Tuesday, 20 December 2022

Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve VKFF-0855

With a nice mild sunny day in Canberra decided to get out and do a WWFF park activation. I returned to Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, VKFF-0855. Had not been there since 2019, and another activation for the Boomerang Award.

Drove along Mulligans Flat Rd, turning left at the roundabout just before the ACT-NSW border. There is an access point here for horses onto the Bicentennial National Trail on the left. Sign for Little Mulligans, the Northern section of Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve

A close up of the map on the sign

Carried my gear into the park and set up, using the horse gate support for the squid pole support. 

Table in the shade under a tree

FT857D with the power pack on the table

Tested the SWR on 40m. Resonating a little high in the band but okay to use. Dipole is fairly broad anyway.

Got on 40 m and spotted myself on 7.144 on ParksnPeaks.  A steady stream of callers


A park to park with VK3BEZ Peter in VKFF-2384 Merrimans Creek Flora Reserve


Tried 20 m. a couple of contacts, VK1AD Andrew and VK5HAA John.

Packed up and headed home for afternoon tea.

Monday, 19 December 2022

4 Singapore Stations Award

After working a 9V1 Singapore station on 30m this morning, found had qualified for a Singapore award for working 4 Singapore stations from the YB6_DXC club.

Sunday, 18 December 2022

Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve VKFF-0833

With a nice sunny Sunday decided to activate a park. Decided to revisit Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve, VKFF-0833, as not far from home and easy access off Bindubi St. To count towards the Boomerang award point for the park.

Parked off Bindubi St before William Hovell Drive near a walking track into the reserve. Sign for the park. The mountain in the background is Black Mountain, the one with the tower on top if you have been to Canberra. Headed off to the fence line on the right to set up.

Squid pole attached to the fence. I had to drop the pole a bit to avoid the tree overhead, probably only around 6m high. A good spot out of the sun.

Looking the other way. The cars were moving, Bindubi St is a busy road. Was not too noisy where I operated.

Checked the antenna with the Rig Expert stick. A bit low resonance spot on the band at 7.070 Mhz but so broadband did not really matter.

Shack on the table. Power from my Companion 40aH power pack, so ran the FT857D at 50w.

Worked a few parks before settling on my own frequency.

VK3PF Peter in VKFF-2384 Merrimans Creek Flora Reserve
VK3ZPF Peter at VK-CHE3 Chum Creek Silo
VK2EG in VKFF-3102 The Hunter Lakes Flora Reserve

Spotted on Parksnpeaks on 7.167 Mhz. Worked lots of park hunters


Another Park to park with VK2IO Gerard in VKFF-1881 Agnes Banks Nature Reserve
then VK2TER James in VKFF-0550 Wyrrabalong National Park

Packed up and headed home for afternoon tea.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

12 Days of QRZ Award

I recently noticed QRZ.com advertising a new award, for logging QRZ Logbook confirmed contacts on 12 days from 1st December 2022 to the 28th February 2023, or the American winter. A play on the 12 days of Christmas 😀

Fairly easy to do, just make some QSOs and ensure at least one confirms in QRZ logbook. I sync my QRZ logbook with LOTW to confirm contacts. After 17 days had qualified for the award. A badge on my QRZ page

The days QSOs confirmed. Note I mainly work 10m FT8. Just a matter of working enough stations each day with at least one confirming on LOTW. Mainly Japanese contacts, an endless supply on 10m.

Friday, 16 December 2022

1000 FT8DMC Members Award

Another award for working 1000 FT8DMC members. From the FT8 Digital Mode Club, FT8DMC.

Wednesday, 14 December 2022

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 1150 Award

Qualified for another VKFF hunter award, for working 1150 parks. Thanks to park activators.

Tuesday, 6 December 2022

WWFF 10th Anniversary Hunter Awards

Received a couple of awards for hunting parks during the WWFF 10th Anniversary weekend.

5 parks hinted

10  parks hunted

Friday, 2 December 2022

25 Greek stations award FT8DMC

Another award for working 25 Greek stations, this one from the FT8DMC

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

544 Park to Park Award

With the park activity weekends recently had made a lot of park to park contacts. Checked and found I had made 544 park to park QSOs. Award from ON5SWA, Swa

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

National Bird Week Award

Another award for activating a park in National Bird Week 2022. This ran from 17-23 October 2022, and I activated Justice Robert Hope Park VKFF-3181 on 19th October. Award from VK5PAS, Paul, award manager, thanks Paul.

Sunday, 27 November 2022

800 Japanese stations award

 An award from the FT8 Digital Mode Club, for contacting 800 Japanese stations.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Kowen Escarpment Nature Reserve VKFF-3182

After activating and having lunch at the Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve picnic area. set off to activate Kowen Escarpment Nature Reserve VKFF-3182 nearby. This was a newly added park, so had studied the park maps before for an access point. I decided to enter via an access track off Sutton Rd a few Km North of Kowen Rd. There was a closed off track on the right near a pine forest, parked close by and walked in with my pack and squid pole.

No signs for the park, however there was a sticker on the gate by ACT Parks.

Walked down the road and set up the station in the shade under a tree.

This was to be a mistake. Turning on 40m found S8 of noise all over the band, so unable to hear any stations apart from very strong ones. There were high voltage power lines close by that must be the source of the noise. As would have been a real struggle to operate here packed up and headed further into the park.

Climbed the escarpment along a road, until heading off into the bush to a log and setting up the station again. Not the best spot due to trees but keen to get on air after losing time moving the shack.

Squid pole mounted on a star picket at the end of the log

Shack on the log. A bit of a mess but at least had a seat. The dipole was only about 6m high due to trees but seemed to receive ok. Thankfully no radio noise here.

Map showing operating spot. From Google Maps

Got on 40m, running 20w on the FT857D as on a 4.2aH battery. Worked

VK3BEZ/VK3KAI Peter in VKFF-2465 Traralgon South Flora Reserve
VK1RF Tim in VKFF-1979 Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve
VK2MET/VK1AO Alan in VKFF-0490 Tomaree National Park
VK3PI Mark in VKFF-2113 Ironbark Road Nature Conservation Reserve
VK2IO Gerard in VKFF-0041 Blue Mountains National Park
VK3OAK Malcolm in VKFF-2048 Black Swamp Nature Conservation Reserve
VK3MCA Brett in VKFF-0055 Brisbane Ranges National Park
VK4FW Bill in VKFF-1659 Tinana Island Conservation Park
VK4EMP Mark in VKFF-0427 Ravensbourne National Park
VK3ANL Nick in VKFF-2104 Gresswell Hill Nature Conservation Reserve
VK3DL Dean in VKFF-2069 Coradjil Nature Conservation Reserve
VK5PAS/VK5MAZ Paul and Maria in VKFF-0789 Spring Mount Conservation Park
VK7IAN Ian in VKFF-2932 Wellington Park Other Conservation Area
VK2YK Adam in VKFF-0933 Sandy Creek Conservation Park
VK3TUN David in VKFF-2099 Gowar Nature Conservation Reserve

As getting late packed up and headed back to the car. 25 contacts in the log. I will return for the remainder for 44 and walk a bit further into the park next time.

Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve VKFF-0991

For the VKFF Activation Weekend I decided to do a couple of parks next to each other, Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve VKFF-0991, and nearby Kowen Escarpment Nature Reserve VKFF-3182. Molonglo Gorge was good for a car based activation as one of the few Canberra parks you can drive into. Accessed via Kowen Rd, off Sutton Rd. A sign indicating access for the parks.

Kowen Rd comes to a locked gate up ahead, but a side road continues into Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve. Sign for the park.

The main picnic area was crowded. I headed to another picnic area on a side road. Luckily managed to grab a free picnic table. Set up the shack on the table. For the squid pole used a star picket for support near the table.

Checked the antenna with the Stick analyser, good SWR across the 40m band, resonant at 7.170 Mhz.

Another photo of the shack

FT857 powered off the Companion 40aH battery pack. I set the power to 50w output.

There were several park activators active already before UTC rollover. Worked a few before spotting.

VK2YAK/VK4YAK Gavin in VKFF-1308 Copeland Tops State Conservation Area
VK3TUN David in VKFF-2198 Stuart Mill Nature Conservation Reserve
VK5PAS/VK4MAZ Paul and Maria in VKFF-0923 Nixon - Skinner Conservation Park
VK4FDJL Deryck in VKFF-1637 Roundstone Conservation Park

Spotted myself on 7.185. Worked 
VK2MET/VK1AO Alan in VKFF-2740 Tilligery Nature Reserve

Some hunters. VK2VW/VK2HFI, VK5FANA, A few more park to parks

VK3ANL Nick in VKFF-2104 Gresswell Hill Nature Conservation Reserve
VK2YK Adam in VKFF-0889 Hale Conservation Park


VK3BEZ Peter in VKFF-2465 Traralgon South Flora Reserve

VK4TJ, both before and after UTC rollover. VK3VIN

VK4FW Bill in VKFF-1659 Tinana Island Conservation Park


VK5AV Jim in VKFF-2343 Johnstones Creek Flora Reserve
VK3BEZ Peter in VKFF-2465 Traralgon South Flora Reserve post rollover
VK2YAK/VK4YAK Gavin in VKFF-1308 Copeland Tops State Conservation Area again
VK3OAK Malcolm in VKFF-0742 Warby Ovens National Park


VK5PAS/VK5MAZ Paul and Maria in a new park, VKFF-0923 Nixon - Skinner Conservation Park
VK3MCA Brett in VKFF-0982 You Yangs Regional Park
VK2MET/VK1AO Alan still in VKFF-2740 Tilligerry Nature Reserve

VK1XP Mobile

VK3ANL Nick still in VKFF-2104 Gresswell Hill Nature Conservation Reserve
VK7LTD Tony in VKFF-1797 Eaglehawk Bay State Reserve

A very weak VK2IO Gerard in VKFF-0041 Blue Mountains National Park. NVIS short hop not good today. I missed working some of the close by activators eg down the NSW South Coast.


VK7FAMP Angela in VKFF-1797 Eaglehawk Bay State Reserve

VK5PAS, VK5FMAZ Paul and Maria in another park, VKFF-0921 Myponga Conservation Park.

Had lunch at the picnic table, packed up and headed for the next park, Kowen Escarpment Nature Reserve.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

WWFF 10th Anniversary Weekend Hunter Awards

I activated VKFF-0862 The Pinnacle Nature Reserve for the WWFF 10th Anniversary Weekend. As only made 31 contacts did not qualify for an activator award, which needed 44 contacts. However, I made 8 park contacts P2P, plus some parks from home on Saturday and Sunday, so able to claim some hunter awards for the event. 16 parks hunted over the weekend of 19th-20th November.

5 Parks Bronze award

10 parks Silver award

15 parks Gold award

Thanks to Paul VK5PAS for the awards

25 Greek stations Award

Another award from the European Ros Club, for working 25 stations from Greece. Log shows mainly worked on 30m.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve VKFF-0862 for WWFF 10th Anniversary Weekend

The WWFF program was created in November 2012, so to mark the 10th year Anniversary an activity weekend was announced for 19th and 20th November. With poor weather for Canberra over the weekend I went out Saturday morning only to activate a local park, the Pinnacle Nature Reserve VKFF-0862.

Parked off Springvale Dr in Hawker, just a few Km from home. Sign for the park.

Walked into the park and headed left, until spotting a fence suitable for squid pole support after a short distance. Ran the 40m dipole along the fence.

Shack on the trap in the grass. Long grass after recent rain. As close to the car I carried my new 40aH battery pack in, to run the FT857D at 50w.

Got on 40m. Disappointingly about an S5 of noise from a nearby mobile phone substation.

Started by working a few parks already active

VK5PAS/7 Paul and VK5MAZ/7 Maria in VKFF-1812 Little Peggs Beach State Reserve

VK2BYF/VK2HQ Bob in VKFF-2698 Parma Creek Nature Reserve

VK3BEZ Peter in VKFF-0480 Tarra-Bulga National Park

After spotting on 7.160 worked several hunters

VK2EXA, VK3NDG, VK2VW/VK2HFI, VK3SQ. Another couple of P2Ps

VK2IO Gerard in VKFF-3246 Barrenjoey Head Aquatic Reserve

VK3TUN David in VKFF-2285 Burgess Swamp Wildlife Reserve

Then hunters VK3UH, VK2JRO, VK4TJ, VK3UAO

VK2MET Alan in VKFF-1410 Port Stephens - Great Lakes Marine Park. Also had call VK1AO.

VK2OKR Richard in VKFF-0595 Hunter Wetlands National Park


VK1ACE Rod in VKFF-0985 Gigerline Nature Reserve. A new park for me as only activated this.


Tried 20m, only 1 contact with ZL1BQD.

As lunch time and the wind was picking up, packed up and headed home after 31 contacts. Not enough for the 100 contacts needed for the WWFF 10th Anniversary award, but 8 unique P2Ps, plus a few more at home so at least had qualified for the 10 needed Bronze hunter award.

10th Anniversary Activity Weekend | WWFF

My battery pack had dropped from 100% to 90% capacity, good for a one-and-a-half-hour activation running 50w.  


Wednesday, 16 November 2022

1000 Grid Squares award

Another award from the FT8 Digital Modes Club, for working 1000 grid squares on FT8. It has helped by using JTAlert to alert me when new grids are calling, usually make these a priority to work when calling.

Sunday, 13 November 2022

Conjola National Park VKFF-0108

On Saturday morning I drove down to Huskisson NSW to join the Mid South Coast Amateur Radio club for their Christmas meeting and BBQ at midday. Caught up with several members that I have chatted with several times on air but never met in person. President John VK2NJP, park activators Bob VK2BYF, Colin VK2VAR and SOTA activator Andrew VK2PEZ, several more. A most enjoyable time at the meeting and BBQ.

After the meeting drove to my accommodation in nearby Sussex Inlet and checked in. As midafternoon decided to activate a nearby WWFF park,  Conjola National Park VKFF-0108

I initially tried to access the park on the side of Swan Lake to the South of Sussex Inlet, tracks were closed due to flooding...

Tried another spot, the road to Cudmirrah Beach passed through the park. Found a spot off the road and set up the antenna and radio table. Squid pole attached to a star picket I carried down.

Close up of the shack. First time using my new Companion 40aH battery station. Able to run 50W, high power for me! It worked well powering the FT857D. 

The 40m band was noisy with storm static, and NVIS skip was long. Spotted on 7.160. 

First contact a park to park with VK2OKR Richard in VKFF-0595 Hunter Wetlands National Park. He also had Gavin VK2YAK/VK4YAK with him for a couple more contacts.


A few more park to parks

VK3ARD Matt in VKFF-2219 Upper Beaconsfield Nature Conservation Reserve

VK3BEZ Peter in VKFF-0480 Tarra-Bulga National Park. It was the KRMNPA weekend in Victoria.

VK2FRBQ Rhian in VKFF-0274 Kwiambal National Park

As getting late in the day and getting eaten by mosquitoes despite repellent, packed up. Took a look at nearby Cudmirrah Beach. Not in the park but looked like a nice beach to visit in warmer weather.

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

Companion 40aH Battery station

For WWFF park activations I have mainly been using a 4.2 aH Lifepo4 battery, which does the job but does limit what power I can use and the length of the activation.

I spotted a 40aH Lifepo4 Battery station made by Companion for camping and picked one up from a local camping store.

Unboxed and powered on, found the capacity was at 75%

Plugged in the 240v charger, charging up. Display showed 97 minutes to reach full charge.

What I like is the choices for power input and output. As well as mains it has leads to charge off a cigarette lighter in the car, also can charge directly off a solar panel.

The outputs include large Anderson Power poles. I have these on all my radios so just a matter of plugging them in. A little bit heavy and bulky for anything but small distance to walk SOTA summits, but ideal for park activations where the car is not far away. Should be able to run higher power and for longer :)