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!
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 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)
I am pleased to announce that the VK5KI logs from the January 2021 expedition to Kangaroo Island have now been uploaded to LogBook of the World. IOTA Award Clublog digital QSO matching has also been activated
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Final antenna packing lists are being drawn up today and at this stage I hope to also include an inverted L for 160m. Having tried to operate 160m at home recently I decided I was silly not to give it a go in a much more RF quiet location, and with a better antenna with a better ground plane. I will try and pay attention in particular to my morning grey-line into Europe, but will also do some activity during the NA morning grey-line as well.
Only 4 days to go before we depart Adelaide and head down to IOTA OC-139. See you on the air!
As announced in October, I am heading back to Kangaroo Island over the summer holidays with the family.
This time it will be more holiday and less radio, however I am taking the station down with me and will be down there for nearly 2 weeks as opposed to 5 nights. I hope to be active on 40/30m with a vertical, 20-6m with my Hex Beam and possibly 80m with a dipole. There is a chance 160m might get activated as well (depending on what gear I can fit into the car). This is a single op trip holiday style. I will be down there from the 11th to the 22nd of January. Most likely operating hours will be evenings and mornings. Daytime will be spent with the family and touring the island.
I will run the live logging into Clublog for the activity to help you find me. OQRS will be available via Charlies M0OXO and logs will be loaded to Charles at least daily. QSL cards are already available so there will be no waiting for this one.
Activity will be a combination of CW, SSB and FT8, possibly with some RTTY and PSK thrown in for fun. I also hope to put VK5KI on air during the WIA Summer VHF/UHF field day on 6m/2m/70cm (and maybe 23cm). With the 90m elevation we will have I hope to be heard at least up in Adelaide. Worst case I will take some gear mobile up to Stokes Hill for the day (200m elevation).
See you on the air from VK5KI Kangaroo Island – OC-139!