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


Tried 20m. Worked


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. 


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


Then worked several VK4s

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

It then opened to VK6...


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


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.