On Friday 21 August 2015, the local Coordinator for WWFF Paul VK5PAS proposed a number of new Victorian Parks to be included in the VKFF and WWFF program. Word came through early on the UTC day Saturday that the new Parks had been approved. I was feeling a little better and the weather was a fine sunny day, so I decided to head out to the closest of the new Parks.
Crossover Regional Park is located between Rokeby and Crossover, about 15 km north of Warragul. From home, I travelled to Nilma, then up Bloomfield Road to Crossover and pulled in to the southern end of Bridge Road. The trestle bridge is fenced off to all traffic, including pedestrians. I then headed a short distance south on a good dirt road and parked in the remnant of the original track entrance, now cut-off by the road cutting on Bloomfield Road. (The operating site was close to the road number in the satellite image – just left & below the “C462”.)
Running through the Park is the Rokeby to Crossover Rail Trail, part of the old Warragul to Noojee Railway. The Rail Trail finishes at the Trestle Bridge. My photo of the bridge did not work, as I must have moved the ‘phone when I pressed the shutter. A good reason to visit again!
I set up the inverted V 40/20 dipole and turned on the radio, switching to 7.144 MHz to find a QSO in progress. Shortly after, I worked Rob VK4AAC/5 in Parndana Conservation Park VKFF-925. Next up was Mick VK3PMG before I switched down to the CW end of the band to work Wayne VK3WAM/p on Green Hill VK3/VS-031. Back to SSB and it was slow going for a while, with a short gap to go chasing Justin VK2CU/p on VK2/CT-001. I had a call from a weak QRP station and was able to dig out Peter VK3TKK/p in Mount Macedon Regional Park VKFF-972, another of the brand new references added to WWFF.
After working Peter VK3TKK/p, I tried 15 m for about 15 minutes with no replies. I then reconfigured the antenna for 20 m. It had taken over 50 minutes to work 14 stations on 40 m and I thought that I might try 20 m. The first reply came from an RA3 station, followed by a strong VK4. A string of EU station followed: RN3, RV3, UR5, UR4, OM7, S58, DL2, S52, I5, DK4, SQ9, DL2, DL0, DL7 and a US station KA1R. The 22 contacts on 20 m were interrupted by a couple of short excursions back to 40 m, with the antenna matching unit coping with the insult of the 20 m dipole: I chased Ian VK1DI/p in Gungahlin Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-844 and Gordon VK5GY/p in Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-824 in this configuration. Amongst the 20 m contacts was Phil VK6ADF/p on Mt William VK6/SW-042.
I heard an alert from RRT, so reconfigured the antenna back to 40 m to chase Gerard VK2IO/p on Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007 on 40 m CW, followed by VK5PAS/p in Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-788. This session on 40 m yielded 19 stations before I went back to 20 m configuration to chase Mike 2E0YYY/p on G/CE-002. The contact was difficult with 3 reports both ways – but that was on the QSB peaks, with signals weaker most of the time. I quickly tuned around 20 m but decided to pack up – I had 57 contacts in the log, so the Park was over quota in its first activation. Just as I was packing up the antenna, there was a 40 m SOTA spot from RRT, so I quickly worked Andrew VK1NAM/p on Mt Stromlo VK1/AC-043 for my last contact for the activation, using the whip on the car. A little over an hour later, I was safely back at home. A great afternoon out in the bush, with terrific weather for August in Gippsland.