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