Stats and highlights for 2015

2015

  • VK5 Parks Award – 97
  • WWFF – 83
  • KRMNPA – 8
  • SOTA – 30

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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.

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.

During 2015 I undertook 83 WWFF activations.  A number of these were interstate in New South Wales and 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.

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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”.

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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).

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 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.

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.

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Above:- my display table at the SERG convention

This is a great social event which features a Sunday evening dinner.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

 

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.

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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.

In April 2015 much to my surprise I featured on QRZ.com.

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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.

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.

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.

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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
  • EUCFF14
  • EUCFF
  • DXFF 30
  • OCCFF-H-7
  • 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

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Keith VK2PKT kindly sent me the certificate below.

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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.

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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.

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And the most interesting QSO whilst portable was with Jerry PH9HB who was aeronautical mobile in a Boeing 737 over Portugal.

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Also in 2015, the audible tones of the kookaburra and goat, that we are now accustomed to, were integrated into the parksnpeaks website.

 

Stats and highlights for 2014

2014

  • VK5 Parks Award – 65
  • WWFF – 20
  • KRMNPA – 6
  • SOTA – 18

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During 2014 I conducted a total of 18 SOTA activations.  These were all in South Australia, except for 2 special activations in Germany and Belgium during our trip to Europe.

Some of the highlights on 2013 for SOTA were receiving the following certificates:-

  • Silver Mountain Hunter
  • 250 Unique summits as a Chaser
  • 500 Unique summits as a Chaser
  • 2,500 points Chaser
  • 5,000 points Chaser
  • Summit to Summit 250 points

During 2014 I conducted a total of 65 park activations for the VK5 Parks Award and a total of 18 park activations for the WWFF program.  I undertook a number park activations with other amateurs during 2014 including Larry VK5LY, David VK5PL, Greg VK5LG, John VK5BJE, Mark VK5QI and Gary VK5FGRY.

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Above:- with Larry VK5LY (now SK) in the Belair National Park.

In March 2013 I ran the VK5 SOTA & Parks symposium which was held at the Guides Hall at Blackwood adjacent to the AHARS Shack.  A total of 32 amateurs attended and listened in to some interesting presentations including the following:-

  • An overview of SOTA’s progress in VK5 & VK overall – Ian VK5CZ
  • Tips for activators/hunters of the VK5 Parks Award – Larry VK5LY
  • Overview of World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) – Paul VK5PAS
  • Using lithium phosphate chemistry batteries: a beginners perspective – John VK5BJE
  • The failed attempts at an end fed wire antenna – Ian VK5CZ
  • SOTA for the beginner – Stu VK5STU
  • Spotting & alert programs – Nigel VK5NIG
  • What is prominence – Paul, VK5PAS
  • SOTA & Parks transceivers – John VK5BJE
  • Question and answer session.

In March I took part in the John Moyle Memorial Field Day, from the top of Mount Barker summit.  I made a total of 155 contacts in the 6 hour portable section and came in 1st place.

Early April 2014 saw the 1st year anniversary activation weekend for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  A total of 29 hams participated in a total of 98 park activations.  Of those, 84 were unique parks.  Over 2,300 QSO’s were made, and this included over 750 park to park contacts.  I headed to the Fleurieu Peninsula and activated the following parks:-

  • Bullock Hill Conservation Park
  • Cox Scrub Conservation Park
  • Deep Creek Conservation Park
  • Talisker Conservation Park
  • Eric Bonython Conservation Park
  • Newland Head Conservation Park
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Above:- On the beach at Waitpinga in the Newland Head Conservation Park.

Also in April was the PR4Amateur radio event.  Myself and a number of amateurs from the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society set up a display at the Belair National Park.

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During 2014 I received a number of global WWFF certificates which included the following:-

  • Hunter 88 references
  • Hunter 132 references
  • Activator 11 references
  • DXFF Activator

In June 2014 John VK5BJE and I held an introduction day to SOTA & the Parks awards, with a planned SOTA activation at Mount Lofty, followed by a parks activation at Belair National Park.  A total of 13 amateurs took part.  For many, it was their first portable outing.

A few weeks later I travelled down to Mount Gambier for the South East Radio Group’s annual convention.  Whilst there I activated a number of parks, 14 in fact, and also Mount Burr summit, making a total of 472 QSOs.  On the Sunday evening I delivered a presentation on the VK5 Parks Award to around 80 people at the convention, and then enjoyed the annual Sunday night dinner.  A great event.

In July Marija and I flew to Paris and spend around 2 months in Europe.  This included some time in Belgium where my very good mate Marnix OP7M and his lovely wife Martine and son Goan, were kind enough to allow us to stay and thoroughly looked after us.  I have also become good mates with Marnix’ good buddy, Eddy ON6ZV.  Whilst staying with Marnix we did a SOTA/Parks activation in Belgium, and a SOTA/Parks activation in Germany, using the special call sign of ON4IPA (International Police Association).  Because of reciprocal licensing issues, I was not able to operate under my own call sign.

In November I organised the ‘Welcome to amateur Radio’ symposium which was held at Blackwood.  A total of 80 amateurs attended the symposium which featured 16 presentations.

Topics included:

  • Welcome – Tony VK5KAT
  • Introduction – Paul VK5PAS
  • History of ham radio – Trevor VK5ATQ
  • Operating legally & the ‘model’ QSO – John VK5BJE
  • DX Code of Conduct – David VK5LSB
  • ham jargon – Nigel VK5NIG
  • QRZ.com – Stuart VK5STU
  • APRS – Larry VK5LY
  • DX cluster – Brian VK5BC
  • Contesting & Chasing Awards – Andy VK5AKH
  • QSL cards – John VK5EMI
  • Electronic logging programs – Stuart VK5STU
  • Antenna basics – John VK5BJE
  • Blogs/Wordpress/You Tube – Paul VK5PAS
  • Demystifying the learning of Morse Code – Doc VK5BUG
  • Summits on the Air (SOTA) – Ian VK5CZ
  • Operating QRP – David VK5KC
  • VK5 Nat & Cons Parks Award & WWFF program – Larry VK5LY
  • General questions to the group & Closure – Paul VK5PAS

Also in November, was the annual KRMNPA Activation Weekend.  This year the KRMNPA weekend also conincided with the 2014 Summits on the Air (SOTA) Spring Activation weekend.  I again travelled over the border and activated 6 Victorian National Parks, and 4 SOTA peaks.  I made a total of 473 contacts.

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Later in the year I received the KRMNPA Merit Award and plaque, which is issued for having worked all 45 Victorian National Parks.

During 2014 I continued to deliver presentations on operating portable.  Some of the venues where I presented these were the Whyalla Amateur Radio Club, the South Coast Amateur Radio Club, the Elizabeth Amateur Radio Club.  Ian VK5CZ, Hugh VK5NHG and I set up a display table again at the AHARS Buy and Sell, promoting the Parks programs and SOTA.

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Above:- at the display table, with a visitor Rob VK5RG

The year 2014 continued to be a great year chasing overseas SOTA & Parks activators, with some terrific openings on 20m on both the long and short paths.

Other awards chased during the year included the German Mountain Activity Award, UK & Ireland WWFF, & Poland (SPFF) and many more.

I also received a special certificate in the mail from Andrew VK1AD (formerly VK1NAM).

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In November 2014 I commenced the Out and About in VK5 newsletter, which focussed on portable activities in VK5.  Sadly due to a lack of VK5 contributors, the newsletter ceased in early 2018, despite having many interstate and overseas readers.

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Stats and highlights for 2013

2013

  • VK5 Parks Award – 78
  • WWFF – 14
  • KRMNPA – 4
  • SOTA – 53 activations

2013

My first ever SOTA activation took place in 2013.  I activated Black Bullock Hill VK5/ SE-016 south of Adelaide in March 2013 and logged 7 stations running QRP 5 watts from the Yaesu FT-817nd.  My antenna was a Chinese version of the Buddistick, which didn’t last long.  It was soon discarded for a linked dipole.

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Above:- my first ever SOTA activation at VK5/ SE-016 on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.

I was bitten by the SOTA bug and went on to activate 53 summits in 2013.  Most of these were in the Mid North and West Coast regions of South Australia, but I also activated 13 summits in Victoria.  A number of these summits were joint activations with Ian VK5CZ.

In April 2013 I undertook my first ever park activation, at the Belair National Park, for the World Wide Flora Fauna program.  I had kicked off the VKFF program in Australia the month before in March.  I had also initiated the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  These were early days of the parks award, and knowledge and popularity of the programs was far less than it is today.  My first every park, Belair, resulted in 11 contacts in the log after some time in the park.  Nowadays I am normally reaching at least 44 contacts, even in the middle of the week, and in a very short period of time.

In June 2013 I became a Shack Sloth in the SOTA program, reaching 1,000 points as a SOTA chaser.  My Shack Sloth certificate and glass plaque feature on the wall of my shack.

Later that year in August I received my SOTA activator certificate, having reached 100 activator points.  And all of those contacts were made QRP 5 watts with the Yaesu FT-817nd.   My 100 points came during an activation of Hogshead Hill VK5/ NE-051, and a QSO with Ron VK3AFW.

A little later in the year I reached 250 Summit to Summit points.  I was operating from Mount Rouse VK3/ VS-048 and made contact with Glenn VK3YY/p who was activating Federation Range VK3/ VN-003.

In October of 2013, the SOTA program in VK5 celebrated its 1st birthday.  I headed down to Black Bullock Hill VK5/ SE-016 where I made 49 contacts.

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A few weeks later I attended the SOA VK5 First year anniversary lunch, which I had arranged at a hotel at Gawler.  There were 8 attendees: Ian VK5CZ, John Vk5BJE, Larry VK5LY, Andy VK5LA, Andy VK5AKH, Keith VK5OQ, Mike VK5MCB, and myself.

In December 2013 I reached 2,500 points as a SOTA chaser.  Thanks to Peter VK3PF/p who was activating VK3/ VE-159.

During 2013 I conducted 78 activations for the VK5 Parks Award and 14 for WWFF.  One of the highlights of the year was to activate Bulyong Island in the Murray River National Park with my 2 good mates Larry VK5LY (now silent key) and Ivan VK5HS.  To get there we had to travel via boat.  In 2013 I also activated my first park for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award, that being the Grampians National Park in western Victoria.

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Above:- Activation of the Murray River National Park with Larry VK5LY (SK) and Ivan VK5HS in September 2013.

For the 6 month anniversary of the VK5 Parks Award, Marija and I travelled to the Yorke Peninsula where a number of parks were activated.

In November 2013 the KRMNPA Activation Weekend took place.  I travelled to Victoria with Marija where we activated the Murray Sunset National Park and the Wyperfeld National Park.  I made a total of 63 contacts and worked a total of 16 different Victorian National Parks over the duration of the weekend.  Marija and I also caught up with Larry VK5LY (now a silent key) and his wife Di, as they were activating nearby parks.

During 2013 I also activated Granite Island for the Islands on the Air (IOTA) program.  Unlike the serious IOTA activators, this was a very laid back and simple activation, running just 5 watts from the Yaesu FT-817nd.

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Above:- My activating spot on Granite Island OC-228

In August 2013 I travelled to Kangaroo Island with a group of amateurs from the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society.  We activated the Cape Willoughby lighthouse which is located within the Cape Willoughby Conservation Park.

During 2013 I delivered a number of presentations on operating portable including at the Adelaide Tech meet, the North East Radio Club, the Riverland Radio Club, the South Coast Amateur Radio Society, the South East Radio Group and Adelaide Bushwalkers.

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Above:- Socialising with hams in the Riverland, where I had delivered a presentation in September on the parks awards.

As well as the presentations I also set up a number of amateur radio displays during the year.  This included a SOTA & Parks display at the AHARS Buy and Sell, and amateur radio displays at the Port Elliot show and the Strathalbyn Show.

I was fortunate in 2013 to make numerous contacts with SOTA & Parks activators from overseas.  Band conditions were much better than they are today.  I also chased a few other portable awards including the Summitsbase awards.

 

 

My Portable stats

Somebody asked me the other day “how many parks have you activated?”  I really didn’t know the answer, so over the past few week I have sat down and tallied up my stats for my park activations for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award, World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF), and the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA). And also the number of summits I have activated for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program. 

Below are the number of activations I have undertaken (since March 2013)…..

  • VK5 Parks Award – 398
  • WWFF- 364
  • KRMNPA – 47
  • SOTA – 127

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Many parks and summits I have activated 5 or 6 times over.

In the following posts I will record some statistics and highlights for each year since I started operating portable in March 2013.

 

Cobbler Creek Recreation Park VKFF-1699

Today (Sunday 20th May 2018) Marija and I headed out north to visit my dad and stepmum.  Sadly Dad has not been in good health of late, so it was nice to catch up for lunch and a chat.  Dad and I enjoyed sitting back watching a DVD of the Avalon airshow.  Dad has always been keen on aviation.

We left at around 2.30 p.m. and decided to do a quick activation on the way home at the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park VKFF-1699.  This is just a short drive from my dad’s home.  The park is around 25 km north east of the city of Adelaide.

This was to be a unique park for both Marija and I as activators in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, north east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is 266-hectare (657-acre) in size and was declared a recreation park in 1989.  The park provides an open space barrier between the suburb of Golden Grove and the suburb of Salisbury.  The park is bounded by a number of main roads and is bisected by the four laned The Grove Way.   It is surrounded by housing.  There is a pedestrian underpass under The Grove Way which connects the two sections of the park.  The park was named after the watercouse ‘Cobbler Creek’ which crossed the northern part of the park.  The creek was named after the occupation of one of the early settlers of the area.  You can read about this a little later in this post.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, looking south back towards the city of Adelaide.  Image courtesy of google maps

In a 1962 State Government report, the park’s area was identified for use as future open space.  It was proposed that a golf course would be established along with other sporting facilities.  In 1970 the land was purchased by the South Australian State Government was part of the metropolitan open space (MOSS) network.  The park’s location was chosen to provide a development-free buffer between the existing suburbs of Salisbury and the proposed Golden Grove development.

Much of the land was a farming property known as Kelway Park, the western, cleared portion of which had been cropped.  The park was owned and managed by the State Planning Authority until 1982 when control passed to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.   Cobbler Creek was declared a recreation park on the 26th October 1989.

Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is administered and maintained jointly by the City of Salisbury, and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.  A volunteer group, Friends of Cobbler Creek, was formed in 1990 and works with rangers to improve and maintain the park.

Cobbler Creek Recreation Park sits in the traditional lands of the Kaurna aboriginal people.  One of the first European settlers in the area was William Pedler III (b. 1804.  d. 1874) who emigrated to Australia in 1838 aboard the Royal Admiral from Cornwall in England with his wife Elizabeth Pedler nee Nicholls.  The couple and their children initially lived in Carrington Street in the city of Adelaide.

In 1850 Pedler purchased 135 acres of land in the Hundred of Yatala in the vicinity of the Old Spot Hotel on the Little Para River.  He later sold the majority of this land an purchased adjoining land comprising around 269 acres east of Bridge Road near Cobblers Creek.  He established his farm ‘Trevolsa‘ of around 279 acres.  Pedler was a shoe maker (cobbler) by profession.  He made and sold shoes to teamsters passing through the Salisbury area who were carting ore to Burra in the Mid North of South Australia.  It is his profession that gave both the creek that passes through the northern part of the park, and the park their names.

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Above:- Memorial plaque in the park at the site of the old Trevalsa homestead.

Pedler subsequently passed the land on to his oldest son, William IV Pedler (b. 1829.  d. 1909), who farmed the land for many years with his wife Martha and their family.  In 1852 he travelled to the Victorian goldfields and returned home after some success.  But he soon headed back to the goldfields where after working the Eaglehawk area, he returned home at the end of 1852 to work on the family farm Trevolsa.

Also located in the park are Teakle Ruins which sit on the top of Cobbler Hill.  The property is named after its former occupants who vacated the farmhouse around 1900.

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Above:- Teakle Ruins.  Courtesy of wikipedia.

In the 19th century, Salisbury residents used this area for Sunday school picnics. Swings were temporarily built, water and food brought to the site and games and bands provided for entertainment.

Many sections of Cobbler Creek have been cleared of native vegetation due to previous land use.  However other sections of the park feature grassland, river red gum, and mallee box.  The park contains some of the last remaining mallee box grassy woodland in Adelaide.  Amongst the woodlands, plants like the blue-flowering flax lily are common.

Native fauna species found in the park include Western Grey Kangaroos and Brush tailed possums.  Reptile inhabitants of the park include Eastern bearded dragons, White’s skink, eastern brown snake, and sleepy lizard.  The park is home to a small population of the worm-like and vulnerable Flinders Ranges worm-lizard.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 105 native bird in the park including Crested Pigeon, Australian Magpie, Little Raven, Noisy Miner, White-plumed Honeyeater, Tawny Frogmouth, Peaceful Dove, Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, and White-winged Triller.

There are several walking trails through the park, along with dedicated mountain bike areas, BBQ areas and playground.

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The Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, showing the parks boundaries and the various walking trails.

Marija and I entered the park via Smith Road off Bridge Road.  There is a large amount of carparking here.  We parked the vehicle and walked a short distance and set up.  We ran the Yaesu FT-897 for this activation, along with the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, supported on the 7m telescopic squid pole.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot in the western section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After setting up I turned on the Yaesu FT-897 which was already sitting on 14.310 on the 20m band.  And our worse fears were realised, with strength 8 noise due to all of the surrounding houses.  Mark VK4SMA/p was calling CQ on 14.310 from the Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507.  Fortunately Mark was above the noise floor, and was my first contact from Cobbler Creek.

Marija and I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links on the 20/40/80m linked dipole so we could operated on the 40m band.  We found 7.144 and I started calling CQ while Marija spotted me on parksnpeaks and Facebook.  First in the log following my CQ call was Brett VK2VW, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Cliff VK2NP.  Sadly we were experiencing strength 8 noise on 40m as well.

Within 10 minutes I had contact number ten in the log, thus qualifying the park for the VKFF program.  Contact number 10 was Andrew VK5MR at Roxby Downs in the north of South Australia.

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Above:- the shack for the afternoon

I perservered under some pretty trying and frustrating conditions.  It was extremely difficult to pull out anybody below strength 7-8.  And we knew there were a lot of stations calling us that fell into that category.  We were also right under the flight path of the light aircraft using the nearby Parafield Airport, and we had the occasional loud V8 car on the nearby Main North Road.  Sadly I missed out on a contact with Ron VK3AFW/p who was on Lord Howe Island.  People told me Ron was calling, but I just wasn’t able to hear Ron well enough to exchange signal reports with him.

Much to my surprise I reached 44 contacts within 45 minutes, qualifying the park for the global WWFF program.  Contacts were made into VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7 and New Zealand.  This including a Park to Park with Neil VK4HNS/p who was activating the Homevale National Park VKFF-0237.  It was also nice to log Andre ZL1TM who has become a regular park hunter.

Whilst on air I had a number of interested onlookers, and Marija took the time to explain to them the hobby of amateur radio and what we were doing.

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Above:- light aircraft flying above us from the nearby Parafield Airport.

I now had 47 contacts in the log on 40m.  So we lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m section of the antenna and headed to 3.610 where I called CQ.  This was answered by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula with a booming signal.  As I had qualified the park, it was now Marija’s turn to jump into the operators chair.  Marija logged Adrian after we had lowered the power down from 40 watts to 10 watts PEP for Marija’s Foundation class licence.

Following her contact with Adrian, Marija logged a further 8 stations on 80m from VK3 and VK5.  Sadly our noise floor on 80m was also strength 8.  Marija then headed back to 40m and worked Gerard VK2IO for her 10th contact, qualifying the park for VKFF.  Gerard had tried calling us on 80m but he was below our noise floor.

Marija had a steady flow of callers and ended up with a total of 22 QSOs on 40m from VK2, VK3, and VK4.  This included Park to Park contacts with Mark VK4SMA/p in the Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507, and Neil VK4HNS/p in the Homevale National Park VKFF-0237.

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Above:- Marija VK5FMAZ on air, battling the strength 8 noise floor.

So after about 90 minutes in the park, Marija and I had a total of 80 contacts in the log between us, including 5 Park to Park contacts.  Unfortunately we had missed out on the contact with Ron on Lord Howe Island, and a number of other stations that were below our noise floor.  I think the next activation of this park will be a hike in by a few km to get away from the nearby houses.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. VK4AAC/2
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3KAI
  5. VK2HHA
  6. VK4SMA/p (Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507)
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK6PCT/3
  9. VK4HNS/p (Homevale National Park VKFF-0237)
  10. VK2NP
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK3FIAN
  16. VK2ETA/4
  17. VK3UCD
  18. VK3SX
  19. VK4FDJL
  20. VK3CWF
  21. VK3AMP/m
  22. VK3VGB

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK3DET
  4. VK3GGG/p
  5. VK3PMG/p
  6. VK5MRT
  7. VK3ARH
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK3KAI

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK3ANL
  5. VK3MAB
  6. VK3ZMD
  7. VK7JON
  8. VK3FT
  9. VK5MR
  10. VK2PKT
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK5LA
  13. VK3AHR
  14. VK3PF
  15. VK2AR
  16. VK4NH
  17. VK4DXA
  18. ZL4TY/VK4
  19. VK7FKLW
  20. VK5KLV
  21. VK2OQ
  22. VK4FDJL
  23. VK3CWF
  24. VK4HNS/p (Homevale National Park VKFF-0237)
  25. VK2UH
  26. VK2YK
  27. VK2YW
  28. VK3KMF/2
  29. VK3GGG/p
  30. VK3PMG/p
  31. VK3MIJ
  32. ZL1TM
  33. VK2FF
  34. VK3FMKE
  35. VK2MZZ
  36. VK3GH
  37. VK3FSPG
  38. VK3MPR
  39. VK7QP
  40. VK3ZM
  41. VK4TJ
  42. VK4/AC8WN
  43. VK4/VE6XT
  44. VK2SVN
  45. VK3BY
  46. VK3EY
  47. VK4SMA/p (Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507)

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507)

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/cobbler-creek-recreation-park/>, viewed 20th May 2018

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, ‘Cobbler Creek Recreation Park’ brouchure

Department of Environment and Heritage, 2003, Cobbler Creek Recreation Park Management Plan.

Friends of Parks, 2018, <http://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/members-directory/friends-of-cobbler-creek>, viewed 20th May 2018

Salisbury and District Historical Society, 2018, <http://www.salisburyhistory.com.au/history/the-pedlars>, viewed 20th May 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobbler_Creek_Recreation_Park>, viewed 20th May 2018