My final activation for Monday 17th November, 2014, and my final activation for the four days away, was the Little Desert National Park, VKFF-291, which is located about 375 km north west of Melbourne, in western Victoria.
Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
I activated the Little Desert National Park in September, 2013. For more information on that activation, and details on the park, please have a look at my previous post…..
This is a vast park, covering an area of about. The park has slowly evolved and grown in size over the years. The Kiata Lowan Sanctuary, consisting of 217 hectares, was created in 1955 and was set aside for the preservation of the Malleefowl. The Malleefowl is an endangered bird, and is also known as the Lowan.
image courtesy of wikipedia.org
For more information on the Mallee Fowl, have a look at the following wikipedia article…..
The park was increased in size in 1968 to 945 hectares and was declared as the Little Desert National Park. It was also at this time that the Government ammounced that about 80,000 hectares of desert in the area would be sub divided and cleared for agriculture. Great debate commenced and it was argued that in the long term the land would be more valuable in its natural state. As a result the sub division plan was abandoned, and in December 1969, the park was increased to 35,300 hectares. And then in 1986, the Land Conservation Council which had been created by the Government to advise on the use of public land, recommended an increase in size of the park. The Central and Western Blocks were created and added to the existing Eastern Block. This increased the park in size to 132,000 hectares. In May 1988, the park was declared as a National Park, and it now extends all the way from the Wimmera River in the east, to the South Australian border.
map courtesy of parkweb.vic.gov.au
I headed out to the park from Dimboola via Wimmera Street and then Horse Shoe Bend Road. I set up in the same vicinity as last year, which was near a spot in the Wimmera River called Horseshoe Bend. There is a campground here with wooden benches and seats, and it is beautifully shaded with large River Red gum trees. It is a very pretty spot close to the Wimmera River on the eastern boundary of the park. It is a much prettier and cooler option than some of the more remote and baron parts of the park.
map courtesy of parkweb.vic.gov.au
The Little Desert National Park contains more than 670 species of native plants. Over 220 bird species have been recorded in the park. A variety of native animals are also found in the park including Brush-tailed Possums, kangaroos, bats, and many different kinds of reptiles including Stumpy-tailed lizards and Bearded Dragons.
I was set up and ready to go by 4.07 p.m. Victorian time. I started calling CQ on 7.095 on 40m. My first contact was with Larry VK5LY who was running QRP, but still had a terrific 5/9 signal. This was followed by Brian VK5FMID who was also 5/9 from Mount Gambier, and then Fred VK3DAC who was 5/9. Mick VK3FAFK was next with a nice 5/9 signal from nearby Stawell. Mick is recently licenced and was one of my regular callers over the 4 days of park and SOTA activations. After working 8 stations from VK2, VK3, & VK5, on 7.095, I was forced to QSY up to 7.097 as the Kandos Net came up on 7.093 and I was getting a lot of ‘bleedover’.
After I QSYd to 7.097 I worked a further 15 stations in VK3 & VK5. This included Marco VK2YES who was portable in the Olney State Forest near Lake Macquarie, and Norm VK5GI who was running QRP 5 watts on his home brew transceiver from Willunga south of Adelaide.
After working a total of 23 stations on 40m, I headed over to 20m, where I worked a total of 9 stations in New Zealand, VK2, Russia, and VK6. I started calling CQ on 14.244 and my CQ was responded to by Don ZL1AQ and then Noel ZL1DAI. Mike VK2ABT then called in, and this was followed by Sergey RA3PCI, Jeff VK3HJA, Jason Vk6YTS, and Paul VK2DNL. I put out a few more CQ calls but there were no takers, so I tuned around the 20m band and found T32TV working weak Europeans. I also heard 4X6TT on 14.200 but he was just a little too weak to try to work. I then worked Franc (ZL1SLO) operating as ZL1PPY, a special event call commemorating the centenary of the First World War 1914-1918.
So after about 1 hour 15 minutes in the park, I had a total of 32 QSOs in the log. That combined with the 10 QSOs from my activation in September, 2013, saw me fall just 2 QSOs short of the required 44 QSO’s for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) global awards. Oh well, I will have to revist the park at some stage.
The following stations were worked:-
- Larry VK5LY
- Brian VK5FMID
- Fred VK3DAC
- Mick VK3FAFK
- Tom VK5EE
- Nev VK5WG
- Kieran VK2QK
- Tim VK5AV
- Marco VK2YES/p
- Bernard VK3AV
- Greg VK5GJ
- Robin VK5TN
- John VK5FMJC
- Brett VK3FLCS
- Allen VK5FD
- Daniel VK5DF
- Ian VK5CZ
- Norm VK5GI/qrp
- Ewen VK3OW
- Colin VK3NGC/m
- Rob VK3FKL
- Ron VK3JP
- Allen VK3HRA
- Don ZL1AQ
- Noel ZL1DAI
- Mike VK2ABT
- Sergey RA3PCI
- Jeff VK3HJA
- Jason VK6YTS
- Paul VK2DNL
- Franc ZL1PPY
- Franc ZL1SLO
After getting mobile I worked Rick VK3EQ who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Beenak, VK3/ VC-016 (5/5 sent and 5/8 received).
Below is a video of the activation…..
Parks Victoria, June 2014, ‘Little Desert National Park Visitor Guide’.
Wikipedia.org, 2014, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Desert_National_Park>, viewed 1st December 2014