On 18 July 2017, VKFF Coordinator Paul VK5PAS announced that he had added five new Parks in Victoria to the VKFF list of references. Two of these Parks are within an hour of my home, so they were quickly added to my mental “to do” list.
Previous plans meant that the Parks would need to wait until late in the week or the weekend, as I spent the Wednesday driving 2 other amateurs around to activate three 8-point summits – see the previous post.
Friday looked like a reasonable chance to head out, so I get myself organised by late morning.
Mirboo North Regional Park VKFF-1876
Friday 21 July 2017
There is little information on the Parks Victoria website about this Park, other than for the popular Lyrebird Forest Walk. The Park has four separate sections: one near Hallston, one north and west of Mirboo North, a section almost directly north of Mirboo North, which includes the Lyrebird Forest Walk and adjacent to the Strzelecki Highway (B460), and a section south of Boolarra.
Being the closest, I headed for the section south of Boolarra, accessing it via Limonite Road, Fishers Road and Banktown Road. I set up just inside the boundary, off the western side of Banktown Road. The spot that I chose was a small grassed area, located on the ridge that Banktown Road travels along south of Fishers Road. I set up the squid pole using a pole holder and ran the link dipole parallel to the track and about 3 m in from the track edge.
The radio gear was set up on the tailgate of the ute. Today I used the FT-817 running off the SOTA LiPO battery.
First in the log was Gerard VK2JNG/p in Trinkey State Conservation Area VKFF-1382. I moved down in frequency and had a strong signal from Sergio VK3SFG in Mirboo North. I spent a few minutes discussing the Park with Sergio, who is looking forward to activating the Park in the near future. Next in the log was Cliff VK2NP. After several minutes of calling, I checked ParksnPeaks and saw a Spot for Mark VK4SMA/p in White Rock Conservation Park VKFF-1676. I listened for several minutes and then called Mark when he was heard a little louder. I had no response, so I quickly added my 40 W amplifier into the system and called again: success. Contact was made. I then switched to 80 m and spotted myself, quickly working four more stations.
I tried 20 m, but had only one call – Sergio saying hello again. I then tried 30 m SSB, again working Sergio and hearing Rick VK4RF calling, but Rick did not hear me.
I returned to 20 m SSB and was called by Hans VK6XN, followed by Bill K4WMS and Stan VK3PSR in nearby Boolarra. Next was Fred VK4FE in Port Douglas, Phil VK6ADF, Mason W5FMH and Franc ZL1SLO.
I returned to 40 m, and worked Al EA2BY/5. I moved down the band a little and started calling on 7.085. Band conditions were now a little better, with stations in VK2, VK4, VK5 and VK6 calling in over next hour or so, but was slow going…..
At about 0700 Z I went back to 80 m, working Mick VK3GGG, Paul VK5PAS, Barry VK5KBJ/p and Marija VK5FMAZ. With no further callers and light starting to fade, I returned to 40 m to work Marija and Paul on a second band, comfortably taking me past the quota of 44 stations.
I packed up and back out to Limonite Road and then headed for home. As I was driving out, I noticed that the outside temperature had fallen to 4 degrees – little wonder I was feeling a little cool late in the activation. A good way to spend a fine winter Friday afternoon – a new Park successfully activated.