Mount Richmond National Park, VKFF-361

Following my activation of Mount Eccles National Park, I headed off for my final activation for Sunday 16th November, 2014.  That being the Mount Richmond National Park, VKFF-361, which is located about 380 km west of Melbourne, and about 22 km north west of Portland, in western Victoria.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 16.08.10

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount Richmond is known to the local Gundidjmara aboriginal people as Benwerrin, meaning ‘Long Hill’.  Benwerrin provided a rich variety of foods for the aboriginal people, both in the bush and along the nearby coast.  The large trees with dark grey, hard and fissured bark with dense dar green foilage are Blackwood Wattles.  The tree’s strong wiid was good for making hunting boomerangs, and the sticky sap forms useful glue for hand tools.

Mount Richmond was named after Richard Henty, who was one of the first European children born in the Portland area.  The park itself was established in 1960, as a result of the dedication of local naturalists such as Noel Learmonth and Cliff Beauglehole.

About 450 species of plants have been recorded in the park, including 50 orchid species.  Other plants include Correas, heaths, wattles, and Bush Peas.

The park is home to a large variety of bird life including Emus, Crimson Rosellas, Gang-gang cockatoos, honeyeaters, thornbills, Silvereyes, robins, finches, tree-creepers, and Currawongs.  The park is also an important habitat fr the uncommon Long-nosed Potoroo, which is a small member of the kangaroo family.  The Potoroo is rarely seen and is generally only active during the night.  Other native animals that call the park home are Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Koalas, and Red-necked wallabies.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 16.07.58 map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I entered the northern portion of the park via Mount Richmond Road.  I found a nice picnic and camping area which had a wooden table and benches.  It looked a great place to operate from.  It isn’t very often that I get the table and chairs provided, so I decided to enjoy the luxuries whilst they were presented.

Screenshot 2014-12-01 16.36.09

Image courtesy of parkweb.vic.gov.au

I found 7.095 to be clear and I put out a CQ call and was immediately greeted by Kevin VK3KAB and Glenn VK3YY who were portable on Mount Terrible Spur, VK3/ VE-134.  Their signals were 5/7 with their QRP operation of 5 watts.  You can read about their activation on Glenn’s WordPress site at…..

https://vk3yy.wordpress.com/tag/ve-134/

This was followed by Terry VK3UP and then Mike VK3XL, who both had 5/9 plus signals.  A steady flow of callers followed from VK1, VK3, VK5, & VK7.  A few QRP operators called in, including Mark VK3ASC operating with 5 watts, Mark VK1EM, and Daniel VK5DF running 5 watts.  And I also spoke to a few mobile operators including Peter VK3PF on the highway approaching Rosedale, and Allen VK3HRA mobile in the Morwell National Park.

The strongest station worked from Mount Richmond, was Peter VK5NAQ who had a thumping 30/9 signal into Mount Richmond.  What a signal.

I remained on 7.095 and continued to work the callers.  I was working Johnno VK3FMPB when the heavens opened up, and it started to rain, quite heavy.  So I had to grab the radio and run.  Sorry Johnno.  I wasn’t going to get wet, and certainly didn’t want the radio getting wet.  So it was back to the car for a short time until the rain disappeared.

I then returned to the picnic table with my bothy bag and huddled under that, as the occasional shower still came through.  My first contact after returning was Richard VK5ZRY on the Yorke Peninsula.  I worked a further 10 stations after the rain, including Rob VK2QR/3 who was portable on SOTA summit, The Knocker, VK3/ VG-016, with a beautiful 5/9 signal.  And also some more QRP stations, including Craig VK3JK on 5 watts, Colin VK3NCC on 5 watts, and Daniel VK5DF on 5 watts (using a different antenna this time).  I was hearing a few European stations coming through on the frequency at this time.

After working 39 stations on 40m ssb, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links, and headed off to 20m, where I put out a number of CQ calls on 14.244, until I was answered by Albert S58AL.  Unfortunately it wasn’t long, until a European station came up right alongside of me, which made things incredibly difficult.  I managed to work a further 4 stations in Hawaii, Slovenia, Italy, and England, until I was forced to QSY as the bleed over was just unbearable.

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I found 14.253 free and put out a CQ call, which was answered by my good buddy, Marnix OP7M.  A steady flow of callers from Europe followed this.  I worked a further 18 stations from Italy, Germany, Poland, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, and France.  And thrown amongst the mix was John VK6NU in Western Australia.  Propagation to Europe seemed to be quite good, but the radio was struggling to get sufficient power supply from the 44 amp hour power pack, which was getting low down in voltage.  Each time I keyed the microphone, the radio would shut down.  This is a problem I’ve been experiencing a bit recently.

My 44 amp hour power pack just couldn’t provide enough voltage, and the radio kept cutting out which was extremely annoying.  Plus it was getting dark and the weather was miserable, so it was time to pack up and head back to the warmth of the motel room at Portland.  I had a total of 64 contacts in the log.  Again, I was very pleased, as I had qualified the park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) global award.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Kevin VK3KAP/p (SOTA)
  2. Glenn VK3YY/p (SOTA)
  3. Terry VK3UP
  4. Mike VK3XL
  5. Nev VK5WG
  6. Matt VK1MA
  7. Ian VK1DI
  8. Tim VK5AV
  9. Brian VK5FMID
  10. Bernard VK3AV
  11. Peter VK3RV
  12. Col VK5HCF
  13. Hans VK5YX
  14. Tony VK3CAB
  15. Mark VK7MK
  16. Mark VK3ASC
  17. Mark VK1EM
  18. Peter VK3PF/m
  19. Allen VK3HRA/m
  20. John VK5BJE
  21. Barry VK5BW
  22. VK2CCJ
  23. Bob VK5FPAC
  24. Peter VK5NAQ
  25. Jim VK5TR
  26. Daniel VK5DF
  27. Brett VK3FLCS
  28. John VK5TD
  29. Johnno VK3FMPB
  30. Richard VK5ZRY
  31. Dennis VK3BQZ/m
  32. Brian VK3BBB
  33. John VK5FTCT
  34. Peter VK3TKK
  35. John VK3FCAN
  36. Craig VK3JK
  37. VK3NCC/p
  38. Daniel VK5DF
  39. Rob VK2QR/p (SOTA)
  40. S58AL
  41. WH6DXW
  42. S52KM
  43. I5FLN
  44. M0HDX
  45. OP7M
  46. IK1GPG
  47. DL7UXG
  48. SP5BR
  49. RZ3DN
  50. SP5AUB
  51. JA1HOX
  52. IK2VFR
  53. ON4BB
  54. PA1AR
  55. M0WYZ
  56. RU3EG
  57. John VK6NU
  58. DL2ND
  59. DL1EKO
  60. DL1EBR
  61. F1BLL
  62. DJ7ZZ
  63. IZ5JMZ
  64. DL5EBG

Below is a video of the activation…..

 

References.

Parks Victoria, 2014, ‘Mount Richmond National Park Visitor Guide’.

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