2017 CQ World Wide DX Contest

Over the weekend just gone (Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October 2017) the CQ World Wide DX Contest was held.  This is one of the biggest DX contests on the worldwide amateur radio calendar.  The objective is for amateurs around the world to contact as many other amateurs in as many CQ zones and countries as possible.

CQ WW logo_8.jpg

The world is divided into 40 different CQ zones (see map below).  South Australia (VK5) is located in zone 30.


I headed to the shack on each opportunity over the weekend to take part in the contest.  I had a family function on the Sunday which saw me out of action for a good part of the day, and I didn’t make it an all nighter, nor did I get up early each morning (as I planned).   I was hoping to get up in the middle of the night and very early in the morning, but this didn’t eventuate.  The warmth of the bed won.

But in the end I made a total of 377 QSOs over the weekend, with a claimed score of 201,552 points.  No-where near as good as the dedicated contesters in Australia, but a lot of fun none the less.

I worked a total of 75 different countries (DXCC entities).  So much for people saying the bands are dead.  Contests certainly seem to bring the bands alive.

  • 10 metres – 2 different countries
  • 15 metres – 57 different countries
  • 20 metres – 57 different countries
  • 40 metres – 19 different countries

The graph below shows the number of countries worked on each band.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 10.07.44 pm.png

Countries worked:-

  1. Antarctica
  2. Argentina
  3. Australia
  4. Austria
  5. Belarus
  6. Belgium
  7. Belize
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Cambodia
  10. Canada
  11. Canary Islands
  12. Chile
  13. China
  14. Cocos-Keeling Island
  15. Colombia
  16. Costa Rica
  17. Croatia
  18. Curacao
  19. Cyprus
  20. Czech Republic
  21. Denmark
  22. Dominican Republic
  23. Ecuador
  24. England
  25. Estonia
  26. Finland
  27. France
  28. Georgia
  29. Germany
  30. Greece
  31. Hong Kong
  32. Hungary
  33. India
  34. Indonesia
  35. Ireland
  36. Italy
  37. Jamaica
  38. Japan
  39. Kazakhstan
  40. Kuwait
  41. Latvia
  42. Lithuania
  43. Luxembourg
  44. Maderia Island
  45. Mexico
  46. Moldova
  47. Mongolia
  48. Morocco
  49. Netherlands
  50. New Caledonia
  51. New Zealand
  52. Oman
  53. Palau
  54. Paraguay
  55. Philippines
  56. Poland
  57. Portugal
  58. Qatar
  59. Romania
  60. Russia (Asiatic)
  61. Russia (Europe)
  62. Serbia
  63. Singapore
  64. Slovak Republic
  65. Slovenia
  66. Spain
  67. Sri Lanka
  68. Sweden
  69. Taiwan
  70. Thailand
  71. Tonga
  72. Turkey
  73. Ukraine
  74. United Arab Emirates
  75. United States of America

I spent most of the contest scanning the bands and picking up stations who were calling CQ.  I only spent a short time calling CQ myself.  It was almost impossible on 20m as the band was so crowded and my 100 watt signal was being drowned out by some stations in Europe running a lot of power.

My first contact in the contest was with JI2ZEY in Japan on 20m.  And my last was with VE7RAC in Canada on 15m.  My contact with VE7RAC was in the last minute of the contest and just got me over the 200,000 point mark.

Most of my contacts were made on the 15m band, followed by 20m, then 140m, and then 10m.

  • 10 metres – 55 QSOs (2 zones)
  • 15 metres – 153 QSOs (23 zones)
  • 20 metres – 113 QSOs (26 zones)
  • 40 metres – 56 QSOs (18 zones)

The graph below shows the number of QSOs on each band.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 9.39.00 pm.png

Best DX worked during the contest:-

  • RI1ANC, Antartica.
  • VK9CZ Cocos Keeling Island
  • XU7AJA Cambodia
  • PJ2T Curacao

I also picked up a fe new countries for particular bands.

Below is a map showing my contacts during the contest (courtesy of QSOMAP.org) across all 4 bands – 10, 15, 20, & 40m.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 5.58.04 pm.png

Above:- Map showing QSOs made during the contest

I made a significant number of contacts into Europe & the United Kingdom on 20m long path and 15m short path during the contest.  The 15m band was again a real surprise, with openings on both days in the late afternoon/early evening into Europe on the short path.  Signals were quite good.  Not as strong as 4-5 years ago, but still pretty good.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.01.17 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts made into Europe & the UK

I didn’t make a huge number of contacts into the United States of America, as most of the North American activity I heard was on the 40m band, where I have a very average antenna for DX.  However I did log some of the big USA guns on 40m, and worked a little bit of USA on 15m during Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.02.44 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts into the USA

I was also really pleased to work some South American, Central American & Caribbean stations during the contest.  Countries worked in that part of the world were:-

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Curacao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Paraguay
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.03.59 pm.png

Above:- Map showing South American  Central American QSOs

The 15m band proved quite reliable for contacts into Asia during the contest.  And late on Saturday morning I made a number of contacts into Japan on the 10m band.  Mongolia (JT5DX) along with Cambodia (XU7AJA) was the most interesting DX worked from that part of the world.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.03.45 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts into Asia.

I didn’t hear a huge amount of activity out of Africa during the contest, albeit that I did not get up into the wee hours of the night to listen for Africa on the short path.  There were three stations from Morocco with huge signals who I logged.  On Saturday afternoon I heard 5H3EE in Tanzania, but he was tied up with a big pile up from Europe.  It was a shame as he was a good 5/7 signal on the long path.  I also heard FR5DN from Reunion Island on 40m on Sunday evening, but he was not calling CQ, but moving across the band working other stations.

This is a fun contest and a real opportunity of picking up some new countries for your log.

Coorong National Park 5NP-005 and VKFF-0115

Every year in October, National Bird Week is held in Australia.  This year is the 4th year the event has been held.  The celebration of National Bird Week has its origins back in the early 1900s when 28th October was first designated by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, as the first ‘Bird Day’.  BirdLife Australia organises and promotes Bird Week with the goal of inspiring Australians to take action and get involved in bird conservation efforts.

So last Friday (27th October 2017) I headed down to the Coorong National Park 5NP-005 & VKFF-0015 to do a bit of bird watching, and of course playing radio.


The Coorong National Park is located about 150 km south east of Adelaide.  It was to be roughly a 200 km round trip for me (see map below).  I have activated and qualified the park previously for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.41.53 pm.png

Above:- Map showing my route for the day.  Courtesy of plotaroute.

There are a few ways for me to get to the Coorong.  Rather than travelling down the South Eastern Freeway I drove down through Woodchester and on to the wine growing region of Langhorne Creek via Wellington Road.  The Langhorne Creek region is traditionally a red wine growing district, well known for production of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

I continued on until I reached the little town of Wellington on the banks of the mighty Murray River.  It is located just upstream from where the Murray empties into Lake Alexandrina.  The town which dates back to 1840 was named after the Duke of Wellington.  It was the original crossing of the River Murray for people, livestock and foods travelling overland between Adelaide and Melbourne, until the bridge at Murray Bridge was built in 1879.  During the gold boom of 1852-1853, most of the gold escorted by the South Australian Police from the Victorian gold rushes, crossed the Murray at Wellington.

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I crossed the ferry at Wellington, over the Murray, and I then travelled south along the Princes Highway and took the turn off to Narrung, travelling along the Potalloch Road, enjoying some great views of Lake Alexandrina.


As I travelled along the Potalloch Road my attention was drawn to a pair of crows who were chasing a Whistling Kite.  I was fortunate to catch some nice shots of the Kite.

I passed the Point Malcolm lighthouse which is Australia’s only inland light station and the nation’s smallest lighthouse.  It operated between 1878 and 1931 to mark the narrow passage between Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.

I crossed the ferry at ‘The Narrows’ and entered the little town of Narrung.  Don’t blink, because you’re likely to miss the town.  There is not much here.


The word Narrung is derived from the aboriginal word ‘Ngnara-rung’ meaning ‘place of large sheoaks’.

I then travelled south on the Narrung Road, stopping every now and again for a few photo opportunities.

DSC_8613 (1).jpg

The sand dunes of the Coorong National Park soon came into view.  The Coorong is a 130 km long stretch of saltwater lagoons protected from the Southern Ocean by the sweeping sane dunes.  Over 230 species of bird have been recorded in the park.

First up I headed to Long Point to take a few more photographs and then headed to Long Point which is about 26 km west of the town of Meningie.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.31.34 pm.png

Above:- Aerial view showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

It was a hot 31 deg C day and extremely windy.  So windy that I could not roll out the awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  So I bathed myself in sunscreen and huddled as close to the side of the vehicle as possible.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  My power output was 40 watts.

First in the log was Nik VK3NLK/p who was in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747.  It was a great way to start the activation.  BUT my luck was to run out in a big way!  The band conditions on 40m seemed to be down significantly, with signals from Victoria being quite low compared to usual.

I logged a total of 27 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, before decided to have a listen on the 20m band.  Everything started out fine there, with my first contact being UR5MW in the Ukraine.  This was followed by Hans VK6XN in Western Australia.  Towards the end of my QSO with Hans, a huge amount of noise suddenly came up on the transceiver…..S9 plus.  This did not sound like propagation.  And upon touching the radio I received a static electric shock.  Now I was worried.

The noise was across all bands and each time I touched the casing of the radio I received a zap.  So I turned the radio off and then back on, but it powered itself off after a few seconds.

So this was a very abrupt end to my activation of the Coorong.  Not great timing, with my planned trip away to Victoria and New South Wales next weekend.

And the news gets worse.  I dropped the radio off to a friend who is a radio tech, only to be advised that the repairs will need to be carried out in Victoria.


I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NLK/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3PAT
  5. VK2YMU
  6. VK7JON
  7. VK3ZPF
  8. VK2HFP
  9. VK3UH
  10. VK2WWV
  11. VK3ZVX
  12. VK3GH
  13. VK3ZD
  14. VK3MRH
  15. VK7ABY
  16. VK7FRJG
  17. VK5MR
  18. VK2SK
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK4TJ
  21. VK3BU
  22. VK3CU
  23. VK7VZ/2
  24. VK7DX
  25. VK3PWG
  26. VK7DW
  27. VK3NBL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. UR5MW
  2. VK6XN

I was very dejected at the end of this activation, but did manage some good bird shots during my trip, which you can view below.

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Birdlife Australia, 2017, <http://birdlife.org.au/get-involved/whats-on/bird-week>, viewed 30th October 2017

Cockburn; R, 2002, ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?’

Discover Murray Mallee, 2017, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/paddleboats/river-boat-trail-point-malcolm/>, viewed 30th October 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Limestone_Coast/coorong-national-park>, viewed 30th October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th October 2017

Monarto Woodlands and the 2017 VKFF Team Championship

Today (Sunday 22nd October 2017) was the 2017 VKFF Team Championship was held.  This is the second year that the event has been held.  The VKFF Team Championship is all about promoting the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program down here in Australia.  Over a 6 hour period (0000 UTC-0600 UTC) teams of amateurs compete against each other, with the goal of obtaining the most number of contacts, whilst operating from a qualifying VKFF park.  This year I was fortunate in receiving some cash donations towards trophies and I also secured some commercial sponsorship.  I would like to personally thank SOTABEAMS in the UK, and Pages of Cobram for their sponsorship of this year’s event.

The team name for Marija and I for the day was ‘The Walky Talkies’.

More information on the VKFF Team Championship can be found at……


Marija and I had planned to activate the Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills, but sadly the weather was not what the forecast said it was going to be when we awoke this morning.  It was drizzling with rain, and as vehicular access was not possible in Scott Creek, we decided to head east to activate the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park 5CP-276 & VKF-1763.  Vehicular access is permissable in Monarto Woodlands, which meant we could extend out the annex/awning on the Toyota Hil Lux.

The park is located about 60 km east of Adelaide, and about 30 km east of our home QTH in the Adelaide Hills.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 7.51.00 pm.png

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

The Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park is about 426 hectares in size and extends about 15 km along the South Eastern Freeway from the edge of Murray Bridge, west to near Callington.  The park was proclaimed on the 22nd September 2016.

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.


Above:- The rather flamboyant Don Dunstan.  Image courtesy of The Advertiser

Below is a short, very interesting video on Monarto dating back to 1975 which was produced by the South Australian Film Corporation.

The park provides important habitat for more than 60 bird species, five of which are of State Conservation significance.  During our visit we observed numerous White Winged Choughs and Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters.

We also had a few reptile friends, when the sun came out.  Fortunately no snakes!


The little town of Monarto was just down the road from where we operated.  Don’t blink, you will miss Monarto.  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 township was laid out in 1908.  The name of the hundred was after an aboriginal woman, “Queen Monarto”, who lived in the area at the time of its proclamation.

Monarto is home to the 1,500-hectare (3,700-acre) Monarto Zoo, the world’s largest open range zoo.

We headed to Whites Road and accessed the park and set up in a clearing in amongst the scrub.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 7.52.22 pm.png

Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

As the weather was still very ordinary, with drizzling rain, we put up the annexe/awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  We decided to stick to 10 watts PEP, as it was just to hard to go in and out of the menu.  For any overseas readers of this post, Marija VK5FMAZ, as a Foundation operator is limited to 10 watts PEP.

Marija started off the activation, with two Park to Park contacts with Mike VK5FMWW/p and Larry VK5FLHR/p, ‘Team Onka”, who were in the Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402.  Although quite low, at both ends, the contacts were AOK due to the low noise floor experiences in the parks at both ends.  Marija racked up a total of 11 contacts, with conditions on 40m being very average.  The band conditions were well down compared to normal sadly.

I then took control of the mic and logged 4 stations, before Marija and I decided the best way to tackle the day was to work a station and then swap the mic to log the same caller.  This is what we did for the remainder of the activation.

Other Park to Park contacts we logged were with Rob VK4AAC/p and VK4FFAB/p in the Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555; Mark VK4SMA/p in Main Range National Park VKFF-0300; and Mick VK3PMG/p in the Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958.  We also spoke with Kerry VK7FKEK on Flinders Island and Ron VK3DX portable at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum in Warrnambool.

We logged around 40 stations each on 40m before giving the 80m band a go.  It was evident that close in propagation was just not working on 40, so we were hoping to get some South Australian contacts on 80.  Our first contact there was with Greg VK5GJ at Meadows, followed by John VK5BJE.  Les VK5KLV/p and Peter VK5KPR/p then gave us a shout from the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757, about 400 kms to our north.  Marija and I logged a further 3 VK5’s: Tony VK5MRT at Strathalbyn, Hans VK5YX in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, and Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  But despite the 80m band being very good all across South Australia, they were our only stations logged on the 80m band.

We moved back to 40m and as the day progressed, the band conditions improved.  There were periods of no response to our CQ calls, but we have learnt from previous activations that persistence pays off, and we kept calling and calling.

Park to Park contacts logged during this stint on 40m included:-

  • VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  • VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  • VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  • VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  • VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  • VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  • VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  • VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  • VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)

We also logged Sam VK2GPL who was on SOTA peak, Mount Tassie, VK3. VT-046.

Marija and I stuck it out until 0600 hours.  In the end we logged a total of 197 QSOs, which included 32 Park to Park (P2P) contacts.  It was certainly terrific to get that many P2P contacts in the log.


THANKYOU to the other 6 teams who ventured out today. We managed to log all of the other teams:-

  • ‘The Special K’s comprising Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR
  • The VK4WIPeouts‘ comprising Mark VK4SMA and Murray VK4MWB
  • ‘Team Kookaburra’ comprising Mick VK3GGG and Tony VK3XV
  • ‘Team Onka’ comprising Mike VK5FMWW and Larry VK5FHLR
  • ‘Penguin Pirates’ comprising Hans VK6XN and Phil VK6ADF
  • ‘The 2 Robbies’ comprising Rob VK4AAC and Rob VK4FFAB.

And THANKYOU to everyone who called us today, and special thanks to those who took the time to spot us.  As this was a competitive event, we made the decision not to self spot.

Marija and I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  2. VK5FLHR/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  3. CK3PWG
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK4HNS
  6. VK7DIK
  7. VK3OHM
  8. VK3JP
  9. VK7JON/m
  10. VK7FOLK/m
  11. VK2KYO
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK4RF
  14. VK4HA
  15. VK4AAC/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  16. VK4FFAB/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  17. VK3ZZS/p
  18. VK4WIP/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  19. VK7VZ/2
  20. VK3PAT
  21. VK2PDW
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3MCO
  24. VK3FSPG
  25. VK3MPR
  26. VK7VKV/3
  27. VK7FRJG
  28. VK7FKEK
  29. VK3SQ
  30. VK3FCMC
  31. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  32. VK3FTOM
  33. VK3PF
  34. VK2JNG/m
  35. VK3BNJ
  36. VK2UH
  37. VK3KLB
  38. VK3NBL
  39. VK1LAJ
  40. VK3UH
  41. VK3VGB
  42. VK4FDJL
  43. VK3FAHS/p
  44. VK2YK
  45. VK7DW
  46. VK3TKK/m
  47. VK3ZVX
  48. VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  49. VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  50. VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  51. VK3WAC/m
  52. VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  53. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  54. VK3MRH
  55. VK2NP
  56. VK2LX
  57. VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  58. VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  59. VK7JON
  60. VK3KMH
  61. VK2FSAV
  62. VK3ARH
  63. VK3EF
  64. VK4TJ
  65. VK3NDJ
  66. VK3FLES
  67. VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  68. VK2FANT
  69. VK3PAt/p
  70. VK7FOLK
  71. VK7ABY
  72. VK7NWT
  73. VK2SLB
  74. VK2FOUZ
  75. VK3DRE
  76. VK3AUR
  77. VK3FMKE
  78. VK3YE/p
  79. VK2XXM
  80. VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)
  81. VK3PDG
  82. VK3IH
  83. VK2FKDM
  84. VK2YMU
  85. VK2GPL/3 (SOTA VK3/ VT-046)
  86. VK3RW
  87. VK7FGRA
  88. VK2SR
  89. VK3HJA/m
  90. VK3NLK
  91. VK3FMLB
  92. VK3FADM/1
  93. VK4DNA
  94. VK4PDX

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  5. VK5MRT
  6. VK5YX
  7. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3DX
  2. VK3VBI
  3. VK3PAH
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK2HHA
  9. VK4AAC/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  10. VK4FFAB/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  11. VK3ZZS/7
  12. VK4WIP/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  13. VK5FMWW/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  14. VK5FLHR/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  15. VK3FSPG
  16. VK3MPR
  17. VK3KMH
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK7VZ/2
  20. VK3PAT
  21. VK2PDW
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3MCO
  24. VK7VKV/3
  25. VK7FRJG
  26. VK7FKEK
  27. VK3SQ
  28. VK3FCMC
  29. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  30. VK3FTOM
  31. VK3PF
  32. VK2JNG/m
  33. VK3BNJ
  34. VK2UH
  35. VK3KLB
  36. VK3NBL
  37. VK1LAJ
  38. VK3UH
  39. VK3VGB
  40. VK4FDJL
  41. VK3FAHS/p
  42. VK2YK
  43. VK7DW
  44. VK3TKK/m
  45. VK3ZVX
  46. VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  47. VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  48. VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  49. VK3WAC/m
  50. VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  51. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  52. VK2NP
  53. VK2LX
  54. VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  55. VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  56. VK7JON
  57. VK2FSAV
  58. VK3ARH
  59. VK3EF
  60. VK4TJ
  61. VK3NDJ
  62. VK3FLES
  63. VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  64. VK2FANT
  65. VK7ABY
  66. VK7NWT
  67. VK2SLB
  68. VK2FOUZ
  69. VK3DRE
  70. VK3AUR
  71. VK3FMKE
  72. VK3YE/p
  73. VK2XXM
  74. VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)
  75. VK3PDG
  76. VK3IH
  77. VK2FKDM
  78. VK2YMU
  79. VK2GPL/3 (SOTA VK3/ VT-046)
  80. VK3RW
  81. VK7FGRA
  82. VK2SR
  83. VK3HJA/m
  84. VK3NLK
  85. VK3FMLB
  86. VK3FADM/1
  87. VK4DNA
  88. VK4PDX

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  5. VK5MRT
  6. VK5YX
  7. VK5FANA


Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Home/Full_newsevents_listing/News_Events_Listing/160922-new-conservation-parks&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarto_Woodlands_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarto,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Results of 2017 CQ WPX Contest

This morning I checked the web re the results of the 2017 CQ WPX Contest which was held on 25th and 26th March 2017.  And to my surprise, there was a certificate waiting there for me.  It was a certificate for first place in Australia for the Single Op Low Power All Bands section.

The WPX Contest is based on an award offered by CQ Magazine for working all prefixes. Held on the last weekend of March (SSB) and May (CW), the contest draws thousands of entries from around the world.

I made a total of 454 QSOs over the weekend, with a score of 372,876 points.

I came first in Australia in this category, 6th in Oceania, and 845th in the World.  I was closely followed by Steve VK2NSS in 2nd place with 207,060 points.

The top scoring station in Australia, who was in the Multi-Two category was VK4KW with 10,344,536 points.  The top scorer in the world was CN3A in Morocco with a total of 8,158 QSOs and a score of 55,670,247 points.

Many thanks to CQ Magazine and the organisers of this contest.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.45.31 pm.png

New VKFF structure

The WWFF program has been running in Australia since March 2013, so about 4 & 1/2 years. In that time the program has exploded in popularity, with park activators now being heard almost every day of the week (even in the middle of the week).

I have now issued just a little short of 2,100 VKFF certificates to VK’s and other amateurs all around the world during that period.


VKFF logo with transparent background.png

Now has come the time that I need a little help to keep the VKFF program afloat, as I am spending a number of hours each day in front of the computer, maintaining the website, issuing awards, and uploading logs. Much to the chagrin of my very understanding wife Marija. This together with a number of other pies I have my fingers in.

I have now sourced some very good volunteers who are going to assist in the VKFF program, and I thank these individuals very very much. They are as follows:-

Ian VK1DI.

Gerard VK2IO.

Mick VK3GGG.

Mark VK4SMA.

Hans VK6XN.

Jonathan VK7JON.

Commencing Wednesday 18th October 2017 the above gentlemen will act as State/Territory representatives in the VKFF program. They will be responsible for uploading logs for activations from their respective State/Territory, and also processing/forwarding award applications/certificates for amateurs from their respective State/Territory.

So, for example, if you activate a park in VK1 (no matter what your call may be), the log will now be forwarded to Ian VK1DI. If you activate a park in VK2, then Gerard VK2IO is your contact, etc, etc.

If you apply for a VKFF award (excluding OCCFF & the special awards), you will receive the award via the respective State/Territory rep mentioned above.

Hans VK6XN will also be doing VK8.

I will continue to upload logs and process awards for VK5’s.

I will also continue in my role as the VKFF National co-ordinator, and thanks to the volunteers mentioned above, I will now be able to focus more on National VKFF issues.

More info on the new VKFF Team can be found on the WWFF Australia website at…..


I again, thank the gentlemen mentioned above for volunteering their time. It is greatly appreciated.

Do not hesitate to contact me should you have any queries.

73 and ’44’,

VKFF National co-ordinator.

Ted Powell Memorial Top 5 DX Challenge certificate

Last night I checked my emails and I was very pleasantly surprised to find I had a certificate in my inbox waiting for me.  It was a certificate for Ted Powell (VK2AU) Memorial Top 5 DX Challenge for the period July-September 2017.

This contest was developed by the Fisher’s Ghost Amateur Radio Club in memory of Ted Powell, who became a silent key on 16 March 2014. Ted’s passion was working rare DX and collecting QSL cards. At the time of his passing, Ted had worked 301 entities and confirmed 300 by QSL cards.

The objective of the “Most Wanted” category is to work the most wanted DXCC entity during an award period. The winner will be the station who works the most wanted DXCC entity based on its ranking in Clublog’s Most Wanted list current at the beginning of the award period.

THANKYOU to the Fishers Ghost Amateur Radio Club.

Screen Shot 2017-10-16 at 1.39.05 pm

Mount Billy Conservation Park 5CP-143 and VKFF-0912

Yesterday afternoon (Sunday 15th October 2017) I drove down to the Fleurieu Peninsula, to activate the Mount Billy Conservation Park 5CP-143 and VKFF-0912.  This was the third time I had activated the park so it was to count towards the Boomerang Award for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  The activation also counted towards the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

The park is located about 75 km south of Adelaide and about 70 km south west of my home in the Adelaide Hills.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 12.35.54 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Mount Billy Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Prior to leaving home I checked the solar figures and they didn’t look particularly good with the solar flux index being down compared to previous days and the A index very high.  But it was too beautiful an afternoon not to head out, with bright sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, and a temperature of about 21 deg C.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 11.16.18 am.png

A check of the Hourly Area Prediction Chart (HAP) for Adelaide showed that again, the close in propagation was not going to work on 40m.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 11.15.50 am.png

The Mount Billy Conservation Park is about 198 hectares in size and was proclaimed on the 12th day of August 1999.  The park is located off the Hindmarsh Tiers Road, abut 13 km north of Victor Harbor and is adjacent to the Hindmarsh Valley Reservoir.  The reservoir is no longer in official use, but was once part of the supply chain of water supply to the town of Victor Harbor.  The land which is now the park served as the adjacent catchment area.  Upon the closing of the reservoir, land was transferred from SA Water to the Department of Water Natural Resources (DEWNR).

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 1.24.31 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the Mount Billy Conservation Park, looking north.  Image courtesy of Google maps

Mount Billy represents some of the best preserved mallee and forest communities within the southern Mount Lofty Ranges.  Main habitats within the park include Low Woodland – Pink Gum, Brown Stringybark, Cup Gum, and Golden Wattle; and Woodland – Pink Gum, South Australian Blue Gum, over Golden Wattle.

In the northern area of the park where I operated the vegetation is quite low, with the soil being very sandy.

The southern section of the park is more rugged in terrain and contains the thick Gum Woodlands, creeks, and ferns.

During my visit the park was alive with various native shrubs in flower.

About 80 native bird species have been recorded in the park including Superb Fairywren, Eastern Spinebill, Crescent Honeyeater, Brown Thornbill, Grey Shrikethrush, Australian Golden Whistler, Sacred Kingfisher, Common Bronzewing, Red-rumped Parrot, Buff-rumped Thornbill, and Yellow Thornbill.

Numerous native animals call the park home including Western Grey kangaroos and the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot.

To get to the park from my home I travelled through the Adelaide Hills to the town of Meadows and then on to Willunga.  I then travelled south on the Victor Harbor Road until I reached Pambula Road.  There were some great views to be enjoyed of Victor Harbor from the roadside.


This is certainly beautiful country down here on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

I then reached the junction with Hindmarsh Tiers Road where I turned right and I soon made it to gate 1 of the park, located in the north eastern corner of Mount Billy.

There is a small area here alongside of the gate where you can park your car.  Although the gate is locked, the authorities do have a pedestrian access area to the park.  I walked a short distance down one of the tracks and started setting up my station, comprising the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 12.35.29 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the park, and my operating spot.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Whilst I was setting up, a vehicle arrived at the park.  It was a lady from the Friends of Mount Billy.  We had a chat about the park and I explained to her what it was that I was doing in the park.  She seemed very interested and I gave her my business card and some promo brochures on WWFF and the VK5 Parks Award.


The Friends of Mount Billy have regular working bees to generally monitor the condition of the park and to perform important weeding tasks.  More information can be found at….


I was set up and ready to go a little ahead of my scheduled time of 0500 UTC.  After switching the radio on, the 857d was already on 7.144 and I heard Gerard VK2IO/p calling CQ from the Windsor Downs Nature Reserve VKFF-2020.  I still hadn’t secured the ends of the dipole, but it sounded as if Gerard was about to go QRT, so I gave him a call.  It was a nice way to start the activation with a Park to Park contact.  I then had a tune across the band and heard Jonathan VK7JON on 7.135 in the Little Peggs Beach State Reserve VKFF-1812.  But Jonathan had a mini pile up going, so I headed back to 7.144 where I started calling CQ.  Peter VK3PF was first in the log, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and then Marshall VK3MRG/p.

The 40m band was in average condition, with signals from Victoria (VK3) being well down compared to normal.  However, on the plus side, Cliff VK2NP’s signal was the strongest I had ever heard him….5/9 plus, with Cliff also giving me a 5/9, which is very rare.  As conditions were a little rough, callers were far less than I normally experience, so I took the opportunity of having a listen across the band, hoping to work Jonathan VK7JON.  Sadly when I had a listen on 7.135, Jonathan had gone, so I moved back to 7.144, and was very pleasantly surprised when Helen VK7FOLK/p called me from Little Peggs Beach State Reserve VKFF-1812.  I then logged Jonathan.

I was about to hand the frequency over to Helen and Jonathan, when Gerard VK2IO/p came up, this time in a new park, the Castlereagh Nature Reserve VKFF-1905.  After logging Gerard I headed off to the 80m band hoping to log some VK5’s.

First in the log on 80m was Marija VK5FMAZ, followed by Greg VK5GJ who was 5/9.  Greg lowered his power down to 400 milliwatts and was still a good 5/4 to Mount Billy.  Despite conditions being good around VK5 on 80m, John VK5BJE was my only other caller.  John was 5/9 plus from Scott Creek in the Adelaide Hills.

I then lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed to the 20m band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by regular park activator and hunter Phil VK6ADF.  Unfortunately Phil was my only caller, despite a self spot on parksnpeaks and posts on some of the Facebook sites.  So I tuned across the 20m band and found Tony 3D2AG calling CQ, with a 5/7 signal.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to make it to Tony, but I decided to give it a go.  I was very surprised when Tony came back to me and gave me a 5/5 from Fiji.

To complete the activation I headed back to 40m and logged a further 9 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK4.  Tex VK1TX in Camberra was the strongest signal of the day, being 5/9 ++++.

With 45 contacts in the log and a rumbling stomach, it was time for me to pack up and head home.


Above:- Looking north along the track towards my operating spot and the gate on Hindmarsh Tiers Road.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Windsor Downs Nature Reserve VKFF-2020)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2HHA
  4. VK3MRG/p
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK3FCMC/p
  7. VK3MDH/p
  8. VK4RF
  9. VK4HA
  10. VK7VZ/2
  11. VK2PKT
  12. VK7DW
  13. VK2NP
  14. VK3KRH
  15. Vk2YK
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK1LAJ/p
  18. VK7QP
  19. VK3BNJ
  20. VK2VRC
  21. VK3SQ
  22. VK4TJ
  23. VK3FMKE
  24. VK3VGB
  25. VK2JNG/p
  26. VK3HBG
  27. VK5MR
  28. VK7FOLK/p (Little Peggs Beach State Reserve VKFF-1812)
  29. VK7JON/p (Little Peggs Beach State Reserve VKFF-1812)
  30. VK2IO/p (Castlereagh Nature Reserve VKFF-1905)
  31. VK2FANT
  32. VK3FADM/1
  33. VK1DI
  34. VK2GPT
  35. VK2VX
  36. VK1TX
  37. VK4QQ
  38. VK3SFG
  39. VK2OA
  40. VK7FOTR

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK5GJ
  3. VK5BJE

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6ADF
  2. 3D2AG

After packing up I decided to explore the western side of the park.  First I stopped off to have a look at the old Hindmarsh Valley reservoir which is located on the southern boundary of the park.

I then continued north on Nettle Hill Road.  It was quite appropriate that I came across these goats in a paddock adjacent to Mount Billy.

There were some very nice views to be enjoyed of the western side of the park from Nettle Hill Road.

I then travelled east along the Hindmarsh Tiers Road through the beautiful Hindmarsh Valley, named after John Hindmarsh, the first Governor of South Australia.

I stopped off briefly to have a look at the old Hindmarsh Valley School which was established way back in 1867.

I then started travelling north on the Victor Harbor Road, again stopping briefly to have a look at the old stone wall at Cut Hill which was built in 1868 by Jabez Grimble under contract to the Central Roads Board.  These old stone walls are truly remarkable.  Bullock carts had the tendency to overturn on the steep hillside at this location, and as a result Grimble was employed to make the descent into Victor Harbor safer.  Jabez had undertaken previous road and bridge works in the district.

The metre high dry stone parapet is what travellers along the Victor Harbor Road can see.  However, the wall is actually about 5 metres in height on the creek side.  It is reported that after Jabez had paid off the workmen assisting him in the construction of the wall, there was no money left for Jabez and his family.


Above:- Jabez Grimble.  c/o Encounter Bay Family History Group

The Encounter Bay Family History Group has further information on Jabez Grimble which can be found at……


I made one final stop on my way home.  I was keen to check out to see if there was any access to the Hesperilla Conservation Park.  This is one of two parks which I have not activated down on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  I was fortunate in that I found a guy rounding up his chooks and he pointed me to a very rough track, which sure enough led down to the park.  Hesperilla is swampland and frogs were plentiful during my visit, which I am sure meant plenty of Red Bellied snakes and Tiger Snakes.  This is a park which I will need to return to.




Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/mount-billy-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 16 October 2017

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, ‘Parks of the Fleurieu Peninsula’

Friends of Parks South Australia, 2017, <http://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/members-directory/friends-of-mt-billy&gt;, viewed 16th October 2017

Weekend Notes, 2017, <https://www.weekendnotes.com/cut-hill-victor-harbor-road/&gt;, viewed 16th October 2017

NSW NPWS 50 year celebration certificate

The New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) celebrates its 50 year anniversary this year.

To celebrate this event, the VKFF program is offering certificates to both activators and hunters, for having activated, or having made contact with 5 different NSW VKFF reference areas during October 2017.

I have qualified for the hunter certificate

VK5PAS NSW NPWS 50 year celebrations Hunter.png

Thanks to the following VK2 activators:-

  • Gerard VK2JNG
  • Laurie VK2GZ
  • Adam VK2YK