Great Otway National Park VKFF-0405

We had spent a quiet night in the motel room on Saturday night, and had a relatively early night.  We had enjoyed some fish and chips from the local take way.  So on Sunday morning, 15th November, 2015, both Marija and I awoke quite refreshed.  After breakfast we headed out to our one and only planned activation, the Great Otway National Park, VKFF-0405, as part of day 3 of the 2015 Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) Activation Weekend.

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Great Otway National Park is about 103, 185 hectares in size and protects extensive forest and much of the coastline between Torquay in the east and Princetown in the west, in south-west Victoria.  It was gazetted in 2005 and includes the former Otway National Park, and Melba Gully State Park, the majority of Angahook-Lorne State Park and Carlisle State Park, a number of former State Forest areas, many smaller reserves and other areas of public land.  The park encompasses a significant portion of the Otway Ranges and foothills, with its coastal boundary generally being the low water mark.  The park contains a huge diversity of life, with ecosystems ranging from ocean beaches to cool temperate rainforest.

We travelled west out of Apollo Bay, along the Great Ocean Road.  We proposed to activate the park off Lighthouse Road, on the way to the Cape Otway lighthouse.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 21.47.54

It wasn’t far out of Apollo Bay and we already had the park off to our left.  We passed the road to Shelly Beach, but after discussion in the car, we decided to stick to plan A, and we continued on towards Cape Otway.

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This section of the Great Ocean Road is very scenic.  You soon reach a point when the park is on both your left and right.  Magnificent tall trees shelter the understorey below, allowing ferns to flourish.

We turned down Lighthouse Road, and travelled south down towards the lighthouse.  Someone had decided to put their artistic skills to work on one of the signs as you can see below.

We found a little dirt track off to the right of the road, breaking through the thick scrub.  So we drove down the track which broke immediately to the left and came to a small parking area and the commencement of a walking trail.  It was a nice secluded spot, away from the tourists, and an ideal place to call the shack for the morning.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 21.49.13

I was set up and ready to go by around 2200 UTC (9.00 a.m. Victorian local time).  Prior to calling CQ I thought I would have a tune across the 40m band to find any other park activators.  And it wasn’t long before I found my first activator.  It was Norm VK3XCI who was calling CQ on 7.100 from the Hattah Kulkyne National Park, VKFF-0231.  Norm had a very strong 5/9 signal and reciprocated with a 5/9 for me.  A nice start to the activation.

I then headed off to 7.144 and started calling CQ and it wasn’t long before I had a small pile up going.  First taker was Stef VK5HSX who was operating from the Lincoln National Park on the Eyre Peninsula (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).  This was followed by regular park hunter Brett VK2VW with a strong 5/8 signal, Ron VK3MRH who was 5/9, and then Mick VK3PMG, who was also 5/9 from Stawell.  The 40m band seemed to be in very good shape.

I worked a total of 24 stations on 7.144, until one of the WIA broadcasts started up on 7.146, so I decided to move.  Contacts were across Australia in VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7, and included Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR, both in the Winninowie Conservation Park north of Adelaide, and Peter VK3TKK who was operating portable from his backyard with just 2.5 watts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).

I then moved down the band to 7.130 and called CQ and this was answered by Joe VK3YSP, who was operating portable from the French Island National Park VKFF-0622 (5/9 both ways).  But the quiet frequency didn’t last long, as another one of the WIA broadcasts kicked off on the same frequency.  So I made the move again, down to 7.120.

I called CQ on 7.120 and this was answered by Tony VK3VTH who was portable in the Croajingolong National Park, VKFF-0119.  Tony had a very nice 5/9 signal coming in from the East Gippsland region of Victoria.  Shortly after, Mick VK3PMG also called.  Mick was operating from Roses Gap in the Grampians National Park VKFF-0213  in western Victoria.  Signals were much better today than the day prior from the Victorian National Park activators.

When things became a little quiet again, I took the opportunity ot having a listen across the band, and I soon found Tim VK5AV on 7.155, operating from the Lower Glenelg National Park, VKFF-0296 (5/9 both ways).  This was my fourth Victorian National Park for the morning.

I then returned back to 7.120 and called CQ which was answered by some of the regulars, Jim VK1AT, Tony VK3CAT, and Rob VK4AAC/5.  Lesley VK5LOL/3 then gave me a call from the Wyperfeld National Park, VKFF-0549.  Lesley and her husband Hans had made the journey over from South Australia to participate in the 2015 KRMNPA Activation Weekend.

I worked a handful of other stations on 40m and I then QSYd to 21.265.  With a little bit of prompting from Rob VK4FFAB, I  had brought along my 1/2 wave 15m dipole.  So I lowered the squid pole and disconnected the 20m/40m linked dipole and placed the 15m dipole up in its place.  I called CQ a number of times, but unfortunately my only taker on 15m was Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.  It was a shame really, because 15m, seemed to be in very good shape.  Rick was a very strong 5/9 plus.  I was also suffering some QRM from Japan, as there appeared to be some form of Contest going on.  I lowered the squid pole again and replaced the 20m/40m linked dipole and called CQ on 14.310.  But sadly, absolutely no takers.

So I headed back to 40m.  Prior to propping on a frequency and calling CQ, I again tuned across the band.  I found the special ANZAC call of VI3ANZAC calling CQ on 7.095 (5/9 both ways).  I then called CQ on 7.090 and this was answered by Tom VK5NFT in Millicent, followed by Greg VK5GJ who was operating portable in the Carribie Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula.  Next up was John VK2AWJ/3 operating portable from the Yarra Ranges National Park, VKFF-0556.  John’s signal was a little down from the other Victorian activators and we exchanged 5/4 signal reports.

About half a dozen calls later I was called by Andrew VK1DA operating portable from SOTA peak Mount Ginini VK1/ AC-009 within the Namadgi National Park, VKFF-0377.  This was followed by Johnno VK3FMPB who was in the Kinglake National Park, VKFF-0264.  And then Tom VK5EE and Col VK5HCF/3 who were in the Mount Richmond National Park, VKFF-0361.

It was getting around that time that we needed to pack up.  But I had one last listen and I worked Andrew VK1AD portable on SOTA peak Mount Stromlo VK1/ AC-043, and Andrew VK1MBE/2 and James VK1DR/2 on SOTA peak Mount Tumanang VK2/ SM-049.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3XCI/p (Hattah Kulyne National Park, VKFF-0231)
  2. VK5HSX/p (Lincoln National Park)
  3. VK2VW
  4. VK3MRH
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK7KPC
  7. VK2NP
  8. VK3DAC
  9. VK2LCD
  10. VK5HCF
  11. VK5HEL
  12. VK2BA
  13. VK5FMID
  14. VK7LTD
  15. VK3MLU
  16. VK5EE
  17. VK5HS
  18. VK5KLV/p (Winninowie Conservation Park)
  19. VK2HHA
  20. VK5KPR/p (Winninowie Conservation Park)
  21. VK3TKK
  22. VK3ARR
  23. VK5FAKV
  24. VK5KC
  25. VK5ZGY
  26. VK3YSP/p (French Island National Park VKFF-0622)
  27. VK3VTH/p (Croajingolong National Park VKFF-0119)
  28. VK3FQSO
  29. VK3YAR
  30. VK3PMG/p (Grampians National Park VKFF-0213)
  31. VK3OHM
  32. VK3AFW
  33. VK5FANA
  34. VK3VCE/p
  35. VK5JK
  36. VK5PL
  37. VK2YK
  38. VK5AV/3 (Lower Glenelg National Park VKFF-0296)
  39. VK1AT
  40. VK3CAT
  41. VK4AAC/5
  42. VK5LOL/3 (Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549)
  43. VK5BJE
  44. VK5NRG
  45. VK5ZBD
  46. VI3ANZAC
  47. VK5NFT
  48. VK5GJ/p (Carribie Conservation Park)
  49. VK2AWJ/3 (Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556)
  50. VK3NBL
  51. VK5VGC
  52. VK3FLCS
  53. VK7NWQ
  54. VK5FTVR
  55. VK3CCG
  56. VK1DA/p (SOTA Mt Ginini VK1/ AC-008 and Namadgi National Park)
  57. VK3FMPB/p (Kinglake National Park VKFF-0264)
  58. VK5EE/3 (Mount Richmond National Park VKFF-0361)
  59. VK2SR
  60. VK5HCF/3 (Mount Richmond National Park VKFF-0361)
  61. VK3LED
  62. VK5WG
  63. VK1AD/p (SOTA Mount Stromlo VK1/ AC-043)
  64. VK1MBE/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-049)
  65. VK1DR/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-049)
  66. VK5NJ

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA

After activating the park, we continued south on Lighthouse Road and down to the Cape Otway lighthouse.  Completed in 1848, the Cape Otway lighthouse was built in response to numerous shipwrecks and increased shipping in Bass Strait.  Stone to complete the lighthouse was quarried at Parker River and supplies were landed at Blanket Bay.  In 1859, a telegraph station was build, which played an important role in communicating shipping movements.

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There is an excellent dinosaur and fossil exhibit at the lighthouse.  It shows a selection of the finds discovered on a cliff face at Dinosaur Cove which overlooks the South Ocean.

As you walk across the lighthouse grounds, you will find an information sign relating to the disappearance of Frederick Valentich.  As a kid I watched the ‘In Search Of’ program which was hosted by Leonard Nimoy.  One of the shows during the series, featured this unique story.  Valentich was a 20 year old pilot who was flying a Cessna 182L light aircraft over Bass Strait on 21 October 1978.  He radioed Melbourne Air Traffic Control during the flight, informing them that he was being accompanied by another unknown aircraft.  Contact was subsequently lost.  An intensive sea and air search was undertaken but this failed to locate the aircraft.

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We then climbed to the top of the lighthouse and enjoyed some amazing views of the surrounding coastline.

We were fortunate that when we reached the top, one of the guides was in the middle of a talk about the history of the lighthouse.

After a good look around Cape Otway, we then commenced our drive back along Lighthouse Road.  We soon encountered a group of people standing in the middle of the road.  It was soon evident that they were taking photographs of a koala who was on a branch, hanging precariously over the road.  However he seemed to be oblivious of everyone’s presence and was enjoying his lunch of eucalyptus leaves.

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We then headed to the Cape Otway Fly, which I will talk about in my next post.

 

References.

Parks Victoria, 2015, <http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/great-otway-national-park&gt;, viewed 9th December 2015

Wikipedia, 2015, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Frederick_Valentich&gt;, viewed 9th December 2015

Port Campbell National Park VKFF-0420

Day eight of our Great Ocean Road trip was Saturday 14th November 2015.  This was the day two of the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA)  Activation Weekend.  We had planned on activating the Port Campbell National Park, VKFF-0420.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 18.42.22 (1)

Above:- Map showing the location of the Port Campbell National Park.  Image courtesy of Forest Explorer.

Port Campbell National Park was first reserved in 1964, and now covers an area of 1,830 hectares of coastal land between Princetown and Peterborough in south western Victoria.  The park provides habitat for a wide range of wildlife.

The park takes its name after Captain Alexander Campbell, who was known as the ‘last of the buccaneers’.  He was in charge of the whaling station at Port Fairy, and he traded between Victoria and Tasmania, using Port Campbell Bay as shelter during the 1840’s.  The English colony of Australia grew rapidly during the 1800’s and Bass Strait became a major shipping route.  Pastoralists also moved into the area.  However, it was not until the 1870’s that the town of Port Campbell was established.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 18.41.57Above:- Map showing the Port Campbell National Park.  Image courtesy of Forest Explorer.

As Marija and I did not see any favourable operating spots on the eastern side of Port Campbell, we decided to head to the west along the Great Ocean Road.  We soon found Two Mile Bay Road, a dirt track leading down to Two Mile Bay.  At the end of the road is a small carpark, and this was away from the throng of tourists and made an ideal operating position.

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We parked the 4WD and set up my fold up table and deck chair and the operating gear just adjacent to the carpark.

Screenshot 2015-12-08 18.58.20

Above:- Map showing our operating position within the park.  Image courtesy of http://www.here.com

After setting up, Marija went for a walk down along a track from the carpark to admire the coast.  I took the same walk at the end of the activation.  You are rewarded with some very nice views of the coastline.

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I was set up and ready to go by 9.30 a.m. Victorian local time  I tuned across the 40m band prior to putting out any CQ calls, but I was saddened to hear the band very quiet.  I was worried again that propagation was not going to be favourable.  After a few CQ calls on 7.144, Ivan VK5HS mobile came up and gave me a call and was number one in the log.   Ivan had a good strong 5/8 signal, which gave me some hope that propagation may be quite good.  Next up was Brett VK2VW (5/9 sent and 5/5 received), followed by Keith VK2PKT (5/9 both ways), and then Stef VK5HSX who was operating portable in the Lincoln National Park.

Soon after I worked John VK5BJE from the Adelaide Hills.  I was hoping to get John in the log as he desperately wanted Port Campbell to complete having worked all 45 Victorian National Parks for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA).  Congratulations John.

A few calls later I had my first Victorian National Park in the log.  It was Tony VK3VTH who was operating from the Coopracamba National Park, VKFF-0113.  Tony had a strong 5/8 signal and gave me a 5/9.  I was Tony’s first contact for the day.  About half a dozen calls later I was called by Ian VK1DI, and was able to give him a brand new park as well.  The band was performing quite well, with a couple of Western Australian stations calling in: Mike VK6MB and Rich VK6HRC.

I worked a total of 21 stations until things started to quieten down.  So I took the opportunity of tuning across the band.  I booked in briefly to the Riverland Radio Group Net on 7.115 and it was during this time that I heard of the terrible news of the terrorist attacks in Paris.  As I sat on my deck chair, in the sunshine, admiring the view, I thought to myself how lucky I was.  Marija and I had holidayed last year in Europe for 2 months and had spent a week in Paris.

I left the Riverland Net and found Lesley VK5LOL/3 on 7.100, calling CQ from Wyperfeld National Park, VKFF-0549.  Although Lesley was quite low down, I was very confident that she would be able to hear me.  It took a few calls, as Lesley was quite busy, but we eventually made it (5/3 sent and 5/5 received).

I then headed back up to 7.144 and started calling CQ again.  This was answered by Adrian VK5AJR in the Riverland region of South Australia, followed by Nev VK5WG in the Mid North, and then Tony VK5FTVR in Strathalbyn on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  Three stations in very different areas across South Australia, and all with good signals.  I worked a further 6 stations before it slowed down again, so I again tuned across the 40m band and heard Terry VK3WI (VK3UP) calling CQ on 7.110 from the Brisbane Ranges National Park, VKFF-0055.  Again the signal from VK3 was well down, but again I was confident that Terry would be able to hear me.  We made contact after a few calls (5/3 sent and 4/1 received).

I then made contact with husband and wife team, Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL, who were operating portable from French Island National Park, VKFF-0622.  Again signals around VK3 were well down, but because all of the park activators were experiencing no man made noise, contacts were completed with relative ease.

Following my contact with Joe and Julie I again went back to 7.144 and worked 7 stations in VK2, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  But it again went quiet quickly again.  This afforded me another opportunity of looking across the band for park activators.  It wasn’t long before I found Mick VK3MPG calling CQ from the Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291.  This time, Mick’s signal was even lower (4/1 at best).  But we successfully made a contact even though I only received a 3/2 signal report.

I repeated the morning’s pattern and headed back to 7.144 and called CQ, and I was pleasantly surprised to be called by Cliff VK2NP who was operating with the special call of VI90IARU.  Next up was Peter VK2NEO with his normal massive signal.  I visited Peter last month during my trip to Wagga Wagga and operated from his shack and enjoyed a bite to eat and a chat.

But it soon slowed down again, with just a further 3 stations worked on 40m.  So I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the antenna and headed to 14.310.  I worked a total of 4 stations here in Queensland and Western Australia.  Even though it was only 4 contacts, it is always pleasing to get the VK4’s and VK6’s in the log on 20m, as it can often be quite a challenge on 40m depending on the conditions and the time of the day.

The morning was getting on, and we had a few planned tourist stops before our SOTA activation later in the day.  I packed up feeling quite contented with a total of 53 contacts in the log.  And even more pleased that I was able to give a few park hunters a new park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS/m
  2. VK2VW
  3. VK2PKT
  4. VK5HSX/p (Lincoln National Park)
  5. VK5TW
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK5KC
  8. VK2NP
  9. VK3VTH/p (Coopracamba National Park VKFF-0113)
  10. VK5FANA
  11. VK2YK
  12. VK4RF
  13. VK4HA
  14. VK1DI
  15. VK3MRH
  16. BK2IO
  17. VK6MB
  18. VK5AKH
  19. VK6HRC
  20. VK7SA
  21. VK4GSF
  22. VK5BRL
  23. VK5MRE
  24. VK5LOL/3 (Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549)
  25. VK5AJR
  26. VK5WG
  27. VK5FTVR
  28. VK2HHA
  29. VK2EJW
  30. VK7LTD
  31. VK3SQ
  32. VK2RI
  33. VK2TG/m
  34. VK3WI/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park, VKFF-0055).
  35. VK3YSP/p (French Island National Park VKFF-0622)
  36. VK3FOWL/p (French Island National Park VKFF-0622)
  37. VK5JDS
  38. VK7FGGT/m
  39. VK5IS
  40. VK2MCB
  41. VK7VW
  42. VK4ARW
  43. VK2FABE
  44. VK3PMG/p (Little Desert National Park, VKFF-0291)
  45. VI90IARU
  46. VK2NEO
  47. VK7PAK
  48. VK5CZ
  49. VK1AT

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6GLX
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK4LS

 

References.

Parks Victoria, June 2014, Port Campbell National Park & Bay of Islands Costal Park

Keith Roget Merit Award

This afternoon after work, I went to the Post Office and was pleasantly surprised to find a parcel waiting there for me to collect.  It was my Merit certificate and Merit plaque for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA).

IMGA0001

The Merit Award is issued for either Activating all 45 Victorian National Parks, or Working all 45 Victorian National Parks.  My awards were for Working all 45 parks, which sounds easy, but is a real challenge.

Many thanks to Tony VK3VTH, who is the KRMNPA Awards Manager.

Scan

 

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Little Desert National Park, VKFF-291

My final activation for Monday 17th November, 2014, and my final activation for the four days away, was the Little Desert National Park, VKFF-291, which is located about 375 km north west of Melbourne, in western Victoria.

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Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I activated the Little Desert National Park in September, 2013.  For more information on that activation, and details on the park, please have a look at my previous post…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/little-desert-national-park-victoria/

This is a vast park, covering an area of about.  The park has slowly evolved and grown in size over the years.  The Kiata Lowan Sanctuary, consisting of 217 hectares, was created in 1955 and was set aside for the preservation of the Malleefowl.  The Malleefowl is an endangered bird, and is also known as the Lowan.

Leipoa_ocellata_-Ongerup,_Western_Australia,_Australia-8

 

image courtesy of wikipedia.org

For more information on the Mallee Fowl, have a look at the following wikipedia article…..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleefowl

The park was increased in size in 1968 to 945 hectares and was declared as the Little Desert National Park.  It was also at this time that the Government ammounced that about 80,000 hectares of desert in the area would be sub divided and cleared for agriculture.  Great debate commenced and it was argued that in the long term the land would be more valuable in its natural state.  As a result the sub division plan was abandoned, and in December 1969, the park was increased to 35,300 hectares.  And then in 1986, the Land Conservation Council which had been created by the Government to advise on the use of public land, recommended an increase in size of the park.  The Central and Western Blocks were created and added to the existing Eastern Block.  This increased the park in size to 132,000 hectares.  In May 1988, the park was declared as a National Park, and it now extends all the way from the Wimmera River in the east, to the South Australian border.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 19.47.51

map courtesy of parkweb.vic.gov.au

I headed out to the park from Dimboola via Wimmera Street and then Horse Shoe Bend Road.  I set up in the same vicinity as last year, which was near a spot in the Wimmera River called Horseshoe Bend.  There is a campground here with wooden benches and seats, and it is beautifully shaded with large River Red gum trees.  It is a very pretty spot close to the Wimmera River on the eastern boundary of the park.  It is a much prettier and cooler option than some of the more remote and baron parts of the park.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 19.50.07

 

map courtesy of parkweb.vic.gov.au

The Little Desert National Park contains more than 670 species of native plants.  Over 220 bird species have been recorded in the park.  A variety of native animals are also found in the park including Brush-tailed Possums, kangaroos, bats, and many different kinds of reptiles including Stumpy-tailed lizards and Bearded Dragons.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 17.53.07map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I was set up and ready to go by 4.07 p.m. Victorian time.  I started calling CQ on 7.095 on 40m.  My first contact was with Larry VK5LY who was running QRP, but still had a terrific 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Brian VK5FMID who was also 5/9 from Mount Gambier, and then Fred VK3DAC who was 5/9.  Mick VK3FAFK was next with a nice 5/9 signal from nearby Stawell.  Mick is recently licenced and was one of my regular callers over the 4 days of park and SOTA activations.  After working 8 stations from VK2, VK3, & VK5, on 7.095, I was forced to QSY up to 7.097 as the Kandos Net came up on 7.093 and I was getting a lot of ‘bleedover’.

After I QSYd to 7.097 I worked a further 15 stations in VK3 & VK5.  This included Marco VK2YES who was portable in the Olney State Forest near Lake Macquarie, and Norm VK5GI who was running QRP 5 watts on his home brew transceiver from Willunga south of Adelaide.

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After working a total of 23 stations on 40m, I headed over to 20m, where I worked a total of 9 stations in New Zealand, VK2, Russia, and VK6.  I started calling CQ on 14.244 and my CQ was responded to by Don ZL1AQ and then Noel ZL1DAI.  Mike VK2ABT then called in, and this was followed by Sergey RA3PCI, Jeff VK3HJA, Jason Vk6YTS, and Paul VK2DNL.  I put out a few more CQ calls but there were no takers, so I tuned around the 20m band and found T32TV working weak Europeans.  I also heard 4X6TT on 14.200 but he was just a little too weak to try to work.  I then worked Franc (ZL1SLO) operating as ZL1PPY, a special event call commemorating the centenary of the First World War 1914-1918.

So after about 1 hour 15 minutes in the park, I had a total of 32 QSOs in the log.  That combined with the 10 QSOs from my activation in September, 2013, saw me fall just 2 QSOs short of the required 44 QSO’s for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) global awards.  Oh well, I will have to revist the park at some stage.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Larry VK5LY
  2. Brian VK5FMID
  3. Fred VK3DAC
  4. Mick VK3FAFK
  5. Tom VK5EE
  6. Nev VK5WG
  7. Kieran VK2QK
  8. Tim VK5AV
  9. Marco VK2YES/p
  10. Bernard VK3AV
  11. Greg VK5GJ
  12. Robin VK5TN
  13. John VK5FMJC
  14. Brett VK3FLCS
  15. Allen VK5FD
  16. Daniel VK5DF
  17. Ian VK5CZ
  18. Norm VK5GI/qrp
  19. Ewen VK3OW
  20. Colin VK3NGC/m
  21. Rob VK3FKL
  22. Ron VK3JP
  23. Allen VK3HRA
  24. Don ZL1AQ
  25. Noel ZL1DAI
  26. Mike VK2ABT
  27. Sergey RA3PCI
  28. Jeff VK3HJA
  29. Jason VK6YTS
  30. Paul VK2DNL
  31. Franc ZL1PPY
  32. Franc ZL1SLO

After getting mobile I worked Rick VK3EQ who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Beenak, VK3/ VC-016 (5/5 sent and 5/8 received).

Below is a video of the activation…..

 

References.

Parks Victoria, June 2014, ‘Little Desert National Park Visitor Guide’.

Wikipedia.org, 2014, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Desert_National_Park&gt;, viewed 1st December 2014

Grampians National Park, VKFF-213

My second to last activation for Monday 17th November, 2014 was the Grampians National Park, VKFF-213, which is located about 260 km north west of Melbourne.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 17.56.26

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I have really fond memories of the Grampians, as many of my Dad’s relatives live/d in the Wimmera region, particularly Horsham, not far from the park.  As a young boy we would often visit my Uncles and Aunties, and my Nana & Papa who lived at Horsham.  My Nana would regularly take us for a drive out to the Grampians, where my little sister and I would feed the kangaroos at Zumsteins.

The Grampians is a vast park, and is 167,219 hectares in size, and was proclaimed as a National Park on the 1st July 1984.  The park was listed on the Australian National Heritage List in 2006, for its outstanding natural beauty and being one of the richest indeigeneous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia.  The Grampians is referred to as Gariwerd in the local aboriginal language.  In 1991, after a 2 year consultation process, the park was renamed Grampians Gariwerd National Park.  However, this controversial formality was reversed after a change of State Government in 1992.

I entered the park via a dirt track which ran off the eastern side of the Henty Highway, near Tea Tree Creek.  I drove down the track for about 500 metres and set up my gear just off the track.  I again used the Yaesu FT-450, 40 watts, and the 40m/20m linked dipole for this activation.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 17.56.18

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I had reached the and park and set up 6 minutes ahead of my scheduled time.  So I was on track to get home at a respectable hour.  I started calling CQ on my nominated frequency of 7.095.  My first contact was with Mr. Reliable John VK5BJE at 1.04 p.m. Victorian time.  John’s signal was down a little from normal.  He was just a 5/5 and I received a 5/1 signal report from John.  However, we both had very low, if not non-existant noise floors at our respective locations, so we were able to receive each other without any problems.  This was followed by John VK2AWJ/3 who was portable in the Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park.  John had been very active over the 4 days, operating portable from a number of Victorian parks.  Congratulations John.  My third contact was with Peter VK3RV and soon after his partner Jenny VK3WQ.  Peter and Jenny had been chasing me over the 4 days during my activations.  Thanks Peter and Jenny.

During this activation, I had a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3 & VK5, with some very good signals.  Many were regular park hunters, but there were some new callers in there as well, which is always pleasing.  Daniel VK5DF had become a regular caller.  Daniel is from the South Coast Radio Club, where I recently gave a talk on the VK5 Parks Award.  So perhaps my encouragement had rubbed off on Daniel.

Unfortunately, I was pushed off the frequency by a couple of VK2 stations speaking Italian.  This was despite the fact that I had been on the frequency for one hour.  I was in the middle of a QSO with Tony VK5ZAI, when these 2 fellas came up and just took over the frequency without asking if it was in use.  I often hear these same two gentlemen, on or around this frequency, so obviously they believe they ‘own it’.  Perhaps they could not hear me, but surely they could hear the other stations working me.  Probably, but I think they just didn’t care.

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So after an abrupt end, I had a total of 32 contacts in the log.  This was enough to combine with my previous activation of The Grampians, to surpass the 44 required QSOs for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. John VK5BJE
  2. John VK2AWJ/3
  3. Peter VK3RV
  4. Fred VK3DAC
  5. David VK5LSB
  6. Tim VK3TJC
  7. Jenny VK3WQ
  8. Tom VK5EE
  9. Daniel VK5DF
  10. John VK5DJ
  11. Tim VK5AV
  12. Stan VK3BNJ
  13. Andrew VK3FABE
  14. Larry VK5LY
  15. Colin VK5DK
  16. Tom VK2KF
  17. Nev VK5WG
  18. Lesley VK5LOL
  19. Tony VK3CAB
  20. Barry VK3MBW
  21. Hans VK5YX
  22. Brian VK5FMID
  23. Greg VK2MTC
  24. Ray VK3NBL
  25. Brett VK3FLCS
  26. Greg VK5GJ
  27. Ron VK3JP
  28. John VK5FMJC
  29. Frank VK3FARO
  30. Mick VK3FAFK
  31. Kevin VK3VEK
  32. Tony VK5ZAI

Below is a video of the activation…..

 

References.

Wikipedia, 2014, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grampians_National_Park&gt;, viewed 1st December 2014

Mount Richmond National Park, VKFF-361

Following my activation of Mount Eccles National Park, I headed off for my final activation for Sunday 16th November, 2014.  That being the Mount Richmond National Park, VKFF-361, which is located about 380 km west of Melbourne, and about 22 km north west of Portland, in western Victoria.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 16.08.10

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount Richmond is known to the local Gundidjmara aboriginal people as Benwerrin, meaning ‘Long Hill’.  Benwerrin provided a rich variety of foods for the aboriginal people, both in the bush and along the nearby coast.  The large trees with dark grey, hard and fissured bark with dense dar green foilage are Blackwood Wattles.  The tree’s strong wiid was good for making hunting boomerangs, and the sticky sap forms useful glue for hand tools.

Mount Richmond was named after Richard Henty, who was one of the first European children born in the Portland area.  The park itself was established in 1960, as a result of the dedication of local naturalists such as Noel Learmonth and Cliff Beauglehole.

About 450 species of plants have been recorded in the park, including 50 orchid species.  Other plants include Correas, heaths, wattles, and Bush Peas.

The park is home to a large variety of bird life including Emus, Crimson Rosellas, Gang-gang cockatoos, honeyeaters, thornbills, Silvereyes, robins, finches, tree-creepers, and Currawongs.  The park is also an important habitat fr the uncommon Long-nosed Potoroo, which is a small member of the kangaroo family.  The Potoroo is rarely seen and is generally only active during the night.  Other native animals that call the park home are Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Koalas, and Red-necked wallabies.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 16.07.58 map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I entered the northern portion of the park via Mount Richmond Road.  I found a nice picnic and camping area which had a wooden table and benches.  It looked a great place to operate from.  It isn’t very often that I get the table and chairs provided, so I decided to enjoy the luxuries whilst they were presented.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 16.36.09

Image courtesy of parkweb.vic.gov.au

I found 7.095 to be clear and I put out a CQ call and was immediately greeted by Kevin VK3KAB and Glenn VK3YY who were portable on Mount Terrible Spur, VK3/ VE-134.  Their signals were 5/7 with their QRP operation of 5 watts.  You can read about their activation on Glenn’s WordPress site at…..

https://vk3yy.wordpress.com/tag/ve-134/

This was followed by Terry VK3UP and then Mike VK3XL, who both had 5/9 plus signals.  A steady flow of callers followed from VK1, VK3, VK5, & VK7.  A few QRP operators called in, including Mark VK3ASC operating with 5 watts, Mark VK1EM, and Daniel VK5DF running 5 watts.  And I also spoke to a few mobile operators including Peter VK3PF on the highway approaching Rosedale, and Allen VK3HRA mobile in the Morwell National Park.

The strongest station worked from Mount Richmond, was Peter VK5NAQ who had a thumping 30/9 signal into Mount Richmond.  What a signal.

I remained on 7.095 and continued to work the callers.  I was working Johnno VK3FMPB when the heavens opened up, and it started to rain, quite heavy.  So I had to grab the radio and run.  Sorry Johnno.  I wasn’t going to get wet, and certainly didn’t want the radio getting wet.  So it was back to the car for a short time until the rain disappeared.

I then returned to the picnic table with my bothy bag and huddled under that, as the occasional shower still came through.  My first contact after returning was Richard VK5ZRY on the Yorke Peninsula.  I worked a further 10 stations after the rain, including Rob VK2QR/3 who was portable on SOTA summit, The Knocker, VK3/ VG-016, with a beautiful 5/9 signal.  And also some more QRP stations, including Craig VK3JK on 5 watts, Colin VK3NCC on 5 watts, and Daniel VK5DF on 5 watts (using a different antenna this time).  I was hearing a few European stations coming through on the frequency at this time.

After working 39 stations on 40m ssb, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links, and headed off to 20m, where I put out a number of CQ calls on 14.244, until I was answered by Albert S58AL.  Unfortunately it wasn’t long, until a European station came up right alongside of me, which made things incredibly difficult.  I managed to work a further 4 stations in Hawaii, Slovenia, Italy, and England, until I was forced to QSY as the bleed over was just unbearable.

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I found 14.253 free and put out a CQ call, which was answered by my good buddy, Marnix OP7M.  A steady flow of callers from Europe followed this.  I worked a further 18 stations from Italy, Germany, Poland, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, and France.  And thrown amongst the mix was John VK6NU in Western Australia.  Propagation to Europe seemed to be quite good, but the radio was struggling to get sufficient power supply from the 44 amp hour power pack, which was getting low down in voltage.  Each time I keyed the microphone, the radio would shut down.  This is a problem I’ve been experiencing a bit recently.

My 44 amp hour power pack just couldn’t provide enough voltage, and the radio kept cutting out which was extremely annoying.  Plus it was getting dark and the weather was miserable, so it was time to pack up and head back to the warmth of the motel room at Portland.  I had a total of 64 contacts in the log.  Again, I was very pleased, as I had qualified the park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) global award.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Kevin VK3KAP/p (SOTA)
  2. Glenn VK3YY/p (SOTA)
  3. Terry VK3UP
  4. Mike VK3XL
  5. Nev VK5WG
  6. Matt VK1MA
  7. Ian VK1DI
  8. Tim VK5AV
  9. Brian VK5FMID
  10. Bernard VK3AV
  11. Peter VK3RV
  12. Col VK5HCF
  13. Hans VK5YX
  14. Tony VK3CAB
  15. Mark VK7MK
  16. Mark VK3ASC
  17. Mark VK1EM
  18. Peter VK3PF/m
  19. Allen VK3HRA/m
  20. John VK5BJE
  21. Barry VK5BW
  22. VK2CCJ
  23. Bob VK5FPAC
  24. Peter VK5NAQ
  25. Jim VK5TR
  26. Daniel VK5DF
  27. Brett VK3FLCS
  28. John VK5TD
  29. Johnno VK3FMPB
  30. Richard VK5ZRY
  31. Dennis VK3BQZ/m
  32. Brian VK3BBB
  33. John VK5FTCT
  34. Peter VK3TKK
  35. John VK3FCAN
  36. Craig VK3JK
  37. VK3NCC/p
  38. Daniel VK5DF
  39. Rob VK2QR/p (SOTA)
  40. S58AL
  41. WH6DXW
  42. S52KM
  43. I5FLN
  44. M0HDX
  45. OP7M
  46. IK1GPG
  47. DL7UXG
  48. SP5BR
  49. RZ3DN
  50. SP5AUB
  51. JA1HOX
  52. IK2VFR
  53. ON4BB
  54. PA1AR
  55. M0WYZ
  56. RU3EG
  57. John VK6NU
  58. DL2ND
  59. DL1EKO
  60. DL1EBR
  61. F1BLL
  62. DJ7ZZ
  63. IZ5JMZ
  64. DL5EBG

Below is a video of the activation…..

 

References.

Parks Victoria, 2014, ‘Mount Richmond National Park Visitor Guide’.

Mount Eccles National Park, VKFF-345

After my activation of Mount Napier summit, I headed off to the Mount Eccles National Park (NP), which is located in western Victoria, about 270 km west of Melbourne, and about 15 km south west of the little town of MacArthur.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 14.55.20

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount Eccles NP is about 5,470 hectares in size, and was established in June, 1960.  Not surprising, located within the park is Mount Eccles, also named Budj Bim by the Gunditjmara aboriginal people.  It is the site of the most recent active volcano in Australia.  The most recent eruption of Mount Eccles was about 8,000 years ago.  I am very pleased to report that it remained quite during my activation of the park.  Mount Eccles is a relatively small hill surrounded by lush vegetation with a small hidden deep volcanic crater lake which is named Lake Surprise.

There is a good article and a short audio item with photographs on the ABC South West Victoria website at…..

http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2011/09/01/3307642.htm

Screenshot 2014-12-01 14.55.03 map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I entered the park via Mount Eccles Road.  There were quite a few people in the main campground, so I continued up to Lake Surprise lookout area, and set up in a cleared area near the carpark.  This was certainly not as green and shady as the campground, but it was a lot quieter.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 15.39.05

Image courtesy of parksweb.vic.gov.au

My first contact was with Col VK5HCF who was portable in the Canunda National Park in the South East of South Australia.  Col was out and about with Tom VK5EE, and was activating the park as part of the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  They had a good strong 5/8 signal to Mount Eccles.

I then found a clear frequency on 7.110 and put out a few CQ calls and it wasn’t long before I was called by John VK5BJE, followed by Terry VK3UP, Frank VK2HFS, and then Nigel VK5NIG.  After working a further 3 stations, I went hunting around the band again, and found Peter VK3PF operating portable from the Lind National Park, VKFF-287.  More information on Peter’s activation can be found on his WordPress site at…..

http://vk3pf.wordpress.com/2014/11/19/krmnpa-weekend-2014/

After working Peter I called CQ on 7.095 and again it wasn’t long before I had a steady flow of callers calling in again, from VK3, VK5, & VK7.  They included Joe VK3YSP and his wife Julie VK3YSP, operating portable from the Wilsons Promontory National Park.  Nick VK3ANL also called in, whilst portable on SOTA peak, Mount Dandenong, VK3/ VC-025 which is located in the Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-132.  And a few contacts later, I was called by Peter VK3ZPF who was portable in the Churchill National Park, VKFF-621.  Peter had a good 5/7 signal.

After working Peter I had a further 12 contacts, before lowering the squid pole and trying my luck on 20m.  I called CQ on a number of occasions on 14.310 but had absolutely no takers.  I tuned around the 20m band, but the only station I could hear was Brian ZL2ASH, who was testing on 14.156.  I called Brian, but unfortunately he could not hear me.

So I again lowered the squid pole, and reconnected the crocodile clips for 40m and again went band searching on 40m.  I found young Reuben VK7FREU calling CQ from SOTA peak, Mount Wellington, VK7/ SC-001.

Prior to leaving the park I also spoke with Rob VK2QR/3 who was portable on SOTA peak, Sam Hill VK3/ VG-049.  As normal, Rob had a good strong signal.  And then I worked Amanda VK3FQSO who was operating portable in the Terrick Terrick National Park, VKFF-630.

I was also called by Glenn VK3YY and Kevin VK3KAB who were on top of Mount Terrible, VK3/ VE-067.  You can read a bit about Glenn and Kevin’s activation on Glenn’s WordPress site at…..

http://vk3yy.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/mt-duffy-to-mt-terrible-five-summits/

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After 2 hours in the park, I had a total of 49 contacts in the log.  Again, I was very pleased, as I had reached the required 44 contacts for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) global award program.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Col VK5HCF/p (Canunda NP)
  2. John VK5BJE
  3. Terry VK3UP
  4. Frank VK2HFS
  5. Nigel VK5NIG
  6. Lesley VK5LOL
  7. Nev VK5WG
  8. Matt VK1MA
  9. Peter VK3PF/p (Ling NP)
  10. Christopher VK5LTD
  11. Barry VK5BW
  12. Wolf VK5WF
  13. Jim VK5KOB
  14. Mark VK7MK
  15. Joe VK3YSP/p (Wilsons Promontory NP)
  16. Julie VK3FOWL/p (Wilsons Promontory NP)
  17. Tim VK5AV
  18. Daniel VK5DF
  19. Richard VK5ZRY
  20. Nick VK3ANL/p (SOTA & Dandenong Ranges NP)
  21. Ron VK3HAK
  22. Dale VK5DC
  23. Hans VK5YX
  24. Peter VK3ZPF/p (Churchill NP)
  25. Peter VK2NEO
  26. Jim VK5TR
  27. John VK1CJ/3
  28. Greg VK5ZGY/m
  29. John VK5FMJC
  30. Ross VK7ALH
  31. Brenton VK3CBV
  32. Trent VK7FTRS
  33. Joe VK3YSP/m
  34. Mike VK3XL/m
  35. Matt VK5ZX
  36. Hans VK5KHZ
  37. Reuben VK7FREU/p (SOTA)
  38. Andrew VK1NAM
  39. Colin VK3ZZS/p
  40. Brett VK3FLCS
  41. Rob VK2QR/p (SOTA)
  42. Amanda VK3FQSO/p (Terrick Terrick NP)
  43. Ewen VK3OW
  44. Glenn VK3YY/p (SOTA)
  45. Kevin VK3KAB/p (SOTA)
  46. Brian VK5FMID
  47. Bernard VK3AV
  48. David VK3UCD
  49. Peter VK3TKK

Below is a video of this activation…..

 

References.

Wikipedia.org, 2014, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Eccles_National_Park&gt;, viewed 1st December 2014