Livingstone National Park VKFF-0292

On Sunday morning (25th October 2015) I had a little bit of a sleep in, as my intended park activation of the Livingstone National Park, VKFF-0292, was only 30 km south of Wagga Wagga.  Nether less I was still on the road by 7.00 a.m. NSW local time.  This was my last night in Wagga Wagga.  I had stayed at the International Hotel at Wagga Wagga which I can highly recommend.


I briefly drove around Wagga Wagga for a final look, before heading out to the park.  I stopped off at Geoff Lawson Oval, named after the former Australian cricketer, and also made a brief photo stop on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

I then headed south out out of Wagga Wagga on the Holbrook Road, and then turned left onto O’Briens Creek Road, and then right onto Wrigleys Road which takes you into the park.

Screenshot 2015-10-31 09.53.02

The park is well signposted along the way.  Not the normal big brown park signs we have in South Australia.  But keep an eye out for the blue coloured signs with the NSW NPWS emblem on them.  The park was clearly visible as I travelled along O’Briens Creek Road, as was Mount Flakney which I had activated the day before.

I entered the park via Wrigleys Road and followed the dirt track up to Pine Ridge Track.  This looked like a nice elevated position to operate from.

I found a small clearing on the northern side of Pine Ridge Track where people had obviously been camping, as there was a little campfire.  I parked the 4WD and started setting up the gear.

Screenshot 2015-10-11 18.43.14

Livingstone National Park was established in January 2001 and is about 1,920 hectares in size.  The park was originally proclaimed as a State Forest in 1915 for timber located within the forest which was to be preserved for the town of Junee.  At one stage there was a railway line located next to the forest, used to carry timber.  In fact the park is still marked on Google maps as a State Forest (a good example of why I don’t rely on Google Maps).   In 1976 the Wagga Wildlife and Conservation Society requested that the state forest be gazetted as a national park after it was under threat, however the request was denied.  It wasn’t until January 2001 that the State Forest was gazetted as a National Park.

The park consists of four different types of vegetation, including grass trees, mallee, kangaroo grass, and open forest.  The park has been identified as having one of two colonies of squirrel gliders, located in southern New South Wales.  Over 100 species of native birds call the park home.  Livingstone National Park has been identified by BirdLife International due to its importance for the conservation of Swift Parrots and Superb Parrots.

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After setting up I headed to 7.144, the frequency I had nominated on parksnpeaks.  Unfortunately the CQ World Wide contest was on and there were some very strong signals across the entire 40m band, including A71CV from Qatar on 7.144.  So I headed down the band and found that 7.085 was clear.  I started calling CQ and my first park hunter for this activation was Col VK5HCF in Mount Gambier with a good strong 5/8 signal.  This was followed by John VK5BJE, Peter VK5FLEX, and then John VK5NJ.  All with good strong 5/9 signals.

My next caller was Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in Aramoor National Park, VKFF-0662 with a very respectable 5/9 signal to Livingstone.

I went on to work a further 16 stations around Australia, including Peter VK2NEO who I arranged to catch up with later in the day.  It was at this time that I heard some rustling in the undergrowth.  As the two fugutives, the Stoccos, were still at large in the general area, my ears pricked up.  Fortunately, up over a ridgeline came some mountain bikers, who saw my 4WD and appeared a bit concerned as well.  I had a chat to the 2 lads who were locals, about their hobby and mine.  We also shared the view that we would high tail it out of the area if we saw the Stocco’s vehicle.

After the lads rode off into the bush, I hopped back on the radio and called CQ again.  This was answered by Ian VK5CZ/2 who was mobile out of Wagga Wagga to a summit for an activation as part of the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.   After my contact with Ian, I had a steady flow of callers from across Australia.  Unfortunately I had a VK7 Foundation station calling and calling and calling, but not responding to my calls back to him.  So this made it a bit hard to pull out some of the weaker stations that were calling me.  Sorry if I missed anyone.

I was just about to scout around the bands to find the Wagga SOTA & Parks symposium attendees, who I knew were going to be out undertaking some SOTA activations, when Peter VK3PF/2 called me with a 5/9 plus signal from nearby Mount Flakney.  Peter was on the summit with John VK2YW/p, Warren VK3BYD/2, and Knud VK2KJJ, all of whom gave me a call.

A local VK3 net was about to commence on 7.085 so I headed off to have a look around the 40m band.  I found Dave, VK2JDC activating the Nangar National Park, calling CQ on 7.113 with a strong 5/8 signal.

I then headed over to 20m and struggled to find a clear frequency due to the contest.  I called CQ on 14.308 and this was answered by Rick VK4RF, followed by Mike VK6MB, and then Peter VK6RZ.  Unfortunately another VK6 came up just below us and started calling CQ contest, so that put a quick halt to my activity on 20m.

I headed back to 40m, hoping to find Marcus VK3TST and Dave VK4DD who were also going to be out and about activating a local summit.  It wasn’t long before I found them on 7.090 calling CQ from a great summit called Wheel of Fortune, VK2/ RI-031.

My last contact before going QRT was with Ian VK5CZ/2 who was on top of Mount Flakney, VK2/ RI-025.

It was now just after 10.00 a.m. NSW local time, and I needed to pack up and head off to Leeton to catch up with Peter VK2NEO.  I had a total of 51 contacts in the log.  Another new park for me and with over 44 contacts I had qualified the park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HCF
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5FLEX
  4. VK5NJ
  5. VK4FFAB/p (Aramoor National Park)
  6. VK5FMID
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK5FTRG
  9. VK5FTVR
  10. VK5AV
  11. VK5HS
  12. VK7NWT
  13. VK2YK
  14. VK5EE
  15. VK7ZM
  16. VK5JK/p
  17. VK4HNS/p
  18. VK3PMG
  19. VK7MK
  20. VK3VTH
  21. VK2NEO
  22. VK5CZ/2
  23. VK2VW
  24. VK3ZZS/4
  25. VK4RF
  26. VK4HA
  27. VK3AP/2
  28. VK4AAC/5
  29. VK2KF
  30. VK5MBD
  31. VK5FMJC
  32. VK2GGA
  33. VK3FCAS/p
  34. VK2LGW
  35. VK5FUZZ
  36. VK5ATQ
  37. VK2FPQ
  38. VK3PF/2 (SOTA VK2/ RI-025)
  39. VK2YW/p (SOTA VK2/ RI-025)
  40. VK3BYD/2 (SOTA VK2/ RI-025)
  41. VK2KJJ/p (SOTA VK2/ RI-025)
  42. VK2AAA
  43. VK2IO
  44. VK2JDC/p (Nangar National Park)
  45. VK3TST/2 (SOTA VK2/ RI-031)
  46. VK4DD/2 (SOTA VK2/ RI-031)
  47. VK5CZ/2 (SOTA VK2/ RI-025)

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK6MB
  4. VK6RZ



Wikipedia, 2015, <;, viewed 5th November 2015.

2015 SOTA & Parks Seminar at Wagga Wagga

After activating Mount Flakney I headed back into Wagga Wagga to my hotel and freshened up and then headed for the clubrooms of the Wagga Wagga Amateur Radio Club.

On my way back to the clubrooms I spoke with Roy VK5NRG on 40m, who was operating  the special call of VK100ANZAC from the clubrooms of my amateur radio club, the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society.  It was a struggle but we made it.  I then spoke with Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in the Goomboorian National Park, VKFF-0722 with a very nice signal into the mobile.  Joe VK3YSP who was mobile then gave me a shout.

After arriving at the clubrooms and all the introductions, we had a BBQ lunch.  The afternoon presentations commenced soon after.  Presentations during the afternoon were:-

  • Warren VK3BYD – CW activations
  • Peter VK3PF – Portable antennas
  • John VK2YW – Log4OM logging software
  • Allen VK3HRA – Parksnpeaks and MacLogger DX
  • Paul VK5PAS – Portable DX for WWFF & SOTA
  • General brain storming and Mapping

Although the numbers in attendance were far lower than expected, it was still a very enjoyable and informative afternoon.

That evening we all attended at the William Farrer Hotel in Wagga Wagga for some refreshments and a good feed.  And a few war stories!

Mount Flakney VK2/ RI-025

On Saturday morning (24th October 2015) I had a little time to kill.  The SOTA & Parks gathering didn’t kick off until 12.30 p.m.  So I decided to head to Mount Flakney, VK2/ RI-025 for a quick summit activation for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.

Mount Flakney is 536 metres above sea level and is worth 2 SOTA points.  The summit is situated about 27 km by road, south of Wagga Wagga.  I headed out along Mitchell Road and passed the Wagga airport.

Screenshot 2015-10-31 09.33.34

I continued south on Gregadoo Road and then turned right onto Big Springs Road.  I was hoping it was going to be a good omen, because as I drove towards the summit I passed a paddock full of goats.


As I drove along Big Springs Road, the summit became visible, with the communications tower on the top.


I then reached Flakney Road on my right.  This is a narrow dirt track which has a ‘No through road’ sign and a cattle grid.


I travelled a few kilometres up Flakney Road, passed one property and then another, and then reached another cattle grid with a private property sign on it.  So I decided to play it safe and I headed back to the second property where I spoke with a very friendly lady.  She informed me it was fine to drive up to the summit, so long as I closed all the gates.  She also told me to be careful.  I questioned her about the road, but she replied it wasn’t the road to the top that was the issue.  About one week earlier, two fugitives who had shot at the police had been in the adjoining property.  And they were still at large.

So armed with that information, I continued on Flakney Road to the top of the summit.

Screenshot 2015-10-31 09.36.04

I reached the first gate which was nice and easy to open.  There were already some nice views out to the east from this point.

I then reached the second gate.  Now this one wasn’t so easy.  The chain was incredibly tight.


But I got through and made it to the summit.  I parked the car in a clearing just off the track down from the summit and walked a short distance up to the trig point which is where I set up.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 30 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole for this activation.

I was set up and ready to go on air at 2120 UTC (7.20 a.m. NSW local time).  I called CQ on 7.098 and my first contact was with Fred VK3DAC, followed by Steve VK3FSPG, Brian VK5FMID and then Craig VK3WAR.  Everything else from here was a bonus.  I had about 15 stations in the log, when a couple of VK4’s came up onto the frequency.  They were quite low down but very readable.  Perhaps they couldn’t hear me, but I was surprised they couldn’t hear the stations who were working me.

After 50 minutes on air I had a total of 33 stations in the log on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7.  All with good signals.  This included a contact with Peter VK3PF who was portable in nearby Livingstone National Park, VKFF-0292,

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I then decided to try my luck on 20m.    But I only worked 2 stations there.  They being Bob VK2XXM and Col VK5HCF.  So I headed back to 40m and booked in briefly to the Riverland Radio Club Net on 7.115 and said hello to Ron VK5MRE, the net controller, and the rest of the gang on the net.

I decided it was time to pack up and head back to Wagga Wagga for a freshen up and then off to the SOTA & Parks gathering.

I had a total of 36 stations in the log.

The following stations were worked:-

Screenshot 2015-11-04 12.17.07