DX World Award from QRZ.com

Back in early October, I decided to apply for one of the many award certificates which are on offer from QRZ.com.

I applied for the DX World Award, which is awarded to any QRZ member whose Logbook on QRZ.com contains at least one confirmed contact from each of at least 100 distinct DXCC entities.

I received the certificate from the USA very promptly and it was backdated to September 2016 when I qualified for 10m/15m/20m Mixed DXCC.

The awards are issued for free.  When you achieve an award, your callsign page will show an “Awards” tab, as well as the award badges next to your profile picture at no charge whatsoever.

If however, you would like a lithographed and numbered certificate with QRZ’s signature holographic seal of authenticity, you may order them directly from your callsign page. These certificates are free for QRZ Life Members and QRZ Platinum Members (one certificate per year).  Of for QRZ subscribers such as myself, you pay $19.94 each.  Or for Non-subscribers, the lithographed and numbered certificates cost $24.94.

DX World Award QRZ.com

More information on the QRZ.com Operating Awards can be found at…….

https://www.qrz.com/awards

Results of the 2019 VKFF Team Championship

The 2019 VKFF Team Championship was held on Saturday 26th October 2019.

A total of seven Teams took part…….

  • ‘The Tassie Devils’ – Helen VK7FOLK and Jonathan VK7JON.
  • ‘The VK4WIPeouts’ – Mark VK4SMA & Murray VK4MWB.
  • ‘The Walky Talkies’ – Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ.​
  • ‘QRS Dot Dash’ – Ian VK5CZ and David VK5PL.
  • ‘The VK4midables’ – Rob VK4SYD and Scott VK4CZ.
  • ‘TechoGeeks’ – Sue VK5AYL and Richard VK5ZNC.
  • ‘QRParktivators’ – Gerard VK2IO and Alan VK2MG.

Marija and I activated three parks for the event…….

  • Marne Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0906
  • Ridley Conservation Park  VKFF-0932
  • Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832

Everybody who took part as an activator received a participation certificate.

Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 7.16.24 pm.png

The results are as follows…….

General Section.

Two teams entered this category…….

  • ‘The Tassie Devils’ – Helen VK7FOLK and Jonathan VK7JON – 17 QSOs
  • ‘The VK4WIPeouts’ – Mark VK4SMA & Murray VK4MWB – 49 QSOs

The winners of the General Section were ‘The VK4WIPeouts’.

VK4SMA.png

QRP Section.

Just the one Team entered this category…….

  • ‘QRParktivators’ – Gerard VK2IO and Alan VK2MG – 82 QSOs

The winners of the QRP Section were the ‘QRParktivators’.

VK2MG.png

2 ops/single tx/40 & 80m/wire antenna/100 watts or less Section.

Four teams entered this category…….

  • ‘The Walky Talkies’ – Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ. – 157 QSOs
  • ‘QRS Dot Dash’ – Ian VK5CZ and David VK5PL – 70 QSOs
  • ‘The VK4midables’ – Rob VK4SYD and Scott VK4CZ – 69 QSOs
  • ‘TechoGeeks’ – Sue VK5AYL and Richard VK5ZNC – 25 QSOs

The winners of the 40/80m Section were ‘The Walky Talkies’ comprising Marija VK5FMAZ and myself.

Screen Shot 2019-11-17 at 7.35.57 pm.png

I would like to throw out a huge THANKS to those people who donated $$$ towards this year’s event.  Without your support, trophies would not be possible.

Unfortunately, this years event was not sponsored by our normal businesses as I did not get sufficient time to organise due to my overseas trip and work commitments.

Thank you to everyone who took part, both activators and hunters.

More information on the 2019 VKFF Team Championship can be found on the WWFF Australia website at……

https://www.wwffaustralia.com/2019-results.html

Are the bands improving?

Last night I had a tune across the 20m band and found there was quite a bit of activity coming out of Europe on the short path.  Many of those stations were participating in the LZ DX Contest.

I worked a number of those stations, but what was really exciting last night was that I was hearing some of the European WWFF & SOTA activators.

My equipment:-

  • Yaesu FT-2000
  • 100 watts
  • 5 element yagi @ about 15 metres from the ground

The first European portable station in the log was Pit YP1WFF who was activating Coridorul Ialomitei YOFF-0485 in Romania.

SIGLA YOFF 2016.jpg

Next was YU1OS Kosutnjak YUFF-0058 in Serbia.  Kosutnjaks a park-forest and urban neighbourhood of Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.

My next European portable activator logged was SV2RUJ/p who was activating SOTA peak SV/ MC-025 in Greece.  This un-named SOTA summit is 1,558 metres in height and is worth 6 SOTA points.

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Above:- Map of Greece showing the location of SV/ MC-025.  Map courtesy of Google maps

After logging these stations I decided to prop on a frequency and put out a CQ call.  I ended up with a pile-up from Europe and the Middle East.  By 1.30 a.m. I was getting really tired and decided to go QRT, with many stations still calling.  All up I logged about 60 European, Middle Eastern and South-East Asian stations.

Hopefully, this is a sign that the band conditions are improving.

 

 

References.

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ko%C5%A1utnjak>, viewed 17th November 2019

Ni Ni Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2413

Our final park for our three-day trip away was the Ni Ni Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2413.  This was to be another first-time activation for the World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) program.

The park is located about 382 km north-west of the city of Melbourne, and about 10 km south-west of the town of Jeparit.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ni Ni Flora and Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving the Hindmarsh Flora and Fauna Reserve we drove south on the DImboola-Rainbow Road and soon reached the little town of Jeparit.  It is believed that Jeparit is a corruption of a local Aboriginal word (a Gromiluk word) meaning “the home of small birds”.  The town is famous due to it being the birthplace of the founder of the Liberal Party, and former Australian Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies.  There is quite a bit to see in the town and sadly we had very little time.  It will be another return trip to have a much better look around.

We continued south out of Jeparit in the Dimboola-Rainbow Road and then turned right onto Flavel Road.  We soon reached the Ni Ni Flora & Fauna Reserve.  The park is also referred to on maps as the Ni Ni Nature Conservation Reserve.  Interestingly Protected Planet also has it as the Babatchio Bushland Reserve.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Ni Ni Flora and Fauna Reserve with Lake Hindmarsh in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The park is about 10 acres in size and was established in 1990.  It is surrounded by cleared farming land and is located on the southwestern corner of Flavel Road and Pumpa Road.

A short distance from the park you can view the cairn marking the location of the Allanby State School (Hindmarsh South) which operated from 1889-1926.

We parked the car on Flavel Road and climbed the fence and set up in the north-eastern corner of the park.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Ni Ni Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I called CQ on 7.140 and first in the log was park regular (both activator and hunter) Rob VK2VH, followed by two other regulars, Grant VK2LX, and Adrian VK5FANA.  Within five minutes I had ten contacts in the log and the park qualified for VKFF.  QSO number ten was with Steve VK3MPR.

Two contacts later I was very surprised to be called by Theo OT4A in Belgium, in amongst the VK stations that were calling.  Theo was 5/8 and gave me a 5/5 signal report into Europe.

I logged a total of 26 stations on 40m before swapping the mic with Marija.

DSC_6350

Marija’s first contact was with Rob VK2VH, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Adrian VK5FANA.  It took Marija just 5 minutes to qualify the park for VKFF.  Her tenth contact was with Scott VK3MCL/p.

Although we were pushed very much for time, Marija encouraged me to get back on the mic to see if I could get my 44 contacts.  I logged a further 6 stations on 40m from VK3, VK5, and New Zealand, before callers completely dried up.  I now had 32 contacts in the log and was 12 short of the target.

I moved to 20m where I picked up a further 14 stations which got me to 43 contacts, just one short of the 44 QSO threshold.  Contacts on 20m were into VK4, VK6, and France.

I headed off the 80m band where I logged 3 stations from VK4 and VK5.  Contact number 44 was with Adrian VK5FANA.

DSC_6352

It was now about 6.00 p.m. local time and we still had about 3 & 1/2 hours to get home.  We packed up and hit the road, stopping at Nhill in western Victoria for a bite to eat.

On the way home I joined the 7130 DX Net from the mobile and logged 10 stations.  This included Gary ZL3SV in New Zealand who gave me a 10/9 signal.  The highlight of the net was working David HC5DX in Ecuador in South America.  Even Dave was surprised that I was mobile.  The Codan 9350 works very well.

THANKYOU to everyone who called us on our 3 day trip to Victoria.  We activated eleven parks, with many of those being first-time activations.  We made a total of 635 QSOs which included 78 Park to Park contacts.

 

 

References.

Aussie Towns, 2019, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/jeparit-vic>, viewed 14th November 2019

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/ni-ni-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 14th November 2019

Hindmarsh Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2331

Our fourth planned park for Sunday (11th November 2019) was the Hindmarsh Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2331.  This would be the first time that the park had been activated for the World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) program.

The park is located about 400 km north-west of the city of Melbourne and about 14 km south of the town of Rainbow.

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 6.46.32 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Hindmarsh Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving the Wathe Flora & Fauna Reserve we headed into the little town of Lascelles.  The town was named after Edward Lascelles (1847-1917) who was a passionate supporter of the district.  Lascelles promoted closer settlement, was involved in water management in the area, built a large home and was a promoter of the idea that the Wimmera Mallee would be excellent grain-growing country.

Little remains in the town now.  The centrepiece is the impressive hotel which was built in 1905.  The pub looked very inviting, but we were a bit pressed for time.  Both Marija and I agreed that we would need to come back here sometime to check it out.

The main attraction in Lascelles is the silos which are part of the Victorian Silo Art Trail.  The two images of local farming couple Geoff and Merrilyn Horman were painted by Melbourne artist Rone.  The work on the 1939 built silos was completed in 2017.

We then turned off the Sunraysia Highway onto the Henty Highway which is named in honour of the Henty brothers who were the first permanent land-based settlers in Victoria, taking up land at Portland in 1834.

We soon reached the town of Hopetoun where we planned to stop for lunch.  Hopetoun was named after the 7th Earl of Hopetoun, the Governor of Victoria from 1899 to 1895, and later the first Governor-General of Australia.  It is a beautiful little town located on the shores of Lake Lascelles.

We bought some lunch from one of the local cafes and headed down to Lake Lascelles and enjoyed some of the beautiful afternoon sun.

After lunch, we had a quick look at Corrong Homestead in Hopetoun.  Unfortunately, the homestead was closed but we did have a quick look around the grounds.  In 1846 Peter McGinnis guided by a friendly aboriginal followed what is now known as the Yarriambiack Creek from Horsham to Lake Corrong looking for unoccupied land for sheep grazing. He was the first European pastoralist to settle in the Mallee. He was joined by his wife, family and partner George Bell and established the Lake Corrong Run.

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We continued south on the Henty Highway to the little town of Roseberry.  The town was named after Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery who toured Australia from September 1883 to January 1884, and became the British Prime Minister from 1894-1895.

There is another impressive piece of silo art in this town.  The Roseberry mural was painted by Melbourne artist Kaff-eine.  The two images are of a young female farmer in a work shirt, jeans and cowboy boots.  The other is of a horseman in an Akubra hat, bogs boots and an oilskin vest, with his horse.

We continued south and out next stop was the town of Beaulah.  Isaiah 62:4 in the Bible was the inspiration the McKenzie family, devout local Presbyterians, took when they named this tiny town Beulah in 1891.

“Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.”

We continued further south on the Henty Highway until we reach Galaquil.  There is a cairn here which commemorates the construction of the dog netting fence which crossed the highway at this point.  The fence was erected in 1885 from Tyntynder to the South Australian border to prevent dingoes and rabbits overrunning and devastating pastoral and agricultural land to the south.

Our next stop was the town of Brim to have a look at their silo art mural.  It is believed that Brim is a local Aboriginal word meaning “a spring” or “a well”.  The images of four farmers were painted on the disused Brim silos in 2015 by Guido van Helten.

An interesting stop in the town of Brim is the solitary grave of James Simson, formerly a Commander in the Honourable East India Company Service.  He died in 1858 as a result of being gored by a bullock.  His grave, which can now be located in Simson Street, is the only defined grave left of the Brim Station Cemetery.

DSC_6324

We then drove back north along the Henty Highway and turned left onto the Birchip-Rainbow Road.  Our next stop was the town of Rainbow which was named after a property in the area called ‘Rainbow Rise’ which, in turn, had been named because it was located near a crescent-shaped ridge which in spring was ablaze with multicoloured wildflowers.

This looked like a great little town to explore and it was our first time there.  Sadly we were running short of time.  This was placed on our ‘must return to’ list.

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We headed south out of Rainbow on the Dimboola-Rainbow Road and soon reached the Hindmarsh Flora and Fauna Reserve.  The reserve is about 472 acres in size and is located just to the east of Lake Hindmarsh.

This was not an overly easy park to access.  The only access point we could find was off the Dimboola-Rainbow Road.  There is a small section of scrub which abuts the road.  But, this is not part of the park.  We had to drag the gear through this little bit of scrub and into the park.  It was a hot day and we weren’t keen on tramping through the long grass.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Hindmarsh Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Marija and I decided that this was going to be a very quick 40m activation and then hit the road.  I called CQ on 7.150 and logged Rob VK2VH, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then Lee VK2LEE.  It took me just 5 minutes to get the required 10 contacts to qualify the park for VKFF.  Contact number ten was with Peter VK3PF/p who was activating the Baranduda Regional Park VKFF-0959.

DSC_6334

I then swapped the mic with Marija, who also logged the Park to Park contact with Peter VK3PF/p.  Marija’s next contact was with Lee VK2LEE, followed by Linda VK7QP, and then Rob VK2VH.  It took just 7 minutes for Marija to have her 10th contact in the log, a contact with Ray ZL4TY/VK4.

We were really pushed for time and hoped to squeeze in one more park activation, so we packed up and headed off to the next park.  We apologise to anyone who did not get this park in the log.  We will return at some time in the near future.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/m (Baranduda Regional Park VKFF-0959)
  2. VK2LEE
  3. VK7QP
  4. VK2VH
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK2LX
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VH
  2. VK4AAC/2
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK2LEE
  7. VK7QP
  8. VK2LX
  9. VK4MWB
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK3PF/p (Baranduda Regional Park VKFF-0959)
  12. VK3SQ
  13. VK4HNS
  14. VK2IO
  15. ZL1TM

 

 

References.

Aussie Towns, 2019, <http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/lascelles-vic>, viewed 14th November 2019

Aussie Towns, 2019, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/rosebery-vic>, viewed 14th November 2019

Aussie Towns, 2019, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/beulah-vic>, viewed 14th November 2019

Aussie Towns, 2019, <https://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/brim-vic>, viewed 14th November 2019

Aussie Towns, 2019, <http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/rainbow-vic>, viewed 14th November 2019

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/search?q=hindmarsh>, viewed 14th November 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopetoun,_Victoria>, viewed 14th November 2019

Yarriambiack Shire Council, 2019, <https://yarriambiack.vic.gov.au/tourism/hopetoun/>, viewed 14th November 2019

Yarriambiack Shire Council, 2019, <https://yarriambiack.vic.gov.au/tourism/brim/>, viewed 14th November 2019

Wathe Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2480

Our third park for Sunday (11th November 2019) was the Wathe Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2480.  This would be only the second time that the park has been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and the first time that it had been activated by Marija and me.

The park is located about 40 km north-west of the city of Melbourne.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Wathe Flora and Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We accessed the park via Wathe Reserve Road which runs off the Sunraysia Highway.  This ‘road’ travels through farmers paddocks to the park boundary where you will find a set of unlocked gates.

You can continue on the other side of the gates.  Depending on which maps you look at, the sandy track is either referred to as Wathe Reserve Road or Clay Road.  It was a hot day and the track was very sandy and boggy.  We decided not to go deep into the park.

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Above:- Clay Road (or Wathe Reserve Road) which dissects the park.

This is a large park consisting of 14,816 acres of remnant mallee country.  The reserve was established in 1979.

The reserve is surrounded by cleared farming land.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the park looking north.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

During our visit to the park, we spotted some Songlarks (I think) and White-fronted Chats.

We set up on the northern side of Clay Road on the western boundary of the park.  There was plenty of room here to string out the 20/40/80 m linked dipole and just enough shade to get out of the hot sun.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the Wathe Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot in the eastern section of the park.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

For this activation, Marija and I decided to stay to her 10 watts PEP Foundation level and swap the mic as we logged stations.  We called CQ on 7.135 and first in the log was Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Linda VK7QP, and then Ray VK4NH.  It took us about 10 minutes for each of us to get 10 contacts in the log, thus qualifying the park for VKFF.  Contact number ten was with Grant VK2LX with his big 5/9 signal.

DSC_6279

I logged 14 stations on 40m, whilst Marija logged 11 stations.  This included Park to Park contacts with David VK5DG/3 (and Vk3TUN) in the Errinundra National Park VKFF-0158.

I then moved to 14.310 on the 20m band where much to my surprise I logged a total of 14 stations from VK2, VK4, and VK7.  We also put out some calls on the 80m band on 3.610 but had no takers.

DSC_6258

So, with another park qualified for VKFF, and our tummies rumbling, we headed off for some lunch in Hopetoun.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK7QP
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK3PF/m
  8. VK5DG/3 (Errinundra National Park VKFF-0158)
  9. VK3TUN/p (Errinundra National Park VKFF-0158)
  10. VK2LX
  11. VK3SQ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK7QP
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK3PF/m
  8. VK5DG/3 (Errinundra National Park VKFF-0158)
  9. VK3TUN/p (Errinundra National Park VKFF-0158)
  10. VK2LX
  11. VK3SQ
  12. VK7VZ
  13. VK3NIC
  14. VK7FJFD

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK7VZ
  2. VK7QP
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/AC8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK4SSN
  7. VK2YK
  8. VK2VW
  9. VK2SOL
  10. VK4HNS
  11. VK4ME
  12. VK4MWB
  13. VK2KAW/m
  14. VK6MMB

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/wathe-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 14th November 2019