2019 VK Shires Contest

Today (Sunday 9th June 2019) and yesterday (Saturday 8th June 2019) I took part in the 2019 VK Shires Contest.  This is an official contest of the Wireless Institute of Australia and counts towards the Peter Brown Contest Champion Awards.  The objectives of this contest are for amateurs around the world to contact as many VK shires as possible in the contest period.

I activated the following parks in the following Shires:-

  1. Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159 –  Barossa Council (BA5 )
  2. Charleston Conservation Park VKFF-0777 – Adelaide Hills Council (AH5)
  3. Totness Recreation Park VKFF -1754 – Mount Barker District Council (MB5)
  4. Scott Conservation Park VKFF-0934 – Alexandrina Council (AX5)
  5. Mount Billy Conservation Park VKFF-0912 – City of Victor Harbor (VH5)
  6. Myponga Conservation Park VKFF-0921 – Yankalilla District Council (YD5)

The map below shows my day one travels on Saturday.  It was a trip north into the southern part of the Barossa Valley, and then back into the Adelaide Hills.  I was fortunate in that the weather was fine.

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Above:- Map showing my travels on day one on Saturday.  Map courtesy of Plotaroute.

And the map below shows my travels on day two on Sunday.  This was a trip down south to the Fleurieu Peninsula.  Sadly, the weather was poor, and a lot of time was spent under the bothy bag to get out of the rain.

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Above:- my travels on day two on Sunday.  Map courtesy of Plotaroute.

I used the following equipment during each activation:-

  • Yaesu FT-857d
  • 40 watts output
  • 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, 7m at the apex.

I ran VK Contest Log for the contest.

I entered into the Rover category.  A Rover station is a VK station who goes either portable or mobile for the entirety of the contest and activates more than one shire.  To be considered as a roving station you must activate a minimum of 2 shires.

All up I made a total of 310 contacts and worked a total of 258 different shiresI have a claimed score of 84,320 points.

The vast majority of those contacts were from VK, but I did work one French station on 40m, and made 13 New Zealand contacts.

  • France – 1
  • VK2 – 68
  • VK3 -97
  • VK4 – 63
  • VK5 – 30
  • VK6 – 13
  • VK7 – 25
  • New Zealand – 13
Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 7.47.59 pm.png

Above:- Graph showing my contacts during the contest.  Courtesy of meta-chart.com

The map below shows my QSOs during the contest.  As you can see, the one single European contact into France.

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Above:- Map of the world showing my contacts during the VK Shires Contest.  Courtesy of QSOMap.org

I found the bands to be in reasonably good shape, all except for 20m which yielded very little contacts.

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Above:- My VK & ZL contacts during the contest.  Courtesy of QSOMap.org

As this was a contest I was unable to self spot.  Us park & SOTA activators probably take the parksnpeaks website for granted.  Because there is no doubt, that when you are not spotted, the number of callers dramatically decreases.  I spent long periods calling CQ on the 80m band and the 20m band without many callers.  The ‘regular’ park hunters didn’t appear as there was no spot on parksnpeaks.

It is permissible though for others to spot people they work during the contest.  However, as a contest participant I cannot ‘Arranging or confirming any contacts during or after the contest by use of ANY non-amateur radio means such as telephones, Internet, instant messaging, chat rooms, VoIP, email, social media or web sites.‘  For those who did spot me, I say a BIG thankyou.

The chart below shows my activity during the contest.  I kicked off at 0600 UTC (3.30 p.m. South Australian local time on Saturday and wound up my activities at around 1212 UTC (9.42 p.m. local time).  I got back into it again on Sunday at around 0047 UTC (10.17 a.m. local time) and finished when the contest concluded at 0600 UTC on Sunday.

All bands

Above:- Graph showing my hours active during the contest.  Graph courtesy of VK Contest Log.

The vast majority of my contacts were on the ever-reliable 40m band.  I made a total of 190 contacts there, followed by 112 on 80m, and just 8 on the 20m band.

  • 80m – 112
  • 40m – 190
  • 20m – 8
Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 8.27.47 pm

Above:- Graph showing the number of contacts per band during the contest.  Courtesy of meta-chart.com

The 40m band proved reliable as always.  As there was no man-made noise in any of the parks I was able to hear a pin drop.  It was evident though that some of the home stations were suffering from noise which is an ever-increasing problem in the hobby.


Above:- Graph showing my contacts on the 40m band.  Graph courtesy of VK Contest Log.

Most of my activity on 80m was on Saturday night as the graph below shows.  But I did make some good contacts on 80m during the day as well.


Above:- Graph showing my contacts on the 80m band.  Graph courtesy of VK Contest Log.

The 20m band proved a real flop for me.  I only worked a handful of VK4 & VK6 stations on that band.


ABove:- Graph showing my contacts on the 20m band.  Graph courtesy of VK Contest Log.

I made a total of 14 Park to Park contacts during the contest.

I worked the following Park to Park from Wiljani Conservation Park:-

  • Peter VK3PF – VKFF-2488

I worked the following SOTA station from Scott Conservation Park:-

  • Andrew VK1DA/2 – VK2/ ST-039

I worked the following Park to Park from Scott Conservation Park:-

  • Rob VK4SYD – VKFF-1639 (40m)
  • Angela VK7FAMP – VKFF-2930
  • Rob VK4SYD – VKFF-1639 (20m)
  • Linda VK7QP/2 – VKFF-2009
  • Alan VK2MG/4 – VKFF-2868

I worked the following Park to Park from Mount Billy Conservation Park:-

  • Alan VK2MG/4 – VKFF-2658
  • Greg VK4VXX/2 – VKFF-0204
  • Mark VK4SMA – VKFF-2873 (40m)
  • Mark VK4SMA – VKFF-2873 (20m)
  • Peter VK3TKK – VKFF-2096

I worked the following Park to Park from Mount Billy Conservation Park:-

  • Alan VK2MG/4 – VKFF-2876
  • Peter VK3TKK – VKFF-2241
  • Greg VK4VXX/2 – VKFF-0204

Many thanks to everyone who called me, and thanks to those who spotted me.

Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2896

Today (Monday 3rd June 2019) was my first of 2 days off after working 7 straight shifts at work.  Sadly the weather was less than ideal, with shower activity all morning and a very chilly temperature of around 10 deg C.  I had an itchy PTT finger and was keen to get out to do an activation.  I waited until after lunch when the weather cleared a little, and packed the 4WD and headed down to the Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2896 on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I travelled to the town Meadows and then through Mount Compass, and headed south on the Victor Harbor Road.  Upon reaching Victor Harbor, I stopped briefly to admire the view from Range Road.

I headed west out of Victor Harbor on the Range Road and soon reached the area of Parawa.  This is beautiful countryside, and there are some great views to be enjoyed from Range Road of the surrounding countryside.

After about an hour and twenty minutes on the road, I reached the Reserve.  It was well signposted.

Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve forms part of the Second Valley Forest Reserve.  Nearby Native Forest Reserves are Kalamunda and Springs Road.  Together they comprise 250 hectares of native vegetation.

Congeratinga is located on the northern side of Range Road, with a small section also located on the southern side of Range Road.  The reserve is about 77.3 hectares in size.  Commercial pine plantations are located to the west of the reserve, with cleared farming land located on the other boundaries of the reserve.  The Congeratinga River flows through the reserve.

Native mammals found in the reserve include the Western Grey Kangaroo, Short-beaked Echidna, Yellow-footed Antechinus, Bush Rat, and the Southern-brown Bandicoot.  It is believed that the endangered Southern Emu-wren is located in the reserve.

I found a small 4WD track which ran adjacent to Range Road.  I drove down the boggy track which followed the southern boundary of the reserve.  There was plenty of room here to stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and 40 watts output for this activation.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I was set up and ready to go by about 2.30 p.m. local time.  I found Rob VK4HAT/p on 7.144 calling CQ from Kurwongbah Park Nature Refuge VKFF-2868.  After logging Rob Park to Park I moved up the band to 7.150 an asked if the frequency was in use.  Dennis VK2HHA came back to let me know the frequency was clear.  I logged Dennis, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Ron VK3AHR.

It was a weekday, but I was very pleased to have a steady flow of callers.  Contact number 10, qualifying the park for me for VKFF, was with Tom VK3ATO.  I logged a total of 35 stations on 40m before callers slowed down.  So it was down with the squid pole, and I inserted the links for the 80m band.

Unfortunately, I had no mobile phone coverage.  But thanks to some very kind hams I was spotted on parksnpeaks.  I logged a total of 6 stations on 80m.  Two of those were from VK5, and four from VK3.

I then moved to the 20m band where I logged a total of 8 stations from VK3, VK4, and VK6.  To conclude the activation I moved back to 40m where I logged a further 5 stations, before packing up and heading home.

I had qualified the park, with a total of 54 contacts in the log.


Above:- My operating spot for the afternoon.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4HAT/p (Kurwongbah Park Nature Refuge VKFF-2868)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3AHR
  5. VK4FDJL
  6. VK2NP
  7. VK3MIJ
  8. VK2YW
  9. VK7JON
  10. VK3ATO
  11. VK7FOLK
  12. VK2LEE
  13. ZL1TM
  14. VK2MG
  15. VK3FPSR
  16. VK5LG
  17. VK4TJ
  18. VK4/AC8WN
  19. VK4/VE6XT
  20. VK3UH
  21. VK2DWP/m
  22. VK2IO/m
  23. VK4VXX/2
  24. VK2UPR/p
  25. VK3FT
  26. VK4PDX
  27. VK4RF
  28. VK4HA
  29. VK3MKE
  30. VK2BHO
  31. VK4SMA
  32. VK7KT
  33. VK2DXM/m
  34. VK2ARL
  35. VK3MCK
  36. VK2UH
  37. VK3FKL
  38. VK2VW
  39. VK2MOP
  40. VK7QP/2

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK5WU
  3. VK3NBL
  4. VK3RW
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK5AYL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4LMB
  2. VK4HAT
  3. KH7AVC/VK4
  4. VK4SMA
  5. VK4PHD
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK6QS

I headed north along Hay Flat Road, stopping briefly to have a look at Ingala Falls.  It is just a short 250-metre walk from the carpark to the falls.


Above:- Ingala Falls.

I headed back home through Yankalilla, Myponga, and Meadows.  It was slow going home as it was starting to get dark and the kangaroos were out in force.





Forestry SA, 2016, ‘Kalamunda, Springs Road & Congeratinga Native Forest Reserves Management Plan’

SOTA summits activated

On the webpage for the German Mountain Activity Group, you can click on GMA Map View.  There are a number of different options that you can view on the map.

Below are my activations for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  I have activated a total of 82 unique summits around the world.

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Above:- World map showing my SOTA activations in Europe, the Australian mainland, and on Norfolk Island.  Image courtesy of cqgma.org

I have activated SOTA summits in VK1, VK2, VK3, & VK5.

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Above:- My SOTA activations in VK.  Image courtesy of cqgma.org

The majority of my activations have been in my home State of South Australia (VK5).

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Above:- Map of South Australia showing my SOTA activations.  Image courtesy of cqgma.org

I have also activated a number of SOTA summits in Victoria (VK3), New South Wales (VK2) and in the Australian Capital Territory (VK1).

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Above:- My interstate SOTA activations.  Image courtesy of cqgma.org

During my 2014 visit to Europe, I was fortunate to activate two SOTA summits.  One in Belgium, and one in Germany.

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Above:- Map showing my two SOTA activations in Europe.  Image courtesy of cqgma.org


China Radio International

Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from China Radio International (CRI) in Beijing, in response to two SWL reports I sent to CRI in January 2019.

Chind Radio International

It included 2 QSL cards from the English service of CRI.

Also included in the envelope were three decorative paper cuts.

China Radio International papercuts


Springs Road Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2895

Today (Monday 20th May 2019) is my first of two days off, after working seven straight at work.  Despite the weather forecast not being great, I decided to head down to the Fleurieu Peninsula to activate the Springs Road Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2895.  This is one of the newly added parks to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and this would be a first-time activation of the park.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Springs Road Native Forest Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I left home at around 11.30 a.m. local time.  This was about a 90 km drive for me down through the southern Adelaide Hills and onto the Fleurieu.  My first stop was at the town of Myponga where I grabbed a bite to eat.  It is believed the name Myponga comes from the aboriginal word ‘maitpangga’ meaning ‘place of animal food’.  There are however other versions of how the town was named.

After picking up a pie and a drink at one of the local bakeries, I stopped a short distance down the road at the Myponga Reservoir which provides about 5% of the city of Adelaide’s water supply.  The area where I stopped is known as Lovely Valley.  There is a small information board here showing Lovely Valley before it was flooded by the waters of the Myponga Reservoir.  The valley was named by Governor Hindmarsh on his way through the district in 1838.

I continued along Main South Road, with the next town reached being Yankalilla.  I worked here back in the mid to late 1980s.  There are a number of opinions on how Yankalilla obtained its name.  It is suggested that it takes its name from the aboriginal word ‘jankalan’ meaning ‘falling’.  This is from an incident in the myth of Tjibrke, whose sister’s mummified body began to fall into pieces here, as he was carrying it from Brighton to Cape Jervis for burial.

I then took Inman Valley Road, stopping briefly at the Torrens Vale lookout.  This is well worth a stop.  The view here extends from Mount Hayfield in the west where the legendary aboriginal figure ‘Tjilbruke’ rose from the ground to Mount Robinson in the southeast.  The area in between these two landmarks is known as Torrens Vale, formerly called Dairy Flat.

Torrens Vale was an important early settlement from the 1850s.  In its heyday, there were six churches, four cemeteries, a butter factory, post office, blacksmiths shop, store, and a school.   Lieutenant William George Field R.N. first mate of Colonel William Light’s ship the ‘Rapid’, built is homestead ‘Hillside’ near the foot of Mount Hayfield.

From Torrens Vale Road, I took Parawa Road, stopping briefly at the Parawa information board near the Range Road junction.  Prior to the 1930s, the Parawa area remained almost unsettled, except a few hardy folks who grazed sheep.  During the late 1930s and through the 1940s, contractors using heavy machinery and rollers cleared large areas of land for farming.  Today Parawa is of South Australia’s most productive high rainfall regions, supporting Prime Lamb production, dairying and beef cattle grazing.


Above:- Parawa information board

I travelled west along Range Road and then turned right into Springs Road.  I soon reached the park which was well signposted.


The Springs Road Native Forest Reserve is about 89.6 hectares in size and forms part of the Second Valley Forest Reserve on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.  The park is surrounded by cleared farming land and pine forest.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the park looking north back towards the towns of Normanville & Yankalilla.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The park protects native scrub on the Fleurieu Peninsula which has suffered in the past by activities such as grazing and timber felling.  Less than 15% of the original native scrub remains.

Native animals that call the park home include the Western Grey kangaroo, Short-beaked Echidna, and the nationally endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot.

I set up in the southeastern corner of the park off Springs Road, a short distance from Mount Hayfield Road.  There was an area here where I could pull off the road and park at the locked gate.  I walked about 30 metres in along a fire track and set up, running the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and my 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the park showing my operating spot in the southeastern corner.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

After setting up I headed to 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use.  Peter VK3PF came back to my call to advise that the frequency was clear.  After logging Peter I was called by Mark VK4SMA, then Geoff VK3SQ and John VK4TJ.  It took me just 6 minutes to qualify the park for the VKFF program, with contact number ten being with Ray VK4NH.

Despite it being a weekday, it was pleasing to see a steady flow of callers.  I logged a total of 24 stations on 40m before callers dried up.  I had not logged any local South Australian stations on 40m and it appeared there was no close in propagation on that band.  So I headed down to 80m and called CQ on 3.610.  First in the log was David VK5PL with a strong 5/9 plus signal.  David had posted on Facebook that he was unable to hear me on 40m so it was good to be able to get David in the log on 80m.

Unfortunately, I only logged 3 stations on 80m, all VK5’s, despite the band being in very good shape.  I then headed off to the 20m band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and logged Mark VK4SMA, followed by Kevin VK6AB/p.  To my surprise, my tenth contact on 20m was with Karl VE6KDX in Albert Canada.  This was followed by Bobby AJ4EN in South Carolina in the USA.  I also logged Paul ZL2CQ and Ken ZL4KD in New Zealand.

With 15 stations in the log on 20m and small drops of rain, it was time to head back to the 40m band to pick up 2 more contacts for my 44 QSOs required to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.

I called CQ on 7.144.  Joseph VK5WU came back to my call, followed by Brett VK2VW, and then Peter VK3KAI/VK3GV.  The rain was starting to get heavier.  I put out a last quick call and logged Ken VK3UH and then Alan VK2MG.  Sadly I had to go QRT, as the rain was really starting to come down heavy now.  I’m sorry to anyone else who was there waiting to work me.  I will return to the park.

I had qualified the park, got wet in the process, and it was time to head home, having qualified the park with 48 contacts in a little over one hour.

Thank you to everyone who called and a big THANKYOU to those who took the time to spot me.  Sadly it continues to be the same people over and over again who spot on parksnpeaks.  Many use it to their advantage, but never spot, which is rather disappointing.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK4SMA
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK4FDJL
  8. VK7JON
  9. VK3TKK/m
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK4FARR
  14. VK2NP
  15. VK2KNV/m
  16. VK4HNS
  17. VK3PNG
  18. VK2IO
  19. VK3DEK
  20. VK2WQ
  21. VK3ZZS
  22. VK3AHR
  23. VK3PAT
  24. VK3MCK
  25. VK5WU
  26. VK2VW
  27. VK3KAI
  28. VK3GV
  29. VK3UH
  30. VK2MG

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK5WU
  3. VK5KGP

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA
  2. VK6AB/p
  3. VK6ALF
  4. VK3MCK
  5. VK2NP
  6. VK4TJ
  7. VK4/AC8WN
  8. VK4/VE6XT
  9. ZL2CQ
  10. VE6KDX
  11. AJ4EN
  12. ZL4KD
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK2MG
  15. VK4PDX



Forestry SA, 2016, ‘Kalamunda, Springs Road, & Congeratinga Native Forest Reserves Management Plan’

State Library of South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 20th May 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myponga_Reservoir>, viewed 20th May 2019