Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752 and the 2020 VKFF Team Championship

Last weekend (Saturday 24th October 2020) was the annual VKFF Team Championship.

Marija and I were planning to do a beach activation at the Encounter Marine Park, but we had a large amount of rain overnight on Friday night, and when we got up on Saturday morning it was still raining and was very windy. We decided that sitting on the beach was not a good option.

So we changed our plans and headed to the Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752, as we knew this was a park we could drive into and roll out the awning on the 4WD if the rain continued.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Tolderol Game Reserve, south-east of Adelaide. Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After a coffee and some breakfast and packing the 4WD we headed off towards the park. We drove into the nearby town of Strathalbyn and then took the Langhorne Creek Road. It wasn’t long before we were driving through the Langhorne Creek wine region which is located between the Adelaide Hills and Lake Alexandrina.

Langhorne Creek takes its name from Alfred ‘The Liar’ Langhorne who was a cattle drover who was renowned for his dishonest dealings.

The Langhorne Creek area has a cool maritime climate which is attributed to what the locals call ‘the Lake Doctor’. This is the wind which comes off Lake Alexandrina, which is a 600 sq km body of freshwater which is located at the end of the Murray Darling River system.

Langhorne Creek has fertile soil which is predominantly deep, alluvial sandy loams. Langhorne Creek is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, however, the region also produces Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Merlot.

The town of Langhorne Creek is a quaint little place with a population of about 427 (206 Census). It contains a number of historic buildings which date back to 1850, including the Methodist church, the hotel, and the general store.

We continued along the Langhorne Creek Road and then turned right onto Dog Lake Road and headed south. The park is signposted on Langhorne Creek Road.

There is normally a closed gate towards the end of Dog Lake Road. This gate is kept unlocked. This time we found the gate open. We continued south on Dog Lake Road and took the sharp left hand turn and soon reached the second gate which was closed but unlocked. This is where the Tolderol Game Reserve commences. Just after driving into the park you will find an information board.

The Tolderol Game Reserve is located about 85 km south-east of Adelaide, and is located on the edge of Lake Alexandrina. It is about 428 hectares in size.

Above:- An aerial view of Tolderol Game Reserve on the edge of Lake Alexandrina. Image courtesy of Google maps.

The reserve was proclaimed on 26th February 1970, with further land added on 10th January 1980. It has been modified into a series of 17 ponds or bays of water.

The reserve is located on the edge of Lake Alexandrina which the English settlers named the lake after Princess Alexandrina, the niece, and successor of King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 164 species of bird in the reserve including Golden-headed Cisticola, Pacific Black Duck, Straw-necked Ibis, Spur-winged Plover, Black Swan, Whiskered Tern, Australian Reed Warbler, Baillon’s Crake, Spotless Crake, Ruff, Latham’s Snipe, Long-toed Stint, and White-winged Tern.

Below are some photographs of birds I sighted during our visit to the reserve.

Marija and I set up in the picnic/camping area where there are three concrete tables and benches. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

Above:- An aerial shot of Tolderol Game Reserve showing our operating spot. Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Our operating spot was right alongside of Lake Alexandrina, and it was very windy with the squid pole flexing violently in the wind.

Our first contacts in the log were Mark VK4SMA/p and Murray VK4MWB/p who were taking part in the Team Championship as the ‘ VK4WIPeouts’. Mark and Murray were activating the Main Range National Park VKFF-0300.

Marija and I then moved to 7.139 and started calling CQ. We decided to occasionally swap the mic for contacts during this activation, so we operated with 10 watts PEP as per Marija’s Foundation licence. This made contacts a little more difficult and we found band conditions to be very challenging at times with lots of fading. Signals in and out of Victoria (VK3) were well down compared to usual.

There was no local propagation around South Australia (VK5) on the 40m band, with just John VK5HAA in the Adelaide Hills logged on that band.

As always the 80m band proved reliable for VK5 contacts. We also made contact with Bob VK3SX at Gunbower on 80m, and Rob VK2VH/VK4AAC/2 at Mulwala.

Other than Mark and Murray we also logged the following participants in the VKFF Team Championship:-

  1. Linda VK7QP ‘Tigers’ in the South Arm Nature Recreation Area VKFF-2929
  2. Gerard VK2IO/p and Alan VK2MG/p ‘QRParktivators’ in the Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361
  3. Rob VK4SYD/p and Scott VK4CZ/p ‘The VK4midables”, in the (\D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)

We also logged Deryck VK4FDJL/p who was activating the Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315, and Brian VK3BCM who was activating SOTA peak VK3/ VG-157.

We were also very happy to log two special event callsigns. The first being VI110WIA celebrating 110 years of the Wireless Institute of Australia, and then VK65PFA to celebrate the eradication of the Polio Virus in Africa.

After 3 hours in the park we packed up and headed to our second park for the day, the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park. We had a total of 99 contacts in the log at Tolderol, including 16 Park to Park contacts. Marija had made 50 contacts and I had logged 49.

We had made a total of 82 contacts on the 40m band and a total of 17 contacts on the 80m band.

Above:- Graph showing our contacts at the Tolderol Game Reserve.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4MWB/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  2. VK4SMA/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  3. VK2XSE/m
  4. VK2KNV/m
  5. VK3ANL
  6. VK3BCM
  7. VK2KYO
  8. VK7FAMP
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK7LTD
  11. VK3MPR
  12. VK4SYD/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  13. VK4CZ/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  14. VK3MAB
  15. VK2LHC
  16. VK3FMDC
  17. VK3LBW
  18. VK4FDJL/p (Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315)
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK2LX
  21. VK2VH
  22. VK4AAC/2
  23. VK3MJ
  24. VK2DWP
  25. VK3SX
  26. VK7ME
  27. VK5AYL
  28. VK2WWV
  29. VK7QP/p (South Arm Nature Recreation Area VKFF-2929)
  30. VK5HAA
  31. VK3BCM/p (SOTA VK3/ VG-157)
  32. VK3PIH
  33. VK2ADB
  34. VK3PEF
  35. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  36. VK3HBG
  37. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  38. VK2PEZ
  39. VI110WIA
  40. VK2HBG
  41. VK3NDG
  42. VK65PFA

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3SX
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK2VH
  4. VK4AAC/2
  5. VK5PL
  6. VK5AYL
  7. VK5IS
  8. VK5HAA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  2. VK4MWB/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  3. VK2KNV/m
  4. VK2XSE/m
  5. VK4CZ/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  6. VK4SYD/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  7. VK3FLJD
  8. VK3MAB
  9. VK4FDJL/p (Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315)
  10. VK3MPR
  11. VK2DWP
  12. VK2VH
  13. VK4AAC/2
  14. VK2KYO
  15. VK5AYL
  16. VK3SX
  17. VK3PT
  18. VK3ARH
  19. VK3ANL
  20. VK3PF
  21. VK3SQ
  22. VK2PWG/m
  23. VK7ME
  24. VK7QP/p (South Arm Nature Recreation Area VKFF-2929)
  25. VK3PIH
  26. VK5HAA
  27. VK2ABS
  28. VK3ZH
  29. VK2ADB
  30. VK3BCM (SOTA VK3/ VG-157)
  31. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  32. VK3HBG
  33. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  34. VK7LTD
  35. VK2PEZ
  36. VI110WIA
  37. VK2HBG
  38. VK3NDG
  39. VK7FAMP
  40. VK65PFA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3SX
  2. VK5CZ
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2VH
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK5PL
  7. VK5AYL
  8. VK5IS
  9. VK5HAA

THANK YOU to everyone who called us.

References.

  1. Birds SA, 2020, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/tolderol-game-reserve/>, viewed 28th October 2020.
  2. Langhorne Creek Wine, 2020, <https://www.langhornecreek.com/about-langhorne-creek>, viewed 28th October 2020
  3. Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek_wine_region>, viewed 28th October 2020
  4. Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Alexandrina_(South_Australia)>, viewed 28th October 2020

Presentation by Peter VK3YE

Last Friday evening (23rd October 2020) I was privileged to be asked by the Melbourne Electronics & Radio Club (MERC) to attend a presentation conducted on Zoom by Peter Parker VK3YE entitles “Fun with QRP’.

The presentation was very successfully conducted via Zoom and was well attended by members of MERC and the Bendigo Amateur Radio & Electronics Club Inc (BAREC).

The presentation consisted of a number of power point slides, followed by a question and answer session. It was very informative.

Many thanks to Stuart VK3STU of MERC for the invitation.

WWFF presentation on Zoom to VK3 amateurs

Last night (Friday 9th October 2020) I delivered a presentation on-line via Zoom to the Melbourne Electronics and Radio Club, and the Bendigo Amateur Radio & Electronics Club Inc.

The presentation was entitled ‘Having fun in the field’ and I spoke about the benefits of operating portable, the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, portable equipment, and portable operating tips. The floor was then opened to a series of questions.

Image c/o vk3fsk.org.au
Image c/o barec.net.au

Many thanks to Stuart VK3STU for organising the event, and thanks to everyone who attended the meeting. It was great to put a face to many voices.

Some WWFF stats for August 2020

On the blog page of the global WWFF website, I found an Activity Report for August 2020. I took the top 10 countries and put the data into the graph below.

Australia (VKFF) is doing pretty well considering our population and the number of amateurs. We came in at number four with 84 different VKFF references activated during August 2020. The USA (KFF) was on top with 252, but this was due to the KFF Marathon. Poland (SPFF) was number two with 98, and Sweden (SMFF) was number three with 88.

And this graph shows the number of QSOs made during August 2020. Australia (VKFF) was just outside the Top Ten. We were at number twelve with a total of 3,045 QSOs.

Australia (VKFF) was way down the list with regards to the average number of QSOs during an activation.France (FFF) came in at number one with an average of 247.04 QSOs, followed by Italy (IFF) with 209.61, and in third place was Spain (EAFF) with 194.43. Australia (VKFF) had just 34.21 QSOs per activation on average.

2020 JMMFD certificate

Last week in the mail I received my certificate for the 2020 John Moyle Memorial Field Day.

I managed 1st place in the Single-Op/Phone/HF/6 hour portable category.

I activated the Monarto Conservation Park 5CP-138 & VKFF-0828. Info on the activation can be found on my WordPress site at…….

https://vk5pas.org/2020/03/24/monarto-conservation-park-5cp-138-and-vkff-0828-for-the-2020-john-moyle-memorial-field-day/

Many thanks to everyone who called me, and thanks to the organisers of the Field Day.

Promotional postcard

Inspired by something that WG0AT had put together, I have just placed an order through Vistaprint of some A6 postcard sized promotional cards.

The cards explain exactly what I am up to when I am operating from a park and or a summit. I intend to hand these out, along with the promotional brochures I carry for the WWFF program and SOTA.

This is the front…..

And this is the rear…..

Hopefully along with an explanation, these might provide some insight into portable amateur radio activity, to those who often ask me ‘What are you doing?’

Peakery website

I have spoken about Peakery a few times previously here on my site, but thought the Peakery website was well worth another post.  It may come in very handy for those amateurs taking part in the Summits On The Air (SOTA) program.

The Peakery website states:

peakery is your basecamp for the world’s mountains’. 

You can explore over 600,000 mountains from around the world.  You can log your climb on peakery with your photos and GPS track.  You can collect badges, view a map of your climbs, and track your progress on Peak Challenges.  Peakery has around 10,000 members around the world.

The Peakery website can be found at…….

https://peakery.com/

Screen Shot 2020-08-26 at 6.50.06 pm

There are 14,548 peaks in Australia listed on the Peakery website.

  • Australian Capital Territory – 113 peaks
  • New South Wales – 3,454 peaks
  • Northern Territory – 977 peaks
  • Queensland – 3,164 peaks
  • South Australia – 1,481 peaks 
  • Tasmania – 1,512 peaks
  • Victoria – 1,197 peaks
  • Western Australia – 2,675 peaks

Screen Shot 2020-08-26 at 6.59.05 pm

You can narrow your search down to a State/Territory search.  That page will show you the total number of peaks for that State/Territory, the highest peak, the most summited peak, the most prominent peak, and Popular Mountains in that particular State/Territory.

Screen Shot 2020-08-27 at 6.31.02 pm

You can then narrow down your search to a particular summit.  That will show you the elevation (with a ranking in that State/Territory and a ranking in Australia), prominence (with a a ranking in that State/Territory and a ranking in Australia), the Range it is located in, and the Region of that particular summit.  Also on this page you can find various other features including photos of the summit, Awards re the summit, and a list of the nearest peaks. 

Screen Shot 2020-08-26 at 7.02.19 pm

Once you have registered with Peakery, you can log your climbs of a summit, add photos, and even a GPS track.  You can collect Peak badges and see a map of your climbs.

Screen Shot 2020-08-27 at 6.43.44 pm

There are various awards on offer:-

  • Peak badges
    • Earn a special badge for each unique peak you summit. See all of your badges on your Badges page.
  • First Ascent Award
    • Only 1 available per peak. Goes to the first peakery member to log a successful summit of a peak. Snag this award and the peak will forever bear your name.
  • King of the Mountain Award
    • Only 1 available per peak. Summit a peak more times than any other member. Beware: this award can be lost!
  • Summit Steward
    • Summit a peak at least 5 times to become one of its Summit Stewards. As Steward of a peak, you’re encouraged to keep that peak’s info up-to-date on peakery and spread goodwill on your future climbs up the peak.

Screen Shot 2020-08-27 at 6.44.05 pm

You can view a map of summits you have climbed.

Screen Shot 2020-08-27 at 6.45.27 pm

There are numerous features on the Peakery website and I would encourage you to visit the page and explore everything that Peakery has to offer.

Peakery also has a Facebook page which can be located at…….

https://www.facebook.com/peakery

Screen Shot 2020-08-27 at 6.59.37 pm

AM broadcast – Medium wave band listening

Last night (18th August 2020) I dusted off my Tecsun S-2000 and my Tecsun AN-100 antenna, and decided to have a listen on the medium wave band.

IMG_4127

Below is a list of the stations I heard between 1000 kHz and 1400 kHz……..

  • 4TAB – 1008 kHz – Brisbane, QUEENSLAND
    • horse racing.
    • very difficult copy
  • 2KY – 1017 kHz – Sydney, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • horse racing
    • Good signal with very minimal fading
  • 3PB – 1026 kHz – Melbourne, VICTORIA
    • news
    • Good signal with very minimal fading
  • 2EA – 1035 kHz – Wollongong, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • foreign language program
    • Fair signal.
  • 2CA – 1053 kHz – Canberra, ACT
    • Reception was quite good, some fading on the signal.
  • 5MV – 1062 kHz – Berri, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    • Poor reception, low signal, lots of fading.
  • 3EL – 1071 kHz – Maryborough, Victoria
    • Good signal with very minimal fading
  • 3WM – 1089 kHz – Horsham
    • Fair reception
    • interference from other stations on freq, possibly 2EL.
  • 2EA – 1107 kHz – Sydney, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • foreign language program
    • Fair signal with lots of fading.
  • 3AK – 1116 kHz – Melbourne, VICTORIA
    • Good signal
    • Lots of interference from 5MU on 1125
  • 5MU – 1125 kHz – based in Murray Bridge.
    • SUPER STRONG as you would expect as this is my local radio station.
  • 3CS – 1134 kHz – Colac, Victoria
    • Fair signal
    • Lots of interference from 5MU on 1125
  • 2HD -1143 kHz – Newcastle, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • talkback program
    • Fair signal with minimal fading.
  • 2WG – 1152 kHz – Wagga Wagga, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • Fair signal
    • quite a bit of fading on the signal at times.
  • 5PA – 1161 kHz – Naracoorte, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    • Nightlife program.
    • Fair signal.
  • 2CH – 1170 kHz – Sydney, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • Music
    • Fair signal.
  • 3EA – 1224 kHz – Melbourne, VICTORIA
    • Japanese language program
    • Fair signal
    • Lots of fading
  • 2NC – 1233 kHz – Newcastle, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • Nightlife program
    • Poor signal
    • Lots of fading
  • 3GV – 1242 kHz – Sale, VICTORIA.
    • Music program
    • Fair signal
    • Lots of interference on freq from 5AU in Port Augusta
  • 5AU – 1242 kHz – Port Augusta, SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
    • music program
    • Fair signal.
    • Lots of interference from 3GV on frequency
  • 2DU – 1251 kHz – Dubbo, NEW SOUTH WALES
    • Fair signal
  • 3EE – 1278 kHz – (Magic 1278) Melbourne, Victoria
    • Music
    • Good signal
  • 2TM – 1287 kHz – Tamworth, New South Wales
    • Fair signal
    • Lots of fading
  • 3BT – 1314 kHz – Ballarat, VICTORIA.
    • Music
    • Good signal
  • Cruise – 1323 kHz – Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
    • Good signal
  • 3SH – 1332 KHz  – based in Swan Hill, VICTORIA.
    • Nights program with Denis Walter
    • Good signal
  • 2GN – 1368 kHz – Goulburn, NEW SOUTH WALES.
    • Music program & news
    • Fair signal
  • 3MP – 1377 kHz – Rowville, VICTORIA.
    • Good signal
  • 5AA  – 1395 kHz – Adelaide, SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    • Poor signal.

 

 

 

2020 Remembrance Day (RD) Contest

The weekend just gone (Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th) saw the running of the 2020 Remembrance Day (RD) Contest here in Australia.

This contest commemorates those amateur radio operators who died during World War Two, and is designed to encourage friendly participation and help improve the operating skills of participants.  The RD Contest is held on the weekend closest to the 15th August, the date on which hostilities ceased in the southwest Pacific area.

The aim of the RD Contest is for amateurs to endeavour to contact amateurs in VK call areas, ZL and P29 on all bands except WARC bands.  Modes allowed are voice, CW and RTTY as per the era remembered.

More information can be found on the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) website at……

https://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/rdcontest/

The surrender of Imperial Japan was announced by Japanese Emperor Hirohito on August 15 and formally signed on September 2, 1945, bringing the hostilities of World War II to a close.

http://ww2db.com

Above:- Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri as General Richard K. Sutherland watches, September 2, 1945.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

I ran my Yaesu FT-857d, 30 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for the Contest.  I was operating from my back verandah overlooking the paddocks.  The antenna was inverted vee configuration, just 7 metres at the apex, with the ends tied off low to the ground.

Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 10.15.39 am

Above:- “My shack” for the RD Contest

The contest commenced at 0300 UTC on Saturday (12.30 p.m. South Australian local time).  First in the log was Mark VK3MDH.  I remained on 40m until about 0517 UTC, logging 112 stations.

I then moved to the 20m band where I logged just 5 stations from VK4 and VK6.  Conditions appeared to be quite poor on this band.

I moved back to the 40m band and logged about 58 stations.  I remained on 40m until about 0732 UTC when I moved to the 80m band.

I logged about 87 stations on 80m until I decided to call it quits for the evening at about 0955 UTC (7.130 p.m. local time).  I headed off inside for a glass or two of red and to watch the AFL.  I had logged a total of 263 contacts on day one of the RD.

I had a bit of a sleep in on Sunday morning but was back on the radio by about 2322 UTC (8.52 a.m. local time).  I started off on 40m, with VK2TTL first in the log for day two.

I logged 88 stations on 40m, before trying the 20m band.  Band conditions on 20m didn’t seem to be much better than Saturday, with just 10 stations logged from VK2, VK4, and VK6.  I cannot wait to get my 5 element bean back up in the air.  It was hard going with just 30 watts and a piece of wire.

I logged a further 41 stations on 40m until the end of the contest at 0300 UTC.   My final contact was with John VK7FJFD.

I ended up logging a total of 402 contacts, which I was quite happy with, considering my operating conditions and that I had not burnt the midnight oil.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 8.51.40 pm

Above:- Map showing my contacts during the Contest.  Courtesy of QSOmap.org

The vast majority of my contacts were in to VK3 (Victoria), followed by VK2 (New South Wales).  I didn’t log a single New Zealand station during the Contest, and only heard one ZL station working another VK.

Screen Shot 2020-08-18 at 9.16.06 pm

Above:- Graph showing my contacts per State/Territory.

The vast majority of my contacts were on the 40m band – 299 QSOs.  This was followed by 80m with 88 QSOs, and 20m with just 15 QSOs.

Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 10.30.57 am

MANY THANKS to everyone who called and GOOD LUCK to everyone who took part in the 2020 RD Contest.

 

 

 

References.

Wireless Institute of Australia, 2010, <https://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/rdcontest/>, viewed 19th August 2020.

Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surrender_of_Japan>, viewed 19th August 2020.

2020 Trans Tasman Low Band Contest

I entered into the 2020 Trans Tasman Low Band Contest which is all about encouraging Low Band activity between VK and ZL.

I operated from my back verandah and made a total of 166 contacts and a claimed score of 1,712 points.

I ended up with a confirmed score of 1,703 points and came in at 8th place in the Single Operator-Low Power category.

Screen Shot 2020-08-11 at 4.27.29 pm

More information on my time during the contest can be found in a previous post on my blog at……

https://vk5pas.org/2020/07/19/2020-trans-tasman-low-band-contest/

Thanks to everyone who called and thanks to Alan VK4SN the Award Manager.