Pike River Conservation Park, VKFF-831

Most of Saturday (2nd May 2015) I spent around the home of Ivan VK5HS at Renmark, having my new Codan 9350 antenna installed on my Toyota Hi Lux.  During the morning Peter VK5FLEX called in, as did John VK5FANG.  It was a long day.  In fact we didn’t finish until late in the afternoon, and after a few beers I headed back to my motel room.

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But there wasn’t a lot on the television, so I decided to head out to activate the Pike River Conservation Park, which was to be another new unique park for me as an activator.  The park is just a short drive out of Renmark along the Sturt Highway towards the Victorian/South Australian border.

To get to the park, you need to cross the historic Paringa lifting bridge which I took the opportunity of stopping here for some photographs.  The Paringa Bridge, which was constructed in 1927, is one of only two opening bridges in South Australia.  The other is at Port Adelaide.  The Paringa Bridge is technically a ‘lift span’ bridge as it has a section that lifts up to allow large vessels through.

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The Pike River CP is about 296 hectares in size and consists of a major floodplain and a branch system of the River Murray.  The park has a number of species of national significance including the Southern Bell Frog, Murray Cod, and the Regent Parrot.  It also contained an additional 18 species with State Conservation significance.

Screenshot 2015-05-06 09.08.16

Again, this park is not at all signposted.  So you will need to rely upon your GPS.  There is an open and unlocked gate on the western side of the Sturt Highway which takes you into the park.  The track is okay, but in 2WD, you will only be able to reach a certain point.  I drove all the way down to the water’s edge and set up on the edge of the track.

Screenshot 2015-05-06 09.08.52

As it was quite late  (4.45 p.m.) I headed straight to 20m.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu Ft-857d, 70 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre telescopic squid pole.  I called CQ only once, on 14.310, and to my surprise, my CQ call was immediately answered by ON6PV in Belgium.  And I was even more surprised when my second caller was Danny OT6V who was portable in a park in Belgium, Rodebos en Laanvallei, ONFF-391 (5/3 sent and 5/5 received).  Here is a link to Danny’s page about that activation…..



I was then called by Rod VK4NUM, followed by Ray VK4NH portable near Bourketown, and then Aaron AL4Y in Alaska.  Aaron was a very nice 5/8 signal and he gave me a 5/6 signal report.  Aaron was also kind enough to spot me on the DX cluster and this resulted in a large pile up.  In fact I worked a total of 60 stations in Belgium, VK4, Alaska, Italy, VK6, Denmark, Hungary, Germany, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Sweden, Azores Islands, Russia, Slovak Republic, Spain, Estonia, Portugal, Canary Islands, Ireland, Netherlands, USA, and England.  And again, I spoke to my good friend Marnix, OP7M in Belgium.

Thanks to everyone that spotted me on the DX cluster.

Screenshot 2015-05-12 22.21.02

Image courtesy of http://www.dxwatch.com

I then moved over to 40m.  It was now totally dark and the local time was 6.00 p.m.  I called CQ on 7.110 and this was answered by Adam VK2YK in Newcastle, followed by John VK5NJ in Mount Gambier, and then Rex VK3OF.

I had some excellent QRP contacts on 40m whilst in the park.  This included Amanda VK3FQSO running 500 milliwatts (5/7 both ways), Roald VK1FIVE running 5 watts (5/6 sent and 5/9 received), Tony VK3VTH running 500 millwatts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received), Adrian VK5FANA running 5 watts (5/9 both ways), Peter VK3PF running 5 watts (5/9 both ways), Dave VK2BDR rnning 5 watts (5/9 both ways), Steve VK2FAJF also running 5 watts (5/9 both ways), Alan VK2AJG running 5 watts (5/8 both ways); Doug VK2FMIA running 5 watts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received), and Rob VK3EY running 1.5 watts (5/7 sent and 5/9 received).  Band conditions on 40m were excellent.

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I also managed a park to park contact with newly licenced amateur, Brendon VK5FFCC who was operating portable from the Morialta Conservation Park.  Brendon had a nice sounding station with his Elecraft KX3, 10 watts and end fed antenna.  Not a bad effort at all Brendon.  Licenced for one week, and already out in a park, and sounding like a pro.  Congratulations.  Below is a quick video of what Brendon sounded like to me……

I also worked Ken ZL4KD in new Zealand, who has now become a familiar caller and is a member of the VK5 Parks Yahoo group.

There was an annoying noise on 7.110 though.  I am not sure what it was.  I’ve attached a video below, so if anyone knows what the noise is, I would be pleased to hear from you…..

When things slowed down a little I had a tune around the band and heard NP4A calling CQ on 7.129.  I patiently waited my turn and gave Pedro a call and got through on the first go.  I have worked Pedro a few times before whilst I’ve been out in a park, and he always puts a great signal into Australia.

This was a very successful activation, with a total of 118 contacts in the log, including some nice DX contacts.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. ON6PV
  2. OT4V/p (ONFF-391)
  3. VK4NUM
  4. VK4NH/p
  5. AL4Y
  6. VK4MWG
  7. I5FLN
  8. VK6MB
  9. OZ5HP
  10. ON7AB
  11. HA6OB
  12. IZ0UIM
  13. IK1GPG
  14. DL7UXG
  15. IZ5JMZ
  16. F5IDJ
  17. HB9CXZ
  18. F5OUD
  19. F2YT
  20. S58AL
  21. LY3A
  22. SM5EPO
  23. DK0EE
  24. F6CAM
  25. CU3BL
  26. DL1EBR
  27. S52KM
  28. DL5EBG
  29. RY3D
  30. IZ1JMN
  31. ON5SWA
  32. EA3MP
  33. OM7OM
  34. ES1IP
  35. CT1EEQ
  36. EA2DT
  37. DJ8QP
  38. HA0LG
  39. CR8ABC
  40. ON4CB
  41. EI2HW
  42. I8OCA
  43. DK4RM
  44. EA1DFP
  45. PA5WK
  46. OZ4RT
  47. OK2TS
  48. EA4DTV
  49. DL9GWD
  50. W1ASB
  51. EA8AIN
  52. DK9JI
  53. W4FOA
  54. EI4II
  55. ON1JU
  56. EA8UP
  57. G8CMU
  58. G0MJS
  59. EI7IP
  60. OP7M

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2YK
  2. VK5NJ
  3. VK3OF
  4. VK3PMG
  5. VK3VCE
  6. VK3TKK/m
  7. VK4HNS/m
  8. VK3FQSO
  9. VK1FIVE
  10. VK3MOW
  11. VK3VTH
  12. VK5FANA
  13. VK3PF
  14. ZL4KD
  15. VK2BDR
  16. VK2FAJF
  17. VK2AJG
  18. VK2FMIA
  19. VK5PO
  20. VK3EY
  21. VK3GUY
  22. VK3NSC
  23. VK3DAC
  24. VK5NQP
  25. VK5HS
  26. VK5ZAR
  27. VK5AV
  28. VK3ANL
  29. VK5JP
  30. VK2MZZ/m
  31. VK5LI
  32. VK2JNG/p
  33. VK5FFCC/p (Morialta Conservation Park)
  34. VK2JCC
  35. VK2FDJO/m
  36. VK5HSX
  37. VK3FEUG
  38. VK3TAL
  39. VK4FAAS
  40. VK5FMJC
  41. VK2EIR
  42. VK3FMDS
  43. VK3HRA
  44. VK3GDM
  45. VK3IO
  46. VK2IO
  47. VK5CZ
  48. VK3HSR
  49. VK5FEKH
  50. VK3FILB
  51. VK5FTRG
  52. VK4QQ
  53. VK5EE
  54. VK5FLEX
  55. VK4FBMW
  56. NP4A
  57. ZL2ASH
  58. VK2JE


Paringa House, 2015, <http://www.paringahouse.com.au/History.html&gt;, viewed 12th May 2015.

Pike River Land Management Group, 2015, <http://pikeriver.net/about/&gt;, viewed 12th May 2015.

8 thoughts on “Pike River Conservation Park, VKFF-831

  1. Reblogged this on G4YDM and commented:
    You will never know who you will talk to via Ham Radio and the geographical education from other Hams around the World, is priceless…JOHN ALLSOPP G4YDM

      • Thanks Paul, its my pleasure. Looking to get a suitable portable rig in the next few weeks, maybe the IC-7100 all mode all bands, its missing a tea maker only hihi..73 de John G4YDM

  2. Gday John,

    Good luck with acquiring a portable tx. I use a Yaesu FT-817nd for my SOTA work and a FT-857d for my parks activities. Highly recommend both.

    Hope to talk soon.

    Best 73,


  3. Pingback: Pike River Conservation Park 5CP-180 and VKFF-0831 | vk5pas

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