Cox Scrub Conservation Park, VKFF-824

After leaving the Kyeema Conservation Park I headed for my second activation, the Cox Scrub Conservation Park, VKFF-824, which is located about 70 km south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 17.34.07

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of

This was to be a unique WWFF park for me.  Although I have activated the park a number of times previously as part of the VK5 Parks award.  For more detailed information on the park, and thiose activations, please have a look at my previous posts…..

I headed for the main carpark off the Bull Creek Road.  This is on the eastern side of the park, and is the location from where I have previously activated the park.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 17.34.41

On my way to the park I had spoken with Col VK5HCF in the Penambol Conservation Park, VKFF-802 from my mobile.  Col was keen to get me in the log for a park to park contact.  And as I was pulling in to the park I gave Col another quick shout to let him know that I would be up on deck in about 10 minutes.

So after setting up, I immediately went to 7.105 and there was Col VK5HCF calling CQ from Penambol.  Col was my first contact (5/9 both ways) and a park to park contact for the VK5 Parks Award to boot.

I then tuned down the band a little and heard Hugh VK5NHG calling CQ on 7.103 from SOTA peak, Eke Hill, VK5/ NE-069 near the Bendleby Ranges in the north of South Australia (5/9 both ways).

I kept tuning down the band and my next contact was with Brett VK4FTWO, in the Burrum Coast National Park, VKFF-070 (5/6 both ways).

I then went up to 7.095 and there worked Rob VK4FFAB who was also out and about, in the Venman Bushland National Park, VKFF-507.  A mini pile up ensued after my contact with Rob, with callers from VK3, VK5, & VK7.  This included QSO’s with Julie VK3FOWL & Joe VK3YSP operating portable at the Melbourne Museum, and Brandon VK4FABB who was activating VKFF-507 with Rob VK4FFAB.  Following my QSO with Brandon, Ian VK1DI called in, operating portable from Percival Hill Nature Reserve, VKFF-859 in the ACT.  For more information on Ian’s activation, check out Ian’s blog at…..

And a number of contacts later, Nick VK3ANL called in again, this time on the top of Mount Donna Buang, VK3/ VC-002 and within the Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-556.

I worked a total of 45 stations on 40m, before trying 20m.  But the 20m band was very quiet.  I had left my run there a little late.  I only managed three contacts, however one of those was with Mike VK6MB who was activating Karijini National Park, VKFF-237, followed by John VK6NU.  It is always good to get the VK6 guys in the log.

I also had a visitor during this activation.  It was Phil VK5GM, who I had worked from Kyeema.  Phil lives nearby at Tooperang, so He decided to pop in and say hello and have a look at my portable set up.

It was getting dark and was nearly 5.30 p.m. so it was time to pack up and head back home to Mount Barker.  This was another successful activation for me, with a total of 48 contacts, and a new VKFF park to add to my Activator list.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HCF/p (Penambol CP VKFF-812)
  2. VK5NHG/p (SOTA VK5
  3. VK4FTWO/p (Burrum Coast National Park, VKFF-070)
  4. VK4FFAB/p (VKFF-507)
  5. VK5ZGY/m
  6. VK3PMG
  7. VK3FOWL/p (Melbourne Museum)
  8. VK3FQSO
  9. VK3BHR
  10. VK4FABB/p (VKFF-507)
  11. VK1DI/p (Percival Hill Nature Reserve, VKFF-859)
  12. VK3YSP/p (Melbourne Museum)
  13. VK3NBL/p
  14. VK4AAC/5
  15. VK3ARM/m
  16. VK3DBP
  17. VK3TJK
  18. VK3NBV
  19. VK3YAR
  20. VK5FTRG
  21. VK7LCW
  22. VK5FMID
  23. VK3OF
  24. VK5ZAR
  25. VK3PF
  26. VK5GJ
  27. VK5KX
  28. VK5TR
  29. VK5NRG
  30. VK5HV
  31. VK5GM
  32. VK3FLES
  33. VK5SFA
  34. VK2LEE
  35. VK3TKK/m
  36. VK5KBM
  37. VK4FBMW
  38. VK3ANL/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-002)
  39. VK5FANA
  40. VK2MJB
  41. VK3LO
  42. VK5HEL
  43. VK3DCU
  44. VK5ZEA
  45. VK2LAX

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK6MB/p (VKFF-257)
  3. VK6NU

Kyeema Conservation Park VKFF-826

Just after lunch on Saturday 27th June, 2015, I headed out to activate two parks for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program: Kyeema and Cox Scrub.  I had activated both parks previously as part of the VK5 Parks Award, but not for WWFF.  Both parks have recently been added to the WWFF program, so these were going to be two WWFF unique parks for me.  The first activation was the Kyeema Conservation Park, VKFF-826.

Kyeema Conservation Park is located about 60 km south of Adelaide, between Meadows and Willunga.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 16.50.54 Above:- Map showing the location of Kyeema CP.  Map courtesy of

For more information on the park and info on my three previous activations, please have a look at my previous posts…..

The park is just a short 25 minute drive from home, through to Echunga and on to Meadows, and then along the Brookman Road towards Willunga.  I turned into Woodgate Hill Road and followed the southern boundary of the park.  I have previously activated the park from the main carpark area on Woodgate Hill Road.  I was hoping to activate the park from a different location this time, so I looked at a few of the DEWNR gates along Woodgate Hill Road.  However they were all locked and this involved scrambling over barbed wire fences.  I travelled further east until I reached Blackfellows Creek Road, but could not find another suitable spot to access the park, so I decided to head to the normal spot.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 16.51.28

Above:- Map showing my operating location.  Map courtesy of

Just as I was pulling up into the park I spoke with Tony VK3VTH from my mobile.  Tony was portable in Werribee Gorge State Park, VKFF-775 and had a lovely 5/9 signal coming into the mobile.  I had a quick chat with Tony and told him I was about to set up.  I didn’t want Tony disappearing to 20m.

So I quickly set up my gear, the Yaesu FT-857d, and the 20m/40m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre squid pole.  Sadly, I had not checked the 44 amp hour power pack before leaving home, and it was down a little in charge.  So for this activation I ran 20 watts.

After turning on the radion I tuned to 7.095 and there was Tony VK3VTH calling CQ.  So I gave Tony a shout and was very pleased to have Tony in my log as number one contact from VKFF-775 to VKFF-826.  I then went down to 7.090 and called CQ and this immediately resulted in a mini pile up.  First taker was Peter VK3ATC, followed by Mick VK3PMG, and then Gerard VK2IO.  The pile up continued with numerous callers from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, all with exceptional signals.

And amongst all the callers I hear Rob’s voice, VK4FFAB who was portable in Venman Busland National Park, VKFF-507 (5/5 both ways).  I was very pleased to get another VKFF park in the log.

I also took a break from the pileup, and called for QRP stations and this resulted in calls from Greg VK5GJ running 4 watts (5/7 both ways), Ron VK3APC running 5 watts (5/7 sent and 5/8 received), and Steve VK2LAD running 3 watts (5/6 sent and 5/7 received).

I went on to work a further 13 stations in VK1, VK3, and VK5, including David VK5PL (formerly VK5NQP) who has recently upgraded to the Advanced call.  Congratulations David.  And also Frank VK2BFC (formerly VK2HFS).  Well done to you as well Frank.

I was then called by my third VKFF park for this activation.  This time it was Ian VK1DI who was portable in Percival Hill Nature Reserve, VKFF-859.  This is one of the new 33 Canberra Nature Reserves added to the WWFF program.  And it was a unique park for me to add to my Hunter list.

A few QSO’s later I was called by Col VK5HCF who was portable in the Penambol Conservation Park, VKFF-802 in the South East of South Australia.  Col was an exceptionally good 5/9 signal coming in to the Fleurieu Peninsula.  I was also called by husband and wife team, Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL, who were operating portable at the Melbourne Museum as part of Museums Weekend.  Although Joe and Julie were running QRP 5 watts, they were an excellent 5/9 into Kyeema.

My last contact on 40m was with Nick VK3ANL who was activating SOTA peak, Mount Little Joe, VK3/ VC-027.  Nick was a good 5/7 signal.  I left the frequency for Nick, and I headed off to 20m, hoping to get some DX in the log.  I called CQ on 14.310 and this was immediately answered by Luciano, I5FLN in Italy.  Not sure whether Luciano had seen me spotted on parksnpeaks, or was monitoring this frequency, but he was there straight after letting go of the mic, which was a really pleasant surprise.  Another CQ call was answered by Max IK1GPG in Italy, and then Mike VK6MB who was portable in Karijini National Park, VKFF-257 (5/3 sent and 5/5 received).

I had a good flow of callers on 20m from Slovenia, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Corsica (a new one for me whilst portable), USA, VK1, VK2, VK4, and VK5.  My last 2 contacts on 20m were also VKFF reference areas.  Ian VK1DI in VKFF-859 gave me a call, and this was followed by Fred VK4FE portable in Mowbray National Park, VKFF-367.

For more information on Ian VK1DI’s activation, check out his blog at…..

I went on to work a total of 17 stations on 20m, before I decided it was time to pack up and head off to Cox Scrub Conservation Park.  It was 3.00 p.m. South Australian local time.

This was another very successful activation, with a total of 71 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3VTH/p (VKFF-775)
  2. VK3ATC
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK2IO
  5. VK2CCW
  6. VK5LY
  7. VK3OHM
  8. VK3DBP
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK5FLEX
  11. VK4FFAB/p (Venman Bushland National Park, VKFF-507)
  12. VK5FMID
  13. VK5TN/m
  14. VK2HHA
  15. VK4AAC/5
  16. VK5GJ
  17. VK3APC
  18. VK2LAD
  19. VK5FBAA/m
  20. VK3CRG
  21. VK1NAM
  22. VK3BHR
  23. VK1AT
  24. VK5MBD
  25. VK3YAR
  26. VK3HRA
  27. VK5FTCT
  28. VK5PL
  29. VK2GAZ
  30. VK3TJK
  31. VK2BFC
  32. VK1DI/p (Percival Hill Nature Reserve, VKFF-859)
  33. VK3OF
  34. VK2TRL
  35. VK5HCF/p (Penambol CP, VKFF-802)
  36. VK3FSPG
  37. VK3TWO
  38. VK6HSB/5
  39. VK2SR
  40. VK2HRX
  41. VK2AWJ
  42. VK3YSP/p (Melbourne Museum)
  43. VK3FOWL/p (Melbourne Museum)
  44. VK2LEE
  45. VK3FQSO
  46. VK5KKT
  47. VK7LCW
  48. VK5FTRG
  49. VK4HNS/p
  50. VK7AN
  51. VK4ARW
  52. VK5SFA
  53. VK5GM
  54. VK3ANL/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-027)

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. I5FLN
  2. IK1GPG
  3. VK6MB/p (VKFF-257)
  4. VK2LEE
  5. S58AL
  6. S52KM
  7. DK4RM
  8. F1BLL
  9. DL2ND
  10. ON4BB
  11. OK1FIM
  12. TK5AE
  13. VK1NAM
  14. W0GLG
  15. VK5GM
  16. VK1DI/p (Percival Hill Nature Park, VKFF-859)
  17. VK4FE/p (Mowbray National Park, VKFF-367)

Mount Arden VK5/ NE-034

It was our last day, Monday 22nd June 2015.  It had been a terrific 11 days away.  Lots of laughs (spurred on by red wine), great scenery, and some great park and SOTA activations in some quite remote parts of South Australia.  Today we were heading home, but along the way we were to stop in to Argadells and travel along one of their 4WD tracks to activate the summit, Mount Arden VK5/ NE-034, as part of the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  We had intended to activate Mount Arden earlier in our trip, but the bad weather had conspired against us. So we all travelled together, heading south on The Outback Highway.  Along the way, there was plenty of native fauna to view, including kangaroos, emus, and a view photogenic Wedge Tailed Eagle who was sitting up on the top of some ruins between Hawker and Quorn.

Marija and I also briefly stopped off again at the Kanyaka Ruins.  Although we had stopped in there on the way up to Farina, the weather on that day was terrible, and our exploration of these amazing ruins was cut short.

We then travelled back down the Arden Vale Road, and through the Willochra Creek, which still had a bit of water in it.  Albeit, a lot less than the week prior.

And as we travelled south on Arden Vale Road, we were able to get some great views of Mount Arden in the distance.  The tower on the top of the summit was clearly visible.  This was a very different view of the mountains compared to the wet weather days we had experienced at Argadells, when the summit and the surrounding terrain was fogged over.

Once we arrived at Argadells we touched base with Judy, the owner, and then proceeded to the campgound where John unhitched his camper trailer, and we unloaded some gear from the back seat of his Nissan.  The plan was for David & Joy to travel with John and Jenny to the top of Mount Arden.  It wasn’t long before David and Joy arrived, and we were away to the top of Mount Arden, despite the very windy conditions. Mount Arden is located on the property of Argadells and is about 350 km north of Adelaide.  The summit is 844 metres above sea level and is worth 6 SOTA points.  This was to be a unique activation for myself, John, and David.  The summit has been activated once before, by Ian VK5CZ in October 2014. Screenshot 2015-06-29 13.58.19

Above:- Map showing the location of the summit.  Map courtesy of

The 4WD track to to the summit, which is rated as ‘challenging’, passes through some amazing scenery on the Argadells property.  This includes creek crossings, and steep climbs, which requires low 2WD.  The views on the way up are truly inspiring.  I was amazed at how the terrain changed quite dramatically as we travelled to the top of the summit.  The Hannimans Gorge is a pretty area with lots of water flowing through the creeks.  The terrain here is very green and lush with some spectacular river red gums.

Once up on the top of the summit, we soon gathered that it would be a challenge in erecting the squid poles.  It was incredibly windy.  John was very keen to try some 6 metre action, so he tried calling on 6m, but sadly had no luck.  I set up a 40m station, and once I had qualified the summit, David VK5KC, and then John VK5BJE also qualified the SOTA peak.  Despite the towers and radio communication equipment on top of the summit, is is a very RF quiet location.

My first contact was with SOTA die-hard, Peter VK3PF with a good 5/8 signal (5/5 received), followed by Ian VK5IS at Beetaloo Valley (5/9 both ways), Rex VK3OF at Swan Hill (5/9 both ways), and then Ray VK3YAR at Mandurang near Bendigo (5/9 sent and 3/4 received).  There was quite a significant difference in the reports from Rex and Ray despite there only being a 190 km difference.

My fifth contact was a Summit to Summit contact with Gerard VK2IO who was on top of SOTA peak, Mount Meehan, VK2/ CT-042, north of Orange (5/7 both ways).

I also tried 20m briefly but could only manage 5 contacts there.  My first contact on 20m was with Ian VK5IS, followed by Phil VK2JDL, Peter VK6RZ (5/ sent and 3/2 received), Dave VK4DD, and finally Glenn VK6HAD (5/8 sent and 3/1 received).   It seemed as if it was one way propogation from/to Western Australia.  Band conditions on both 40m and 20m seemed to be very poor.  Not to mention the weather conditions on the summit.  Although it was quite a mild day, the wind was absolutely howling on the top of Mount Arden.  My squid pole collapsed on at least 2 occasions due to the very high wind speed.

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I ended up with just 11 contacts for this activation.  The bands were exceptionally quiet.  Not surprising when you look at the solar conditions.  The sun has been very unstable and there was a significant Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). It was a slow drive back down in low 2WD.  We enjoyed some amazing views and encountered quite a few kangaroos and euros on our way back to the camp ground at Argadells, where we enjoyed some lunch.

I worked the following stations:- Screenshot 2015-06-29 15.02.12

Lake Torrens National Park VKFF-278

On Sunday morning, 21st June, 2015, we all awoke to a beautiful sunny, but crisp morning.  And we were all hoping that we would get the okay from the owners of Merna Mora, for us to travel out along one of their 4WD tracks to the Lake Torrens National Park, VKFF-278.  We had planned to activate Lake Torrens on Saturday, but there had been a lot of rain here in the north, so the 4WD tracks on Merna Mora property had been closed.

So we patiently waited and were then given the thumbs up by Philip and Sonya, the owners of Merna Mora.  To say I was excited was an understatement.  The rain had affected our trip quite a lot, and I was very keen to do a bit of 4WDing out to Lake Torrens, and of course activate a unique park.

Lake Torrens National Park is a very remote park, situated about 350 km north of Adelaide.  It consists of stark wilderness and the salt lake that stretches 250km in length.  Lake Torrens is normally a dry salt flat and has only been filled with water once in the past 150 years.  Thunderstorms occasionally provide a small amount of water in the lake and when this occurs, a variety of birdlife is attracted to the area.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 13.13.34

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of

By 10.15 a.m. we were on the road.  The 4WD track out to the lake is about a 110km round trip, taking you through some amazing country.

On our way out to the park I spoke with Mick VK3PMG on 7.105.  Mick was kind enough to post a message on the WWFF Australia Yahoo group and the VK5 Parks Yahoo group that we were enroute to the park, and also put up an alert on parksnpeaks for us.  Many thanks Mick

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We activated the park from very close to the shore of the lake itself, just off the 4WD track.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 13.20.49

Above:- Map showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of

After arriving at the lake, John VK5BJE and I were quick to set up our stations.  John wanted to give 30m a crack again, so I started out on 40m, calling CQ on 7.095.  Quite appropriately, after his earlier help, my first contact was with Mick VK3PMG.  This was followed by Les VK5KLB, David VK5HYZ, and then Peter VK5FLEX.  Band conditions on 40m appeared to be very good.  It was very pleasing to have a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7, all with good signals.

After working a total of 22 stations I took a break, as I was getting a bit of interference from John VK5BJE.  We had set up a little bit too close to each other.  I had some lunch and enjoyed the sunshine, and admired the amazing view of Lake Torrens.

After lunch I put out a few calls on 15m, but sadly there were no takers.  And because we had no mobile phone coverage in this remote part of South Australia, we were not able to spot ourselves on parksnpeaks.  So I put a few CQ calls out on 14.310 and spoke with VK2ID portable on the beach, Alan VK4ALA, Fred VK4FE, Craig VK2PAW, and then Marc operating a military transceiver and running just 25 watts.

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I then called CQ on 40m and my first contact there was with Cliff VK2NP, followed by Gerard VK2IO who was operating from SOTA summit, Mount Canobolas, VK2/ CT-001, near Orange.  This was followed by a call from Karl VK2GKA activating STA peak, Mount Alexandra VK2/ IL-005 near Mittagong.  A few contacts later, Peter VK3YE gave me a shout, whilst operating portable from Chelsea Beach in Melbourne, with a home brew transceiver.  I also had a contact with Ian VK1DI who was activating O’Connor Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-857.  For more info on Ian’s activation, have a look at Ian’s blog at…..

I managed to push on and go past the required 44 contacts for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  After 2 hours in the park I had a total of 47 contacts in the log.  We headed back to Merna Mora along the 4WD track, admiring the views of the Flinders Ranges and viewed a large amount of wildlife, including Western Grey kangaroos, Red Kangaroos, Emus, and Wedge Tailed eagles.  Also avoiding the occasional stock that we encountered along the way.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PMG
  2. VK5KLV
  3. VK5HYZ
  4. VK5FLEX
  5. VK3VTH
  6. VK5NQP
  7. VK5WG
  8. VK5KFB
  9. VK3ZPF
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK5FANA
  12. VK7AN/p
  13. VK4AAC/5
  14. VK5ZAR
  15. VK3TKK
  16. VK3CRG
  17. VK3OF
  18. VK3TJK
  19. VK5KAT
  20. VK5VBR
  21. VK3FTWO
  22. VK3ANL
  23. VK2NP
  24. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ CT-001)
  25. VK2GKA/p (SOTA VK2/ IL-005)
  26. VK5SFA
  27. VK5FO/m
  28. VK3IO
  29. VK3YE/p
  30. VK5KKS
  31. VK5FMID
  32. VK3AWG
  33. VK1DI/p )VKFF-857)
  34. VK5ALZ
  35. VK2RD
  36. VK5ZRY
  37. VK2NEO
  38. VK4FTWO
  39. VK4IL
  40. VK1AT
  41. VK7NWT
  42. VK3XBC

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2ID/p
  2. VK4ALA
  3. VK4FE
  4. VK2PAW
  5. VK6HAO

After returning to Merna Mora, we stoked up the outdoor fire and cooked some potatos in jackets in alfoil, as part of our tea, which we all enjoyed together again in the indoor kitchen area.

Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-176 Wilpena Pound

After leaving the Aroona ruins, we headed a bit further east on the Brachina Gorge Road and stopped for lunch.  Whilst there I spoke with Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3YSP who were operating portable at the Melbourne Museum as part of Museums Weekend.  Both Joe and Julie had a terrific 5/9 signal into my mobile station.

After lunch we continued east on the Brachina Gorge Road through the park until we hit the bitumen of the Flinders Ranges Way.  We travelled a bit further south and went to the top of the Stokes Hill lookout, which offers some amazing views of the Flinders Ranges.  Sadly, the summit does not qualify for the Summits on the Air program.

After leaving Stokes Hill lookout we continued south on the Flinders Ranges Way and then turned right into Wilpena Pound Road and on to the Wilpena Pound resort.  It was here that we refueled and grabbed a cup of coffee.

I headed over to a cleared area on the northern side of the main carpark and set up my station, the Yaesu FT-857d, and the 40m/20m linked dipole.  John VK5BJE headed a bit further over to the south and operated from a spot where he had activated from previously.  John was going to call on 40m and I decided to stick to 20m.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 12.35.13

Above:- Map showing my operating spot.  Map courtesy of

I started calling CQ on 14.244, which is the nominated calling frequency for the WWFF program.  My first taker there was Jim VK2QA, followed by David VK4HAX (I was David’s first ever 20m contact), and then Caleb ZL2ML.  Unfortunately there was a lot of QRM from a nearby Italian station, so I QSY’d down to 14.200 and called CQ again.  This time my CQ call was answered by Karl VK2GKA, followed by James VK1DR and Bruce VK4YS.   My first DX contact was 6 calls later and it was no less than my very good friend, Marnix, OP7M in Belgium.  Marnix was 5/7 and he gave me a 5/5.  It was great to get Marnix in the log.  I went on to work a further 12 stations in VK2, Italy, Poland, Germany, England, Canada, and Switzerland, until I was called away from the radio.

It was one of the DEWNR ranges who was a little bit stand offish.  Fortunately in over 200 activations, I have only had one previous ‘bad’ contact with a DEWNR ranger who told me off for tying off one of the ends of my dipole to a gum tree.  And this fella, also did not have a lot of personal skills, I am sorry to say.  I was advised to seek permission first in future as people would ask questions about what I was doing?????  Secondly I should seek permission before driving the squid pole holder into the ground.  I bit my tongue for a while and when I questioned him about this, and asked how was it any different to a tent peg or a totem tennis pole.  I never got a sensible reply.  Oh well, it was bound to happen again, a poor interaction with somebody from DEWNR.

In any event, ‘permission’ was granted for me to continue, but by this time everyone had given up on waiting for me on 14.200.  I worked Lee, AK4QA in Alabama in the USA, Albert S58AL in Slovenia and then Gyula in Hungary.

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My last contact for this activation was with Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in the Conondale National Park VKFF-109, which is located south west of Noosa Heads in Queensland.  Rob had a nice 5/7 signal and he reciprocated with a 5/4 for me.

It was time to pack up and head back home to Merna Mora.  David and Joy had already headed off, which left just radio die hards John and myself, and our patient wives Marija and Jenny.  We had a very enjoyable drive back to Merna Mora along the 30km long Moralana Track through Arkaba Station and Merna Mora Station.  We enjoyed the most amazing sunset and as Marija said, the most number of kangaroos we had ever seen.

And along Moralana Track I fired up the IC-7000 in the car and spoke with Rob VK4FFAB portable, Peter Vk2NEO, Jim VK5TR, Colin VK4FAAS, Perrin Vk3XPT, and Ivan VK5HS.

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2QA
  2. VK4HAX
  3. ZL2ML
  4. VK2GKA
  5. VK1DR
  6. VK4YS
  7. VK2JF/m
  8. VK6NTE
  9. VK2HOT
  10. VK4WJW/6
  11. VK2LX
  12. OP7M
  13. VK2MI
  14. VK4OZI
  15. VK2IO/m
  16. I5FLN
  17. Sp5INQ
  18. DL7UXG
  19. G0TSQ
  20. VE7CV
  21. DJ7ZZ
  22. DL2ND
  23. M0BKV
  24. HB9FBG
  25. AK4QA
  26. S58AL
  27. HA6OB

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE/p
  2. VK4FFAB/p (Conondale National Park VKFF-109)

After gettng back to Merna Mora, and freshening up a bit, we had a very enjoyable dinner together and the obligatory few bottles of red wine.  That guy John VK5BJE is a very bad influence!


Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-176 Aroona ruins

We all enjoyed a good feed and a few more bottles of red on Friday evening at Merna Mora Station, where we stayed for 3 nights (Fri-Sun).  Merna Mora is part of a 230 sq mile sheep and cattle station located about 425 km north of Adelaide, and about 46 km north of Hawker.  About 2,500 sheep and 800 cattle are run on the property.  Merna Mora has facilities to accomodate up to 50 people.  For more information on Merna Mora, please visit their website at…..

Saturday morning, 20th June 2015, was a beautiful sunny morning.  After a cooked breakfast an enjoying a coffee in the sunshine watching the Miner birds and Honeyeaters in the flowering native plants out the front of our accomodation, we hit the road for the Flinders Ranges National Park, VKFF-176. 

The Flinders Ranges National Park is situated about 450 km north of Adelaide and is located in the central Flinders Ranges.  The park is about 95,000 hectares and includes the Heysen Range, Brachina and Bunyeroo Gorges and the amazing Wilpena Pound.  The Adnyamathanha people (meaning hills or rock people) are the traditional custodians of the Flinders Ranges.
Screenshot 2015-06-29 09.42.08

Above:- Map showing the location of the Flinders Ranges National Park.  Map courtesy of

We drove north along The Outback Highway and turned right on the Brachina Gorge Road and headed east towards the park.  We briefly stopped at the interpretive signs and lookout, before venturing into the park through Brachina Gorge. Rocks exposed along the gorge are between 500 and 650 million years old and were deposited as sediments in an elongate depression known as the Adelaide Geosyncine.  This area was flooded by the sea for much of the 150 million year period, during which the sea level rose and fell many times.  Sediments were transported by rivers, and at times by glaciers, and deposited on the sea floor.  Rock strata along the gorge provide one of the most complete sedimentary records in the world for this time period.  It is truly and amazing and very spectacular drive through Brachina Gorge, with many interpretayive signs along the way.

We were fortunate enough to encounter a handful of the rare Yellow Footed Rock Wallabies as we drove through the gorge.  Sadly this little wallaby was once killed in large numbers for its pelt.  They scale cliffs and climb rocks with superb agility and can leap sizable chasms.  It was a real treat to be able to see them up close.


We continued on to the Aroona Valley, where we set up at the end of the Aroona Valley Road, at the Aroona Ruins.  The Arrona hut was built in 1925, as an outstation for Eddie Pumps.  It consisted of a four roomed dwelling with a stone fire place and a verandah running along three sides.  The house is a typical pug and pine construction.  Slabs of native pine from this area were cut and erected vertically side by side.  Chicken wire was nailed to the framework and mud or pug was flushed to fill the gaps.  The floor was rammed earth and the roof was corrugated galvanized iron sheets.  The famous Australian artists, Sir Hans Heysen stayed here in 1927 and started the first of many sketches and paintings of the Flinders Ranges.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 09.49.28

Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of DEWNR

John VK5BJE was keen to try his luck again on 30m and set up near the carpark.  I set up in close proximity, a little further up the hill and started off on 20m.  David VK5KC headed a bit further to the east and worked 40m.

My first contact on 20m was with Fred VK4FE who was operating from Mowbray National Park, VKFF-367 in Queensland.  Fred was calling CQ on 14.310 and was a good 5/7 signal.  I then headed down to 14.305 and called CQ and this was answered by Michael VK6MMB who was portable in Goongarrie National Park, VKFF-209.  Michael and his off side Mike VK6MB were half way through a marathon parks trip in Western Australia.  This was followed by a call from Gerard VK2IO who was mobile on his way to a SOTA summit in the Blue Mountains.  I was then called by Adam VK2YK with a strong 5/9 signal and then Mark VK4MON with a 5/8 signal, operating portable from his back yard.

I then moved up to 40m and called CQ on 7.095 and this was answered by Larry VK5LY in the Riverland with his typical strong 5/9 plus signal.  I went on to work a total of 34 stations on 40, including Fred VK4FE in Mowbray National Park and Dale VK5DC mobile near the Northern Territory/Queensland/South Australian border.

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I then decided to give 15m a go, and managed to work Cliff VK2NP, Fred VK4FAAP and Ian VK1DI.  Prior to packing up, I worked Rob VK4AAC who was portable in the Vivonne Bay Conservation Park, VKFF-811, on Kangaroo Island.

After 90 minutes at Arrona Ruins, it was time to pack up and head off a bit further up the Brachina Gorge Road for a bite to eat.  I had a total of 43 contacts in the log.  We were planning on activating the Flinders Ranges National Park again, later in the afternoon, so I was assured of picking up 1 more QSO to qualify the park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FE/p (Mowbray National Park VKFF-367)
  2. VK6MMB/p (Goongarrie National Park VKFF-209)
  3. VK2IO/m
  4. VK2YK
  5. VK4MON

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5LY
  2. VK3CWM
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5DC/m
  5. VK5FAJS
  6. VK3PMG
  7. VK5NQP
  8. VK5FMID
  9. VK5ZAI
  10. VK3NBV
  11. VK5ZGY
  12. VK3APC
  13. VK3FLCS
  14. VK1AT
  15. VK5IS
  16. VK5NWE
  17. VK3FEUG
  18. VK5NIG/p
  19. VK3DBP
  20. VK3PRF
  21. VK5STU/p
  22. VK2GKA
  23. VK5TW
  24. VK5FTRG
  25. VK1DI
  26. VK4FE/p (VKFF-367)
  27. VK5WG
  28. VK2NP
  29. VK5JP
  30. VK5ZX/m
  31. VK5FLEX
  32. VK2IAN
  33. VK2SL
  34. VK3TKK
  35. VK4AAC/5 (Vivonne Bay Conservation Park VKFF-811)

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2NP
  2. VK4FAAP
  3. VK1DI



Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, Flinders Ranges National Park

Mount Scott VK5/ NE-111

After leaving the cafe at Copley, John VK5BJE jumped in to my Toyota Hi Lux and Marija travelled with Jenny (John’s XYL) down to Beltana.  John and I headed to Mount Scott, VK5/ NE-111 for an activation for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  This was to be a unique summit for John and myself, and in fact this was the first time that the summit had been activated.

Mount Scott is 526 metres above sea level and is worth 2 SOTA points.  It is located on private property (Beltana Station) and is situated between the Nankabunyana Creek and the Arooma Creek which flows into the Aroona Dam.  The summit is located about 20 km west of Leigh Creek.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 08.30.12

Above:- Map showing the location of Mt Scott.  Map courtesy of

John and I travelled south on The Outback Way, passed Leigh Creek towards Beltana.  We were keeping our eye out for a track on the western side of the bitumen just after passing under the power lines.  Unfortunately we had missed it, but were lucky enough to bump into a 4WD with some local lads in it, who kindly offered to take us a short distance back up the road and point out the track to us, which they did.

John and I then drove up to the summit along the track.  It was very low going.  The track is definitely 4WD only, as it is very rocky and steep for most of the way.  There were also a number of deep washaways.  It took us about 35 minutes to travel the nearly 10 km to the summit.

We reached the Mount Scott radio station tower which is on the summit just below Mount Scott and continued further on up the track towards the second smaller tower.

Screenshot 2015-06-29 08.41.03

Above:- Mount Scott topography.  Map courtesy of

We stopped the 4WD just outside of the activation zone and walked a short distance further up the hill and set up the station.  As we didn’t have to walk far, we decided to take the small fold up table and chair, as the summit was very rocky and looked very uncomfortable.

John and I took turns on the mic.  I qualified the summit and after working my fifth station, Mick VK3PMG, I handed the reigns over to John.  My first four contacts were Peter VK3PF, Nev VK5WG, John VK2YW, and Don VK5NFB.  I worked a total of 12 stations on 40m in VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK5.

After John had worked 9 stations on 40m in VK2, VK3, and VK5, we then lowered the squid pole and removed the links and tried our luck on 20m.  John called CQ on 14.310 and first taker was Dave VK2BSY who was pedestrian mobile.  Dave had a beautiful 5/9 signal and was hearing us a little weaker (5/3).  I was also keen to get Dave in the log as well, so John handed me the mic.  For more information on Dave’s pedestrian mobile set up, have a look at…..

John worked 6 stations on 20m in VK2, Russ,a VK8, and Italy, before we swapped operators again.  I called CQ and this was answered by Albert S58AL in Slovenia, followed by Chris VK4BX and then John VK6NU.  I worked a further 7 stations on 20m in VK2, VK4, VK5, France, and Belgium.

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After we had worked a number of stations on 20m, we then decided to have a shot on 15m.  John called CQ on 21.250 and this was answered by Phil VK2MWP, and then Hideo JA3BOA, followed by John VK6NU, Mick VK3PMG and John VK6AG.  My first taker on 15m was Rob VK4FFAB with a 5/9 signal (5/9 received), followed by Phil VK2MWP, Mick VK3PMG, Taka JA0DCQ and Nick ZL4NY.

Local time was now about 3.30 p.m. and we still had a good drive down, and had to meet up with the girls at Beltana, before driving further south to Merna Mora.  So we packed up the gear and commenced the slow decent.  John and I were very happy with the activation.

John and I had a total of 50 contacts in the log for the activation on 20m SSB, 40m SSB, and 15m SSB into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK8, Russia, Italy, Japan, Slovenia, France, and Belgium.

I worked the following stations:-

Screenshot 2015-06-29 08.26.07

Gammon Ranges National Park VKFF-189

Friday the 19th June 2015 was ‘take two’ for the Gammon Ranges National Park, VKFF-189.  This was to be a unique park for me for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

Screenshot 2015-06-28 19.44.40

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of

Marija and I travelled south along The Outback Highway towards Copley.  On the way south I had a chat with Mark VK6BSA who was mobile on his way in to work again (5/9 both ways) and Steve VK3HK who was also mobile.  I also spoke with Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill.

The Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park, which is about 660 km north of Adelaide, was proclaimed in 1970, and forms part of the traditional country of the Adnyamathanha people.  The park is rich with cultural significance.  The park is 1,257.23 km2 (485.4 sq mi) in size.  Over 900 plant and 200 fauna species have been recorded in the park, including some rare and endangered species.  The park is remote and has many contrasts, including deep gorges and chasms, towering mountains, tree-lined creeks and freshwater springs.  The park encompasses some of the most rugged and spectacular country in South Australia.

Marija and I drove out from Copley through magnificent countryside.  The road out to the park is dirt but is in good condition and is a distance of about 70 km.

We stopped briefly at Nepabunna, a small aboriginal community on the doorstep of the Gammons.  Originally established as a mission in the 1930’s, the community became a council in 1998 and has a population of about 50 people.

We continued east along the Copley Road, into the park, until we reach Italowie Gorge.  We found a nice little area close to the McKinlay Creek and set up here.  Interestingly, the bushman, R.M. Williams is reputed to have learnt everything he knew about boot-making and leather from another man he met while camping in Italalowie Gap.  R.m. Williams later became a millionaire and a renowned clothing brand carries his name.

Again, for this activation I ran my Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole.  For 15m I used a simple 1/2 wave 15m dipole.

Screenshot 2015-06-28 19.49.29

Above:- Map showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of National Parks SA.

I started calling CQ on 7.095 and it wasn’t long before I had my first taker.  It was Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill with a very strong 5/9 plus signal, followed by Jess VK6JES, Brian VK5FMID at Mount Gambier, and Jim VK1AT.  I had a good steady flow of callers on 40m from around Australia: VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6 and VK7 worked.  This included some of the usual QRP suspects including Greg VK5GJ running just 4 watts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).  Both David VK5KC and John VK5BJE called me from Farina in the throws of packing up and hitting the road.

After working 26 stations on 20m, I lowered the squid pole and put up the 1/2 wave 15m dipole and called CQ on 21.250.  My call was answered by Bill VK5MBD, who despite being very weak (5/1) was very workable.  This was followed by John VK6NU, Grant VK5VGC and Albert S58AL.  Yes Slovenia.  I couldn’t believe it.  I did not expect to work into Europe at 10.10 a.m.  And Albert and I heard each other perfectly.  In fact I was stronger to Albert than he was to me (5/3 sent and 5/7 received).

It was at this time that Marija and I were visited by two of the local rangers.  We explained to them what we were doing and assured them that we were not crazy, trying to catch squid in the creek with the squid pole.  They were quite interested in what we were doing and the hobby in general.

I then put up the 40m/20m linked dipole again and called CQ on 14.310.  But I only had the solitary caller there, and that was Bill VK5MBD, who again was weak (5/1), but again very workable.  There was no man made noise at all out here in the middle of nowhere.  I just wish it was like that at home.

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I returned to 40m for a short time, calling CQ on 7.098, which was answered by park stalwart Mick VK3PMG, followed by Adrian VK5FANA, David VK5HYZ and then Ian VK5IS.  I worked a further 17 Australian stations in VK2, VK4, & VK4.  This included John VK2KJO who called in from nearby Arkaroola.  John and Sue had travelled through earlier.

After 2 hours in the park I had a total of 52 contacts in the log.  We packed up and headed back in to Copley.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5MBD
  2. VK6JES
  3. VK5FMID
  4. VK1AT
  5. VK5GJ
  6. VK5HS
  7. VK5HCF
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK7ALH
  10. VK5RM
  11. VK5DC/m
  12. VK5KC/p
  13. VK3FQSO
  14. VK5BJE/p
  15. VK2FJPR
  16. VK3FLCS
  17. VK5LY
  18. VK4FFAB
  19. VK3TKK
  20. VK5WG
  21. VK3DBP
  22. VK3YAR
  23. VK5TN
  24. VK5GJ
  25. VK5VGC
  26. VK7MK
  27. VK3PMG
  28. VK5FANA
  29. VK5HYZ
  30. VK5IS
  31. VK3FMAA/m
  32. VK5FAJS
  33. VK5KAF
  34. VK5NRG
  35. VK2KJO
  36. VK5ZA/m
  37. VK5JK
  38. VK5ZK
  39. VK2IO
  40. VK4CPS
  41. VK2MJB
  42. VK3BHR
  43. VK3OHM
  44. VK5LDM
  45. VK3PR
  46. VK3HP
  47. VK5GI

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5MBD

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK5MBD
  2. VK6NU
  3. VK5VGC
  4. S58AL

After returning to Copley we called in to the Copley Bush Bakery and Quandong Cafe, where Marija and I caught up with John and Jenny.  We enjoyed a nice cappucinno and a warm home backed Quandong pie with cream (each that is).  We then continued south to Leigh Creek, for a quick stop and then on to our next activation, Mount Scott, VK5/ NE-111.





National Parks South AUstralia, 2015, Vulkathunha Gammon Ranges National Park.

Wikipedia, 2015, <,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 28th June 2015