Category Archives: VKFF

VKFF-1683 Anstey Hill Recreation Park

Managed to find a bit of time and got out to activate one of the new parks as a first activator this afternoon.

With good early spring WX I packed up and headed out.  After having a lot of reports of the bands being well and truly on the decline, I packed the amp as well.

We headed around to the park and set up near the top of the range off Range Rd,  While it offers elevation, it also has a very nice 415Kv transmission lines running right across the top of the park and I was hoping it would not be too noisy.

Planned on a PSK and SSB activation and set up initially on 20m.  Had a few issues but finally managed to get everything working and started calling CQ on PSK31 on 20m,   at around 06:45UTC

The Shack for the activation

No luck at all – called for about 15-20 minutes and not a single response, so dropped that and went to SSB.  Knowing things were probably not too good, I had the HR-50 amp on and was running around 40w

Posted a spot and called and first call was replied by F1BLL. over the next 20 minutes worked VK4, ON4 and VK6 before moving down to 40m

It was a fairly constant response on 40m and worked callers from VK1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7!

In the mix today, there were a couple – well 3 P2P contacts – the first with Phil, VK6ADF operating from VKFF-1446 on 20m then the next was with Gerard VK2IO from VKFF-0048 on 40m and then just as I called for final contacts, Phil, VK6ADF again from VKFF-1446 this time on 40m.

By the time we finished chatting with Phil, the sun was down and the light was rapidly dropping, it was a mad dash to pack up and walk back to the car in the last light.

Last light while Working Phil, VK5ADF
Last light while Working Phil, VK5ADF

At the end of the day, there were 48 contacts in the logs making the very first activation of this park a big success.  Those HT lines – well, not such an issue – sure, there was a little bit of noise, but hardly anything to cause issues.

This activation was the first time I used the VK-Port-a-Log for all logging.  Wow, what a difference it makes vs paper logging – much easier, especially considering that when I got home it was trivial to send off the logs to Paul for upload to WWFF and also import into my other logging program for upload to E-QSL, Clublog LOTW etc.

Seriously, if you have not tried it- give it a go on your next activation!

It was a great day to be out playing radio in a park!

VKFF Weekend Nov 2015

For the VKFF Activation weekend, we found the time to get out to one of the new SA parks that had recently been added to the VKFF list.  On the Saturday afternoon, we were able to get out to the Ramco Point CP – VKFF-0930

This is a little gem of a park that at first it is unclear on it’s boundaries,  but with a little bit of searching, we were able to find it.  The frustrating bit is this park is not listed on Google Maps but it is listed on the Protected Planet Maps.

Now, this has not always been Ramco Point CP – as is evidence from the old signs on the borders to the park.

Ramco Forest Reserve
Ramco Forest Reserve

The park extends from between the Ramco Lagoon, up the cliff face to a small area adjacent to the Cadell Valley Road, where we entered the park.

We found a suitable spot not far from the top of the cliffs on an un-used track and set up.  It was not the highest point in the park, but down the slope a bit which did offer a bit of extra protection should the wind have come up.

Ramco Pt CP
Ramco Pt CP

We picked a spot where there was a tree to tie up the squid pole and offer a bit of shade for the afternoon.

The Shack for the day
The Shack for the day
Setting up
Setting up
Map courtesy of protected planet
Map courtesy of protected planet

The red dot on the map was our operating position on the cliff top.

We arrived mid-afternoon as the hope was to work EU if 20M was open. We were a bit early so started out on 15M.

Once we were set up we called  first on 15M and worked Rick VK4RF for the very first contact from Ramco Point CP as a VKFF park.

We made a handful of contacts before heading to 40M where we made quite a few more before trying 20M.  Well, 20M did not really open up and we only had a single, very difficult DX contact on 20 with DK4RM, so we headed back to 40M and kept working the stations in an attempt to get the 44 and make it a valid WWFF activation.

A highlight was to work Peter, VK3YE who was flying a kite on Chelsea beach to support a wire antenna on 40M,

As the day went on 40M also improved and eventually, we had logged 44 contacts!  We did work a few more as there were a couple of duplicates in the logs – with contacts on different bands and also a couple of others who had moved to different parks.

The Results

We ended the day with 53 stations logged, 4 on 15M, 6 on 20M and 43 on 40M and in the mix we worked 11 VKFF Park to Park contacts.  With just 2 repeats (different bands), 1 duplicate, and another contact that was with VK3ZPF from 2 different parks, we well and truly passed the 44 with a total of 48 unique contacts for the day.

Of course, Ramco Point CP also qualifies for the SANPCA as well, and this was a new one for me as an activator.

This was also a good day, as before we went out to the park I logged a further 7 VKFF parks as a chaser – and that is well over 1/2 of the activators who were out on Saturday who I logged.

Just before packing up, I walked to the cliff-top to take in the spectacular views offered here.

Murray River - Downstream
Murray River – Downstream

The view downstream – right in the foreground down the cliff you can see the backwater where the Ramco Lagoon flows into the Murray River.

If you look at the map, from our operating position, this is the view towards to top of the map

Murray River - Upstream
Murray River – Upstream

Looking upstream, again with the Ramco Lagoon in the foreground and a bit more to the right, then the Murray River  all the way back to Waikerie. This is the view from the red dot towards the bottom right on the map.

We were blessed with a very pleasant operating spot, a few steps away from spectacular view up and down the Murray River and a really nice day with temperatures in the mid 20’s  – It simply doesn’t get much better than this!

Leeches and Ticks

On a recent trip to VK4 I wanted to get in a couple of summits, so a quick look before going, and tried to work in a couple with where I would be and I ended up getting up to 2 Summits – VK4/SE-117 and then VK4/SW-001  As an added bonus, VK4/SW-001 is also in the middle of the Bunya Mountans National park – and VKFF-0067

Friday 23rd October – Tenision Woods Mountain

First off VK4SE-117 – Tenision Woods Mountain   a 6-pointer, looked to be easy from the Maps – with the summit a few hundred metres off the Mt Glorious road, about 2km West of Mt Glorious –  which itself is to the North-West of Brisbane.

As it turned out, it was an easy to access summit – with just enough room on the Mt Glorious Rd for 1 car to pull over on the track to the summit.  An un-expected surprise, was that the path to the summit was fenced with a National Parks’ sign on the gate!  So, I suspected, that this was also a VKFF location as well.

Now I am home, I have searched out the details and sure enough, Tenision Woods Mountain is within the D’Aguilar National Park, and is VKFF-0129.

Ok, onto the Activation. First off the Locality photos- 20151023_135450

The Sign at the side of the road at the track up to the summit.

The plaque located right at the summit.


The “shack”  Sitting on a log on the side of the walking trail just back from the comms tower at the summit.

As I was flyig to VK4 I was not able to pack my squid pole and had to rely on just throwing a rope over a convenient tree branch to pull up the Dipole.  I managed to get it about 5m high in the center in the rainforest.

Now, the first part of the blog post will become obvious – The Leeches -Yep, there rainforest here was home to leeches and the little blood-suckers jumped on everyone but me! So, take my advice – carry the insect repellent and apply liberally before venturing onto this summit!

Now, this was probably a bad time to be actually activating the summit it was Friday 23rd Oct in the mid afternoon – just after 04:00 UTC when we made it to the summit on the drive thru and were set up.   Knowing that I only had a short time, I only planned to activate on 15M and then 40M (both just using the 40M dipole).

I was able to post an alert and then post a spot as I set up and it wasn’t long before I was rewarded with my first contact.  Logging just 2 contacts on 15M and then jumped down to 40M where we were rewarded with a further 9 contacts (with 7 uniques).  As I had just 9 unique calls in the logs I decided to give 20M a quick go – to try and get the 10 required for VKFF – and   making it a valid VKFF activation as well, so I decided to give 20M a quick try.  I was rewarded with my efforts with a further 4 contacts – and 2 more uniques to give me 11 unique contacts for the dual activation.

With contacts to VK4, VK2, VK3 and a single DX contact to RA3PCI it was successful for my first VK4 Activation.

We packed up, did a double-check for leeches and headed off to our destination.

Saturday/Sunday  24/25th October – Mt Kiangarow / Bunya Mountains

I had planned to spend a couple of hours on the Sunday Morning and activate the 10-pointer VK4/SW-001 across the UTC roll-over on the Sunday Morning.  I had already determined that this would be a dual activation being within the Bunya Mountains National Park VKFF-0067.

With the Guys meeting in Wagga Wagga and the expected activity of several summits being activated in the Riverina Area of NSW, I was hopeful of at least a couple of S2S contacts.

Like Tenision Woods Mountain this summit was one that was
reasonably accessable with a rad thru the National Park, and a short  1.3km walk along a well-maintained track to the Summit lookout.


The Sign showing the walking trail around and up to the summit.


The entrance to the track to the summit.

After an easy 15 minute walk up the track you could se thru the rainforest a comms tower on the summit, and about a 100m further on we came to the end of the track, with spectacular views out to the north and a convenient seat!


Sitting on the seat on the Summit.

As it was only 15 minutes util roll-over, I wasted no time in getting the Dipole strung up.  Unlike on Friday, there were not many tall tree’s here and I really wished I had a squid pole, but made do with what I had – and the dipole was strung up about 3m from the ground!

I decided to work 40M before roll-over to maximize the chance of a as many contacts as possible -and managed to get 5, including 2 operators on VK2/RI-031.

Post roll-over, I stayed on 40M and continued to work contacts and again worked the 2 Activators on VK2/RI-025 for some more S2S action.

I worked 10 contacts on 40M before moving onto 15M and worked a further 4 chasers before jumping onto 20M, working another 8 chasers including a S2S contact to VK2/RI-026.

On a whim, I jumped onto 10M and worked my only DX for the day and also my only contester (CQWW) W5PR in Texas. and again a repeat chaser as well.

I took a look over my logs and decided o jump back to 40M after looking at the spots in an attempt to work a couple more S2S contacts.  I tried and tried but had an incomplete – the other station could not hear me and was about to give up and finally completed a contact with my 4th S2S for the day to VK1/AC-009.

I was well please with this contact as It gave me something new that I had never done before when activating any summit – that last contact put into my Log  VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7 and VK8 from the same summit (across 4 bands) -and all using just 10W with the KX3 and a dipole that was no more than 3M high!


Another shot of the shack for the day – with the stunning views!  That black thing in the top right is the winder at the end of my dipole about 2M high!

Yes, I do have more photos but have not pulled them off the camera yet – I’ll get to them soon!

It was nearly 2 hours, and  S2S with 4 unique summits, working All VK call areas except VK0 and VK9, some (well a single) DX and a total of 26 contacts (22 uniques) it was a great day to be out Portable.

Again, I had enough chasers to make this a successful VKFF activation.  I’ll get the logs up in the near future!

A big thanks to all the chasers who made the 2 activations I did in VK4 a success.  Yes, conditions were a bit tough and I know that there were a few that I just could’t hear, but next time!

I almost forgot – the Ticks – Well, yep, when we got home, I discovered that I was the unlucky one this time and picked up a couple of ticks!  1 uner the arm and another one on the other arm – so yeah, should have sprayed on the Aerogard!

2 new summits,  1 New association and I can’t remember who, but I even managed to give out a complete on VK4/SW-001 to someone else who had activated it on a recent trip to VK4.

I just wished that I had more time and had a chance to see more of the summits in VK4 – but there is always next time and a lot of summits to chose from!

VI5MCP so far

With Winter hitting us here in VK5 and cold, wet and windy conditions it has made for some very short expeditions out to activate VI5MCP.

On Saturday afternoon (11th July), we got out and set up on 20M and logged 7 stations before it closed out – the very first contact was a DX station S58AL from Slovenia. Also on 20M we logged Germany, Azores, Indonesia as well as a few VK stations. We switched over to 40M and worked a further 12 stations from VK1,2,3,4 and 5. As it was now dark, and very cold (around 3deg) it was time to pack up and get warm!  We were using a vertical on 20m and an inverted V on 40M with the KX3 running 10W.

Sunday Morning saw very similar wx – cold and windy with a threat of rain. as we arrived there was a very light drizzle, and as soon as it stopped we set up. Again it was quite cold and windy and we also did get a few spots of rain. It was fairly slow going, and worked 19 stations across VK3 and VK5 on 40M before going to 15M, where we worked our only dx station of the day KA1R. We tried other bands – 30M and 20M each without any takers. We were joined by Andy Vk5AKH and he added a further contact to the logs on 40M for a tally of 21. As it was slow and starting to rain, we called it a day.  For this activation, we were just using an Inverted V dipole on each band and the KX3 at 10W.

This morning, Ben, VK5BB braved the elements and set up the station. He worked 13 contacts on 40M before the rain came in. I managed to work him from the Office on 2m Simplex when the rain stopped and he was packing up the HF antenna and he also made a 2nd contact on 2m to give him a tally of 15.

So, as of right now, this gives us 55 contacts and 6 countries in the logs. not too bad considering that it is the middle of winter!

The next activity will be on Saturday where we will be running a 100W 20m station with a 2 ele beam looking for EU.

Clublog of the last 50 contacts.

Brookfield CP VKFF-822

Today on fairly short notice We had to head out to the Riverland.  As I have driven past Brookfield CP several times but never stopped to activate it, I  made the decision to stop for a couple of hours and Activate a new one for me.

We drove into the CP and followed the tracks around to the Picnic area and found a suitable place to set up.

We were running a bit later than I wanted to be there, and arrived and got on the air just after 06:30UTC – I was hoping to be there around 05:30 to work LP EU.

I have been working on  some New Antenna’s – yes plural – for 20M and thought that this was the perfect opportunity to try them out.

So, I set up, had a listen and the bands were quite busy, found a clear frequency, sent a spot and was pretty busy for the next hour!  It was so hectic that it was about 45 minutes before I had time to pause for a photo of the set-up today!

Brookfield CP 20150509

The Antenna system that I used today is a pair of phased  1/4 wave verticals with elevated ground plane.    Using 2x 7M squid poles,  the feedpoint is at the 2M high mark, and the 4 ground radials on each antenna slope back and are tied off to convenient places at ground level.  Each Antenna is spaced at 1/4 wavelength apart and theoretically I should have about 3.5db gain and around 10db F/B and a nice low take-off angle of somewhere around 17 deg.

Given the requirement for precise  spacing, I used a convenient sign next to the track to mount 1 Antenna to then measured out the required distance and direction and used a post I carry with me to support the 2nd pole.

Each Antenna has a 1/4 wavelength of 50 Ohm Coax attached o them, and for the phasing line, I used a 1/4 Wave length of 75 Ohm Coax, then a “T” to the Feedline (or in this case, directly to the KX3)

Now, My ASCII Art of the feed arrangements

1 represents each Vertical Antenna, physically spaced 5M apart (1/4 wavelength).  The ___50____ is 1/4 Wavelength (electrical) of 50 Ohm feedline, smilar is the __75___ for the electrical 1/4 wavelength 75 Ohm coax phasing line,  The “T” is the Feedpoint, where I can run a 50 Ohm Coax to the operating position or simply plug in directly to the Transceiver.

1_____50_____ – _____75_____ T _____50_____ 1

<<< Direction of Antenna Pattern

When Tuning the Antenna’s, Individually they tuned up very well – with a 1.3:1 VSWR across the whole band.  I took my time making sure that they were both exactly the same before connecting them together.  Once joined together, the Antenna Array came in at 1.4:1 across the 20M band, and of curse tuned no problem at all with the KX3.

I realize that given the need for 2 poles and to actually get them into the ground at the right places that I may not be able to use this antenna set-up on every activation, but yeah, when I can, I’ll give it a go.

Up until now I have only been using a dipole as an Inverted V on 20M at about 8M high when I go portable – and while it has been OK, the signals today were really good!  Yes, It might have been conditions, but I think that the much lower radiation angle might have played an important part of the success.

It was hardly any more trouble to get on the air than a single dipole,  it was all up in under 10 minutes.

Back to the Activation!  From 06:41UTC until 07:28UTC I logged 35 contacts on 20M with only 2 of them from VK!  They were mostly EU and just 1 from the US.  According to my logs, Today was a brilliant success as I added 5 new Countries to my logs for portable operations as well – so pretty pleased.

As we needed to exit Brookfield CP by sun-down, and 20M was slowing down, I quickly rolled out the EFHW for 40M and threw it up about 3M high between a couple of trees and posted a spot, and in the next 20 minutes or so worked the 9 required stations to log 44 contacts.  Knowing that a lot of regular hunters are in Canberra for the WIA Event this weekend, I was glad to be able to rustle up the last few needed contacts!

All things considered, with short notice, using a brand new antenna set-up, being about 90 minutes late, this was a great activation and I was really happy with how this antenna array performed.  Now, I just need to do it all again to prove it was not just good conditions today!

Brookfiled CP Sign 20150509

It was nearly dark when leaving the park and I grabbed a quick photo of the Sign (that is in need of repair) as we left the park.