2016 VKFF Team Championships results

On Sunday 16th October 2016, the inaugural VKFF Team Championship took place.  The aim was to promote the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Teams of between 2-4 amateurs were formed, and they activated between 0000 UTC – 0600 UTC from a WWFF reference area, with a view of logging the most number of park hunters.

The following teams took part…….

  1. ‘The Odd Couple’ comprising of husband & wife team Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL – Churchill National Park VKFF-0621
  2. ‘Tassie Devils’ comprising Jonathan VK7JON and his partner Helen VK7FOLK – Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005
  3. ‘Team Pezo’ comprising Peter VK5PET and Steve VK5ZEO – Mount Magnificent Conservation Park VKFF-0916
  4. ‘Team Kookaburra’ comprising Tony VK3XV and Mick VK3PMG – Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958
  5. ‘The Walkie Talkies’ comprising Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ – Monarto Conservation Park VKFF-0828
  6. ‘Special K’s’ comprising of Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR – Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757
  7. ‘The Irresistbles’ comprising of Gary VK1ZZ and John VK4VHY (operating as VK4ZI) – Undara Volcanic National Park VKFF-0506
  8. ‘The Mad Mix’ comprising of Mike VK6MB, Nick VK6FSEA and Jarrad VK6FFAR – Wellington National Park VKFF-0657

A breakdown of contacts for each team is as follows…..

  1. ‘Team Kookaburra’ – 150 contacts
  2. ‘The Walkie Talkies’ – 138 contacts
  3. ‘Tassie Devils’ – 63 contacts
  4. ‘The Odd Couple’  33 contacts
  5. ‘Special K’s’ – 29 contacts
  6. ‘The Mad Mix’ – 26 contacts
  7. ‘Team Pezo’ – 20 contacts
  8. ‘The Irresistbles’ – 7 contacts

Overall winners

The winner of this section was ‘Team Kookaburra’ , Tony VK3XV & Mick VK3PMG, with a total of 150 contacts.  They will each receive a glass etched trophy.

This section is sponsored by a VK3 who wishes to remain anonymous who donated $100.00.


Two ops/single tx/40m & 15m/wire antenna/100 watts or less

The winner of this section was Team ‘The Walkie Talkies’ Paul VK5PAS & Marija VK5FMAZ with a total of 138 contacts.  They will each receive a glass etched trophy.

This section is sponsored by a VK4 and a VK5 who wish to remain anonymous who both donated $50.00 each.



The winner of this section was the Team Special K’s’, Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR.  They will receive a 25 pound store credit from SOTABeams.SOTABEAMS-logo-landscape.jpg


Park to Park

This was shared by Team Kookaburra and The Walkie Talkies, both of whom made a total of 24 Park to Park contacts.  They will share a $50.00 voucher from Pages of Cobram.  Many thanks to Peter VK3FPSR of Pages of Cobram.


VK3PMG P2P.jpg


Participation certificates

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the event.   All activators who took part in the event have been emailed an Activator participation certificate.


WIA presentations in Western Australia

During my recent trip to Western Australia, Andrew VK6AS and I delivered two talks to VK6 amateurs on current Wireless Institute of Ausralia (WIA) issues.

The first being on Saturday afternoon (22nd October 2016) at the Bassendean Seniors and Community Centre, 50 Old Perth Road, Bassendean.  Around 50 amateurs attended the talk.

On Sunday (23rd October 2016) we were asked to attend the Northern Corridor Radio Group’s clubrooms and deliver a talk.  I was fortunate enough to have a tour of their very impressive facilities whilst there.

Thankyou to Andrew VK6AS and his wife Allison for their hospitality during our stay in Western Australia, and thankyou to all the amateurs in VK6 who attended our talks.  It was great to be able to put a face to the call sign of so many amateurs, and field some very important questions on WIA matters.


John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250

Our final activation for Saturday 22nd October 2016 was the John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250, which is located about 24 km east of Perth.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 9.54.22 am.jpg

Above:- Map showing the location of the John Forrest National Park east of Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Again, no problems with us locating the park, as it is very well signposted.

We set up in the southern section of the park, in a little clearing just off the side of the road which passes through the park.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 9.54.13 am.jpg

Above:- Our operating spot in the John Forrest National Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

John Forrest National Park is 26.78 km2 in size and is located in the Darling Scarp, also referred to as the Darling Ranges.  Sadly this park has been impacted by the actions of mankind.  Many of the smaller marsupials located in the park have been decimated by introduced European animals such as foxes and feral cats.  Drought and dieback have affected the jarrah forest within the park, and introduced species of weed are problematic.

All this is rather sad, as John Forrest was the first National Park to be established in Western Australia and is one of the oldest in Australia.  The park was originally declared as a conservation reserve in 1898, and it became John Forrest National Park in 1947, in honour of the famour explorer and statesman, Sir John Forrest, who was Premier of Western Australia between 1890-1901.


Above:- Sir John Forrest.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

There are several trails through the park, including the Railway Heritage Trail, which follows the alignment of the old railway line to York.  Visitors to the park can also walk through the Swan View Tunnel, the only historical railway tunnel in Western Australia.

The park was alive with flower during my visit.

As conditions had been quite good on 20m at Greenmount, Andrew and I decided to start off this activation on the 20m band.  We commenced calling CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Greg VK5GJ who was operating QRP.  Greg was quite low down (5/1) but we were able to hear Greg very well.  Next up was Phil VK6ADF, followed by Bill VK4FW who was portable in the Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510 (5/9 both ways).  Merv VK6LDX then called in, but despite a number of further CQ calls, we had no more takers.

So it was off to 40m where we called CQ on 7.144.  This was answered by Mike VK6MB with a strong 5/9 signal.  At this time Phil VK6ADF arrived at the park and we had a bit of a chat.  Andrew and I were sitting on 5 QSOs and still needed a further 5 to qualify the park for the Australian (VKFF) chapter of World Wide Flora Fauna.  So Phil jumped in his car and drove a few km away and gave us a call.  Number 6 for us, but we were still 4 away from qualifying the park, and our CQ calls on 40m were going unanswered.

So it was back to 20m for us for a last 10 minute dash before we had to pack up and head off to our planned talk.  We tuned to 14.310 and found Rob VK4FFAB operating as VK4SQ in the Deception Bay Conservation Park VKFF-1528.

After working Rob we headed up the band to 14.315 and started calling CQ.  Our first caller was a Croatian station much to our surprise.  It was Sasa 9A3NM with a good 5/7 signal.  Rick VK4RF/VK4HA then followed, as did Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG.  Now we were really pushing for time.  It was just after 2.00 p.m. Western Australia local time, and we had to get to our talk by 2.30 p.m.  And we now had a little pile up going.

Sadly we only had the time to log a further 3 stations.  They being Les VK5KLV, Ozren 9A7W, and finally Chris VK6KRS.  Both Andrew and I apologise sincerely to the other stations that were calling, but we were forced to go QRT as we did not want to be late for our presentation.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB
  2. VK6ADF/p

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK6ADF/m
  3. VK4FW/p (Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510)
  4. VK6LDX
  5. VK4SQ/p (Deception Bay Conservation Park VKFF-1528)
  6. 9A3NM
  7. VK4RF
  8. VK4HA
  9. VK3PMG
  10. VK3GGG
  11. VK7KLV
  12. 9A7W
  13. VK6KRS



Department of Parks and Wildlife, 2014, John Forrest National Park guide.

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Forrest_National_Park&gt;, viewed 25th October 2016

Greenmount National Park VKFF-0218

Our second planned park activation of the day (Saturday 22nd October 2016) was the Greenmount National Park VKFF-0218, which is located about 22 km east of Perth.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Greenmount National Park, east of Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

This time around we had no problems at all in finding the park and a park sign.


Andrew and I set up in the north eastern corner of the park, and just a few metres from the roadway, on a dirt track on the edge of the park.  We were in the process of setting up, when one of the locals joined us and was very interested in what we were up to.  The gentleman remained with us during our entire activation and was fascinated to hear us making contacts around Australia.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 9.52.37 am.jpg

Above:- Map showing out operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Greenmount National Park is 56 hectares in size and is located on the slope of Greenmount Hill, overlooking Perth and the coastal plain.  It is one of the smaller National Parks located along the Darling Scarp.  It is located in close proximity to the John Forest National Park, our next planned park.

The dominant vegetation in the park is eucalypts such as Marri and Wandoo, along with an array of  wild flowers and heathland along the northern slopes. The hill is steep and contain several breakaways and rocky outcrops.

Mountain Quarry is one of a number of blue stone quarries located within the park.  The Mountain Quarry area is used for rock climbing and abseiling.

After setting up we started calling CQ on 7.144 on 40m and our first caller was Carsten VK6PCB who was portable in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284.  It was nice to start off with a Park to Park contact.  Next up was Allen VK6XL who was a very nice 5/9.  But despite a number of CQ calls we had no further takers on 40m.  So it was down with the squid pole and out with the links and off to 20m.

We commenced calling CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Bill VK4FW who was operating portable in the Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510.  Another Park to Park contact in the log, and a very nice 5/8 signal from Bill.  In some parts of the world this would be classed a DX contact.  But here in Australia, this was just another ‘local’ QSO, albeit Park to Park.  In fact, our Park to Park contact was over a distance of 4,000 km, from one side of Australia to the other.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 3.15.26 pm.png

Next in the log was Greg VK5GJ operating QRP from the Adelaide Hills, followed by Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta, and then Nev VK5WG at Crystal Brook.  Signals coming in from the various parts of South Australia were quite good.

Mick VK3PMG then called us.  Mick’s signal was quite low down, and despite calling Mick a few times he did not come back to our call again.  So we continued on, logging Peter VK3PF in Melbourne with 5/1 signal reports being exchanged.   Next up were some of the Western Australian locals, Allen VK6XL, Bob VK6POP, and VK6ARN.

Ian VK5IS then called us with a low but workable 5/1 signal (5/2 received), followed by Carsten VK6PCB in the Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284.

Andrew and I were just about to pack up when Mick VK3PMG called us again, and this time Mick’s signal had come up to a good 5/5, with a 4/2 signal report received from Mick.

Time was marching on, and we still had one more planned park activation prior to our talk.  Andrew and I were happier this time, as we had qualified for park for the VKFF program, having reached the 10 QSO threshold.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6PCB/p (Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284)
  2. VK6XL

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FW/p (Cherbourg Conservation Park VKFF-1510)
  2. VK5GJ
  3. VK5KLV
  4. VK5WG
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK6XL
  7. VK6POP
  8. VK6ARN
  9. VK5IS
  10. VK6PCB/p (Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284)
  11. VK3PMG
  12. VK3GGG



Shire of Mundaring, 2016, <http://www.mundaringtourism.com.au/Lists/All%20Listings/DispForm.aspx?ID=43&gt;, viewed 24th October 2016

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenmount_National_Park&gt;, viewed 24th October 2016

Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284

Last Friday (21st October 2016) I flew over to Perth in Western Australia with my wife Marija and we stayed for 2 nights with Andrew VK6AS and his wife Allison.  Andrew and I had a scheduled talk on WIA issues on Saturday afternoon and this was the reason for the lightning trip over to the west and back within 3 days.

Marija dug in to her frequent flyer points and we upgraded to business class on the flight over, which meant a relaxing one hour in the Qantas Club at Adelaide leading up to the flight, and then a very relaxing 3 hour flight over to Perth enjoying a few Bundies and coke.  Sadly there were a number of controlled burns in the Perth Hills, so there was not much of a view to be enjoyed coming in to Perth.

Andrew picked us up from the airport and drove us back to his home.  After settling in, I had a listen in to the 7.130 DX Net.  Now this is different, being all the way over there in the west.  It is a 3 hour time difference to the east coast of Australia, so the net starts at 5.30 p.m. Western Australia time.  And as Andrew lives in the Perth suburbs, the noise floor is quite high.  So it was a bit of challenge to hear a lot of stations on the Net.  But I did manage to work Roy VK7ROY, Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington New Zealand, and William FO5JV in French Polynesia.  I also had a great chat on 40m with Steve VK6OZ who is planning on going portable in the future.

We all enjoyed a glass or two of red and lasagne for dinner, and Andrew and I then mapped out our day for Saturday.  We decided to active three parks prior to our planned WIA presentation at 2.30 p.m.  They being Lesmurdie Falls National Park, Greenmount National Park, and John Forrest National Park.


Above:- In the shack of Andrew VK6AS, enjoying a glass of red.

On Saturday morning (22nd October 2016), after breakfast and a quick chat with the gang on the F Troop Net on 2m,  Andrew and I headed off at around 9.30 a.m.  Marija and Allison had plans to head out to Fremantle for the day.

Our first park of the day was the Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284, which is situated about 22 km east of Perth.  This was to be a unique park for me as an activator in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 9.51.50 am.jpg

Above:- Map showing the location of the Lesmurdie Falls National Park to the east of Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

It took Andrew and I some time to get into position as everywhere we drove to there were only signs for the Mundy Regional Park.  As it turns out it appears that the 56 hectare area of Lesmurdie National Park still exists and is surrounded by the larger Mundy Regional Park.  We set up just off Falls Road, a little to the north east of the main Lesmurdie Falls carpark.

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 9.51.15 am.jpg

Above:- Map showing our operating spot at the Lesmurdie Falls National Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

It was a beautiful day with the expected top temperature being 30 deg C, and not a cloud in the sky.  During our activation we were visited by a very tame Australian Ringneck Parrot.  In Western Australia these parrots are known as ‘Twenty Eights’.  They are known as Twenty Eights because their contact call is usually rendered as twenty-eight

This was the first time that Andrew had switched on his brand new Yaesu FT-857d, which had only just arrived.  We also used his brand new power supply, and telescopic squid pole and even broke in his newly acquired fold up table from Bunnings.  I had brought over with me, two linked dipoles, and we used the 40/20m combination for this activation.

Sadly after turning on the radio, we experienced strength 8 noise.  We had power lines on the roadway behind us, and as this park is surrounded by houses in the Perth Hills, we suspected we could not get away from the noise unless we walked a few km into the bush.  And this was not going to happen, as Andrew’s power supply is extremely heavy.

After calling CQ for quite some time on 7.144 with no resposne, Allen VK6XL called in and was my first contact from Lesmurdie Falls.  Ian VK6DW then followed with a strong 5/9 signal.  My next caller was Bob VK6POP who was portable in the John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250.  My first ever Park to Park contact from Western Australia….I was very happy.  Unfortunately numerous CQ calls by both Andrew and myself went unanswered.  We suspected others may have been calling us, but due to the very high noise floor on 40m, it was very very difficult to hear callers below the very high noise floor.

We then moved to 14.310 on 20m where I worked Greg VK5GJ in the Adelaide Hills, who was operating QRP, followed by Allen VK6XL, Peter VK3PF and Carsten VK6PCB mobile.  Carsten had arrived at the park a few minutes earlier to say g’day and as we were desperate for callers, he drove a few km away and gave us a call to get us a little closer to the 10 contacts required for the Australian (VKFF) program.

Andrew and I then moved back to 40m where we were only able to make one further contact, and that was with Ben VK6LVI.

Sadly I only had 8 contacts in the log and I had not qualified the park for the Australian (VKFF) chapter of WWFF.  I will have to come back another day.  We were pushed a bit for time, so we decided to pack up and head off to the next park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6XL
  2. VK6DW
  3. VK6POP/p (John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250)
  4. VK6LVI

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK6XL
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK6PCB/m

At the conclusion of the activation I decided to do the 640 metre walk down to the Falls.  Along with the way, I encountered the little guy below, a Southern Brown Bandicoot.  In Western Australia they are sometimes referred to as Quendas.


The park was alive with flowers during my visit.

The walk down to the Falls is an easy and very pretty walk, passing by the Lesmurdie Brook which leads to the Falls.  The Brook originates on the ridge beyond Lesmurdie Road where a number of small streams come together after capturing rainfall run-off and seepage from springs flowing from the groundwater beneath the laterite rock.

In winter after good rains, Lesmurdie Brook rushes through crevices in the orange laterite, then cascades over the exposed granite rocks before tumbling 100 metres over the Darling Scarp.  The face of the falls is of sheer granite formed from weathering and eroding aong vertical fractures within the bedrock.  In the foothills below the falls, Lesmurdie Brook merges with Yule Brook which meanders across the coastal plain to the Canning River.

There are some terrific views of Perth to be enjoyed from the park.





Department of Parks and Wildlife 204-15 Annual Report.

Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park VKFF-1763

A few days ago I discovered that South Australia had two new Conservation Parks, the Kinchina Conservation Park and the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park.  Both are located in the Monarto area, about 60 km east of Adelaide.  So I added the two parks to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) Directory and thanks to Luciano I5FLN, the WWFF Directory Manager, they were added within 24 hours and allocated VKFF reference numbers.  So after morning coffee I headed back home and collected the radio gear and headed out to the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park VKFF-1763.


Above:- Map showing the location of the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park, east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park was gazetted on the 22nd September 2016 and was previously set aside as Crown land.  The park extends about 15 km along the South Eastern Freeway from near Callington to Murray Bridge.  The park is 426 hectares in size, and provides important habitat for more than 60 bird species, five of which are of State conservation significance.

The scrub located within the park is a mixture of plant species from across Australia.  This is due to the extensive planting in the area due to the proposed satellite city of Monarto back in the 1970’s.  The then South Australian Premier, Don Dunstan had proposed that Monarto, or ‘New Murray Town’ would become the site of a satellite city of Adelaide.  However this concept was eventually abandoned.

The park is in close proximity to the newly gazetted Kincina Conservation Park, and also the Monarto Conservation Park and the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park, in relation to Murray Bridge and nearby parks.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I took the Monarto exit from the South Eastern Freeway and then turned left onto Arbon Court.  This is close to the industrial area of Monarto and borders a small part of the park which is located on the northern side of the Freeway.  There is no vehicular access to the park here, but if you chose to do so, you could climb over the barbed wire fence into the park.  I decided to check out some other sections of the park which are dotted along the South Eastern Freeway.

I then headed along White Road, which runs east-west on the northern side of the Freeway.  The park borders the northern side of White Road.  This part of the park has a barbed wire fence, which again is easily scaled, but I found an opening in the fence line with a track leading into the park.


I followed this track for a few hundred metres and then found a clearing amongst the scrub and set up my station.


I was set up in the park by around 1.45 p.m. (0310 UTC), about 10 minutes after my posted time on parksnpeaks.  I headed for 7.144 and started calling CQ, and it took around 5 minutes before I had my first taker.  This was Ken VK3UH who is normally 5/9, but on this occasion was 5/7.  I received a 4/5 from Ken.  This was not a good sign.  I hadn’t checked the propagation figures prior to leaving home, but I suspected that conditions were going to be rated as fair-poor as they have been for some time now.

As it turned out the Solar Flux Index was 93, and the A Index was high at 26, with the K Index being 4. Not good!


And the Hourly Area Prediction chart showed that 80 m was going to be the band for the local VK5 contacts and also into western Victoria.


My second contact was with Dennis VK2HHA in Albury who was also down in signal strength, followed by Marc VK3OHM in Melbourne who was 5/9 plus.  But Marc’s great signal was to be one of only a very select few for this activation.  I worked 14 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, and VK7 with significant fading noted on most signals.  It was really hard going with a lot of unanswered CQ calls.

I then lowered the squid pole and added the links and headed to 3.610 on 80m where I called CQ and this was immediately answered by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula with a 5/7 sign, but with fading noted.  This was followed by a call from Mark VK7FMPR in Tasmania.  I was really surprised to hear from Mark at this time of the day and despite Mark’s signal not being strong, I was still receiving Mark well with a signal report of 5/1 (5/1 returned to me by Mark).  And finally I worked John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills.  John was a good 5/7 signal to Monarto Woodlands.  Col VK5HCF called me a few times and although I was hearing Col quite well (5/7 with QSB), Col was struggling with noise at his end and we were unable to make a valid contact.

I then headed back to 7.144 on 40m and called CQ again and this was answered by Scott VK7NWT with a good strong 5/8 signal, followed by Wayne VK2PDW mobile in Wagga with a nice 5/7 signal.  I worked a further 4 stations from VK2, VK3, and VK7.  This included a Park to Park contact with Grant VK2GEL who was portable in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park VKFF-0272.  This was a pleasant surprise.

I then gave 20m a try, but sadly I was only able to log 2 stations.  They being Robert VK2XXM and Ray VK4NH.  A large amount of fading (QSB) was noted on the 20m band as well.

I took a break and went for a short walk through the park, trying out my luck with some bird photography.  The park was alive with Red Wattlebirds, but they were quite hard to capture as they were regularly darting from tree to tree in the park.

As this is National Bird Week, I have a special QSL card on offer for this activation at Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park.  If you would like this special issue card, please send me your QSL card and I will return a card to you.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 10.35.26 pm.png

I returned to the radio and called CQ again on 7.144 and this was answered by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, followed by Jim VK4OK.  Jim’s signal was very very low and it took a number of attempts for me to copy Jim’s call sign and to have a valid signal report exchange (3/1 sent and 5/3 received).  Alan VK3FALN then called but unfortunately Alan’s audio was breaking up quite a bit.  Alan gave me a 5/7 signal report, but sadly we were unable to complete the contact as Alan completely faded away just as he was about to give me a signal report.  The band had changed dramatically, very quickly.  I then worked Andrew VK7DW and John VK4TJ.

John and I were curious to see whether our signals may be stronger on 20m, so after a quick lowering of the squid pole, and removal of the links in the dipole, I headed to 14.310.  John was one S point stronger on 20m (5/7), but very deep fading (QSB) was present and this made it quite hard at times.  Two more Queensland stations were logged on 20m.  The first being Steve VK4KUS at Hervey Bay with a nice 5/8 signal, and then Bill VK4FW who was 5/9.

It was at this time that Nigel VK5NIG gave me a call to advise that he was at Meadows, and was keen to call in to my home QTH for a coffee.  I informed Nigel I was up at Monarto in a park, and he agreed that he would come up for a drive to say g’day.  I then took another break from the radio and went for a further walk in the park, waiting for Nigel to arrive.  It was a good opportunity to explore the park.

Just before Nigel arrived I called CQ again in 7.144 and Peter VK3PF gave me a shout, using one of his other call signs, VK3KAI, to help me out towards my 44 required QSOs to qualify the park for WWFF.  Thanks Peter.  Tex VK1TX then called in with a beautiful 5/9 signal, followed by Ian VK1DI, and then Bill VK4FW.  But that was the limit of callers.  It did however offer an opportunity for me to have a chin wag with Nigel.

About 30 minutes later I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and then headed to 14.310 on 20m.  There were German speaking stations on 14.307 so I went  little higher to 14.311 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Hans VK6XN who has just commenced as a park hunter.  Next up was my first DX, Luciano I5FLN in Italy with a good 5/9 signal, followed by Dario IT9ZZO and then Jaroslav OK2TS in the Czech Republic.  I went on to work a further 15 stations from Italy, Slovenia, Germany, France, Hungary, Russia, and the Czech Republic.

So after a slow start I had a total of 60 contacts in the log and a unique park for me to add to my activator tally for both the WWFF program and the VK5 Parks Award.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3UH
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3OHM
  4. VK3GGG
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK3MCK
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK3FCMC
  9. VK3VBI
  10. VK7LTD
  11. VK2IO
  12. VK4AAC/3
  13. VK7FRJG
  14. VK3PR
  15. VK7NWT
  16. VK2PDW/m
  17. VK2XXM
  18. VK2GEL/p (Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park VKFF-0272)
  19. VK7EE
  20. VK3DQ
  21. VK4RF
  22. VK4HA
  23. VK4OK
  24. VK7DW
  25. VK4TJ
  26. VK3KAI
  27. VK1TX
  28. VK2KJJ
  29. VK1DI
  30. VK4FW

The following stations were worked on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK7FMPR
  3. VK5BJE

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2XXM
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK4TJ
  4. AC8WN/VK4
  5. VE6XT/VK4
  6. VK4KUS
  7. VK4FW
  8. VK6XN
  9. I5FLN
  10. IT9ZZO
  11. OK2TS
  12. IK2VUC
  13. IK1GPG
  14. S52KM
  15. DK0EE
  16. F1BLL
  17. HA6OB
  18. IZ1UKF
  19. IK2ZJN
  20. IW2NXI
  21. IK8FIQ
  22. RA3QK
  23. IZ5JMZ
  24. IV3DSF
  25. OK7WA
  26. DJ8QP

Thankyou to the following for spotting me on parksnpeaks and the DX Cluster:

  • Marc VK3OHM
  • Mick VK3GGG
  • Ken VK3UH
  • Peter VK3PF
  • Adrian VK5FANA
  • Robert VK2XXM
  • Ray VK4NH
  • Bill VK4FW
  • Luciano I5FLN
  • Hans VK6XN
  • Lou IV3DSG
  • Renzo IK2ZJN
  • Giovanni IZ5JMZ

Spotting really does make a difference, and even more so when conditions are poor as they were today.  So thanks again to everyone who took the time to spot me.

After packing up I headed east along White Road.  The park finishes a few hundred metres up the road, with the Ingham chicken farm very noticeable.  The park then recommences and concludes a few km up the road close to Murray Bridge.


I then took the Old Princes Highway back to Callington.  This took me passed the southern boundary of the Monarto Zoological Open Plains Zoo.  This is the largest open plains zoo in the world.


I then drove in to Monarto, which nowadays consists of a church, a hall and farm houses.  Monarto South is located about 3 km to the south of Monarto and this comprises a few farmhouses, the Adelaide-Melbourne rail line, and silos.

Prior to heading to the park I had read on the internet of the Monarto Woodlands and Browns Road at Monarto, and that this appeared to be a popular spot for birdwatchers.  However that section of scrub did not show up on Location SA Map Viewer as being part of the park.  I headed to the corner of Old Princes Highway, Browns Road, Highland Road, and Thomas Crescent.  There are two large portions of scrub situated at this corner.  The first being bordered by Browns Road and Highland Road to the north of Old Princes Hwy, and the second section of scrub on the eastern side of Thomas Crescent, south of the Old Princes Hwy.   They both have the same ‘Monarto Woodlands’ sign as the scrub on White Road, but for whatever reason are not showing up as part of the park.  I will make some enquiries with the Department Environment Water & Natural Resources to find out why.

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 10.24.45 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the Monarto Woodlands CP, and the 2 sections of scrub that appear not to be part of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.


Government of South Australia, 2016, <http://www.premier.sa.gov.au/index.php/ian-hunters-news-releases/1188-two-new-conservation-parks-for-sa&gt;, viewed 19th October 2016

Morning tea catch up

This morning (Wednesday 19th October 2016) I headed over to Stirling for a prearranged coffee morning with a number of other VK5 amateurs.  This was the second such morning that I have organised in recent times.  Its all about amateurs with an interest in operating portable, getting together for a chat.  We had breakfast and coffee at Tranquillo at Stirling.

Attendees were:-

  1. Tony VK5MRT
  2. Peter VK5PM
  3. Lesley VK5LOL
  4. Hans VK5YX
  5. Grant VK5GR
  6. Rob VK5FRSM
  7. Rod VK5VRB

Screen Shot 2016-10-19 at 8.44.22 PM.png

A proposed new National Park in SA

Over the weekend my wife Marija came across a story re a proposed new National Park for South Australia.  South Australian Opposition Leader Steven Marshall has anncounced an election commitment to create a 1500 hectare National Park called Glenthorne, in the southern suburbs of Adelaide.

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 5.18.36 pm.png

If Glenthorne was to be established, it would be Adelaide’s second metropolitan National Park.  The National Park would include: Glenthorne Farm; O’Halloran Hill Recreation Park; Marino Conservation Park; Hallett Cove Conservation Park; Happy Valley Reservoir and the Field River valley. This is a total area of more than 1,500 hectares, which is bigger than Belair National Park.

More information can be found at……


2016 VKFF Team Championship and Monarto CP VKFF-0828

Today (Sunday 16th October 2016) was the inaugural VKFF Team Championship.   The idea of the Team Championship is to create a team of 2-4 people and head out into a park which qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and make as many contacts as possible between 0000 UTC-0600 UTC.

This year the following teams took part:

  • The Odd Couple‘ – Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP
  • ‘The Walkie Talkies‘ – Paul VK5PAS & Marija VK5FMAZ
  • Team Pezo‘ – Peter VK5PET and Steve VK5ZEO
  • The Mad Mix‘ – Mike VK6MB, Nick VK6FSEA and Jarrad VK6FFAR
  • Team Kookaburra‘ – Mick VK3PMG and Tony VK3XV
  • ‘Tassie Devils’ – Jonathan VK6JON/7 and Helen VK7FOLK
  • ‘Special K’s’ – Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR
  • ‘The Irresistibles’ – Gary VK1ZZ and John VK4VHY

I also wish to thank a number of sponsors who offered prizes and money towards the event.  They included:

  • Pages of Cobram
  • SOTABeams
  • and a few amateurs who provided money towards trophies who wished to remain anonymous.

The weather in Adelaide on Friday and Saturday had been nice and sunny, but sure enough, the cold front moved in on Saturday night, and by Sunday morning there were persistent showers.


Marija and I were aware that the weather was going to turn nasty, so we had chosen to activate Monarto Conservation Park (CP) VKFF-0828, as it is on the eastern side of the Mount Lofty Ranges (Adelaide Hills), and we suspected there might be less shower activity there.  Monarto CP is about 30 km east of our home QTH in the Adelaide Hills, and around 60 km east of Adelaide.

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 11.24.01 am.jpg

Above:- Map showing the location of the Monarto Conservation Park east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Monarto Conservation Park was established on 15th September 1983 and is 240 hectares in size.  Prior to being gazetted as a Conservation Park, Monarto was known as Braendler’s Scrub.  The consists of thick mallee woodland and dry heathland and is one of the few pieces of remnant Mallee vegetation close to Adelaide.  The park comprises sand ridges forming part of the Murray Plains.  The park is home to the endangered Mallee fowl, along with a variety of other wildlife including the Western Grey Kangaroo, and at least two species of Marsupial Mouse.  There are also numerous bat species.  More than 100 species of birds have been documented in the park.


Above:- Map showing the location of the park with respect to Murray Bridge, the Murray River, the Monarto Zoo, & the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The nearby ‘town’ of Monarto was once earmarked as a satellite city to Adelaide, by the then Premier, Don Dunstan, back in the 1970’s.  However for a variety of reasons this never eventuated.  Today Monarto is a farming district, and it is adjacent to the main Adelaide-Melbourne railway line.  You can easily see the silos at Monarto from the park.  Bi W also has a large distribution centre at Monarto.

I found the  promotional video below for the new city, dating back to the 1970’s.  It’s very interesting to watch to see what was planned.

The locality of Monarto was originally a private subdivision of section 210 of the Hundred of Monarto, from which it took its name, the hundred having been gazetted in 1847.  The name of the undred was after an aboriginal woman known as ‘Queen Monarto’ who lived in the area at the time of its proclomation.  The township was laid out in 1908.


Above:- A view of Monarto from the northern side of the park.

The Monarto Zoological Park is located nearby and this comprised a 1,500 hectare (3,700 acre) open range zoo.  It is in fact the largest open plains zoo in the southern hemisphere and features a variety of animals including cheetah, rhinoceros, giraffe, chimpanzee, Meerkat, and Zebra.

We headed to our normal operating spot, the north eastern corner of the park, where this is a carpark.  As it was a wet and windy morning we positioned the Toyota Hi Lux so it was facing north-south with the awning facing the west, away from the incoming rain and wind.  For the activation we ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 10 watts, and a 40m/20m linked dipole (although we only used 40m).

Screen Shot 2016-10-10 at 11.25.29 am.jpg

Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating position in the north eastern corner of the park.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

This is the only access point to the park.  The southern, northern and western sides of the park adjoin cleared farming land.  Although there is no sign on the road advising you of the existence of the park, there is a park sign at the entry point.

The weather at the start of the activation was terrible, and as a result we could not operate from outside of the vehicle.  The rain was just too constant and too heavy.  So the first hour was spent in the drivers seat of the Toyota Hi Lux, with the Yaesu FT-857d on the front passenger seat.

I started off the activation and logged 10 contacts, with the first QSO being with Steve VK5ZEO at the Mount Magnificent Conservation Park, VKFF-0916.  Steve was with Peter VK5PET and they were taking part in the Team Championship as Team Pezo.  My sixth contact was with VK3CUB, taking part in the Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), and I had a good chat with cubs, Byron and Ben.

After logging the first 10 QSOs, Marija then took control of the mic and Marija’s first contact was with Les VK5KLV who was operating portable in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757.  This was followed by Peter VK5KPR who was operating with Les as Team Special K’s.  Marija logged a total of 33 stations before we swapped ‘drivers’ again.

Marija’s contacts included 7 Park to Park contacts and one SOTA contact.  This included QSOs with Nick VK6FSEA/p and Jarrad VK6FFAR taking part in the championships as The Mad Mix in the Wellington National Park VKFF-0657, and Joe & Julie VK3SRC (VK3YSP & VK3FOWL) operating portable in the Churchill National Park VKFF-0621, as ‘The Odd Couple’.  Other portable contacts by Marija included Peter VK3YE who was operating from Chelsea Beach, Ian VK1DI/p at Bullen Range Nature Reserve VKFF-0984 and SOTA peak Bullen Range VK1/ AC-033, and Gerard VK2IO/p in the Tuggerah State Conservation Area VKFF-1383 (the first time this reference has been activated).


The showers cleared and this gave us some time to erect the awning and I then took over the mic.  First up was regular park hunter Dennis VK2HHA, followed by Steve VK3FSPG and then Nick VK3ANL.  I then logged Jonathan VK7JON and his partner Helen who were in the Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005 taking part in the Team Championship as the ‘Tassie Devils’.  This was followed by a call from VK5SAG, with Patrick VK5MPJ at the mic.  I had a chat with Scout Sam, and his sister Rachael.

Next up was Neil VK4HNS/p who was in the Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121.  Although not very strong (5/3), Neil was perfectly readable as there was no man made noise on the band in the park.  Half a dozen QSOs later I spoke with Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757.  Before handing over the mic to Marija I also logged Ian VK1DI who was in the Bullen Range Nature Reserve VKFF-0984 & on SOTA peak Bullen Range VK1/ AC-033.  I was also called by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG and Tony VK3XV operating as ‘Team Kookaburra‘ in the Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958.  And it was also great to be able to speak with Gerard VK2IO in the Tuggerah State Conservation Area VKFF-1383.  I had heard Gerard speak with Marija earlier and I had heard this was a unique park, so I was very pleased when Gerard called.

After logging a total of 29 contacts it was time to hand the mic back to Marija, whilst I took the opportunity of having a walk through the park.  Marija’s first caller was Andrew VK1AD in Canberra, followed by Mike VK2IF, Col VK3LED, and then Tony VK3XV in the Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958.  A few QSOs later Marija was called by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG who was with Tony in the Ararat Hills Regional Park.

Marija logged a total of 23 stations and this included Park to Park contacts with Jonathan and Helen VK7FOLK in the Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005.

I have been to Monarto CP a number of times previously but I had never walked the trail through the park, so this was a great opportunity of doing so whilst Marija was on air.

The park was alive with colour during our visit with many of the native plants in flower.

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It was now 2.40 p.m. local time (0410 UTC) and we had a little under 2 hours to go before the closing time of 0600 UTC.  Marija took a break and I again called CQ on 7.095 and I logged a total of 22 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK7.  We swapped the mic again and Marija logged 9 stations including a SOTA contact with David VK2CDS who was portable on SOTA peak VK2/ HU-080.

It was now 4.00 p.m. local time (0530 UTC) and we now had just 30 minutes left in the championship.  I jumped back on the mic and logged 7 stations from VK2 and VK3, with Marija finishing up the last 10 minutes with a further 4 stations logged from VK3 and VK4.

It was the conclusion of a fun but very wet day, with a total of 138 contacts in the log. This included 23 Park to Park contacts. Marija made 70 contacts and I made 68 contacts.  So despite band conditions being quite poor at times, we were very happy.

I worked the following stations  on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5ZEO/p (Mount Magnificent Conservation Park VKFF-0916)
  2. VK3SAY
  3. VK2VU
  4. VK3FLAK
  5. VK3FQSO
  6. VK3CUB
  7. VK3FRSM
  8. VK3FMPB
  9. VK3MCD
  10. VK3FRAB
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK3FSPG
  13. VK3ANL
  14. VK7JON/p (Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005)
  15. VK7FOLK/p (Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005)
  16. VK5SAG
  17. VK4HNS/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  18. VK7FMPR
  19. VK3PF
  20. VK4AAC/3
  21. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  22. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  23. VK5TT
  24. VK1DI/p (Bullen Range Nature Reserve VKFF-0984 & Bullen Range VK1/ AC-033)
  25. VK5SA
  26. VK3FCMC
  27. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  28. VK3GGG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  29. VK3AMX
  30. VK7NWT
  31. VK7QP
  32. VK1AT
  33. VK2FENG
  34. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  35. VK3NBL
  36. VK3SQ
  37. VK3AFW/m
  38. VK3FOTO/m
  39. VK2IO/p (Tuggerah State Conservation Area VKFF-1383)
  40. VK2GQR
  41. VK3QA
  42. VK1WX/2
  43. VK1WI
  44. VK1ACA
  45. VK3IRM
  46. VK3GRW
  47. VK2FJTA
  48. VK3MRH
  49. VK3OY
  50. VK3UH
  51. VK3CAH
  52. VK3FRJD
  53. VK7FRJG
  54. VK2FOUZ
  55. VK3PAT
  56. VK2YK
  57. VK2KYO
  58. VK3SL
  59. VK3ALA
  60. VK2PKT
  61. VK2LEE
  62. VK2GKA/p
  63. VK2GAZ
  64. VK3FADM
  65. VK3YB
  66. VK3CBV
  67. VK3YYR
  68. VK3FT

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  2. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  3. VK3UH
  4. VK3IRM
  5. VK3FRAB
  6. VK3FQSO
  7. VK6FSEA/p (Wellington National Park VKFF-0657)
  8. VK3SRA
  9. VK6FFAR/p (Wellington National Park VKFF-0657)
  10. VK3YE/p
  11. VK5ARC
  12. VK7QP
  13. VK3FLAK
  14. VK3XCO
  15. VK5FANA
  16. VK7FPRN
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK5KR
  19. VK5YA
  20. VK2FENG
  21. VK4AAC/3
  22. VK1MA
  23. VK2YK
  24. VK7FRJG
  25. VK5MBD
  26. VK3SIM
  27. VK3SRC (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  28. VK3FOWL/p (Churchill National Park VKFF-0621)
  29. VK1DI/p (Bullen Range Nature Reserve VKFF-0984 & Bullen Range VK1/ AC-033)
  30. VK2IO/p (Tuggerah State Conservation Area VKFF-1383)
  31. VK3HY/m
  32. VK5CZ
  33. VK2KYO
  34. VK3FSPG
  35. VK1AD
  36. VK1NAM
  37. VK2IG
  38. VK3LED
  39. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  40. VK5LSB
  41. VK3KMH
  42. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  43. VK3GGG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  44. VK3FCMC
  45. VK3OHM
  46. VK2LX
  47. VK3KYF
  48. VK7CW
  49. VK3MRH
  50. VK5APV
  51. VK7JON/p (Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005)
  52. VK3RU
  53. VK5WG
  54. VK3IRM
  55. VK3FEMY
  56. VK3ZLP/m
  57. VK7FOLK/p (Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005)
  58. VK3LHB
  59. VK2CDS/p (SOTA VK2/ HU-080)
  60. VK2UH
  61. VK5FRSM
  62. VK3PF
  63. VK2FOUZ
  64. VK3PAT
  65. VK2NNN
  66. VK3FADM
  67. VK3FT
  68. VK3FORD
  69. VK3ERW
  70. VK4MDZ


Birds SA, 2016, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/monarto-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 16th October 2016