As much as I am a fan of Summits On The Air (SOTA), activating a summit requires a level of portability that I am yet to obtain as well as a level of fitness that I am yet to obtain too, which is why I got pretty excited when I discovered the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) Program.
Recently there have been a number of additions made to the Database for VK7, which originally was national parks only. The inclusion of a number of new conservation reserves meant that I was able to activate Peter Murrell Reserve which was only 30 minutes away as opposed to a significant 2 hour drive to the nearest national park. It also helped that the carpark fell just within the VKFF boundary.
Being such a glorious day weather wise I made the spur of the moment decision to activate the park.
Travelling to the park was pretty straight forward and I went with my usual mobile equipment. Upon arrival and assessing wind conditions I decided to go to 9m on the mobile mast and use the recently repaired multi-band wire antenna. Having recently acquired a wattmeter off eBay I could now monitor the car battery to ensure that after a day of operation I could drive home!
Operations started around 2.20pm AEDT and I steadily made contacts on 40m. Propagation conditions were pretty ordinary for the first couple of hours of operation. Propagation was made worse shortly after when this happened after adjusting the connector…
At this point I thought my day was over. However not one to give up I played the gambler’s “What If?” card and after cleaning up the end a bit, stuffed the coax back into the connector and tentatively plugged it back in. Signals came up so I gingerly hit the PTT. SWR was low! Talk about luck! I then went on to complete the activation with this “special” setup.
It was really pleasing to hear the number of DX Stations telling me that they don’t hear many VK7 WWFF entities on the air and that it was great to see me activating the location for the first time. hearing all this has really encouraged me to do more activations. Having people spot me and then do what they could to get people to contact me as I got close to the WWFF Activation total of 44 was just fantastic and I thank everyone who went to the effort of helping me.
In the end, it looks like I ended up with 48 QSOs, including some park-to-park and park-to-sota. Again this reminds me that since I came back to the hobby there are just fantastic activities that are available to do!
If you would like to read further on SOTA and WWF, I would suggest the following sites: