Mount Coree, ACT, VK1/ AC-023 and Namadgi National Park VKFF-377

On Thursday afternoon (7th May 2015) I flew over to Canberra to attend the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) Annual General Meeting.  I spent a nice Thursday evening with John VK5BJE and a good meal and a few reds. And on Friday morning (8th May 2015), Andrew VK1DA was kind enough to pick myself and John up from our hotel, the Novotel and take us up into the mountains outside of Canberra for two activations for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  We were very fortunate weather wise, as although it was a very cold morning, there was no rain, and it was quite sunny.  It was a beautiful drive out of Canberra up in to the Namadgi National Park.

Our first activation for the day was Mount Coree, VK1/AC-023 which is located in the Namadgi National Park, VKFF-377, about 56 km by road from Canberra.  It may have only been a short distance km wise, but it took about 90 minutes to get there due to the terrain. Screenshot 2015-05-14 21.27.27

Above: Map showing the location of Mount Coree.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount Coree was formerly known as Pabral, and is 1,421 metres above sea level.  It is with 4 points for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  The summit is located within the Brindabella Range on the border between the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW).  The actual summit is located within the ACT.  The mountain is situated in the Brindabella National Park on the NSW side and in the Namdgi National Park on the ACT side. Prior to European settlement, the mountain was used by local Aboriginal tribes to hunt for Bogong moths.  In fact, ‘Coree’ is an aboriginal name for moth.  The Bogong moth is a temperate species of night flying moth.  The mountain was originally shown as ‘Pabral’ on an 1834 map of the famous explorer, Major Sir Thomas Mitchell. The Namadgi National Park was declared as a National Park in 1984 and covers an area of 106,095 hectares, almost half of the ACT.  About 35 species of native mammals can be located in the park including Swamp wallabies, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, echidnas, wombats, emus, pygmy possums and numerous reptiles.  There are 13 threatened species documented including the Smoky mouse, River Blackfish, and Northern Corroboree Frog. Screenshot 2015-05-14 21.30.47

Above:- Map showing the location of the summit on the ACT/NSW border.  Image courtesy of http://www.sotamaps.org

Andrew parked his car just off the track leading up to the summit and we walked the remainder of the way, a short distance of about 300 metres.

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This is a very exposed summit with some amazing views of the Namadgi National Park and the Brindabella National Park.  The summit is right on the ACT and New South Wales border and offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.  And because it was so exposed, it was very windy.  And I mean, very windy.

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Andrew used the trig point on the summit to secure his squid pole with his home brew linked dipole on the top.  John VK5BJE, started off first, followed by myself, and then Andrew.  It was very windy and cool on the summit, and after reaching 10 contacts each, John and I were very happy.  We had qualified the summit for SOTA and had qualified the National Park for the WWFF program. Of my ten contacts, four were summit to summit contacts: with Peter VK3PF/1 on Bobogon Range VK1/ AC-044, Andrew VK1NAM/2 on VK2/ SM-093, Onno VK6FLAB/1 on Mount Ginini VK1/ AC-008, and Gerard VK2IO/1 on Mount Gingera VK1/ AC-002

I worked the following stations:- Screenshot 2015-05-14 22.13.20 At the bottom of the summit, we stopped for a quick photo opportunity.  There was a great view back up to the trig point on the summit.  It certainly highlighted the sheer cliff face of Mount Coree.

We then headed to ‘Bulls Head’ picnic/camp ground, for a quick lunch break and a catch up with some other keen amateurs that were out activating summits and parks as well.  This included Onno VK6FLAB and Marc VK3OHM.  These guys had just activated Mount Ginini and were heading to Mount Coree.  And we had just activated Mount Coree and were heading to Mount Ginini.

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References. ACT Government, 2015, <http://www.tams.act.gov.au&gt;, viewed 13th May 2015. Visit Canberra, 2015, <http://www.visitcanberra.com.au&gt;, viewed 13th May 2015 Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Coree&gt;, viewed 13th May 2015

Murray River National Park, VKFF-372

After my activation of Murray Sunset National Park in north western Victoria, I headed back over the border and travelled to the Lyrup Flats section of the Murray River National Park near Renmark in South Australia.  I had earlier arranged an activation at Murray River NP with Larry VK5LY, Ivan VK5HS & Peter VK5FLEX.

The park qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and also the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

The Murray River National Park comprises three sections, Katarapko, Lyrup Flats and Bulyong Island. These three areas of similar habitat form an archipelago (group of islands) park and are important in conserving a number of flood plain environments.

Lyrup Flats encompasses an area along the flood plain on the northern side of the River Murray. Opposite the township of Lyrup, the park is easily reached by turning off the Sturt Highway just past Berri and continuing down to the River Murray.  Lyrup Flats provides wonderful opportunities for birdwatching, fishing, camping, and bushwalking along the majestic River Murray.

Screenshot 2015-05-06 09.23.48

Above:- Map showing the location of the Murray River NP.  Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

I accessed the park off the Sturt Highway and travelled down the dirt road into the park.  The park is well sign posted on the Sturt Highway.

As you travel along the dirt road through the park you will notice all of the dead trees.  This is due to the salinity in the soil in the Flats area of the park.

I travelled down to one of the smaller dirt tracks leading off to the River itself and set up at one of the campsites.  It was a real shame to see that somebody had been there before me, and had left their campfire full of broken bottles and empty food cans.  Not surprising really, as I would imagine there is very little policing of the park by DEWNT due to staff shortages.  A real pity!

For this activation I used the Yaesu FT-857d and the 40m/20m linked dipole on top of the 7 metre squid pole.

Screenshot 2015-05-06 09.25.20

Despite the grubs that had left the campsite untidy, this was a very beautiful spot right alongside of the Murray River.   It was a beautiful mild day with minimal breeze and the river was very still most of the time, except for the occasional boat that passed by.

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It wasn’t long before Ivan, Larry and Peter were on scene and we were up on air.  The main reason for this activation was to get Larry VK5LY out and about in his first park after a long absence due to ill health.  And it wasn’t long before Larry had a pile up going on 40m.  It was great to see.

Thanks to everyone that called Larry.  It was extremely pleasing to see Larry back on air, with a smile on his face, operating from a park.

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Peter VK5FLEX then worked a few stations on 40m, and when Peter had finished I jumped on to 20m and worked a total of 28 stations in Europe.  But it was starting to get quite late in the afternoon and I still had a 2 & 1/2 hour drive to get home, so I had to go QRT.  I am sorry to all those that were still calling.

As I mentioned earlier, the River was very still at times and presented with some excellent photo opportunities, with the River Red Gums on the other side of the river, reflecting off the water.

And as we left the park, there was plenty of wildlife to be seen, including Western Grey kangaroos and Emus.

And I was blessed with a beautiful drive home to the Adelaide Hills.  The moon was coming out as the sun started to set in the west.  And it was an amazing sunset.

I worked the following stations during the activation:-

  1. VK5BJE/p (Belair National Park)
  2. VK3ARR/p
  3. I5FLN
  4. S58AL
  5. ON5SWA
  6. IK1GPG
  7. EA3MP
  8. DL1EBR
  9. UT5PI
  10. RA3PCI
  11. ON4ATK
  12. OP7M
  13. OZ5HP
  14. IC8ATA
  15. DL4PT
  16. DL5WW
  17. DJ8QP
  18. VK6MB
  19. ON7AB
  20. VK4QO
  21. VK2BSY/pedestrian mobile
  22. F5OUD
  23. SA5ACR
  24. PE1DH
  25. UR7ET
  26. MM0GTU
  27. F6HQP
  28. G0RQL
  29. M0HOO

References.

Department of Environment and Heritage, 2011, Parks of the Riverland.