Naracoorte Caves National Park, VKFF-380

After leaving Christmas Rocks I was hoping to activate Talapar Conservation Park.  However, the GPS led me on a wild goose chase and despite my best efforts I could not get into the park.  This included following an 8km section of very sandy and boggy track which showed on the GPS leading straight into the park.  But by the time I got to the end there was a locked gate and I was still 2 km short.

I was starting to get very frustrated and tired, so I took an easy option and headed back into nearby Naracoorte and activated the Naracoorte Caves National Park, VKFF-380.  This was not a new park for me (I had been there before in June, 2014 – see below), but I knew that it was an easy park to access and there was shelter there from the never ending rain.

The Naracoorte Caves National Park is about 351 km by road, south east of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-10 14.46.54

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

Naracoorte Caves National Park is Australia’s only World Heritage site, officially recognise in 1994 due to its importance to the fossils located there.  There are 28 known caves in the park.  Four are open to the public.  The park preserves Australia’s most complete fossil record for the past 500,000 years.  For more detailed information, please see my previous post on this park, or have a look at the following site…..

I set up in a BBQ shelter shed on the edge of the oval, which is adjacent to the main carpark.  It afforded me plenty of shelter from the rain which constantly came down.  You know it is wet and cold when the kangaroos are sheltering underneath trees on the oval, which they were.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and my 40m/20m linked dipole supported on a 7 metre squid pole.

I started off on 40m and called CQ on 7.095.  First taker again was Tony VK5FTVR, followed by Larry VK5LY, Les VK5KLD and Col VK5HCF.  All with great signals from all around South Australia.  Getting wet and cold was made up for by the large number of callers who gave me a shout.  Adrian VK5FANA called in again, running his 5 watts as per usual, with a very nice signal.  I was also called by Lou VK5EEE who was formerly G4OJW in the UK.  I was just Lou’s third QSO with his new VK call.  Welcome to Australia Lou.

A number of other hams running QRP also called in, including Norm VK5GI and Greg VK5GJ, both running just 4 watts (5/7 sent and 5/9 received).  And also Adrian VK5AW running 5 watts from the Riverland (5/9 both ways).  Quite a few mobiles also called in, including Ian VK3TCX mobile north of Bairnsdale, Gerard VK2IO, Peter VK3TKK, Wayne VK2PDW, and Peter VK3PF.

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Sadly, at about 0540 UTC (3.10 p.m. local time), two stations from VK5 & a VK2 (I know their call signs, but will not mention them here) came up on adjacent 7.093.  They are regular participants in the Kandos Net which commences at 0600 UTC on 7.093.  I was aware that the net was to start at the time and had indicated that I was going to go QRT prior to the net commencing.  However, that did not stop those individuals from firing up on 7.093, just 2 kc below me, where I had been for about one hour.  Clearly they knew I was there, and others were calling/working me.  It was impossible to continue to 7.095 due to the bleed over.

I normally bite my tongue.  But one of these individuals had previously communicated to me that park & SOTA activators should stay away from 7.093 as it was ‘their net frequency’.  On that occasion, after informing this individual that no-one ‘owned’ a frequency, it appears that it has fallen on deaf ears.  So I came up on 7.093 to calmly voice my disapproval of their poor behaviour.  One of the VK5’s sheepishly apologised, but the VK2 station accused me of getting ‘a bit upset over nothing’.  

But out of everything bad, comes something good.  There are some excellent and professional operators around.  And here are two of those.  On the record I would like to thank both Tom VK2KF and Tom VK4ATH (net controllers for the Kandos Group), who had personally heard what had occurred and were very quick to apologise, both via e-mail and on air for the behaviour of a small few.  Not that they should have to apologise for others.  But they did.  Thanks to both Toms.  The Kandos Net is a terrific net which has been running for a very long period of time and should in no way be tarnished by the behaviour of a very select few.

And also thankyou to the two hams who followed me down to 7.093 and also supported me and voice their disaproval.

I then headed up to 14.2498 and started calling CQ.  This was answered immediately by Ray KB6LQV in California in the USA with a nice 5/9 signal.  John VK5BJE was kind enough to spot me on the DX Cluster and this resulted in the European park hunters finding me.  It wasn’t long before the regulars were giving me a shout.  On 20m I worked into the USA, Belgium, Italy, Germany, France, Hungary, Poland, Spain, Israel and VK.  I went on to work 24 stations on 14.248 until things slowed down.

So I tuned across the band and found Tony G7OEM who was pedestrian mobile, calling CQ on 14.197.  Tony had quite a pile up, but I eventually made it (5/5 both ways).

After 2 hours in the park I had a total of 63 contacts in the log.  It was time to head off to Mount Gambier.  It was now 4.10 p.m. and I still had a 100 km drive ahead of me.

Thankyou to those that spotted me on parksnpeaks and thanks to I5FLN, F4HMR, VK2SOL, and IZ1JLG for spotting me on the DX Cluster.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. Tony VK5FTVR
  2. Larry VK5LY
  3. Les VK5KLD
  4. Col VK5HCF
  5. Les VK5KLV
  6. John VK5BJE
  7. Jeff VK5JK
  8. Adrian VK5FANA
  9. Terry VK3UP
  10. Tim VK3TJK
  11. David Vk5KC
  12. Jim VK1AT/3
  13. Erik VK7EK
  14. Lou VK5EEE
  15. Rob VK4AAC/5
  16. Micj VK3PMG
  17. Cliff VK2NP
  18. Grant Vk5VGC
  19. Ian VK5IS
  20. Ian VK3TCX/m
  21. Mark Vk7MK
  22. Allen VK5FD
  23. Paul VK3DBP
  24. Bruce VK2FBJM
  25. Gerard VK2IO/m
  26. Norm VK5GI
  27. Greg VK5GJ
  28. Peter VK5PET
  29. Brian VK5FMID
  30. Ivan VK5HS
  31. Adrian VK5AW
  32. Phil VK3BHR
  33. Peter VK3TKK/m
  34. Wayne VK2PDW/m
  35. David VK3FDAV
  36. Peter VK3PF/m
  37. Robin VK5TN
  38. Tony VK7LTD

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. KB6LQV
  2. ON4BB
  3. I5FLN
  4. DL2ND
  5. F1BLL
  6. HA6OB
  7. DK9HN
  8. SP6KEP
  9. EA4DTV
  10. WB4JSB
  11. F4HMR
  12. EA1LQ
  13. VK4NAI
  14. DL4PT
  15. IW2NXI
  16. 4X4JU
  17. IK1GPG
  18. DK8PY
  19. VK2SOL
  20. VK2NRB
  21. ON4STA
  22. HA0LG
  23. IZ1JLG
  24. ON5SWA
  25. G7OEM pedestrian mobile

2 thoughts on “Naracoorte Caves National Park, VKFF-380

  1. Hi Paul
    Glad to spot you on 20m and I am pleased it helped with the contact numbers. You did well despite the weather. I have read all of your posts for this trip so far and I wonder whether you might comment on the number of people who were visiting the parks. What triggered this question is that you were able to use Park facilities to keep you dry, at least at Naracoorte! I have some interesting newspaper clippings for you to see about the Department. Our printer/scanner is being serviced at the moment and it will now have to wait until we get back from the mid/far North. You will find them very interesting. I am also fascinated by the number of properties which have been gifted to the State by philanthropists (some of whom come from overseas). Some people are very generous.

    I should make the effort next year and come to the South East.


    John D

  2. Hi John,

    I could count on 2 hands the number of people I’ve seen at the smaller Conservation Parks. The bigger ones such as Belair NP are a bit different.

    Sadly, many parks are locked up, so people can’t really get in. The gates have padlocks which means people have to scramble over barbed wire fences.

    Personal experience (you know what I mean) suggests that this measure keeps ‘good’ people out and the ‘bad’ people still go in. The more good people are in the parks, the less likely the bad kind are likely to try to get up to shenanigans.

    I will post about Telford Scrub later. But that is a perfect example of how sadly neglected many of the parks are. It is a sensational park with a beautiful gum forest with a beautiful fern understorey under the canopy. There is a wooden boardwalk there with interpretive signs. But you can hardly read the signs. They are covered in muck. Obviously haven’t been wiped clean in ages. And there was dumped rubbish in the carpark.

    I also had an experience in this park with a woman walking her dog in there off the lead, despite the fact there is a very clear ‘NO Dogs’ sign at the entrance. Obviously she has been doing this for a long time without any interaction with anyone from DEWNR.



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