SP9YFF award certificate

This morning I received a nice surprise in my email in box.  It was an award certificate from the Silesian Radio Amateur Group to celebrate the 8th birthday of SP9YFF.  I worked them on Saturday night whilst they were undertaking a park activation.

Information on how to obtain a SP9YFF certificate can be found on their website at…..


Many thanks, and congratulations to the SP9YFF team.

SP9YFF award.png

Chasing DX summits and parks

On Saturday night (17th February 2018) I was on the homeward stretch of 7 afternoon shifts at work.  When I got home from work at around 11.30 p.m. I headed up into the shack and to my pleasure I found no noise at all on the 20m band.  In recent times I’ve been experiencing strength 5 to 7 noise on 20m when I turn the 5 element yagi on the short path to Europe.  But Saturday night there was no noise, so I decided to take advantage of that.

The night earlier I had worked a pile up from Europe and the Middle East until about 3.00 a.m., so I decided to tune across the band this time rather than calling CQ DX.  I was hoping to pick up a few of the European SOTA & PARK activators.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

First in the log was the Silesian Radioamateur Group SP9YFF/p in POLAND.  They were activating Natura 2000 Buczyny w Szypowicach i Las Niwiski SPFF-1633 with a genuine 5/9 signal.  They reciprocated with a 5/9 report for me.


Next in the log was Dinos SV3IEG/p in GREECE, who was activating Argos & Midia SVFF-0033.  It took a little time to break through the European pile up, but I eventually did.  Dinos had a good 5/5 signal and gave me a 5/7 from his park.


My third portable DX contact was with Stavros SV2RUJ/p in GREECE.  Stavros was activating a mountain in for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  Papalivado SV/ TL-088 is 901 metres above sea level and is worth 1 point for the SOTA program.  The summit is located about 405 km by road north of Athens.  We exchanged 5/5 signal reports.


Above:- Stavros SV2RUJ (from his QRZ.com page)

I then found Luc ON7DQ/p in BELGIUM who was on the top of SOTA peak Pottelberg ON/ ON-027 which is located in Bois du Pottelberg ONFF-0318 which comprises beech and oak forest.  The Pottelberg is the highest hill of the Flemish Ardennes and the Pays des Collines in Belgium.


Above:- Luc ON7DQ (from his QRZ.com page)

Next was Karl OE5JKL/p in AUSTRIA who was activating SOTA OE/ KT-369 Oswaldiberg which is 963 metres above sea level and is worth 2 SOTA points.  Karl was 5/5 and gave me a 5/7 from the top of his summit.


Above:- Oswaldiberg OE/ KT-369.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

I then worked Neil GW0WPO/p who was activating SOTA peak Gyrn Moelfre GW/ NW-049 in WALES, which is 523 metres above sea level and is worth 2 points for SOTA.  This was a little more difficult copy for me, with Neil only being a 3/3.  I perservered and finally made it with Neil.


Above:- Gyrn Moelfre GW/ NW-049.  Image courtesy of http://www.walkingforum.co.uk/

I continued to hunt across the 20m band, regularly checking the DX cluster, and then logged Salvatore IT9AAK/p in ITALY who was activating Dromo Giggia WAIL SI-008 for the Italian lighthouse Award.  5/7 both ways.


Above:- Dromo Giggia lighthouse.  Image courtesy of http://www.farodihan.it/

To finish off the evening/morning, I spoke with George SV2CNE/p in GREECE who was activating  Gallikos Potamos (Eptalofou-Koronoudas-Terpyllou-Anavritou) SVFF-0202.  George was 5/5 and gave me a 5/7 signal report from his WWFF reference.


Above:- George SV2CNE (from his QRZ.com page)

It was the end of a very enjoyable evening chasing DX SOTA & Parks activators.  I did see some other DX activators spotted, including PV7L, EI3KA, I/VK3BCM, LX1KP/p an VE2WFF, but I either was unable to hear them or couldn’t break through the pile ups.

Mount Lofty VK5/ SE-005 and the Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 and VKFF-0778

After our activation at the Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve, Marija and I drove back up into the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘the Adelaide Hills’, on our way back home.  We made a slight detour to SOTA peak Mount Lofty VK5/ SE-005 which is located within the Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 2.07.24 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Lofty summit.  Map courtesy of google maps.

I have activated Mount Lofty many times before.  For detailed information on the summit, its history, and details of the Cleland Conservation Park, please see my previous posts at…..










Below is a short video of Mount Lofty and surrounds, as seen by drone.

Mount Lofty is 727 metres above sea level and is worth 4 points for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  The summit is one of the most popular in South Australia for SOTA, and has been activated a total of 75 times.

We set up in our normal spot, to the south east of the obelisk near the cafe.  This is away from all of the tourists.

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 2.06.53 pm

Above:- Aerial shot of Mt Lofty showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps

I kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.090, whilst placing a post on Facebook and Marija posted on parksnpeaks.  First in the log was regular SOTA & Park activator and hunter, Peter VK3PF.  This was followed by Hans VK5YX, Peter VK3ZPF, and then Neil VK4HNS.  I had 4 contacts in the log and had qualified the summit.

Marija then took the reigns and logged Neil VK4HNS, Gerard VK2IO, Ken VK3UH, and then Brad VK2CEC mobile.  Marija had her 4 contacts and had qualified the summit.  Marija logged a further 12 stations from VK2, VK3, and VK7.  She was called by Warren ZL2AJ, who had a nice strong signal, but Marija’s 10 watts just wasn’t making the trip over to New Zealand.


I wrapped up the activation by working a handful more stations on 40m, before heading off to the 80m band.  Conditions on 80m were exceptional around South Australia, with great signals from Ian VK5CZ in Clare and Nev VK5WG in Crystal Brook.  But sadly there weren’t too many VK5’s around.  It was nice to log Mick VK3GGG in western Victoria.

I headed off to 20m where I logged 14 stations including four New Zealand stations (ZL2AJ, ZL1BYZ, ZL1BU, & ZL1SKL), and Michael DJ5AV in Germany.  Another German station, a DL2 called, but he was just a little too weak for us to have a valid contact.

So with 33 contacts in the log for me, and 15 for Marija, it was time for us to pack up and head home.  It had been a very enjoyable day.

Marija worked the following stations:-

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 1.58.35 pm

I worked the following stations:-

Screen Shot 2018-02-12 at 1.50.59 pm



Summits on the Air, 2018, <http://www.sota.org.uk/>, viewed 12th February 2018

Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve VKFF-2246

For a variety of reasons, this year, 2018, has been a very quiet year for me as a Park and SOTA activator.  So yesterday (Sunday 11th February 2018), my wife Marija VK5FMAZ and I decided to head out to enjoy the sunshine.  We drove down to Port Adelaide to activate the Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve VKFF -2246.  This was to be the first time that the park had been put on the air for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve is located on the LeFevre Peninsula, north of the city of Adelaide, and is adjacent to the Port River.  The reserve is part of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 9.00.47 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of google maps.

Mutton Cove is about 48 hectares in size and is the last remaining biodiverse area of salt marsh and Grey Mangrove woodland on the LeFevre Peninsula, about 15 km northwest of the Adelaide city centre.  The peninsula is a narrow sand spit of around 30 square km running north from its connection to the mainland.  The peninsula is bounded to the west by Gulf St Vincent and to the north and the east by the Port River.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 9.00.02 pm

Above:- Aerial shot of the LeFevre Peninsula showing the Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve.  Image courtesy of google maps

The earliest recorded European to see the Port River was Captain Collet Barker.  In 1831 Barker was on his quest to find the Murray Mouth, at the request of Governor Darling of New South Wales.  On the 19th April 1831, Barker spotted the Port River from the top of Mount Lofty (not far from my home).  The LeFevre Peninsula was named by Governor John Hindmarsh on the 3rd June 1837, after Sir John George Shaw-Lefevre, who was one of South Australia’s Colonisation Commissioners.  Mutton Cove was named after Mutton Cove in Devonport in the United Kingdom.


Above:- Sir John George Shaw-Lefevre.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The salt marsh in the park is comprised of Beaded Samphire, Austral Seablite,  Shrubby Glasswort and Grey Samphire low shrubland.  There are three branches of the Mutton Cove creek located in the park.

The Le Fevre Peninsula was considerably smaller when Europeans first settled the area.  The land has been raised by large amounts of fill and dumping.  Most of this fill was placed between the early 1940’s and 1992, when dumping ceased. The area of Mutton Cove is one of the few areas along the edges of the Peninsula that remains at natural surface level.

Mutton Cove is identified with the Commonwealth government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999), as an important migratory bird habit.  A total of 89 bird species have been recorded in the park including White-faced Heron, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Silver Gull, Spur-winged Plover, White-fronted Chat, Singing Honeyeater, Welcome Swallow, Musk Duck, Pacific Reef Heron, Australian Pelican, Rock Parrot, Grey Shrikethrush, and Brown Songlark.

The Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve contains a ship’s graveyard.  It is on of five abandonment sites within the Port Adelaide area, including Garden Island, Jervois Basin, Angas Inlet, and Broad Creek.

In around 1945 an embankment was constructed across the entrance to Mutton Cove.  However prior to this two ships were abandoned within Mutton Creek, the Excelsior and the Jupiter.  The Excelsior’s remains can be found in the north western corner of the park, whilst the Jupiter is mostly covered in mud.  To give an indication of how deep the original Mutton Cove Creek was may be gained from the fact that Excelsior was floated right up the Cove to its current position.

The steel hulled Excelsior was built in 1897 by Gourlay Brothers of Dundee, Scotland, and measured  39.9 m in length and 7.3 m in breadth, 3.3 m depth and was 310 gross tons. The Excelsior was originally registered in Sydney in 1897 and worked on the north coast of New South Wales.  In the 1930’s it was converted to a coal hulk, lightering coal to the steam powered dredges working in Port Adelaide.


Above:- The Excelsior.  Image courtesy of Ship Spotting

Prior to heading to the park Marija and I decided to take a quick walk around Port Adelaide.  There is a lot to see down here.  Our first stop was the clipper ship, the City of Adelaide.  This is the world’s oldest surviving clipper ship, having been built in 1864 to carry passengers to Adelaide.  About 250,000 Australians can trace their ancestry to the ship.


‘The City of Adelaide’.

The Port Adelaide area has some of the finest colonial buildings in Australia.  Many date back to the mid and late 1880’s when the ‘Port’ was at its peak.

The wharf precinct at Port Adelaide was very busy, as it was such a lovely sunny day, with a temperature of about 26 deg C.  We viewed the Dolphin Explorer returning to the Port after a 2 hour trip down the Port River to view the dolphins.  The One and All sailing ship was open for inspection.  This tall ship was launched in 1985 and took part in the First Fleet Re-enactment Voyage as part of Australia’s bicentenary celebrations.

And despite the Port being very busy and Adelaide having a population of nearly 1.2 million people, it is amazing who you bump in to.  As we were walking along the wharf area we found my Dad and stepmum enjoying some pancakes and a coffee at one of the many cafes overlooking the Port River.  What a bonus for the day out.


After enjoying a milkshake with Dad & Dorthy, Marija and I travelled north along Victoria Road and then turned right into Veitch Road and then left onto Mersey Road North.  Unfortunately we soon encountered a number of bollards and fences and found that the road was blocked off.  I suspect due to security for the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC).  The ASC is notable for the construction and maintenance of the Collins-class submarine fleet operated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and the construction of Hobart-class destroyers.

So we headed back out onto Victoria Road and then took Pelican Point Road which continues in to Mersey Road North.  There is a carpark for the park on Mersey Road North, but we had noted the huge powerlines and decided this was not going to be a great place to operate from.  So we followed a dirt track which runs down the northern side of the reserve.  This takes you down to a small car parking area right alongside of the Port River.

We set up at this location, as there are not too many other options.  Sadly there was rubbish everywhere and we had to put up with the continual sound of ‘burnouts’ by the hoons who use the nearby roads as a racetrack.  There was also no shade and it was quite blustery, with the squid pole flexing in the wind.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the Mutton Cove Conservation Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps

After setting up, we tentatively turned on the transceiver and our worst fears were realised, with a strength 8 noise floor.  The park is surrounded by industry, including the Australian Submarine Corporation, so it was no surprise.

Marija and I were keen to qualify the park for the VKFF program, which required 10 contacts in the log, and for us to then ‘get out of there’.  So we decided to run just the 10 watts PEP, due to Marija’s Foundation licence, and share the mic.  I called CQ for around 2 minutes with no takers, whilst Marija spotted me on parksnpeaks.  Our first caller was Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta, north of Adelaide, who fortunately had a strong 5/8 signal, above the noise.  Geoff VK3SQ from Beechworth was next.  But Geoff’s signal was right on the threshold, but we made it.


Above:- Marija on air in the park.

Band conditions were terrible for us due to the noise floor and we could hear quite a few stations calling, but just couldn’t pull them through.  Our sincere apologies if you were one of those stations calling.  We persevered and within 15 minutes had 10 contacts in the log.  Contact number 10 was Ian VK5KKT at Two Wells north of Adelaide, who was 5/9 plus.  Once Marija had her 10 contacts in the log, she sat back and enjoyed watching some of the fishing boast, yachts and the Dolphin Explorer sailing passed us on the Port River.

I logged a further 6 stations on 40m, making my tally of contacts on 40m, 16 QSOs into New South Wales (VK2), Victoria (VK3), South Australia (VK5), and Tasmania (VK7).  We then lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the antenna, and I tried my luck on the 20m band.  I headed to 14.310 and found Jonathan VK7JON who was in contact with another station.  Jonathan was just below the noise and I was only just able to make him out, so I decided not to call.  I am sure that Jonathan would have hear me, but the noise on 20m for me was strength 6, making it very difficult.


Dennis VK2HHA in Albury was my first contact on 20m with a strong 5/8 signal, followed by VK3GSG and then Gerard VK2JNG/p who was activating the Dooragan National Park VKFF-0143.  It was nice to get a Park to Park contact in the log.  I logged a further 5 stations on 20m, before the noise, the heat, and the wind, became just too much.  Marija and I packed up and headed back to the Adelaide Hills, with the intention of activating Mount Lofty, where we knew the noise floor would be very low.

So after 45 minutes on air, we had both qualified the park for the VKFF program.  I had 24 contacts in the log, which meant I required a further 20 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  I’m not sure that I will rush back here to get my 20 QSOs, as this is a very noisy park with no real options of finding an RF noise free location.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK3GGG
  5. VK3ANL
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK3CWF
  8. VK2UH
  9. VK7ME
  10. VK5KKT

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3GGG
  4. VK3PMG
  5. VK3ANL
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK3CWF
  8. VK2UH
  9. VK7ME
  10. VK5KKT
  11. VK3HKV/m
  12. VK5FDRW/p
  13. VK5TT
  14. VK5FMWW
  15. VK2PKT
  16. VK3TKK/m

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2HHA
  2. VK3GSG
  3. VK2JNG/p (Dooragan National Park VKFF-0143)
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK4AAC/2



Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/mutton-cove-conservation-reserve/>, viewed 11th February 2018

City of Adelaide, 2018, <https://www.cityofadelaide.org.au/>, viewed 12th February 2018

Friends of Mutton Cove, 2018, <http://friendsofmuttoncove.noticeboard.net.au/>, viewed 12th February 2018

Ship Spotting, 2018, <http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/photo.php?lid=2315386>, viewed 12th February 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lefevre_Peninsula>, viewed 12th February 2018