Dering Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2307

Our third park for Saturday 10th November 2018 was the Dering Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2307, which is about 114 km east of Murrayville, and about 431 km north west of Melbourne.

Again, this was the very first time that the park would be activated and put on air as part of the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Dering Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After activating the Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve, we headed south on the Walpeup-Hopetoun Road.  This is Malle Fowl country, and was indicated as such by the signs.  Sadly we didn’t see any, it was way too hot for them to be out and about.  In all of my park activations I have only ever seen Mallee Fowl once, and that was in the Mount Boothby Conservation Park in South Australia.

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Above:- The Walpeup-Hopetoun Road.

The Mallee Fowl is a stocky ground-dwelling bird about the size of a domestic chicken.  Mallee Fowl are shy, wary, solitary birds that usually fly only to escape danger or reach a tree to roost in. Although very active, they are seldom seen as they freeze if disturbed, relying on their intricately patterned plumage to render them invisible, or else fade silently and rapidly into the undergrowth

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Above:- Mallee Fowl.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

We had placed the park in the GPS, and we soon reached the northern section of the park which is on either side of the road.  BUT…….the sign said Racecourse Flora & Fauna Reserve.  This really threw us, because the maps and GPS showed we were at Dering.  A quick check on the internet wasn’t able to help us either.

I have since phoned Parks Victoria and the sign came as a surprise to them as well.  According to their records, the park is Dering.  They advised me that they would contact the local ranger and let him/her know.

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I was unable to find much information, if any about this park.  Protected Planet shows that the Dering Flora & Fauna Reserve is about 3.62 km2 in size.  It is a typical mallee park with sandy loam soil and eucalyptus which grow as multiple saplings from a large root or ‘lignotuber’.  It is thought that the name Mallee was derived from an Aboriginal word describing the scrub or thickets.

We accessed the park via a dirt track on the western side of the Walpeup-Hopetoun Road.  We travelled a few hundred metres along the track and found a large gum tree.  As it was a very hot day, it was an ideal spot to set up, and there was plenty of room to stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Dering Flora & Fauna Reserve, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

We had some internet coverage in this park, so Marija placed a spot for me on parksnpeaks, and I then commenced calling CQ on 7.145.  This was soon answered by Geoff VK3SQ in Beechworth.  Next was Alan VK2MG/p who was activating the Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595.  Four QSOs later I had another Park to Park in the log, this time a contact with Alan VK3ALN/p who was in the Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-0333.  This was followed by a contact with Peter VK3PF/p in the Morwell National Park VKFF-0626, and then Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.

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After logging 8 contacts, Marija and I swapped the mic.  Marija called CQ and this was answered by Linda VK7QP, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Marija soon had her 10 contacts in the log for VKFF, and another unique park under her belt as an activator.  A further 3 stations were logged, before I jumped back into the operator’s chair, hoping to get my 44 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.

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I called CQ and Andrew VK3LTL came back to my call, followed by Keith VK2PKT who was contact number 10 for me.  I logged a further 33 stations on 40m, including some interesting stations, and a few more Park to Park contacts.  They included David VK5PL/p in the Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739, and Mark VK4SMA/p in the Daisy Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1525.  I also logged special event call VI6PAX mobile, a special call to mark the centenary of the Armistice that ended World War One on the 11th November 1918.  Two further special event calls were logged, VI3PEACE and VI3LWF (Lest We Forget).  These 2 special calls are also to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the signing of the armistice.

I was now just 1 contact shy of my 44 contacts.  But callers had slowed down on 40m, so we lowered the squid pole and inserted the 80m links for that band.  Marija placed a fresh spot for me on parksnpeaks and I started calling CQ on 80m.  Terry VK3UP came back to my call, and resulted in me qualifying the park for WWFF.  I logged a further 6 stations on 80m, including 2 Park to Park contacts: Norm VK3XCI/p in the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park VKFF-0231, and Peter VK3PF/p in the Morwell National Park VKFF-0626.

To complete the activation I headed up to the 20m band where I logged 4 stations including 2 Park to Park: Alan VK2MG/p in the Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595, and Gerard VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.

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It was now a bit after 3.00 p.m. local time, so Marija and I packed up and headed off to the Murray Sunset National Park, for an activation for the 2018 Keith Roget Weekend.  Marija had qualified Dering for VKFF, with 12 contacts.  And I had qualified Dering for VKFF & WWFF, with 54 contacts in the log.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2MG/p (Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595)
  2. VK3ALN/p (Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-0333)
  3. VK3PF/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  4. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  5. VK7QP
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK2KYO
  9. VK2PKT
  10. VK3LTL
  11. VK4SMA/p (Daisy Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1525)

Marija worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3XCI/p (Hattah-Kulkyne National Park VKFF-0231)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK2MG/p (Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595)
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/AC8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK3ALN/p (Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-0333)
  7. VK3PF/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  8. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  9. VK3LTL
  10. VK2PKT
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK5PL/p (Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739)
  13. VK7DW/m
  14. VK3EMI
  15. VK3FRAB
  16. VK3TKK
  17. VK5LG
  18. VK2LB
  19. VK5KLV
  20. VK2VW
  21. VK3UH
  22. VI6PAX/m
  23. VK4NH
  24. VK4DXA
  25. ZL4TY/VK4
  26. VK5YX
  27. VK1DI
  28. VK4SMA/p (Daisy Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1525)
  29. VK7QP
  30. VK3IDM
  31. VI3PEACE
  32. VI3LWF
  33. VK2IPK
  34. VK3ANL
  35. VK3TNL
  36. VK2GPT
  37. VK2VX
  38. VK5KSW
  39. VK2FPAR
  40. VK3UP
  41. VK3MDH/m
  42. VK5MR
  43. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3UP
  2. VK3XCI/p (Hattah-Kulkyne National Park VKFF-0231)
  3. VK5LA
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK7QP
  6. VK3PF/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  7. VK2KYO

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2MG/p (Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595)
  2. VK3MB
  3. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  4. VK4HAT

 

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2018, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/dering-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 15th November 2018

Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/mallee>, viewed 15th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleefowl>, viewed 15th November 2018

Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2471

Our second for park for Satuday 10th November 2018, was the Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2471, which is located about 80 km east of Murrayville, and about 459 km north east of Melbourne.

This was to be another unique park for both Marija and I, and a brand new park for all of the WWFF hunters.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Walpeup, pronounced wol’pee UP, is a small town with a population of about 200 people.  The town was settled, following the arrival of the railway during the 1910’s.  The Walpeup Primary School was established in June 1912, followed by the Post Office which commenced in Walpeup in December 1912.

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In its heyday in 1920, Walpeup had a population of about 400 people, with a general store, blacksmith, butcher, a bank branch, and other businesses.  ‘Walpeup’ is derived from an Aboriginal word with several meanings including ‘stumpy tailed lizard’ and another is an indigenous acacia.

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The Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve is about 1.78km2 and is located in 9 autonomous blocks, on both the southern and northern side of the Mallee Highway in the town of Walpeup.

Marija and I headed out of town on the Walpeup-Hopetoun Road.  As it was a warm sunny day, there were plenty of Shingleback or ‘Stumpy’ lizards on the road.

We found a small track running off the bitumen, with a small clearing amongst the scrub.  It appeared to be ain ideal spot to set up.  Little were we to know that when we turned on the transceiver, the noise on the 40m band was strength 7 to 8.  I suspect we were just a little too close to the town.  My recommendation for those wanting to activate this park in the future, is to try the south western part of the park away from the town.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Walpeup NCR, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

To kick off the activation Marija and I had a Park to Park contact with Nik VK3NLK/p who was activating the Grampians National Park VKFF-0213.  We then moved up the band to 7.155 and I started calling CQ.  Greg VK2EXA came back to my call, followed by Peter VK3TKK, and then Keith VK2PKT.  Fortunately they all had strong signals, as the strength 7 to 8 was making it very difficult to hear the lower down stations.

I logged 5 stations, including another Park to Park, with Gerard VK2IO/p in the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784, with Marija also logging Gerard.  As Marija had the mic, we decided to swap operators.

DSC_3265

Next in the log, was a third Park to Park, with Mark VK4SMA/p who was activating the Daisy Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1525.  Marija soon qualified the park for the VKFF program, with her 10th contact being with Linda VK7QP.  Marija logged a total of 14 stations, before the noise got so annoying that she had enough.  This included a 4th Park to Park, with David VK5PL/p who was in the Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739.

I then tried to pick up a few more contacts on 40m, under pretty trying conditions.  Thoe noise was awful, so I apologise to anyone who was calling that I could not hear.  I logged a further 10 stations on 40m including Alan VK3ALN/p who was at Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750.

Feeling a little frustrated I headed down to the 80m, but it was no better there, with a strength 8 noise on that band.  As a result I logged just one contact there, with Andy VK5LA in the Riverland.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band and logged a total of 13 stations from VK2, VK4, VK7, VK8 and New Zealand.  I was really pleased to be able to speak with Stuie VK8NSB in Darwin, and also Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.  I also made another Park to Park contact, with Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-2784.

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With just 31 contacts in the log for me, and 14 for Marija, we decided not to persevere with the noise, and pack up and head off to another park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NLK/p (Grampians National Park VKFF-0213)
  2. VK2IO/p ( Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  3. VK4SMA/p (Daisy Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1525)
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK2EXA
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK5KLV
  9. VK5YX
  10. VK7QP
  11. VK2NP
  12. VK5PL/p (Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739)
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK3TKK

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NLK/p (Grampians National Park VKFF-0213)
  2. VK2EXA
  3. VK3TKK
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  7. VK5PL/p (Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739)
  8. VK5BJE
  9. VK3OHM
  10. VK5KLV
  11. Vk2KYO
  12. Vk2YK
  13. VK3ALN/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK5LA
  16. VK2VW
  17. VK3WAC/m

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5LA

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK8NSB
  5. VK2MBA
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK4/AC8WN
  10. VK4/VE6XT
  11. VK7PSJ
  12. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  13. ZL1TM

 

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2018, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/walpeup-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 14th November 2018

Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/walpeup>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpeup>, viewed 14th November 2018

Torrita Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2460

It was now day two (Saturday 10th November 2018) of our 2018 KRMNPA trip.  The weather forecast was for a beautiful day in the low 30’s (deg C).  Marija and I had a bit of a sleep in and left the caravan park at around 7.30 a.m. and headed towards the Cobb & Co Cafe in Murrayville for some breakfast.

First though, we stopped briefly to have a look a the old shops in Reed Street, Murrayville.  Sadly many are now empty.  One of the old shops of note is the old Nana’s Deli, which still has the old Holstens aerated drinks sign on the front window.

Murrayville is a small town with a population of about 350 people.  It is located about 22 km east of the South Australian/Victorian State border.  The town was named in honour of John Murray (1851-1916), the Premier of Victoria from 1909-1912.  The town was surveyed in 1910, with the post office opening that year, and the hotel built in 1911.  Murrayville’s main industry is cereal crops, sheep and cattle.  However, tourism is now an important income for the town.  It is an ideal base to explore the many nearby parks.

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Above:- Outside the Murrayville Hotel.

We paid a quick visit to the old Murrayville railway station, an old timber weatherboard building, which opened in 1912 and ceased operating a number of years ago.  In the park opposite the hotel, there are a number of information boards and an old horse drawn wagon which was used to cart bags of grain during the early years of settlement of Murrayville.

Murrayville is the birth place of former Olympic basketballer Rachael Sporn.  She played for the Adelaide Lightning and the Detroit Shock, and competed at three Olympic Games.

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After a quick look around the town we headed to the Cobb & Co Cafe for breakfast.  We enjoyed a nice brekkie of bacon and eggs.  The shop was originally run way back in 1911 as a Fruit & Vegetable shop.

After breakfast we headed east along the Mallee Highway.  Our first stop was Cowangie, about 19 km east of Murrayville.  The name “cowangie” comes from the Wergaia Aboriginal word “cow” meaning “white”.  There are a few points of interest here, including one of Victoria’s first Bush Nursing Centres, and the old Bakehouse which was opened in 1912.  The bakers oven has now been restored.

Our next stop was the town of Underbool on the Mallee Highway.  The town name is thought to come from the German word underbolt given to it by surveyor Dr. Neumayer when he camped there in October 1861.  The town was proclaimed in 1911.  There is a pioneer memorial here and a number of other displays.

We also travelled a short distance out of town to the Underbool cemetery to view the gates which came from the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

We decided on our first park activation of the day to be the Torrita Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2460, which is located about  76 km east of Murrayville, and about 467 km north west of Melbourne.

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The Torrita Flora & Fauna Reserve is about 2.52 km2 in size.  It is located on the southern side of the Mallee Highway at the small town of Torrita.

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The park appears on some maps as the Nyang Flora Reserve.  A Post Office was opened at Torrita in July 1912, providing a regular mail service as a result of the opening of the railway from Ouyen to Murrayville a month earlier in June 1912.  The railway stop was originally known as Nyang until 1921.

Marija and I drove down Pole Road and found a track leading into the park.  It was a warm morning, so we set up underneath the shade of some trees and competed with the flies.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Torrita Flora & Fauna Reserve, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I started off the activation, calling CQ on 7.150 after Marija had thrown up a spot on parksnpeaks.  First in the log was Rod VK7FRJG in Tasmania, followed by the ever reliable John VK4TJ, and then Ray VK4NH.  I reached my 10 QSOs, qualifying the park for the VKFF program, in 10 minutes.  Contact number 10 being a QSO with Dennis VK2HHA.  This included a Park to Park with Alan VK3ALN/p who was activating SOTA peak Arthurs Seat VK3/ VC-031 in the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750.

Marija and I then swapped the mic, after I had lowered the power back down to 10 watts PEP for Marija.  Marija’s first contact was with VK3ALN/p in VKFF-0750 , followed by Ken VK2KYO, Dennis VK2HHA, and then Ian VK5IS.  Marija’s 10th contact came 16 minutes into her being on air, a contact with Ray VK4NH in Queensland.  Marija logged a total of 19 stations before we swapped the mic.

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The flies here were absolutely relentless, and no matter how much Aerogard we applied, we couldn’t keep them at bay.  I ended up getting out my netting.

My first contact was with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.  I logged a further 17 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, before callers dried up.  I now had 27 contacts in the log, and was hoping to get my 44 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  We lowered the squid pole, and inserted the 80m links and headed off to 3.610.  Adrian VK5FANA had kindly placed a post for us, advising that we were about to head to 80.  John VK5BJE was first in the log on 80m, with a strong 5/8 signal from the Adelaide Hills.  This was followed by Ivan VK5HS, Peter VK2UXO, and then Ian VK5IS.

I logged 13 stations on 80m, and I was now just 4 contacts short of my 44.   So it was off to 20m.  I called CQ on 14.310 and Ray VK4NH came back to my call with a good 5/5 signal.  Contact number 44 was a QSO with John VK4TJ.

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Much to my surprise I had qualified the park for WWFF, with 46 contacts in the log.  Marija had also qualified the park for VKFF, with 19 contacts in the log.  It was time to pack up and head off to our next park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ALN/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-031 & Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  2. VK2KYO
  3. VK2HHA
  4. VK5IS
  5. VK2FHIT
  6. VK3ANL
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK2PKT
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK3MKE
  14. VK3WAC/m
  15. VK3MAB
  16. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK1DI
  19. VK7QP

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7FRJG
  2. VK4TJ
  3. VK4/AC8WN
  4. VK4/VE6XT
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK3ALN/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-031 & Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  9. VK2KYO
  10. VK2HHA
  11. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  12. VK7QP
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK5BJE
  15. VK5KLV
  16. VK5YX
  17. BK3BCM
  18. VK2UXO
  19. VK5SFA
  20. VK3SQ
  21. VK2VW
  22. VK5EMI
  23. VK3WAC/m
  24. VK3FRAB
  25. VK3MAB
  26. VK3LTL
  27. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK2UXO
  4. VK5IS
  5. VK5YX
  6. VK3WAC/m
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK3SQ
  9. VK5SFA
  10. VK3MAB
  11. VK3MKE
  12. VK7QP
  13. VK5NPP

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT

 

 

References.

Aussie Towns, 2018, <http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/murrayville-vic&gt;, viewed 14th November 2018

Murray Mallee Touring Route, 2018, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/torrita.html>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murrayville,_Victoria>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachael_Sporn>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underbool>, viewed 14th November 2018

A quick mobile activation of Murrayville Flora Reserve VKFF-2407

After tea on Friday night (9th November 2018), I decided to head out for a quick activation of the Murrayville Flora Reserve VKFF-2407, and book in to the 7130 DX Net.

I activated this park again on Saturday evening, and I will place info on the town of Murrayville and the park in that post.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Murrayville Flora Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I drove out of Murrayville on the Murrayville North Road, and found a small clearing in the scrub.  I ran the Icom IC-7000 from the Toyota Hil Lux, with 100 watts, and the Codan 9350 self tuning antenna mounted on the rear of the vehicle.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much DX around, but I did log 5 stations on the net, from VK2, VK4 and VK7.  I then moved up the band to 7.180 where I had a great chat for about 20 minutes with Ted VK6NTE in Western Australia.  Red was 5/9 plus into the mobile.  Kelly VK2KEL then gave me a shout, followed by Hauke VK1HW.

I then headed back to the cabin at the caravan park.  Marija had already headed off to bed, so I stayed up for a while watching Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Murrayville Flora Reserve, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7RN
  2. VK4GSF
  3. VK2FALL
  4. VK7VZ/2
  5. VK4BOB
  6. VK6NTE
  7. VK2KEL
  8. VK1HW

 

 

Boinka Flora Reserve VKFF-2270

Our third park for the day (Friday 9th November 2018) was the Boinka Flora Reserve VKFF-2270.  The park is located about 39 km east of Murrayville on the Mallee Highway, and about 500 km north west of Melbourne.

This was to be another unique park for both Marija and I, and the very first time that the park had been activated for World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF).

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Boinka Flora Reserve in north western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Boinka Flora Reserve can be located on the northern and southern side of the Mallee Highway, at the little town of Boinka.  Don’t blink, as there is not much here.  The name Boinka means “flat black beetle” in the language of the aboriginal people of Lake Hindmarsh.

The town of Boinka was established in the early 1910’s, with the Post Office opening on 15th July 1912 when a regular mail service was provided by the opening of the railway from Ouyen to Murrayville a month earlier.  Town blocks became available for sale in 1912, with the average price at Boinka being £48.45.

Sadly, as is the case with many towns that Marija and I have visited, with the closing of the railway, came the death of Boinka as a town.  The town once boasted a grocers shop, blacksmith, boarding house and coffee palace.  The very first store was operated from tent where groceries were sold.

We stopped in briefly to take a look at the old Boinka State School which is listed by Heritage Victoria.  The school operated from 1913-1979.  Unfortunately we could not get inside the school, but were able to peer in through the windows.  The old school, which is now the community centre, contains the original school desks and a photo display.

The park itself is relatively small, being about 1.41 km2.  The Boinka Flora Reserve is listed within the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act of 1988 as being one of only two places in Victoria where Pale Myoporum, an erect shrub of up to 2 metres in height (widespread in South Australia), is known to grow indigenously outside of that location.

As we drove into the park I spoke with Tommy VK2IR who was operating portable on Windang Island, south of Wollongong.  Tommy was running just 5 watts, and had a beautiful 5/9 signal into the mobile.

Marija and I found a clearing in the scrub and set up underneath the shade of some gum trees.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d for this activation, set at 10 watts PEP for Marija, and 40 watts for me.  Our antenna was the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, 7 metres at the apex.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.37.20 am.png

Above:- Aerial view of the Boinka Flora Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Prior to calling CQ I tuned across the 40m band and logged Ade VK4SOE/p who was in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471.  Ade had an excellent 5/9 signal to north western Victoria from Queensland.

It was starting to get late in the afternoon, and the band was opening up to Europe, so it was quite hard finding a clear frequency.  I eventually proppped on 7.170 and called CQ.  First in the log there was Simon VK2JAZ, followed by Peter VK2UXO with his normal booming signal, and then John VK4TJ.

DSC_3213

The 40m band was in good condition, although it was interesting to note that we worked very few Victorian stations and no South Australian stations.  I suspect we were a little too close for the propagation to be working for the closer in stations.  I logged a total of 17 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK4, before swapping the mic with Marija.

Marija was keen to get her 10 contacts to qualify the park for the VKFF program, and then hand back the mic.  And it didn’t take her long to do that.  Within 6 minutes, Marija had contact number 10 in the log, with a QSO with George VK4GSF.

We then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band.  I called CQ on 80m and this was answered by Peter VK3PF with an excellent 5/9 signal.  George VK4GSF followed, then Adrian VK5FANA, and finally David VK3FDZE.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band, where I logged George VK4GSF, for a third band, and then Mark VK4SMA.

DSC_3212

It was now a little after 6.00 p.m. local time and Marija and I were getting hungry, so we packed up, with a total of 36 stations in the log between the 2 of us.  We will need to come back here to get our 44 contacts.  Hopefully we were able to give a few hunters a brand new park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4PDX
  5. VK2NP
  6. VK2HBO
  7. VK2IO
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK2POP
  10. VK4GSF
  11. VK3FDZE

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  2. VK2JAZ
  3. VK2UXO
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK2IO
  11. VK1DI
  12. VK7AN
  13. VK2HHA
  14. VK4FARR
  15. VK4GSF
  16. VK4PDX
  17. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK4GSF
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK3FDZE

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4GSF
  2. VK4SMA

As we drove back to Murrayville, we stopped briefly to have a look at the lone grave just off the Mallee Highway near Cowangie.  The grave is the resting place of a railway worker who died in 1913.

We headed back to the cabin to freshen up and then headed off to the Murrayville Hotel for a meal.

DSC_3218

Thanks to everyone who called us on day one of our trip.

 

 

References.

Mallee Highway Touring Route, 2018, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/boinka.html>, viewed 14th November 2018

Protected Planet, 2018, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/boinka-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 14th November 2018

Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/boinka>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boinka,_Victoria>, viewed 14th November 2018

Koonda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2349

Our second park for the day (Friday 9th November 2018) was the Koonda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2349, which is about 43 km (by road) from Murrayville in north western Victoria.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 10.06.20 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Koonda Nature Conservation Reserve in north western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving the Manya Nature Conservation Reserve we drove back towards Murrayville.  We stopped off briefly to have a look at the site of the old Sunset State School at Panitya North, which operated between 1917 – 1943.

We then drove into Murrayville and went to the caravan park to pick up our cabin key.  We then headed out of Murrayville, on the Mallee Highway and soon reached the town of Cowangie.  The Post Office opened on 15 July 1912 when a regular mail service was provided by the opening of the railway from Ouyen to Murrayville a month earlier. Known as Kow Plains until 1913, the office closed in 1994.  The word ‘Kow is derived from an aboriginal word believed to mean ‘white clay or gypsum’.  The name Cowangie is thought to be derived from an aboriginal word meaning ‘fog or mist’.

Former Formula One and V8 Supercar driver Larry Perkins grew up in Cowangie.

DSC_3183

I was unable to locate much information about the Koonda NCR.  Koonda is 5.06 km2 in size and is a typical mallee park.  It is recorded on the Parks Victoria website as a Flora Reserve.  Koonda appears to be an aboriginal word meaning ‘bandicoot’.  The park is not to be confused with the area of Koonda, which is located near Upotipotpon, about 536 km to the south east of the park.

Marija and I access the park via Sunset Road off the Mallee Highway, and then Morrison Plain Road.  We could not find any signs for the park, but were guided in by our GPS.  It was a hot day, so we parked the car just off the road, and set up underneath the shade of some trees.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 10.06.07 pm.png

Above:- Aerial view of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I commenced the activation by calling CQ on 7.144.  As per our previous activation at Manya, we had no internet coverage, so we were unable to self spot on parksnpeaks.  First in the log was Alan VK3ALN/p, followed by Marc VK3OHM, Dennis VK2HHA, and Les VK5KLV.  All had good 5/8-9 signals.  I logged a total of 24 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  This included Ade VK4SOE/p who was in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471.  Marija and I then swapped the mic.

DSC_3188

Marija had soon achieved her 10 contacts to qualify the park for the VKFF program, with a QSO with Geoff VK3SQ.  Marija logged one further station, Adam VK2YK, before we decided to try our luck on the 80m band.  Marija logged 5 stations on 80m, including a Park to Park with Brett VK3FLCS/p in the Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972.  I logged 5 stations also, including  a Park to Park with Brett.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310, but did not get any takers.  Spotting is certainly a very important tool when activating parks.  I’m sure had we been spotted on parksnpeaks, I would have made contacts on 20m.  But sadly we had no internet coverage and were unable to throw up a self spot.

Marija and I had 45 contacts in the log between the 2 of us from the park, including 3 Park to Park contacts.  We will have to return here to get our 44 QSOs to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/m
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK7ZGK
  4. VK4NH
  5. VI4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK2IO
  8. VK2MOR
  9. VK3ALN/p
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK2YK

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5HS/m
  3. VK3FLCS/p (Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972)
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5FMWW

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ALN/p
  2. VK3OHM
  3. VK2HHA
  4. VK5KLV’
  5. VK3GZ
  6. VK3FDZE
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK4SMA
  9. VK3NRG/p
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK2IO
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK3CWF
  16. VK4TJ
  17. VK2NP
  18. VK2MOR
  19. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  20. VK3PF
  21. VK5FANA
  22. VK2YK
  23. VK1FMGG
  24. VK4ANB

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5FMWW
  4. VK5FMLO
  5. VK3FLCS/p (Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972)

 

 

References.

Dear Grandpa Pencil, 2018, <http://www.grandpapencil.net/austral/abword/abk.htm>, viewed 12th November 2018

Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/cowangie>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowangie>, viewed 12th November 2018

 

Manya Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2377

Marija and I made a fairly early start on Friday morning (9th November 2018), after a 14 hour shift for me at work the night before.  We were on the road by about 8.00 a.m. and had around a 255 km trip ahead of us to Murrayville in north western Victoria.  We had booked in to the Murrayville caravan park for 2 nights.

We travelled along the South Eastern Freeway and over the Murray River at Murray Bridge and on to Tailem Bend along the Dukes Highway.  We turned off at Tailem Bend on to the Mallee Highway.  This is the way to get to Sydney.

DSC_3112

Our first stop for the day was the little town of Sherlock, about 32 km east of Tailem Bend.  The town was proclaimed on 8th August 1907, and is named after The Hundred of Sherlock, which was proclaimed in 1899 and named by Lieutenant-Governor Way after one of Governor Buxton’s friends..  The Sherlock School was opened in 1911 in the Baptist Church and closed in 1970.  This was the first stone building erected along the Pinnaroo railway line.  The Sherlock railway station was opened in January 1913.  It was a busy place, acting as a service point for the town of Karoonda and surrounds.

We travelled a short distance down the road and reached the town of Peake, which takes its name from the Hundred of Peake, named in honour of Archibald Henry Peake (1897-1920), three times Premier of South Australia.  Peake was proclaimed on 8th August 1907.  Its school opened in 1909 and closed in 1964.  The town was located along the railway line, and by 1909 the town was ‘the refreshment station and there was always a rush for the pie stall just along the line’.

There are a number of historic buildings in Peake, and there is a historic walk that can be undertaken.  A brochure entitled ‘Welcome to the historic settlement of Peake’ can be picked up in the town, and will guide you around the streets.

An interesting site to see here in Peake is Polly’s Well.  It was sunk in 1877 by John Whyte, an early pioneer of the district.  It was an important watering point, as in the early years of the district, there were no bituminised roads and air conditioned motor vehicles.  It took an average of 8 long days to travel between Tailem Bend and Pinnaroo by bullock wagon.

We continued east along the Mallee Highway, passing the little towns of Jabuk and Geranium, and then reached the town of Lameroo, which is about 40 km west of the State border.  The town is primarily a service town for the surrounding rural areas, growing grain and sheep.

DSC_3130

Above:- the Main Street of Lameroo.

In the late 1850’s land was taken up in the area on pastoral lease. The area was known as Wow Wow Plain back in those days.  A well was sunk in 1884.  The well measuring 7 feet by 4 feet in section, and 254 feet deep, served both locals and travellers with water for personal use and stock supplies.   The land was surveyed in 1894, and the initial survey of Wow Wow Plain gave each block some natural open land to start cultivating.  The town was named Lameroo in 1904 at the suggestion of J.M. Johnston who had worked on the Overland Telegraph Line and heard the word in Darwin, as the name of the Lameroo Beach.  He liked the sound of Lameroo, and the town was thus named.

We stopped off briefly to have a look at the site of the old Wow Wow Well.

We then drove out of town about 3 km to have a look at Byrne Homestead, an old pug and pine settlers hut built in 1898.

We continued on our journey along the Mallee Highway and soon reached the town of Pinnaroo.  The town’s name is derived from the Ngarkat aboriginal language wored ‘pinaru’, the tribal name for the district and many relate to Ngautngaut, an ancestral being who played a big role in the mythology of the Ngarkat people.

We took the time to have a look through the Pinnaroo Museum, which can be located at the Visitor Centre.  The museum contains an excellent display of printing presses, restored tractors and engines, and other memorabillia.  It is well worth a look.

Of course, I found a few radio related articles in the museum, including a morse key.

DSC_3147

And a range of early radios.  Very interesting.

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Not long after leaving Pinnaroo, we reached the South Australia/Victoria State border.

DSC_3164

Our first planned park activation was the Manya Nature Conservation Reserve, VKFF-2377.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.23.02 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Manya Nature Conservation Reserve in north western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Manya Nature Conservation Reserve is about 4.62 km2 in size and is a typical mallee park.  It is in close proximity to the South Australian/Victoria State border, about 9 km north of the town of Panitya in Victoria.  The place name Manya is derived from the local Aboriginal word meaning “the hand”.  The park is referred to in the 2016 CAPAD data as a Flora Reserve and Nature Conservation Reserve.  It is not to be confused with the Manya Bushland Reserve which is located to the north west of the park.

After crossing the State border, we travelled east to the little town of Panitya and then travelled north on the Panitya North Road.  The northern boundary of the park is located at the corner of Panitya North Road and Wheeler Road.  We found a track prior to this junction, which travelled into the park.  After travelling a few hundred metres along the track we found a cleared area, with just enough room to stretch out the linked dipole, but only just.

Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 8.22.44 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

On our way into the park we worked Tony (VK3XV) VK3WI/p from our mobile, who was activating the Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055.

We had no internet coverage in the park, so we were unable to self spot on parksnpeaks and/or Facebook.  After setting up, I kicked off the activation, with a Park to Park with Tony VK3WI/p.  Marija also logged Tony.  We then tuned across the band and logged Ade VK4SOE/p & VK4COA/p on 7.140, who was activating the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471.  We then moved down to 7.135 and I started calling CQ.  First in the log there was Peter VK3PF, followed by Peter VK3TKK/p who was in the Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132.

I had planned on just getting my 10 contacts to qualify the park for the VKFF program, and not sticking around to get 44 QSOs.  We had hoped to activate 3 more parks, so we were a bit pressed for time.  It was quite slow going, but after about 20 minutes, I had contact number 10 in the log.  I logged 15 stations before swapping the mic with Marija.   My contacts were into VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, and included Tony VK5TT who was pedestrian mobile walking his dog and operating remote, and David VK5PL/p who was in the Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159.

Marija was also keen to get her 10 and for us to move on.  Marija called CQ and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Allan VK3ALN/p and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Marija logged a total of 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7.

We then moved down to 80m and Marija called CQ on 3.610.  First in the log was John VK5BJE who was an excellent 5/9 signal, followed by David VK5PL in the WIljani Conservation Park, and then Tony VK3WI mobile.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310, but was competing with the Over the Horizon Radar which was very loud.  I logged Ray VK4NH and then Michael VK6TU.  But the radar had become too annoying, so I headed down to 14.260 and called CQ which was answered by Andrei ZL1TM, and then Neil VK4HNS.

Marija and I had 38 contacts in the log between us, along with

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3WI/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  2. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  3. VK4COA/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3KAI
  6. VK3ALN/p
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK5KLV
  9. VK3ANL
  10. VK7EK
  11. VK2VN
  12. VK5TT/p
  13. VK3AAT/p

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5PL/p (Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159)
  3. VK3WI/m

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3WI/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  2. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  3. VK4COA/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3TKK/p (Dandenong Ranges National Park VKFF-0132)
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK5TT/p
  8. VK5PL/p (Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159)
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK4TJ
  11. VK4/AC8WN
  12. VK4/VE6XT
  13. VK3ADX
  14. VK2IO/m
  15. VK5KLV

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK6TU
  5. ZL1TM
  6. VK4HNS

 

References.

Discover Murray, 2018, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/sherlock/>, viewed 12th November 2018

Discover Murray, 2018, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/peake.html>, viewed 12th November 2018

Discover Murray, 2018, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/lameroo.html>, viewed 12th November 2018

State Library South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/S.pdf>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manya,_Victoria>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sherlock,_South_Australia>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikpedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lameroo,_South_Australia>, viewed 12th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinnaroo,_South_Australia>, viewed 12th November 2018