Puppies Point, Norfolk Island VKFF-0392

On Tuesday morning (24th May 2016) Marija and I had a cooked breakfast at the Paradise Hotel and then went on a bus tour around Norfolk Island.  The tour took in the historic Kingston area, Cascade Pier, and morning tea at Puppies Point.

At the end of the tour, Marija and I headed in to town and caught up with Heath VK3TWO and his wife Monique VK6FMON, and Peter VK3PF.  We enjoyed a nice lunch together at one of the many cafes in the main street.

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Marija and I then decided as it was such a nice day, that we would head back out to Puppies Point for some amateur radio action.  On the way we stopped in to the Norfolk Island Botanical Gardens which is a beautiful collection of plants endemic to Norfolk Island.  There is also an intepretive centre here which features displays and information relating to Norfolk Islands flora and fauna.

We continued on to the Captain Cook lookout within the Norfolk Island National Park.  It was here that Captain Cook landed on the island way back in 1774.

The weather had turned less than ideal with quite a bit of shower activity, although it was still quite humid.  We then headed to Puppies Point, but not before coming across a banana plantation (see below photograph).  You can buy a banana on the island for only 10 cents.

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We then came across these characters, as you do all over the island.  Believe it or not, cows have the right of way on Norfolk Island roads!

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Another regular site on Norfolk Island as you travel around are the numerous feral chickens and roosters.

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We then reached Puppies Point and fortunately the weather had cleared, so I was able to set up using a wooden bench and table.  Puppies Point is a beautiful location.  It has some fantastic views out along the coastline, with a lawned area containing benches and tables and a well cared for picnic area.

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 40m/20m linked dipole at 6 metres for this activation.  The 6 metre telescopic squid pole was strapped to the wooden bench with some octopus straps.  I powered the radio with the spare car battery, kindly supplied by the car hire company, Aloha Rent A Car.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Puppies Point on the western side of Norfolk Island.

I headed to 7.090 and commenced calling CQ and this was answered by John VK2YW in Wagga Wagga, followed by Ian VK5IS from the Mid North of South Australia, Neil VK4HNS, and then George VK4GSF.  My signal report ranged from 5/1 in South Australia to 5/5 in Queensland.  The local time on the island was nearly 3.00 p.m. and band conditions on 40m back into the Australian mainland appeared to be quite good.  It wasn’t long before a mini pile up commenced, with callers from the eastern seaboard of the Australian mainland, and New Zealand.  Fred VK9DAC on Norfolk Island also called in….another Norfolk Island station to add towards the special Norfolk Island Award offered by the WIA.

I worked a total of 29 stations on 40m before heading off to 20m.  I called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Paul VK2HV, followed by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA,  John VK5BJE, and Ivan VK5HS.  I was very pleased to get Ivan in the log, as I had worked Ivan a few years ago whilst he was on holiday in Norfolk Island.

The 20m band was wide open to the Australian mainland, and also USA and Japan.  I worked 7 stations in the USA (Illinois, Oregon, California, Washington, New York, & Texas), one in Alaska, and one station in Japan.

Some of the memorable contacts to VK were with Dave VK2BDR who was running just 1 watt (5/6 sent and 5/7 received), and Greg VK5GJ running 4 watts (5/1 sent and 5/9 received).  I also had a Park to Park contact with Bob VK6POP who was portable in the John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250, all the way over in Western Australia (5/3 sent and 5/5 received).

I worked a total of 50 stations before things started to slow down a little, so I headed down the band and booked in to the ANZA DX Net.

It was around this time that some of the VK9NT crew arrived to say g’day: Alan VK2CA, Chris VK3QB and Lee VK3GK.

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I then headed back to 40m to 7.144 and called CQ again.  This was answered by Jim VK1AT, followed by David VK5KC, Greg VK5GJ and then Steve VK3YW mobile.  I worked a further 28 stations in Australia (VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 & VK7), New Zealand, before deciding it was time to go QRT.  The sun was just starting to set and the sunset was truly quite spectacular.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2YW
  2. VK5IS
  3. VK4HNS
  4. VK4GSF
  5. VK2EJW
  6. VK6MB/2
  7. VK2NJP
  8. VK3MCK
  9. VK3OB
  10. ZL2ATH
  11. VK2EKG
  12. VK4AAC/3
  13. VK4RF
  14. VK4HA
  15. VK5BJE
  16. ZL1KEN
  17. VK2HV
  18. VK2YK
  19. VK9DAC (Norfolk Island VKFF-0392)
  20. VK3GP mobile
  21. VK3SQ
  22. VK7EE
  23. VK4AS mobile
  24. VK3UH
  25. VK2JDW
  26. VK3ZMD
  27. VK5GJ
  28. VK2BDR
  29. VK2GKA
  30. Vk1AT
  31. VK5KC
  32. VK5GJ
  33. VK3YW mobile
  34. VK2IO
  35. VK2MOR mobile
  36. VK4FTRL
  37. VK4KUS
  38. VK4VDX
  39. ZL3CHE
  40. ZL3OY mobile
  41. VK3JLS
  42. VK4LA
  43. VK5BJE
  44. VK5TN
  45. VK2BYI
  46. VK7AN
  47. VK2PDW
  48. VK5ZGY
  49. VK3EY
  50. VK2EHQ
  51. VK4FTWO
  52. VK2AIF
  53. VK7AN
  54. VK5FMID
  55. VK2FM
  56. VK3AWG
  57. VK4PHD
  58. VK2ZVG
  59. VK3GA
  60. VK2NZ
  61. VK2SF

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2HV
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK5HS
  6. VK4AAC/3
  7. VK3JLS
  8. AC9EM
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK3NXT
  11. VK3CAB
  12. VK4BT
  13. VK4GSF
  14. VK3PMG
  15. VK6POP
  16. VK3LSD
  17. VK3OB
  18. ZL4KD
  19. VK5BC
  20. VK3ZMD
  21. VK3PAT
  22. VK2NRA
  23. VK3MHY
  24. VK5GJ
  25. N7WWH
  26. ZL2GLG
  27. VK4COZ
  28. KD6BZN
  29. VK2KTT
  30. VK5HCF
  31. VK2YK
  32. VK5DJ
  33. VK5MTM mobile
  34. JA8RJE
  35. KL7IEH
  36. VK1AT
  37. VK3TKK mobile
  38. VK6MB/2
  39. VK5PET
  40. VK4MY
  41. N7TM
  42. VK5GI
  43. VK3UH
  44. N5XZ
  45. VK6POP/p (John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250)
  46. VK3JL
  47. VK2BDR
  48. N2PPL
  49. VK5GJ
  50. N9RJM
  51. VK3WM
  52. VK7XX
  53. VK4CC
  54. VK4TD
  55. VK3IDM
  56. VK4LJ
  57. VK4NBP
  58. K5KT
  59. VK4QS

Here is a short video put together by Theo VK5MTM mobile, of our QSO

After returning back into town, we had a quick meal at the Paradise Hotel followed by a Light and Sound Show at historic Kingston.

Mount Pitt, Norfolk Island National Park VKFF-0392

After our activation of Mount Bates, Marija and I headed in to town for some dinner.  After some take away we decided to head back to Mount Pitt for some more radio action as we had a few planned activities for other nights during the week.

Mount Pitt stands at 320 metres above seal level and is the second highest point on Norfolk Island after Mount Bates. It is located within the Norfolk Island National Park VKFF-0392.

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Above:- Map showing our operating spot at Mount Pitt.

Marija and I set up in the Mount Pitt carpark, using the permapine log fence in the carpark as an anchor point for the 6 metre squid pole.  I ran the Yaesu FT-757d for this activation, set at 40 watts.  The transceiver was powered by a 12 volt car battery which the hire car company had kindly provided to us on request.  As it was a cold and wet night, I operated from the passenger sear of the vehicle.

My first contact after calling CQ on 7.130 was with Stef VK5HSX/2 in the Hat Head National Park, VKFF-0230.  Not a bad start….a Park to Park contact back to the Australian mainland.  I was then called by VK9NT, the Norfolk Island DXpedition team.  The call was being used by Chris VK3QB.  All of the VK9NT crew then called me using a variety of different calls….nine in total.  The boys advised that they would come for a drive to say g’day.

Whilst waiting for them to arrive I continued to call CQ on 7.130 and had a steady flow of callers from the Australian mainland, USA, Japan, and New Zealand.  Band conditions appeared to be quite good, with most VK signals being around the strength 9 mark.   The few USA and Japan stations who gave me a call were also very strong.

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After working 41 stations, the VK9NT crew arrived.  They were in a people mover van, so we all crammed in there and shared a beer and a few war stories for abut half an hour.  Once the boys had left I went back to 7.130 and called CQ again.  This was answered by JR7AMZ in Japan, followed by David VK5PL, Les VK5KLV, and Darren ZL2/2E0UGO mobile in Wellington.

I kept the frequency warm for the 7130 DX Net and worked a number of the usual net participants leading up to the commencement of the Net.  This included William FO5JV in French Polynesia who was 5/9 ++.  Sadly there were very few stations that booked in to the Net despite band conditions being quite good.  As it was very quiet on the Net I decided to go QRT and head back to the Paradise Hotel for a good nights sleep.

I had a total of 56 contacts in the log and had qualified the reference for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Of the 56 contacts, 34 of those were back to VK, 9 were to Norfolk Island, 1 was to the USA, 8 were to Japan, 1 to French Polynesia, and 6 to Japan.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. VK5HSX/2 (Hat Head National Park VKFF-0230)
  2. VK9NT (VKFF-0392)
  3. VK3QB/p (VKFF-0392)
  4. VK3YB/p (VKFF-0392)
  5. VK3HJ/9 (VKFF-0392)
  6. VK3GK/9 (VKFF-0392)
  7. VK3SK/p (VKFF-0392)
  8. VK3VNA/9 (VKFF-0392)
  9. NE3M/VK9 (VKFF-0392)
  10. VK2CA/p (VKFF-0392)
  11. VK4FSTX
  12. VK2ON
  13. VK3OHM
  14. VK2SB mobile
  15. KB2KDP
  16. VK2PJF
  17. VK4FAAS
  18. ZL1RDK
  19. ZL4AU
  20. VK2SK
  21. VK5TT
  22. VK3KRH
  23. VK3MGK
  24. VK3TJK
  25. ZL2AIB
  26. VK4ME
  27. VK3ZPF
  28. VK2FSAV
  29. ZL2LI
  30. VK3SQ
  31. VK7CW
  32. VK2KDP
  33. JH7PHD
  34. JA5CIC
  35. JA5AQC
  36. VK3GGG
  37. VK2XXM
  38. VK3BBB
  39. VK4LAT
  40. VK4ZEJ
  41. JR7AMZ
  42. VK5PL
  43. VK5KLV
  44. ZL2/2E0UGO mobile
  45. ZL1AAW
  46. VK2IUW
  47. VK7ROY
  48. VK5WG
  49. FO5JV
  50. JA5BEN
  51. VK2FOUZ
  52. VK1MTS
  53. VK5KBJ/4
  54. VK2STO
  55. VK4FFAB
  56. VK3OB

Mount Bates VK9/ NO-001 and VKFF-0392

On Monday morning (23rd May 2016) Marija and I flew out of Sydney to Norfolk Island.  We had a very enjoyable flight over to Norfolk aboard an Air New Zealand aircraft.  The flight time is around 2 hours and 30 minutes.  We arrived on Norfolk and headed off to the Paradise Hotel.

After booking in and enjoying a complimentary cocktail, we picked up our hire car and headed in to town to collect the 6m telescopic squid pole that David VK5KC had ordered for us.  After picking up the squid pole, Marija and I headed up to Mount Bates summit VK9/ NO-001 which is located within the Norfolk Island National Park VKFF-0392.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Norfolk Island in the Pacific.  Map courtesy of Open Street Map.

Mount Bates is 319 metres above sea level and is the highest point on Norfolk Island.  It is just 1 metre higher than Mount Pitt.  The summit is worth 2 points for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.

The summit is located in the Norfolk Island National Park VKFF-0392.  The park currently forms about 14% of the total land area of Norfolk Island.  The Mount Pitt Section of the park and the Botanic Garden were first established by the Norfolk Island National Park and Norfolk Island Botanic Garden Act 1984 (NI) when it came into force on 12 February 1985. These areas were subsequently declared a national park and botanic garden under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 (Cwlth) by proclamation under that Act on 31 January 1986 following a request of the Norfolk Island Legislative Assembly.  Prior to this, both areas had been public reserves declared under the Commons and Public Reserves Ordinance 1936.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Bates in the northern area of Norfolk Island.  Map courtesy of Open Street Map.

We soon reached the entrance to the Norfolk Island National Park and then continued on to Mount Pitt where we enjoyed some amazing views of Norfolk Island and across to Phillip Island and Jacky Jacky summit.

We parked the car in the Mount Pitt carpark, and took the Summit Track which leads to Mount Bates.  This is an easy 500 metre walk to Mount Bates.  It does look deceiving, as you walk down a set of stairs from the Mount Pitt carpark, but you do slowly start to walk up hill to Mount Bates.

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Above:-Map showing the walking tracks in the Norfolk Island National Park, including the summit track to Mount Bates, c/o http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/norfolk

The walk to the summit is quite spectacular and takes you through forest with ferns and pines.   Much of this area was once infested with introduced trees and shurbs.  These have gradually been removed and replaced with native species as part of a rehabilitation process.

As we approached the summit I could hear some other voices and then heard ‘we are on the top of SOTA peak, Mount Bates’.  As we got closer to the summit we found that Heath VK3TWO and his wife Monique VK6FMON were activating.  After saying g’day, I set up just below Heath and used some steps to a lookout to sit on.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 20 watts and the 20m/40m linked dipole supported on the 6m telescopic squid pole.

I headed to 14.310 and Heath kindly handed the frequency over to me, and I commenced calling CQ.  My first contact from Mount Bates was with Chris VK5SA who was an excellent 5/9 and he reciprocated with a 5/9 for me.  This was followed by Neil VK4HNS, Thomas W7RV in Arizona, and then Doug VK4ADC.  I had qualified the summit and I was very happy.

During the activation we were joined by Peter VK3PF, Ron VK3AFW, and his wife Ruth.

I went on to work a total of 25 stations in Australia (VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5), USA (Arizona, California, & Washington), Japan, and New Zealand.

I then handed the reigns over to Peter VK3PF and Ron VK3AFW, and headed up to Heath’s set up.  My wife Marija VK5FMAZ/9 was working on 40m.  Marija made a total of 9 contacts into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.

Monique VK6FMON/9 also got on air on 40m and qualified the summit.

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Above:- Peter VK3PF/9 on air.

Some relics of the old World War Two radar station, established by the Royal New Zealand Air Forece, can be found on the top of Mount Bates.  The radar station offered uninterupted 360 degree views of the horizon and warned of any aircraft in the area.

Interpretive signs tell you of the interesting history of the radar installation and the famous ‘Norfolk Island effect’.  During the Second World War, radar operators at the RNZAF Mt Bates Station on Norfolk Island noticed strange bursts of “radio noise” at sunset and sunrise.  The Officer in Charge of the station, Les Hepburn, reported these to his superiors in New Zealand.  Dr Elizabeth Alexander, who was in charge of radar research in the Radio Development Laboratory in Wellington, set about investigating this.  Five radar stations investigated the phenomenon over a period of months in 1945, with the outcome of this research being that at times of sunspot activity the sun was emitting radio waves, and this discovery was one of the most important in the beginnings of the science of radio astronomy.  This became known as the ‘Norfolk Island effect’.

 

The summit was also awash with some very large spiders who had woven their webs between the vegetation.  The spiders are Gold Orb Web Spiders.  They are diurnal, meaning that they are active during the day.  Their venom is potent but is not lethal to humans.  There is even a cafe on the island named after these spiders.

As the afternoon went on we were blessed with the commencement of an amazing sunset.

After watching the sun commence to set, it was time to head down off the summit.

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The following stations were worked:-

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Here is a short video of the activation……

 

References.

Australian Government, 2016,<http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/national-parks/norfolk-island-national-park/culture-and-history/national-park-history&gt;, viewed 1st June 2016

 

Lane Cove National Park VKFF-0281

Marija and I flew out to Sydney on Saturday morning, 21st May 2016, enroute to Norfolk Island.  We stayed for 2 nights with our friends Karen and Jamie who live at Denistone.  After being picked up from the airport by Karen, we headed off to the Sydney Fish Market to pick up some goodies for dinner.  What an amazing place the fish markets are.

That night, we had a fantastic seafood meal with Karen and Jamie, and our other friends Fiona and Pabs.

On Sunday morning (22nd May 2016), whilst the girls went to the gym, Jamie and I took a drive to Lane Cove National Park VKFF-0281.  This was an unplanned activation, and as I did not have a squid pole with me, we took a short detour via Jamie’s soccer club to pick up a 5 metre long extendable painters pole.

We then took the short drive out to Lane Cove NP which is situated in metropolitan Sydney, about 10 km north west of the Sydney Central Business District.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Lane Cove National Park.  Map courtesy of google maps.

The Lane Cove National Park was established in 1938 and is 372 hectares (920 acres) in size.  The park consists of land near the banks of the Lane Cove River which flows generally south-east into Sydney Harbour.  The park also extends to the outskirts of Pennant Hills and Wahroonga.    The park is surrounded on all sides by developed suburban areas and except for the upper northwestern region is never more than a kilometre wide. Much of the park is of fairly rugged terrain on the slopes of the river valley and covered by dense bush.

We entered the park and drove a short distance into the park until we found a small picnic area which had a table and benches.

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We secured the painters pole to the table with the use of some octopus straps and strung out the 40m/20m linked dipole and tied off the ends to some nearby trees.  The antenna was very close to the ground, and I had concerns about its performance.  For the activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, @ 20 watts, powered by the LiFePO4  battery.

We were set up and ready to go by around 0055 UTC.  I commenced calling CQ on 7.090 and this was answered by Gerard VK2IO with a strong 5/9 signal.  Gerard gave me a 5/8-9 signal report which I was happy with considering the antenna was very low to the ground.  This was followed by Jock VK2EJW, Marc VK3OHM, and Fred VK3DAC.  All had good signals and gave me signal reports ranging from 5/6 to 5/9, so it appeared the antenna was working okay.

Seven QSOs into the activation, I was called by Ian VK1DI who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Mundoonen VK2/ ST-053.  And that wasn’t my only SOTA contact.  Towards the end of the activation I made contact with Malcolm VK3MEL who was activating Point 756 Pyrenees VK3/ VS-018 (I was on that summit last year in November).  I also made a Park to Park contact with Rob VK4AAC/3 who was portable in the Lake Eildon National Park VKFF-0625.

I made a total of 23 contacts.  Only one of those was on 20m.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. VK2EJW
  3. VK3OHM
  4. VK3DAC
  5. VK3FQSO
  6. VK1AT
  7. VK1DI/2 (SOTA VK2/ ST-053)
  8. VK2ZB/m
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK2QA
  11. VK2YK
  12. VK5BJE
  13. VK2NEO
  14. VK3PF
  15. VK7CW
  16. VK2EXA
  17. VK2HHA
  18. VK3GGG
  19. VK3PMG
  20. VK3MEL/p (SOTA VK3/ VS-018)
  21. VK4AAC/3 (Lake Eildon National Park VKFF-0625)

The following station was worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2NRA

 

That afternoon, we headed off to Sydney for some sightseeing.  Thanks to Karen and Jamie for being such great hosts.

References

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_Cove_National_Park&gt;, viewed 1st June 2016

Norfolk Island trip

My trip to Norfolk Island is sadly over and I am back to reality.  Marija and I flew over to the island on Monday 23rd May 2016, via Air New Zealand.  We had 5 days of looking around beautiful Norfolk leading up to the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) AGM.

Whilst on Norfolk I managed to get on air as VK9PAS on 6 occasions as follows…..

 

  1. Mount Bates VK9/ NO-001 and VKFF-0392, Monday 23rd May 2016 –25 QSOs
  2. Mount Pitt, Monday 23rd May 2016 –56 QSOs
  3. Puppies Point, Tuesday 24th May 2016 – 120 QSOs
  4. Selwyn Reserve, Thursday 26th May 2016 – 107 QSOs
  5. Emily Bay, Friday 27th May 2016 – 59 QSOs
  6. Anson Bay Reserve, Sunday 29th May 2016 – 232 QSOs

 

I made a total of 599 contacts.

DXCC entities worked were:-

  • Alaska
  • Australia (VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7)
  • Canada
  • Canary Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • French Polynesia
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norfolk Island
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • United States of America

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A reminder that if you would like a QSL card, here are the QSL details (as per the VK9PAS QRZ.com page)……

VK’s

Direct with your QSL card and a stamped self addressed envelope to….

PO Box 169,

Mount Barker,

S.A. 5251

 

or via eQSL / LOTW

DX

via M0OXO (Bureau or Direct)

or via eQSL / LOTW

VK9PAS.jpg