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.


JMMFD 2015 Results

While not a part of the big VK5 multi/multi effort  (see  John Moyle Field day station  VK5WIA – On the air and John Moyle Memorial Field day over for another year for some details) – we had a go!

We operated from PF95tx near Morgan in SA.  We have a “shack” (well 4 walls and a roof!) on a 5Ha bush block just out of town that offers a reasonably quiet HF environment and no neighbours close enough to bother when running the generator to charge the batteries!

I did a 6hr from around 16:00 Saturday afternoon and ended with 84 Contacts across 80, 40, 20 and 15M – Yes, I did it tough using only the KX3.   And no there is not a QRP section for the JMMFD!

Yes, running QRP did put me at a disadvantage, but that is not the point!  Reality is,  that at any given moment, I can grab my QRP kit and be ready to go portable and set up with the minimum of fuss. after all, the aim of the contest is  to encourage and provide familiarisation with portable and field operation  and one would wonder why there is not a QRP portable section for this Contest.

The other side of this is that given I was only running a QRP station I still had a reasonable number of contacts.

  • 80M – 5 Contacts
  • 40M – 71 Contacts
  • 20M – 7 Contacts
  • 15M – 1 Contact

Nothing on 160M or 10M

When we woke up this morning, Ray (VK5RR) proceeded to have a go, with just under 5 hours worked and ending with 89 contacts across 80, 40, 20 and 15M – but he was using the 7100 and 100W!

  • 80M – 1 Contact
  • 40M – 66 Contacts
  • 20M – 21 Contacts
  • 15M  – 1 Contact

Anyway, we had a bit of fun – yeah, we were by no means a big gun and nowhere near a winning score – but it was good to be able to give it a go.

Given we were only using quite modest Antenna’s and most of the contacts were made using one of the 3 dipoles, it was not too bad.

Looking forward to hearing the rest of the results.

Edit – adding a couple of photos from while I was operaing


John Moyle Field Day 2015

For the JMMFD 2015 I decided that I was going to enter as a single-operator in the 6 hour portable Phone HF.

As an added challenge, I have decided to do it all with just the KX3 – so running only QRP power levels as well.  Several month’s of portable operations in Parks and SOTA has convinced me that this set-up should be sound and quite capable.

The difference here is that I have a bit of extra time to plan and set up some more than a single antenna – making it much easier to cover all available HF  Bands by simply swapping cables on the KX3.


You can get a bit of an idea of the setup from the short video.

Anyway, off to double-check the setup and get ready for the contest – will provide an update later on.

After Breakfast

A bit of an impromptu Activation today of Mt Lofty.

Work has been getting in the way of heading out portable over the last week or so but today, I grabbed an opportunity.

Well, this morning had a very nice brunch at the Crafers Gourmet Deli which was is only 4 km from the summit.  Highly recommended – grab a meal, then do a SOTA activation!  On the way out the door, grabbed the bag and checked that I had everything I needed.

First off Breakfast was awesome!


Yeah, it was worth the drive to the Cafe!

Anyway after a nice meal, it was off to Mt Lofty summit.

We set up about 100m from the car park just inside the gates on 40M  and put up a spot and gave a few calls.

It was pretty tough going – some of the worst conditions I can remember for a long time on 40M – Every single contact was a challenge.  So much that it was a releif when I made the 4th and qualified this summit (first time in 2015)

After a struggle on 40, with 10 contacts logged across VK2,3 and 7.  There were some chasers who were way down in the noise, that I could not pull out.

And a Big THANKS (NOT!) to the “helpful” person who decided that they felt the need to relay callsigns and signal reports and therefore invalidating a couple of contacts.  Whilst you think you are helping, you only guarantee that a chaser is not logged and gets no points.

I tried 30M next.  It was a lot better, the contacts were quite a bit easier – and put 4 into the log here from VK1,2 and 3.  30M is the sweet spot most of the time from VK5 into VK1 – or the 900km distance mark nearly every time I try 30, I end up with VK1 chasers in the log.  Today was no exception and the noise on 30 was quite a bit lower than on 40.


While I was calling on 30M (yeah gotta love the voice keyer on the KX3!)

Off to 20M, hoping to pick up any of the VK6 boys – but no such luck. Did manage to pull out a couple who said they could not hear me on both lower bands at all so it was worth the try.  20M added 6 more chasers to the logs from VK3,4 and a surprise – VK5 as well.  Once again, 20M conditions were not brilliant, but the noise was even less than the lower bands and it made the contacts that much easier.

Finally I jumped back to 40M and hoped that the conditions had improved, but well, lets just say that not really!  I did add a few extra contacts to the logs across VK3 and 5.

One thing for sure the WX was about perfect for a summit hovering around the 20 deg mark and nice and sunny.

Finally pulled the plug after about 90 minutes and had 26 contacts logged.  Thanks to all the chasers who persisted in tough conditions to make this an enjoyable activation.


I have recently switched over to using 4S 5000maH Lipo batteries for my portable  operations – and dropped the weight down from 2.7kg for a 9aH SLAB to 550g.  Today, I did this whole 90 minute activation using the same battery that I had for my last 2 Friday evening Twilight Activation’s.  I have not written them up, but the first was nearly 3 1/2 hours, and the 2nd was about 2/12 hours.  At the end of today, this put just over 7 hours of operations on the battery – and at the end it was still about 35% charge remaining.

I have just finished floating it up and in fact, it was only 60% down.

This is a massive improvement over the time I was getting from the SLAB’s with their inherent high internal resistance and low voltage.

Yes, 4S Lipo when fully charged is 16.8V, which is a tad hot for the KX3 – so yes, I do utilize a battery conditioner which I have posted about before.

For the $32 for the battery (hard case from hobby king) it is one of the best investments I have made for my portable kit.  Now I know that with the 2 batteries I have, I can do at least 10 hours of portable operations and not need to worry.