Matilda Bay Reserve VKFF-2825

Marija and I arrived home late this afternoon (Monday 22nd July 2019) from our week away in Perth in Western Australia.  We spent 6 nights at the Hyatt Regency Perth.  This was NOT a radio adventure, but a one week holiday in Perth.

For overseas readers, Perth is about a 2,700 km drive from my home in the Adelaide Hills across the Nullabor Plain.  We flew via Qantas which took us about 2 and 1/2 hours.  The map below shows my home in Adelaide and Perth on the west coast of Australia.

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 8.16.30 pm.png

Above:- Map of Australia showing my home in Adelaide, and Perth on the west coast of Australia.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We activated just the one park while we were away, the Matilda Bay Reserve VKFF-2825, which is located about 6 km south-west of the Perth Central Business District.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Matilda Bay Reserve in Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Matilda Bay Reserve is a thin strip of land which covers about 20.6 hectares between Hacket Drive and the Swan River.  The reserve extends from Mount Bay Road in the north to the windsurfing ramp at the southern section of the park.  It is located adjacent to the suburb of Crawley.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Reserve to the south-west of the Perth CBD.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Matilda Bay takes its name from Matilda Elizabeth Roe, the wife of John Septimus Rose, the first Surveyor of Western Australia.


Above:- Matilda Elizabeth Roe nee Bennett.  Image courtesy of

Matilda Bay Reserve incorporates Pelican Point, an important breeding sanctuary for international migratory birds.  It takes its name for the pelicans which rest on sand bars at the end of the point.  Pelican Point was formerly named Point Currie after Captain Mark John Currie who in 1829 received an allotment of land in the area which became known as Crawley.

During the Second World War, the US Navy had a Seaplane Base at Pelican Point.   It was known as Pelican Point Advance Base “A” for “Able”.  QANTAS also used five RAF-supplied PBY-5 Catalinas at the Crawley Sea Base.


Above:- A Catalina.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

It is reported that about 20 Bottlenose dolphins inhabit the Swan River and can often be seen from Matilda Bay Reserve.  The reserve is also home to numerous water birds including pelicans, swans, ducks, terns, herons and cormorants.


Hans VK6XN kindly picked Marija and I up from Optus Stadium after a guided tour we had gone on there.  We drove out to Matilda Bay and set up in the carpark opposite the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

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Above:- An aerial view of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Royal Perth Yacht Club is the third oldest yacht club in Australia.  It can trace its origins back to 1841 when a group of sailors staged a modest regatta to celebrate Foundation Day.  In 1865 this original group of pioneer sailors formalised the Perth Yacht Club.

In 1983 an Australian syndicate representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club fielded the Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, against defender Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner.   Australia II won the match races to win the America’s Cup – the first winning challenge to the New York Yacht Club, which had successfully defended the cup over a period of 132 years.

For this activation, we ran Hans’ equipment, consisting of a Yaesu FT-857d and an end-fed wire and a vertical.

We were set up and ready to go by about 0720 UTC (3.20 p.m WA local time).  Maria placed a spot up for me on parksnpeaks and I started calling CQ.  Sadly we had strength 8 noise on 40m from the park.  It made it incredibly difficult to hear a lot of the stations that were calling.

First in the log was Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland region of South Australia, followed by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, and then Peter VK5PE.  I logged five stations before swapping the mic with Marija.  I know there were a lot of stations calling, but sadly the noise was shocking.

Marija’s first contact was with Gary VK6GC/m who was on his way to the park to catch up with us, followed by John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills,   Marija battled with the noise and logged a total of 6 stations from VK2, VK3, and VK5, before the noise got just too much for her.

I then tried my luck on 20m, logging 3 stations there, Scott VK4CZ, Allen VK3ARH, and Nik VK3ZNK.  But again I battled with noise, with strength 7 noise on the 20m band.

It was then off to 80m where sadly again we had strength 8 noise.  But this band did result in both Marija and I qualifying the park for VKFF with 10 contacts.  I logged 5 stations on 80m, whilst Marija logged 4.  The biggest signal on 80m was Ted VK6NTE who was strength 9 plus.

To finish the activation I headed back to 40m where I called CQ on 7.130.  Mark VK4SMA was first in the log, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Peter Vk3PF, Les VK5KLV and then John VK2FALL.  It wasn’t long before an Indonesian station popped up on the frequency, so I moved up to 7.135 where I logged Gerard VK2IO/8 and then Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.


Above:- Marija VK5FMAZ on the mic battling with the noise.

During our activation, Gary VK6GC and his wife Veronica popped out for a chat.


Above:- L-R: Hans VK6XN, Gary VK6GC, Veronica, & Marija VK5FMAZ

It was starting to get a bit chilly, so we decided to call it a day.  Marija had qualified the park for VKFF with 10 contacts.  I had also qualified the park for VKFF, with 22 contacts in the log.

We packed up just after 5.00 p.m. and Marija and I were dropped back into the city to our motel by Hans.  THANKS, Hans.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5PE
  4. VK34PDX
  5. VK6GC
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK5FRSM
  8. VK4SMA
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK2FALL
  13. VK2IO/8
  14. ZL1TM

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4CZ
  2. VK3ARH
  3. VK3ZNK

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK6ADF
  2. VK6GC/m
  3. VK6VCK/p
  4. VK6NTE
  5. VK6EA

It was dark as we headed back into the Perth CBD.  I took the photos below in the carpark adjacent to the Royal Perth Yacht Club.






References., 2019, <>, viewed 22nd July 2019

Parks and Wildlife Service, 2019, <>, viewed 22nd July 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <>, viewed 22nd July 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <>, viewed 22nd July 2019

2 thoughts on “Matilda Bay Reserve VKFF-2825

    • Hi John,

      It is hard work over there in VK6 compared to the eastern States. Marija’s 10 watts was just making it. Plus the noise floor in this particular park was shocking.

      Thanks for the calls.


      Paul VK5PAS.

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