Custon Conservation Park 5CP-051 and VKFF-1024

Yesterday I travelled down to the south east of South Australia, near the South Australia (VK5) and Victoria (VK3) State border, and activated a total of 5 parks.  They were all new ones for me as an activator in both the VK5 Parks Award and WWFF.  In all it was around a 550 km round trip from my home.

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

My first park for the day was to be the Custon Conservation Park 5CP-051 & VKFF-1024, which is located about 297 km south east of Adelaide and about 25 km south east of the town of Bordertown.  It is located about 4 km from the State border.

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

I was unable to find any information on this park on the internet.  The Department for Environment and Water (DEWNR) website does not have any information on the park and records that there is no Park Management Plan for Custon.

The park takes its name from the little town of Custon, about 8 km from the town of Wolseley.  Custon was proclaimed on the 8th December 1881 and was named by Governor Jervois after Rev William A. Purey-Cust, the elder son of the Dean of York, who married his daughter, Lucy Caroline.   Prior to the proclamation of the town the local railway station was known as ‘University Blocks’. The Custon School opened in 1919 and closed in 1956.

The park is located at the corner of Bangham Road and Pier Point Road.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Custon Conservation Park, looking north.  Image courtesy of google maps.

Custon is quite a small park and contains Gum forest.  The vegetation is quite sparse in some parts of the park.

The park is surrounded by cleared farming land.  The next nearest park is the Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park, located about 14 km to the south.

I left home at about 6.30 a.m. and headed south east along the South Eastern Freeway and out onto the Dukes Highway (the main highway between Adelaide & Melbourne).  My first stop was in the little town of Coonalpyn, an aboriginal word meaning ‘Barren Woman’.  I called in to the Silo Cafe for a coffee and a bacon & egg sandwich.  I took the time to admire the artwork on the silos, which I have seen many times before.  The murals were completed in early 2017 by artist Guido van Helten and feature local Coonalpyn Primary School children.

After reaching the town of Bordertown, I travelled south out of the town along the Frances Road.  I stopped briefly to have a look at the historic Wiese’s Horse Dip.  It was built in 1931 by local landholders using timber from nearby bulloak trees.  Its main function was to control a parasitic itch in working Clydesdale horses.   This malady caused great discomfort to the Clydesdale horses manes and tailes, so much so that they used to rub constantly against fences and so cause damage to many fence lines.  Horses were walking into the dip, and due to the horses’ size, the operators bucketed and sponged the solution over the horses to complete the task.  The dip was used until the outbreak of World War II and the eventual decline of the Clydesdale working horse.

I soon reached the Custon Conservation Park which was well signposted in the north western corner.

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As I arrived at the park I noticed a Black Shouldered Kite sitting up in a tree.  He/she was kind enough to sit there for a while, whilst I took a few photographs.

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This Australian Shellduck was also observed in the park.

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I drove south along Bangham Road, following the western boundary of the park, and found that the fence had fallen over near the south western corner.  So I pulled off the road and set up just inside the fenceline.  There was a nice break in the scrub here as well, with plenty of room to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Custon Conservation Park, showing my operating spot in the south western corner of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

First in the log for the activation was Gerard VK2JNG on 7.144, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Deryck VK4FDJL, and then Neil VK4HNS.  Despite it being a week day, there was a steady flow of callers, and within 7 minutes I had contact number 10 in the log (John VK4TJ), thus qualifying the park for VKFF.

I logged 18 contacts before things slowed down and I headed off to the 80m band.  There were very few VK3’s and VK5’s logged on 40m and I suspected I was a little too close for both on 40m.  So I was hoping for a few Victorian and South Australian contacts on 80.  First in the log on 3.610 was Peter VK3PF, followed by David VK5PL in the Barossa Valley, and then Mick VK3GGG in western Victoria.  All had strong 5/9 signals and reciprocated with 5/9 for me.

I logged 8 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3 & VK5.  Sadly despite the band conditions being very good on that band, callers dried up quickly.  So I moved to 14.310 on the 20m band where I logged 12 stations from VK2, VK3 and VK4.

To complete the activation I moved back to 40m where I logged a further 10 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK6.  It was great to log Hans VK6XN all the way on the other side of Australia.  I also had a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Bullala National Park VKFF-0580.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK4FDJL
  4. VK4HNS
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK2NP
  9. VK4TJ
  10. VK4/AC8WN
  11. VK4/VE6XT
  12. VK7PSJ
  13. VK1XP/m
  14. VK5KLV
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK2IPK
  17. VK2JCC
  18. VK3UH
  19. VK6XN
  20. BK4RF
  21. VK4HA
  22. VK2MNR/m
  23. VK2PKT
  24. VK5ATN/p
  25. VK2JNG/p (Bullala National Park VKFF-0580)
  26. VK7JON
  27. VK2HHA
  28. VK1BUB

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK5PL
  3. VK3GGG
  4. VK3PMG
  5. VK3UH
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK3LED
  8. VK2YW

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2NP
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK4FE
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK4/AC8WN
  10. VK4/VE6XT
  11. VK4RF
  12. VK4HA

 

 

References.

State Library South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 11th July 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coonalpyn,_South_Australia>, viewed 11th July 2018

Some fun with VI70MI

Between Friday the 22nd June 2018 to Tuesday 26th June 2018, I was privileged to use the special call of VI70MI.  This was courtesy of Lee VK3GK, who is the custodian of this special call.

VI70MI is issued to commemorate 70 years of ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) for Macquarie Island, which since 1947 have served Australia in the south polar regions.

Where is Macquarie Island?  It lies in the southwest Pacific Ocean, about halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica, at 54° 30′ S, 158° 57′ E.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Macquarie Island in the sub Antarctic.  Map courtesy of google maps.

Macquarie Island, affectionately known as ‘Macca’, is regionally part of Oceania and politically a part of Tasmania, Australia, since 1900, it became a Tasmanian State Reserve in 1978 and was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997.

The island is named after the former New South Wales Governor, Lachlan Macquarie.  It is believed that Macquarie was first discovered on 11th July 1810, by Captain Frederick Hasselborough of the brig Perseverance who sighted the island during a sealing voyage out of Sydney.

The island has numerous bird species including Royal penguins, Macquarie shags, King penguins, southern rockhopper penguins and gentoo penguins.  Macquarie has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it supports about 3.5 million breeding seabirds of 13 species.

Mammals found on the island include subantarctic fur seals, Antarctic fur seals, New Zealand fur seals and southern elephant seals, of which over 80,000 individuals of this species can be found on Macquarie.

Australia’s Sir Douglas Mawson, in 1911, established Macquarie Island’s first scientific station.   In 1912, Australians established the first radio link between Australia and Antarctica by setting up a radio relay station on Wireless Hill on Macquarie Island, which could communicate with both Mawson’s main expedition group at Commonwealth Bay, and Australia.  The first ANARE expedition to Macquarie Island was in March 1948.

Interestingly, there has never been a ham radio DXpedition to Macquarie Island.  The only activities on the island are from hams stationed on Macquarie.  Currently there is only one active amateur on Macquarie Island, and that is Norbert VK0AI.

I operated from both home and out in the field using the call.  On Monday I activated the Scott Conservation Park using the call, and on Tuesday evening I activated the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.

Unfortunately work got in the way during my first days of operation.  I was on Afternoon shift, but gave the call a run in the morning and the early afternoon.  But on Monday and Tuesday I had 2 days off and had some fun on 20m and 15m with the DX.

My very first contact using the call was with John VK5BJE on 40m.

I ended up working a total of 535 stations on 2m FM and 10, 15, 20, 40, & 80m SSB.  I worked a total of 16 DXCC  entities, 23 of the 50 US States, 15 out of 40 of the ITU zones, and 11 IOTA entities.

The bar graph below shows my contacts broken down by DXCC entity.

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Most of my contacts, 264 of them, were on 40m SSB, followed by 165 on 20m SSB.  Sadly I left my run on 10m a little too late on Sunday.  By the time I got there from 20m where I was working into North America, the 10m band had almost completely closed.

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The map below shows my contacts around the globe using VI70MI.  Unfortunately no contacts into Africa or South America.

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The vast majority of my contacts were around Australia.  A total of 407 Australian stations were logged.  I worked all States/Territories from VK1-VK8.

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I had some reasonable openings on 20m short path into North America, with stations worked in the USA, Canada, and Alaska.

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On Sunday I had a small, but very enjoyable opening on 15 metres, to Japan.  Whilst beaming in that direction I also logged one station from South Korea, and another in Asiatic Russia.  I did not hear a single station on 15m before calling CQ, and then all of a sudden, following a few CQ calls, and a spot on the DX Cluster, the band came alive.

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Sadly there was very little long path propagation on 20m to Europe.  I only logged 9 European stations, from Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland.  And due to work and some other committments, I did not stay up late or get up early in the morning to take advantage of the short path to Europe.

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Here is a short video of how I sounded to Tony VK5TT.

I had a lot of fun using the call and would like to thank Lee VK3GK, and everyone who called me.  VI70MI will be on air until the end of 30th August 2018.  So if you missed me, there will be plenty of opportunities of getting this special call in your log.

A special commemorative QSL card will be available after completion of the activation via M0OXO our QSL manager.

https://www.m0oxo.com/oqrs/logsearch.php

OQRS will be available and also LOTW.

Please do not send your QSL cards via the VK buro as they are not required – Please just request your buro cards by OQRS for a fast return!

 

 

References.

Australian Government, 2018, <http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/history/stations/macquarie-island>, viewed 28th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macquarie_Island>, viewed 28th June 2018

Ferries McDonald Conservation Park 5CP-067 and VKFF-0881

Last night (Tuesday 26th June 2018) I decided at the last minute to head out to active the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park 5CP-067 & VKFF-0881 using the special call of VI70MI.  This was my last night using the call, and as I currently have no dedicated 80m antenna at home, I headed out for an evening park activation, particularly focussing on the 80m band.

The Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is about 70 km east of Adelaide and about 25 km south west (by road) from Murray Bridge.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

To get to the park I travelled east along the South Eastern Freeway until I got to the Monarto turnoff.  I then travelled along Ferries McDonald Road at a slow pace, as there were lots of kangaroos on the road.  The area is also known to be the home of the endangered Mallee Fowl and there are signs in place reminding you to drive with care with respect to the local wildlife.

The Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is quite a large park, comprising 842 hectares of dense mallee scrub.  Much of the land surrounding the current park was cleared years ago for agriculture, but a few rocky outcrops, not suitable for farming practices, preserved fragments of the original vegetation.  The park is home to a variety of rare and endangered plant species.  Resin Wattle (Acacia rhetinocarpa) is a compact, resinous spreading shrub that grows up to 2 metres in height with bright yellow flowers.  It is endemic to South Australia and is only found in a few locations across the state including three populations in Ferries McDonald CP.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park, looking south out towards the Coorong and the Southern Ocean.  Image courtesy of google maps

On 28th July 1938 the area was gazetted as a Closed Area for Birds and Animals, creating the first reserve specifically for mallee fauna. The area was named after Robert Sweet McDonald, the donor of much of the land.   In 1953 an addition to the park was made with monies from a bequest from James Ferries, thus creating the Ferries-McDonald Reserve.  The area was previously known as Chauncey’s Line Scrub.

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A number of native animals call the park home including the Red, Western Grey and Euro Kangaroos.

A focus within the park has been the protection of the Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata), a native bird species that originally inhabited much of the natural mallee environment.  Malleefowl are listed as vulnerable nationally but are critically endangered in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

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Above:- Malleefowl.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 89 native birds in the park including Galah, Variegated Fairywren, Weebill, Southern Scrub Robin, Australian Magpie, Australian Golden Whistler, Grey Shrikethrush, Spotted Nightjar, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Hornbill, White-browed Scrubwren, and White-winged Triller.

I set up in my normal operating spot, in the carpark in the south eastern corner of the park.  I braved the cold during this activation, with the temperature dropping down to 4 degree C during my time in the park.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, set at 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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

First in the log on 3.603 on 80m was John VK5NJ at Mount Gambier with a strong t/9 plus signal.  This was followed by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula who was equally as strong.  Adrian gave me a 40/9 signal report.  Conditions on the band were great, with no man made noise of course in the park, but also limited static crashes.

I logged 29 stations on 80m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7 and New Zealand.  This included a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Eusdale Nature Reserve VKFF-1929.

I then moved to 40m as Les Vk5KLV up at Port Augusta was hoping to log me and did not have a dedicated antenna for 80m.  Sadly Les was unable to hear me on 40m.  But I did log 10 stations including Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs.

I moved back to 80m before packing up.  I logged a further 13 stations, including Les VK5KLV who was able to make it with his compromise 80m antenna.  I was pleased to get Les in the log.

I was now freezing and it was time to pack up and head home to the warmth.  I had a total of 52 contacts in the log which I was very happy with.

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5NJ
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK2IO/p (Eusdale Nature Reserve VKFF-1929)
  5. VK5PL
  6. ZL1TM
  7. VK3VKT/m
  8. VK3BBB
  9. VK4SMA
  10. VK4FW
  11. VK2NP
  12. VK5YX
  13. VK5FMAZ
  14. VK3ACT
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK1DI
  17. VK2KTG
  18. VK3IRS
  19. VK3MAB
  20. VK2PMG
  21. VK3MEG
  22. VK3ARH
  23. VK3NLK
  24. ZL2OPB/VK5
  25. VK5LA
  26. VK3UH
  27. VK6GLX
  28. VK7NWT
  29. VK5GJ
  30. VK4DX
  31. VK5KLV
  32. VK2IK
  33. VK3HJ
  34. VK2FAJM
  35. VK3KG
  36. VK3SOT
  37. VK7FCIA
  38. VK3BMT
  39. VK5MR
  40. VK5UK/3
  41. VK5BC
  42. VK5TW

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4FARR
  2. VK4LOT
  3. VK5FMAZ
  4. VK4ATM
  5. VK8GM
  6. VK4RJ
  7. VK4GJW
  8. VK2MG
  9. VK4SYD
  10. VK4DX

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park/>, viewed 27th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferries_McDonald_Conservation_Park>, viewed 27th June 2018

Scott Conservation Park 5CP-206 and VKFF-0934

On Monday 25th June 2018 I headed to the Scott Conservation Park 5CP- & VKFF-0934 to activate the park using the special call sign of VI70MI.  The special call issued to Commemorate 70 years of ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) for Macquarie Island, which since 1947 have served Australia in the south polar regions.

Scott Conservation Park is about 75 km south of Adelaide and about 7 km north west of Currency Creek.

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

The Scott Conservation Park is 210 hectares in size.  The park was first proclaimed in 1969 and re-proclaimed as Scott Conservation Park on 27th April 1972.  The park is relatively flat and is situated east of the Mount Lofty Ranges.  The park consists of Blue and Pink gum woodlands

The park is a terrific piece of native scrub which is generally surrounded by cleared farming land.  The next largest piece of scrub near Scott is the Cox Scrub Conservation Park.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the location of the park on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  Image courtesy of google maps

Birds SA have recorded a total of 148 native bird species at Scott.  This includes Common Bronzewing, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Grey Shrikethrush, Cockatiel, Eastern Rosella, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater,  Restless Flycatcher, Hooded Robin, and Eastern Shriketit.

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

Unfortunately I did not plan this activation very well, and left home without the camera, and secondly with an almost flat mobile phone.  So I was only able to take 3 photos during this trip to Scott.  And I wasn’t able to self post on parksnpeaks and facebook, so I was relying upon the good will of park hunters.

I kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144 which was answered by Geoff VK3SQ, followed by Lee VK3FLJD, and then Nick VK3ANL.  Although it was a weekday I was pleased to have a good flow of callers eager to get the VI70MI callsign in their log.

I managed to log 31 contacts on 40m including two Park to Park contacts, with Bill VK4FW/p in the Sheep Island Conservation Park VKFF-1642, and Allan VK2MG/p in the Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049.  I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m section of the dipole.  I called CQ on 3.610 and thus was answered by Greg VK5GJ with a big 5/9 signal, followed by Hans who was also 5/9 plus.  I was really pleased to log a total of 9 stations on 80m from VK3, VK5 and VK7.

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Above:- My shack for the morning.  A nice setting.

I then headed to 20m and called CQ on 14.310.  First in the log was Greg VK5GJ who had followed me from 80m.  Next was regular park hunter John VK4TJ, who become contact number 44 in the log.  This was followed by Bill VK4FW/p for another Park to Park contact from the Sheep Island Conservation Park.

With 11 stations in the log on 20m, I headed back to 7.144 on 40m where I logged 10 stations.  This included Gerard VK2IO/p on  SOTA peak Mount Walker VK2/ CT-019 and Peter VK3TKK/p in the Conglomerate Gully NCR VKFF-2297.

To complete the activation I headed down to 3.610 and logged Gerard VK2IO/p on his SOTA summit, and then Peter VK3TKK/p for another Park to Park.  Last in the log was Peter VK3PF.

It had been a fun 90 minutes in the park and I had 64 contacts in the log, including five Park to Park contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK3FLJD
  3. VK3ANL
  4. VK3UH
  5. VK5LA
  6. VK4SOE/p
  7. VK4TJ
  8. VK4/AC8WN
  9. VK4/VE6XT
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK5GJ
  12. VK4FW/m
  13. VK2UH
  14. VK7RN
  15. VK2HHA
  16. VK2MOP
  17. VK5MR
  18. VK5BJE
  19. VK4NH
  20. VK4DXA
  21. ZL4TY/VK4
  22. VK3DHW/p
  23. VK3MCM
  24. VK3GGG/p
  25. VK3PMG/p
  26. VK4FW/p (Sheep Island Conservation Park VKFF-1642)
  27. VK2MG/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  28. VK4COA/p
  29. VK1AT
  30. VK2DLR
  31. VK2PKT
  32. VK1MA
  33. VK2IO/p (Mount Walker VK2/ CT-019)
  34. VK2SB
  35. VK3AHR
  36. VK3WAR
  37. VK3TKK/p (Conglomerate Gully NCR VKFF-2297)
  38. ZL1TM
  39. VK2ESG
  40. VK3GMC
  41. VK2XXM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5YX
  3. VVK5FANA
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK3GGG/p
  6. VK3PMG/p
  7. VK5VC
  8. VK7RN
  9. VK5NBQ
  10. VK2IO/p (Mount Walker VK2/ CT-019)
  11. VK3TKK/p (Conglomerate Gully NCR VKFF-2297)
  12. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK4TJ
  3. VK4/AC8WN
  4. VK4/VE6XT
  5. VK4FW/p (Sheep Island Conservation Park VKFF-1642)
  6. VK1MA
  7. VK2NP
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK3SQ

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/scott-conservation-park/>, viewed 25th June 2018

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, ‘Parks of the Fleurieu Peninsula’.

WWFF Activator 209 certificate

Today I received my latest activator certificate for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  It is issued for having activated 209 different WWFF reference areas and having made 44 QSOs’ during those activations.

Looking at WWFF Logsearch (as of 21st June 2018) I have activated a total of 236 parks, but I have fallen short of achieving the required 44 QSOs for the ‘global’ WWFF program in some of those.  So my current total is 211 parks where 44 QSOs were obtained.

Thankyou to all of the WWFF hunters and thankyou to Friedrich DL4BBH the awards manager.

WWWFF Activator 209.png