Appreciation certificates for VK5 Parks Award 2nd year anniversary

A few months ago, I announced that I would send out some participation certificates to the 41 amateurs who ventured out to activate a National and/or Conservation Park during the 2nd year anniversary of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  I started doing that today and they should all be emailed by tomorrow morning.

Here is what they look like…..

VK5PAS participation

Again, thanks to all of the activators and hunters who participated.

There were a total of 111 park activations, and of those 81 were unique parks.  Not a bad effort.  And more than 3,000 QSOs were made.

Looking forward to next years event (the 3rd anniversary weekend).  The dates have not yet been finalised.

Congratulations Andrew VK1DA

Whilst operating a few weeks ago in the Murray Sunset National Park I spoke with Andrew VK1DA who was portable on SOTA summit Mount Majura, VK1/ AC-034.  As a result of Andrew working me, Andrew has qualified for the Merit Award for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA), by working all 45 Victorian National Parks.

Other than the great certificate & plaque that Andrew will receive from Tony VK3VTH, I have also sent Andrew the certificate below to add to his ‘wallpaper’ collection.

Congratulations Andrew VK1DA.

VK1DA KRMNPA certificate

Mount Stromlo, VK1/ AC-043

On Monday morning (11th May 2015), David VK5KC, Trevor VK5ATQ, and I were picked up outside of the motel by Andrew VK1NAM.  Andrew had organised with us the day before to take us up to Mount Stromlo, VK1/ AC-043 for a SOTA activation.  I was due to fly out of Canberra back to Adelaide later that afternoon.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Mt Stromlo.  Image courtesy of

Mount Stromlo, VK1/ AC-043, is 782 metres above sea level and is worth 1 SOTA point.  The summit is located just outside of Canberra and is the site of the Mount Stromlo Observatory, which is part of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrphysics at the Australian National University.  The observatory was established in 1924 as the Commonwealth Solar Observatory.  In January 2003, Mt Stromlo was devastated by the Canberra bushfires.  The summit was surrounded by pine forest at that time, which was totally destroyed along with five telescopes, workshops, seven homes, and the heritage listed administration building.  The only telescope to survive the fires was the 1886 15-centimetre Farnham telescope.

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Above image courtesy of

For more information on the observatory, have a look at…..

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Above:- Map showing the location of Mt Stromlo.  Image courtesy of

Andrew parked his car in the lower carpark, and we walked up the track to our operating spot, which was a little further on from the trig point.  Andrew had warned us that operating from the trig point would end in misery, as the noise floor at that location was extremely high.  So we continued on the path and set up at a high point with spectacular views in all directions.

David VK5KC started off first and he had soon bagged his 4 contacts to qualify the summit.  I then got my 4 qualifying contacts consisting of Gerard VK2JNG mobile, George VK4GSF, John VK2FAD and Markus VK2SK.  Trevor VK5ATQ then took control of the mic and appeared to have a lot of fun on his very first SOTA activation.

Whilst Trevor was on air, Andrew called me over for a 2m FM contact with Gerard VK2IO who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Ainslee, VK1/ AC-040.

The four of us kept swapping the mic, and after the UTC rollover I managed another three summit to summit contacts: Gerard VK2IO/1 on Mount Ainslee on 2m FM, Onno VK6FLAB/1 on Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042, and Phil VK2JDL portable on Mount Kembla VK2/ IL-015.

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At the conclusion of the activation we walked over to the cemetery located on the summit.  A number of people are buried here including Walter Geoffrey Duffile, (1879-1929, who was the founding Director of the Commonwealth Solar Observatory.

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We then started walking back to the car and bumped in to Andrew VK1MBE and Onno VK6FLAB who had just arrived at the summit from Black Mountain.  They were in the middle of setting up.

We continued back to the car and had a quick look at some of the burnt out buildings near the carpark.  We were in desperate need of a coffee, but unfortunately the cafe was closed.  And we had timed the activation well, as it had just started to rain.  Poor old Andrew & Onno.  We did try to make contact with them via 2m once we had driven outside the activation zone, but could not get through to them.

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After leaving Stromlo we paid a visit to one of the local cafes where we enjoyed some nice hot coffee and a bowl of soup.  Fortunately there was a bottle shop next door, so I quickly rushed in there to buy a bottle of South Australian red for Andrew VK1NAM and Andrew VK1DA in recognition of their efforts in taking us out for some portable action.  It was a lot of fun.

I worked the following stations:-

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Black Mountain, VK1/ AC-042

After our activation at Mount Ainslee, we ventured over to Black Mountain, VK1/ AC-042, just a short drive across Canberra from Mount Ainslee

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Above:- Map showing the location of Black Mountain.  Image courtesy of

Black Mountain is 812 metres above sea level and is worth 1 SOTA point.  It is situated to the west of the Canberra CBD and is on the northern shores of Lake Burley Griffin.  The summit is part of the Canberra Nature Park and is predominantly covreed in native bushland.  It is a haven for native wildlife.  Also on the summit is the Black Mountain Tower, a broadcasting tower rising a further 195 metres above the summit.  The summit was originally known as Black Hill.

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Above:- Black Mountain.  Image courtesy of

It was no less cold and no less windy here on Black Mountain to that of Mount Ainslee.  In fact there was a lot of banging going on from something loose on the tower.  But we had dodged a bullet again, as there was no rain.  As we were setting up the gear, a very suspicious car approached us slowly and then pulled up in front of us.  It was Heath VK3TWO and his wife Monique.

We took it in turns to operate on the radio again, with John VK5BJE firing up first with me acting as scribe as it was very windy and cold and trying to hold the mic and write at the same time was a challenge.  Plus, us guys can only do one thing well at a time!

My first contact on Black Mountain, which was another unique SOTA summit for me, was Michael VK2CCW who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Elliot, VK2/ HU-093.  A nice start to the activation….a Summit to Summit contact.  I worked another 9 stations and was then called by Keith VK5OQ/1 who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount AInslee, VK1/ AC-040.

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After packing up we all ventured inside Black Mountain Tower and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in the warmth of the cafe.  This was another great activation and a lot of fun with Andrew, John, Heath & Monique.

I worked the following stations:-

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