VK5FIL IOTA Expedition to OC-261 – 12-21st April 2024

VK5FIL IOTA Expedition to OC-261 – 12-21st April 2024

Above:- Image c/o ​@Lostonpurposemedia

I am pleased to announce that I have been able to join a fantastic team on a new adventure!

We are heading to Flinders Island, South Australia, located off the coast of Eyre Peninsula near Elliston. I will be travelling with VK5PAS, VK5LA, VK5FR, VK5HS and VK5GA.

The trip will take place between the 12th and 21st of April 2024. We will be operating as VK5FIL

More details are available on the expedition website: vk5fil.com

QSL cards will again be available via my QSL manager, Charles M0OXO.

See you on air!

VK5KI Call sign now permanently active from Kangaroo Island (OC-139)

VK5KI Call sign now permanently active from Kangaroo Island (OC-139)

I am pleased to announce that there is new life on Amateur Radio from Kangaroo Island.

Recently licenced amateur, Tony VK5AVB, has jumped in with a passion and built a substantial station out on the island he calls home. As of December 5th 2022, Tony is now the owner of the VK5KI licence as well, so expect to hear him on the bands on a regular basis.

Tony is a SSB phone operator and regularly frequents the bands. Good luck Tony with the new call sign!

VK5KI 2022 – and the RSGB IOTA Contest

VK5KI 2022 – and the RSGB IOTA Contest

The VK5KI trip to Kangaroo Island 2022 is done and dusted. We had a good time, but also suffered a lot of damage due to the freak weather which hit the site while we were there. None the less, we managed over 1100 QSOs in the roughly 48hrs on the air, which included about 9 hours of downtime due to storms.

Chris VK5FR and myself, Grant VK5GR headed to the island on Friday July 29th on the 9am ferry. We arrived by 10am and headed firstly to visit Tony VK5AVB, a new resident on the island. In addition to Mos VK5MOS there are now several new amateurs getting their tickets on Kangaroo Island, so the need for me to keep heading down from Adelaide to activate VK5KI is now somewhat diminished. Tony has built himself a very impressive station, and while he is still new to Amateur Radio, he is learning fast.

After that pitstop, we made our way to our accommodation and started constructing the station. Things went well, and with a visit from Tony and Mos, we managed to complete construction earlier than expected, with two fully functioning stations operational by Friday evening.

After dinner we set up the two stations in the dining rooms and hit the airwaves!

The next day we operated much of the day on the air, but the weather started to pick up. By midnight it was blowing so badly that the hexbeam VSWR was swinging wildly (as it was being blown out of shape). We shut down and grabbed some sleep before recommencing around 5am Sunday morning.

By 11am however the next storm front arrived and then catastrophe struck. The main 20-10m station beam suffered catastrophic failure in a violent gust of wind that we estimate topped 100kmh. We then had thunderstorms roll over the site.  One of the spreader arms also splintered – and that was that! The wind event also damaged the portable pump up tower, effectively putting the station out of action until we could reconfigure the remaining vertical antennas for different bands.

We were off air after that for about 5 hours, waiting for the storm to subside enough that we could reconnect and retune the remaining antennas and recommence operation.

As soon as the contest ended, we then started packing up. After about 40 hours of actual on air time we had managed 1103 QSOs, 284 of those were in the actual IOTA contest (due to the terrible weather conditions). All up the following map gives a good picture of where we managed to work as VK5KI during our stay!

Thanks to everyone who called us. As this is likely the last time for a while that I head to Kangaroo Island, I especially wish to say thank you to our hosts on the island who graciously allow us to use their holiday rental property for this sort of amateur radio activity as well as to Chris VK5FR who partnered with me on this exercise and to everyone who made the effort to give VK5KI a call!

Till next time – 73 de Grant VK5GR / VK5KI

QSL Cards – OQRS / LOTW / Clublog

All QSOs have now been uploaded to Log Book of the World and Club log and should be available for IOTA electronic matching. Those seeking QSL cards can contact my QSL Manager, Charles M0OXO who’s speedy service will ensure quick delivery.


VK5KI On Air for RSGB IOTA Contest 2022 from Kangaroo Island OC-139

VK5KI On Air for RSGB IOTA Contest 2022 from Kangaroo Island OC-139

VK5KI OC-139 Activation Friday July 29 – Sunday July 31st 2022

We are pleased to announce that VK5KI will for the first time participate in the RSGB’s Islands on the Air (IOTA) Contest this year from Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia. The operators for this trip will be Grant VK5GR and Chris VK5FR. We will be active in the Island Station – DXpedition Multi-2 category in both SSB and CW modes on 80m-10m prior to the contest, and on the main contest bands of 80/40/20/15/10m during the event.

QSL Cards will again be available through our QSL manager, Charles M0OXO.

Kangaroo Island South Coast – Seal Bay (Photo by Grant VK5GR)


Kangaroo Island Attractions with VK5KI

Kangaroo Island Attractions with VK5KI

The reason we went back to Kangaroo Island this time was to have more of a holiday on the island and spend some time looking around. The good news at least for domestic travellers is that most of the major tourism attractions have reopened after the disastrous bush fire that destroyed over half the island in January 2019.

Now, one year on, the scars from that event are still widely evident in the landscape, but the people on the island have shown remarkable resilience in getting back on their feet. Here are some of our favourites from our January 2021 visit to Kangaroo Island

Places we can recommend

The following is a guide to the places that the family visited during this trip. All we can recommend as worthy stops if you visit Kangaroo Island.

1. Seal Bay National Park

This is the home of one of the regions biggest Sea-lion colonies. These sea-lions are on the endangered species list and access to the beach where the colony is located is now strictly controlled by the National Parks and Wlldlife service.You need to book for a tour and can do so here:

Seal Bay Website

2. Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery & Kangaroo Island Ciders Cellar Door

The eucalyptus distillery and cider cellar door were 5 minutes from us. We had lunch here several times at the cafe. Another KI business worth supporting if you visit the island – and the Apple Ciders are very nice indeed! The oils are made on site and the apple orchards that the ciders are made from are grown on Kangaroo Island.

Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillary

Kangaroo Island Ciders – Cellar Door

3. Cliffords Honey Farm

Honey production is something special on Kangaroo Island. The island is the world’s oldest bee sanctuary and is home to the only pure strain of Ligurian Bee in the world. Due to their isolation they have remained free of the major bee diseases, which infect mainland bees. Bees cannot fly to Kangaroo Island because it is too far, even with strong winds to propel them.

Cliffords Honey Farm (one of several on the island) was only 10 minutes south of the VK5KI station location. Definitely worth the trip down. If you like Honey, this is something special.

Cliffords Honey Farm

4. Vivonne Bay

Vivonne Bay Store – KI

Located approximately half way from Kingscote to Flinders Chase national park, Vivonne Bay is one of those idyllic picture spots you have to visit. The burgers at the Vivonne Bay store are also top notch. We planned our day trip to Flinders Chase around stopping here for lunch. Note also, Vivonne Bay is the last place you can buy fuel on the south coast for the time being as the facilities in Flinders Chase National Park have yet to be rebuilt after the catastropic bushfires of January 2019. The island is bigger than you think so it is best to top up here before heading further west on the islands south coast.

Vivonne Bay – Kangaroo Island

5. Flinders Chase National Park

The facilities at Flinders Chase are now very basic but the natural attractions are still as stunning as ever. Park fees can be pre-paid online.

Flinders Chase National Park

a. Admirals Arch

b. Remarkable Rocks

6. Kangaroo Island Raptor Domain

This Kangaroo Island attraction is located at the turn off into Seal Bay national park. The team here can give you an amazing opportunity to learn about the various raptor birds we have in Australia and the free flight show provides plenty of opportunities to see the birds up close. Our favourite is still an owl named “Shhhhh”, although the Wedge Tailed Eagles are definitely the most magestic of the birds on display. If you plan your day right you can visit Flinders Chase in the morning and then attend the 2.30pm show back at Raptor Domain on your way back to Kingscote.

Kangaroo Island Raptor Domain

7. Cape Willoughby Light House

Located at the eastern end of the island is Cape Willoughby Light House. Tours are available.

Cape Willoughby Light House

8. Red Banks – Nepean Bay, Kangaroo Island

Another interesting corner of the island – located part way between Penneshaw and Kingscote on the north coast of the island – access is tricky and steep but worth the climb.

9. Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

Kangaroo Island wildlife park is located just west of Parndarna on the Playford Highway. This was about 25 minutes from our accommodation and hosts a great collection of rescued wildlife. There are plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals including Kangaroo and Wallaby feeding and plenty of keeper talks. Come and see the reptiles, dingoes, penguins, birds, monkeys and more here at Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park!

Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park

9. Other Recommendations

Other places we visited and enjoyed included

  • Kingscote Fish and Chip shop. Dont be put off by it being located in the petrol station, the seafood here is delicious and its LOCALLY CAUGHT. The Whiting was excellent.
  • Cafe Bella Pizza Bar – Kingscote – book ahead to get into this very popular venue – the Pizzas are excellent
  • Kingscote Rock Swimming Pool – as the beaches are very shallow on the north coast, if you fancy a swim then the sea pool in Kingscote is the place to go!
  • D’Estrees Bay – Located on the South Coast of the island, this was about 15 minutes south of our accommodation, this almost deserted beach was pristine and fantastic to spend time on with the family building sand castles. Be mindful in the water however as we did see Singrays only metres from the shoreline.

10. Accommodation

We must say a big thank you to Barbara our host at Hilltop Lodge on Kangaroo Island. If you are looking for somewhere to stay this house is central, well appointed and really feels like your second home away from home.

Hilltop Lodge – Kangaroo Island

VK5KI now QRT: QSL Card Requests Open

VK5KI now QRT: QSL Card Requests Open

Thanks everyone for all of the QSOs over the past 10 days. It has been a lot of fun. Hopefully I have been able to give out OC-139 IOTA to a few more people for an All Time New Island (ATNI).

Those seeking QSL cards for IOTA credits will be happy to learn that the log has already been delivered to my QSL Card Manager Charles M0OXO. Cards have already been printed and are available NOW for immediate request. While I recognize time is short to make this year’s IOTA Hall of Fame list you might just make it if the postal service is still working between yourselves and the UK.

Thanks again until next time!

Last Chance: 1830z-2100z today – Low Bands

Last Chance: 1830z-2100z today – Low Bands

Folks, the expedition is almost over. I need to start station tear down tomorrow in order to be ready to board the ferry early Friday morning. Thanks everyone for the QSOs!

I will have one last run on air from 5am ACDT (1830z 20th Jan) for about 2 hours before we will finally shut down. Look for me on the low bands 80-30m in any of CW, SSB or FT8 modes.

73 de Grant VK5KI / VK5GR


VK5KI 2.0 – On the air (at last)

VK5KI 2.0 – On the air (at last)

The family and I have arrived safely on Kangaroo Island and have settled into our temporary home. As there is only myself interested in radio this time things are taking longer than expected. However I have now at least completed 24 hours on the air for about 300 contacts this trip.

The antennas so far consist of a MW0JZE HexBeam on my new Clarke pump up mast (ideal for one man installation but too heavy for anything but domestic operations) with a tuneable vertical built on a 12m Spiderbeam pole that I can configure for all bands from 160-30m (160/80m are inverted Ls).

Operation So Far

So far I have been active on a few bands including 6m with some domestic QSOs to VK4 and VK6 yesterday. The busiest band however has been 20m SSB into Europe. Both nights so far I have attracted a crowd. The lack of DXPeditions over the past few months have certainly allowed some stations to forget pileup etiquette unfortunately which slowed things down. Switching to split helped – although in the end the pileup was 10kHz wide! I haven’t worked traffic like that since A35JT in 2019.

There were a couple of stations that were duping me on the same band and mode last night. Please, if you worked me the night before don’t work me again. Lets give other IOTA chasers a chance to get OC-139 Kangaroo Island into their logs too!

QSL Cards

Charles M0OXO, my QSL manager, has VK5KI QSL cards available right now! You can  order your card via the Online QSL Request Service (OQRS) within 24-48hrs of making contact. I am sending daily logs to Charles as the activation progresses.

Thanks again Charles for all your hard work!

Clublog Log Feed

You can also check (within minutes of a contact) to see if you are in my log here on Kangaroo Island by looking at Clublog, thanks to Michael G7VJR. The log on Clublog includes both this activation and the previous activation back in July 2020.

See you all on the air!