Yesterday (Thursday 4th May 2017) I had a day off work and spent the vast majority of the day bogged down behind the computer in a sea of emails. So around 3.00 p.m. I decided I had endured enough paperwork and decided to head out to the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754 and operate for a few hours using the special call of VK5WOW. Totness is located about 35 km east of Adelaide in the ‘Adelaide Hills’ Mount Lofty Ranges.
VK5WOW is one of the special calls being used to celebrate the upcoming Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) & Convention in Hahndorf in a few weeks time. Contacts with VK5WOW count towards the AGM & Convention Award. More details can be found at…..
Totness is just a short drive from my home QTH, around 2.5km.
The park is also a short distance, ‘as far as the crow flies’ from Hahndorf, the venue for the 2017 WIA AGM & Convention.
As the park is close to my home, I have activated it many times previously. It has a very interesting history which I have covered in previous posts which can be located at…..
I headed to my normal operating position in the park, which is just off Haines Fire Track. This is in the southern section of the park.
I was all set up and ready to go by just after 0600 UTC (3.30 p.m. South Australian local time). As it was a sunny day I walked a little further into the park from the gate, to an area which had sunshine, and set up the solar panels. I ran my normal portable set up for this activation, comprising the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.
I headed to my nominating operating frequency of 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use, and this was answered by Bill VK4FW and John VK5BJE. I didn’t even get the opportunity of calling CQ. This is quite common nowadays when activating parks, with eager park hunters waiting for you when you’ve announced you are going to be in a park at a particular time on a particular frequency. So of course, Bill and John become number 1 and number 2 in the log.
It didn’t take long for a mini pile up to ensure, even though it was a weekday afternoon. Contact number 44 came in just 38 minutes and that was with regular park hunter VK4RF/VK4HA. I worked a total of 55 stations on 40m from VK2, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.
I then moved over to the 20m band and called CQ on 14.310. This was answered by Bill VK4FW, followed by Steve VK4QQ, Mark VK4SMA, and then Rick VK4RF/VK4HA. Sadly there was very little long path propagation into Europe, with just one European station logged, Michael DL8DSL. Michael had a good 5/7 signal into Totness, with my signal being 5/2 into Germany. I heard my good friend Marnix OP7M calling from Belgium, along with F4GYG in France, but their signals were very very low. And sadly they were unable to hear me. My only other DX logged on 20m was with Kazu JL1ELQ in Japan. Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs was the strongest station worked on 20m, being 5/9 +.
So with 11 stations logged on 20m from VK4, VK6, VK8, Germany, and Japan, I headed back to the 40m band. The band had become very busy and I could not get back on to 7.144, so I called CQ on 7.142. This was answered by my lovely wife Marija VK5FMAZ who was 5/9 +++, as you would expect, being just 2.5 km away. This was followed by Greg VK4VXX/2 who was portable in the Welford National Park VKFF-0527. This was to be my only Park to Park contact during this activation.
I logged a total of 21 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6 and New Zealand. But unfortunately I started to experience strong QRM from some USA stations on 7.140, which was compounded by OZ8BV who came onto the frequency and started calling CQ. So after working Gavin ZL1TBA in Taupo, I moved up to 7.144 which had become clear where I worked a further 7 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and New Zealand. This included Alan ZL3II in Christchurch who had a strong 5/9 + signal.
It was now 6.00 p.m. local time and almost completely dark. The temperature had dropped to just 7 deg C, and I had rugged up with my beanie and jacket, and donned the head torch. I lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band and headed to 3.610 where I called CQ. John VK5BJE was there waiting for me, with a lovely 5/9 + signal from Scott Creek in the Adelaide Hills. This was followed by Ivan VK5HS in Renmark in the Riverland region of South Australia, with a huge signal.
I logged a total of 24 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5. The band was in great shape, but sadly there were not a lot of callers, despite John VK5BJE doing his best to drum up business for me on parksnpeaks and Facebook.
I headed back to 40m hoping to get some North American stations in the log, but I was to be sadly disappointed. I only logged 2 stations, Glen VK4FARR in Ipswich Queensland, and Roy ZL4HSV at Wanganui on the North Island of New Zealand. I now had 120 contacts in the log, and it had not got any warmer. The temperature had now dropped to 5 deg C.
I moved back to 80m for one last crack before going QRT. I logged an additional 10 stations from VK3, VK5, VK7, and VK8. This included my wife Marija VK5FMAZ, and my good mate Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs. My last contact for the activation was with John VK5NJ in Mount Gambier in the South East of South Australia.
With a total of 130 contacts in the log it was time to head home for some dinner. Hopefully I helped a few hams in their endeavour to qualify for the WIA AGM & Convention Award. I have now used the VK5WOW call more times than I have logged the call.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK4VXX/2 (Welford National Park VKFF-0527)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-