VK3 Portable Show and Tell

Today was the second holding of the VK3 Portable Show and Tell, an event to encourage portable amateur radio operation. The first event was back in 2012 at Churchill National Park and was attended by five hams.

Today’s event at the Brisbane Ranges National Park saw 17 operators, wives and children attend and look over the portable stations used by others. Two interstate operators, John VK5BJE/VK5PF and John VK2AWJ attended.

I’d set up my FT450D, powered from an 8.4 Ah LiFePo4 battery running into my linked dipole. The linked dipole and my 2 m vertical dipole were both supported by my 9 metre squid pole.

I also had the latest Beta version of my Android logger app VK port-a-log installed on my Nexus tablet which attracted some new interest as well as positive comments from Marc VK3OHM who is an existing user.

Joe VK3YSP had set up his portable satellite station and was able to make contact into VK2 via the FO-29 satellite which may well be the first activation of a WWFF park via satellite.

All up it was a very worthwhile event where I got to put faces to voices and see how others are operating their portable stations.

Tony VK3VTH/VK3XV is already planning for another event next year.


Posted in Amateur Radio, Android, Antennas, FT450D, KRMNPA, SOTA, WWFF | Leave a comment

Upcoming ‘Show and Tell’ day – Sunday 17 April 2016

Amateur Radio Victoria will be sponsoring a “Show and Tell” to help prospective portable operators do just that. The Show and Tell event will commence at 10:00 am at the Boar Gully Camping Area in the Brisbane Ranges National Park and will be closely followed by a free Sausage Sizzle BBQ where everyone can have a friendly get together.

Assisting with equipment demos and discussions will be Peter VK3ZPF, Allen VK3ARH, Joe VK3YSP, Julie VK3FOWL and Tony VK3VTH.
Everyone is welcome and there will be an opportunity to activate the Brisbane Ranges National Park to get you going (or perhaps even add a new Park for you?)

If you would like more details or would like to Register (to assist catering) please contact vk3vth@amateurradio.com.au.

This is a great opportunity to learn some of the tricks or just to drop by for a Chat!

Map – https://goo.gl/maps/rySg4Jpx2fS2

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Posted in Amateur Radio, KRMNPA, Radio awards, WWFF | 2 Comments

Activation of French Island Marine National Park, VKFF-0950

Planning for this activation started back in November 2015. The French Island Marine National Park, VKFF-0950 was added to the WWFF award program in August 2015 and, along with other Marine National Parks, they can be activated within 100m of the high water mark.
French Island Marine National Park is located on the northern shores of French Island and I chose to access it by a multitude of transportation.


French Island General Store

Initially driving 50 km from home to Stony Point then taking the 20 minute ferry ride across to Tankerton Jetty. From the jetty I walked 2.4 km to the French Island General Store where I hired a bicycle.


Hired bicycle

Riding 11.4 km along rough gravel and sandy roads to the north of the island I walked the final 200 metres to the edge of the Marine National Park.



It was low tide so the water was out and I was able to set up among the mangroves. This area is a very fragile environment so care was taken, as usual, to leave the area as I found it.


French Island Marine National Park operating position

I got on air just before 11:00 am and finished 60 minutes later with 49 QSOs in the log. This is the fastest I have qualified a WWFF area with the required 44 QSOs coming in just 45 minutes. I’m not sure if the high QSO rate was because of the rarity of the activation, the enhanced propagation working so close to salt water or just good luck. The station was FT817ND, linked dipole and 9m squid pole. Logging was on VK port-a-log.

I packed up and headed toward the jetty. I stopped about halfway back, within the French Island National Park, VKFF-0622, and set up again. Here I worked 37 stations before continuing my journey home. I was able to return the bicycle at the kiosk near the jetty so saved a bit of walking.


French Island National Park activating position

A very successful day with two activations of much sought after parks.

Posted in Amateur Radio, KRMNPA, Radio awards, WWFF | 1 Comment

My first CW SOTA activations

Today, thanks to the patience of some local SOTA chasers, I was able to qualify two SOTA summits on CW.

At Mt Donna Buang – VK3/VC-002, I made four CW QSOs with VK4HA, VK2IO, VK3CAT and VK3BYD. I was operating from the comfort of a picnic table.

At Mt Little Joe – VK3/VC-027, I made seven CW QSOs with VK2AOH, VK3BYD, VK2IO, VK2YW, VK7CW, VK3AFW and VK3MEG. I was operating from a big log with the FT817 and paddle sitting beside me.


View from the lookout tower toward my operating position

Thanks to those who kindly slowed down and resent multiple times when asked and to Steve ZL2KE for his effort in teaching me Morse Code over the past 8 weeks.

I highly recommend CW Academy for those wishing to learn CW.


Posted in Amateur Radio, CW, SOTA | 1 Comment

Learning Morse code

I’ve have had my Amateur Radio licence since 1985 and had little to no interest in Morse code. When I was first licenced there were three choices available;

  • Full – Advanced Theory, Regulations and 10 wpm Morse
  • Novice – Elementary Theory, Regulations and 5 wpm Morse
  • Limited – Advanced Theory, Regulations, no Morse.

Having no interest in Morse Code I studied hard and got my Limited Licence.

Fast forward many years and I now have an interest in Morse Code. Why? It seems the propagation on HF is getting worse and lower power contacts are getting harder and harder. Those who should know always suggest CW is a better mode than SSB for weak signals, so it seems only reasonable that it’s time now to learn Morse and start using CW for SOTA and other QRP operations.

I’ve been ‘attending’ the CW Academy via Skype for the past 7 weeks and, with the help of a fantastic tutor Steve ZL2KE, I am making good progress.

I’ve purchased a Palm Single paddle and I am very pleased with the construction and operation of the paddle.

All going well I should be able to log my first CW contact soon.




Posted in Amateur Radio, SOTA | 3 Comments