World Wildlife Day 2023

Friday 3 February 2023

The VKFF team promote activity on several notable days during each year. One such day is the World Wildlife Day.

I was busy at home during the morning, but headed out after lunch. The trip was a little interrupted, with a couple of stops in Traralgon.

I then headed to Rosedale and then towards Willung, before heading into the SW corner of my first target Park for the day.

Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758

I set up under a gum tree beside South Boundary Track. First in the log was Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-2784 on 40 m SSB. There were no other Spots posted at the time. I moved to CW on 40 m and spotted myself. The first caller was Gerard VK2IO/p, several minutes after my spot. Then a spot appeared for David VK5DG in 40 m SSB, so I moved back to SSB to work David in VKFF-0919. I found a clear frequency and made two more contacts in 15 minutes of calling. I tried 20 m SSB, making four contacts over about 15 minutes, including Alan VK1AO in VKFF-1410. I spent about 10 minutes calling on 20 m CW with only a single contact. I returned to 40 m SSB to work Chris VK3PAT in VKFF-0619. Conditions were tough: 11 contacts in 45 minutes – very slow going.

I decided to quit and move to the next planned Park. I quickly packed up and moved south and east into the NW corner of the next Park. The transition between sites was about 7 km.

Google Earth image showing the two operating sites. Thanks to Google Earth.

Stradbroke Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2443

The plan was to hopefully make a dent in the tally of contacts from this Park using the Club callsign for the Team category, which requires 200 contacts as the “quorum”. I had activated the Park with the Club callsign earlier in January, with a decent tally of 123 contacts, so at least another 77 were needed. Given the conditions experienced in the previous Park, I was not particularly hopeful! But at least I would add some more contacts to the tally.

I selected an operating site and parked. I set up the gear and then checked the Spots, only 30 minutes since the last contact in the previous Park. I soon had John VK3BJE in VKFF-0788 in the log on 40 m SSB, but I had used my own callsign. So I asked John to change the callsign to the Club callsign VK3BEZ. I see from John’s blog that he actually logged both callsigns. I found a clear frequency, spotted and started calling. Conditions were still a little slow, but were better than half an hour earlier. It took an hour to make 30 contacts, including a short session on 80 m SSB. I worked several Park to Park contacts (P2P): VK3PAT in VKFF-0619, VK3ZPF in VKFF-2219 (40 and 80 m) and Alan VK1AO in VKFF-1410. Peter VK3ZPF was only using a mobile whip for a quick activation on his way home from work.

I then swapped to playing digital modes. 20 FT8 produced seven contacts over 10 minutes: DF, SP, SV, RT, LY, UR and PD. Fifteen minutes of calling CQ on 10 m FT8 produced no replies, despite seeing several stations decoded, with no responses to my replies to CQ calls. Just for fun, I swapped to FT4 and managed to work 3D2USU very quickly. 12 m FT8 produced one JA contact. 15 m FT8 produced two JA stations. I swapped to 17 m FT8 and worked 3W7M. I was in the process of changing to my own callsign to attempt a contact with 3W7M (which would be a new country) when several other stations started calling me. I resumed operating as VK3BEZ and worked eight stations in 15 minutes: ON, CT, F and five JAs. It was now 0830Z and I was aware that 40 m FT8 would likely to be very busy. I changed to 40 m FT8 and there were plenty of signals on the segment. Hoping for some quick contacts with locals, I changed to FT4 and spotted. 10 minutes of calling produced six contacts, including ZL, JA, K. I next tried 80 m FT8, with four contacts in 10 minutes.

I returned to 40 m SSB, working 10 stations in 10 minutes. I was mentioning to John VK4TJ that I should QSY to 20 m CW to try to contact Bill VK4FW in VKFF-0680, as I had only just noticed his spot, when Bill called me. Another P2P in the log. We also worked on AM, together with three other calls on AM. We swapped back to SSB and Bill and I shared the frequency for the next 30 minutes, taking turns to call CQ after we had both worked any callers. I finally decided that it was time to close, as I was running out of twilight and had not brought a torch with me. I quickly worked Bill on 40 m CW and closed.

I quickly packed up the station and headed back to the main road and then home. The activation ended up with 92 contacts, so I had passed the quorum of a total of 200 contacts for the Park. Another Park qualified for the year for the Club category.

Thanks to all who called.

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