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,

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…..

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…..


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.



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


  • ‘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.


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

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.


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.

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