- VK5 Parks Award – 97
- WWFF – 83
- KRMNPA – 8
- SOTA – 30
During 2015 I conducted 97 activations for the VK5 Parks Award. This included one of my favourite parks, the Talisker Conservation Park which I activated on Australia Day, along with the Mount George Conservation Park. I used the special AX prefix for Australia Day. The Summer Friday afternoon/evening activation events for the VK5 Parks Award proved to be very popular with lots of South Australian amateurs taking part.
At Mt George Conservation Park as AX5PAS
My AX5PAS Australia Day QSL card
In 2015 I undertook a total of 30 SOTA activations. The year commenced with an activation of Mount Bryan VK5/ SE-001 for what has become the regular VK New Years Day SOTA event. In around 2 & 1/2 hours on the summit I made a total of 146 contacts including 23 unique summits across Australia. On Australia Day I activated Black Bullock Hill VK5/ SE-016 using the special AX prefix making a total of 74 contacts. Tom VK5FTRG accompanied me during one of my SOTA activations. And in June I received my 250 points SOTA Activator certificate.
Mount Bryan VK5/ SE-001
Tom VK5NFT (VK5FTRG) at Mt Gawler VK5/ SE-013
VK3/ VS-013 in the Pyrenees
During 2015 I undertook 83 WWFF activations. A number of these were interstate in New South Wales and Victoria.
On the beach at Newland Head Conservation Park
Ramco Point Conservation Park
Little Desert National Park in Victoria
Each year the WWFF program issued the Top 44 certificates. I received two this year. The first is for placing number 40 in the Top 44 Activators in the world (based on the number of QSOs). The second is for placing number 21 in the Top 44 Activators in the world.
During 2015 I conducted a handful of park activations with other amateurs. This included Andy VK4TH who was down from Queensland. Andy and I enjoyed a very enjoyable dinner together and then headed to the Mount George Conservation Park where we joined the 7130 DX Net whilst enjoying a few reds. I also activated Clements Gap Conservation Park and was joined by Peter VK5KPR, Les VK5KLV, John VK5FMJC, and Nev VK5WG. Les VK5KLV and I also activated the Winninowie Conservation Park together.
with John VK5BJE at the Scott Creek Conservation Park
John VK5FMJC & Nev VK5WG at the Clements Gap Conservation Park
Andy VK4TH at the Mount George Conservation Park
with Peter VK5KPR and Les VK5KLV at Clements Gap. Special guest G0JDP
On the weekend of Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th March, a special activation weekend was held to celebrate the 2nd birthday of the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award. Marija and I headed over to the Yorke Peninsula where I activated 6 different parks making a total of 346 QSOs. This was a really successful weekend, with 41 amateurs taking part as activators, with 111 activations, and over 3,000 QSOs made over the weekend. It was a testament to the VK5 Parks program more and more popular. Whilst on Yorke Peninsula I caught up with regular park hunter & activator Adrian VK5FANA.
Operating in the Carribie Conservation park
On air in the Innes National Park
With Adrian VK5FANA
During the weekend I also met up with Richard VK5ZRY who lives on the Yorke Peninsula and we did a couple of park activations together.
Above:- On air with Richard VK5ZRY in the Warrenben Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula
Each amateur who took part in the 2nd anniversary as an activator received a participation certificate.
In March I took part in the Jock White Memorial Field Day, a New Zealand contest which is aimed at portable operation, and is named in honour of Jock White, ZL2GX. This was a later afternoon/evening activation of the Porter Scrub Conservation Park. I made a total of 81 contacts, including 45 during the contest.
Also in March I took part in the John Moyle Memorial Field Day, activating the Coorong National Park. I came first in the 6 hour portable section, making a total of 238 contacts.
In April 2015 Marija and I attended the inaugural BRL Gathering at historic Overland Corner Hotel. This event is now held annually at the hotel by the Riverland Radio Club. Whilst in the Riverland we activated a number of parks.
with Mick VK3GGG and Ron VK5MRE
During my visit to the Riverland I crossed over the border and activated the Murray Sunset National Park. Amongst my contacts was Andrew VK1DA who was portable on SOTA summit Mount Majura, VK1/ AC-034. As a result of Andrew working me, Andrew qualified for the Merit Award for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA), by working all 45 Victorian National Parks. I sent out a special certificate to Andrew congratulating him on his achievement.
On ANZAC Day I activated the Monarto Conservation Park using the special call of AX5PAS. I logged a total of 84 stations including 42 DX contacts
Above:- my special ANZAC Day QSL card
Also in late April I was asked by members of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group to help them activate the Morialta Conservation Park using the special call of VI5ANZAC. We made around 73 contacts in around 3 hours in the park.
Above:- On air with Andy VK5AKH at the Morialta Conservation Park as VI5ANZAC.
In May I travelled to the Riverland to get my Codan 9350 antenna fitted to my Toyota Hi Lux by Ivan VK5HS. Whilst there I conducted a number of park activations, including an activation of the Murray River National Park with Ivan, Peter VK5FLEX, and Larry VK5LY. This was Larry’s first park activation after a long stretch in hospital and rehab.
Later that month I travelled to Canberra for the 2015 Annual General Meeting of the Wireless Institute of Australia. I was one of the guest speakers on the Saturday and delivered a presentation on the World Wide Flora Fauna program. It was great catching up with a number of hams, including many park & SOTA activators/chasers/hunters.
with David VK5KC, John VK5BJE and Peter VK3PF
With Andrew VK1AD & John VK5BJE
Gerard VK2IO, ANdrew VK1DA and Peter VK3PF
with Phil VK2MCB, Peter VK3PF and Heath VK3TWO
Much to my surprise I was awarded a Presidents Commendation for ‘outstanding achievement in the World Wide Flora & Fauna amateur radio program, nationally and internationally”.
Whilst in Canberra John VK5BJE, David VK5KC, Trevor Vk5ATQ, and I were taken out a number of times to activate SOTA peaks and parks by Andrew VK1DA, and Andrew VK1AD (formerly VK1NAM).
With the gang at Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042
Mount Ainslie VK1/ AC-040
On air at Mount Stromlo VK1/ AC-043
On air at Mount Coree VK1/ AC-023 and Namadgi National Park VKFF-0377
At the May meeting of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society I delivered a presentation on the WWFF program and the VK5 Parks Award to around 50 interested hams. The following weekend with the assistance of Chris VK5FR, I delivered a presentation at the AHARS shack on ‘portable operation tips’.
At the AHARS meeting
Presentation at the AHARS shack
At the May AHARS meeting I was issued with the inaugural WWFF Certificate of Excellence, which had been forwarded to the club through Pit YO3JW in Romania. This came as a great surprise.
AHARS President Barry VK5BW presenting me with the certificate
In June I travelled to Mount Gambier in the South East of South Australia to attend the South East Radio Group’s Annual Convention. I set up a display table at the convention which comprised transceivers, power sources, antennas, certificates, and various other equipment.
Above:- my display table at the SERG convention
This is a great social event which features a Sunday evening dinner.
With Greg VK5ZGY
John Vk5NJ and his wife Tanina
Whilst in the South East I activated a total of 17 parks, with 11 of those being unique VK5 parks for me, while 8 were unique WWFF parks for me. I made a total of 751 contacts, with countries worked including VK, ZL, USA, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Spain, Israel, Hungary, England, Belarus, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Canada. I travelled a total of 1700 km over the 6 days I was away. I also took part in the VK Shires Contest over that weekend
A little later that month, John VK5BJE and his wife Jenny, David VK5KC and his wife Joy, Marija and I headed to the north of South Australia. Marija and I travelled nearly 2,500 km in 11 days. We activated 4 Conservation Parks, 3 SOTA summits, and 3 National Parks. This included a number of rare summits and parks. I made a total of 501 contacts.
At The Devils Peak VK5/ NE-080
Mount Arden VK5/ NE-034
Mount Scott VK5/ NE-111
At remote Lake Torrens
We also operated as VK100ANZAC at the historic ghost town of Farina in the Far North. I made a total of 165 QSO’s with the special call. Channel Seven were in attendance and took some vision of me operating. It was a great opportunity to promote this great hobby.
During our visit to Farina a special commemorative service was held at the Farina War Memorial, with many people in attendance including members of the Royal Australian Air Force. The service was to remember Flight Lieutenant John Bell (of Farina) who was killed in Action over France in June 1940.
The memorial service
RAAF in attendance
The famous underground bakery at Farina
We had a special VK100ANZAC card for our activation at Farina, which is still available if anyone is interested in that may have worked us.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable trip, with lots of laughs, war stories, activations, and great scenery in the South Australian outback. Whilst at Quorn we caught up with nearby Port Augusta hams Les VK5KLV & Peter VK5KPR. And on the way up Marija and I stopped off to saw g’day to Bill VK5MBD and John VK5FMJC at Red Hill.
Out for lunch at Quorn
At our accomodation at Argadells north of Quorn
With Bill Vk5MBD and John VK5FMJC
On 31st July 2015 I activated the Cromer Conservation Park as part of World Ranger Day, which is observed annually on the 31st of July. It commemorates rangers killed or injured in the line of duty, and celebrates the work rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures. I made a total of 51 contacts and had a special QSL card on offer.
During 2015 I operated a number of times as VI5ANZAC. This included an activation of the Belair National Park at the start of the RSL Walk.
Operating as VI5ANZAC at Belair National Park
In October I travelled to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales for the 2015 SOTA & Parks Seminar held at the Wagga Wagga Amateur Radio Club clubrooms. A number of presentations were delivered. I presented a talk on ‘Portable DX for WWFF & SOTA’. Whilst away I put about 2,500 km on the clock on the Toyota Hi Lux and activated 2 x Victorian National Parks, 4 x NSW National Parks, 2 x NSW SOTA peaks, and 1 x SA Conservation Park, with a total of 484 contacts.
In November Marija and I had a sensational 2 week trip along the Great Ocean Road. Whilst away I activated 2 x South Australian Conservation Parks, 3 x Victorian Coastal Parks, 3 x Victorian Marine National Parks, 1 x Victorian State Park, 3 x Victorian National Parks, & 10 x Victorian SOTA summits. I made a total of 899 contacts during those activations. Marija and I covered a distance of around 3,084 km.
Bay of Islands Coastal Park
Mount Elephant VK3/ VS-047
Mt Vowley VK3/ VC-022 and the Great Otway National Park
Great Otway National Park
Our trip conincided with the annual activation weekend for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award. I received the certificate below for taking part as an activator. Many thanks to Tony VK3XV, the KRMNPA Awards Manager.
During our trip away I caught up with my good mate Ivan VK5HS in Renmark. We also bumped into, unexpectedly two amateurs during two of our park activations in Victoria. The first being Bill VK3LY, and then Nick VK3ANL.
With Ivan VK5HS
With Bill VK3LY
With Nick VK3ANL
In late November the inaugural VKFF Activation Weekend was held. I activated the Mount Magnificent Conservation Park, Scott Conservation Park, & Bullock Hill Conservation Park on Saturday, and then Stipiturus Conservation Park & Nixon Skinner Conservation Park on Sunday.
with Greg VK5GJ at Bullock Hill Conservation Park
Each activator in the VKFF Activation Weekend received a special participation certificate. This was a very successful weekend, with 51 different amateurs taking part as activators. It was a testament to the ever growing popularity of the WWFF program in Australia.
One of the low points of 2015 was that I learnt of the illness of Larry VK5LY. Larry had been diagnosed with cancer. During the year myself and other VK5 hams headed out to the Hampstead Rehab Centre and took along some radio gear, allowing Larry to get on air. As was mentioned a little earlier Ivan VK5HS, Peter VK5FLEX & I also took Larry out to activate the Murray River National Park. Sadly Larry passed away on 30th November 2015. Larry was not only a big loss to his family and friends, but he was also a big loss to amateur radio.
Larry on air at Hampstead Rehab Centre, being watched on by his wife Di
With Larry not long before his death
In April 2015 much to my surprise I featured on QRZ.com.
During 2015 I delivered a number of presentations on portable operation to various clubs including the North East Radio Club, . In February I travelled to the Mid North and met up with 8 of the guys from the area and delivered a presentation on the various parks awards. Attendees were John VK5FMJC, Les VK5KLV, Peter VK5KPR, Nev VK5WG, Ian VK5CZ, Roger VK5NWE, Bill VK5MBD, and Ian VK5IS.
Presentation at the North East Radio Club
The Mid North gang
During 2015 Marija and I hosted Ted VK6NTE and his wife Jen for a few days at our house. I was also visited by Steve VK4KUS. And during my trip to NSW I met up with Peter VK2NEO.
Out for tea with Ted VK6NTE and his wife Jen, and David VK5KC and his wife Joy
In 2015 I designed and had printed up my VK5PAS portable QSL cards. As I have done with previous QSL cards, I used UX5UO Print.
I was awarded with a number of awards during 2015. They included:-
- SOTA 250 Activator
- PineCone Award 5 locations
- Belgium ONFF Activator
- Belgium ONFF Bronze Hunter
- Belgium ONFF Silver Hunter
- Belgium ONFF Gold Hunter
- Poland SPFF worked 12
- Poland SPFF worked 18
- Poland SPFF worked 24
- France FFF worked 5
- France FFF Fauna worked 10
- OZFF 5 area worked
- EUCFF 7
- DXFF 30
- WWFF Global Hunter 176
- WWFF Global Hunter 220
- WWFF Global Hunter 264
- WWFF Global Hunter 308
- WWFF Global Hunter 352
- WWFF Global Hunter 396
- WWFF Global Hunter 444
- WWFF Global Activator 22
- WWFF Global Activator 44
- WWFF Global Activator 55
- WWFF Global Activator 66
- Sapphire VKFF Hunter
- VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 100
- VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 125
- VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 150
- VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 175
- VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 200
- VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 225
- VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 250
Keith VK2PKT kindly sent me the certificate below.
The year 2015 saw some quite good band conditions which resulted in me chasing a number of overseas SOTA & Parks activators including Pablo EA1QL, Franck F4DTO/p, Mike 2E0YYY/p, Herbert HB0/OE9HRV/p, SP9YFF, Antonio EC2AG/p, Zvone S57PZ/p, Henryk SP30OPZ/p, Enrico IZ3GOS/p, Jarek SP9MA/p, Phil, OK/ G4OBK/p, & Ingo DH0KAA/p.
My most exotic DX contact whilst I was out portable was with Bruce ZD7VC on St Helena Island in the South Atlantic Ocean, between Africa and South America. This is very rare DX and I was really pleased to get through running just 40 watts and my linked dipole.
And the most interesting QSO whilst portable was with Jerry PH9HB who was aeronautical mobile in a Boeing 737 over Portugal.
Also in 2015, the audible tones of the kookaburra and goat, that we are now accustomed to, were integrated into the parksnpeaks website.