Sunday, 31 July 2016

Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve VKFF-0991

Sunday looked to be okay weather wise with a top around 14 c, so decided to activate another WWFF park. With most of my previous park activations I have failed to make the 44 contacts needed for the WWFF point, so planned to revisit a park I had activated before, Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve, VKFF-0991.

One reason I picked this park is that, unlike a lot of other Canberra Nature Parks, you can drive right into it. Sign entering the park.

As well as being easy access, it also has picnic tables, ideal for comfy park activations :)

Last activation used a table near the start of the walk to Molonglo Gorge.

This wasn't ideal as branches overhead prevented me getting the 7 m squid pole up to full height. So this time picked another picnic table, just above the car park on a hill, with a clear space above. I skipped using this table last visit as it was November, in full sun and quite warm, however in July was after all the sun I could get...Radio shack on the table. Dipole legs tied to a couple of nearby trees.

Got on 40 m. Started with a park to park contact with Gerard VK2IO/P in VKFF-1162, Berowra National Park. The park has only been recently added to the VK WWFF parks, and was a 1st activation. Gerard was a good S7, pleased as the 40 m band had been very poor lately for NVIS, close by contacts such as Sydney.

Went on to work the usual park hunters from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5. Worked a SOTA station, Graeme VK3GRK on VK3/VN-016 Mt Alexander. Another SOTA station contact with Rob VK2QR/P on VK2/SW-043 Wereboldera.

Saw a spot for Tony VK1VIC/P on Mt Taylor VK1/AC-037, on 2m FM. Quickly dug out the FT-60R hand held from the pack and heard him quite well, made a contact hand held to hand held. Also a park to park contact as Mt Taylor is also a WWFF park, Mt Taylor Nature Reserve VKFF-0854.

Also worked Rob VK2DIO/1 portable on Red Hill. He was not doing a park activation there though, just went up for the view and play radio.

Tried 20 m later, one contact with Gerard VK2JNG/8 in Pine Creek Northern Territory.

A total of 21 contacts. With the 24 contacts on my last visit made the 44 needed for a WWFF point.

Stations worked on 40 m

1. VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1162
2. VK3PMG Mick
3. VK3GGG Mick
4. VK3ARH Allen
5. VK4RF Rick
6. VK4HA Rick
7. VK3GRK Graeme SOTA VK3/VN-016
8. VK5FANA Adrian
9. VK7LTD Tony
10. VK2LDN Glenn
11. VK3FADM Wayne
12. VK3ANL Nick
13. VK3PF Peter
14. VK5KLV Les
15. VK2QR/p Rob on VK2/SW-043
16. VK2UH Andrew
17. VK5HCF Col

On  2 m FM

18. VK1VIC/P Tony on SOTA VK1/AC-037 VKFF-0854

on 40 m

29. VK2FSAV Brett
20. VK2DIO/1 Rob

on 20 m

21. VK2JNG/8 Gerard

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

WWFF Park to Park 44 Award

Following a couple of Park to Park QSOs while on holidays accumulated the required 44 references, and the next level of the WWFF Park to Park Award.

Applied on Logsearch and promptly received from the Awards Manager, Danny ON4VT. Thanks Danny.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Swamp Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-0987

Activated another Canberra Nature Reserve for the World Wide Flora and Fauna Award, Swamp Creek VKFF-0987. This is a little known Nature Reserve located near Uriarra Crossing in the far NW corner of the Australian Capital Territory. Drove out to Uriarra Crossing via Uriarra Rd and parked in the Uriarra picnic area.

Tried the mobile phone here, discovered there was no coverage... So drove South along Uriarra Rd, up the hill and parked close to a pair of locked gates. Good mobile coverage here.

An inspection of the gate on the right found a sticker from the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, so looks like I found an entry point into this park...

The park is not that well documented, boundaries on Google Maps unclear, and no signs for the public that there is actually a nature park here... Prior to the WWFF program I had not heard of it... Map from the Protected Planet website, Note the actual Swamp Creek is on the left, a tributary of Uriarra Creek which is on the right side. Uriarra Creek joins the park sections and empties into the Murrumbidgee River at Uriarra Crossing.

Set up the shack on a table just inside the park on the other side of the fence, using the fence post to support the squid pole. Dipole strung out to a nearby fence and a small tree nearby.

Close up of the shack. Used my TS-480 radio set to 40 W output.

Got on 40 m, worked Rob VK4AAC/3 activating VKFF-0747 Gippland Lakes Coastal Park.
Then the usual park hunters from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK6.

Saw a spot on ParksnPeaks for VK6LDX/p Lewis on a SOTA peak VK6/PI-002 Mt Bruce, on 20 m, so changed the links to work him. Not too strong with QSB, worked him 52 report both ways, but he was on the other side of the continent... VK6/PI-002 is Mt Bruce in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. It is also in Karijini National Park VKFF-0257.

Stations worked on 40 m

1. VK4AAC/3 Rob in VKFF-0747
2. VK3PF Peter
3. VK3GGG Mick
4. VK3PMG Mick
5. VK3ZPF Peter
6. VK4RF Rick
7. VK4HA Rick
8. VK2IO Gerard
9. VK6MB Mike
10. VK2ZK Dave
11. VK3FRAB Damien
12. VK2LDN Glenn
13. VK3BBB Brian
14. VK5FANA Adrian
15. VK3FAPH Aaron
16. VK5FMMC Mick
17. VK3FLCS Brett

On 20 m

1. VK6LDX/p Lewis on VK6/PS-002 and VKFF-0257.

Tried spotting and calling on 20 m, with no takers. Packed up and headed home for dinner.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Nangar National Park VKFF-0379

On the way home to Canberra after holidays up North popped into Nangar National Park for a quick WWFF activation. Nangar National Park is East of the small town of Eugowra in Central West NSW. Drove from Eugowra along the Escort Way for 11 Km until reaching the turnoff to the park

The park is accessed by Dripping Rock Rd. Map courtesy of Openstreetmap

The road is unsealed but okay for 2WD vehicles. After a short drive entered the park.

A short drive later reached a sign with information on the park. Due to limited time decided to skip visiting Dripping Rock Homestead and head for Terarra Creek Camping area, as this would have picnic tables for operating radio from...

The road to Terarra Creek Camping area crosses Terarra Creek several times, think I counted about 12 creek crossings... although they were all fairly easy, most having a concrete base to drive on, and not a great deal of water flow.

Reached the camping area. Quite pleasant with grassy areas, picnic tables, fireplaces and the Terarra Creek nearby, wouldn't mind returning in warmer times to camp here. Set up the radio and squid pole on one of the tables.

Shack on the table. Bit of a morning tea break here as well.

Got on 40 m. Found VK2KYO/3 Ken on doing a park activation of Tocumwal Regional Park, VKFF-0978, so worked him for a Park to Park contact. Then got called by Matt VK1MA who kindly spotted me. I had no mobile coverage here at all...

Usual chasers from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5.  Made a SOTA contact with Tony VK3CAT/p on VK3/VN-030 Mt Strickland

After 25 contacts packed up as still had a bit of a drive back to Canberra.

Stations worked

1. VK2KYO/3  Ken  VKFF-0978
2. VK1MA  Matt
3. VK3AFW  Ron
4. VK2IO          Gerard
5. VK4HA  Rick
6. VK4RF  Rick
7. VK5BJE  John
8. VK2HHA  Dennis
9. VK7CW  Steve
10. VK3PF  Peter
11. VK4AAC/3 Rob
12. VK3PMG  Mick
13. VK3GGG  Mick
14. VK5EE  Tom
15. VK3ARH  Allen
16. VK5PAS  Paul
17. VK3MRH  Ron
18. VK2XXM  Robert
19. VK2FDAV  Dave
20. VK1AD  Andrew
21. VK1NAM  Andrew
22. VK3UH  Ken
23. VK3MCK  Don
24. VK2HPN  Phil
25. VK3CAT/P Tony VK3/VN-030

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Arakwal National Park VKFF-0004

While staying on holidays for a few days at Byron Bay, decided to activate nearby Arakwal National Park. This park is located close to town and is just South of Cape Byron, the most Easterly point of the Australian mainland, and has never been activated before.

Parked at the end of Scott St in Byron Bay. Sign here for the park and a walking track behind it.

Note on the sign the usual orange NSW National Parks and Wildlife (Lyrebird) symbol on the left, and the dolphin on the right for Arakwal People and Land. The park is jointly managed by the NSW National Parks service and the local Aboriginal Arakwal community.

Followed the track until reaching the beach. Map courtesy of Openstreetmap red arrow showing my operating spot.

Looking North along the beach to Cape Byron and the Cape Byron Lighthouse.

Looking South down the beach

This was a first for me, activating on a beach. Where to attach a squid pole? I spotted a suitable tree close to the beach and tied the pole to it. Sorry about the blurred shot, low light with heavy cloud.

For a time I was the most Easterly amateur radio station in Australia.

No problems with mobile reception this close to Byron Bay. Spotted myself on the ParksNPeaks website and called CQ on 40m. Worked stations in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7, most good signals. Surprisingly Rick VK4RF was not that strong to me despite being not too far away.

One surprising call from Luis CT4NH in Lisbon Portugal. Must have spotted me on the DX cluster.

Packed up just before dark to head to town for dinner. 17 Stations worked.

1. VK2IO Gerard
2. VK2NNN Darren
3. VK2BMU Bob
4. VK4RF Rick
5. VK4HA Rick
6. VK7CW Steve
7. VK3PF Peter
8. VK3YKW Bill
9. VK5FANA Adrian
10. VK2XXM Robert
11. VK2PKT Keith
12. VK3PMG Mick
13. VK3GGG Mick
14. CT4NH Luis
15. VK3VBI Ron
16. VK4AAC/3 Rob
17. VK1MA Matt

Monday, 11 July 2016

Basket Swamp National Park VKFF-0019

After activating Girraween National Park stopped overnight at Tenterfield, then headed out North East along the Mount Lindsay Road to Basket Swamp National Park. This park has never been activated before. The park is accessed by Lindbrook Road which is unsealed but okay for 2WD vehicles. After a few Km entered the park.

Map of the park courtesy of Openstreetmap

Not really knowing the park, not sure what features to see. Followed a road to a small waterfall.

Some of the swamp land.

Found a picnic table and set up the radio and squid pole, dipole for 40 m.

As per Girraween National Park no mobile phone coverage here... Got on 40m and called Rob VK4AAC/3 in Tarra-Bulga National Park VKFF-0480. He kindly spotted me on ParksNPeaks.

A steady stream of callers followed from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5, including another Park to Park contact with Marcus VK3TST/P in Greater Bendigo National Park, weak but workable. After an hour packed up as still had some distance to cover. Stations worked

1. VK4AAC/3 Rob VKFF-0480 Tarra-Bulga NP
2. VK2IO Gerard
3. VK2GDF Graham
4. VK3PF Peter
5. VK2PKT Keith
6. VK2XXM Robert
7. VK5EE Tom
8. VK3TST/P Marcus VKFF-0623  Greater Bendigo NP
9. VK3GGG Mick
10. VK3PMG Mick
11. VK4RF Rick
12. VK4HA Rick
13. VK5FANA Adrian
14. VK4FDJL Deryk 

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Girraween National Park VKFF-0198

Took a couple of weeks off work to travel up to Northern NSW/SE Queensland and escape the cold :)
While travelling decided to do a quick WWFF parks activation of Girraween National Park, between the Queensland town of Stanthorpe and the NSW border.

Stopped at Bald Rock Creek picnic area in the park.

The mountain in the distance is called The Pyramid, over 1.8 Km away. Its not a SOTA peak... There is only one peak in the park that qualifies for SOTA, VK4/SD-002 Mt Norman, about an 11 Km return walk, no time to do it. Close up view of The Pyramid

Did a short walk to Granite Arch nearby. Similar to rocks in Namadgi National Park here in the ACT

Returned to the picnic area for lunch. After lunch set up the radio on one of the picnic tables. Sorry forgot to take a photo, but close by to the spot below.

Went to spot myself and found out had no mobile phone coverage... The park is surrounded by mountains, hardly surprising. Called Gerard VK2IO who kindly spotted me on the ParksnPeaks website.

Worked the following stations on 40 m

1. VK2IO Gerard
2. VK2LPN Glenn
3. VK2PH Mark
4. VK5PAS Paul
5. VK3GGG Mick
6. VK3PMG Mick
7. VK4RF Rick
8. VK4HA Rick
9. VK3ZPF Peter
10. VK3SQ Jeff
11. VK2YK/P Adam in VKFF-0281 Lane Cove National Park
12. VK2PKT Keith

Packed up after about an hour on air as still had a long drive to do.