WWFF Activation Weekend November 2015

WWFF Activation Weekend and the Rosebud Radiofest 2015

Several months ago, the VKFF Coordinator Paul VK5PAS suggested a Parks Activation Weekend, announcing the last weekend of November as the time. In the two weeks prior, I had been ill with an infected foot, so was not making any big plans – rather waiting to see how my recovery progressed.

The lead up to the weekend

There was some Parks activity in the lead up to the weekend. On 26 November I worked Stef VK5HSX/p in Hogwash Bend Conservation Park. On Friday 27 November, the log gained Cliff VK2NP/p in VKFF-0375, Rob VK4FFAB/p in VKFF-0734, Stef VK5HSX/p in VKFF-0372.

Saturday 28 November

I decided to spend Saturday at home, chasing the portable stations when possible. That turned out to be a profitable day: in the morning (still Friday UTC), the activity started to build further:
Paul VK5PAS/p in VKFF-0916,
VK1DI/p in VKFF-0855,
Warren VK3BYD/p on VK3/VE-208 in VKFF-0969,
Mick VK3PMG/p in VKFF-0970,
Rob VK4FFAB/p in VKFF-0683
and Compton VK2HRX/p on VK2/CT-019.

The activity level built as the UTC day began, and the log gained another 36 Parks, plus nine SOTA summits. The Parks tally included 15 new Parks for me.

I finalised my plans for Sunday: a trip to the Rosebud Radiofest with some Park activations planned either side. The Radiofest was to be the incidental activity.

Sunday 29 November 2015

I woke well before the alarm, so was away early – on the road by 0615 local. The drive was uneventful, via Berwick, Clyde North, Devon Meadows and on to near Pearcedale and towards Tyabb.

Yaringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957
Not previously activated

Yaringa Marine National Park sits in the north-west corner of Westernport Bay. Access looks to be quite restricted, with most of the Park surrounded by private property or else requiring a boat to access the Park from the water.

Using the Forest Explorer mapping system, there appear to be four potential access routes which do not cross private property that do not need a boat:

Cannons Creek: A walk of almost 700 m from close to the junction of Albatross Court and Currawong Grove, along the beach to the west, then skirting around the edge of private property along a drain running just west of south, then west again along the edge of the mangroves until adjacent to the Park boundary. The route looks possible from Google Earth imagery, with the caveat of possibly needing to cross the drain.

South Boundary Road East: There appears to be a road reserve running to the water’s edge at the end of South Boundary Road East. However, the roadway passes through a farm gate about 520 m from the high tide mark. I later found that this section of the road reserve is leased by a local landowner to graze cattle, ruling this option out unless you seek permission. If permission is granted, you could park a vehicle close to the end of the roadway (gravel) and walk around 240 m to the edge of the Bay – the Park boundary.

Bungower Road: Bungower Road ends at a gate to a Maintenance Vehicles Only track that enters the North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve. Park here off the road and walk along the track to the east for around 600 m to the edge of the Bay.

Yaringa Marina at the end of Lumeah Road: I did not look too closely at this option: Park the car at the Marina and head north east around the edge of the waterline or through the scrub until inside the Park boundary – around 250 m.

I actually drove down to the end of South Boundary Road East and was looking at the prospects of carrying the gear down to the high water mark. As I was getting the gear organised, the landowner came over to ask what I was doing. After I explained my plans and that the mapping data seemed to indicate a road reserve to the water’s edge, she explained that they leased the road reserve. However, she was prepared to allow me to park my car there for a couple of hours while I operated close to the edge of the bay.

YaringaMNP

The edge of Yaringa Marine National Parkk

I was set up by around 2100Z and spotted myself on ParksnPeaks at 2105Z (28/11/2015). It was slow going: the HAP chart for Melbourne had most of Victoria as yellow, indicating an optimal frequency of 4 MHz or less. Most calls were from SA and NSW until later in the morning, with a few further away VK3 stations worked. I was operating on 7.144 MHz most of the time. I did try 15 and 30 m without success for about 20 minutes before returning to 40 m. Then at about 2245 I started to suffer interference from a station on 7.146 – the announcements prior to one of the WIA News broadcast stations. I decided to quit and pack up the station, with almost 2 hours of calling yielding 29 stations worked.

Summary of stations: 30 QSOs, 29 unique calls.
Park to Park contacts were:
Tony VK1VIC/p in Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve VKFF-0865
Mick VK3PMG/p in Leaghur State ParkVKFF-0762
Peter VK5KPR/in The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park VKFF-0817
Ian VK1DI/p in Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847
Paul VK5PAS/p in Stipiturus Conservation Park VKFF-0936
Tony VK1VIC/p in Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0840

I then headed off toward the Rosebud Radiofest, arriving at around before 2340Z. During the last ten minutes of the drive I was listening to Tony VK1VIC/p working stations, but was unable to break through the pile up. I did work Tony once I stopped and parked the car – another Park (Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve VKFF-0865) in the log.

I headed into the Radiofest. Most of the good gear had already been sold, but the intention had been to try to catch the end of the SOTA presentation done by Glenn VK3YY and to catch up with people. After purchasing a hamburger from the Lions Club, I returned to the car and headed west to the Gunners Cottage car park in the Point Nepean National Park – the furthest point in the Park that you can drive your own car. I then headed north along the walking track to Observatory Point.

Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954
Not previously activated

This Marine National Park (MNP) has quite an extensive boundary – see the Parks Victoria Park Note for details. Given that I had approached from the east to Point Nepean National Park, somewhere close to Observatory Point was a logic choice, requiring a little over 500 m of walking. The shuttle bus service out to Fort Nepean would give access to more operating sites near to Port Phillip Heads: according to the Parks Victoria website, the cost is $10 for the day of issue of the ticket, with a jump on jump off service provided. You would need to be aware of the bus timetable, or you might have a long walk back. There are also areas near Queenscliff and Point Lonsdale which would afford access to within the required 100 m maximum of the high water mark, which is the shore boundary of the MNP.

There were quite a few people on the beach at Observatory Point and the sun was out when I arrived, so I retreated back along the walking track to find a shady spot on Coles Track which was less than 30 m from the high water mark. I set up the usual SOTA style station, sitting on a timber edge of the track. During the activation I had many passers-by taking a long look at the gear and the antenna, supported by a squid pole. I also stopped operating several times to explain what I was doing.

PPHMNP

Looking east along the coast from Observatory Point

I spotted myself at 0323Z after I had found a clear frequency.

I worked 49 QSOs with 47 unique calls.
Park to Park contacts were:
Ian VK1DI/p in Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve VKFF-0991>
Rob VK4AAC/5 in Beachport Conservation Park VKFF-0791>
Stef VK5HSX/2 in Murrumbidgee Valley National Park VKFF-0554
Tom VK5EE/p in Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796
Col VK5HCF/p in Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796
Gerard VK2IO/p in Cattai National Park VKFF-0092
Tony VK1VIC/p in Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0837
Paul VK5PAS/p in Nixon-Skinner Conservation Park VKFF-0923
Marcus VK3TST/2 in Livingstone National Park VKFF-0292
Peter VK3TKK/p in Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763
Tom VK5EE/p in Douglas Point Conservation Park VKFF-0795

Plus SOTA Andrew VK1DA/2 on VK2/ST-042
Mark VK3PI/p on VK3/VU-006

After a short break, I resumed operating, this time from the Point Nepean National Park – completely within the WWFF rules.

Point Nepean National Park VKFF-0628

I had activated this Park twice previously – firstly to have a contact to qualify the Park for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award, and then after last year’s Radiofest to build numbers toward qualification for VKFF. Last year, there was relatively little activity and depressed conditions. I had 26 contacts from the Park, so only needed another 20 today.

I spotted myself at 0512Z and started working callers. 25 QSOs taking the total up to 51, with a total of 46 unique calls.
Park to Park contacts were:
Marcus VK3TST/2 in Livingstone National Park VKFF-0292
Rob VK4AAC/5 in Beachport Conservation Park VKFF-0791
vk2io/p Gerard VK2IO/p in Cattai National Park VKFF-0092
Paul VK5PAS/p in Nixon-Skinner Conservation Park VKFF-0923
Lesley VK5LOL/p in Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402
Hans VK5YX/p in Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402
Peter VK5PET/p in Coorong National Park VKFF-0115
John VK6NU/p in Wandoo National Park VKFF-0656 on 20 m.

John was last in the log – I decided that 25 would get me past the 44 required, so packed up and head back to the car, another half-kilometre walk. Once back at the car, I decided that I was tired enough, with a two hour drive back to home.

All up, 20 new WWFF References worked over the weekend, if my addition is correct, plus many other Parks contacts.

So there will be another trip to the Mornington Peninsula at some stage in the future: I need around another 20 contacts from each of Yaringa MNP and Mornington Peninsula NP, plus a return visit to Arthurs Seat to work 44 stations to qualify Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750. So perhaps late November 2016, again combined with the Rosebud Radiofest?

Many thanks go to all who participated in the weekend activities, but especially to all the Activators. Huge thanks go to Paul VK5PAS for all his work in promoting, participating and organising the VKFF and WWFF schemes here in Australia.

PS: After the weekend, I was able to claim my VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 325 certificate (with a terrific view across the Three Sisters into the valley beyond), the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 350 certificate (Penguins on the beach at Macquarie Island) and the WWFF 352 Hunter certificate.

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One Response to WWFF Activation Weekend November 2015

  1. VK5PAS, Paul says:

    Hi Peter.

    A great write up of your adventures over the weekend. It was a pleasure to get you in the log a number of times, many of those being park to park. Thanks also for a few new parks.

    Thanks for taking part in the inaugural VKFF Activation Weekend.

    Best 73 and ’44’ and Merry Christmas,

    Paul,
    VK5PAS.

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