National Parks success despite rain and QRN

In 2016 a total of 41 National Parks were activated across the 4 day period by 25 operators. The number of Parks activated was a substantial increase from the previous record of 34 in 2015, as indeed was the number of park activators braving the elements and the QRN.

The weekend attracted many; much welcomed and appreciated were those Activators from VK2 and VK5. A big thank you to you all! Your efforts contributed to the activation of many VK3 National Parks which would otherwise not have been available to Hunters.

The Interstate visitor breakdown was as follows: John VK2AWJ, has been a regular Activator participant since 2011, and many look forward to chatting with John as he travels in his trusty campervan visiting VK3 National Parks.
John teamed up this year with Peter VK3ZPF, to successfully activate French Island on Friday and later travelled to Wilsons Promontory, Morwell and finally Tarra-Bulga.

Tim VK5AV travelled from Mt Gambier to activate the much sought after Mt Eccles, unfortunately plagued with an intermittent transceiver problem and forced to abandon operations early.

Paul VK5PAS once again made the journey from Adelaide, visiting the Murray River region with activations of the very wet Gunbower and Barmah National Parks. Paul also visited Victoria’s answer to Ayers Rock, the Terrick Terrick National Park. While in the region Paul was able to activate several VKFF Regional Parks and one SOTA peak.

Lesley VK5LOL and Hans VK5YX travelled to enjoy a weekend in Wyperfeld National Park and the Murray – Sunset National Park. The weather conditions in this area were very taxing.

David VK3TUN / VK5DG made 35 contacts from the Lower Glenelg National Park. Three of those Park contacts were via the Oscar-29 Satellite. David also bagged 8 new VK3 National Parks.

While travelling around Australia with XYL, Doris, Rob VK4AAC has been busily going portable in the Parks. He was heard with his usual big signal from Heathcote-Graytown NP on Friday and Little Desert National Park.

The remaining National Parks were activated by an equally keen group of VK3 radio amateurs: Warren VK3BYD travelled to the rarely activated Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park on Sunday after a full day in the Alpine National Park on Saturday. Warren used CW and SSB for his many contacts including SOTA activations.

Tim VK3MTB again supported the weekend with activations from The Lakes and Tarra Bulga with great results for many Hunters. Peter VK3TKK was out and about across the weekend with activations in the Chiltern-Mt Pilot, Churchill and later the Organ Pipes National Parks. He also added a few VKFF activations during his travels.

Mick VK3PMG travelled from home town Stawell to the Kara Kara on Saturday morning followed by a quick trip to the Grampians in the afternoon. Mick was also spotted deep in the Warby–Ovens National Park giving out much needed contacts.
Norm VK3XCI travelled from Mildura on Friday to the Wyperfeld, reports indicate he suffered huge QRN due to the local severe storm activity, as did Rex VK3OF and Greg VK3BRQ who were also in the Park on Friday night. When questioned about the storm activity Rex commented “it was an interesting night. Let’s leave it at that.” The clear message was that it is always fun.

Rex and Greg also activated Hattah-Kulkyne with solid signals while Norm moved to the Little Desert NP and had serious problems keeping the Squid Pole up. There were 22 Park contacts for Norm from Little Desert and on Monday with an audience of mystified Asian and European tourists, Norm managed 10 quick contacts before the Squid Pole went horizontal.

Hiro VK3EHG, was putting out a great signal from Dandenong Ranges National Park, both on CW and SSB once again and it was great to have him on board again. Bernard VK3AV was also very busy out and about activating the Lake Eildon with 11 contacts including DX contacts with Christchurch, Fiji, and Tonga. And four other VK3 Parks - Brisbane Ranges, Organ Pipes, Kinglake and finally the Yarra Ranges on Sunday afternoon. Many trees were down in the area following the wild storms of the weekend.

Regular Park activator Brett VK3FLCS was able to spend a few hours on Saturday, activating the Greater Bendigo National Park and adding to his growing list of portable activities. Excellent to see a Foundation Licence in the mix.
Brisbane Ranges was, as usual, a well activated Park with Malcolm VK3MEL joining in the fun. The Amateur Radio Victoria callsign VK3WI was also in the Brisbane Ranges for a period on Friday evening making 37 contacts.

The dynamic duo, Joe and Julie, were kept busy running VK3SRC School Amateur Radio Club Network, from both the Mornington Peninsula and the Point Nepean National Parks. VK3SRC worked over 25 National Parks and has applied for the Level Two KRMNPA.

Over in the east of the state, activity was also high. Allen VK3ARH reports a “big and successful weekend”. He worked hard to activate acivate Lind, Alfred, Croajingolong, Coopracambra and Errinundra Parks.

Peter VK3PF also worked very hard from the Mitchell River National Park, (one of the rarer parks) to ensure as many Hunters as possible were able to secure Mitchell River. Peter VK3ZPF was once again busy across the weekend, joining John VK2AWJ on French Island on Friday and later moved to fill some spots in the much need Snowy River and Errinundra in a camping trip to the region.

To break the drive home, Peter reports he caught up with Tim VK3MTB in the Morwell National Park and later with Peter VK3TKK while he was activating the Bunyip State park during his travels. Peter logged 126 QSOs which included 7 DX and 13 National Parks.

Tony VK3XV managed to activate 5 National Parks being Lower Goulburn, Greater Bendigo, Chiltern-Mt Pilot, Heathcote-Graytown and Warby Ovens. He and wife Sheryl got just a little wet on the Sunday which slowed them down, however overall contributed 170 contacts for park Hunters. And the best part of those 170 contacts was hearing “thanks for the new one”. Like many activators across the weekend, that was a regular exchange.

And one of these Happy Hunters was David VK5PL, who after chasing VK3 National Parks for the Award for 3 years finally snared Park 45, with a contact to the Mitchell River National Park being operated by Peter VK3PF. David has already successfully applied for the Hunters Merit Award.

Again in 2016 AMATEUR Radio Victoria is providing a Participants Certificate to all Activators. The 2017 KRMNPA activation weekend will take place Friday November 10 - Monday November 13.

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