A winter weekend of activations in Parks as a Rover

I strongly support the WWFF and VKFF Award programs. The programs were generally very well run and have excellent support in VK, thanks to Paul VK5PAS and the other members of the VKFF admin team. My recommendation is for anyone considering activating Park entities within VK is to Spot yourself using the excellent parksnpeaks.org website using the VKFF reference details. The site has a good number of Hunters / Chasers who regularly monitor the site.

I have noticed a small number of new Park activators spotting themselves only on the pota.app website. My impression is that this site is good if you wish to attract attention from overseas Hunters and/or to monitor Spots from overseas Activators.

Most VK Activators spot on parksnpeaks.org, with some also spotting on pota.app as a secondary site.

Having made the above comments, I see nothing wrong with also submitting my activation logs to both the WWFF and POTA programs. Alan VK2MET has prepared the excellent mParks Converter program to perform the translation of VK WWFF logs to POTA format and references. POTA now allows self upload of Activator logs, once you are registered and logged into the website. VKFF logs still need to be forwarded to the local state-based team member to be uploaded to the WWFF website database. By uploading to both programs, you can gain certificates from both programs with minimal additional effort.

One advantage of the POTA program is that it offers some different awards. I have previously been awarded certificates for the RaDAR Awards – Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio. I had qualified for all levels of the RaDAR Awards other than the Leopard Award, for activating 10 sites in Parks with 24 hours.

POTA also conducts a quarterly Support Your Parks events, with the Summer event in 2022 being a Plaque Event.

The 2022 Plaque Event was scheduled for July 16 & 17 UTC. The weather for the weekend was not looking great in VK3, in the middle of our winter. I decided to head out, with the goal of at least qualifying for the Leopard Award.

Saturday 16 July 2022

I headed out after a leisurely start to the day: the POTA event started at 0000 UTC Saturday, so there was little need to be out early. Ross VK3NRB decided to join me for the weekend. We were in my closest Park ready to start operating just after 1000 local time (0000 UTC).

The routine for the day was simple: drive to the Park and set up the gear. Spot ourselves and work as many callers as possible as quickly as we could. Pack up and drive to the next Park. Repeat.

The Saturday panned out in the following order:

Morwell National Park VKFF-0626
Mirboo North regional Park VKFF-1876
Koonwarra Flora Reserve VKFF-2350
Outtrim Cemetery Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2171
Wonthaggi Heathlands Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2235
Cape Patterson Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2063
Bunurong Marine National Park VKFF-0945
Screw Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2188
Tarwin Lower Flora Reserve VKFF-2447
Bald Hills Creek Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2259
Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745
Shallow Inlet Coastal and Marine Park VKFF-0749
New Zealand Hill Flora Reserve VKFF-2411
Corner Inlet Coastal and Marine Park VKFF-1768
Nooramunga Coastal and Marine Park VKFF-0748
Won Wron Flora Reserve VKFF-2488
Bruthen Flora Reserve VKFF-2282

We then headed back to my home for the night. We switched off the lights at about 0020 local time.

Looking across Bunurong Marine National Park

Sunday 17 July 2022

Despite a long day on Saturday, we were up reasonably early and headed out again to Traralgon South for the first Park of the day. A day was planned with a smaller number of Parks but with basically a similar mode of operation as yesterday. The weather decided to intervene, together with some tiredness on the behalf of the two operators.

Traralgon South Flora Reserve VKFF-2465
Traralgon South Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2464
Callignee Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2287
Gormandale Flora Reserve VKFF-2325
Merrimans Creek Flora Reserve VKFF-2384
Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758

Looking across the Latrobe Valley from Merrimans Creek Flora Reserve

We activated the first three Parks before UTC midnight, so we had a total of 20 Parks activated on Saturday UTC. We took a detour into Rosedale to buy some lunch before heading to Holey Plains State Park. We were starting to feel weary after we set up at Holey Hill. After we checked the weather radar, we decided that we would operate until before the approaching cold front arrived. We timed our closure well, with rain starting just as we started to drive away from our operating site.

Once we were back on the sealed road, we decided to call it a day and simply headed back home. The sky to the west was almost black, with the worst of the cold front rain yet to arrive. Ross grabbed his gear and drove back to his home, through the rain for the whole trip.

Our six Parks on Sunday (local time) saw me with 204 contacts in the log. I had driven just over 551 km for the weekend.

Results

After submitting my logs to POTA, I claimed both the Leopard Award (10 RaDAR transitions) and a new Lion Award (12 RaDAR transitions). Note that the RaDAR Awards require that each transition can only be used once.

POTA RaDAR Leopard Award certificate
POTA RaDAR Lion Award certificate

According to the POTA Results, I ended up with 663 Activator contacts, placing me 27th overall in the Most Contacts Activator category.
My 328 Hunter contacts earned me 10th place globally in the Most Contacts Hunter category, with Ross VK3NRB placing fourteenth (300).
In the Rover category, my 23 Parks gave me equal 7th place (with Ross VK3NRB). A good result, given that in the US, POTA has many 2-fer, 3-fer and 4-fer sites, so that careful choice of sites can give you 2, 3 or 4 Parks for a single activation. The top Rover activated an impressive 65 Parks.

The 2022 Plaque Event included IARU Region 1, 2 & 3 specific awards for the first time.
My 663 contacts gave me first place as an Activator for Region 3, with second place going to Naota JF7RJM (530), and third to Roly ZL1BQD (503). Ross VK3NRB claimed fourth place, with 431 contacts.
For the DX Region 3 Hunter award, I placed first, followed by Ross VK3NRB and Marty VK4KC (136).

Dan VK3NDG, Tony VK3YV and Ross VK3NRB all activated Holey Plains State Park using the Club callsign VK3BEZ, qualifying a Park for the Club category, where we placed twelfth with 104 contacts.

I anticipate that I will eventually receive the two Region 3 award plaques in the mail from the US.

Once again, thanks to all who worked both myself and Ross over the weekend.

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