Friday, 10 March 2017

WWFF Bungonia National Park VKFF-1163

With a nice sunny Friday off work decided to activate a new WWFF park for me, VKFF-1163 Bungonia National Park. The park is located to the East of Goulburn, and took me about 1.5 hours to drive to. The entrance to the park on Lookdown Road.

A short distance past the sign was a car parking area near the rangers office, and a ticket machine for the entrance ticket. It costs $8 a day. Note if you don't have the correct coins it takes credit cards, which I ended up using. Just past the rangers office was a picnic area that I used for activating later. Continued on as wanted to have a look at the views first. View from the Bungonia Lookdown lookout at the end of the road. Spectacular view to the East down into Bungonia Gorge.

View to the North. The quarry is Marulan Quarry.

Returned to the picnic area. This is known as Kerrileau Car Park. Map of the park here.

Set up the radio shack on one of the picnic tables in the shade.

Another view of the shack.

Radio this time my newly acquired IC7300. As with most LCD screens a bit hard to read the radio display in sunlight, however the main frequency stood out in white okay.

I dropped the power down to 20 w to conserve the battery. As a week day not a lot of signals on 40 m, however did manage to start with a park to park contact, with VK3TKK/p Peter in VKFF-0952 Point Addis Marine National Park with a good 58 signal.

Worked Karl VK2GKA in nearby Picton, and Peter VK3PF. Then another park to park, VK3FLCS/p Brett in VKFF-0765 Lerderderg State Park. Brett was struggling getting contacts, had no mobile coverage so gave him a hand with a spot on ParksnPeaks.

Continued on. Slow going on a weekday, working VK2s, VK3s and VK7s. Quite a few of the callers running FT817s and 5 w, quite good signals into the park on 40 m.

Went for a drive after lunch to check out the other lookout in the park, Adams lookout. Looking down into Slot Canyon and the Marulan Creek.

Returned to the picnic area. and continued working 40 m park hunters, a few VK5s now. Briefly tried 20 m, heard VK5YX come back to me but very weak, the band wasn't open enough for a contact.

Gave it away and headed home around 4 pm. Only 33 contact so need to return some time for the 44 needed for WWFF points, also Bungonia State Conservation Area nearby, must activate this park the next time.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

WWFF Park to Park 132 References Certificate

Noticed on WWFF Logsearch I've managed to make over 132 Park to Park contacts, so applied for the award. Received promptly from the awards manager Danny, ON4VT.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

New Radio Icom IC-7300

My shack radio, a Kenwood TS-480SAT recently developed a fault in the transmitted audio, becoming distorted with RF. Rather than wait for it to be repaired decided time for an upgrade, and got a new Icom IC-7300.

I think these must be very popular as the dealer had run out of stock, and had to wait a few weeks for a shipment from Japan to arrive...

First impressions good, the receiver audio is superb and it seems quite sensitive, plus there is a band scope, something I've never had on a radio before. As can see whats around me can pick up calls I would otherwise miss out, found this useful on 10m where there is a lot of band to cover,,,

Eventually got it set up on WSPR and JT65 modes, where it works quite well. I know more about the menus now... Make sure you select USB-D if you are operating digital modes! Made contacts into Japan and VK4 on 10m, and into the USA on 40m. Lots of fun. Using a Toshiba laptop for decoding.

Some minor faults, there is only one connector, my TS-480 had 2 which would auto select between the dipole and 10m yagi. Need to get an antenna switch. Also find the up/down band buttons a bit close to the tuning knob, tending to knock it, getting around this by using the up/down buttons on the microphone.

A very nice radio thats fun to operate.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

WWFF VKFF Honour Roll 400 areas award

Noticed on the WWFF website I've managed to contact 400 VKFF parks, so applied for the next VKFF award VKFF Honour Roll 400 areas. Promptly received from the VKFF awards manager Paul VK5PAS. Nice photo of the 12 Apostles in Victoria.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

WWFF Mount Painter Nature Reserve VKFF-0853

After my SOTA activation of Mount McDonald in the morning returned home for lunch, and as as still a nice sunny day decided to activate a nearby WWFF park, Mount Painter Nature Reserve, VKFF-0853.

Parked off Coulter Drive in Cook and walked up the access track, past the horse paddocks. Entered the park.

Some good views along the track over Belconnen to the North. Tall buildings are residential apartments around Belconnen town centre. One Tree Hill, a SOTA summit on the left.

Climbed up to the water tank near the summit.

Once past the tank the track continues to the summit. Trig can be seen. I didn't go to the summit as not a good spot for radio, lots of joggers, walkers with dogs coming and going all the time.

There was a seat nearby suitable for radio. Black Mountain, a SOTA summit and also a WWFF park with its tower in the background.

Set up the squid pole on the seat. It was very windy, the squid pole threatened to topple but kept up.

Shack on the seat. With the wind I ended up holding onto it most of the time while operating...

Got on 40m. Worked Paul, VK5PAS/p first for a Park to Park contact, he was in VKFF-1688 Brownhill Creek Recreation Park. A first activation for this park. A good S7, although a lot of static in the background from a storm somewhere.

Found a clear frequency and spotted myself on ParksnPeaks website. A steady stream of park hunters.

VK5FANA Adrian
VK7DW, Andrew
VK3PF, Peter
VK2IO, Gerard
VK3ZPF, Peter
VK3FPSR, Peter
VK5MAS, Andrew
VK5FTCT, John.

Tried 20m. Even though I could hear European signals coming in on the long path had no luck working anyone, a call from RA3PCI but he didn't reply back. To be expected as only using 5w...

I did make a contact with VK2LX, Grant in Bungendore though, a good S8.

Around 5 pm the wind seemed to be getting even stronger, so packed up. 13 contacts, so need to revisit this park sometime for the 44 needed for a WWFF point.

SOTA Mt McDonald VK1/AC-048

With a cooler Sunday than it has been recently, 20c instead of the 35-40c temperatures last week, decided to get some exercise and do a local SOTA summit, Mt McDonald VK1/AC-048. Noticed last time I drove past the start of the walk a new track was now open, so wanted to give it a try.

Drove from home to the car park for the walk, off Brindabella Road. There is now a sign on the Lower Cotter Catchment reserve here.

A close up of the sign showing the track to Mount McDonald

Previously had to walk along Lookout Road then climb up. Followed the new track until it joined the road up to the mountain, close to the Cotter Catchment lookout.

Followed the road up to the top of the mountain. Good views over the Bullen Range to the South.

Reached the top, trig and remnants of the fire lookout tower. Looking East to Mt Stromlo and Canberra.

Set up the squid pole on a leg of the trig.

Looking back from the other end of the dipole, tied to a bush near the tower.

Shack on the tarp at the base of the trig. Got on 40m. The band was not that good, signals down with lots of static. Also some intermittent buzzing, think from a nearby power pole, luckily only about an S3.

Started with local Matt VK1MA, strong as usual. Then several of the usual chasers from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5. Most only S4 or so. Paul VK5PAS called me with a good S8 signal.

After 40m dried up switched to 20m. First contact Paul VK5PAS again, this time 59+! Very strong on 20m. Worked John ZL1BYZ and Jacky ZL1WA both good S9 signals. Ian VK5CZ a good S7, and local Andrew VK1AD S9.

Headed down at midday. Noticed a sign on the way down close to the top, 1.8 Km by the lookout track, and 2.5 Km by the old management road. So a 0.7 Km saving with the new track.

Track log confirmed the distances. 700 m shorter walk now. Dark blue the new walk, light blue the old road route.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

SOTA Mountain Goat Trophy

Today in the post received from the UK my trophy for SOTA Mountain Goat, an engraved glass Ice Block.