2021: VK5KI OC-139

VK5KI – LOTW & Clublog IOTA Matching Enabled

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

QSL Cards also continue to be available via my QSL Manager, Charles M0OXO.

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

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

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)

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!

Where am I operating and did you make it?

A good way to keep track of where and when I am on the air is to look at the Clublog Livestream. You can see it here: https://clublog.org/livestream/VK5KI

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!

VK5KI – 160m Operation Planned

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!

VK5KI – Return to Kangaroo Island – IOTA OC-139 – 11-22 January 2021

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!


VK5KI Expedition 2.0 Announced – January 2021

We are returning to Kangaroo Is OC-139 – January 11-22 2021

After a successful trip in July 2020, I will be returning to Kangaroo Island in January for a longer break. This will be a part time holiday style operation, while  we spend 2 weeks over the summer holidays away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The nature of the station that will be taken hasn’t been decided yet. As we get closer, details of what bands and modes will be active will be announced.