Election Day – something to avoid?

It seems as if the electioneering has been going on for ages. Adverts on TV from Palmer since before Christmas, or at least it seems that way. Since the official dissolution of Parliament, the intensity of advertising has greatly intensified.

My original plan was to be assisting with a Foundation licence Training and Assessment event to be held at the local radio club. This would have taken up most of the day, leaving almost no time to attend a polling place. I saw it as an opportunity and a valid reason to vote early, like at least 3 million other Australians….. Therefore, I could ignore all of the “news” coverage and all the political advertising. But by Thursday evening, we had no one indicating that they would attend the event, so the decision was made to postpone the training event. That left the day free…..

18 May 2019

The day started crisp and cold, with some fog around. I headed off to South Gippsland once again, planning to activate at least one of the Parks that have not yet been activated. The route was straightforward: from home to Boolarra, then to Mirboo, Dumbalk, Meeniyan and Buffalo and then south.

Kings Flat Flora Reserve VKFF-2348 Not previously activated

Travel time was around 75 minutes, with the roads having little traffic. There were quite a few parked cars in Dumbalk, mainly at the Hall which was set up as a Polling Place. Destination was the end of Kings Flat Road Tarwin Lower. I had checked out access on the last trip to South Gippsland, but it was a little late in the day to start an activation. Park the car near the Parks Victoria sign for the Reserve without obstructing the track. The gate here has a heavy chain and large lock, but there is a stile making it easy to cross the fence.


The Reserve sign, with the stile on the right. The hill in the background is part of the Reserve, but the foreground is not.

After crossing the fence, it is about 750 m to the gate on the real boundary of the Reserve. The gate here is not locked, so entry is easy. I decided to climb to the top of the hill inside the Reserve, adding about 500 m to the walk, with a climb of just over 20 m vertically, mostly in the last third. Once at the hilltop, I looked around for a spot to set up the station. The track headed west and I saw a mob of probably 15 kangaroos lazing in the sunshine.


Looking west from the operating site, with a mob of kangaroos disturbed by my arrival

I set up at a small banksia close to the track corner, lashing the squid pole to one of the branches. I tried a doublet antenna that I had built quite some time ago – the worst that could happen is  that I dropped the doublet and raised the link dipole normally used on SOTA trips. I was using a LiFePO4 battery and the KX2. On initial connection, the KX2 shut down due to over voltage, so I inserted a DC-DC converter into the DC line. The KX2 then only wanted to operate on 5 W, as the converter is set at about 11 V. I must consider if I should raise the voltage a little higher…. A while into the activation, I removed the converter as the voltage had dropped below 14 V, so jumped up to 10 W output.

I went to spot myself and saw that several amateurs were on Mount Moliagul for a SOTA activation. I could only hear the chasers on 40 m, but then there was a spot on 80 m, so I soon had David VK3FSDA/p in the log as the first contact. I then noticed that Mike VK6MB/3 was also activating WWFF Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968. I heard nothing on 40 m, so I changed to 80 m and hit the tune button for the tuner…. The best VSWR that could be achieved was about 2.5:1 – not good but usable. I spotted myself and started calling. A few minutes later Mike was in the log, but I had no other callers. I then moved up to 40 m to find a clear frequency and spotted myself. I worked nine stations over the next 15 minutes. During that time, I received an SMS request to return to 80 m, which I did when I had no more callers. The swap yielded two Peters: VK3TKK/p and VK3ZPF/p, both of whom were at a Scout event in the Clonbinane area. Several minutes of calling yielded no responses, so I returned to 40 m SSB for one more caller before another SMS arrived….. Back to 80 m to work Geoff VK3SQ. I called with no more responses, so returned to 40 m, but on CW on the lower end of the band. This move gave me another five callsigns in the log, including Wal VK2WP/p on VK2/CW-043 in Nangar National Park VKFF-0379. I returned to the SSB band and worked another four contacts in about 10 minutes: it was slow going!

I swapped to 30 m and had no responses to calls on CW. I moved up the band and only worked three callsigns. I called for several more minutes without any responses.

I moved up to 20 m CW and soon had a small pile up, with at least 2 stations calling at the same time. Once sorted, I had four contacts in the log. Further calls yield little but a weak US station calling a bit fast for me. I heard a W but missed the rest of the call and replied with QRZ? All I received after that was a report of 229 and no callsign… Comments on Facebook suggest that it was probably Jess W6LEN – sorry that we could not make the contact Jess!

20 m SSB yielded only a single contact. I gave up and return to 40 m CW, a move which yielded six contacts in 10 minutes. I returned to 40 m SSB, but it took almost 20 minutes to gain another seven contacts, so that I finally had 45 in the log after three hours and 20 minutes of calling.

I packed up and headed back to the car.

Once I had loaded the gear, I started to head south toward Walkerville. My target was the Promontory View lookout, listed on Google Maps as “cape liptrap lookout”. The part of the car park furthest from the road is inside the Park boundary, so if you are undertaking a mobile activation, you must park the vehicle right up against the bollards at the front of car park.

Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745

I have activated this Park a couple of time previously, so today’s aim was to work at least 10 contacts towards the Boomerang Award.

I tuned up on 40 m SSB and first in the log was Greg VK4VXX/5 possibly in Great Australian Bight Marine Park VKFF-0214. The mapping here is confusing, as the appropriate Park may have been the Far West Coast Marine Park VKFF-1708. I discussed the conundrum briefly with Greg and he decided to stick with VKFF-0214. (nb: I chased out some maps on Sunday and emailed the boundaries to Greg so that he can decide. If he needs to change his reference, I will need to ask for my logs to be deleted, update them and resubmit them….). Next was Mark VK6BSA/5 mobile a little further west than Greg. Greg changed to 20 m, so I stayed on the frequency and started calling. I soon had a total of 16 contacts in 18 minutes. With no further callers, I declared the activation closed and started to drive to the next destination.


The sign at the operating site, with Wilsons Promontory hidden by the fog/haze

I travelled around to Walkerville and then on to Sandy Point and the end of Sandy Point Road. This allows you to drive onto the sand on the edge of the Shallow Inlet, inside the boundary of the target Park. Sandy Point Road is excluded from the Park.

Shallow Inlet Coastal Marine Park VKFF-0749


The Park sign just before you drive onto the sand

First in the log was Greg VK4VXX/5 in VKFF-0214. I moved down the band and soon had eleven more contacts in the log in less than 15 minutes. I saw a spot for Ian VK1DI/2 in a Park, so moved down to 80 m as I had not been able to hear him a little earlier when he was on 40 m. Ian was in Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920. I moved up the band and soon had three more contacts, including Mike VK6MB/3 in VKFF-0968. I returned to 40 m SSB to work another seven stations before I closed. I had a dinner appointment in Traralgon at 1830 local and it was almost 1700, with a 95 minute drive anticipated. I had a total of 23 contacts in 33 minutes.

The drive back to Traralgon was uneventful and there was quite a crowd at the 60th birthday party for a friend.

It ended up being quite a long day.

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Gondwana Rainforests Award

VK coordinator for VKFF Paul VK5PAS recently announced a new award to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Gondwana Rainforest, all of which are World Heritage listed. Parks on the list must be worked in the 2019 year. Details of the Award can be found on the WWFF Australia website.

Neil VK4HNS and Mark VK4SMA have been out activating some of the Parks for the award. Others are sure to follow. I have missed a couple of the activations, but will attempt to work other Parks as they are activated. So thanks go to Neil and Mark for enabling me to reach the first step of the Hunter Award – five (5) Parks hunted. Thanks to Paul VK5PAS for all of his work for VKFF and WWFF.

VK3PF Gondwana Hunter 5

The Gondwana Rainforests Award certificate

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Another detour after a hamfest

11 May 2019

I had committed to attend the Moorabbin & District Radio Club Hamfest. My task was to attempt to sell the 2019 Callbook and some other WIA merchandise. I had booked the table and would be manning the table by myself on this occasion.

It was an early start from home and an uneventful drive to the venue in Mulgrave, apart from some light showers for part of the trip. I arrived just after 0900 local and was soon inside the venue and had the table set up. There were plenty of people to talk with prior to the doors opening to the public at 1000, plus a chance for a quick look at the goods on offer on the other traders’ tables.

I spent most of my time talking with people just looking and/or wanting to discuss various issues, or just catching up with amateurs whom I had not seen for some time. The crowd was thinning out after about 1130 but the hall filled up in the 10 minutes prior to the time allocated to the raffle draw: 1230. I had no luck in the draw, as expected.

After the draw, I packed up and headed to the car, exchanging a few more greetings as I did so. I then made my way roughly north to the Monash Gallery of Art. An exhibition of photographs by Peter Dombrvskis “Dombrovskis: journeys into the wild” was in its second last day….. Being so close, it would be a shame not to make the small detour and spend some time viewing the superb images.

After leaving the Gallery, I travelled back to the Monash Freeway and headed to Beaconsfield and on to Beaconsfield – Emerald Road. I had a quick look at the grounds of the Beaconsfield Cricket Club but possible access to close to the target Park was blocked by a locked gate. I travelled north to the northern end of the Park to assess possible access site before settling on parking at a spot opposite the junction with Holm Park Road.

During the drive, I had been listening to traffic working some other activators, but I could not hear the activators. I stopped at one point and parked, switching off the vehicle and thus lowering the noise levels in the radio. I worked Mark VK4SMA/p in Mount Barney National Park VKFF-0338 and advised I would be in a Park in about 30 minutes.

I also noticed that I had missed some other activations during the morning and early afternoon – such is life.

Once parked, I attempted to download the kmz file for the Park boundary from ParksnPeaks to my ‘phone, but the outline was not showing. There are power lines running along the eastern side of Beaconsfield – Emerald Road, so I decided to ensure that I was inside the boundary by walking into the reserve to find a spot to set up, giving a little distance from any possible noise from the power lines and some attenuation of vehicle noise from the traffic on the road.

Cardinia Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2065

The Reserve extends for about 1.6 km between the Cardinia Creek and Beaconsfield – Emerald Road. The official area according to the CAPAD database is 25.34 ha. It is remnant riparian vegetation typical of what would have existed along creek lines in the area prior to European settlement. There is a network of walking tracks through and on the boundary of the Reserve.

From the parking spot, I walked in about 70 m where I found an opening with a park bench beside an open shelter. I had carried in a folding chair, which I decided to use as the bench seat was wet from earlier rain. The shelter offered some protection if more showers arrived (none arrived whilst I was operating). The bench did provide a convenient anchor to support my small squid pole. I soon had the lightweight SOTA link dipole strung out and erected without the 80 m extensions.


Google Earth view of the Park boundary and my operating site

Once set up, I checked ParksnPeaks and saw that Mark VK4SMA and Mike VK6MB/3 were both on 20 m. I could not hear either of them. I also listed for a JA SOTA station on 15 m, but the signal level was very low, so I decided not to attempt to make a contact. I spotted on 40 m SSB and soon had Hunters calling. Mark VK4SMA/p was number 9 in the log from Mount Barney National Park VKFF-0338, followed immediately by Mike VK6MB/3 in Heathcote-Graytown National Park VKFF-0624. After another 10 minutes of calling, there were no more Hunters chasing. I was about to change the antenna for 20 m when I spotted that another Park was on air, so quickly tuned up to their frequency. I soon had Helen VK7FOLK/p and Jon VK7JON/p in Doctors Rocks Conservation Area VKFF-2902 in the log.

I moved down the band and spotted for 40 m CW. I had 2 callers together, making it difficult to decode either of them. That was soon resolved and I worked Andrei ZL1TM, followed by Cliff VK2NP. I had four more callers on CW, then nothing. I started to change the antenna configuration and then saw a spot for another Park, so quickly changed back to 40 m. Whilst doing so, I found an open link on one side of the antenna, one of the 12 m links!  That would have made the radio’s tuner work harder! Signals were not strong, but I worked Nick VK3ANL/p in Point Cook Coastal Park VKFF-1875. I worked another five stations on 40 m SSB before trying 30 m, working Peter VK3ZPF only – Peter was less than 3 km away. I had no further callers. I saw that Nick was now on 80 m, so quickly ran out the 80 m extensions for the antenna. I worked Nick on both SSB and CW and Nick announced that he would close his station. A VK7 amateur called Nick, who then passed the VK7 to me for another contact. Nick closed down and I took over the frequency and spotted myself, working another three stations before again there were no responses to calls. I reconfigured the antenna to 40 m and soon had another four contacts in the log before receiving a message from northern Tasmania that I was not audible on 40 m. I quickly changed the antenna back to 80 m and worked VK7CW on CW for contact number 44. I returned to 40 m SSB and worked Andy VK5LA, but had no further responses to calls. It was starting to become dimmer as it was now 1647, so I decided to close down.

There had been lots of foot traffic along the walking tracks, so had some short exchanges with the people, including what I was doing. A few of their dogs also approached to say “hello”. The photos were taken as I was packing up, so are not as sharp or bright as they might be otherwise.

Operating position VKFF-2065

Operating position

The sign at the entrance I used says “Beaconsfield Flora and Fauna Reserve”, but the official VKFF name matches the name on the official databases and GIS files. From the photo of the sign, you can see that the scrub is quite thick, but the walking tracks allow easy access.


The Park sign and walking track

Thanks to the other Activators who were out and also to all the Hunters who called me.

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WWFF Park to Park Award 544

Another step in the WWFF Park to Park Award – 544 Park to Park QSOs.

Thanks to all the Activators and the WWFF administration team members.


P2P 544 certificate

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JAFF Hunter Bronze Award

Another certificate in the WWFF Awards system:

Japan Flora & Fauna Hunter Award Bronze for working 11 different Japanese Parks.

All of the contacts were made using CW: 3 on 20 m, 6 on 17 m and 2 on 15 m. Contacts made over the period October 2016  until 5 May 2019.

Most of these contacts were SOTA contacts.

Thanks to the operators in Japan that I managed to work:
Takeshi JS1UEH
Katsushige JP3DGT
Akira (Mot) JP1QEC
Noboshige (Nobi) JA1JCF
Minoru JL1NIE
Seiji JG4LCS

Again, thanks to the WWFF administration team.

賞状 hunter gold 44 基データ

JAFF Hunter Bronze Award certificate


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Another step in the global WWFF Hunter Awards

I recently checked LogSearch and found that I had qualified for another step in the global WWFF Hunter Awards: 1444 references worked. Most of the references worked are from Australia, with a small number from overseas.

Thanks to all the Activators and to the entire WWFF administration team.

VK3PF H-01444s

Hunter certificate for 1444 References worked.

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A trip to Tarwin Lower

I had done most of the proof reading task for the magazine and needing to wait for the changes to be done before a final check, so I decided to head out to a couple of Parks for some radio therapy.

I had done some jobs at home and worked three Parks and a ZL SOTA station prior to the UTC day rollover. I stopped at the local bakery to grab some lunch for later, then headed to Boolarra, Mirboo, Meeniyan and on to Tarwin Lower.

Tarwin Lower Flora Reserve VKFF-2447


The Park sign on Fauna Park Road, with the start of the walking track

The Tarwin Lower Flora Reserve is located on the south east corner of the village of Tarwin Lower. It can be accessed off Walkerville Road. On the western boundary, along Fauna Park Rd, I found the start of the one kilometre Manna Gum Loop Track which circles the reserve and provides a leisurely walk through the native bushland. Several seats are available along the walk.

The Reserve had not previously been activated for VKFF/WWFF.


Sign with map of the walk

The Reserve includes Scented Paperbark (Melaleuca squarrosa), Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia), Red-fruit Saw-sedge (Gahnia sieberiana) and Tall Sword-sedge (Gahnia clarkei) amongst other species.

I also checked out the eastern boundary, which has a track going into the SE corner of the Golf Club. I reached a closed gate with a restricted access sign. Just short of the gate was an opening in the scrub beyond the actual reserve boundary. I chose to stop and set up here, as I was away from power lines.

Once set up, I checked ParksnPeaks and saw that there were a couple of Activators out, so I quickly started tuning to their frequencies and awaited my chance to call. First in the log was Neil VK4HNS/p in Maleny National Park VKFF-0690. Next was Mark VK4SMA in D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129. I found that 7.139, mid-way between Neil and Mark, was clear and was about to spot myself when Gerard VK2IO/p in Ganay Nature Reserve VKFF-2607 called me. I then spotted myself and started working stations. I had another 16 stations in the next 20 minutes.

I moved down to 40 m CW and worked nine stations in 20 minutes, including another Park to Park (P2P) with Gerard VK2IO/p.

Next it was up to 40 m SSB to catch Rob VK4AAC/2 in Murray Valley Regional Park VKFF1785.

I then dropped down to 80 m SSB to work Mike VK6MB/3 and Ken VK3UH.

Next band was 20 m, with SSB first, resulting in four more in the log. I then moved down to CW for another three stations.

I returned to 40 m SSB and worked 11 stations in 10 minutes. I now had 50 in the log and decided to close the station and pack up.


The Reserve viewed from the operating site

The next Park was only 7.2 km away, so took only a few minutes to travel to the next destination.


Google Earth image showing the Parks

Bald Hills Creek Wetlands Reserve VKFF-2259

This is another Reserve that had not yet been activated for VKFF/WWFF.

From Tarwin Lower, travel in a southerly direction along Walkerville Road, then turn left into the unsealed Bald Hills Road. At about 4 km from the turn off, turn left into the access track to the car park.


The entrance track and Park sign

There is a large unsealed car park a short distance inside the gate. Near the start of a walking track, there is a large display board under a small shelter, plus a couple of picnic table which could be used as operating tables if not in use by others.

The area is largely gently rolling sand hills, with most of the country cleared post European settlement. The Boonwurrung and Gunai / Kurnai peoples inhabited the area, leading a hunter gatherer roaming lifestyle. They occupied the area for at least 6000 years.

European settlement saw extensive clearing of vegetation and drainage works in the swampy country – the Tullaree Swamp, of which only about 10% remains.

The Bald Hills Wetland Reserve was declared in 1987, with 135 hectares of habitat. The Reserve is largely sand ridges which support open woodlands of Bog Gum, Messmate and Narrow Leaf Peppermint with a heath understory. The swampy areas and creeks    have thickets of Blackwoods, Swamp and Scented Paperbarks.

The Bald Hills Wind Farm is located on the hills near the Reserve.


Part of the Bald Hills Wind Farm

I chose to set up in the car park, with a line over a tree branch at about 8 m to support the ZS6BKW.

Once set up, I had my rather late lunch… First in the log was Rob VK4SYD/p in VKFF1639. Next was Scott VK4CZ/p in VKFF0666. I moved down to 7.144 and started calling. I soon had Neil VK4HNS/p in Maleny National Park VKFF-0690 calling. In 18 minutes I had a total of 14 in the log. Next was Gerard VK2io/p, still in Ganay Nature Reserve VKFF-2607 but now on SOTA summit VK2/MN-060. The next 10 minutes saw another 10 stations in the log. With no more callers, I moved down the band for CW. First in the log was Gerard VK2IO/p, still on his summit. Another five callers followed.

I moved down to 80 m SSB and worked seven stations in the next 15 minutes. I saw a Spot for Greg VK4VXX/6 in a Park, so quickly switched to 20 m SSB and soon had Cape Le Grand National Park VKFF-0078 in the log.

I returned to 40 m SSB and worked another 12 stations in the next 13 minutes. That brought the total to 54 stations in less than two hours of operating. I packed up the station and locked the vehicle before heading off for the 15 minute walk to the bird hide overlooking the wetlands.


The wetlands in Bald Hills Creek Wetlands Reserve late in the afternoon

I returned to the car park via the Management Vehicle access track before starting the drive home.

Thanks to all who called me today: two new Parks for the Hunters, both qualified for WWFF.

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Koonwarra and Stony Creek

30 April 2019

I had been busy working on the May-June issue of Amateur Radio magazine over the last couple of weeks, together with writing a review of the IC-9700 VHF/UHF transceiver. The local power distribution company had advised of a power outage for maintenance on Tuesday 30 April from 0815 until 1600. I guess that I could have done things around the garden at home, including cutting the grass which has finally started to grow again after some much needed rain….. With the weather forecast for fine day after some morning fog, I decided that I needed a day of radio therapy and to activate a couple of “new” parks in South Gippsland.

I was a little slow off the mark, despite waking before the alarm went off. Power was lost just on 0900K (2300Z) and I finished the few tasks needed before starting the drive.

I headed to Mirboo North and then to Leongatha, then down the South Gippsland Highway to the hamlet of Koonwarra.

Koonwarra Flora Reserve VKFF-2350

The Park is in two segments, on the edge of Koonwarra village. The total area is 13.42 ha. The Park had not previously been activated, so it would be a new Park for the Hunters.

I decided to have a look at the north east boundary adjacent to Swan Road. At the eastern end of the Reserve, I found a track along a mown area running along the SE boundary.


Sign off Swan Road with the track to the left

I drove along this track and then along another that penetrated into the Reserve. I parked and set up at a track junction, with the car blocking about 80% of one track.


Google Earth image of the Reserve with operating site marked

I set up with the ZS6BKW raised by line over a tree branch, with the apex at around 11 m. I used the IC-7300 sitting on the tail gate of the Ranger. I spotted myself at around 0025Z on ParksnPeaks and started on 40 m SSB. The first 20 minutes saw 12 contacts in the log. I then moved up the band to work Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-1976. We were about to swap modes to CW when I heard people close by – a teacher and a group of about 10 youngsters out for a walk along the tracks through the path. My feedline was across the remaining section of the track not blocked by the vehicle. I invited the teacher to simply lift the feedline and walk under it. I invited the students to gather around to see what I was doing and briefly explained WWFF and VKFF and where stations were located that I had made contacts so far. I then tried calling Gerard on CW without any luck – I think that he was working other stations. After I answered some questions, including “how did I get the centre of the antenna up near the tree branch”, the teacher gave the group a “hurry up”, as they had already spent more time than planned on their walk.


The station in VKFF-2350

As they were leaving, I called Gerard on SSB and then we worked on CW. I then dropped down to 80 m and worked Geoff VK3SQ on SSB & CW, together with Ken VK3UH, Steve VK3KTT/VK3MEG  (SSB & CW) and Peter VK3FPSR. Next up was Mike VK6MB/3 in Mount Buffalo National Park VKFF-0339.

I then moved up to 20 m to again work Gerard VK2IO/p, then back to 40 m to catch Mark VK5MK/p on Pinkawillinie Conservation Park VKFF-1079. I returned to 20 m SSB and worked nine stations in the next 10 minutes.

I dropped back to 40 m SSB to work John VK5FLEA/p in Little Mount Crawford Forest Natural Features Reserve VKFF-2884, one of the new VK5 Parks added over Easter. I moved to a clear frequency and soon had a further seven contacts in the log. John VK4TJ called again and suggested that we try 30 m. I explained that the antenna was not a good match, but we tried anyway. I soon had John in the log for contact number 44, with John’s extra callsigns providing a couple of buffer contacts… I decided to pack up and to head to the next Park.

I returned to the South Gippsland Highway and headed to Meeniyan to grab some lunch and then toward Stony Creek.

Stony Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2197

I followed Stony Creek Road until it did a dogleg across the Rail Trail. The start of Frankcom Road looks like a private entrance, but the road leads in to a Recreation Reserve which looks like it is no longer in use. The Recreation Reserve surface had plenty of recent cow pats and the “pavilion” building is looking run down.

The Reserve is another that had not yet been activated. The Reserve is small at 1.213 ha. Whilst planning, I could see from Google Earth that the Reserve appears to have dense vegetation coverage, which I found to be the case once on site. I explored along the north-eastern boundary beyond the pavilion and found a section with a few square metres of reeds and grass.  There was enough room to set up a table and a chair inside the boundary.


Google Earth view with operating site marked


Operating site was beside the fence post on the left, inside the Reserve boundary

I parked the car and proceeded to set up, with a table and chair just across the fence inside the boundary and a squid pole strapped to a fence post. I set up the pole and antenna first, from outside the boundary, but with the antenna and pole inside the fence line. I then climbed over the fence and finished setting up the station. I again used the IC-7300 but used an 18 Ah LiFePO4 battery.

I was about to spot myself and saw that Mike VK6MB/3 was still active in Mount Buffalo National Park VKFF-0339. Mike was the first contact in the log. Next was John VK5FLEA in Little Mount Crawford Forest Natural Features Reserve VKFF-2884. I moved to a frequency between Mike & John and spotted myself. I soon had plenty of Hunters calling, working 19 stations in 18 minutes. Things then slowed down. I dropped down the band and spotted on 7.032 CW. I soon had our in the log, including Gerard VK2IO/m.

I moved back up to SSB and worked another three stations before I saw that John VK5FLEA/p had moved to CW. I dropped down the band and managed to work John. I then returned to SSB and managed to work Liz VK2XSE/p in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park VKFF-0554. Liz had gone into the Park with her elderly mother for a short visit as a break from the Nursing Home. I am sure that the bush would have been a welcome change on a day of pleasant weather.

I moved up to 20 m CW and soon had three contacts in the log. With no more callers, I moved up to SSB higher up the band. This resulted in seven more contacts.

I dropped down to 8-0 m SSB to gain three more contacts before I returned to 40 m SSB. I worked another six stations over the next 15 minutes. I now had 49 in the log – Park qualified.


The only sign that I notice – looking a bit run down

I spent a few minutes listening for a SOTA station in the UK, but could not break through to make a contact. So I packed up and started the trip home.

Thanks to all who hunted me today, especially those who I worked on multiple bands and modes.

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Another step in the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll

Over the last few weeks, some activators have been very busy travelling to some of the newer Parks or visiting Parks previously activated that I have missed hunting. On checking the wwff.co website Logsearch facility, I found that I had reached the next step for VKFF Hunter Honour Roll: 1400 references worked.

Thanks to all the Activators for getting out there to activate the Parks. Thanks also to the VKFF admin team.

VK3PF VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 1400

The VKFF Hunter Award Honour Roll 1400 certificate

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The April VK – ZL – JA – EU S2S “party”

6 April 2019

A number of amateurs had been planning for a S2S event on the first Saturday of April: late afternoon for the VK operators and early morning for the Europeans. After waiting to see what the weather would do, I considered activating Mount Tassie.

I got a little tied with some tasks at home before I headed off from home at about 1540 local. I changed my mind and headed to the closest peak, with a shorter travelling time.

Mt Houghly VK3/VT-049  698 m 2 points

The approach track is becoming very crowded, with regrowth encroaching significantly – enough to add more scratches to the surface of the vehicle. I drove up to the shallow saddle close to the saddle, only about a metre below the trig. The area at the trig has lots of blackberries, so I set up close to the western knoll, strapping a 12 m squid pole to a bust to hold up the ZS6BKW doublet. I used a recently purchased 18 Ah LiFePO4 battery and the IC-7300 at around 30 watts, set up on a folding table and a comfortable folding chair.

I was all set up and check the spots on SOTAwatch. I soon had Andrew VK1AD/p on Mount Ginini VK1/AC-008 in the log – the first S2S contact for the day. I moved down the band and soon had Geoff VK3SQ calling, followed by Rik VK3EQ/p on Mount Buller VK3/VE-008.

I called for a few more minutes before changing up to 40 m CW to work Grant VK4JAZ/p on Tennison Wood Mountain VK4/SE-117. I listened around for some other activators without any success. I moved back to 80 m SSB to work Wade VK1MIC/p on Mount MacDonald VK1/AC-048. I then decided to try some more CW and spotted on 80 m. This soon had Ron VK3AFW in the log, followed by at least two callers at the same time at about the same strength. I simply waited until they both finished and sent “?”. Next was Bernard VK2IB/3 on Mount McKay VK3/VE-007, followed by Warren VK3BYD. Further CQ calls yielded no results.

I moved up to listen for JP3DGT on 15 m CW but heard nothing. I then went to 40 m CW to listen for some of the Europeans. I called IW2OBX/p on I/LO-278 without success. He was very weak – 339.

Back to 40 m SSB to work Marija VK5FMAZ/p and Paul VK5PAS/p in Loch Luna Game Reserve VKFF-1723. I listened around trying to hear & work some of the Europeans who were spotted, without success. I saw Wal VK2WP spotted on CW, so spun down and waited for a chance to call him. I soon had him in the log from VK2/CT-007. Next was Bill VK1MCW/2 on Bobbara Mountain VK2/ST-044 on 40 m CW. Next was Sam VK2GPL/p on SSB from Mount Solitary VK2/CT-056, followed by Gerard VK2IO/p on Mount Elliot VK2/HU-093. I moved up to 30 m CW to work John VK6NU/p on Mount Randall VK6/SW-039. I listened around for others spotted before heading back to 40 m to work Mike 2E0YYY/p on Shining Tor G/SP-004: the contact was hard work due to QRM at both ends. I listened to Helen VK7FOLK/p and Jon VK7JON/p on Mount Gnomon VK7/NW-062, but they were weak and I could not be heard by them.

More listening around on 40 m and 20 m with few workable signals heard. I did manage to work Katsu JP3DGT/3 on 20 m CW. I heard a couple of European stations at weak signal strength but could not break through to work them. The last station worked was David VK3IL/p on Mount Winstanley VK3/VE-036 on 40 m SSB – not strong, but in the log. I then spent several more minutes listening and calling weak EU stations, without success. It was getting cold and the sun was low, so I decided to pack up and head off the hill.

Thanks to all who organised and those who participated in the event.

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