Warren Conservation Park, VKFF-941

This afternoon (Friday 28th August 2015), the weather looked a little more promising than yesterday.  Not a lot, but enough for me to brave the cold and head for my planned activation of the Warren Conservation Park, VKFF-941.  This was to be another new park for me for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Although I have been to the park before and activated as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  See my previous post…..

http://vk5pas.org/2013/07/24/warren-conservation-park/

Although the weather had improved, the bands had not.  There have been a number of Geomagnetic storms over the past few days, making band conditions less than ideal.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 17.51.56

Warren Conservation Park is located about 60 km north east of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’ and is 353 hectares in size.  The park is characterised by steep country with views over forests, reservoirs, pastures and bushland above the spectacular Warren Gorge. The park is most colourful in spring when wattles, banksias, hakeas, heaths and eucalypts are in flower.  The park has four challenging walking trails, including a section of the long distance Heysen Trail.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 16.58.50

Above:- Map showing the location of Warren CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I travelled out through Kersbrook and along the South Parra Road, through all the Adelaide Hills countryside that was burnt during the devastating fires at the start of this year.  On the way I spoke with Rob VK2QR who was portable on SOTA peak VK2/ SW-012, in the Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-269.

I then turned into Watts Gully Road and then to the end of Woolshed Road which is a dirt road.  The park is very visible in front of you as you travel down Woolshed Road.  This is a no through road, but there is an area at the end where you can park your car.  If you have a 4WD you can drive on a little further.  But only try that last section if you have a 4WD!  I parked the 4WD and made a short walk into the park.

I found a bit of a clearing and set up the 40m/20m linked dipole, and my little fold up table and chair.  I had plenty of onlookers in the form of Western Grey kangaroos.  And they seemed quite tame.  Not at all put off by my presence.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 16.59.33

Above:- Map showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I started calling CQ on my nominated frequency of 7.144.  But things did not look promising.  No takers.  More CQ calls and no takers.  I couldn’t even send out an SMS to some of the regular park hunters, as I had no mobile phone coverage in this part of the park.  So I perservered and eventually, Jock VK2EJW came back to my call with a 5/7 signal.  But there was lots of QSB on Jock’s signal and I could only manage a 5/2 signal report from Jock.

I continued to call CQ but obviously conditions were very poor as it took a long time before my next contact was in the log.  This time I was called by Ron VK3VBI who was a 5/5 with me, with a 3/2 being returned to me.  Oh dear!

My third contact was with Mr. Reliable, Rick VK4RF, who was 5/4 and gave me a 5/2.  Rick also called under his other call of VK4HA, so that made 4 contacts in the log.  But sadly that was the limit to my contacts at that time on 40m.  So I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed for 14.310 on 20m.

After a few CQ calls on 20m I was called by David VK5PL at nearby Williamstown, followed by Rick VK4RF who had followed me up from 40m.  This time Rick was a nice strong 5/8 signal.  But not his normal booming 5/9.  Clearly the bands were down.  I went on to work a total of 4 stations on 20m: David VK5PL, Rick signing as VK4RF and VK4HA, Mike VK6MB who was very weak, and Ralph VK4HR who also called me using VK4KDX.

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I tuned around the 20m band and the only signal I could hear was that of UX2IO in the Ukraine who was calling CQ on 14.195.  And his signal was quite low down.  Certainly not strong enough for me to try for a QSO.

So I headed back to 40m where I put out some more calls on 7.144 and worked 4 more stations in VK1, VK2 and VK5.  This included Peter VK2NEO who told me that he could hear Albert S58AL on the frequency calling me.  Unfortunately I could not hear Albert, who is a regular park hunter.  It was very slim pickings.  And tuning across the 40m band did not reveal much activity.  I heard no VK signals.  But I did hear an Italian station calling CQ on 7.150 and ZL2OK speaking with some UK stations on 7.140.

I decided it was time to pack up.  Local time was 2.45 p.m. (0515 UTC), and I had been in the park for about 45 minutes.  Conditions were certainly not improving.  Unfortunately I had just 14 contacts in the log.  I had qualified the park for VKFF, but I was a bit short for qualifying the park for the WWFF global awards.  It was slow going out of the park, as you can see from some of the photographs below.  There was a lot of kangaroo activity.

I drove back out onto Watts Gully Road, and took the opportunity of stopping at the main entrance to the park.  This is part of the Heysen trail, and as I had some time up my sleeve, I went for a walk through the park for about 30 minutes.

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The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2EJW
  2. VK3VBI
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK5NFB
  6. VK2IO/p
  7. VK2NEO
  8. VK1HW

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK6MB
  5. VK4HR
  6. VK4KDX

References.

National Parks South Australia, 2015, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/Warren_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 28th August 2015

Giles Conservation Park, VKFF-884

Yesterday (Thursday 27th August 2015) afternoon was one of my 2 days off.  I’m back to work tomorrow to work 7 straight day shifts.  And of course, the weather is never kind when you’re on days off is it!  I had planned to activate two parks, Giles Conservation Park, VKFF-884 on Thursday, and then Warren Conservation Park, VKFF-941, on Friday.  I had activated both parks previously as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, but both parks were recently added to the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) program.  So I was hoping to obtain the required 44 contacts from each.

Unfortunately Thursday morning’s weather was very grim.  The weather forecast was for ‘occasional showers, clearing in the afternoon’.  But I am always cautious, because the forecast in centred around Adelaide.  And although that it is only 40km away from home, the weather up here in the Adelaide Hills, can be quite dramatically different to that of Adelaide.

So I patiently waited and when the clouds and the drizzle disappeared I hit the road for the Giles CP.  It was around 12.45 p.m. South Australian (S.A.) local time I had planned to be on air by 0400 UTC (1.30 p.m. SA local time).  Giles CP is about 30 km to the north west of my home (by road). and is a beautiful drive through the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 16.57.41

Above:- Map showing the location of Giles CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I travelled down the South Eastern Freeway to Crafers and then headed north through the very picturesque Piccadilly Valley and on to the little town of Summertown.  I then took Tregarthen Road and then on to Woods Hill Road.  I stopped at gate 4 on Woods Hill Road.  This is a nice entry point into the park, and forms part of the Heysen Trail.

The Giles Conservation Park area was settled by Charles Giles, a pioneer of the horticultural and floricultural industry of South Australia.  He purchased the land while living at another property on South Road and walked to the Summit every Monday morning with his week’s provisions, returning home on Saturdays. There was no road up the valley of Third Creek at that time, and to reach his land the creek had to be crossed 21 times. Ruins of the workers’ accommodation huts, once part of an extensive nursery and orchard, can be seen.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 17.37.02

Above:- Charles GILES.  Image courtesy of Trove

The adjacent Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, including the Giles section, was set aside as a conservation park in 1964 to conserve vegetation associations of the Hills Face Zone, including a number of rare and endangered plants species.  In 2007, the eastern section of the park was renamed Giles Conservation Park to honor the Giles family’s historical connections to the park.

For more information on the park, and information on my previous activations at Giles CP, please see…..

http://vk5pas.org/2013/08/04/giles-conservation-park/

http://vk5pas.org/2014/10/18/giles-conservation-park-2/

I set up just inside the park boundary.  The weather was looking nasty.  Lots of big black clouds.  It did not look promising.  I set up my fold up table and deck chair and for this activation I used my normal set up consisting of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 16.57.07

I headed to my nominated operating frequency of 7.144 and called CQ.  Much to my surprise this was answered quite quickly by Peter VK7ALB with a good strong 5/8 signal from Launceston in Tasmania.  This was a good sign.  The bands were predicted to be in poor shape, but Albert was nice and strong.  But our QSO was dramatically cut short by rain.  And it wasn’t just a shower.  It was very heavy rain.  So I quickly disconnected the radio and made a dash back to the 4WD, where I waited for about 20 minutes until the rain had stopped.

Take two.  Back to my operating spot and a quick CQ call which was answered by John VK5BJE, who had been patiently waiting for me.  John had a nice solid 5/8 signal.  John’s QTH is not all that far away from the park as far as ‘the crow flies’, so it was probably ground wave propagation.  Certainly, he was the only VK5 to be found in my log for this activation.

My third QSO was with Peter VK2NEO, south east of Griffith in New South Wales.  Peter has one of the loudest signals on 40m.  Fourth in the log was Rick VK4RF, who has become a very active participant in the WWFF program and the VK5 Parks Award.

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I went on to work just 14 stations on 40m including Andre V51B/VK2.  Andrew is holidaying in Australia, and this was the second park in the past couple of weeks that he has called me in.  Sadly I had to cut the activation short due to heavy rain.  So, no playing on 20m and no 44 contacts.  I will have to venture back to this park another day to pick up another 30 contacts and qualify the park for the WWFF global award.  Many thanks to all those that called and apologies to those that were after a new park.  The weather gods were not smiling.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7ALB
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK2NEO
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. V51B/VK2
  7. VK2XXM
  8. VK3FQSO
  9. VK3DPG
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK2AR
  12. VK3KRH
  13. VK3MEG
  14. VK7DON

SOTA Activator certificate

My latest certificate for the Summits on the AIr (SOTA) program is the 250 points Activator certificate.

It has been hard going.  Lots of activity in 2013 when I first kicked off in March of that year as an activator, with activations in South Australia (VK5) and Victoria (VK3).  And then tapering off in 2014 with activations in VK5, VK3, Germany and Belgium (during my Europe trip).  And 18 activations so far this year in VK5, and VK1 (during my visit to Canberra for the WIA AGM).

Screenshot 2015-08-27 10.48.03

There are a total of 346 qualifying SOTA peaks in South Australia.  And although I live in the Mount Lofty Ranges, there is only one that is close by to me…that being Mount Lofty, VK5/ SE-005, about 15 km west of my home QTH.  The next closest is Mount Gawler, VK5/ SE-013, a very popular summit, about 40 km from home.  The next closest summits are a minimum of 100 km away.

So if there were a few summits a bit closer, I would be participating a lot more often in this very enjoyable activity of SOTA.

Screenshot 2015-08-27 11.07.15

EUCFF Hunter certificates

Here are my latest certificates for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  They are EUCFF Hunter certificates for working European park activators in 7, 14, and 21 different DXCC entities in Europe.

It is a lot of fun hunting the European park activators, and quite a challenge breaking the pile up.

More info about the WWFF ‘global’ awards can be found at…..

http://www.wwff.co/p/wwff-global-award.html

You can also find out who is out in a park by checking out…..

http://hamspots.net/wwff/

Again, thanks to Pit YO3JW, the WWFF global awards manager.

Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-788

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 22nd August 2015) I headed out to activate the Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-788, which is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  I have activated Scott Creek previously, but that was part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Scott Creek was added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program earlier this year, so this was the first time I was to activate the park as part of WWFF.

Screenshot 2015-08-22 11.43.40

Above:- Map showing the location of Scott Creek CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

For more information on the Scott Creek CP, please see my posts re previous activations…..

http://vk5pas.org/2013/09/29/scott-creek-conservation-park/

http://vk5pas.org/2014/11/11/scott-creek-conservation-park-2/

For this activation I headed west from home along the South Eastern Freeway and travelled into the little town of Stirling and then on to Heathfield along Longwood Road until I reached Mount Bold Road.  I then travelled west on Mount Bold Road with the park on my right and the Mount Bold Reservoir on my left.  Mount Bold Reservoir is the largest reservoir in South Australia with a maximum capacity of over 46 thousand megalitres.  This is very pretty countryside through this part of the Mount Lofty Ranges.

I reached gate 8 of the park and this is where I parked the 4WD and made a short walk along the Cup Gum Track, where I set up the fold up table and deck chair.  A few trips back to the vehicle for the rest of the gear and I was set to go.

Screenshot 2015-08-22 11.44.19

Above:- Map showing the location of Scott Creek CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

It was my regular equipment for this activation: the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20m/40m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre telescopic squid pole.  There was a nice clearing with some big gum trees, so I was able to get the legs of the dipole about 4-5 feet off the ground.

I headed for my nominated operating frequency of 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use and this was immediately answered by the ever keen Mick VK3PMG in Stawell in western Victoria.  Mick had a very nice 5/9 + signal as always.  He was also kind enough to spot me on parksnpeaks, and also let me know that Gordon VK5GY was down the band, activating the Cox Scrub Conservation Park.  So after finishing with Mick, thats where I headed.

I found Gordon on 7.105 wrapping up a QSO, at the end of which I gave Gordon a call.  Gordon’s signal was very strong coming in from the Fleurieu Peninsula.  This was a lucky find and many thanks to Mick.  I wasn’t aware that Gordon was heading out, so I was very pleased to get a park to park contact in the log for the VK5 Parks Award.

I then moved back to 7.144 and called CQ and this was answered by some of the VK5 park regulars: Peter VK5PET at Strathalbyn, followed by David VK5PL at Williamstown, and then Arno VK5ZAR who spotted me on parksnpeaks.  Next up was Amanda VK3FQSO running QRP again, with just 1 watt, and a very respectable 5/7 signal.  It is amazing what can be done with QRP.  And I think that portable programs such as the parks and SOTA have proven that to many QRP doubters.

A few QSOs later, amongst the pile up, I spoke with Ken ZL4KD from Christchurch with a good 5/5 signal.  Ken reciprocated with a 5/3 for me.  Not bad on 40m at 3.15 p.m. local time with a basic little wire antenna just 7 metres off the ground.  Ken has become a regular park hunter and its always a pleasure to get him in the log.

Thanks to Rick VK4RF, a recent regular park hunter, who spotted me on the DX cluster.

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About half a dozen contacts later I was called by Peter VK3PF who was out portable in Crossover Regional Park, VKFF-965.  I had only added this park to the WWFF program the day before.  So Peter was very keen and was out there already.  And I was very pleased to add it to my VKFF parks collection.  A brand new one for me.  He is a link to Peter’s WordPress site re his activation…..

https://vk3pf.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/crossover-regional-park-vkff-965/

And then 2 QSOs later I had one of the highlights of the activation.  It was a QSO with Peter VK3YE who was using a home brew transceiver and running just 200 milliwatts.  Peter had a great 5/6-7 signal coming into Scott Creek.  It was also at this time that the first of many bushwalkers passed by my location.  They were curious to know what I was doing, so I quickly explained to them all about the hobby of amateur radio.  Below is a short video of how Peter sounded to me….

Soon after I was called by Tommy VK2IR who told me that the Europeans were querying on 20m if I was coming to that band.  And it was also at this time, that I had another bushwalker come by, who was very keen to find out what this crazy guy was doing sitting at a fold up table in the middle of the bush.  I took 10 minutes out of operating to explain to him, our interesting hobby, and the VK5 Parks Award and WWFF.  He seemed very keen.  We even spoke about propagation and the ionosphere.  Thanks to those who took the time for me to return to the band.  Thanks also to Tommy VK2IR for spotting me on the DX Cluster.

Prior to heading off to 20m I managed another new park for the WWFF program.  This time it was Ian VK1DI who was activating Gungahlin Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-844.

After working a total of 30 stations on 40m I headed to 20m and my nominated operating frequency of 14.310.  Unfortunately here in Australia, 14.244 is pretty much un-usable here in our afternoons due to a group of VK and USA fellas who have a daily get together on or around that frequency.  So I headed further up the band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and much to my surprise after just one call, I had a few Europeans coming back to my call.  The first station in the log was Jacky F5OUD in France, followed by Gerard F1BLL, and then regular park hunter, Albert S58AL in Slovenia.  But conditions were not easy, with the 20m band still not quite right.  Signal strengths were down and I only managed 9 contacts into France, Slovenia, Germany, VK4, VK6, Slovak Republic, and Russia.  This included Steve VK4OZI, and Mike VK6MB.  Despite half a dozen CQ calls I had no more takers.

I checked my i-phone for any possible park or SOTA activity and I saw a spot for Mike 2E0YYY who was on Walton Hill, G/ CE-002.  I headed for 14.335 and there was Mike, calling CQ.  Not strong, but with the non existant man made noise in the park, I thought we could probably make it.  And we did, giving each other 5/3 signal reports.

I then tuned across the band and worked my old mate Wim ON7AB in Belgium (I met Wim and his wife, last year during my visit to Europe), who was calling CQ on 14.265.  At the end of that QSO, I heard the familiar voice of Bruce VK2HOT calling out to me to say hello.  So we QSYd to 14.271 where I had a quick chat to Bruce, followed by Steve VK4QQ, before heading back to 40m for some final CQ calls.

I returned to 7.144 where my first taker was Bruce VK2HOT, who had followed me down from 20m.

I worked another 21 stations on 40m, before the cold got the better of me, and I packed up and headed home.  Amongst those callers was Rob VK4AAC/5 in the Parndana Conservation Park, VKFF-925, on Kangaroo Island, OC-139.

This was another new VKFF park for me, and a successful activation, with a total of 64 contacts in the log in a little over 2 hours.  And some good interaction with the public and some very interesting contacts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PMG
  2. VK5GY/p (Cox Scrub CP)
  3. VK5PET
  4. VK5PL
  5. VK5ZAR
  6. VK3FQSO (QRP 1 watt)
  7. VK2PKT
  8. ZL4KD
  9. VK3FDAV
  10. VK5GJ (QRP 4 watts)
  11. VK4RF
  12. VK4HA
  13. VK2MI
  14. VK3ZPF
  15. VK2LGW
  16. VK3PF/p (VKFF-965)
  17. VK5EE/m
  18. VK3YE (QRP 200 milliwatts)
  19. VK1DR
  20. VK2IR
  21. VK5TD
  22. VK5FUZZ
  23. VK5BW
  24. VK5JW
  25. VK5VRB
  26. VK3OF
  27. VK5HOS
  28. VK3FMRC
  29. VK1DI/p (VKFF-844)
  30. VK5HEL/p
  31. VK2HOT
  32. VK5WG
  33. VK5KPR
  34. VK5KX
  35. VK2LEE
  36. VK5BJE
  37. VK3ANL
  38. VK5FMID
  39. VK3FLCS
  40. VK4FAAS
  41. VK4QQ
  42. VK1AT
  43. VK2JF/m
  44. VK4AAC/5 (VKFF-925)
  45. VK5ZZ
  46. VK5KLT
  47. VK5SF
  48. VK5KLV
  49. VK2XU
  50. VK5FTRG/m
  51. VK2SR

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. F5OUD
  2. F1BLL
  3. S58AL
  4. S52KM
  5. DK4RM
  6. VK4OZI
  7. VK6MB
  8. OM7OM
  9. RA3PCI
  10. 2E0YYY/p (SOTA G/CE-002)
  11. ON7AB
  12. VK2HOT
  13. VK4QQ

Mount George Conservation Park VKFF-784

Today (Friday 21st August 2015) I had a day off work, but the morning did not give any good signs of it being an ideal day to head out for a portable activation.  The weather was cold, cloudy, with showers.  But by lunch time the weather had cleared and the sun had revealed itself.  So I packed the 4WD and headed to the Mount George Conservation Park, VKFF-784.  The park is just a short drive from my home, down the South Eastern Freeway towards Adelaide.

I have activated Mount George CP previously as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  But this was the first time I had activated the park as part of the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screenshot 2015-08-21 20.05.31

Above:- Map showing the location of Mt George CP.  Courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Mount George CP was set aside as a reserve to protect stands of native vegetation, inspiring landscape and a diversity of habitat types.  The 62 hectare park is divided into trwo sections, which are separated by Mount George Road, Cox Creek and the Mount George picnic ground.  The famous Heysen Trail also passes through the park.

Prior to European settlement, the area of land belonged to the Peramangk Aboriginal people.  After European settlement, the land was farmed and the surrounding stringybark forests were logged for timber and firewood until the 1940’s.  Most of the park was left in its original condition.  The fenced Eastern Section was developed as an Earthwatch Reserve in 1986 for nature conservation and environment education.

The park is covered with vegetation ranging from wetlands to open forest.  Brown and messmate stringybark trees cover the higher slops.  A mixture of candlebark and manna gum (considered rare in South Australia) covers the lower slopes.  Rocky outcrops, some with superb views, are found in both sections of the park.  The understorey offers spectactular spring glowers, including flowering pea flower, ground hugging correas and various native orchids.  Native cherries are also pound in the park.

Many native bird species can be seen in the park including Superb blue wrens, red-brown finches, white-throated treecreepers, yellow tailed black cockatoos and wedge tailed eagles.

A variety of mammal species may be seen in the park, particularly at dawn and fusk.  They include western grey kangaroos, possums and echidnas.  Bearded dragons, sleepy and blue tongued lizard, and various skinks are just some of the reptiles to be found in the park.

Screenshot 2015-08-21 20.06.12

Above:- Map showing my operating spot.  Courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I set up on one of the wooden benches and tables in the Mount George Picnic ground area.  The afternoon was cool, but the sun was out and it was quite pleasant sitting under the large gum trees.  The park was quite active, with lots of people enjoying the sunshine.

I used the normal equipment for this activation, consisting of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and my 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre telescopic squid pole.

I had nominated 7.144 as a starting point, but there was a station from VK3 on 7.140, so I headed to 7.145 on 40m.  I called CQ for a few minutes before being answered by park stalwart, Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  Adrian had a good 5/9 signal.  This was a good sign, as 40m has been a little ordinary the past week or so.  Next up was Col VK5HCF at the other end of South Australia, down in Mount Gambier.  Again, a great 5/9 signal.  This was followed by a call from Rick VK4RF in Queensland with a nice strong 5/8 signal.  Rick has become a regular park hunter.

Thanks to Adrian VK5FANA and Mick VK3PMG for spotting me on parksnpeaks.  And also thanks to Rick VK4RF for spotting me on the VKFF/SOTA Facebook site and the WWFF Facebook site.  I’m sure this contributed to the steady flow of callers that followed.

I worked a total of 42 stations on 40m including some very interesting contacts.  That included a QSO with Amanda VK3FQSO who was QRP, running just 1 watt.  Amanda was a genuine 5/9 signal from Victoria.  I was also called by Andre V51B/VK2.  I have spoken with Andre a number of times from Namibia on 10m short path.  So it was a real surprise when I heard his voice on 40m.  Also some excellent mobile signals.  This included Andrew VK5FLCS mobile near Tiboburra in far north west New South Wales (5/9); Danny VK4SD/2 (5/9); John VK2YW mobile 180 km north west of Broken Hill (5/9); and John VK3FCAN mobile (5/8).

I was also called by Gerard VK2IO who was portable on top of Livingstone Hill, VK2/ SM-093 as part of the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  Gerard was a good 5/7 signal.

And I also spoke with regular park hunter, Ken ZL4KD in New Zealand, who called in with a good 5/7 signal from Christchurch.

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The weather was starting to come in from the west.  The sun had gone, the wind had picked up and I was receiving the occasional drop of rain.  So I headed to 20m where my first contact was Rick VK4RF with a very strong 5/9 signal.  Rick was kind enough to spot me on the DX cluster, which resulted in a number of DX contacts into Slovenia, Italy, Ukraine, Slovak Republic, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, England, Russia, Spain, Japan, and the Czech Republic.

There were also some VK’s in amongst the DX.  That included Perrin VK3XPT, who I had also worked on 40m; Robert VK2XXM who has become a regular park hunter; Peter VK4PHD on Bribie Island; and John VK5BJE who was my last contact.

Thanks to Rick VK4RF, Luciano I5FLN, Gyula HA6OB, and Robert VK2XXM for spotting me on the DX cluster.

So after 2 hours in the park I had a total of 64 contacts in the log.  Another successful activation, and another park under my belt.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5HCF
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK5EE
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK2MI
  8. VK4AAC/5
  9. VK3OF
  10. VK3TJK
  11. VK5ZAR
  12. VK3PF
  13. VK5PET
  14. VK3KRH
  15. VK5VBR
  16. VK3BHR
  17. VK3FQSO
  18. VK4FFAB
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK5FCLS/m
  21. VK5KAF
  22. VK3CRG
  23. C51B/VK2
  24. VK3JM
  25. VK4SD/2
  26. VK2PKT
  27. VK3UH
  28. VK5PL
  29. VK2YW/m
  30. VK5PXO
  31. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ SM-093)
  32. VK5AAR
  33. VK3FCAN/m
  34. VK5FTRG
  35. VK2HHA
  36. VK5WG
  37. VK3ZMD
  38. VK3XPT
  39. VK2YK
  40. VK5JK
  41. ZL4KD
  42. VK5BK

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. S58AL
  4. I5FLN
  5. UT5PI
  6. OM7OM
  7. DL2ND
  8. S52KM
  9. HA6OB
  10. LZ1HA
  11. VK3XPT
  12. G2YT
  13. DK4RM
  14. RA3PCI
  15. DL1MIJ
  16. EA1EJ
  17. JA8RJE
  18. VK2XXM
  19. VK4PHD
  20. EA1ACP
  21. OK1AOV
  22. VK5BJE

VI5ANZAC

On the weekend just gone (Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th August 2015), myself and John VK5BJE operated as VI5ANZAC to commemorate the 10th Australian Infantry Battalion.

image_1_hires

The 10th Battalion was among the first infantry units raised for the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the First World War. The battalion was recruited in South Australia, and was raised within weeks of the declaration of war in August 1914.  The Battalion embarked for overseas just two months later, and after a brief stop in Albany, Western Australia, the battalion proceeded to Egypt, arriving in early December.

The 3rd Brigade was the covering force for the ANZAC landing on 25 April 1915 and so was the first ashore at around 4:30 am. Two soldiers of the 10th Battalion, Lance Corporal Philip Robin and Private Arthur Blackburn, are believed to have penetrated further inland than any other Australians at ANZAC.  The 10th Battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending the front line of the ANZAC position, and served there until the evacuation in December.

After the withdrawal from Gallipoli, the 10th Battalion returned to Egypt and, in March 1916, sailed for France and the Western Front.  From then until 1918, the battalion took part in bitter trench warfare. The battalion’s first major action in France was at Pozieres in the Somme valley in July. After Pozieres the battalion fought at Ypres in Flanders before returning to the Somme for winter. In 1917, the battalion returned to Belgium to take part in the major British offensive of that year – the Third Battle of Ypres.  For his valorous actions at Polygon Wood east of Ypres in September 1917, Private Roy Inwood was awarded the Victoria Cross (we will be commemorating Inwood next month as VK100ANZAC).  INWOOD’s brother Robert had been killed at Pozieres and another brother, Harold, had been badly wounded and invalided to Australia in November 1917.

In March and April 1918 the 10th Battalion helped stop the German spring offensive and was then involved in the operations leading up to the Allied counter-stroke. In June, during an attack near Merris in France, Corporal Phillip Davey became the third member of the battalion to be awarded the Victoria Cross. Davey had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery near Messines in January.  His brothers Claude and Richard were also members of the battalion and both had been awarded Military Medals in 1917.

The battalion participated in the great allied offensive of 1918, fighting near Amiens on 8 August 1918. This advance by British and empire troops was the greatest success in a single day on the Western Front, one that German General Erich Ludendorff described as “the black day of the German Army in this war”.

The battalion continued operations until late September 1918. At 11 am on 11 November 1918, the guns fell silent. In November 1918, members of the AIF began returning to Australia. At 8 am on 5 September 1919, the final detachment of the 10th Battalion arrived at Adelaide, aboard the transport Takada.

Australian_9th_and_10th_battalions_Egypt_December_1914_AWM_C02588.jpeg

Above:- Lines of the 9th and 10th Battalions at Merna Camp, looking towards the pyramids.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.  The kangaroo was the regimental mascot.

Saturday was quite challenging on the 40 m band with ‘close in’ propagation (within about 400 km) coming and going.  Conditions on 20m, long path into Europe were quite good.

However, everything fell apart on Sunday.  Solar conditions wreaked havoc on the bands.  There was absolutely no close in propagation and long path into Europe on 20m was almost non existent.  Very disappointing.

Here are some of our stats over the 2 days…..

  • total of 281 contacts
  • 26 DXCC entities worked
  • 11 ITU zones worked
  • 23 IOTA references
  • VI4ANZAC
  • 24 x Australian lighthouses
  • 1 x Puerto Rican lighthouse
  • 1 x USA lighthouse
  • 1 x SOTA contact
  • 1 x WWFF contact

Screenshot 2015-08-19 17.26.07

References.

Australian War Memorial, 2015, <https://www.awm.gov.au/unit/U51450/&gt;, viewed 19th August 2015