John Moyle Memorial Field Day results

The results are out for the 2015 John Moyle Field Day (JMMFD).  I am pleased to report that I came first in the Six Hour Portable Operation-Single Operator (PHONE HF) section.

Screenshot 2015-04-30 20.23.34

The JMMFD is a great contest, the aim of which is to “encourage and provide familiarisation with portable and field operation, and provide training for emergency situations”.

More info on my activation can be found at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2015/03/23/coorong-np-and-the-john-moyle-field-day-2015/

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More information on the JMMFD can be found at…..

http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/johnmoyle/

New Belgium WWFF certificate

Today via email I received the certificate below from the Belgian Flora and Fauna Association.  This particular certificate was issued to me for working 10 different ONFF references.  It is Class 3/Bronze.

The next step is Class 2/Silver – 25 different ONFF references, then Class 1/Gold which is 50 different ONFF references.

More information on the ONFFA program can be found at…..

http://www.onff.be/

IVK5PAS 2 (1)

Morialta CP as VI5ANZAC

Last night (Tuesday 28th April 2015) after work I headed over to the Morialta Conservation Park which is situated about 10 km east of Adelaide.  I had been kindly asked by Bob VK5FO on behalf of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group to participate in operating from the park with the special call of VI5ANZAC.

Screenshot 2015-04-29 19.57.17

Above:- Map showing the location of Morialta CP.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Morialta Conservation Park is 533 hectares in size and contains three seasonal waterfalls along Fourth Creek.  The first two falls are the grandest, each cascading over sheer quartzite cliffs after rain.  The park contains a wide variety of wildlife including kangaroos, echidnas and wombats.  For more information on the park, please see…..

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/Morialta_Conservation_Park

The park is celebrating its 100 year anniversary this year.  For more information please see…..

http://www.fobhm.org/morialta100years/

I travelled down towards the end of Moores Road and upon arrival I met up with Bob VK5FO and Gary VK5FGRY who were in the final stages of setting up some antennas.  We were on air just after 6.00 p.m. local time, and it was just after getting on air, that Andy VK5AKH also arrived.  Very soon after, Ray VK5RR also arrived.  Later in the evening Grant VK5GR arrived and operated on 2m and 70cm.

Screenshot 2015-04-29 19.59.00

Above:- Map showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

We operated for just over 3 hours on 160m, 80m, 40m, 20m, 2m & 70 cm and logged 73 contacts.  It was quite slow going on all of the bands, but despite this all signals were quite good.  Equipment used were two Elecraft KX3 transceivers and a selection of dipole antennas.

The evening’s activation qualified for both the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

More details can be found on Bob VK5FO’s site at…..

http://vk5fo.com/314/vi5anzac-activation-report

And also at the AREG site at……

http://www.areg.org.au/?p=1229

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Monarto Conservation Park VKFF-828

Late yesterday afternoon (Sunday 26th April 2015) I rushed home from work (obeying the speed limit) and packed the 4WD and headed down the road to the Monarto Conservation Park, VKFF-828.  I have activated this park many times before but I wanted to activate the park with the special AX prefix for the ANZAC Day weekend.

Screenshot 2015-04-27 19.34.22

Above:- Map showing the location of Monarto CP.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I was hoping to activate the Belair National Park on Saturday after work, but the weather all day on Saturday was terrible.  We had lots of rain both in Adelaide and up in the Mount Lofty Ranges.  Fortunately the rain had cleared by Sunday afternoon, so all systems were go.

For this activation I used my Yaesu FT-857d and the 40m/20m linked dipole on the top of the 7 metre squid pole for this activation.  I set up in my usual spot, the north eastern corner of the park, just off Ferries McDonald Road.

Screenshot 2015-04-27 19.35.04

I was set up in the park ready to go by 4.30 p.m.  I struggled to find a clear frequency on 20m as there was a JA Contest running and the JA stations were very strong and were spread across the 20m band.  But I did eventually find 14.274 clear and started calling CQ there.  My first taker was John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills.  John had responded to an SMS message I had sent out to some of the keen VK5 Parks hunters.  The SMS alerting system that I employ seems to work very well.  This was followed by Rod AX2TTL and then my first DX contact Xaver DK4RM in Germany, followed by Swa ON5SWA in Belgium.

I was kindly spotted on the DX Cluster by some of the DX stations and this resulted in a steady flow of callers from Europe, North America, and Japan.  Unfortunately after operating for about 15 minutes a JL1 station came up 1 kc below me and started calling CQ Contest, and this resulted in a lot of QRM and made it incredibly difficult to pick out anybody who did not have a strong signal.

But I boxed on and managed 33 contacts, before having a tune around the 20m band and found VI4AE2 calling CQ on 14.269.  This was a special call for the ANZAC commemorations, particularly to commemorate the service of the officers and sailors aboard the Royal Australian Navy submarine HMAS AE2 who fought gallantly in the Dardanelles and Sea of Marmora for just 5 days before being blown to the surface by the Turkish torpedo boat Sultanhisar.

VI4AE2_HMAS_AE2_OPS_CAPT

I then headed up to 14.310 and started calling CQ DX again.  My first contact there was with John VK2FR, followed by UR7ET in Ukraine, and then Pehr OH6IU.  I was kindly placed on the DX cluster by Albert S58AL and this resulted in many of the European park hunters giving me a call.  I worked a total of 15 stations in Europe, USA, and Canada on this frequency until being pushed off the frequency by another contester.

So I tuned around the band and found VI6ANZAC calling CQ on 14.145.  It was great to get a second ANZAC special event call in the log and it was certainly  a very strong signal coming in from Western Australia.

I then lowered the squid pole and put the links in on the 40m/20m linked dipole and found 7.150 clear.  I asked if the frequency was in use and before I even got the opportunity to call CQ, I was called by Paul AX5FUXX at Wellington on the Murray River.  This was followed by Adrian AX5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, and then Tony AX5FTVR at Strathalbyn.

I worked a further 31 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6 & VK7.  It was pleasing to see a number of the VK’s using the special AX prefix for the ANZAC Day weekend.  We only get to use the special AX prexix, three times a year: Australia Day, ANZAC Day, and World Telecommunications Day.

I have a special AX prefix ANZAC Day QSL card on offer.

  • For VK stations, please QSL Direct to PO Box 169 Mount Barker SA 5251.  Please include a stamped self addressed envelope.
  • For DX, please QSL via my QSL Manager, M0OXO.

AX5PAS_3

After sitting in the park for about 2 & 1/2 hours I had a total of 84 stations in the log, including 42 DX contacts.  Again it was very pleasing to get a handful of calls from the USA and Canada.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. AX5FUZZ
  2. AX5FANA
  3. AX5FTVR
  4. AX5FDEC
  5. AX6VSH
  6. AX5NIG
  7. AX3FASW
  8. VK5FCDL
  9. VK3PMG
  10. VK3YJK
  11. VK2YK
  12. VK2VIM/4
  13. VK3HJD
  14. VK3HRA
  15. VK5ZEA
  16. VK5LI
  17. VK5NPP
  18. AX4TE
  19. VK3LJ
  20. AX2JCC
  21. AX3BBB
  22. VK3DAC
  23. VK4FBMW
  24. AX3ANL
  25. AX4QQ
  26. VK3FNCE
  27. VK7ROY
  28. VK2UW
  29. VK2PV
  30. VK5MJ
  31. AX3PF
  32. VK6MB
  33. VK3OF
  34. VK2FMIA

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. AX2TTL
  3. DK4RM
  4. ON5SWA
  5. VK6EY
  6. IK1GPG
  7. I5FLN
  8. F2YT
  9. S58AL
  10. IZ2FOS
  11. DF1YQ
  12. ON6PV
  13. DF9OO
  14. PB5X
  15. DL2ND
  16. G0RQL
  17. S52KM
  18. W1OW
  19. ON5JE
  20. IW1PNJ
  21. DL4PT
  22. HB9QT
  23. EA1DR
  24. DL5WW
  25. S58N
  26. SP6KEP
  27. DL5EBG
  28. ON4VT
  29. DL5MEV
  30. EA3MP
  31. OH6RP
  32. DD2VO
  33. UT5PI
  34. VI4AE2
  35. VK2FR
  36. UR7ET
  37. OH6IU
  38. EA2DT
  39. VE7CV
  40. F1BLL
  41. WB8FSV
  42. ON7AB
  43. JH7WER
  44. RA3PCI
  45. AX2IO/m
  46. EA3GP
  47. DL1EBR
  48. EB1CAM
  49. AX2QO
  50. VI6ANZAC

Chasing parks and summits from home as AX5PAS

This afternoon I hurried home from work and quickly changed out of the suit into my tracksuit pants and headed for the shack to operate with the special AX prefix to commemorate ANZAC Day.  In Australia we only get to use the AX prefix three times a year:

  • Australia Day
  • ANZAC Day
  • World Telecommunications Day

ANZAC Day is held each year on the 25th April, which is the anniversary of the landing of the ANZACS at Gallipoli.  But ANZAC Day is bigger than just Gallipoli.  It is the day on which we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.  Contrary to concerns a number of years ago that ANZAC Day was going to die a slow natural death, renewed interest in this very special day has boomed.  It is now arguably one of the most important days on the Australian calendar.  It also has great significance to our friends in New Zealand.

For more information on ANZAC Day please have a look at the following……

https://www.awm.gov.au/commemoration/anzac-day/

Below is my ANZAC Day card for AX5PAS.

AX5PAS_3

I was hoping to activate the Belair National Park today but the weather was terrible.  It was raining here for most of the day, making portable activity virtually impossible.  Plus I was working dayshift today, so by time I finished work it was getting a little late.  So I decided to do some operating & chasing from home.

I jumped on to 20m first and worked quite a bit of DX, ending up with a mini pile up.  The AX prefix was in high demand as usual.  But when things got a little quiet, I took the opportunity of having a look around the bands.  I had been closely watching the DX cluster and had seen a number of park & SOTA operators spotted on the cluster.

My first park contact was with Franck F4DTO/p who was portable in FFF-300, a new park.  It was a little hard too copy Franck at times as the static crashes were very strong.  In fact they were over S9 at times.  But we managed to make it and Franck gave me a 5/7 signal from France.

IMG_7293

My first Australian SOTA contact of the afternoon was with Andrew VK1DA who was operating with the special call of VK100ANZAC from SOTA peak Mount Ainslee, VK1/ AC-040.  Andrew had a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  Mount Ainslee is 843 metres above sea level and is with 1 SOTA point.

This was followed by a SOTA contact on 15m with John VK6NU who was operating with the special call of VI6ANZAC from SOTA peak, Mount Randall, VK6/ SW-039.  John had a nice moderately strong 5/7 sign coming in from Western Australia.  Mount Randall is located in the South West region of Western Australia and is 523 metres above sea level.  It is worth 2 SOTA points.

My first DX SOTA contact for the afternoon, was on 20m and was with Mike 2E0YYYY/p who was on the top of SOTA summit, Bardon Hill G/ CE-004.  Mike was coming in beautifully on the long path, a genuine 5/8.  I received a 5/9 signal report in return from Mike.

Bardon Hill is 278 metres above seal level and is worth 1 SOTA point.  It is located in the Central England Region and is a former volcano.  The name Bardon is derived from ‘bear den’.  It is reported that the last bear in England was killed here.  More information on the summit can be found at…..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardon_Hill

When I finished working Mike he asked me to stand by as he had company on the summit.  I then worked Rob G7LAS/p who had a nice 5/8 signal.

Farmland_near_Appleby_Parva_-_geograph.org.uk_-_746255

Above:- Bardon Hill.  Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

My next SOTA summit contact was on the 10m band, with Herbert, HB0/OE9HRV/p portable on SOTA summit, Helwangspitz, HB0/ LI-011.  The summit is located in the Raitkon range in Leichtenstein and is 2000 metres above sea level.  It is worth 8 SOTA points.

Screenshot 2015-04-25 23.00.20

Above: Helwangspitz.  Image courtesy of OE5HCE

The cluster was alive with a number of SOTA and park activators.  However, the static crashes were very severe making it incredibly difficult to hear many of them.  And sadly, those that I did hear, were only working fellow Europeans.  The ‘EU wall and the static crashes made things less than ideal.  It was quite frustrating, as I had not seen for some time, so many WWFF & SOTA activators up on the bands at the same time.

You can see below, where all the noise was coming from.  Huge storms in New South Wales.  The images are courtesy of weather zone.

But on a positive note, I did work a handful of the special ANZAC Commemorative call signs:-

  • VI4AE2
  • VI6ANZAC (John VK6NU – SOTA)
  • VK100ANZAC (Andrew VK1DA – SOTA)
  • VI5ANZAC

After tea I worked a number of VK stations hoping to get the AX prefix award on offer by the WIA.  With the special event stations in my tally, I managed to get over the 100 point line.

http://www.wia.org.au/newsevents/anzaccentenary/axaward/

I then booked in to the Southern Cross DX Net and worked  number of USA stations.  But the most interesting contact on the net was with George HP/KC0GP who was maritime mobile on the ‘Carnival Magic’ in Panama 5/7 both ways).

carnival_magic_slider1

Image courtesy of directlinecruises.com

References.

Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bardon_Hill&gt;, viewed 25th April 2015

Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helwangspitz&gt;, viewed 25th April 2015

Hogwash Bend Conservation Park

Our third and final activation for Sunday was the Hogwash Bend Conservation Park, which is located near Waikerie in the Riverland region of South Australia, about 183 km north east of Adelaide.  This was to be another unique park for me.

Screenshot 2015-04-23 13.59.23

Above:- the location of the Hogwash Bend CP.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

The Hogwash Bend CP was gazetted in 2012 and is about 286 hectares in size.  It is located on the banks of the mighty River Murray.  I have not been able to find out how the park got its name.

The park was acquired by the South Australian State Government and the Australian Federal Government under the National Reserve System program to protect the largest breeding colony of Regent Parrots in South Australia.  There are thought to be only 300 breeding pairs of Regent parrots along the Murray.  And in Hogwash Bend, around 50 pairs use the ideal breeding habittat of mature river red gums, nesting sites and large areas of mature mallee scrubland.  Hogwash Bend plays an important role in the bird’s future which is listed as vulnerable at both State and National level.

1280px-Polytelis_anthopeplus_2_edit1

Above:- Regent parrot.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

There is an excellent website dedicated to Regent parrots which can be found at…..

http://regentparrot.org

In fact, the group is very keen to hear from people who sight a Regent Parrot.  You can telephone 1800PARROT.

Hogwash Bend was just a  short 14 km drive from the Ramco Point Conservation Park.  We entered the park off Cadell Valley Road.  The park is well signposted and there is a nice dirt road down to the park which is easily negotiated with a car and even a caravan.  The camping area was very busy with lots of campers and caravaners.  So we headed to the eastern side of the camping area and set up in the scrub.

Screenshot 2015-04-23 13.59.11

Above:- My operating spot.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

The park was alive with birdlife, but unfortunately we did not spot a Regent parrot.  But I did see a Whistling kite which flew into a nearby gumtree and sat there for some time, allowing me to take a number of photographs.

http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Haliastur-sphenurus

There was also a Spoonbill busy in a nearby pond and a number of pelicans on the river.

I did intend to operate on 7.095 but there were some VK6 guys operating on 7.093.  A few of them were mobile, and had very good signals into Hogwash Bend.  So I moved up a little higher to 7.096 and called CQ and this was answered by David VK5KC and then Les VK5KLV, followed by Al VK7AN and then Tony VK3VTH mobile.  I then called for any QRP stations and I worked Adrian VK5FANA QRP 5 watts and Bernard VK3AV QRP 4 watts.  I had quite a steady flow of callers from VK3 & VK5.

I managed one park to park contact and that was with Stef VK5HSX who was portable in the Flinders Ranges National Park.  I also worked Allen VK3HRA who was portable on SOTA peak Crowsnest Lookout, VK3/ VS-049.

I then moved over to 20m and called CQ on 14.312.  This was answered by Gerard VK2IO who had a lovely 5/9 signal, followed by Xaver DK4RM, Jarrad VK3HXT, and then Albert S58AL.  I went on to work a total of 38 stations on 20m from VK2, VK3, VK6, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, USA, France, Ukraine, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Russia, Hungary, and New Zealand.  It was very pleasing to get a number of calls from USA stations who were copying me well.  And again I managed to work my very good mate Marnix OP7M.  Copy this time at Marnix end was not as good as previously.  But the 20m band was still opening up.

Unfortunately time was marching on and I needed to pack up, as I still had a 2 & 1/2 hour drive to get home.  I had a total of 62 contacts in the log.

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The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KC
  2. VK5KLV
  3. VK7AN
  4. VK3VTH/m
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK3AV
  7. VK5FTVR
  8. VK5ZAR
  9. VK5MRE
  10. VK5NRG
  11. VK3ANL
  12. VK5EE
  13. VK3PF
  14. VK3FMRC
  15. VK3KAB
  16. VK5NQP
  17. VK5FADP/p
  18. VK5ZRY/m
  19. VK2IO
  20. VK5FTRG
  21. VK3OF
  22. VK5HSX/p (Flinders Ranges National Park)
  23. VK5FCDL
  24. VK3HRA/p (SOTA VK3/ VS-049)

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. DK4RM
  3. VK3HXT
  4. S58AL
  5. VK2HOT
  6. I5FLN
  7. IK1GPG
  8. KD8GEH
  9. F2YT
  10. WB2ZAB
  11. DL4PT
  12. S5KM
  13. VK4MWG
  14. UT5PI
  15. V4TH
  16. DL5WW
  17. HB9EFJ
  18. VK2YK
  19. KG7HAX
  20. DL1EBR
  21. IZ1UKG
  22. KC5JAV
  23. ON4VT
  24. N4WMB
  25. EA5HPX
  26. ON5SWA
  27. HA6OB
  28. ON4BB
  29. OP7M
  30. IW1FZR
  31. EA1SB
  32. KK4PWE
  33. RA3PCI
  34. HA6NF
  35. DL2NOM
  36. VK4AJR
  37. VK6NI
  38. ZL3CHE

References

Government of South Australia, 2014, River Murray-South East Nature Link

Ramco Point Conservation Park

Our second park on Sunday was the Ramco Point Conservation Park, which is located near the town of Waikerie in the Riverland region of South Australia, about 180 km north east of Adelaide.  This was another unique park for me.

Screenshot 2015-04-23 13.03.59

Above:- Map showing the location of Ramco Point CP.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

The park is located between the Murray River and Hart Lagoon and was proclaimed in 2006.  I could not find a huge amount of information on the internet about this park.  And it is one of those small South Australian Conservation parks which does not show up on Google maps.

Access to the park was quite difficult.  If we did not have the Toyota Hi Lux we would not have made it in there.  The Riverland had experienced a lot of rain over the past 48 hours and many of the off road tracks had become very wet and boggy.

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We set up on the banks of the River Murray between the river and Hart Lagoon.  It was a beautiful idealic spot, and fortunately the weather was holding off for us with no rain.

Screenshot 2015-04-23 13.03.49Above:- Our operating spot.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

Prior to calling CQ I scouted around the 40m band and found Tony VK3VTH calling CQ from the Oolambeyan National Park in New South Wales (5/9 both ways).  I then headed down to 7.095 and called CQ and this was answered by Nigel VK5NIG with a very strong 5/9 signal, followed by Arno VK5ZAR, David VK5NQP, and then Fred VK3DAC.  And then much to my surprise I received a call from Mark VK6BSA in Western Australia.  It was 12.15 p.m SA local time and I was very surprised to get a call from a VK6 on 40m at this time of the day.  Mark was 5/6 and gave me a 5/1.  Not bad considering I was running 40 watts and my simple linked dipole.

A few calls later I spoke with Stef VK5HSX who was portable in Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges National Park (5/5 sent and 5/7 received).   I then asked for any other QRP, portable or mobile stations and this was answered by Peter VK3PF running QRP, Adrian VK5FANA running QRP, Mark VK3OHM running QRP, Allen Vk3HRA portable on SOTA peak Mount Cowley VK3/ VC-022 in the Great Otway National Park, and Geoff VK5HEL mobile.

After working a total of 33 stations on 40m I headed over to 20m where I spoke with Lee VK2LEE and Gerard VK2IO.  Both Lee and Gerard had nice strong 5/9 signals.  I then went QRT and headed off for the Hogwash Bend Conservation Park.

On the way to Hogwash Bend, we made a quick stop off at a lookout on the Cadell Valley Road, where we were able to view the Hart Lagoon and the Ramco Point Conservation Park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3VTH/2 (Oolambeyan National Park)
  2. VK5NIG
  3. VK5ZAR
  4. VK5NQP
  5. VK3DAC
  6. VK6BSA
  7. VK2WE/m
  8. VK5HSX/p (Flinders Ranges National Park)
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK5FANA
  11. VK3OHM
  12. VK3HRA/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-022)
  13. VK5HSX/m
  14. VK5HEL/m
  15. VK3ANL
  16. VK3OF
  17. VK5KLV
  18. VK3DBP
  19. VK5DF
  20. VK3TKK
  21. VK3YDN
  22. VK5FTVR
  23. VK3BWZ
  24. VK1MA
  25. VK5FDEC
  26. VK5NPP/p
  27. VK3NHL/m
  28. VK2KYO
  29. VK2LEE
  30. VK5ZLT
  31. VK3KAB
  32. VK3GFS
  33. VK2IO

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2LEE
  2. VK2IO