Results from the 2017 VKFF Team Championship

I have now received all of the logs for the 2017 VKFF Team Championship.  All amateurs who took part in the event as activators have now received a participation certificate via email.  The certificate features a photograph of the Fitzgerald River National Park, Western Australia, from Point Ann.

VK5FMAZ

The winners are as follows……

FOUNDATION SECTION.

‘Team Onka’ comprising Mike VK5FMWW and Larry VK5FLHR.

They will receive a $50.00 voucher kindly donated by Pages of Cobram and a winenrs certificate each.

The certificate features a photograph of Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia.

VK5FMWW Foundation

QRP SECTION.

‘Special K’s’ comprising Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR.

They will receive a WSPRLite kindly donated by SOTABEAMS, and a winners certificate each.

The certificate features a photograph of Elephant Rocks in the William Bay National Park, Western Australia.

VK5KLV QRP

2 ops/single tx/40 & 80m/wire antenna/100w or less

‘The Walkie Talkies’ comprising Marija VK5FMAZ and Paul VK5PAS.

They will receive a glass etched trophy each and a winners certificate each.

The certificate features a photograph of Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria.

VK5PAS 2017 VKFF Team Champ 40 & 80

Overall winners.

‘The Walkie Talkies’ comprising Marija VK5FMAZ and Paul VK5PAS.

They will receive a glass etched trophy each and a winners certificate each.

The certificate features a photograph of Russell Falls in the Mount Field National Park, Tasmania.

VK5FMAZ Overall winner 2017 VKFF Team Champ

Thanks to everyone who took part in the event, both activators and hunters.  The following teams took part:-

  • ‘The VK4WIPeouts’ comprising Mark VK4SMA and Murray VK4MWB.
  • ‘Team Kookaburra’ comprising Mick VK3GGG and Tony VK3XV.
  • ”Team Onka” comprising Mike VK5FMWW and Larry VK5FLHR.
  • ‘The Walkie Talkies’ comprising Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ.
  • “Penguin Pirates” comprising Hans VK6XN and Phil VK6ADF.
  • “The 2 Robbies” comprising Rob VK4AAC and Rob VK4FFAB.

 

And many thanks to all the sponsors of the event – SOTABEAMS, Pages of Cobram, and those donated some $$$$.  Your involvement is greatly appreciated.

Next years event will be held on Sunday 21st October 2018.  There will be some changes to the event, making it fairer for the VK6 activators.

More information on the 2017 VKFF Team Championship can be found at….

http://www.wwffaustralia.com/2017-results.html

Scott Creek Conservation Park 5CP-207 and VKFF-0788

Today (Thursday 2nd November 2017) I decided to head out into the field to try out my brand new Yaesu FT-857d which I had delivered yesterday.  My original FT-857d which has racked up thousands of QSOs out in the field, gave up and died during an activation last Friday.  So I wanted to give the new rig a run before our planned trip to Victoria and New South Wales.  I also had acquired this week a Yaesu FT-897 from a deceased estate auction through my local radio club, so I wanted to give that a whirl as well.

I chose to activate Scott Creek Conservation Park 5CP-207 & VKFF-0788 as it is close to home.  On the way to the park I phoned my good mate John VK5BJE a call to see if he wanted to accompany me on the activation, as he lives very close to the park.  John agreed, and we made arrangements to meet at the park.

The park is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’, about 20 km south east of the city of Adelaide.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 7.15.51 pm.png

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

The Scott Creek Conservation Park is about 712 hectares in size and was contains some of the most diverse areas of native vegetation in the Adelaide Hills.  The park features sloped valleys, lush creeklines and rounded ridgetops.  The Mount Bold Reservoir is located adjacent to the southern and south eastern boundary of the park.

The main upper canopy species is messmate stringybark which is associated with several other species, including South Australian blue gum, pink gum and cup gum.  In some valleys, river red gum and manna gum are the dominant canopy species.  Silky tea-tree, swamp wattle, soft water fern, and several sedge and rush species grow in the cooler, damper creeklines.  Some of the dominant species occurring in the diverse lower canopy include golden wattle, sweet bursaria, silver banksia, needle bush, drooping sheoak and native cherry.  Understorey species such as common heath, flame heath, common fringe myrtle and lavender grevillea are conspicuous  when in flower.

The park was established on the 7th day of November 1985.  The land which is now the park was formerly Peramangk Aboriginal territory.  European settlers first arrived in the late 1830s.  The Mackereth and Hill families cut timber from the land for use in building the city of Adelaide.  Mackareth cottage can be found just outside of the park.  The cottage dates back to 1839/1840, just 3-4 years after the proclamation of South Australia.   For many years the cottage housed a museum and on occasions provided Devonshire teas on weekend openings to visitors.  In 1984 the National Trust relinquished its interests and the cottage was closed.  It has since fallen into the disgraceful condition it is in today, covered in grafitti.  The cottage is located on SA Water land, who I contacted a number of years ago about the state of disrepair the cottage was in.  They seemed totally disinterested.  The South Australian State Government and SA Water should hang their head in shame.

Above:- Mackareth cottage in its glory (left), and what the cottage now looks like (right).

In about 1847 a Mr Scott brought his flock of sheep to the area and pitched a camp, near the bottom of the creek, Scott Creek, where it empties into the Onkaparinga River.  The people of nearby Cherry Gardens would refer to that locality as Scott’s Bottom, and the stream as Scott’s Creek.  Thus the name for the area.

In 1850, the wheel of a dray wagon broke off pieces of rock which contained copper. Subsequent years saw the area mined for copper and eventually silver.  At one stage about 235 claims were pegged along Scott Creek.  The Almanda Silver Mining Association was formed in 1868 and by the time production was stopped in 1887, the mine had produced 10,000 ounces (310kg) of silver.

70372288.jpg

Above:- The Almanda Silver mine, c. 1868.  A drawing by W.A. Cawthorne.  Courtesy of Trove

The land which is now Scott Creek Conservation Park was privately owned until the early 1970s when land was purchased by the South Australian State Government, with the conservation park being officially declared in 1985.

Over 125 species of native bird have been recorded in the park includingCommon Bronzewing, Laughing Kookaburra, Striated Thornbill, White-browed Scrubwren, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater,Eurasian Coot, Australian Owlet-nightjar, Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Black-shouldered Kite, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Weebill, & Jacky Winter.  During our visit to the park John and I had numerous Red Breasted Robins dancing around where we were operating.  Sadly, I left my camera at home, so I could not get any good bird shots.  All photos were taken on my i-phone.

Numerous native marsupials call the park home including the Southern Brown Bandicoot, the Western Grey Kangaroo, the Koala, the Yellow Footed Antechinus, the Common Ringtail Possum, and the Common Brushtail Possum.  For more information on the fauna of Scott Creek, please have a look at…..

http://users.on.net/~rkwilliams/FoSCCP/Fauna.html

The park has an excellent Friends Group, and more information can be found at….

http://friendsofscottcreek.org.au/

I had just arrived at the park at gate 8 at the start of Cup Gum Track, and was starting to unload the vehicle when John also arrived.  We walked a short distance into the park and set up in the shade of some trees, as it was quite a warm afternoon.

Screen Shot 2017-11-02 at 7.15.35 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the Scott Creek Conservation Park, showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

We headed to 7.144 and heard Dennis VK2HHA talking with Ron VK3MRH.  We gave them both a call and logged them and then heard Marcus VK2SK come up on the frequency and heard him go back to Gerard VK2JNG who was in a park.  Sadly we were unable to hear Gerard’s signal and we were a little confused at what was going on on the frequency, so we QSYd down to 7.139 where we continued our conversation/s with Dennis and Ron.  Bu then Mick VK3GGG came up to let us know that the other Gerard, Gerard VK2IO was on 7.140 and was in a park.  Again we were unable to hear VK2IO at all, so we QSY’d again, down to 7.135.

John and I swapped the mic, logging stations, using the brand new shiny Yaesu FT-857d.  We were very keen on receiving audio reports and had a number of very useful comments.  All appeared good.  Signals appeared a little down compared to normal, but we still managed QSOs into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7.  This included a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Wallumatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2012.  We were a little surprised when Gerard called in, as just 30 minutes earlier we were unable to hear him.   John and I logged a total of 15 stations before deciding to try out the Yaesu FT-897.

IMG_0634

Above:- the brand new Yaeu FT-857d

John and I again swapped the mic, logging a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, and VK5.  We then tuned across the band and logged another Park to Park, this time with Gerard VK2JNG/p who was in the Richmond Range National Park VKFF-0431.  Gerard had also been unreadable an hour earlier, but his signal had now come up to a good 5/3, with Gerard running just 15 watts.

IMG_0637

Above:- the Yaesu FT-897

We then headed to the 80m band and started calling CQ on 3.610.  This was answered by Barry VK5BW who had followed us down from 40m.  Barry was roaring in at 5/9 plus from Bridgewater in the Adelaide Hills.  This was followed by Greg VK5GJ who was also strong, and finally Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  Sadly, despite the 80m band being open across VK5, and Barry putting out a call for us on the local repeater, Barry, Greg and Adrian were our only callers on 80m.

We then moved to the 20m band and called CQ on 14.310 which was answered by Cliff VK2NP, with a strong 5/8 signal, followed by Colin VK4PDX who was 5/9 and then Gerard VK2IO/p in the Wallumatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2012.  It was terrific to get another Park to Park with Gerard on another band.  This was followed by another Park to Park on 20m, this time with Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Richmond Range National Park VKFF-0431.  We logged a further 4 stations and then booked in to the ANZA DX Net on 14.182.  Conditions there were quite good, and we logged 6 stations each, including Maurice FK8HZ in New Caledonia, Mike YJ0MB in Vanuatu, and Jim E51JD in the Cook Islands.

To complete the activation we moved back to 40m where we logged a further 12 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, including a Park to Park QSO with Peter VK3HSB/p in the Alpine National Park VKFF-0619.

IMG_0630

Above:- John VK5BJE on the mic.

We packed up and both headed home, with a total of 102 stations in the log between us, including some nice Pacific DX contacts on 20m, and five Park to Park contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2HHA
  2. VK3MRH
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3GGG
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK3ANL
  8. VK2NEO
  9. VK7MPR
  10. VK1LAJ/p
  11. VK2IO/p (Wallumatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2012)
  12. VK7JON
  13. VK5BW
  14. VK7FOLK
  15. VK3VGB
  16. VK2FANT
  17. VK5KBJ
  18. VK5GJ
  19. VK3VIN
  20. VK3UP
  21. VK2JNG/p (Richmond Range National Park VKFF-0431)
  22. VK3NBL
  23. VK2VW
  24. VK5NRG
  25. VK2SVN
  26. VK3NCC
  27. VK3KRH
  28. VK3BBB
  29. VK2ZK
  30. VK4NH
  31. VK3HSB/p (Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
  32. VK2LEE
  33. VK3FMKE

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BW
  2. VK5GJ
  3. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2NP
  2. VK4PDX
  3. VK2IO/p (Wallumatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2012)
  4. VK2JNG/p (Richmond Range National Park VKFF-0431)
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK2HOT
  8. VK4HNS
  9. FK8RZ
  10. VK1TX
  11. YJ0MB
  12. VK4NH
  13. E52JD
  14. VK4DXA

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/mount-lofty-botanic-gardens/>, viewed 2nd November 2017

Friends of Scott Creek, 2017, <http://friendsofscottcreek.org.au/Fauna.html>, viewed 2nd November 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/scott-creek-conservation-park>, viewed 2nd November 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Creek_Conservation_Park>, viewed 2nd November 2017

2017 CQ World Wide DX Contest

Over the weekend just gone (Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October 2017) the CQ World Wide DX Contest was held.  This is one of the biggest DX contests on the worldwide amateur radio calendar.  The objective is for amateurs around the world to contact as many other amateurs in as many CQ zones and countries as possible.

CQ WW logo_8.jpg

The world is divided into 40 different CQ zones (see map below).  South Australia (VK5) is located in zone 30.

CQzone

I headed to the shack on each opportunity over the weekend to take part in the contest.  I had a family function on the Sunday which saw me out of action for a good part of the day, and I didn’t make it an all nighter, nor did I get up early each morning (as I planned).   I was hoping to get up in the middle of the night and very early in the morning, but this didn’t eventuate.  The warmth of the bed won.

But in the end I made a total of 377 QSOs over the weekend, with a claimed score of 201,552 points.  No-where near as good as the dedicated contesters in Australia, but a lot of fun none the less.

I worked a total of 75 different countries (DXCC entities).  So much for people saying the bands are dead.  Contests certainly seem to bring the bands alive.

  • 10 metres – 2 different countries
  • 15 metres – 57 different countries
  • 20 metres – 57 different countries
  • 40 metres – 19 different countries

The graph below shows the number of countries worked on each band.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 10.07.44 pm.png

Countries worked:-

  1. Antarctica
  2. Argentina
  3. Australia
  4. Austria
  5. Belarus
  6. Belgium
  7. Belize
  8. Bulgaria
  9. Cambodia
  10. Canada
  11. Canary Islands
  12. Chile
  13. China
  14. Cocos-Keeling Island
  15. Colombia
  16. Costa Rica
  17. Croatia
  18. Curacao
  19. Cyprus
  20. Czech Republic
  21. Denmark
  22. Dominican Republic
  23. Ecuador
  24. England
  25. Estonia
  26. Finland
  27. France
  28. Georgia
  29. Germany
  30. Greece
  31. Hong Kong
  32. Hungary
  33. India
  34. Indonesia
  35. Ireland
  36. Italy
  37. Jamaica
  38. Japan
  39. Kazakhstan
  40. Kuwait
  41. Latvia
  42. Lithuania
  43. Luxembourg
  44. Maderia Island
  45. Mexico
  46. Moldova
  47. Mongolia
  48. Morocco
  49. Netherlands
  50. New Caledonia
  51. New Zealand
  52. Oman
  53. Palau
  54. Paraguay
  55. Philippines
  56. Poland
  57. Portugal
  58. Qatar
  59. Romania
  60. Russia (Asiatic)
  61. Russia (Europe)
  62. Serbia
  63. Singapore
  64. Slovak Republic
  65. Slovenia
  66. Spain
  67. Sri Lanka
  68. Sweden
  69. Taiwan
  70. Thailand
  71. Tonga
  72. Turkey
  73. Ukraine
  74. United Arab Emirates
  75. United States of America

I spent most of the contest scanning the bands and picking up stations who were calling CQ.  I only spent a short time calling CQ myself.  It was almost impossible on 20m as the band was so crowded and my 100 watt signal was being drowned out by some stations in Europe running a lot of power.

My first contact in the contest was with JI2ZEY in Japan on 20m.  And my last was with VE7RAC in Canada on 15m.  MY contact with VE7RAC was in the last minute of the contest and just got me over the 200,000 point mark.

Most of my contacts were made on the 15m band, followed by 20m, then 140m, and then 10m.

  • 10 metres – 55 QSOs (2 zones)
  • 15 metres – 153 QSOs (23 zones)
  • 20 metres – 113 QSOs (26 zones)
  • 40 metres – 56 QSOs (18 zones)

The graph below shows the number of QSOs on each band.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 9.39.00 pm.png

Best DX worked during the contest:-

  • RI1ANC, Antartica.
  • VK9CZ Cocos Keeling Island
  • XU7AJA Cambodia
  • PJ2T Curacao

I also picked up a fe new countries for particular bands.

Below is a map showing my contacts during the contest (courtesy of QSOMAP.org) across all 4 bands – 10, 15, 20, & 40m.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 5.58.04 pm.png

Above:- Map showing QSOs made during the contest

I made a significant number of contacts into Europe & the United Kingdom on 20m long path and 15m short path during the contest.  The 15m band was again a real surprise, with openings on both days in the late afternoon/early evening into Europe on the short path.  Signals were quite good.  Not as strong as 4-5 years ago, but still pretty good.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.01.17 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts made into Europe & the UK

I didn’t make a huge number of contacts into the United States of America, as most of the North American activity I heard was on the 40m band, where I have a very average antenna for DX.  However I did log some of the big USA guns on 40m, and worked a little bit of USA on 15m during Sunday morning.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.02.44 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts into the USA

I was also really pleased to work some South American, Central American & Caribbean stations during the contest.  Countries worked in that part of the world were:-

  • Argentina
  • Belize
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Curacao
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Paraguay
Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.03.59 pm.png

Above:- Map showing South American  Central American QSOs

The 15m band proved quite reliable for contacts into Asia during the contest.  And late on Saturday morning I made a number of contacts into Japan on the 10m band.  Mongolia (JT5DX) along with Cambodia (XU7AJA) was the most interesting DX worked from that part of the world.

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 6.03.45 pm.png

Above:- Map showing contacts into Asia.

I didn’t hear a huge amount of activity out of Africa during the contest, albeit that I did not get up into the wee hours of the night to listen for Africa on the short path.  There were three stations from Morocco with huge signals who I logged.  On Saturday afternoon I heard 5H3EE in Tanzania, but he was tied up with a big pile up from Europe.  It was a shame as he was a good 5/7 signal on the long path.  I also heard FR5DN from Reunion Island on 40m on Sunday evening, but he was not calling CQ, but moving across the band working other stations.

This is a fun contest and a real opportunity of picking up some new countries for your log.

Coorong National Park 5NP-005 and VKFF-0115

Every year in October, National Bird Week is held in Australia.  This year is the 4th year the event has been held.  The celebration of National Bird Week has its origins back in the early 1900s when 28th October was first designated by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, as the first ‘Bird Day’.  BirdLife Australia organises and promotes Bird Week with the goal of inspiring Australians to take action and get involved in bird conservation efforts.

So last Friday (27th October 2017) I headed down to the Coorong National Park 5NP-005 & VKFF-0015 to do a bit of bird watching, and of course playing radio.

net-community-header.jpg

The Coorong National Park is located about 150 km south east of Adelaide.  It was to be roughly a 200 km round trip for me (see map below).  I have activated and qualified the park previously for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.41.53 pm.png

Above:- Map showing my route for the day.  Courtesy of plotaroute.

There are a few ways for me to get to the Coorong.  Rather than travelling down the South Eastern Freeway I drove down through Woodchester and on to the wine growing region of Langhorne Creek via Wellington Road.  The Langhorne Creek region is traditionally a red wine growing district, well known for production of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

I continued on until I reached the little town of Wellington on the banks of the mighty Murray River.  It is located just upstream from where the Murray empties into Lake Alexandrina.  The town which dates back to 1840 was named after the Duke of Wellington.  It was the original crossing of the River Murray for people, livestock and foods travelling overland between Adelaide and Melbourne, until the bridge at Murray Bridge was built in 1879.  During the gold boom of 1852-1853, most of the gold escorted by the South Australian Police from the Victorian gold rushes, crossed the Murray at Wellington.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I crossed the ferry at Wellington, over the Murray, and I then travelled south along the Princes Highway and took the turn off to Narrung, travelling along the Potalloch Road, enjoying some great views of Lake Alexandrina.

DSC_8536.jpg

As I travelled along the Potalloch Road my attention was drawn to a pair of crows who were chasing a Whistling Kite.  I was fortunate to catch some nice shots of the Kite.

I passed the Point Malcolm lighthouse which is Australia’s only inland light station and the nation’s smallest lighthouse.  It operated between 1878 and 1931 to mark the narrow passage between Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.

I crossed the ferry at ‘The Narrows’ and entered the little town of Narrung.  Don’t blink, because you’re likely to miss the town.  There is not much here.

DSC_8588.jpg

The word Narrung is derived from the aboriginal word ‘Ngnara-rung’ meaning ‘place of large sheoaks’.

I then travelled south on the Narrung Road, stopping every now and again for a few photo opportunities.

DSC_8613 (1).jpg

The sand dunes of the Coorong National Park soon came into view.  The Coorong is a 130 km long stretch of saltwater lagoons protected from the Southern Ocean by the sweeping sane dunes.  Over 230 species of bird have been recorded in the park.

First up I headed to Long Point to take a few more photographs and then headed to Long Point which is about 26 km west of the town of Meningie.

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 9.31.34 pm.png

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

It was a hot 31 deg C day and extremely windy.  So windy that I could not roll out the awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  So I bathed myself in sunscreen and huddled as close to the side of the vehicle as possible.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  My power output was 40 watts.

First in the log was Nik VK3NLK/p who was in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747.  It was a great way to start the activation.  BUT my luck was to run out in a big way!  The band conditions on 40m seemed to be down significantly, with signals from Victoria being quite low compared to usual.

I logged a total of 27 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, before decided to have a listen on the 20m band.  Everything started out fine there, with my first contact being UR5MW in the Ukraine.  This was followed by Hans VK6XN in Western Australia.  Towards the end of my QSO with Hans, a huge amount of noise suddenly came up on the transceiver…..S9 plus.  This did not sound like propagation.  And upon touching the radio I received a static electric shock.  Now I was worried.

The noise was across all bands and each time I touched the casing of the radio I received a zap.  So I turned the radio off and then back on, but it powered itself off after a few seconds.

So this was a very abrupt end to my activation of the Coorong.  Not great timing, with my planned trip away to Victoria and New South Wales next weekend.

And the news gets worse.  I dropped the radio off to a friend who is a radio tech, only to be advised that the repairs will need to be carried out in Victoria.

DSC_8701.jpg

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NLK/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3PAT
  5. VK2YMU
  6. VK7JON
  7. VK3ZPF
  8. VK2HFP
  9. VK3UH
  10. VK2WWV
  11. VK3ZVX
  12. VK3GH
  13. VK3ZD
  14. VK3MRH
  15. VK7ABY
  16. VK7FRJG
  17. VK5MR
  18. VK2SK
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK4TJ
  21. VK3BU
  22. VK3CU
  23. VK7VZ/2
  24. VK7DX
  25. VK3PWG
  26. VK7DW
  27. VK3NBL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. UR5MW
  2. VK6XN

I was very dejected at the end of this activation, but did manage some good bird shots during my trip, which you can view below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

References.

Birdlife Australia, 2017, <http://birdlife.org.au/get-involved/whats-on/bird-week>, viewed 30th October 2017

Cockburn; R, 2002, ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?’

Discover Murray Mallee, 2017, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/paddleboats/river-boat-trail-point-malcolm/>, viewed 30th October 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Limestone_Coast/coorong-national-park>, viewed 30th October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellington,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th October 2017

Monarto Woodlands and the 2017 VKFF Team Championship

Today (Sunday 22nd October 2017) was the 2017 VKFF Team Championship was held.  This is the second year that the event has been held.  The VKFF Team Championship is all about promoting the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program down here in Australia.  Over a 6 hour period (0000 UTC-0600 UTC) teams of amateurs compete against each other, with the goal of obtaining the most number of contacts, whilst operating from a qualifying VKFF park.  This year I was fortunate in receiving some cash donations towards trophies and I also secured some commercial sponsorship.  I would like to personally thank SOTABEAMS in the UK, and Pages of Cobram for their sponsorship of this year’s event.

The team name for Marija and I for the day was ‘The Walky Talkies’.

More information on the VKFF Team Championship can be found at……

http://www.wwffaustralia.com/vkff-team-championship.html

Marija and I had planned to activate the Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills, but sadly the weather was not what the forecast said it was going to be when we awoke this morning.  It was drizzling with rain, and as vehicular access was not possible in Scott Creek, we decided to head east to activate the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park 5CP-276 & VKF-1763.  Vehicular access is permissable in Monarto Woodlands, which meant we could extend out the annex/awning on the Toyota Hil Lux.

The park is located about 60 km east of Adelaide, and about 30 km east of our home QTH in the Adelaide Hills.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 7.51.00 pm.png

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

The Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park is about 426 hectares in size and extends about 15 km along the South Eastern Freeway from the edge of Murray Bridge, west to near Callington.  The park was proclaimed on the 22nd September 2016.

The scrub located within the park is a mixture of plant species from across Australia.  This is due to the extensive planting in the area due to the proposed satellite city of Monarto back in the 1970’s.

The then South Australian Premier, Don Dunstan had proposed that Monarto, or ‘New Murray Town’ would become the site of a satellite city of Adelaide.  However this concept was eventually abandoned.

fff6cd83f51a9a3b685efff8178cfb9c.jpg

Above:- The rather flamboyant Don Dunstan.  Image courtesy of The Advertiser

Below is a short, very interesting video on Monarto dating back to 1975 which was produced by the South Australian Film Corporation.

The park provides important habitat for more than 60 bird species, five of which are of State Conservation significance.  During our visit we observed numerous White Winged Choughs and Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters.

We also had a few reptile friends, when the sun came out.  Fortunately no snakes!

DSC_8456.jpg

The little town of Monarto was just down the road from where we operated.  Don’t blink, you will miss Monarto.  The locality of Monarto was originally a private subdivision of section 210 of the Hundred of Monarto, from which it took its name, the hundred having been gazetted in 1847.  The township was laid out in 1908.  The name of the hundred was after an aboriginal woman, “Queen Monarto”, who lived in the area at the time of its proclamation.

Monarto is home to the 1,500-hectare (3,700-acre) Monarto Zoo, the world’s largest open range zoo.

We headed to Whites Road and accessed the park and set up in a clearing in amongst the scrub.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 7.52.22 pm.png

Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

As the weather was still very ordinary, with drizzling rain, we put up the annexe/awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  We decided to stick to 10 watts PEP, as it was just to hard to go in and out of the menu.  For any overseas readers of this post, Marija VK5FMAZ, as a Foundation operator is limited to 10 watts PEP.

Marija started off the activation, with two Park to Park contacts with Mike VK5FMWW/p and Larry VK5FLHR/p, ‘Team Onka”, who were in the Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402.  Although quite low, at both ends, the contacts were AOK due to the low noise floor experiences in the parks at both ends.  Marija racked up a total of 11 contacts, with conditions on 40m being very average.  The band conditions were well down compared to normal sadly.

I then took control of the mic and logged 4 stations, before Marija and I decided the best way to tackle the day was to work a station and then swap the mic to log the same caller.  This is what we did for the remainder of the activation.

Other Park to Park contacts we logged were with Rob VK4AAC/p and VK4FFAB/p in the Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555; Mark VK4SMA/p in Main Range National Park VKFF-0300; and Mick VK3PMG/p in the Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958.  We also spoke with Kerry VK7FKEK on Flinders Island and Ron VK3DX portable at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum in Warrnambool.

We logged around 40 stations each on 40m before giving the 80m band a go.  It was evident that close in propagation was just not working on 40, so we were hoping to get some South Australian contacts on 80.  Our first contact there was with Greg VK5GJ at Meadows, followed by John VK5BJE.  Les VK5KLV/p and Peter VK5KPR/p then gave us a shout from the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757, about 400 kms to our north.  Marija and I logged a further 3 VK5’s: Tony VK5MRT at Strathalbyn, Hans VK5YX in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, and Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  But despite the 80m band being very good all across South Australia, they were our only stations logged on the 80m band.

We moved back to 40m and as the day progressed, the band conditions improved.  There were periods of no response to our CQ calls, but we have learnt from previous activations that persistence pays off, and we kept calling and calling.

Park to Park contacts logged during this stint on 40m included:-

  • VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  • VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  • VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  • VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  • VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  • VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  • VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  • VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  • VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)

We also logged Sam VK2GPL who was on SOTA peak, Mount Tassie, VK3. VT-046.

Marija and I stuck it out until 0600 hours.  In the end we logged a total of 197 QSOs, which included 32 Park to Park (P2P) contacts.  It was certainly terrific to get that many P2P contacts in the log.

DSC_8373.jpg

THANKYOU to the other 6 teams who ventured out today. We managed to log all of the other teams:-

  • ‘The Special K’s comprising Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR
  • The VK4WIPeouts‘ comprising Mark VK4SMA and Murray VK4MWB
  • ‘Team Kookaburra’ comprising Mick VK3GGG and Tony VK3XV
  • ‘Team Onka’ comprising Mike VK5FMWW and Larry VK5FHLR
  • ‘Penguin Pirates’ comprising Hans VK6XN and Phil VK6ADF
  • ‘The 2 Robbies’ comprising Rob VK4AAC and Rob VK4FFAB.

And THANKYOU to everyone who called us today, and special thanks to those who took the time to spot us.  As this was a competitive event, we made the decision not to self spot.

Marija and I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  2. VK5FLHR/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  3. CK3PWG
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK4HNS
  6. VK7DIK
  7. VK3OHM
  8. VK3JP
  9. VK7JON/m
  10. VK7FOLK/m
  11. VK2KYO
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK4RF
  14. VK4HA
  15. VK4AAC/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  16. VK4FFAB/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  17. VK3ZZS/p
  18. VK4WIP/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  19. VK7VZ/2
  20. VK3PAT
  21. VK2PDW
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3MCO
  24. VK3FSPG
  25. VK3MPR
  26. VK7VKV/3
  27. VK7FRJG
  28. VK7FKEK
  29. VK3SQ
  30. VK3FCMC
  31. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  32. VK3FTOM
  33. VK3PF
  34. VK2JNG/m
  35. VK3BNJ
  36. VK2UH
  37. VK3KLB
  38. VK3NBL
  39. VK1LAJ
  40. VK3UH
  41. VK3VGB
  42. VK4FDJL
  43. VK3FAHS/p
  44. VK2YK
  45. VK7DW
  46. VK3TKK/m
  47. VK3ZVX
  48. VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  49. VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  50. VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  51. VK3WAC/m
  52. VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  53. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  54. VK3MRH
  55. VK2NP
  56. VK2LX
  57. VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  58. VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  59. VK7JON
  60. VK3KMH
  61. VK2FSAV
  62. VK3ARH
  63. VK3EF
  64. VK4TJ
  65. VK3NDJ
  66. VK3FLES
  67. VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  68. VK2FANT
  69. VK3PAt/p
  70. VK7FOLK
  71. VK7ABY
  72. VK7NWT
  73. VK2SLB
  74. VK2FOUZ
  75. VK3DRE
  76. VK3AUR
  77. VK3FMKE
  78. VK3YE/p
  79. VK2XXM
  80. VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)
  81. VK3PDG
  82. VK3IH
  83. VK2FKDM
  84. VK2YMU
  85. VK2GPL/3 (SOTA VK3/ VT-046)
  86. VK3RW
  87. VK7FGRA
  88. VK2SR
  89. VK3HJA/m
  90. VK3NLK
  91. VK3FMLB
  92. VK3FADM/1
  93. VK4DNA
  94. VK4PDX

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  5. VK5MRT
  6. VK5YX
  7. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3DX
  2. VK3VBI
  3. VK3PAH
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK2HHA
  9. VK4AAC/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  10. VK4FFAB/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  11. VK3ZZS/7
  12. VK4WIP/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  13. VK5FMWW/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  14. VK5FLHR/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  15. VK3FSPG
  16. VK3MPR
  17. VK3KMH
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK7VZ/2
  20. VK3PAT
  21. VK2PDW
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3MCO
  24. VK7VKV/3
  25. VK7FRJG
  26. VK7FKEK
  27. VK3SQ
  28. VK3FCMC
  29. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  30. VK3FTOM
  31. VK3PF
  32. VK2JNG/m
  33. VK3BNJ
  34. VK2UH
  35. VK3KLB
  36. VK3NBL
  37. VK1LAJ
  38. VK3UH
  39. VK3VGB
  40. VK4FDJL
  41. VK3FAHS/p
  42. VK2YK
  43. VK7DW
  44. VK3TKK/m
  45. VK3ZVX
  46. VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  47. VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  48. VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  49. VK3WAC/m
  50. VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  51. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  52. VK2NP
  53. VK2LX
  54. VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  55. VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  56. VK7JON
  57. VK2FSAV
  58. VK3ARH
  59. VK3EF
  60. VK4TJ
  61. VK3NDJ
  62. VK3FLES
  63. VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  64. VK2FANT
  65. VK7ABY
  66. VK7NWT
  67. VK2SLB
  68. VK2FOUZ
  69. VK3DRE
  70. VK3AUR
  71. VK3FMKE
  72. VK3YE/p
  73. VK2XXM
  74. VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)
  75. VK3PDG
  76. VK3IH
  77. VK2FKDM
  78. VK2YMU
  79. VK2GPL/3 (SOTA VK3/ VT-046)
  80. VK3RW
  81. VK7FGRA
  82. VK2SR
  83. VK3HJA/m
  84. VK3NLK
  85. VK3FMLB
  86. VK3FADM/1
  87. VK4DNA
  88. VK4PDX

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  5. VK5MRT
  6. VK5YX
  7. VK5FANA

References.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Home/Full_newsevents_listing/News_Events_Listing/160922-new-conservation-parks&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarto_Woodlands_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarto,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Results of 2017 CQ WPX Contest

This morning I checked the web re the results of the 2017 CQ WPX Contest which was held on 25th and 26th March 2017.  And to my surprise, there was a certificate waiting there for me.  It was a certificate for first place in Australia for the Single Op Low Power All Bands section.

The WPX Contest is based on an award offered by CQ Magazine for working all prefixes. Held on the last weekend of March (SSB) and May (CW), the contest draws thousands of entries from around the world.

I made a total of 454 QSOs over the weekend, with a score of 372,876 points.

I came first in Australia in this category, 6th in Oceania, and 845th in the World.  I was closely followed by Steve VK2NSS in 2nd place with 207,060 points.

The top scoring station in Australia, who was in the Multi-Two category was VK4KW with 10,344,536 points.  The top scorer in the world was CN3A in Morocco with a total of 8,158 QSOs and a score of 55,670,247 points.

Many thanks to CQ Magazine and the organisers of this contest.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.45.31 pm.png