My time as VI5MARCONI

Over the past few weeks I was privileged to use the special call of VI5MARCONI.  The special Marconi calls which will be heard during the month of September, are all part of the 100 year celebrations of the first direct wireless transmission from the United Kingdom to Australia, which occurred way back on 22nd September 1918.  For full information on this very interesting piece of radio history, please check out my previous post at……….

I jumped on air whenever possible, between work committments.  I also activated a total of 5 parks using the call.  I ended up with a total of 424 contacts.  This included 19 different DXCC including the following……

  1. Asiatic Russia
  2. Australia
  3. European Russia
  4. Germany
  5. Fiji
  6. India
  7. Italy
  8. Japan
  9. Montserrat
  10. New Caledonia
  11. New Zealand
  12. Korea
  13. Kosovo
  14. Slovenia
  15. South Cook Islands
  16. Spain
  17. Tuvalu
  18. USA
  19. Vanuatu

I found the band conditions pretty challenging, with very few DX opportunities.  However, on Sunday afternoon I was really pleased to log a number of European stations on 20m on the long path.

The majority of my contacts were on the 40m band (215), followed by 2m (118), then 80m (77), and finally 15m (14).

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 10.38.09 am.png

Of the 424 QSOs I made, 303 of those were made whilst I was out in the field.

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My portable activations were at the following parks……..

  • Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0788
  • Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754
  • Mark Oliphant Conservation Park VKFF-0782
  • Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park VKFF-0781
  • Monarto Conservation Park VKFF-0828

John VK5BJE joined me for my activation at the Scott Creek Conservation Park.

I have now provided my log and in the next few days it should appear in the on-line log which can be found at……

You can download a special QSL card for VI5MARCONI from that site.  The QSL card below is an example, showing my contact with VI4MARCONI.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 10.21.17 am.png

Thankyou to everyone who called me, and thankyou to Fred VK3DAC for giving me the opportunity of using the call.

VI5MARCONI at Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0788

On Sunday morning (16th September 2018) I headed over to Scott Creek in the Adelaide Hills to meet up with John VK5BJE.  We had organised to activate the Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0788, using the special call of VI5MARCONI.

The Scott Creek Conservation Park is about 24 km (by road) south east of Adelaide.  It is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

This is another park I have activated many times over.  It is also ‘John’s park’.  John lives just a short distance from the park, and his wife Jenny is an active member of the Friends of Scott Creek.  We set up at our normal operating spot, just inside gate 8.

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 8.40.56 pm

Above:- Map of the Scott Creek Conservation Park, showing out operating spot.  Map courtesy of DEWNR.

As I had used the call for the past few weeks, John kicked off the activation, by calling CQ on 7.130 on the 40m band.  Marija VK5FMAZ, my wife, was first in the log, with a strong 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Joe VK3MAB, Ken VK3UH and then Peter VK3JRP.  But it was very slow going, with band conditions being very ordinary.  John ended up logging 12 contacts on 40m, before we decided to try the 80m band.

So it was down with the telescopic squid pole, and in with the 80m links, and off to 3.610.  I spotted John on parksnpeaks and the various ‘portable’ Facebook sites.  Again first in the log on the 80m band was Marija VK5FMAZ, followed by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, then Ivan VK5HS mobile, and then Trevor VK5TW.  But sadly that was it.  Despite the band being in great shape for local contacts, we had no further callers.

So it was out with the CW key and for John to try his luck on 3.532 on CW.  John called CQ a number of times with no response.  We started to wonder if his signal was getting out.  We then made contact via text message with David VK5KC and arranged to meet him on 3.610.  Whilst chatting to David, we tried CW again, and we were definitely getting out, which was pleasing.

With no further takers, we headed to 7.032 CW and John started calling CQ.  This was answered by Chris VK1CT, followed by Chris VK3QB.  Success.


Above:- John VK5BJE giving me a lesson on CW.

We then moved back to 7.144 SSB and John called CQ.  Keith VK3FMKE was first in the log, followed by Nick VK3ANL, and then Peter VK3PF mobile.  It was about this time that John’s wife Jenny arrived at the park, and whilst John continued to make contacts, I had a chat with Jenny.  John then took a short break to get a drink of water, and whilst doing so I logged Al VK7AN, Lee VK2LEE, and Craig VK3FDRG.  John then took charge of the mic again and logged a further 3 contacts from VK3 and VK7.

I then saw a message on Facebook from Steve VK7CW that he was keen for a CW contact.  So it was back to 7.032 CW where John worked Steve and then Peter VK3PF/p who was activating SOTA peak Mount Phipps VK3/ VG-015.   It was now 12.45 p.m. local time and John decided to head home.  As it was quite a nice day, with the occasional glimpse of the sun through the clouds, I decided to stick around.


Above:- John VK5BJE on air.

I logged a further 11 stations on 40m, including Rob VK4AAC/3 who was activating the Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620 and Peter VK3PF/p on SOTA peak Mount Phipps VK3/ VG-015.  I also logged Alan VK3ALN for his very first QSO.

I then moved to the 20m band and called CQ on 14.315.  This was answered by Gil ZL3GLV in New Zealand, followed by VI4MARCONI.  It was a treat to log the Queensland Marconi station.  We had tried earlier to make contact on 40m but Stu was struggling to hear us.  I logged 3 more stations, from VK2, VK4 and VK6.  This included Brooke VK4RZ who was running just 2 watts, with a good 5/5 signal.

I then tuned across the 20m band and heard Greg VK2GJC chatting to Steve VK4KUS and Alan ZL1ANZ.  After logging these gentlemen, I again tuned across the band and this time found Johnno VK4ALE/p activating the Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493.

I then moved back to the 40m where I logged a further 21 stations including Peter VK3PF/p who had moved to a new SOTA summit, Mount Birregun VK3/ VT-020.

To complete the activation I returned to the 20m band, joining the ANZA DX Net on 14.183.  I logged 5 stations there from VK4, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.  Once ethe net closed down I moved up to 14.310 and called CQ.  This was answered by Ben VK6XC.  Then, much to my surprise I was called by Gianluca IK4LZH, Carlo IZ8GNR, Giovanni IZ5JMZ, and then Yoshiro JH7RTQ.  I was really pleased to finally log some long path Europe SSB contacts on 20m whilst portable.  It had been a while.  But they were not the only DX contacts.  I subsequently made contact with Valery UA0ZC and Wolf DK8MZ.

My last contact of the day was with Greg VK4VXX/6 who was activating the Murujuga National Park VKFF-1226.  I was a nice way to finish the activation, with a Park to Park contact.

With 91 contacts in the log, and the local time now being 3.30 p.m., I packed up and headed home.  It had been a fun time, and my last day with the special call of VI5MARCONI.  I would like to thank Fred VK3DAC for allowing me use of the call.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK3MAB
  3. VK3UH
  4. VK3JRP
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK4AAC/3
  8. VK3QB
  9. VK4CZ
  10. VK4GSF
  11. VK2UXO
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK3FMKE
  14. VK3ANL
  15. VK3PF/m
  16. VK5MR
  17. VK2KYO
  18. VK7AN
  19. VK2LEE
  20. VK3FDRG
  21. VK7GN
  22. VK3MB
  23. VK7QP
  24. VK3AWG
  25. VK3SIM
  26. VK4AAC/3 (Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  27. VK3PF/p (SOTA Mount Phipps VK3/ VG-015)
  28. VK6XC
  29. VK3ALN
  30. VK3YB
  31. VK3LTL
  32. VK3CNW
  33. VK3NXT
  34. VK5MJ/4
  35. VK3GRK/m
  36. VK3UP
  37. VK3CKC/m
  38. VK3HJA/p
  39. VK2MNR
  40. VK2XXM
  41. VK2VW
  42. VK2IO
  43. VK2YK
  44. VK3HKV
  45. VK3HD
  46. VK3BNJ
  47. VK3ZD
  48. VK7FRJG
  49. VK3PTL
  50. VK3FMKE
  51. VK3PF/p (SOTA Mount Birregun VK3/ VT-020)
  52. VK3FSPG
  53. VK3MPR
  54. VK3CWF
  55. VK2HMV

The following stations were worked on 40m CW:-

  1. VK1CT
  2. VK3QB
  3. VK7CW
  4. VK3PF/p (SOTA Mount Phipps VK3/ VG-015)

The following stations were worked on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5HS/m
  4. VK5TW
  5. VK5KC

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL3GLV
  3. VK4SDD
  4. VK2EAT/p
  5. VK6YTS/p
  6. VK4RZ
  7. VK2GJC
  8. VK4KUS
  9. ZL1ANZ
  10. VK4ALE/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)
  11. VK4XCS
  12. ZL4QJ
  13. VK6NTE
  14. VK7XX
  15. ZL1ANF
  16. VK6XC
  17. IK4LZH
  18. IZ8GNR
  19. IZ5JMZ
  20. JH7RTQ
  21. VK4HNS
  22. VK5BJE
  23. UA0ZC
  24. VK4SJ
  25. DK8MZ
  26. VK7QP
  27. VK4VXX/6 (Murujuga National Park VKFF-1226)


VI5MARCONI at Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754

I spent the entire Friday 14th September 2018, and the preceding day, in a training course at work.  So once I got home late on Friday afternoon, I had some tea and then drove down the road to activate the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754, using the special call of VI5MARCONI.

Totness Recreation Park is about 40 km east of Adelaide, and just a short drive from my home in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Totness Recreation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Due to its very close proximity to home, I have activated Totness many times over, and have well and truly qualified it for WWFF.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Totness Recreation Park in close proximity to my home.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I set up in my normal operating spot, off Haines Fire Track.  There is a small carparking area here at the gate, and a cleared area between the park boundary fence and the start of the scrub, with plenty of room to stretch out the dipole.

Sadly, the majority of the 40m band was totally unusable due to the Over the Horizon Radar (OTHR).  It was across 40m from 7.125 and above and was strength 8 to 9.  And below that I was flat out trying to find a clear frequency due to the large number of South East Asian stations.

Although I still experienced interference, I chose 7.121 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Darren VK6FVIA in Western Australia.  It was a nice way to start the activation, with a 2,120 km contact to the west coast.  Gerard VK2IO then called in, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then my lovely wife Marija VK5FMAZ.

I logged 15 contacts on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and New Zealand.  It was now a little after 7.00 p.m. local time, so I headed to the 7130 DX Net.  Unfortunately the OTHR was very strong and it made things very difficult.  The Net Control Roy VK7ROY was struggling to hear me at times, and others.  During the net I moved down to 7.121 where I spoke briefly with John VK6VZZ mobile.  John and I could hear each other well, but Net Control was struggling to hear us both, so we QSYd off frequency for a shot time to say g’day.  I ended up logging a total of 5 stations on the net, from VK6, New Zealand, and the USA.


I then headed to the 80m band and called CQ on 3.615.  Unfortunately a net came up on 3.618 shortly after I had started, but I perservered and logged a total of 19 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK8, and New Zealand.  It was nice to log Andrei ZL1TM on 2 bands.

When callers slowed down on 80m, I decided to have another listen on 40m, where I logged a further 4 stations from VK3 and VK4.  Oliver ZL1XS gave me another shout as well, to let me know that I was 10/9 in New Zealand.

To complete the activation I moved back to 80m and had a tune across the band.  I heard Mark VK2PH with a booming signal, talking with David VK3FDZE.  So I gave them a shout, and we were soon joined by Tony VK5TT and then Joseph VK7JS.  David was new to the hobby, so I was very pleased to speak with him.  Tony was in Melbourne, but was operating remote back to his station in the Adelaide Hills, and as a result his signal was 5/9 ++++.  And Joseph was using an indoor magnetic loop and had a strong 5/8 signal.


With 48 contacts in the log, and the time now creeping up to 9.00 p.m. local time, I decided to pack up and head home.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6FVIA
  2. VK2IO
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK3DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK5FMAZ
  7. ZL1TM
  8. VK4PDX
  9. VK4HNS
  10. VK2FJPR
  11. VK3KTO
  12. VK4NP
  13. VK2NP
  14. ZL1XS
  15. VK2LAW
  16. VK7ROY
  17. ZL2ASH
  18. VK6FARB
  19. KA5PNX
  20. VK6VZZ/m
  21. ZL3SV
  22. VK4GSF
  23. VK3ZPF
  24. VK3ANL
  25. VK4PZZ

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF
  2. VK5PL
  3. VK5HS
  4. VK5FMAZ
  5. VK5LA
  6. VK2LEE
  7. VK3HN
  8. VK3NLK/m
  9. VK8GM
  10. VK5LEX
  11. VK2PKT
  12. ZL1TM
  13. VK2CAB
  14. VK5BJE
  15. VK4CW
  16. VK6QS
  17. VK6VZZ/m
  18. VK3ANL
  19. VK2LAW
  20. VK2PH
  21. VK3FDZE
  22. VK5TT
  23. VK7JS

VI5MARCONI at Mark Oliphant Conservation Park 5CP-127 and VKFF-0782

This morning (Tuesday 11th September 2018) I activated the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park 5CP-127 & VKFF-0782, using the special call of VI5MARCONI.  This is another park I have activated from many times previously, and have well and truly qualified.  But the noise floor at home on 40m has increased dramatically in recent times, so a portable activation sounded a good option.

The Mark Oliphant Conservation Park is located about 21 km south east of Adelaide, and about 22 km (by road) from my home.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I was last in this park in May 2017, when I took a small group of people into the field, as part of the 2017 WIA AGM.  For details on that activation, and full information on the park, please see my previous post at…….

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Above:- Aerial view of the park, looking north west back towards Adelaide.  Image courtesy of google maps

I set up in my normal operating spot, on the Honeyeater Track, off Evans Road.

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

I started off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144.  This was answered by John VK4TJ, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, then Geoff VK3SQ, and then much to my surprise, Bob VK6POP over in Western Australia.  Bob was low down, 5/3, but was perfectly readable, and also gave me a 5/3 signal report.

The band conditions however were very poor and callers were few and far between.  Contact number eight was a Park to Park, with Gerard VK2JNG/p who was in the Bongil Bongil National Park VKFF-0042.  This was followed by Brian VK3BCM/p activating SOTA  peak Mount Phipps VK3/ VG-015.

I logged just 10 contacts on 40m before callers completely dried up.  So I lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band.  I then called CQ on 3.610 which was answered by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula with an excellent 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Tony VK5MRT at Strathalbyn with a 5/7 signal.  But that was it.  No more callers.  So I put out a call on the local Crafers repeater to let people know I was in the park.  This resulted in 2 callers.  First was Brenton VK5BZ who although 5/9 to me, was suffering badly from a high noise level at his end.  Nev ‘Nifty’ VK5XD then gave me a call.  He too was suffering from a high noise floor.  I had a strength 1 noise floor on 80m in the park.

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So with just 4 contacts in the log on 80m, I headed back to 40m.  I found Gerard VK2JNG/p in 7.144, so I moved a little higher up the band to 7.150 and started calling CQ.  I logged just 5 stations on 40m from VK3 and VK7.  So I moved to 14.310 on the 20m band.  I was just about to ask if the frequency was in use, when I heard someone else ask the same question.  It was Gerard VK2JNG/p.  I logged Gerard for another Park to Park contact, and then moved up the band to 14.315 where I called CQ for 10 minutes with no takers.

I was about to pack up when I saw a spot come up on parksnpeaks for Brian VK3BCM who was now on a new SOTA summit.  I logged Brian (5/7 both ways) from SOTA peak Mount Birregun VK3/ VT-020.

After an hour & 20 minutes in the park I had 21 contacts in the log.  A very slow morning, with very very average band conditions.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK6POP
  5. VK4FDJL
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK3BJV/m
  8. VK2JNG/p (Bongil Bongil National Park VKFF-0042)
  9. VK3BCM/p (SOTA Mount Phipps VK3/ VG-015)
  10. VK3TKK/m
  11. VK7KEV
  12. VK3PYE
  13. VK3KMH
  14. VK3SB
  15. VK3BHR
  16. VK3BCM/p (SOTA Mount Birregun VK3/ VT-020)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5MRT
  3. VK5BZ
  4. VK5XD

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Bongil Bongil National Park VKFF-0042)

VI5MARCONI at Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 and VKFF-0781

On Sunday 2nd September 2018 I activated the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 & VKFF-0781, using the special call of VI5MARCONI.  For full details on the VI5MARCONI call, please have a look at my previous post, re my activation at Monarto.  I’m sure you will find the history behind this call very interesting.

It was Fathers Day and I had enjoyed a great lunch of my wife Marija’s home made lasagne, shared with my Dad and stepmum, my son Jake and his girlfriend, and my daughter Olivia and her boyfriend.  It wasn’t until they left at about 3.30 p.m. that I decided to head out to activate the park.

I have activated and qualified the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park  many times over.  It is just a short 15 minute drive from home in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer. 

The park is unique in that it comprises four separate pieces of scrub, all a few km apart from each other, and totalling about 253 hectares.  The section I headed to is known as Wottons Scrub.  Other sections are known as Filsell Hill, Whites Scrub and Burdetts Scrub.  The names Burdett, White and Wotton refer to previous owners of the land while Filsell Hill denotes the location of the largest reserve which is close to the Filsell Hill Trig Point.

Screen Shot 2018-09-04 at 8.44.23 pm.png

I have talked about the origins of this park in previous posts, but believe they are so interesting, they are worth mentioning again.  The park

It is named after Kenneth George Stirling, who was an accountant and benefactor.   Sadly he died suddenly in 1973, of heart disease, aged just 38.  Mr. Stirling earnt considerable wealth due to shareholding in mining interests, and apparently this paper value embarrassed him.  According to his wife, ‘he believed he hadn’t earned the money the mining boom brought him’ and ‘his main concern was to use it for the good of the community’.

He was a member of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia and other organisations and over the years made several  anonymous gifts including $200,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) to establish national parks in South Australia, and $100,000 to the University of Adelaide. The money he gave to the A.C.F. helped to establish national parks at Montacute and Mount Scott, both near Adelaide, and in the extension of existing reserves at Scott Creek, in the Mount Lofty Ranges, and Warrenben, on Yorke Peninsula.  In 1990 the State government acquired land in the Adelaide Hills for the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.

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Above:- Kenneth George Stirling.

I was set up and ready to go just after 4.00 p.m. local time.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

Before calling CQ I found Gerard VK2IO/p on 7.095, activating Joadja Nature Reserve VKFF-1944.  It was a nice way to start the activation with a Park to Park contact.  I then logged Jonathan VK4ALE/p who was also activating a park, the D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129.  I then moved to 7.135 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Peter VK1XP/m, followed by Nick Vk3ANL, and then Scott VK4CZ.

The 40m band was in pretty good shape.  But it was busy.  There appeared to be a European Field Day in progress, and it was hard to find a clear frequency.  In the end I logged a total of 49 stations on 40m, including one big surprise.  That being a QSO with Deme EA5IPC in Spain.  Not bad, considering I was running 40 watts and a little bit of wire, 7 metres at the apex.  I also logged Rob VK4SYD/p in the D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129, and John VK5FLEA/p in the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park VKFF-0894.  It was terrific to hear John out and about giving portable operation a go.


Above:- ‘The Shack’ at Kenneth Stirling.

I then moved to 3.610 on the 80m band and logged a total of 27 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and New Zealand.  It was really pleasing to get so many calls on 80m.  This included a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p who was in the Nattai National Park VKFF-0383.  And it was pleasing to log Andrei ZL1TM for a second band.  I had worked him earlier on 40m.

With the temperature dropping to 4 deg C, I then tried my luck on 20m, calling CQ on 14.310 for around 10 minutes with no success.  Some of the USA guys who follow the WWFF Australia Facebook page were keen to work me, but sadly there was no propagation to North America.  It was a little too late for 20m with the time being 0845 UTC (6.15 p.m. local time).  But I did log Andrew VK6AS, all the way over in Western Australia.

I moved back to the 40m band and found that it was really hard to find a clear frequency.  Sadly the Over the Horizon Radar was across most of the band.  But I eventually found 7.155 clear and called CQ there, logging 5 stations.  It was now dark, and the band had fallen out to Victoria (VK3).


To finish the activation I went back to 80m where I logged 5 more stations from VK2, VK3, and VK7.

The temperature had now dropped down to 2 deg C and I was getting extremely cold.  It was time to pack up and head home to the warmth.  I had 87 more contacts in the log for VI5MARCONI.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Joadja Nature Reserve VKFF-1944)
  2. VK4ALE/p (D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129)
  3. VK1XP/m
  4. VK3ANL
  5. VK4CZ
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK3PWG
  8. VK2NP
  9. VK4FE
  11. VK3FT
  12. VK5FMAZ
  13. VK2VW
  14. VK12MA
  15. VK4SYD/p (D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129)
  16. VK3FSPG
  17. VK3MPR
  18. VK3LTL
  19. ZL1TM
  20. VK3ZPF
  21. VK3SQ
  22. VK3UH
  23. VK4FDJL
  24. VK7DW
  25. VK3STU
  26. VK6BMM/2
  27. VK2RP
  28. VK2BDR
  29. VK2YK
  30. VK2PKT
  31. VK3JAP/m
  32. VK2VK
  33. VK4SMA
  34. VK2ZVG
  35. VK4PDX
  36. VK2AR
  37. VK4FARR
  38. VK2KJJ
  39. VK3BY
  40. VK3KHZ
  41. VK2BY
  42. EA5IPC
  43. VK4VCE
  44. VK5FLEA/p (Horsnell Gully Conservation Park VKFF-0894)
  45. VK2BHO
  46. VK2KDP
  47. VK7FMAC
  48. VK2CPR/m
  49. VK7AIR/4
  50. VK4FOMP
  51. VK2BAI
  52. VK1UU
  53. VK2SK
  54. VK2FSAV

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF
  2. VK3ANL
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2NP
  5. VK2YK
  6. VK5FMAZ
  7. VK5YX
  8. VK5HS
  9. VK2MWK
  10. VK2BNX
  11. VK1HW
  12. VK1DI
  13. VK2IO/p (Nattai National Park VKFF-0383)
  14. VK5ZLT
  15. VK1MA
  16. VK4HNS
  17. VK3PF
  18. VK5JN
  19. VK2HHA
  20. VK5LA
  21. VK2VIN
  22. VK3LTL
  23. VK5SFA
  24. VK5ATN
  25. VK2SR
  26. ZL1TM
  27. VK2BY
  28. VK3UFO
  29. VK7FCIA
  30. VK2KV
  31. VK7RN
  32. VK3BMT

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6AS



Friends of Parks South Australia, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

VI5MARCONI and the Monarto Conservation Park VKFF-0828

On Saturday morning (1st September 2018) I headed out to the Monarto Conservation Park VKFF-0828 to activate the park using the special call of VI5MARCONI.  I have been allocated use of this call for the next week, and as the noise floor at home seems to be ever increasing, I decided to go portable.

I have activated Monarto many times in the past and have qualified it over and over, but it is a nice handy park just 30 km down the road from home.  And importantly it is a park which I can drive into, which I needed to take into account this particular morning, as the weather was very average, with regular shower activity.

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

VI5MARCONI is a special call to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first direct wireless messages from the United Kingdom which were received in Australia, and broadcast on 22nd September 1918.  The messages were transmitted from Wales in the UK, and were received at the home of Ernest Fisk, the Managing Director of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited (A.W.A.) in Sydney, New South Wales.

VI-MARCONI calls in all States/Territories will be active during September 2018.  On 22nd September 2018, the call of VK100MARCONI will be operational by members of the Hornsby and Districts Amateur Radio Club.

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Above:- News article from The North Western Courier, NSW, 23rd Sept 1918.  Image courtesy of Trove.

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Above:- News article from The Sun, Sydney, Sat 8th Nov 1919.  Courtesy of Trove.

Sir Ernest Fisk was born on 8th August 1886 at Sunbury, Middlesex, England.  In July 1913 he founded Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) Limited, with exclusive rights throughout Australasia to the patents, ‘present and future’, of both Marconi and Telefunken.  He became the Director of this organisation in 1916 and the Chairman in 1932.  He was knighted on 11th May 1937.


Above:- Sir Ernest Fisk.  c/o

The messages sent in 1918 originated from the Marconi station at Waunfawr, near Caernarfon in Wales.  The station was in use between 1912 and 1938 and was for many years the most important long wave station in Britain, handling imperial and international communications.


Above:- the Marconi station at Waunfawr.  Image courtesy of

Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, was born on 25th April 1874 at Palazzo Marescalchi, Bologna, Italy.  He is credited as the inventor of radio, and shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”.


Above:- Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi.  Image courtesy of Wikipeida.

The transmissions to Australia required a 400 kilowatt long wave transmitter which Marconi claimed at the time was the biggest in the world.  Powered from a nearby hydroelectric power station, the Waunfawr transmitter was located on the top of the Cefn-du Mountain in Snowdonia and coupled to ten 400 foot masts. Locals remarked that snow never settled near the site due to the heat from the power and transmission lines, a snowless Snowdonia.


Above:- Marconi’s transmitting station at Waunfawr.  Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Two messages were sent in the early hours of 22nd September 1918, one from the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. W.M. “Billy” Hughes, and a second from the Minister for the Navy, Sir Joseph Cook, who had accompanied Hughes.

Prime Minister Hughes had been in the UK reviewing the Australian Armed Forces in Amiens, France.  This was a politically sensitive visit due to the horrific losses suffered by both Australians and other Commonwealth and allied forces, largely felt due to poor British leadership and decision making.

It should be noted that neither Prime Minister Hughes or Minister Cook were present during those wee hours.  Their messages had been sent the previous day by wireless and cable from London.

The first message, sent at 0315 UTC or 1.15 p.m. Sydney time, from Prime Minister Hughes read as follows:-

“I have just returned from a visit to the battlefields where the glorious valour and dash of the Australian troops saved Amiens and forced back the legions of the enemy, filled with greater admiration than ever for these glorious men and more convinced than ever that it is the duty of their fellow-citizens to keep these magnificent battalions up to their full strength. W.M. Hughes, Prime Minister.”


Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes

The second message was sent at 0325 UTC or 1.25pm Sydney time from the Minister for the Navy, Sir Joseph Cook, read as follows:-

“Royal Australian Navy is magnificently bearing its part in the great struggle. Spirit of sailors and soldiers alike is beyond praise. Recent hard fighting brilliantly successful but makes reinforcements imperative. Australia hardly realises the wonderful reputation which our men have won. Every effort being constantly made here to dispose of Australia’s surplus products. Joseph Cook, Minister for Navy.”


Sir Joseph Cook

The messages were received by Fisk at his Experimental Wireless Station at ‘Logan Brae’, Pymble, an adjacent suburb to Wahroonga, New South Wales, with apparatus designed and manufactured in Sydney by himself and the Staff of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited.


Above:- Sir Ernest Fisk’s home and antenna tower at Wahroonga.  Image c/o

Ernest Fisk’s home was located on the corner of Stuart and Cleveland Streets.  The eqipment in the photo below was assembled for the reception of the radio messages.  Ernest Fisk can be seen in the centre of the photograph demonstrating the equipment.


Above:- Receiving equipment for the first radio message from England to Australia.  Image courtesy of National Archives of Australia

A monument was erected to mark the occasion and was unveiled by Fisk in 1938.  The pictures below were taken by Jo Harris on the occasion of the 75th anniversary.  An interesting feature of the celebration was a speech by Marconi, delivered in Paris, and transmitted through London to Australia, by wireless telephone.

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Above:- The Monument in Sydney.  Courtesy of

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Above:- Inscription on the monument.  Courtesy of

At a time when the fastest form of communication was a relay of telegraph messages, instantaneous wireless communications from the UK to Australia was a major technological achievement.

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As the weather was a little inclement, I operated from the vehicle for this activation, which meant that the activation only counted for VKFF/WWFF, and not the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  I used the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

I kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144 on the 40m band.  First in the log was Graeme VK3PGK/m, followed by Grant VK2LX, Peter VK3PF, and then Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating SOTA peak Mount Macedon VK3/ VC-007 located in the Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972.  But it was really slow going on the band, so with just 11 contacts in the log I headed to the 80m band.

I self spotted on parksnpeaks and called CQ on 3.610.  This was answered by David VK5PL, followed by John VK5BJE, Barry VK5BW, and Adrian VK5FANA.  John and Barry were kind enough to place a call out on the Crafers repeater to advise people that I was on air.  Adrian also put a call out on the local Yorke Peninsula/Mid North repeater VK5RLH.

I ended up logging 13 stations on 80m including a Park to Park with Nick VK3ANL/p in the Mount Ridley Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2156.  Twelve of the thirteen contacts on 80m were with VK5 stations.


I then moved back to 40m and found Nick VK3ANL/p on 7.144.  I logged Nick Park to Park and then moved down the band to 7.135 where I called CQ.  Peter VK3TKK/m gave me a shout, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating a SOTA peak VK2/ IL-006.  A call or so later I was called by Mark VK4SMA/p who was activating Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493.  This was followed by Wade VK1MIC/ and Matthew VK1FVOL/2 who were activating SOTA peak VK2/SM-052 in the Gourock National Park VKFF-0212.

Three calls later I was called by Tex VK1TX who was using the special VI1MARCONI call.  Tex had a booming 5/9 plus signal.  Five QSOs later I had another Park to Park contact in the log, this time with Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Macedon Flora Reserve VKFF-2374.

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Above:- The Monarto Conservation Park, looking south.

I logged a further 5 stations before callers dried up.  I then headed to 14.310 on the 20m band and called CQ for around 5 minutes, but those calls went unanswered.  So I headed back to 40m where I logged 11 stations on 7.144, including my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ.  To complete the activation I logged Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating SOTA peak Mount Wanganderry VK2/ IL-003.

I had a total of 56 contacts in the log and it was time to head home.  Thankyou to everyone who called, and many thanks to those who took the time to spot me.  Thanks also to VK5BJE, VK5BW, and VK5FANA who put out calls on the local VK5 repeaters.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PGK/m
  2. VK2LX
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3ZPF/p (SOTA Mount Macedon VK3/ VC-007 & Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972)
  5. VK5AYL
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK2EXA
  8. VK7CC
  9. VK3FSPG
  10. VK3MPR
  11. VK3UH
  12. VK2MTC
  13. VK3ANL/p (Mount Ridley Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2156)
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK3SQ
  16. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ IL-006)
  17. VK2IG
  18. VK4SMA/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)
  19. VK1MIC/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-052 &Gourock National Park VKFF-0212)
  20. VK1FVOL/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-052 &Gourock National Park VKFF-0212)
  21. VK3VBI
  22. VK3AAT/p
  24. VK3OB
  25. VK2HMV
  26. VK7ME
  27. VK3VGB
  28. VK3ZPF/p (Macedon Flora Reserve  VKFF-2374)
  29. VK3MNZ
  30. VK3HOT
  31. VK2MOP
  32. VK3NXT
  33. VK3KMB
  34. VK3HJ
  35. VK2MNR
  36. VK2FENG
  37. VK3FMKE
  38. VK3PWG
  39. VK5FMAZ
  40. VK3FBOM
  41. VK4FDJL
  42. VK3ARF
  43. VK3FRAB
  44. VK3FLJD
  45. VK2IO/p (SOTA Mount Wanganderry VK2/ IL-003)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5BW
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5ET
  6. VK3ANL/p (Mount Ridley Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2156)
  7. VK5MRT
  8. VK5GJ
  9. VK5LD
  10. VK5KHZ
  11. VK5NJ
  12. VK5ADQ



Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018, <>, viewed 1st September 2018

VK2DYM, <>, viewed 1st September 2018

<>, viewed 1st September 2018

Trove, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

Wireless Heritage Special Interest Group, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018