Bumbunga Hill, VK5/ SE-015

On Sunday morning (28th December 2014), Marija and I had intended on activating Mount Remarkable, VK5/ NE-010.  But to be honest, we were quite exhausted from the 10 km walk the day earlier, when we had activated The Battery, VK5/ NE-055.  So we chose an easier option.  We were heading south back home, which would take us passed Illawarra Hill, Bumbunga Hill and South Hummocks.  I tried calling the owner of the land that Illawarra Hill is located on, but could not get through.  So I tried the land owner for the next summit south, Bumbunga Hill.  John agreed there was no problem.  So after packing our gear, that is where Marija and I headed…..Bumbunga Hill, VK5/ SE-015.

Bumbunga Hill is located near the town of Lochiel, in the Mid North of South Australia, about 130 km north of Adelaide, on the Augusta Highway.  Bumbunga Hill is 413 metres ASL and is worth 1 SOTA point.

Screenshot 2014-12-29 22.41.45

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

The summit is located on private property, so PLEASE obtain permission before entering onto the summit.  Details of the owner can be located on http://www.sota.org.uk.  Access is via Landslide Road, which runs off Smith Street.  Smith Street is located on the western side of the Augusta Highway.  I can never miss that street because on the corner is a business sharing my sirname….

IMG_0197

The land owner, John was kind enough to unlock the main gate for us.  At this entrance point you will see a shed and an old house ruin set back in the paddock.  If you see them, you are at the right gate.  However, access is not possible unless you contact John first.  In any event, the gate is normally locked.  We continued along the dirt track leading to the summit, passing throug a few more gates in the paddocks.  The track becomes progressively more rocky and rough, with lots of washaways.  I would not attempt this is in a conventional vehicle, but it is easily passable in a 4WD.  Once we got close to the summit, we parked the car and walked the remainder of the way.

Screenshot 2014-12-29 22.41.33

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I last activated this summit in April, 2013.  More information on that activation can be found at…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/bumbunga-hill/

I noted this time that the old trig point had been removed.  All that is now left of where it once stood, are three blue painted upright poles.  Just ideal to attach the squid pole to, with the assistance of some octopus straps.  And for this activation I had a few of the creature comforts, including a fold up chair, courtesy of Marija.

I managed to set up by 2353 UTC (10.23 a.m.) with only a few minutes to spare before the UTC ollover.  In that short window, I managed to work 13 stations in VK1, VK3, & VK5.  The first four contacts were with Larry VK5LY in The Riverland, Nev VK5WG in the Mid North, Matt VK1MA/3, and Col VK5HCF in Mount Gambier.  I was also called by Andrew VK1NAM who was portable on Mount Stromlo, VK1/ AC-043.  I was very pleased, my first summit to summit contact for the weekend.  My final contact before the UTC rollover was Tom VK5FTRG who was portable in the Canunda National Park, in the South East of South Australia.  This park qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 Parks Award.

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After the UTC rollover I worked a further 34 stations on 40m ssb in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, & VK7.  This included a few more summit to summit contacts, including Peter VK3PF portable on VK3/ VE-154; and Andrew VK1NAM on Mt Stromlo VK1/ AC-043.  I was also fortunate enough to work Julie VK3FOWL portable in the Mount Buffalo National Park, which qualifies for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) and the World Wide Flora Fauna program (WWFF).

I then slipped up to 20m and worked a further 6 stations in VK2 and VK3.  Conditions on 20m were not great, with lots of QSB present.  But I did manage to sneak in another summit to summit.  This time with Glenn VK3YY who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Tamboritha, VK3/ VT-011, which is also located in the Alpine National Park.  So another KRMNPA and WWFF contact as well.

So after a little over an hour on the top of the hill, I had a total of 53 contacts in the log.  It was getting hot, Marija was getting a little impatient (had read all her magazines), and I was getting hungry.  So it was off to Port Wakefield for some lunch at the bakery.

Although Bumbunga Hill is only worth 1 point, the views from the top are spectacular.  It has great take off in all directions.  And access is easy.  All in all a great summit.  And again thanks to John, the land owner, who kindly allowed us access.  We touched base with him again as we left the property, and he was very pleased we enjoyed the trip to the top.

The following stations were worked:-

Screenshot 2014-12-29 22.12.24

The Battery VK5/ NE-055 and Mt Remarkable National Park

Following our activation of the Whyalla Conservation Park, Marija and I continued on to the little town of Melrose, which is nestled below the impressive Mount Remarkable summit, in the southern Flinders Ranges.  From Whyalla we travelled north to Port Augusta and then travelled south along Highway A1 (Augusta Highway).  We then turned left onto Horrocks Pass Road/Main North Road, and travelled towards Wilmington.

IMG_0147

On the way to Wilmington we passed through Horrocks Pass, and we stopped off at the monument for John Horrocks, after which the pass was named.  This is well worth a look.  The story of Horrocks is a very interesting one.  John Ainsworth Horrocks (1818-1846) was a pastoralist and explorer.  In 1846, Horrocks led an expedition of 6, for a planned 4 month expedition to search for new agricultural lands near Lake Torrens.  Between the 16th-19th August 1846, the expedition crossed the Flinders Ranges via Horrocks Pass.  Horrocks and his team travelled with a camel, two carts, six horses, and twelve goats.  Horrocks noted that the camel was very temperamental, often biting the humans and goats.

AS10231_246x550

Image courtesy of images.slsa.sa.gov.au

However, the camel was able to carry up to 350 pounds (158.7 kg), which was vital for the anticipated trek across some very arid land.  On September 1st, Horrocks was preparing to shoot a bird on the shores of Lake Dutton.  While Horrocks was reloading his gun, the kneeling camel moved, which resulted in Horrocks catching the cock of the gun.  The gun discharged, resulting in Horrocks loosing the middle fingers of his right hand and a row of teeth.  Horrocks subsequently died of his wounds , about 3 weeks later, on September 23rd.  And what of the naughty camel?  Horrocks had ordered that it be shot.

After leaving the Horrocks monument, we continued east and detoured to Hancock’s lookout.  This is well worth taking the 7 km drive on the dirt road from the bitumen.  On the way we saw numerous emus feeding in the farmer’s paddocks.  Fortunately, none of them ventured out in front of the vehicle.  Hancock’s lookout offers spectacular views of Spencer Gulf and the Port Augusta area.

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After Hancock’s lookout, we continued on to Wilmington and then travelled south on Horrocks Highway/Main North Road to Melrose.  We had booked in to stay for one night at the Melrose cabins which are run by the Melrose Hotel.  This is the second time we have stayed here, and we highly recommend the cabins.  They are well priced, clean and comfortable.

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After lunch at the cabin, which consisted of schnitzel, roast potatoes, pumpkin, roast carrots, and salad, courtesy of my loving mother in law, we headed back out for our second activation for Saturday 27th December, 2014, which was The Battery, VK5/ NE-055, which is located within the Mount Remarkable National Park.  So a triple whammy.  A SOTA summit, a WWFF (VKFF) park, and a VK5 Parks award park.

Screenshot 2014-12-29 20.18.39

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Marija and I travelled north along Horrocks Highway/Main North Road and then turned left onto Alligator Gorge Road and travelled south west until we reached the entrance to the Mount Remarkable National Park.  We continued south west through the park until we reached Alligator Lodge which was on our left.  Directly opposite is a campground, which is blocked off for vehicles.  Look for Gate 5.  There is also a sign here indicating that The Battery is 4.5 km away (the summit is a bit further).  We parked the car on the south eastern side of the road and commenced the walk down the 4WD track towards the summit.

Screenshot 2014-12-29 20.18.29

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I would describe the walk as moderate but still quite taxing.  The first 4 km involves a few inclines.  However it is the last 1 km that is the hardest.  There are some steep inclines and lots of rocks.  The ground is very unsteady under foot.  In many parts, the authorities have placed mesh to prevent slipping.  But there are some spectacular views along the way, and once you reach the top, you are rewarded with a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside and Spencer Gulf.   The track is quite well signposted.

Mount Remarkable National Park is located about 45 km north of Port Pirie.  Access to the park is either via the Augusta Highway via Mambray Creek, via Melrose, or via Alligator Gorge (our route).  A fee of $10.00 is charged for vehicular entry, which we paid the night before online.  Please note, that park entry fees now need to be paid online prior to visiting the park.  Cash payments are no longer an option in this park.

The park is 16,000 hectares in size and stretches from the coastal plain adjacent to Spencer Gulf, across the ranges, to Mount Remarkable on the edge of the Willochra Plain in the east.  The park is full of kangaroos, Euros, Emus, and other wildlife.

The summit, Mount Remarkable, was named by explorer, Edward John Eyre in June 1840.  The local aboriginal Nukunu people, refer to it was ‘Wangyarra’.  The word ‘aara’ meaning running water.  Alligator Groge and Mambray Creek were dedicated as National Pleasure Resports in 1952.  These areas were added to and became managed by the National Parks Commission during the 1960’s.  Following the enactment of the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1972, Alligator Gorge, Mambray Creek and Mount Remarkable were proclaimed as the Mount Remarkable National Park.  Additional portions of land have been added to the park since that time.

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The Battery is 765 metres above sea level and is worth 4 points.  This was the first time I had activated this summit.  It had only been activated previously by Ian VK5CZ in June 2013 and April 2014.

For this activation I ran my little Yaesu FT-817nd, 5 watts and my 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on a 7 metre squid pole.  Marija and I improvised and used a fallen tree branch to secure the squid pole to, with the assistance of some octopus straps.

My first contact was with Greg VK5GJ who responded to my ‘is the frequency in use’ call on 7.095.  Greg was running QRP 5 watts but was a lovely 5/9 to the Flinders Ranges.  In the shack with Greg was Norm VK5GI, also running QRP.  This was followed by Amanda VK3FQSO, and then Joe VK3YSP and wife Julie VK3FOWL who were portable in the Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park.  I always get a bit of a kick when I work a National Park activator, so it was great to get Joe and Julie in the log.

A steady flow of callers then followed from Vk2, VK3, & VK5.  Conditions appeared to be reasonable, however there was a little bit of QSB on the 40m band.  After working a total of 31 stations on 40m, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links for operation on the 20m band.  My first contact on 20m ssb was with Gerard VK2IO who was portable at Gosford, running 12 watts from his Elecraft KX3.  This was followed by Peter VK5KLV at nearby Port Augusta and then Cliff VK2CCJ.  Cliff was pleased to get me in the log, as he told me that he was unable to hear me on 40m.

After a little over an hour on the summit, I had a total of 39 contacts in the log from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, & VK7 on both 40m ssb and 20m ssb.

The following stations were worked:-

Screenshot 2014-12-28 21.20.44

Below is a quick video of the activation…..

References.

Australian Dictionary of Biography, <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/horrocks-john-ainsworth-12989&gt;, viewed 29th December 2014

Mount Remarkable National Park brochure, Department for Environment and Heritage, 2006.

Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Remarkable_National_Park&gt;, viewed 29th December 2014

Whyalla Conservation Park

Our first activation for Saturday, 27th December, 2014, was the Whyalla Conservation Park.  We had bid farewell to Marija’s mum, brother and family, and were enroute to Melrose in the southern Flinders Ranges, for a one night stay.  The Whyalla Conservation Park is located 10 km north of Whyalla off the Lincoln Highway, just passed the Port Bonython turn off.

Screenshot 2014-12-28 20.30.42

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

The last time (July 2013) I activated this park, we set up just inside the eastern boundary off the Lincoln Highway.

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/06/16/whyalla-conservation-park/

So, this time, Marija and I decided to enter the park off Lincoln Highway, but travel along Wild Dog Hill Road for a distance of about 8 km, until we reached the impressive Wild Dog Hill.  It was here that we set up the gear, using the already provided concrete table and bench as the ‘shack’.

Screenshot 2014-12-28 20.30.57

map courtesy of mapcarta

I had only just started working stations when Mark VK5QI arrived.  Mark and I had corresponded via email and on air, about catching up in the park.  The band conditions on 40m were very poor, with lots of QSB.  The normal hoards of park hunters were not there on this occasion.  My first contact was with Les VK5KLV in nearby Port Augusta with a very strong 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Larry VK5LY in The Riverland, and then Amanda VK3FQSO.

Mark and I alternated on the radio.  Whilst Mark was making contacts, I was admiring the view.  Although Wild Dog Hill does not qualify for SOTA, as it does not have the required prominence, it is still very impressive and offers spectacular views of the surrounding outback countryside.

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Mark and I were lucky enough to be called by Ben VK5TX, just as we were about to pack up.  Ben was on the top of Mount Gawler, VK5/ SE-013 (5/7 both ways).

Despite the conditions being rather average, we also managed to work a couple of mobile stations.  The first being Tim VK3AV who was mobile at Portland in western Victoria (5/8 sent and 5/6 received), and Matt Vk5ZM who was mobile at Tintinarra in south eastern South Australia (5/7 sent and 5/3 received).

So after one hour in the park, I had a total of about 20 QSO’s in the log from VK3 & VK5, whilst Mark had about the same number of QSOs.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Les VK5KLV
  2. Larry VK5LY
  3. Amanda VK3FQSO
  4. Arnie VK5NEX
  5. Peter VK3PF/m
  6. Arno VK5ZAR
  7. Peter Vk5NAQ
  8. Ian VK5CZ
  9. David VK5NQP
  10. Andy VK5AKH
  11. Nev VK5WG
  12. John VK5FTCT
  13. Col VK5HCF
  14. Darrell VK5JDS/p
  15. Tim VK5AV/3
  16. Ian VK5IS
  17. Greg VK5GJ
  18. Matt VK5ZM/p
  19. Ben VK5TX/p (SOTA-Mount Gawler)
  20. Peter VK3TKK

 

Munyaroo Conservation Park

On Christmas morning, my wife Marija and I travelled to Whyalla in the ‘Iron Triangle’ north of Adelaide, to spend Christmas with family and friends.  And on Friday afternoon, 26th December 2014, with the formal Christmas festivities over, and an additional 5 kg added to my waistline, Marija and I went for a drive south of Whyalla to the Munyaroo Conservation Park (CP).

Firstly, where is Whyalla?  Well, Whyalla is located about 385 km north of Adelaide, via Port Augusta.  It is located on the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula, with its shores on the Spencer Gulf.  It was first founded in 1901 and was known as Hummock’s Hill.  Then in April 1920, it was proclaimed as Whyalla.  The town is known as the ‘Steel City’ due to its integrated steel works and ship building heritage.  The Munyaroo Conservation Park is situated about 45 km south of Whyalla, on the way to the seaside town of Cowell.

Screenshot 2014-12-28 19.05.33

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Munyaroo Conservation Park is 123 km2 and was proclaimed in 1977 with the purpose of conserving mallee and saltbush between agricultural and pastoral properties, and mangrove and samphire communities along the coastal fringe.  Being being gazetted as a park, the area was used for grazing, and a small coastal strip was cropped.  The ruins of farm dwellings and implements can be found in the park.

Now, don’t be put off.  It isn’t easy to find roads on many maps which show access to this park.  But, access is gained via Moonabie Station.  Again, don’t be put off by the ‘Private property’ signs.  You can access the park via Moonabie.  But, PLEASE, shut all the gates that you pass through.  The road takes you all the way down to the park and Muminnie Beach, where there are a number of shacks.

Vegetation in the park includes low open woodland of western myall and false sandalwood, over a shrubland of bluebush and bladder saltbush.  Other vegetation includes an open scrubland of gilja, yorrell and red mallee over bluebush, dryland tea tree porcupine grass, candlebush and twin leaf on the dunes.  In the northern area of the park grow native peach trees, native cypress pines, weeping pittosporum and western myall.

The park is home to a large variety of birdlife including Emus, Malleefowl, Stubble Quail, Wedge Tailed eagles, Cormorants, Oystercatchers, and Rainbow Bee eaters.  A large variety of native animals are also found in the park including Red Kangaroos, and Sandhill Dunnarts.

After travelling south along the Lincoln Highway towards Cowell for about 45 km, we turned left onto a dirt track.  There is a sign here indicating ‘Moonabie Station’.  You will shortly thereafter come to an open gate at this location, with a cattle gird.  The fence has a sign on it stating ‘Moonabie Private Property’.  Follow this road to the east, towards the ocean.  You will travel through a couple of closed, but iunlocked gates.  You will then reach another gate which has a sign for ‘Mullaquana Station’.  A number of km down this dirt track you will reach Muminnie Beach.  On your way, you will clearly see the scrub of Munyaroo CP on your right.

Screenshot 2014-12-28 19.04.59

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Marija and I found a nice quiet little spot, on a 4WD track amongst the scrub and set up the gear.  I ran my new Yaesu FT-857d at 40 watts for this activation.  Prior to calling CQ, I had a quick look around the 40m band and found Joe VK3YSP in conversation with Tim VK3MTB.  Joe was on his Christmas/New Year road trip, and was portable in the Warby Ovens National Park, north west of Wangaratta.  I waited until Joe had finished his QSO and gave him a call.  Joe had a beautiful 5/9 signal coming into Munyaroo.  I also spoke with Joe’s wife, Julie VK3FOWL.  Joe and Julie are regular park activators and hunters.  Joe was kind enough to allow me to have a chat with Tim VK3MTB, who although a little weaker, was still a good 5/7 signal all the way to the Eyre Peninsula.

I then QSY’d up to 7.105 and called CQ.  My first taker was Mark VK5QI who was portable in Whyalla, on holidays with family for Christmas.  As expected, Mark was making the radio jump off the table.  This was followed by park regulars, Greg VK5GJ at Meadows in the Adelaide Hills, and Nev VK5WG at Crystal Brook in the Mid North of South Australia.  This was followed by a call from Bob VK5FO who was portable in the Morgan Conservation Park in The Riverland.  Again, Bob was a terrific 5/9 to the west coast.  I know that Bob specifically stuck around so that we could get a park to park contact.  Thanks a lot Bob.

About half a dozen contacts later, I spoke with Peter VK3YE who was portable at Chelsae Beach, near the Pier.  Peter was running QRP, just 5 watts, but was a very nice strong 5/8 signal.  My only other QRP contacts were with Hans VK5YX in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, running QRP from his MFJ transceiver (5/9 both ways), and Wolf VK5WF running 4 watts from his home brew QRP transciver (5/9 both ways)

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I went on to work a further 11 VK5 stations, and then to my surprise, I received a call from Rob VK4FFAB, who was portable in the Glass House Mountains National Park, between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.  And wow, did Rob have a great signal, 5/6 to Munyaroo.  Rob is newly licenced and has really embraced the parks activities and the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  He is a regular VKFF Activator and Hunter.

After a little over an hour in Munyaroo CP, I had a total of 29 contacts in the log from VK3, VK4, & VK5.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Joe VK3YSP/p (Warby Ovens NP)
  2. Julie VK3FOWL/p (Warby Ovens NP)
  3. Tim VK3MTB
  4. Mark VK5QI/p
  5. Greg VK5GJ
  6. Nev VK5WG
  7. Bob VK5FO/p (Morgan CP)
  8. Amanda VK3FQSO
  9. John VK5FTCT
  10. Bernard VK3AV
  11. David VK5NQP
  12. Les VK5KLV
  13. Peter VK3YE/p (qrp)
  14. Allan VK5ZLT/p
  15. Peter Vk5KPR
  16. Hans VK5YX (qrp)
  17. Tom VK5EE
  18. Richard VK5ZRY
  19. Arno VK5ZAR
  20. Peter VK5NAQ
  21. Michael VK5ZEA
  22. Jeff VK5JK
  23. Keith VK5ND
  24. Wolf VK5WF
  25. Roy VK5NRG
  26. David VK5HYZ
  27. Steve VK5SFA
  28. Rob VK4FFAB/p (Glass House Mountains NP)
  29. Mick VK3FAFK.

 

References.

Scientific Expedition Group, Expedition Munyaroo Eyre Peninsula, Expedition Handbook, 2002.

Mount Magnificent Conservation Park

This afternoon I travelled to the Mount Magnificent Conservation Park (CP), which is about 8km north east of the town of Mount Compass, on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula, about 58 km south of Adelaide.  This is a veery scenic drive from my home qth at Mount Barker, through the towns of Echunga, Meadows, and then on to Prospect Hill.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 21.49.26

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I last activated this park in July, 2013, so today’s activation was another 1 point for me for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Here is a link to a post re my previous activation…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/mount-magnificent-conservation-park/

Mount Magnificent CP was established in 1972, and is about 90 hectares in size.  It protects a small area of remnant bushland.  The major feature of the park is the 380 metre high Mount Magnificent, which sadly does not qualify for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program), as it does not have the required ‘prominence’.  Despite this, there are excellent views from the top.  The famous Heysen trail passes through this park and links the nearby Finnis Conservation Park and the Kyeema Conservation Park to the north west.

The park is full of a variety of native wildlfie, including Western Grey kangaroos.  And there were plenty of these to be seen.

I set up on the  eastern side of the park, on the western side of Mount Magnificent Road.  I was not all that far from the south eastern corner of the park.  Part of the fenceline here had collapsed from the weight of falling branches from the gum trees, so access to the park was very easy.  I set up my fold up table and deck chair, about 5 metres in from the boundary fence.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 21.49.58

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Prior to calling CQ I had a quick tune around the 40m band and I found Paul VK1ATP portable on SOTA peak Mount Majura, VK1/ AC-034, calling CQ on his own on 7.090 (5/7 both ways).  That was a nice way to start the activation for me.

I then went up to 7.095 and starting calling CQ and this was immediately responded to by Arno VK5ZAR, and then Les VK5KLV in Port Augusta.  Les is becoming a real regular park hunter now, which is great to see.  I was then called by Stuart VK5STU who was portable in the Sandy Creek Conservation Park.  Stuart had a very strong 5/9 signal, and it was great to be able to get a ‘park to park’ contact.  Mick VK3FAFK from Stawell then called in and he was kind enough to place me on the parksnpeaks site.

A few QSOs later I was called by Andrew VK1NAM/3 who was portable on Arthurs Seat, VK3/ VC-031.  And then a little further down the log I was called by John VK5BJE who was portable in the Greater Bendigo National Park, which qualifies for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) and also qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Greater Bendigo NP is VKFF-623.

After working a total of 22 stations on 40m SSB, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed up to 20m.  I called CQ on 14.205 and this was answered by Jeremy VK4EVE, with a strong 5/9 signal.  Sadly, a Japanese station moved in on 14.206 and that was the end of that.  I tuned across the band and found Juha EA8/OH1LEG who was calling CQ.  I gave Juha a call, and to my surprise, he responded.  I only received a 5/3 signal report from Juha, but I was very pleased that I was able to make it to the Canary Islands.  I kept tuning across the band and then worked Lauro IK4GRO (5/8 sent and 5/5 received).

I headed back to 40m and tuned across the band and found W1AW/KH6 calling CQ on 7.183.  He was not busy so I gave him a call.  After a number of attempts with my call sign, we made a valid contact.  The SOTA Goat app on my iphone bleated and I saw that there was a spot for Andrew VK3JBL/6.  SO I headed back up to 20m, and although it was a bit of a struggle, I was able to make contact with Andrew (3/4 sent due to the static crashed and 4/5 received).  I haven’t worked that many VK6 summits, so I was very pleased to make contact with Andrew.

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I went on to work Orlando, EA8CCQ, in the Canary Islands.  orlando was using a rotary dipole, and we were able to have a comfortable QSO (5/9 sent and 5/5 received).

It was starting to get a bit cool and the local time was just after 7.00 p.m. so I decided to pack up and head home.  As it was, it was a very slow drive, as the roads were covered in kangaroos.

After 2 hours in the park I had a total of 28 QSO’s in the log.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Paul VK1ATP/p (SOTA)
  2. Arno VK5ZAR
  3. Les VK5KLV
  4. Stuart VK5STU/p (park to park)
  5. Mick VK3FAFK
  6. Nev VK5WG
  7. Peter VK3TKK
  8. Andrew VK1NAM/3 (SOTA)
  9. Matt VK1MA
  10. Hans VK5YX
  11. Tom VK5EE
  12. Nick VK3ANL
  13. Andrew VK3ARR
  14. Grant VK2LX
  15. Brian VK5FMID
  16. John VK5DJ
  17. John VK5BKE/3 (KRMNPA & WWFF)
  18. Robin VK5TN
  19. John VK5FTCT
  20. Peter VK5NAQ
  21. Richard VK5ZRY
  22. David VK5HYZ
  23. W1AW/KH6

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. Jeremy VK4EVE
  2. Juha EA8/OH1LEG
  3. Lauro IK4GRO
  4. VK3JBL/6 (SOTA)
  5. Orlando EA8CCQ

 

References.

Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources, ‘Parks of the Fleurieu Peninusla’, 2011.

Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Magnificent_Conservation_Park>viewed 21st Dec 2014

Don’t become a ‘black hole’

This morning, I received an SMS message from John VK5BJE advising me that he was on air in the Little Desert National Park.  So in the throws of making my coffee, I headed to the radio shack and there was John on 7.095 with a great 5/9 signal from western Victoria.

John was keen to get as many contacts as possible for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so I set about trying to alert as many other amateurs as I could to John’s presence on the band.  I kept listening, and it was really pleasing to hear John end up with a large pile up, with many of the stations I had alerted either via SMS, email, etc, giving him a call.

I have mentioned it before here on my WordPress site,

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/how-to-attract-chasers-and-hunters/

and during various presentations I’ve delivered, but I thought I would mention this again.

PLEASE, don’t become a black hole, and keep the contact to yourself.

Remember, that many of the National Park activators are seeking the required 44 QSOs for the WWFF global award program.  So the more calls they get, the better.

There are currently no phone apps similar to SOTA Goat or Rucksack radio, for park activations.  So park activators are relying on the goodwill of park hunters to let other amateurs know that they are in a park.

So, what can you do to let others know that a park activator is on a particular frequency?  The answer is quite a bit.

SMS message.

Consider setting up an SMS group on your mobile telephone.  A few amateurs are doing this, and it works extremely well.  If you work a park activator, send an SMS to your group, advising your mates of your contact, so that they too, can hopefully make contact with the park activator.

DX cluster

A DX Cluster is in essence a “chatroom” or node into which amateur DX hunters can post information about DX either worked or heard.  Physically, it is a central computer that collects, stores and disseminates information that hams send to it.  There are thousands of nodes around the world, connected together via the internet or radio.

Personally, I use dxwatch.com…..

http://www.dxwatch.com/

Screenshot 2014-12-21 10.48.46

Here is a link to the recent presentation given by Brian VK5BC at the Welcome to amateur radio symposium…..

parksnpeaks

The parksnpeaks site is a terrific spotting and alert facility created by Allen VK3HRA.  The parksnpeaks site is FREE to join.  Just simply register a new account.

http://www.parksnpeaks.org/

screenshot-2014-07-18-15-24-54

 

The parksnpeaks site has some excellent features.  It can be used to add VK activity including QRP operation, National Parks, Conservation Parks, or portable operation in general, whilst SOTA spots are added directly via SOTAWatch.

The parksnpeaks site offers:-

  • ‘spotting’ facilities

and

  • ‘alert’ facilities.

‘Spotting’ is where you can add details of stations you have worked or heard.  This allows you to share information with other amateurs.

‘Alerting’ is where you can add details of your proposed activations, so people can see what your future plans are.

email

Send an email to your mates.  Creating an email group is easy.

If you are using Gmail…..

  1. To create a contact group:
    1. Click Gmail at the top-left corner of your Gmail page, then choose Contacts.
    2. Select contacts that you want to add to a group, click the Groups button. , then Create new.
    3. Enter the name of the group.
    4. Click OK.

If you use another email platform, there are plenty of tips on the internet regarding creating groups.

Yahoo groups

Place a post on the World Wide Flora Fauna or VK5 Parks Yahoo groups.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 10.53.47

http://au.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sanpcpa/info

http://au.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/wwffaustralia/info

2m repeater

Send a message out to other amateurs on your local repeater.  I know that many of the amateurs in the South East of South Australia, are doing this, and it works well.

WWFF Forum

The World Wide Flora & Fauna program (WWFF) does not have a spotting & alert facility like SOTAwatch.  But Activators are encouraged to place their intended activations on the WWFF Forum.  A huge number of European amateurs read the Forum and will be able to see your intentions.

http://forum.wwff.co

 

So, as you can see there is a lot you can do.  So please, after working a park activator, don’t just sit back and do nothing.  Consider sharing your contact with other like minded amateurs.  You are not only benefiting the other park hunters, but also the activator themselves.

Belair National Park, VKFF-022

Yesterday (Saturday 20th December, 2014) I activated the Belair National Park (NP), VKFF-022, in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  I had already activated Belair NP earlier in the year, so there were no VK5 Park Award points up for grabs.  And I had already passed the 44 QSO threshold for Belair NP in the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) program.  But my real motivation, was to try out my new radio.  My beautiful wife Marija (and yes I am constantly reminded I am ‘boxing above my weight’) and my lovely daughter Olivia, purchased a Yaesu FT-857d for me, and gave it to me as an early Christmas present and early 50th birthday present.  I turn 50 on the 5th January.  So it was off to Belair for me, just a 15 minute drive to the west from home.

I set up just inside Gate 1 off Sheaok Road, at Crafers.  This is on the northern side of the park.  This gate was locked, however there is no restriction to access to the park at this point.  There is a walking track here, Wilyawa Track.  But to gain access to it, you need to either jump the fence, which has barbed wire, or jump the padlocked gate.  Why DEWNR do not have a pedestrian access point here I do not know?  Anyway, I got all the gear from the 4WD and then jumped the fence and walked a short distance down the track, where I set up my station, under the shade of some gum trees, as it was a warm 30 deg C day.

Screenshot 2014-12-20 22.16.38

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I started off on my nominated frequency of 7.095.  I had posted on the VK5 Parks Yahoo group and the WWFF Australia Yahoo group that I would be on air at 0600 UTC on 7.095.  I was about 15 minutes late, but still did not have to call CQ.  I asked if the frequency was in use and this was responded to by Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta with a beautiful 5/9 signal.  Les gave me a 5/9 in return, and it seemed the band was in very good shape.  It was certainly very quiet.  There was no man made noise on the band due to the remote location of the park, and the QRN (static crashes) that have been present over the past few weeks were noticably absent.  My second caller of the day was Adam VK2YK who was a good 5/8.  Adam was struggling with me a little bit due to QSB, but gave me a 5/4 signal report.  This was followed by Mal VK5MJ in The Riverland in South Australia, who was 5/9 plus.  David VK5KC then called me, using just 1 watt, and was a very nice 5/8 signal.  I had already caught up with David earlier in the day for a coffee.

I went on to work a further 20 stations in VK1, VK3, and VK5.  A few of those stations were operating QRP.  The first QRP caller was Peter VK3TKK who was running just 5 watts.  Peter’s signal was only signal strength 3, but due to the low noise floor, I was able to receive him perfectly.  This was followed by Andrew VK1NAM mobile in VK3, in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.  Andrew was running just 2.5 watts from his FT-817 in the car, but nether less had a great 5/7 signal.  Tom VK5FTRG then called in from the South East of South Australia, running just 5 watts, with a nice 5/9 signal.  My final QRP caller was regular QRP operator, Ian VK5IS, again running 5 watts.  Ian had a beautiful 5/9 signal coming in from the Mid North of South Australia.

I also worked a few mobile stations.  Other than Andrew mentioned above, I also spoke with Greg VK5ZGY who was mobile in the South East of South Australia, with a good strong 5/7 signal.  Greg had co pilot and wife, Gabbie, alongside of him.  I then spoke with Ian VK6PXF who was mobile in VK5 at Lonsdale, south of Adelaide.  Ian has started activating National Parks, and has sent me quite a few of his logs for upload to the WWFF Log Search facility.  And lastly I was called by Robin VK5TN who was mobile at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.

But to make my day, I was called by Richard VK5ZRY, who had decided to head out to the Ramsay Way Conservation Park.  The park is/was located on Richard’s property on the Yorke Peninsula.  Richard was trying out his new Yaesu FT-817 and had a magnificent 5/9 signal coming across the Gulf St Vincent to Belair.

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I left the frequency to Richard, and lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, so I could operate on 20m.  However, I was disapointed when I tuned across 20m, to hear only very weak signals coming in from Europe.  I found that my nominated frequency of 14.244 was clear, so I put out about 8 CQ calls but had no takers.  Rather disapointed, I tuned across the 20m band and could hear three stations coming in from Spain.  However, their signals were well down compared to normal conditions.  I also heard Jason ZL3JAS, working long path into Europe.  However, all the European stations he was making contact with, were very weak to me.

So I headed back to 40m.  Prior to calling CQ again, I tuned across the 40m band and I could hear quite a few Europeans & stations from the United Kingdom coming through, including Javier, EA7GAK on 7.178 who was working into the USA.  I gave Javier a few calls, but sadly he could not hear me.  I also heard W1AW/3 on 7.161 working into Europe.  I also called him, but again my 40 watts just wasn’t making the grade.   So I went back to 7.095 and called CQ again, and this was responded to by Nic VK5ZAT who was portable at Carrackalinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  I had worked Nic a little earlier, prior to QSYing to 20m.  He had been having problems with a high VSWR on his dipole.  And this time, his signal had dropped down a good 2 S points.  I was then called by Mick VK3FAFK in Stawell in western Victoria, with a beautiful 5/9 signal.  And this was followed by Andrew VK5UR mobile in VK2, about 100 km south of Parkes.  I had a lengthy chat with Andrew and his signal always remained around the S9.  Andrew was running an IC7100 and a roof mounted whip antenna.  My last contact on 40m was with Adam VK2YK who had called in again, as conditions had improved.  I was now 5/9 with Adam, and he was 5/9 plus.  I worked a further 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, & VK5.

My curiosity had got the better of me, so I again lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, and again tuned to 20m.  I was hoping that the band had improved.  But it was getting a little late, approaching 8.00 p.m.  Again, I could hear some weak Europeans, who were certainly not strong enough for me to try to make contact with.  I managed just 1 DX contact and that was with Michio, 7L4LKK, who was a strong 5/9 to Belair.

So after a number of hours in the park, I had a total of 41 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked:-

  1.  Les VK5KLV
  2. Adam VK2YK
  3. Mal VK5MJ
  4. David VK5KC/qrp
  5. David VK5HYZ
  6. Peter VK3TKK/qrp
  7. Nev VK5WG
  8. Ian VK5KKT
  9. Matt VK1MA
  10. Andrew VK1NAM mobile VK3/qrp
  11. Tom VK5FTRG/qrp
  12. Greg VK5ZGY/m
  13. Ian VK6PXF mobile VK5
  14.  Amanda VK3FQSO
  15. Marshall VK3MRG
  16. Ian VK5IS/qrp
  17. Stuart VK5STU
  18. Peter VK5KPR
  19. Keith VK5FEKH
  20. Steve VK3MEG
  21. Nic VK5ZAT/p
  22. Tom VK5EE
  23. Richard VK5ZRY/p (park to park contact)
  24. Robin VKTN/p
  25. Nic VK5ZRY/p
  26. Mick VK3FAFK
  27. Andrew VK5UR mobile VK2
  28. Gary VK4MDZ
  29. Ian VK3VIN
  30. Rob VK4FFAB
  31. Bruce VK3FBNG
  32. Darren VK2NNN
  33. Kevin VK2VKB
  34. Peter VK3ZPF
  35. Andrew VK2UH
  36. Jim VK5JW
  37. Tony VK3AN
  38. Nick VK3ANL/qrp
  39. Tom VK5FTRG
  40. Adam VK2YK
  41. Michio 7L4LKK