The WWFF Park to Park Award

In January, 2016, the long awaiting ‘Park to Park’ Award was officially released in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The WWFF Park to Park (P2P) certificates are issued to park activators who operate portable from a WWFF reference area, and who make contact with other park activators in a WWFF reference area.  The first P2P certificate is issued for 10 park to park contacts and is next issued for 44 P2P contacts, then 88 P2P contacts, etc.  These are incremental steps of 44.

The P2P award certificates are applied for on-line via WWFF Log Search.

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.08.42

Please note, that P2P contacts need to be recorded in your activator log, which in turn must be uploaded to WWFF Log Search.  Log Search looks for a match between the two P2P activator logs, with the following information:

  • the two dates
  • the two bands
  • the two modes

 

How to track your P2P progress.

After completing a search on your call sign from the Home (Search) page of WWFF Log Search, you will come to your ‘Summary Statistics’ page (see the screenshot below).  It is from here that you will be able to see your progress with regards to the P2P award, and also apply for the P2P award.

But what does ‘Unique References Confirmed’ mean?

And what does Total P2P QSOs mean?

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.10.48

Lets start with ‘Unique References Confirmed’.  You will also see 2 figures (31/74 in the screen shot below).  The second figure (in this case 74) indicates the number of unique P2P contacts.  The first figure (in this case 31) indicates the number of those P2P contacts which have been confirmed in Log Search.

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.16.05

And what about the figures in the ‘Total P2P QSO’ area?  The second figure (104 in the screen shot below) indicates that you have a total of 104 P2P contacts.  The first figure (38 in the screen shot below) indicates that 38 of the 104 park to park contacts have been confirmed in Log Search.  In other words, 38 P2P contacts have been matched in Log Search from one activator log with another activator log.

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.16.45

 

How to apply for a P2P certificate.

To apply for a P2P award, click on the ‘Apply for P2P-A button (see the screen shot below).

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.29.05

You will then receive an auto generated email from Log Search (see screen shot below) thanking you for applying for the P2P award.

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.32.38

Soon after, you should another auto generated email from WWFF Log Search, advising that the Award Manager has approved your P2P award (lets hope its not a disapprove email).  See the screen shot below….

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.35.13

And then you will receive your P2P certificate from the P2P Awards Manager, Danny ON4VT.  See below…..

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.35.31

 

What do I have to show in my Activator Log?

For Activators, it is very important that accurate P2P information is recorded in either the ADIF file or the CSV file.

ADIF files require the WWFF reference in the SIG/SIG_INFO fields, or the appropriate column in the CSV template.

The ADIF file needs to be correctly completed.

MY_SIG = WWFF
MY_SIG_INFO = your xxFF-xxx

If you work someone Park To Park, in addition the following needs to be in the ADIF file…..

SIG = WWFF
SIG_INFO = their xxFF-xxxx

If your ADIF specs do not pick up the other activators P2P details, then you need to edit your ADIF file manually.  This is easy, through a text editor.  I use a Mac, and use textedit.  Simply add the following information for each applicable P2P contact (before the EOR).

<SIG:4>WWFF <SIG_INFO:8>xxFF-xxx         –where reference is three digits

 <SIG:4>WWFF <SIG_INFO:9>xxFF-xxxx        –where reference is four digits

**Remember, that VKFF references are four (4) digits, so you need to use…..

<SIG:4>WWFF <SIG_INFO:9>xxFF-xxxx        

Screenshot 2016-02-12 13.25.30

I will try to put together a short video of this editing ADIF file process in the very near future.

If you are using the CSV template, you must complete the ‘hunterRef’ column (see below).  Remember to use the correct format, e.g. VKFF-0029.

Screenshot 2016-02-12 12.40.48

 

Is the P2P award retrospective?

Yes, it is.  Valid P2P contacts do not have to be from the release date.  They can be historical.

How do I back capture old P2P contacts?

Andrew M0MYA is working on a mechanism to allow existing logs to be uploaded for P2P info.  This will allow for updating restrospective P2P contacts, and will probably be via a CSV file.

Results of WWFF poll

Logo WWFF 9xa1_2a

Last year (in October 2015) I conducted a Poll on the WWFF Australia Yahoo group which was entitled…….

“Why don’t you participate as an activator in the World Wide Flora Fauna program?”

The purpose of the poll was to seek some input on how to attract more amateurs to participate in the WWFF program as activators.  Although there is a very large number of WWFF park hunters, there is only a relatively small group of regular and dedicated WWFF park activators.  The Summits on the Air (SOTA) program seems to experience the same issue, with often the same ever keen SOTA activators being heard regularly from a peak.

A total of 27 VK amateurs took the time to participate in the Poll, and I thank you all for your time, thoughts, and participation.

The questions asked, and responses were as follows…….

  • I do not have a suitable transceiver (1 vote)
  • I do not have a suitable antenna (1 vote)
  • I don’t have a suitable portable power source (0 votes)
  • I don’t have the confidence in setting up a portable station (0 votes)
  • I dont have the time available to go portable (8 votes)
  • The WWFF program does not interest me at all (1 vote)
  • I am happy just being a Hunter (3 votes)
  • The 10 QSOs required for VKFF is too high (0 votes)
  • The 44 QSOs required for WWFF is too high (1 vote)

Mike VK6MB also added the following……..

  • I do get out there (12 votes)

 

Screenshot 2016-02-11 21.49.36

The results clearly show that a lot of amateurs struggle with sufficient time to become involved as activators.  This is by far the most apparent issue.  There is no doubt that most of us live very busy lives with a lot of other commitments.

Amanda VK3FQSO stated…..”For me personally, I have a young family who easily get bored if we are out and about for longer than an hour or so in parks (or doing SOTA) and so they dictate how much activating we can do…there is only so much tree climbing, exploring and geocaching that will keep them amused”.

I thought that more people may have commented that the 44 QSO threshold was too high.  But the response there was very low.  It seems that with the ever growing popularity of the WWFF program, that many activators are now reaching the 44 QSO’s required to qualify the park for the WWFF global program.  I recall in the early days of WWFF here in Australia, that I often struggled to even get the 10 QSOs.  However, with the program now increasing in popularity, it is not uncommon for me to receive logs from activators with upwards of 100 contacts.

A small number of amateurs commented that they did not have a suitable transceiver or antenna to take part in WWFF.  I guess that a few hints need to be thrown out for the Christmas stocking.

Mike VK6MB added the comment ‘I do get out there‘.  And it was interesting to see that a further 11 responded in the affirmative to Mike’s comment.  Quite appropriate that the percentage for this comment worked out to be 44.

Rob VK4FFAB stated….”I would go every weekend if I could“.

Liz VK2XSE also suggested that ‘the hunters aren’t there except on weekends‘ and that ‘propagation isn’t good this year‘.  Liz is correct with regards to propagation.  It has been extremely challenging at times, particularly with regards to local contacts.  I’ve found that late afternoon and evening activations have proved to be very successful, compared to morning and middle of the day activations.

There is no doubt that there are more hunters around on the weekend, but from vetting and uploading activator logs, it is apparent that many VKFF activators are reaching the 10 QSO and 44 QSO thresholds during weekdays, thanks to the many dedicated park hunters.  But it is all about timing your activation and promoting your activation (e.g. parksnpeaks, Facebook, Yahoo groups, word of mouth, etc).

warby-ovens-at-work

Above:- John VK5BJE, operating from the Warby Ovens National Park, VKFF-0742.  Image courtesy of VK5BJE.

Warren VK3BYD, whose choice of mode is CW, stated….”For me it’s the difficulty in getting the Hunters to work me on CW.”  Warren reported that he generally operates from a SOTA summit within a park and that it was a rare day that he could ‘get ten in one go’ (referring to the 10 QSO threshold for VKFF).  So there is a challenge for all.  Dust off your keys or paddles and give Warren a call.  Warren made a good suggestion that perhaps a weekend should be organised for non-ssb VKFF activity.  A great idea Warren, which I will definitely look at introducing.

151128kamaybotanyshack

Above:- the shack of Gerard VK2IO in the Kamay Botany National Park.  Image courtesy of VK2IO.

Bob VK5FO made the comment that ‘Logsearch does not accurately reflect the activators-as we all understand the time that it takes to do the log extracts into the required format…………The whole logging requirements are in fact a big constraint to reflect the actual activity within WWFF‘.

There are two issues which arise from Bob’s comments.  Firstly, the issue of putting a WWFF log together.  This can either be done by providing an ADIF file or by using the CSV template.  On a personal level, I use a paper log in the field, and when I return home I enter the QSOs from the activation using the Fast Log Entry (FLE) program which is an extremely easy and rapid way to enter contacts and create an ADIF file.  The ADIF file is then uploaded to Log Search, and also my own personal electronic log, which is MacLogger DX.  Putting WWFF logs together and the WWFF Log Search system is a subject all in itself, which I will cover in another post.

The second issue is that of activators providing their logs.  I am not sure what the percentage is of park activators who provide logs, compared to those who don’t.  But I would suspect that it is quite low.  I am generally finding that the vast majority of park activators are now providing their log/s to me for upload to WWFF Log Search.  This includes many of the SOTA activators who are conducting combined SOTA and Parks activations.

There are however a number of SOTA activators who may activate a summit which is located within a park, from whom I do not receive a log.  Their primary focus is the SOTA program, and they do not participate in WWFF.  I often receive emails from park hunters, wanting to know why VK5… has not provided a log, and could I chase the log down.  This is often the reason for a log not appearing on Log Search.  But please remember, this is a personal choice for the activator.

5825241_orig

Amanda VK3FQSO also made a very valid comment regarding personal safety.  Amanda stated….”The other problem is my own personal safety being in a remote area activating as a lone female also makes me feel slightly uncomfortable“.  In light of recent events in a State Forest in Victoria, and the incident in the Coorong National Park here in South Australia, Amanda raises a very good point.

Interesting that there was one vote for the question ‘The WWFF program does not interest me at all’, despite the fact that the person is a member of the WWFF Australia Yahoo group.

The WWFF program is progressing nicely here in Australia.  Since March, 2013, I have now issued over 800 certificates for the VKFF program.  But we could always do with a top-up of VKFF Activators.  If anyone has any ideas on how we can attract more WWFF activators, I would be very happy to hear from you.  Please make any comments here, or drop me an email to vk5pas@wia.org.au

3988679

WWFF Park to Park certificate

This afternoon I received via email my first WWFF Park to Park (P2P) certificate.  This is for 10 confirmed park to park references worked.

Andrew in the UK (the Log Search administrator) is working on a mechanism to allow existing logs in WWFF Log Search, to be updated for P2P contacts.  So I will have a lot of catching up to do with updating the records re many previous park to park contacts.

Many thanks to Danny ON4VT and Andrew M0MYA.

For more information on the new Park to Park Award, please see……

http://www.wwff.co/

VK5PAS WWFF Park to Park 10.jpeg

Marne Valley Conservation Park, 5CP-128 and VKFF-0906

Yesterday was such a beautiful afternoon, that my wife Marija and I decided to go for a drive.  The day had started off nice and sunny, but by mid morning the clouds had rolled in and the sky was looking a little threatening.  But by mid afternoon it had cleared up to a fine and sunny day.  We packed the 4WD and headed for the Marne Valley Conservation Park, 5CP-128 (for the VK5 Parks Award), and VKFF-0906 (for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program).

I had activated this park before, back in March, 2015, but that was prior to the park being added to the WWFF program.  So this was to be a unique VKFF activation for me.  For more information on my previous activation, please see…..

Marne Valley Conservation Park

Screenshot 2016-02-01 09.01.48

Above:- Map showing the location of the Marne Valley Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Marne Valley Conservation Park is around 80 km to the north east of my home QTH.  The park is situated around 30km north east of Mannum on the Murray River, about 5 km east of the little town of Cambrai, and about 90 km east of Adelaide.

We drove out through Woodside, Charleston, and the historic little town of Mount Torrens, and then on to Birdwood where the National Motor Museum is located.  We continued on to Mount Torrens where we took the Angas Valley Road to Sanderson and Angas Valley.  We then turned right onto Ridley Road and headed towards Cambrai.  This is a nice drive.

Screenshot 2016-02-01 09.03.08

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Also indicating the Barossa Valley, the Murray River, & my home QTH.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

As we drove east along Angas Valley Road, there are some amazing views to be had from the rugged slopes of the Mount Lofty Ranges.  We could see clearly out to the east, with the white silos at Cambrai visible in the distance.  The hills here are quite rugged and I have driven through here many times, wondering who some of these hills don’t qualify for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  I guess sadly, they do not have the required 150 metres of prominence.

As we approached the town of Cambrai, we crossed over the Marne River.  The river was formerly known as the Rhine River South, but during World War One, anti German feeling ran high in South Australia.  South Australia had a large population of people from a Germanic background, formerly from the Kingdom of Prussia (which is now current day Germany, Poland, and Slovakia).  Despite these people pledging their allegiance to the British Crown, the anti German frenzy spread wide and by 1917 a Nomenclature Committee had been established which recommended that all names of places that were of ‘foreign enemy origin’ would be changed.

The Rhine River South soon became known as The Marne (in 1971 changed to the Marne River).  The book entitled ‘South Australia.  What’s in a name?“, written by Rodney Cockburn states……

“Marne River – was formerly the South Rhine River, and the present famous battle name was bestowed by the Peake Government in 1917 when the maps were purged of the ‘enemy’ element”.

The nearby town of Rhine Villa, became known as Cambrai.  Nowadays, Cambrai is a small town situated in an extensive farming district on the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges.  ‘South Australia.  What’s in a name?‘ states…..

Cambrai – Hundred of Angas, is memorable as a storm centre in the history of the Great War.  In South Australia it was originally Rhine Villa, which disappeared when the enemly elemnt in the State’s nomenclature was dealt with.  Many years ago there was a house or hut with a comical villa front where Cambra now stands.  A person named Skinner occupied it and called it ‘The Villa’.  A little township grew up around it and got the name of Rhine Villa, because of the proximity of the River Rhine’.

After passing through Cambrai, we turned right onto the Black Hill Road.  Keep an eye out for the cemetery which is located on the corner.

2015-01-31 19.22.33

Above:- the turn off to Black Hill.

It wasn’t long before we started to see some of the turf farms for Marne Valley Turf.  Lawn or turf, has been grown here since 1990, supplying instant lawn to home owners, landscapers, councils, etc.  If you continue along Black Road, you will reach the Murray River.  Shell Hill can also be acccessed, which is just a short distance from Black Hill.  It is here that oyster shell deposits, which in some places are 6 metres thick from the Miocence era, are believed to be millions of years old.

2015-01-31 16.48.32

Above:- One of the turf plots.

We accessed the park from the southern side, off Black Hill Road.  There is a short dirt track leading to a locked gate.  A park sign exists at this location.  Looking at some maps, it also appears that you can access the park from its western boundary off Tarnkes Road, and also the northern side of the park, off Havelberg Road.

Screenshot 2016-02-01 09.03.59

Above:- Map showing our operating spot within the Marne Valley CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Marne Valley Conservation Park is about 105 hectares in size and was dedicated in 1976.  The park is bisected by the Marne River, with the landscape of the park being gently undulating.  Most of the park consists of low lying, seasonally inundated River Red Gum flats.  The River Red Gum open forest is very thick in parts.  Sadly, much of the native vegetation has been cleared in the south western corner and the northern section of the park.

Most of the mighty River Red Gums were cleared from the park and the surrounding land back in the late 1880’s.  A saw mill existed in the area, with the local Red Gum being considered superior to many other varieties for use as railway sleepers.

The Marne River Valley also formed part of the main Adelaide to Sydney stock route.  Prior to motorised rail and road transport, overlanding or droving cattle were the only means of transporting cattle to markets back in the good old days, or from property to property.  Most of these routes followed, depended on water availability, and the Marne River would have provided a regular supply of water.  The Statistical Registrar of SA, 1884, estimates that 32,000 cattle were moved along the travelling stock reserves.

Above:- A typical stock route, and a map showing some of the stock routes in South Australia, c. 1920’s.  Images courtesy of Trove.

The fenceline here has not been attended to in years and is falling down.  So, the locked gate made us laugh a little.  There is also a National Parks & Wildlife sign here, dating back many years.  I don’t think DEWNR have probably been out to this park in years and years.  The Management Plan, which is now 22 years old, refers to a visitor access track running along the western boundary from the south to a ‘picnic and camping area’.  This is no longer the case, with the park being locked by gates.

We used one of the old redgum fence posts to secure the 7 metre telescopic squid pole, with the assistance of an octopus strap.  I set up the Yaesu FT-857d on the fold up table, and made myself comfortable on the deck chair.

As was the case last time I was here, the park was alive with Kookaburras.  In fact at one stage Marija commented that she wasn’t sure if it was a live kookaburra or parksnpeaks going off.

I was on air and ready to go by 0555 UTC (4.25 p.m. South Australian local time).  I was about 25 minutes late from my posted activation time.  I headed to 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use, and a number of voices came back saying ‘no Paul, all clear, we’ve been waiting for you’.  The first station in the log for this activation was Dennis VK2HHA who had a lovely 5/9 signal coming in from Albury.  This was followed by Mark VK5QI mobile in VK3, near Geelong.  Mark’s mobile set up was certainly working well, as he was a strong 5/8.  Most of the regular crowd of park hunters followed, from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  The 40m band was working well, with some very strong signals and some low down static crashes.

But this was shortlived.  I was in the middle of a QSO with Wayne, VK3FADM, when the very quiet band, suddenly changed in a heartbeat.  I had an S9 plus noise come up on the frequency, which I initially suspected mat have been from the solar panels.  But after diconnected the solar panels, the noise was still there.  I was a good 200 metres away from the nearest power lines, and around 400 metres away from the nearest farmhouse.  I suspect that is where the noise was coming from.

I worked a total of 34 stations on 40m, including Nigel VK5NIG who was activating Mount Gawler summit, VK5/ SE-013 for the SOTA program.

I then headed over to 20m where I worked a total fo 12 stations on 14.310, from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK6.  This included two Western Australian stations: Wes VK6WX in Mount Barker, WA (the same name as my home town), and Mike VK6MB (who advised that he could marginally hear me earlier on 40m).

I then went back briefly to 40m to pick up any park stragglers.  I worked just 8 stations, but I was very pleased to get two Foundation calls in the log from Queensland who both had nice 5/7 signals: Rob VK4FFAB, and Owen VK4FADW.

Time was marching on, so I packed up the 20m/40m linked dipole, and erected the 15m dipole, and started calling CQ on 21.242.  I couldn’t get to 21.244 as there was a light JA on 21.245.  My first taker on 15m was Rick VK4RF/VK4HA who was 5/9 plus, followed by Rob VK4FFAB who was a little weaker here on 15m, than he was on 40m.  I worked 14 stations on 15m from Japan, Indonesia, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  This included Nigel VK5NIG on Mount Gawler, for a second band.  Mick VK3PMG called in for a third time, so a clean sweep for all 3 bands for Mick.  And Gerard VK2IO also called in, picking me up on all 3 bands.

Marija had been patiently waiting back in the Hi Lux, watching movies on her iPad, so it was time to pack up and head home.  I had a total of 68 contacts in the log after approximately 2 hours in the park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB

  1. VK2HHA
  2. VK5QI/3
  3. VK5NRG
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK2PKT
  6. VK5NM
  7. VK2LEE
  8. VK4RF
  9. VK4HA
  10. VK3SIM
  11. VK7CW
  12. VK5TR
  13. VK3MCK
  14. VK2YK
  15. VK3NBL
  16. VK3ARH
  17. VK3PMG
  18. VK5FANA
  19. VK3AWG
  20. VK3GTS
  21. VK5STU
  22. VK4AAC/5
  23. VK5KPR
  24. VK5FCLK
  25. VK3TKK/m
  26. VK3FADM
  27. VK5NIG/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-013)
  28. VK5YX
  29. VK3FMJM
  30. VK1AT
  31. VK3DAC
  32. VK5ZGG
  33. VK2IO
  34. VK5WG
  35. VK2HOT
  36. VK3FJD
  37. VK4FFAB
  38. VK4FADW
  39. VK5JK
  40. VK5PZ
  41. VK5VRB
  42. VK3ZZS/p

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK3MCK
  4. VK3WE
  5. VK2HOT
  6. VK6WX
  7. VK3PMG
  8. VK2LEE
  9. VK6MB
  10. VK1OO
  11. VK4MON
  12. VK2IO

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK4FFAB
  4. VK5NIG/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-013)
  5. VK3AG
  6. VK4FADW
  7. VK3PMG
  8. JA8XOK
  9. VK2IO
  10. VK2LEE
  11. VK3HMV
  12. YC9DEB
  13. VK3FADM
  14. VK3OF

On the way home we called in to the Totness Inn at Mount Pleasant for a meal and I indulged in a few cans of Bundy and rum.  I then enjoyed a ‘papa knap’ on the way home, with Marija at the wheel.

 

References.

Family History SA, 2016, <http://www.familyhistorysa.info/sahistory/germanplacenames.html&gt;, viewed 1st February 2016

Government of South Australia, 2016, <http://pir.sa.gov.au/aghistory/livestock/beef/transportation/stock_routes&gt;, viewed 1st February 2016

My blog during 2015

At the end of each year, WordPress sends an email containing an ‘Annual Report’ with some info regarding your site.  Here are some interesting stats from 2015 re my WordPress site.

Screenshot 2016-01-31 13.50.47

In 2015, there were 234 new posts on my site, growing the total archive of my WordPress site to 558 posts.

Screenshot 2016-01-31 13.57.06

It’s interesting to see how people from my site.  Allen VK3ARH (formerly VK3HRA) has an active blog list on the parksnpeaks site, and clearly from the list below, this is bringing in visitors.

Screenshot 2016-01-31 13.58.25

I have a visitor globe on my WordPress site and it never ceases to amaze me, who visits my site.

Screenshot 2016-01-31 13.58.46

And it is always pleasing when people who have visited your site, leave a comment.  Sadly, this doesn’t happen a lot.  Chris VK4FR and John VK5BJE are my top commenters.  There are a lot of visitors, but not a lot of those who take the time to leave a message.

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Hope you found the stats interesting.