Saturday, 14 April 2018

FT-857D travel container

When trying backpacking the FT-857D, I simply placed it in a plastic bag and stuffed it in my backpack. While this works it does not protect the radio from accidental bumps, and wet weather,so looked for a travel case to put it in.

In the end I found a suitable solution, a plastic click lock type container used to transport food.
A 3.9 litre container, found I could just fit the radio, power lead and microphone in the case, if packed just right. Leads tuck in to the side, and the microphone in a bit of a gap.


Able to close the lid and snap lock it in. As a tight fit found the radio won't move about at all, so good for transporting in my pack or in a bag for portable operation.



Sunday, 8 April 2018

WWFF Tallaganda State Conservation Area VKFF-1375

After activating Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997 in the morning, and not able to find how to get to Wanna Wanna Nature Reserve, decided to activate Tallaganda State Conservation Area VKFF-1375 instead.

I have been to this park before for SOTA activations of Mt Palerang, VK2/ST-009 but at the time the park was not part of WWFF, so time to give it a try.

Drove to Forbes Creek, and followed the Mulloon Fire Trail until entering the park at the Mulloon Creek picnic ground. Sign for the park just after the creek crossing.


As nice as this picnic ground was, it was unsuitable for a park activation, as being down the bottom of the park surrounded by steep hills probably not too good for radio. Plus no mobile reception for spotting. I did stop and check, there was no signal at all on the mobile...

Continued on the Mulloon Fire Trail to the junction with Palerang Fire Trail and Gourock Range Trail, parking in a large clearing on the side of the Palerang Fire Trail. This is usually where I park when climbing Mt Palerang. Wandered about here and could just get a low signal on the mobile, dropping in and out but better than nothing. Set up here using a stump for squid pole support


Location of the operating spot in the park, map from Protected Planet.


Radio on the table. Note I also needed the cord from my 80 m dipole to lash the pole to the stump, it was really quite windy here despite no wind at all on the other side of the range...The usual bungy cord straps not enough to hold it still in the strong wind.


Got on 40 m, running 40 w. Started with a park to park with VK4SMA/p Mark in VKFF-0309 Maryland National Park. He was going clear, so grabbed the park calling frequency 7.144 Mhz off him.

Next caller was Peter VK3PF who offered to spot me, my internet connection was poor here.
Worked VK3BBB then another park to park with VK3NLK/p in VKFF-0747 Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park.

Went on working VK7QP, VK7DW/p, VK2XXM.

Another park to park with VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1313 Dharawal State Conservation Area.
Weak but workable.

Some more park hunters

VK2VW, VK3ZMD, VK4TJ, VK3CU, VK5PAS/m and VK5FMAZ/m, Paul and Maria mobile heading home after their activations.

Then VK3FMKE/p VK2HOT, VK3SQ, VK4HNS, VK3JRP, VK3FT, VK2PKT, VK5ZPG, VK3MEG, VK5NFT, VK5CZ.

Another park to park with VK4FW/p Bill in  VKFF-0074 Cania Gorge National Park. He was very strong.

Went on to work VK2EBN, VK4CAL/2, VK2KTG, VK3GGG/VK3PMG, VK3KAI, VK2JLS, VK5DW, VK3NCC/m, VK3FRAB, VK7JON, VK5YX, VK5PL, VK3FSPG/VK3MPR, VK3UCD, VK5MNZ, VK3STU.

As I had 46 contacts had qualified the park. Packed up and headed home to avoid driving in the semi darkness, when the kangaroos become active...

WWFF Activation Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997

With a nice warm Sunday decided to activate another WWFF park, this time picking one never before activated, VKFF-1997 Stony Creek Nature Reserve. Drove to Queanbeyan, then onto the Kings Highway, turning off onto the Captains Flat Rd. Followed this for 5 Km before turning off on the left into the park.


As can be seen the park boundary is run down... The fence was falling to bits, and one of the fence posts was on the ground. I found out why later when I saw someone illegally riding a motor bike through the park...they would have got through the fence easily.

Near the gate a faded sign showing some of the parks Flora and Fauna.


Set up the squid pole on the park sign, dipole legs tied to a couple of nearby tree branches.


Operating location in the park. Map from Protected Planet.


FT857d radio on the table. Started on 40 m running 40 W.


Got on 40 m and worked the activators already on. Park to park contacts with VK5PAS/p Paul and VK5FMAZ/p Maria in VKFF-0868 Bakara Conservation Park, with good signals.

Found VK3ZPF/p Peter on SOTA summit VK3/VN-011, also VKFF-0755 Cathedral Range State Park. A good 57 signal even though he was only using 5 w.

Worked some of the usual park hunters

VK3PF, VK2LEE, VK2XXM, VK3ARH, VK3BBB, VK7JON, VK3ZMD and VK2PKT.

Saw some spot on ParksnPeaks, activators moved to 20 m, so followed them up there.

Worked again VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0868 Bakara Conservation Park, and VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-0755 Cathedral Range State Park, both good signals on 20 m.'

A surprising call from VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1167 Dharawal National Park in Sydney, only around 300 Km away... Weak but readable, some back scatter I guess.

Some more park hunters called, all quite strong.

VK7JON, VK2USH, VK2LEE, VK4OV, VK4HNS.

Made a very weak contact with VK2JNG/p Gerard in VKFF-1971 Mundoonen Nature Reserve near Yass. Not that far away, but too far for ground wave, so probably more back scatter. He was very low down but could copy with no radio noise in the park.

Saw a spot on 40 m for VK4SMA/p Mark, so went back there to work him in  VKFF-0309 Maryland National Park.

And a spot on 20 m for VK4FW/p Bill, so another band link change there to work him in VKFF-1470 Baywulla Creek Conservation Park.

As getting warm and lunch time parked up after 22 contacts. Was going to activate nearby Wanna Wanna Nature Reserve next, but could not find the access road, one to return to after looking at the maps...

Instead headed off to another park in the afternoon, VKFF-1375, Tallaganda State Recreation Area.




Wednesday, 4 April 2018

WWFF VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 575 Award

After some recent VKFF park hunting, including several from within parks myself, managed to confirm over 575 parks in WWFF Logsearch, and the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 575 Award.



Sunday, 1 April 2018

WWFF Wanniassa Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-0865

Easter Sunday the weather was quite warm so decided to head outdoors and do another park activation, this time to a local park I have not activated before, Wanniassa Hill Nature Reserve, VKFF-0865.

Looking at Google maps and street view looked like there was an access gate into the park off Long Gully Rd, close to the Erindale Dr turnoff, so made my way there and parked next to the gate.



Map of the park near the gate


Set up the 40/20 m linked dipole off the squid pole attached to the park sign, tying the ends to a couple of nearby trees.


Map of my operating spot, from Protected Planet website.



Shack on the table near the sign.


Got on 40 m. As usual grabbed the parks already on air first for park to park contacts.

VK4SMA/p Mark in VKFF-0679 Geham National Park
VK2XSE/p Liz with VK2KNV/p Peter in VKFF-0536 Willandra National Park

Then spotted myself on ParksnPeaks to work some park hunters

VK3FRAB Damien
VK3YE/P   Peter
VK7JON    Jonathon


Another Park to Park with VK3TKK/p Peter in VKFF-2047 Big Tottington Nature Conservation Reserve

Then a heap more park hunters

VK2YW John
VK7QP Linda
VK3PF Peter
VK2AET Scott
VK7ME Mark
VK5HSX/3 Stef
VK5HS Ivan
VK3ZMD Mike
VK2FADV/4 Jim
VK2IO Gerard
VK7KR Kevin
VK4TJ John
VK4/AC8WN John
VK4/VE6XT John
VK7FOLK Helen
VK2CDS David
VK2FF George
VK3TXR Paul
VK2XAM/P Max
VK3FSPG    Steve
VK3MPR     Steve
VK3OAK     Malcolm

Saw a spot for another activation on 7.144 Mhz, so called in to work VK3LT, Victoria and VK3CU, John in VKFF-2118 Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve. Both good S9 signals.

Some more park hunters, band quite good.

VK3SQ    Geoff
VK4SYD Rob
VK2LEE Lee
VK3UP Terry
VK5PAS Paul
VK5FMAZ Maria
VK4AAV Peter
VK3BCM Brian
VK3FMBT Matt
VK3ANL Nick
VK4HNS Neil
VK5KLV Les

Decided to give 20 m a try. It was almost dead... After a few calls made a weak contact with ZL3RIK Rick. This was contact 44 so had qualified the park.

Returned to 40 m, to grab one more contact, VK5XG/p Graham, not in a park but just off camping for the Easter weekend. Had a bit of a chat about portable operating.

As qualified the park and 40 m getting noisy with strong high powered EU stations, gave it away and headed home.





Saturday, 31 March 2018

SOTA Boboyan Range VK1/AC-044

With Wade VK1MIC doing an activation of Bimberi Peak, VK1/AC-001 on Saturday, decided to try chasing him from another summit nearby, VK1/AC-044, Boboyan Range.

As per other activations drove South down the Boboyan Road, stopping  briefly at Hospital Hill lookout to admire the view of the mountains to the West. Bimberi Peak is not visible here, but the path on 2 m to there was between the 2 closest mountains, known as Yankee Hat 1 and 2.


Continued on a few more Km to the South and parked at a road side cutting, used previously for activations. The walk to the summit from here is a bit over a Km. Initially a bit scrubby until getting to the top of the ridge, then becomes easier going. I did find the pack carrying a bit harder, other times used my light weight FT-817D, this time had the FT-857D for extra power, also extra weight :(

Got to VK1AD Andrews unofficial trig, a small rock pile around the highest point on the summit. Note Boboyan Range is not an officially named summit, just a high point in the range that satisfies the rules for a SOTA peak.

 
Set up the squid pole, initially just for 2 m, trying to catch some of the others out on summits. I ended up moving it later to a log as there was a branch near the top of the squid pole.


Another view with the 80/40/20m linked dipoles laid out through the trees.


Shack on the tarp.


Started on 2m FM on the ribbon Jpole with a S2S with VK1CT/p Chris on VK1/AC-041 Isaacs Ridge. Then another S2S with VK1AD/p Andrew on VK1/AC-008 Mt Ginini.

2 m simplex contact with VK1MA Matt, and another S2S with VK1FWBK/p Bill on nearby VK2/SM-093 Mt Livingstone, although a bit of a challenge with the Clear Range to get through..

Another simplex contact with a chaser, VK1FXNZ. Note could not hear some of the Canberra stations a lots of mountains shielding my 2 m signal.

Finally Wade VK1MIC/p came up on 2m FM from VK1/AC-001, Bimberi Peak, very strong at times. He had high winds so only worked 2 m FM. At least he easily qualified it with plenty of local contacts.

Moved to HF, 40 m. A park to park with VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-0957 Yarringa Marine Marine National Park. Note I was in Namadgi National Park, VKFF-0377.

Then worked some of the regular SOTA/Park chasers. VK5IS, VK3FSPG, VK3MPR, VK5WG, VK3ZA, VK4HNS, VK3TP, VK4TJ, VK2LEE, VK7ME, VK7EE, VK3CAT, VK3GMC.

Another park to park with VK4FW/p Bill in VKFF-0727 Woroon National Park.

Briefly tried 80 m, seeing I had the room for the dipole. 1 contact with VK2NP Cliff in Sydney. Not bad for 80 m in the afternoon...

Tried 20 m. Managed another S2S with VK1CT/p Chris on VK1/AC-041 Isaacs Ridge. Then 3 ZL contacts, ZL1BYZ John, ZL3IN Paul and ZL1WA Jacki.

Returned to 40 m for another park to park contact, VK3ZPF/p Peter again, this time in another park, VKFF-2166  North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve.

After lunch packed up and headed home.

Friday, 23 March 2018

WWFF 220 Park to Park Award

After quite a few Park to Park contacts from park activations recently, managed to qualify for the 220 Park to Park Award. Awards are issued every 44 QSOs, so this is my 5th Park to Park Award.The WWFF Award scheme has been redesigned recently, this award is a bit different to earlier ones.