Following my activation at the Swan Reach Conservation Park, I headed towards Swan Reach township, and then travelled down to the Ridley Conservation Park (CP), which is located about 124 km north east of Adelaide, and about 13 km south of the town of Swan Reach on the River Murray.
Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
The Ridley CP is located on the western side of the Mannum-Swan Reach Road (Murraylands Road). It is a long narrow park, 10 km x 0.4 km, and covers an area of about 414.3 hectares. The southern boundary of the park is on the edge of the valley of the River Marne. This is the location of Hayward’s Hill, which is the highest point in the park. About 35 % of the park comprises an open scrub of Red Mallee and Yorrell. There are also some stands of Murray Pine and associated areas of shrubland dominated by Hop Bush and Cassias. The remaining 65 % of the park comprises low open woodland of Native Apricot and False Sandalwood. The understorey consists of Spear-grass and ephemeral herbs.
The park was originally set aside to conserve native vegetation and bird habitats. Also, the open areas of the park include a number of warrens of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat. Other native animals found in the park include echidnas, and Western Grey kangaroos.
Southern Hairy-nosed wombat. Image courtesy of wikipedia.
I last activated this park in May, 2013. For more information on that activation, please have a look at my previous post at…..
Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
I set up just off the eastern side of Murraylands Road. I had arrived at the park a little later than planned. I was meant to be on air at 0700 UTC (5.30 p.m.), but it wasn’t until 0750 UTC that I was set up and ready to go. It was still warm (I was in a t-shirt), but it was very dark and very windy.
As often happens, I asked if the frequency was in (I was on 7.095) and I was answered by the ever reliable John VK5BJE who advised the frequency was all mine. This was followed by a call from John VK5FTCT in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, with a beautiful 5/9 signal.
Again, for this activation, I worked a handful of QRP operators. The first of those was Nev VK5WG, at Crustal Brook running 5 watts from his X1M, and then Greg VK5GJ at Meadows, also running 5 watts. And then Peter VK5NAQ at Balaklava in the Mid North, who was also running just 5 watts.
The strongest station worked was Paul VK7CC on the north coast of Tasmania, who had a great 5/9 plus signal (nearly 30/9). Paul’s signal report for me was 10/9.
I had been on 7.095 for 35 minutes, chatting to stations in VK2, VK3, and VK5, when a couple of VK2 fellas decided they would come up on 7.093. So that was pretty much the end of that. They were causing just too much splatter and I was forced to wrap up my activity on 7.095. I think it was a planned ‘sked’ frequency and they were not going to move for anyone, despite me hearing a station I had worked, asking them to QSY. I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the 40m/20m linked dipole, and had a listen on 20m. I worked just 2 stations there. They being JD1BOX on Ogaswara, and then Rich G0OWU at Wrens Nest in England.
It was starting to get a bit cool, and the wind was certainly not abating. This combined with the fact that the sun was starting to set, meant that the wombats and kangaroos would now be getting active. So I packed up the gear and headed home. I had a total of 20 contacts in the log.
The following stations were worked:-
- John VK5BJE
- John VK5FTCT
- Nev VK5WG
- Greg VK5GJ
- Terry VK3UP
- Brian VK5FMID
- Arno VK5ZAR
- Ian VK5CZ
- John VK2AWJ
- Jeff VK5HEL
- Greg VK2QE
- Tom VK5FTRG
- Bruce VK2FBJM
- Ron VK2NZL
- Rob VK2DRB/m
- Damien VK5FDEC
- Paul VK7CC
- Peter VK5NAQ
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
- Rich G0OWU
National Pakrs and Wildlife Service, 1984, ‘Conservation Parks of the Murraylands (Western Plains) Management Plans’