The weekend (including the Friday) from Friday 14th November – Sunday16th November, 2014, was the 2014 Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) activation weekend, and the 2014 Summits on the Air Spring activation weekend. So it was off to Victoria on Friday morning for me. On the way to Portland in western Victoria, I had planned to activate four South Australian Conservation Parks: Poonthie Ruwe, Kelvin Powrie, Desert Camp, and then Lower Glenelg. However, I had a change of plans and activated Poonthie Ruwe, then Kelvin Powrie, then Mount Monster (a new one for me), and finally Desert Camp (another new one).
My first activation was the Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park (CP), which is located about 100 km south east of Adelaide, and about 5 km south east of Tailem Bend on the Murray River. Poonthie Ruwe means ‘Hopping Mouse Country’ in the local Ngarrindjeri aboriginal language. Sadly, there is no Hopping Mouse population in the park anymore, courtesy of European settlement.
map courtesy of mapcarta
I had activated the Poonthie Ruwe CP in June, 2013. For more information on that activation, and the history of the park, please have a look at my previous post…..
There is also an excellent publication, the ‘Mowantjie Willauwar and Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Parks Management Plan’, which can be found on the internet.
As I mentioned in my June, 2013 post, please make sure you know where you are going, if you intend to activate this park. It is not easy to find and there are no apparent signs indicating its presence.
Poonthie Ruwe is a small park consisting of about 241 hectares, full of rabbits and hardly visited by humans I would suspect. The Department for Environment and Heritage Management Plan for the park reports that reputedly the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat had at one time established burrows in Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park, prior to the initial rabbit invasion.
Map courtesy of Dept Environment and Heritage
The ground is nice and sandy in the park, so I drove the Haverford squid pole holder into the ground, and secured the squid pole to it, with the use of an octopus strap. I strung out the legs of the 40m/20m linked dipole and secured the links for the 40 m band. I was running about 25 minutes behind schedule, by the time I had turned the radio on. This was mostly due to my GPS taking me to a spot where the park was not. It was 7.55 a.m. South Australian local time and a beautiful mild morning. There were some other VK’s operating on 7.092 so I couldn’t operate on my promised frequency of 7.095. So I moved just slightly up to 7.096 and put out a CQ call and was called back immediately by Charles VK5FBAC at Strathalbyn with a good strong 5/9 signal. This was followed by David VK5NQP, John VK5BJE, and Amanda VK3FQSO.
The band appeared to be in quite good shape, and I continued to get a good steady flow of callers from VK3, VK5, & VK7, with good signals in and good signals being reported back. I was pleased to get Mick VK3FAFK, in the log. Mick only obtained his Foundation call the week before, and had a lovely signal coming in from Stawell in western Victoria. I would go on to work Mick many times over the next 4 days whilst I was either in a park or on a summit. Welcome to the world of amateur radio Mick.
My second to last contact at Poonthie Ruwe was with John VK2AWJ who was operating portable in the Barmah National Park, north east of Echuca. John was my first VK3 National Park contact for the 4 day period I was away.
After working a total of 26 stations on 40m ssb, I QSYd to 14.310 and put out numerous CQ calls with no takers. So I tuned across the 20m band and could only hear one other station, that being a VK4 in QSO with a VK2 who I couldn’t even hear. The VK4’s signal was well down, and sadly his signal was the only one I could hear on the entire 20m band. So I slipped back up to 14.310 with the intention to call CQ again. To my surprise when I got there, the frequency was occupied by a USA station, KZ8O, calling CQ. I called him back, but sadly received no response.
So, as 20m band conditions did not seem to be good, and I was behind schedule, I packed up the gear, and continued on my journey east, and towards my next park, the Kelvin Powrie Conservation Park. In about 45 minutes of operating in Poonthie Ruwe, I had a total of 26 contacts in the log.
As I left the park,I heard John VK2AWJ/3 calling CQ from the Barmah National Park, so I called John who was a good 5/9 into my mobile (5/9 received in return).
The following stations were worked:-
- Charles VK5FBAC
- David VK5NQP
- John VK5BJE
- Amanda VK3FQSO
- Winston VK7WH
- Peter VK5NAQ
- Les VK5KLV
- Greg VK5LG
- Peter VK3TKK
- Mick VK3FAFK
- Dennis VK5LDM
- Tim VK5AV
- Ton VK3VBI/m
- Tom VK5EE/qrp
- Allen VK5FD
- Ken VK3MKM
- Larry VK5LY
- Bob VK3XP
- Mark VK7MK
- Peter VK3RV
- John VK5MG
- Jenny VK3WQ
- Col VK5HCF
- Brian VK5FMID
- John VK2AWJ/m
- Nev VK5WG
Department for Environment and Heritage, 2008, ‘Mowantjie Willauwar and Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Parks Management Plan’,