I had to work today (Sunday 2nd August 2015) but at lunch time I did sneak outside to my vehicle to work Rob VK4AAC who was activating the Lashmar Conservation Park, VKFF-902. This is one of the newly added South Australian Conservation Parks to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. It triggered my enthusiasm, to activate a park after work. But the weather was not looking good. There were quite heavy showers in the Adelaide CBD, broken up by period of bright sunshine.
So when work concluded, I headed back home to the Adelaide Hills. On the way I worked Brett VK4FTWO in the mobile. Brett was activating the WooWoonga National Park VKFF-712, west of Maryborough.
When I got home, my wife Marija had already kindly prepared all my radio gear for me, so it was just a matter of getting changed out of the suit, and loading the 4WD. I decided to head for the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park, VKFF-881, which is about 35 kms by road, east of my home. The park has also just recently been added to the WWFF program. So although I have activated the park previously as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, this was to be a new WWFF park for me.
Above:- Map showing the location of Ferries McDonald CP. Image courtesy of mapcarta.com
As I was driving along Chaunceys Line Road towards the park I worked Gerard VK2IO who was operating portable from Wollemei National Park, VKFF-544 (5/9 sent and 5/8 received).
I set up in my normal spot, which is in the south eastern corner of the park, off Chaunceys Line Road. There is a carpark there and a nice cleared area where you can set up. I used my normal operating gear….the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre squid pole. But as I was setting up the antenna, I noticed that I was missing one of the crocodile clips. So I had to improvise and use my teeth to strip back some of the insulation on the wire and join the wire together that way. The test was going to be the VSWR. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was very low when I turned on the tx.
Above:- Map showing my operating location. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
After setting up I headed to 7.090 hoping to work Gerard VK2IO again. Sure enough, Gerard was still there, with a lovely 5/9 plus signal. He was stronger on the linked dipole than the Codan 9350.
I then moved up to 7.095 and asked if the frequency was in use, and in reply I heard Matt VK1MA telling me that it was all clear. So Matt was my second contact for the activation, with a beautiful 5/9 signal coming in from Canberra (5/7 received). A pile up followed, with numerous callers from all across Australia. The 40m band appeared to be in quite good condition. Although it was evident that the ‘close in’ stuff was not working. I only worked 4 VK5’s during this activation. The first was Greg VK5LG at Cudlee Creek, a distance of about 50 km from where I was. Greg was 5/8 and I received a 5/3. The next VK5 was Peter VK5KPR at Port Augusta, a distance of around 375 km (5/9 both ways). In fact Peter was very strong. Next up was Andrew VK5KET down at Mount Gambier, a distance of about 385 km (5/9 both ways). Again, Andrew was very strong. And finally, Adrian VK5FANA at Arthurton on the Yorke Peninsula, about 140 km across the water over the Gulf of St Vincent. Adrian was running QRP and was just 5/3 at best, and I received a 5/1. So it appeared that anything within 150km was not going to work.
I had some very nice QRP contacts during this activation. They included Brooke VK4RZ running just 2 watts from near Toowoomba in Queensland (5/9 both ways). Also Mike VK3XL running 2 watts from Melbourne (5/6 sent and 5/9 received). Next up was Adrian VK5FANA running his 5 watts (this was a little bit of a struggle). Alan VK2AJG who was running 4 watts from near Newcastle. There were no problems at all with Alan’s signal (5/8 sent and 5/7 received). And finally Mark VK4MON north of Brisbane, running 5 watts (5/7 both ways).
I was also very pleased to be able to work Ken ZL4KD in Christchurch in New Zealand (5/9 both ways) and Owen ZL2OPB in New Plymouth on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand (5/9 both ways). And Doug VK4FAID (I was his first ever VK5 contact).
VK3FILB was kind enough to send me this quick video clip of my signal as it sounded in Melbourne.
I worked a total of 57 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.
The following stations were worked:-
- VK2IO/p (VKFF-544)