly lunch time packed up and headed to Nimmitabel for lunch. With 14 contacts finally got over 44 contacts in this park, after several years of activating it...


 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

6m FT8 DX

 Today was quite good on 6m FT8 for DX around VK/ZL, here is how it went. 

Started by working the following ZL stations, in the South Island

ZL3RJ, ZL4JW, ZL4AS

Then worked several VK4s

VK4TUX, VK4EM, VK4SSB, VK4TLA. All very strong signals

It then opened to VK6...

VK6RO, VK6RZ, VK6CPU, VK6AKT

Then worked another ZL, in the North Island, ZL1RS. Worked another VK6, VK6RK.

Skip then shortened into VK3! 

Worked VK3ALB, VK3BOB.

I also briefly went to 6m SSB and worked a very strong VK3ZSJ Simon South of Melbourne.

Saw 3D2TS on from Fiji, so worked him also

Made a contact with VK2QV in Sydney, probably some back scatter

Map of my contacts, from www.qsomap.org



 





Global Overlay Mapper

When I first got my amateur radio license I remember getting a large map of the world, pinning it up on the wall and sticking pins in all the places I had spoken to. Suspect I'm not the only amateur to have done this... Now days you can do this electronically. I recently came across Windows software Global Overlay Mapper which does this. Export your QSOs from your log keeping program into an ADIF file, then load this into the program to see all your contacts world wide. Here is a plot of all my digital mode contacts. Colours indicate bands. If you move the mouse over a pin it shows the callsign of the station worked.


There are Overlay Maps for more details on each area, eg Australia New Zealand area


You can select other Overlay Maps, eg Indonesia. Handy if chasing different prefixes, provinces, IOTA islands for awards


The Overlay Maps are fixed. Theres also an online map that you can pan and zoom around.


I noticed some of the markers not quite right, some contacts showing in the odd spots... Turns out position data wrong. Looking at the log, see position can be determined by 4 digit, 6 digit grid square, or Lat/Lon.


Some users have entered in the wrong Lat/Lon values, putting them in another country or worse the ocean... need to correct this. Also, my log has a mix of 4 digit grid squares, that I got from FT8 contacts, and 6 digits where I have updated their entry from QRZ. Will need to update a lot of entries to 6 digits if I want to plot these accurately.

Overall a nice program. Its not free, but you can try out for 30 days to see if you like it.


 


Thursday, 17 December 2020

2020 VKFF Activation Weekend Certificate

After activating parks Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0839 and Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847 for the 2020 VKFF Activation Weekend, on Saturday 28th November, received a nice certificate from the event organizer Paul VK5PAS.




Monday, 14 December 2020

Worked 50 Russian Prefixes Award

Latest award, for working 50 Russian Prefixes on FT8. Mainly done on 10m and 12m recently. Thanks to the awards manager.


 

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Worked 10 Polish Stations Award

Following some good propagation into EU recently on 17, 15, 12 and even 10 m managed to get to 10 contacts from Poland, and applied for the FT8DMC award. Nice award.



Monday, 30 November 2020

15 contacts on FT8 with Taiwan Award

After working BV6CC recently on 10m FT8 found I was eligible for a new award, Worked 15 Taiwan stations provided by the European Ros Club (ERC). Nice award



 

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847

After lunch at home drove to my 2nd WWFF park for the day, Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847. I last activated this park 4 years ago in November 2016. For a change set up in another part of the park, a car park off Dairy Rd in Fyshwick.

Sign for the park off the car park.

Not far from the car park a descriptive sign for the park.

At the back of the sign a short walk to a bird hide overlooking a lagoon. The wetlands is a popular bird watching spot.

Another view of the lagoon, taken from inside the bird hide.

I decided to set up just off the car park, using one of the metal posts for squid pole support, and on the tarp on the grass.

Dipole legs to a small bush and to a picnic table support behind me. Antenna showing a good match on 40 m on 7.082 Mhz.


Shack on the tarp on the grass


Got on 40 m. Started with park to park contacts with Maria VK5MAZ and Paul VK5PAS in VKFF-0934 Scott Conservation Park, good S8 signals.

A contact with VK3PF, at which point noticed a few spots of rain. I could see a band of rain moving towards me, so announced going clear. I still had callers though, so quickly worked 

VK3LF in VKFF-0965 Crossover Regional Park

VK3MPR

VK3YV in VKFF-0840 Tarra-Bulga National Park

VK4NH, VK4DXA, ZL4TY/VK4

At this stage the rain was coming down heavy, so quickly bundled all the gear up and threw it in the boot of the car. The radio wasn''t too wet so should be okay. Drove home in the rain.

Apologies for the short activation to other callers. Managed to quickly get 9 contacts before cut off by the rain.


Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0839

For the VKFF Activation Weekend decided to activate a couple of local parks that had not activated for a while. In the morning headed for Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve VFFF-0839, which I activated back in 2017. This was mainly to grab park to park contacts as qualified it previously.

As per other activations parked in Binns St Dunlop, and entered the park on foot via a locked gate. Sign for the park

I had a look at where I operated last time, over 3 years the grass had overgrown the log I sat on last time, so this time just mounted the squid pole on the fence and set up the dipole along the fence.


Checked the dipole for resonance, looked okay on 40 m, around 7.124 Mhz


Set up the radio on the tarp. Was out of the sun, although that changed later so needed to move a bit...


Power set to about 40 w. Started by working Paul VK5PAS and Maria VK5MAZ in VKFF-1707 Encounter Marine Park, both good signals.

Spotted myself on Parks and Peaks on 7.160 Mhz. Worked

VK3ANL/p Nick in VKFF-2195 St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve

VK1VIC/p Tony and VK1EM/p Mark in nearby VKFF-1920 Cuumbeun Nature Reserve

VK3YV/p Tony in VKFF-0626 Morwell National Park

VK4NH, VK4DXA, ZL4TY/VK4

VK7LTD/p Tony in VKFF-2920 Surveyors Bay Conservation Area

VK2VH, VK4AAC

VK5IS

VK3OF

VK3PF

VK7FAMP/p Angela in VKFF-2920 Surveyors Bay Conservation Area

VK3ARH, VK3HRA

VK2VW, VK2HFI

VK3ZPF

As 12:30pm packed up and headed back home for lunch, then on to my next park

VKFF-0847 Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve

 





100 Russian Stations ERC Award

 After working a few Russian stations on 10 m FT8 recently, found on Ultimate AAC had qualified for an award by the European Ros Club (ERC). Here it is



Monday, 16 November 2020

Saturday, 14 November 2020

FT8DMC Worked 400 Japanese Stations Award

Been working some good pileups of JA stations on 12 m, 10 m, and managed to get over 400 Japanese stations worked. Nice Award 


FT8DMC Worked 100 Indonesian Stations Award

Have been looking out for Indonesian Stations for the Indonesian Prefectures Award, also means managed to work 100 different stations, and qualified for this nice looking award. Mainly on 20 m, but quite a few lately on 15 m now the higher bands are opening. Thanks for contacts and Awards Manager





Monday, 9 November 2020

Worked 400 FT8DMC Members Award

Checking for new awards in UAAC software recently, found had contacted over 400 FT8DMC members so applied for the Worked All Members Award. Nice.




Saturday, 24 October 2020

FT8DMC Worked 5 Portuguese Prefixes Award

 Following a contact with CQ3J on 30 m, had made contacts with 5 Portuguese prefixes.

CQ3J                   2020-10-23  20:47  30M   FT8      CQ3

CT1IUA              2019-04-28  07:02  40M   FT8      CT1

CT4NH               2018-05-23  07:38  40M   FT8      CT4

CT7ANG            2020-02-10  20:05  30M   FT8      CT7

CU3EM              2018-05-19  06:36  40M   FT8      CU3




 

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

100 Countries on FT8

 Finally, after more than 3 years, worked my 100th country on FT8, GJ0KYZ in Jersey on 17m 😀

Mainly done on wire dipoles, plus a 5 el 10 m yagi. Most worked on 17 m band with 72 countries.
Break down of countries worked per band

FT8DMC-OHCA80: 17 DX entities on 80m band FT8DMC-OHCA40: 46 DX entities on 40m band FT8DMC-OHCA30: 47 DX entities on 30m band FT8DMC-OHCA20: 48 DX entities on 20m band FT8DMC-OHCA17: 72 DX entities on 17m band FT8DMC-OHCA15: 19 DX entities on 15m band FT8DMC-OHCA12: 2 DX entities on 12m band FT8DMC-OHCA10: 19 DX entities on 10m band FT8DMC-OHCA6: 4 DX entities on 6m band

Thanks for the contacts and award manager.



Saturday, 17 October 2020

FT8DMC Worked All Indonesia Award

On an opening on 15 m one evening managed to work a couple of needed prefixes in Indonesia, and qualified for the FT8DMC Worked All Indonesia Award. Gold is for working all 60 call areas and prefixes.



Sunday, 11 October 2020

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 850 Award

Following working some new for me VKFF parks recently managed to confirm 850 parks worked, and applied for the award. Thanks activators.



 

Friday, 9 October 2020

Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1979

After activating Corramy Regional Park in the morning headed beck towards Ulladulla, turning off to Lake Conjola and my next park, Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1979. Lake Conjola and the park were burnt in the the January 2020 fires.

Sign for the park. It was lucky not to have burnt...


Continued to the beach car park and parked. Last time I operated here from a wooden platform above the beach. This was replaced after the fire. View to the North from the lookout


View to the South


Returned to the car park. Had noticed a track there heading South into the park, so followed it

After a short distance found a straight section of the track where I could string out my dipole, so set up on the track. 

Looking back the other way


Checked the SWR. A little high and detuned from a nearby tree, but okay.


Radio on the table


Got on 40 m. Seemed crowded as some DX coming in. Got on 7.155, although later a strong VK7 came up on 7.150 making some QRM. Worked

VK2VW, VK5PAS, VK4KC, VK7QP, VK4CZ, VK4SMA.

Tried 80 m. Found VK3PF Peter on SOTA summit VK3/VG-157 on 3.610, so worked him.

Returned to 40 m, where a spot from Gerard VK2IO told me he did not hear me on 80 m. So returned to 80 m and worked him with a good signal. No more callers on 80 m though.

Back on 40 m worked

VK7AN, ZL1TM, VK5FMAZ

As getting late in the day packed up with 11 contacts and headed back to Ulladulla for the evening.