On Saturday afternoon after the AHARS meeting I travelled to the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, VKFF-782, for another unique activation for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. The park was recently added to the WWFF program.
I set up at gate 11 off Evans Drive which runs through the middle of the park. There is a nice cleared area here to string out a dipole.
Above:- My operating spot. Image courtesy of mapcarta.com
I had spoken with Larry VK5LY on the way to Mark Oliphant. Larry was operating portable with Ivan VK5HS and Peter Vk5FLEX, in the Pike River Conservation Park. Larry had agree to hang around to get a ‘park to park’ contact. So after setting up I quickly tuned to 7.105 and heard Larry calling with a very strong 5/9 signal. I got Larry in the log and this was followed by Peter VK5FLEX.
I then headed up to 7.144 and started calling CQ. My first taker there was Alan VK4AL (5/7 both ways), followed by Andrew VK1NAM mobile 3 (5/8 both ways), and then Andrew VK5NPP operating portable from near Mannum in the Riverland region of South Australia (5/9 both ways).
Whilst operating I had a local fella walk by on nearby Evans Drive and he waved to me and had obviously heard me on the radio. He shouted out “I am QSYing”. I took a quick break from the radio and had a chat with him and found out that he was not an amateur, but had studied radio back in his cadet days. I think he said with the Army or the Air Force.
I went back to chatting on 7.144 and worked a few more VK’s and another local then walked by, with her dogs. Again I stopped for a short time to have a quick chat. She said she was on the way to the shops but would stop off for a look at me operating on her way back. By the time I got back to the radio, a VK2 had moved in on 7.145. So I QSYd down to 7.141 and called CQ and this was answered by David VK5KC. I worked a further 15 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 & VK6, before deciding to have a try on 20m.
Unfortunately I could not get on to my nominated operating frequency of 14.244 as the band was very busy. So I headed up to 14.310 and started calling CQ. To my surprise, my first taker was Swa, ON5SWA in Belgium followed by Luciano I5FLN and then Max IK1GPG. I later worked out why the Europeans had found me. Allen VK3HRA had spotted me on the DX cluster. And this was followed by two more spots by ON5SWA and I5FLN. Thanks for spotting me gentlemen. It certainly helps enormously to drag in the park hunters.
Conditions on 20m were not great. It was quite a struggle at times. But I did manage to get a total of 30 stations in the log on 20m. Countries worked were Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Slovak Republic, and Slovenia. VK’s worked on 20m were Greg VK8GM with a booming signal, and Daniel VK6LCK. And again I managed a contact with my great mate, Marnix OP7M.
I headed back to 40m where I intended to stay for just a short while as it was getting extremely cold. But pleasingly, I had a lot of callers, so I was there for a little longer than planned. First taker upon returning to 40m was Rob VK4FFAB who is a very keen park activator and hunter. This was followed by another eager activator and hunter, Mick Vk3PMG. A few calls later, perrin VK3XPT gave me a shout whilst he was mobile, using his Codan 9350 antenna, minus the whip. Considering that, Perrin had a great 5/7 signal and Perrin gave me a 5/9 signal report.
A few calls later, Brian ZL2ASH gave me a call from Wellington. Although not as strong as normal, Brian was still 5/9 and also gave me a 5/9 signal report. A few QSOs later I was very pleased to receive 4 calls in a row from VK6 Foundation operators. They being Simon VK6FSYM, Ahmed VK6FHAM, Chris VK6FDKR, and George VK6FADD. It was a little difficult at times with Simon and Ahmed, as some VK3’s and some USA stations had moved in on 7.140 and were bleeding over onto 7.138.
My last contact for the activation was Darren, VK2NNN in Bondi in New South Wales. I then hurriedly packed up, as it was now extremely cold. It was down to just 4 degrees celsius and was almost completely dark. I had a total of 77 contacts in the log.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK5LY/p (Pike River Conservation Park)
- VK5FLEX/p (Pike River Conservation Park)
- VK3FQSO/p (VKFF-759)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-