Sunday, 28 February 2016

SOTA Mt McDonald VK1/AC-048

With a warm day forecast decided to do a morning only SOTA activation of a nearby summit. Mt McDonald is about a half hours drive from home and a 2.6 Km 40 minute walk so easy enough to do before too hot.

As per other activations parked off the Brindabella Road in the car park for the walk. Sign for the walk.


Climbed up the mountain. Some good views towards the Tindbinbilla Range to the South West.


Looking due South along the Bullen Range.


Reached the summit. trig and the remnants of an old fire tower burnt out in the Canberra 2003 fires.


View from the summit to the East looking towards Mt Stromlo on the right. Black Mountain tower visible



As too hot in the sun didn't use the trig for the squid pole, instead used a stump by the fire tower structure, which had some shady gum trees growing around it.


View from the trig looking South. I used it to support one of the dipole legs.


Set up the SOTA shack in the shade of the trees.


Got on 40 m. Conditions not great, close by NVIS skip gone, seemed to be limited to parts of VK3, VK5 and VK7. Worked same chasers again after UTC rollover. A massive strong signal from Matt VK1MA.

Switched to 20 m. Got Paul VK5PAS, not as strong as usual but enough to work with no problems. Also worked Tony VK5TT in Adelaide.

As the sun had gotten higher lost my shade and getting warm, so packed up after about a half hour operating. A total of 12 contacts. Headed back down and home for lunch.


Friday, 26 February 2016

The Pinnacle Nature Reserve VKFF-0862

Noticed a few WWFF activations happening on Friday after work, so decided to also activate a local WWFF park. Returned to "The Pinnacle", a Canberra Nature Park only a few Km from home. I had activated it once before and made 35 contacts, so should be easy enough to make up the 44 needed.

Sign for the park off Springvale Drive.



Last activation I made was just down from the Pinnacle itself, a rocky hill, however would have been too warm in the sun there this time, so looked for another operating spot in the shade. Picked a access spot off Springvale Drive for accessing some water reservoirs.


Map from www.protectedplanet.net. A locked gate, but with a large gap in it for walkers to fit through. One of the water tanks visible.


Carried my camping table, chair and radio through the gate and set up beside a track marker for a horse riding trail through the park. Dipole legs tied to a couple of nearby trees.


Shack on the camping table in the shade. Using my TS480 radio with 10-20 watts output power.


Got on 40m. Headed for 7.144 Mhz, the WWFF calling frequency, to hear Stef VK5HSX/p in VKFF-0780 working Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0897. Paul had some antenna problems but sorted it out. He was a good S9. Worked them both easily for park to park contacts.

Tuned about and worked David VK5HDW/p in VKFF-0785, then got called by John VK5BJE/p in VKFF-0825. So a good start, the first 5 contacts all park to parks :)

Found a spot and called CQ parks. Once spotted on ParksnPeaks started a small pileup of callers. Some very strong VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7 stations, also Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, who was initially weak, then S9 after he switched from the wrong antenna...

Saw another 2 activations on ParksnPeaks, Les VK5KLV/p in VKFF-0820, and Adrian VK5FANA/p in VKFF-0819. Both good strong signals.

Had problems with the wind, the squid pole detelecoped on me twice, having to raise it up again.
Around 7:20pm local time starting to get dark and it fell down yet again, so decided a good time to pack up.

Made 20 contacts, including 7 park to parks, taking me to 55 contacts from this park and qualifying it for WWFF.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 225 Parks Award

I recently got to 225 Australian park references confirmed in WWFF Logsearch, so applied for the  VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 225 Park Award. Received promptly from Paul VK5PAS.

A nice photo of the Grampians National Park.


Monday, 22 February 2016

WWFF Hunter 220 References Award

After hunting a number of new WWFF parks recently reached another milestone, 220 references. Awards are issued every 44 references. Here it is.


Sunday, 21 February 2016

WFFF VKFF Activator (Platinum) Award

Noticed on the WWFF Logsearch website that I'd qualified for the VKFF Activator Platinum Award, for activating 40 different VKFF parks. I have actually activated over 50 parks but some of these parks failed to even make the 10 contacts required for a VKFF activation point... Lots well below the 44 needed for the WWFF point...Anyway promptly received from Paul, VK5PAS, thanks Paul.


Kama Nature Reserve VKFF-0848 revisited

My last activation of Kama Nature Reserve VKFF-0848 was cut short by rain, after only 14 contacts, so returned to try and complete the required 44 WWFF contacts.

As per last activation parked in the car park off William Hovell Drive and walked under the underpass to the gate for the park.


Gate to Kama Nature Reserve. Made a couple of trips from the car to here to carry all my gear, camping table and chair and radio.


Set up the shack at the base of the sign. The sign provided a little shade.


Dipole legs running out to the fence and a small sapling.


Got on 40 m. Having my large shack TS480 radio able to run a bit more power than I usually have from my 5W FT-817, ran at 10 w to save the battery, cranking it up to 20-30 w when needed.

The band was in good shape, strong signals from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7. As per my Friday WWFF activation worked Peter VK3PF/P on Mt Hotham, he then passed the microphone around to the others there. Worked Andrew VK1AD/3, Compton VK2HRX/3, Brian VK3MCD/P.

Switched the links in the dipole to 20 m. Found the band poor for EU, made a weak contact with Sergey RA3PCI, my only park hunter from Europe. Worked John VK6NU/P on a SOTA summit VK6/SW-031 with a good signal. John was also having problems with Europe.

Returned to 40 m, working Rob VK2QR/3 on SOTA peak VK3/VG-045. Plus a few more hunters. Interestingly, worked 2 locals Andrew VK2UH and Matt VK1MA both who wanted to know where Kama Nature Reserve was, does not seem to be a well known park. I had no idea myself until a few years ago it existed.

The battery showed signs of going flat after 2 and a half hours operating so packed up. Made 30 contacts, with the 14 contacts before made the WWFF requirement of 44 contacts!

As now had the 11 park activations with 44 contacts each able to apply for the WWFF Hunter 11 Award.




Friday, 19 February 2016

Lower Molonglo River Corridor NR VKFF-0990

With a nice sunny evening after work Friday decided to try activating one of the nearby as yet activated WWFF Nature Parks, VKFF-0990, with the rather long name of "Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve"

This is another poorly mapped park in Google maps, here is a better map of the park off www.protectedplant.net The park covers the lower Molonglo River before it joins the Murrumbidgee River. It is actually quite large, several Km long.


From home drove to the closest point, a walking track off Stockdill Drive, just before the end of the road on the left. A gap in the fence and signs. Note the park used to be called just Molonglo Nature Reserve.


Nearby a sign with a map of the reserve.


The walking track continues down to the Molonglo River.



Looking to the South West towards Uriarra Road.


I set up the squid pole on a park marker, using the nearby fence to support the dipole legs. I had taken my camping table and chair for a bit of comfort.


Shack on the table. Took my home radio, a TS-480 for some extra power. The park sign made a handy sunshade.


Got on 40 m, to first work Paul VK5PAS/P in VKFF-0776 Black Hill CP. He was a good strong signal, although quite a bit of QRN from some storm activity somewhere.

Called by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA afterwards. Tried moving to 7.141 Mhz, but got clobbered by some strong stations that came up on 7.140, so moved down to 7.135 Mhz.

Worked a steady stream of the regular park hunters. Good strong signals from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5. Many were 59++. One caller was about 59+40db... One notable contact with VK7NSE Tim on Flinders Island, with a massive strong signal. Briefly tried 20 m, could hear Paul VK5PAS working EU stations, but they were not strong to me, no replies to my calls.

Returned to 40 m. Worked Peter VK3PF portable on Mt Buller. Seems he had some company up there...Went on to work Tony VK3CAT/P, Allen VK3ARH/P, Adan VK1FJAW/3, Andrew VK1AD/3, Andrew VK1MBE/3 Compton VK2HRX/3, Rob VK2QR/3 and Adam VK3AGD/P.

A nice boost in numbers at the end of the activation, got up to 33 contacts before it got too dark.

Last light before packing up and heading home for dinner.






Sunday, 7 February 2016

SOTA Mount Taylor VK1/AC-037

After activating Tuggeranong Hill decided to do another 1 point summit on the way home, Mount Taylor. Drove to the car park at the end of Waldock Street and started walking.


Joined the Summit trail to the top


Good view to the North to Woden from the ridge lower down


Reached the top after about a 15 minute walk. As per my last activation avoided the crowded trig and set up the shack in the shade of some trees on the Western side of the summit, not far from a communications tower.


Another view of the setup from the other direction.


Shack on the tarp in the shade of the tree


Got on 40 m. Some good signals from VK1, VK2, VK3 chasers. Usual contact with Rick VK4RF/VK4HA. As was getting warm probably close to 30 c packed up after only 13 contacts.

The summit is in a Canberra Nature Park, WWFF reference VKFF-0854. So will need to return to get it qualified with the 44 contacts needed for WWFF.

SOTA Tuggeranong Hill VK1/AC-038

Time for another visit to one of the Canberra local summits, Tuggeranong Hill VK1/AC-038. As per other activations parked in the lane off Callister Cres in Theodore and started walking.


Note Tuggeranong Hill is in a Canberra Nature Park, VKFF-0863. Usual steep climb up the road to a small hill before the main summit


Got to the trig. Noticed a small wattle tree behind it, looked like a nice shady spot to operate under.



Set up the squid pole on the tree, and was promptly attacked by dozens of small black ants, some biting me on the arms :( Very quickly secured the squid pole, flicking ants off me, and set up the shack on the tarp. The ants didn't spread as far as the tarp, seemed intent on just defending their tree...


Shack on the tarp. Nice and cool in the shade.


Got on 40 m. Good signals from chasers in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5. A S2S with Gerard VK2IO/P on VK2/HU-054.

After contacts dried up to 40 m switched to the 10 m dipole. Band was well open to VK4 on Summer Sporadic-E, also worked Steve VK7CW, and a nice opening to VK3. Initially to Western Victoria such as to VK3DAI and VK3PMG, then closer in to Melbourne with VK3CAT Tony and VK3AFW Ron. Tony reported I appeared out of nowhere as the band opened up...didn't stay open for long though.

A few more VK4s, including my usual 10m Summer contact Ross VK4CQ, his usual 59+ signal...

Starting to get warm so packed up and had lunch at the nearby Conder shops. 59 contacts so qualified the park for the WWFF award, which requires 44 contacts.

Friday, 5 February 2016

WWFF Park to Park Certificate 10

Noticed on the World Wide Flora and Fauna Blog  the announcement of a new "Park-to-Park" Award, initially for 10 Park to Park contacts.

A check on the WWFF logsearch website showed that I had qualified with more than 10 contacts

CountReferenceDXCCActivatorChaserDateBandMode
WWFF P2P References
1VKFF-0032 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2HBG/P2015-11-2840mSSB
2VKFF-0041 (from VKFF-0834)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2IO/P2016-01-2440mSSB
3VKFF-0092 (from VKFF-0991)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2IO/P2015-11-2940mSSB
4VKFF-0473 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK2IO/P2015-11-2840mSSB
5VKFF-0625 (from VKFF-0377)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK3ANL/P2015-12-0640mSSB
6VKFF-0816 (from VKFF-0851)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK4AAC/52016-01-1540mSSB
7VKFF-0826 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5GJ/P2015-11-2840mSSB
8VKFF-0916 (from VKFF-0855)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5PAS/P2015-11-2740mSSB
9VKFF-0923 (from VKFF-0991)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5PAS/P2015-11-2940mSSB
10VKFF-0934 (from VKFF-0841)OC / VKVK1DI/P (VK1DI)VK5PAS/P2015-11-2840mSSB

Applied for the award and received promptly from Danny, ON4VT. Thanks Danny.

Here is the award, number 4 issued!




Tuesday, 2 February 2016

WWFF 176 Hunter Award

While on the WWFF Logsearch site noticed I've qualified for another WWFF hunter award, for working over 176 parks. This is different to the VKFF award scheme, awards are issued in increments for every 44 parks hunted. Applied for and promptly issued by the Awards Manager, Pit YO3JW, thanks.

Here is the award