After leaving Williamstown, Marija and I drove west along Koroit Creek Road and then along the Princes Freeway. We then took the Point Cook Road, with our next stop being the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Museum at Point Cook.
The museum is located on RAAF Base at Williamstown, so we stopped at the checkpoint and received some visitor cards. The base serves as the headquarters to both the Air Combat Group and the Surveillance and Response Group of the RAAF. This is the birthplace of the Australian Flying Corps and the Royal Australian Air Force. We were under strict instructions to only take photos of the museum and not other parts of the base.
The museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 10.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Entry is free, but a donation is the right thing to do. The museum houses an extensive collection of memorabillia and aircraft, and we highly recommend a visit here if you are in Williamstown.
The RAAF Museum was formed in 1952 at the direction of Air Marshall Sir George Jones. It is currently overseen by the RAAF’s Air Training Wing. You can literally spend hours here looking at all of the displays.
The museum displays aircraft of significance to the RAAF from its inception as the Australian Flying Corps, all the way through to present day. The aircraft are within the museum and also on display in a number of hangars, some of which were unfortunately closed during our visit.
Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 1.00 p.m. there are interactive flying displays, and we were fortunate enough to experience one.
Outdoors you can view a Lockheed Hercules, a Caribou, and various other aircraft.
We left the museum and drove the short distance to the adjacent Point Cook Coastal Park VKFF-1875. This was to be another unique park for Marija and I as activators in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.
The Point Cook Coastal Park is about 863 hectares (2,130 acres) in size and was established in 1978. The park extends from the RAAF base northeast along the coast fo the Laverton Creek, and includes the Cheetham Wetlands which are 420 hectares of artificial and natural lagoons created on an old salt works. The park is primarily used for recreational purposes however it has areas of high conservation significance such as Spectacle Lake and the RAMSAR listed wetlands.
The park is adjoined by the Point Cook Marine Sanctuary which covers nearly 300 hectares and was declared in 2004.
The park supports 22 Victorian threatened flora species, two of which are considered endangered.
More than 200 species of birds have been recorded in the park. A total of 34 of these are covered by international migratory agreements. This includes the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement, and the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement. Each year the park is visited by thousands of migratory birds which come from as far awat as Siberia and Japan.
As we entered the park we passed the plane spotting site in the park which contains an information board on various aircraft which can be seen in the air from the nearby RAAF base.
Across the grasslands there are some nice views of Melbourne off in the distance.
We drove down Main Drive and then Side Entrance Drive, down to the Beach Recreation Area.
There were a number of different operating options here. We chose a table and bench which had a shadecloth covering over the top. It was an ideal spot to operate from, with plenty of room to stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.
Marija kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144. And it wasn’t long before contact number one was in the log. It was a QSO with James VK2HFC/p who was activating the Yellomundee Regional Park VKFF-0558. It was a great way to start the activation with a Park to Park. I also logged James.
Next for Marija was John VK4TJ, and his associated two calls, and then Joseph VK5WU, followed by Steve VK5KSW. Marija’s 10th contact was Adrian VK5FANA. Marija logged a further 2 stations before we swapped the mic.
I called CQ and this was answered by Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Bob VK3XP, and then Gerard VK2IO. Contact number ten, qualifying the park for me for VKFF, was Ray ZL4TY/VK4. It was a great time of the day to be out and about, with the 40m band in very good shape. I had a steady flow of callers and within about 40 minutes I had 37 contacts in the log on 40m.
When callers slowed down I lowered the squid pole and removed the links, allowing me to operate on the 20m band. I called CQ for a short time on 14.310 but had no callers, so I headed down the band to 14.183 and booked in to the ANZA DX Net. I there logged Steve VK4KUS and Antoine 3D2AG in Fiji.
I then moved back to 14.310, and with a fresh spot placed on parksnpeaks by Marija, I started calling CQ. I logged a total of 6 stations from VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK6. This included Peter VK3TKK who was mobile, having just left work, and on his way to visit us in the park.
I then saw a spot come up for Greg VK4VXX/6 on 14.315, so I moved up to that frequency and logged a Park to Park contact with Greg who was in the Walyunga National Park VKFF-0516.
I then tried my luck on 3.610 on the 80m band, and loffed just the 2 stations there, Ken VK3UH and Geoff VK3SQ.
To conclude the activation I moved back to 40m and tuned across the band. I heard the Kandos Net just starting to wrap up and worked Ron VK5MRE, Mal VK5MJ, and Darren VK2NNN.
In the meantime Peter VK3TKK had arrived at the park. This was the second time I have met Peter, and it was great to catch up again, albeit a quick g’day.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2HFC/p (Yellomundee Regional Park VKFF-0558)
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2HFC/p (Yellomundee Regional Park VKFF-0558)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
- VK4VXX/6 (Walyunga National Park VKFF-0516)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
We then drove in to Geelong and booked in to our accomodation, the Best Western Admiralty Motor Inn.
We freshened up and headed out for tea to the Geelong Hotel. It was a very enjoyable meal, with the hotel staff very friendly. We can highly recommend this hotel.
Parks Victoria, ‘Point Cook Coastal Park and Cheetham Wetlands Visitor Guide’
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAAF_Base_Williamtown>, viewed 20th December 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheetham_Wetlands>, viewed 20th December 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Cook_Coastal_Park>, viewed 20th December 2018
Great work Guys and a personal connection down that way for me (aside from radio!)
The RAFF Museum was a highlight of the trip. It is highly recommended by Marija and I for anyone who might be visiting the area. It was also great to catch up with Peter VK3TKK whilst we were in the park.