Category Archives: VK5 Parks Activations

Long Weekend

Easter weekend presents an opportunity for portable activation’s -well 4 opportunities as it turned out.

Although the weather was not perfect, i took the opportunity on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday to get out portable somewhere!

Friday Afternoon – Horsnell Gully CP

Horsnell Gully CP

This is a new CP for me.  I have driven past within 1-2km several times but never stopped and activated.  It was a late afternoon activation of this CP and set up not far from the entrance tied up to the fence.  set up using and EFHW as an inverted L.

We accessed the CP at the end of Coach Road (top end off Ridge Rd).  Chose this end of the park as it is further away from houses (and QRM) and also about 200M higher in elevation than down towards the bottom of this CP.  Surprisingly, even though there is HT power lines running alongside the CP and all within about 500M of where we set up there were no issues with noise at all like you can get.


As soon as I set up, I managed to work Peter VK3PF who was set up in Cape Liptrap Coastal Park MP(VKFF-745) before finding a frequency and managing to log around 20 contacts on 40M mainly with VK3 and VK5 chasers.

Now, i wish I had made better notes, but 1 contact with a VK3 was a highlight as I gave this hunter the contact to push them to Gold for the SANPCA award.

Saturday Evening – QPR Hours Contest – Mt Gawler VK5/SE-013

Qrp Hours 2015 Mt gawler

For the QRP hours contest on Saturday evening, I headed up to Mt Gawler – VK5/SE-013 and set up the 80m dipole as an inverted V

It was a bit sub-optimum with the height of the apex being only about 8M high.  The first hour I operated PSK31 and managed a handful of contacts including VK1, VK3, VK5 and VK6 using 3W.  The 2nd hour, for SSB whilst not a real high score was tough going, the noise on 80M was a bit of a battle, but did manage contacts to VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5 using only 5W.

So, remember, if you worked me during the hours contest, Please go ahead and claim your Sota contact – I have uploaded the logs to Sotadata

Sunday – Black Bullock Hill VK5/SE-016


Yes, you might see the Deep Creek CP sign, but the Summit is not in the CP!  the CP is around another 6km down the road, You can almost see the trig point in the background just over the fence on private property.

This was an opportunistic Activation and also a new summit for me.  I was down on the Peninsular and given that it was only about 40km out of my way, headed home via this “summit”.  As we were setting up, we were watching the rain coming in and threatening to drown us.

It was far quicker than I really wanted, and signals were not too great, but did manage to work several of the regulars and even manage a S2S with VK3KAB on VK3/VE-023.

A total of 22 contacts logged across VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5 – most on 40m and a couple on 20M.

this activation pushed my activator points up to a massive 30 points – so at this rate, it will only be another 34 years until I reach goatdom!

A very easy summit to activate apart from the distance!


Monday Mt Lofty – Trifecta Activation

My Lofty always was a double – with VK5/SE-005 and Cleland CP, but with the recent addition of Cleland CP to VKFF as VKFF-778 it makes the trifecta.  Any chasers here now can get credit for all 3.

Monday weather was miserable.  I was watching the weather radar and it indicated that there should be a bit of a break for a couple of hours, so we headed out.

Got to the parking area and whilst it was a bit windy and cold, it was not raining.  Within 5 minutes of setting up it got a bit horrible – just enough drizzle to get everything damp, but not quite strong enough to drive me off the summit.

Before I decided it was too cold I managed to log 26 contacts across VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5 most on 40M and a few on 20M.

I did not quite hit the 44 contacts this time, but once I do I’ll submit a log for WWFF.

No photos from here -it was too cold to push the button on the phone to get something!


Across the weekend, I used the FX-4a and an EFHW cut for 40M for 3 of the activation’s.  exception was for the QRP hours contest where I used the KX3 and an 80M dipole.

My normal fare antenna-wise is to use a dipole.  I wanted to try using the EFHW as some operators swear by them and some swear AT them!  I also use the T1 tuner to get the best possible match and so far am finding that It is very difficult to get a good match on 40M.  It does manage to match it, but I might need to take a further look at this.

I am sort of in the middle of the road with this antenna.  Yes, it is trivial to deploy, Yes, it does seem to tune up reasonably OK on all bands from 40-10M with both the KX3 internal tuner and the T1 External tuner, and yes, still manage to put 20-30 contacts into my logs for each outing I have used it.  Now once I manage to get the tuning sorted out for 40M I will simply add it to my kit and use as required.  Always good to have choices as sometimes it can be difficult to find the 3rd point to deploy a dipole, but it is usually trivial to get somewhere to tie up a squid pole and then a single end of the EFHW wire in an inverted L type of configuration.

4 activation’s, total of around 6 -7 hours and I only used about 50% of 1 of my 4S, 5000maH Lipo’s.  really loving these batteries – even in the cold they seem to be performing really well.

Now, the last thing I need to do is to put the gear together into 2 kits and have a choice of how I operate somewhat – the lightweight kit with the KX3 and the even lighter kit with the FX-4a for the longer hikes where every extra gram counts!


2nd Anniversary VK5 Parks Weekend

This weekend is the 2nd anniversary of the SANPCPA and as part of the weekend I did an activation of the Angove Conservation Park – a small park in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

Angove CP

This park is surrounded by houses and is not very large and today, when walking into the park we were greeted by 4 Kangaroo’s – something that was not really expected.  They gave a careful watch as we walked past then continued to graze.

Being a small park and not wanting to disturb the neighbouring houses, we set up right in the middle of the park and tied up the squid pole to one of the many track-marker posts throughout the park.

Angove CP -2

Got set up and on-air on 40m and had a quick listen around the bands, there were no other activators around that we could hear. Set up and posted a spot on ParksnPeaks and within a minute or 2 the first chasers of the day were calling in.

A 360 degree view from the operating spot in the Angove CP

It was a steady pace and worked around 15 stations, including some other park activators who were setting up, before we had a bit of a look around the bands before moving on.  Worked a few more activators and it was obvious that everyone was starting to get out for the day – the bands were getting a bit busier!

Today’s activation was with a brand new portable QRP rig – the FX-4A which is a quad-band HF radio (40,30,20,17M) and it does around 8W SSB.  This little rig is around 1/4 the size (and price) of the Elecraft KX3 and comes in at a total weight of around 450g – just perfect for the ultra-small, ultra-lightweight activation, making it possible to have a complete station, rig, battery, squid pole, antenna well under 2kg total!


The rig seemed to perform reasonably well, and I will be putting it thru it’s paces and writing up more about it in the coming day.

For the trip to Angove CP this morning, I had a total of 22 Contacts across VK3 and VK5  including 8 P2P contacts.

A big thanks to all who called today, and a bigger thanks for some new Unique CP’s for me as well!

The Parks worked were:

  • VK5NQP – David at Mokota CP
  • VK4FR/5 – Chris at Pelican Lagoon CP
  • VK5FTRG – Tom at Reedy Creek CP
  • VK5HDW – David at Lake Frome CP
  • VK5FANA – Adrian at Bird Island CP
  • VK5PAS – Paul at Carribie CP
  • VK5PET – Peter at Bullock Hill CP
  • VK5ZRY – Richard at Ramsey Way CP

My Contact with Adrian, VK5FANA using the FX-4A

It was such a great morning to be out and about and celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the SANPCPA.


Morgan CP

Boxing day 26th Dec 2014 Morgan CP Activation Report

Morgan CP was the 2nd ever CP that I activated way back in April or there about.

I was in Morgan, and saw that Paul (5PAS was going to be heading out, so ducked over to the CP , and set up.  I had made a few changes to my portable station and this was a good chance to try them out.

The obvious one….

Morgan CP 20141226

Yeah, what I call my SotaPost – it is a 1M long “star” post with a foot peg, handle and pole support welded on.  The foot peg, for pushing it into the ground, the handle for well, holding it and also easy removal and the pole support is pretty obvious.

The soil is quite sandy (in places where it is not solid rock) at this CP, and I needed to find a suitable location where I could raise the pole the 9M without trees – the pole was a big bonus, and even though it was only in the sand about 300-400mm it was a solid support for the squid pole and the 40M dipole, it did not look like falling over.

Now, the other additions which you can’t see (i’ll write up a separate post on later) is an updated power system.  Yes, after one too many times of lugging the 9aH SLAB’s around I grabbed a 4S 5000maH LiPo battery, necessary charger and a battery monitor.

The biggest benefits are actually that the battery weight has now reduced from 2.7kg down to 530g, which when on a long hike is a massive saving, and this alone allows me to pack my SotaPost and still come in lighter overall!

Yes, the 4S LiPo is 14.8V (nominal) and up to 16.85V fully charged, it means I can’t directly connect it to the KX3. But connected to my DC-DC conditioner (which I have mentioned in the past) it worked a real treat, and much to my surprise, this battery source looks like it is going to be very close in usable life to the 9aH SLAB.

As you can see from the photo, I chose to just set up in a shady spot to operate from.  The weather was near perfect for being out and about, with the temperature in the mid 20’s and a gentle breeze to keep the files away.

So, without posting an alert, and just posting a spot to ParksnPeaks website, I started calling on 40M and before long the chasers had found me.  It really is an indication that by Spotting when out and about you will get calls.

It was a pretty relaxed activation and the calls were fairly steady, no pile-ups, so I was able to have a bit of a chat with the chasers on this activation, rather than the usual (hectic) hello,  signal report and move on, which made for a nice change.

Literally while waiting for Paul to come on the air, I worked several VK3 and VK5 stations, including a contact with Joe (3YSP) and Julie (3FOWL) who were portable in the Warby-Ovens National Park.

Not long after that, I heard Paul also talking to Joe and Julie before he moved to another frequency, where I was able to make a P2P contact to Paul (5PAS) in Munyaroo CP (via Whyalla).

14 Contacts in around 90 minutes on a very pleasant afternoon – yeah, this is why I love going out portable.

My portable operation of 90 Minutes and a check on the LiPo at the end saw that I had only used around 15% of the charge, and given that during this activation the TX time was probably quite high, given I was able to chat a bit more with almost all chasers is an indication that this power solution is more than adequate for at least a full day’s of portable operations.  More to come as I actually use it in the coming days.

Montacute CP

This afternoon, I packed up the new KN-Q7A Transceiver, the T1 Tuner, Squid Pole, 40M dipole, and a Battery and headed out to Montacute CP.


We drove to the end of the road, and walked into the Park along a section of the Heyson Trail for about 15 minutes up to near the top of the hill.

We set up just up the trail, near the top/right where it bends around near the crest of the hill.  Within a few minutes, I was sitting on the side of the track and calling on 40M.

Now, today was a special day as I was operating my new KN-Q7A Transceiver for the first time after a false start on Saturday, where I went out and found that The tuning was a little off!

I started calling and within a few minutes had my first contact in the log – and by all accounts, from everyone who answered I was doing pretty good from the approx 12 Watts I was transmitting.  Yes, that is my tuning “cheat sheet” – as the Transceiver only has a VXO.  Before heading out, we set up an SDR and plotted the frequencies and made a note of the dial readings for each 5khz step and then the maximum and minimum.   I only have 7072 to 7102 tuning range and it will do for the next few weeks until I build the DDS kit and mod it!

My “Portable Station” – we found a nice little plastic box that fits everything needed – radio, tuner, battery, antenna, patch cables and a logbook, just the 1 box and the squid pole makes going portable very lightweight.  For the astute, you will note, no internal speaker (wasting valuable space that will be used for other mods) instead, it is a speaker/mic which is quite reasonable.

Thanks to everyone who called and a bigger thanks to a few others who came down into my tuning range to respond to my call!

This afternoon, we worked the following VK’s –  5ZAR, 3PF, 3ANL, 3FPY/5, 5WG, 5FMID, 3AMB, 5PAS/p*, 5LY, 5FGMH, 5KGP, 5BB, 5CZ, 5FGRY/p*

There were a few new calls in the log and a few now familiar ones as well!

VK5PAS was portable operating from Mt George CP, and VK5FGRY was  also portable in Morialta CP, for 2 Park to Park contacts in the logs.

Lets face it, it is not just about playing Radio that makes it worthwhile getting out into the Parks because as we were packing up, the sun was just setting and it was quite spectacular!

With a sunset and view like this, why wouldn’t you want to be out there!

We were also rewarded with lots of birds and a couple of Kangaroo’s  crossing the track on our way back down.

Yep, if you look carefully, you will see that I took one of these sunset  Images and added it to my blog as the banner image.

… and then… Since Gary (VK5FGRY) was at Morialta CP, and literally only a 15 minute drive away, we dropped in there on the way home – why only do 1 park when you can do 2!

Gary was set up using his new 10M Pole from DX-wire and it is slightly larger on the top section than a standard squid pole making the whole 10M useable – certainly a good looking pole that is worthy of adding to the portable kit.  I borrowed Gary’s dipole and worked a couple more interesting stations.

VK5NIG was portable on Summit SE-013 – Mount Gawler and then VK3NBI/p and he was working from the Cape Ottway Lighthouse – getting everything ready for the Lighthouse Weekend in August.

For anyone looking for a nice lightweight radio, from the reports I had back today, that this one should be a real contender for a lightweight rig to put in a pack and get out there, certainly a lot easier than taking the IC-706 which we used for the first few activations, and in it’s current state, very battery-friendly on receive (only 40ma).

With today’s activation(s) I have now done 5 unique CP’s and probably now also logged enough as a hunter to qualify for a bronze hunter, not bad for a month!

Look forward to logging you from another park soon.

CQ Parks

de AX5FO Calling CQ from Torrens Island Conservation Park.


Lets just step back a bit and see what it took to get here.  Last Monday, I gave Andy ‘5AKH a call and asked if could borrow his KX3 as I was planning to go over to Torrens Island CP  and Activate it on Anzac Day.  My request was countered with ” Can I borrow a kayak and I’ll bring my radio with me!”

With a final check of the weather reports and tides  saw us meet up at St Kilda boat ramp at around 08:00 (local time) where we sorted ourselves out and packed up to paddle the approx 2km over to Torrens Island Conservation Park.


We arrived a little after 9am right on low tide and dragged the Kayaks up above the expected tide level onto the beach.  We quickly assembled the station – a sand spike to hold the squid pole, up with the pole and we tied off the dipole to some mangroves.

At 23:47 UTC 24/04/2014 I made a CQ call on 7.100 and over the next 20 – 30 minutes we worked  11 stations.   We think that this was the first time this CP had been activated and when Paul, ‘5PAS came up,  we asked and he was fairly sure that it was the first as well.

Whilst I was working thru the calls, Andy was also busy, taking a few photos – you can see them on his Blog.

After the initial contacts, Andy came up and he also called CQ as AX5AKH.   Of course, given that the new day (UTC) had rolled over, he had a few repeat calls, but within the next 20 -30 minutes he logged 8 contacts in the log.

We then switched over and I made a CQ call under the Club Call of AX5ARG and we made 2 contacts.

About this time we had a visitor drop in on us – Matt, VK5ZM was out with his boys in the boat and he had gone via St Kilda and picked up Ray VK5RR and they joined us on Torrens Island.

Since he was there,  and we had both been calling, we told Matt to give it a go!  He also put out a call – and logged a further 7 stations in just 6 minutes!

With the tide showing signs of coming in, I made a final call and logged 3 more stations before we decided to pack up and head back to St Kilda.

A big thanks to everyone who answered our calls from this first activation of Torrens Island CP.  Given that the only access to the CP is via water, it takes a bit more planning and effort than the CP that you can drive right up to and I can hope that someone else will activate this CP again so I can log it as a hunter.

Much like the ANZAC’s 99 years ago, we arrived by boat and landed on the beach, but unlike all that time ago, we did not have anyone shooting at us.  Lest We Forget.

We came, we landed, we called CQ.

Apologies to anyone up front if you were calling as AX instead of VK, as we only logged the number’s and not the prefixes for most stations.  Please do let me know if you called as AX and I will adjust my logs.


Bob Operating as AX5FO:

VK5ZAR, VK5LY, VK3UBY, VK5QI (Happy Birthday Mark), VK5ZKT, VK5HCF, VK3FQSO, AX5PAS, VK3ZPF, VK5KGP, VK5ZK   Then I logged VK3HRA, VK5FTRG and AX5KX.

Andy Operating as AX5AKH


Bob Operating the Club Callsign  AX5ARG logged 2 calls

00:14UTC 25/04/2014 VK5ZEA
00:15UTC 25/04/2014 VK5LA

Finally, Matt Operating as AX5ZM

VK5HCF, VK5ZAR, VK5LI/p, AX5MTM/p, VK5DT, VK5WG and VK5FGRY who was portable from Morialta CP for a Park to Park contact.

Cannot promise to add a new park to the activated list next time, but hope to hear you from another NP or CP on 40M soon!