Penola Conservation Park, VKFF-803

My final park for the 6 days was the Penola Conservation Park which is located about 12 km west of Penola on the northern side of the Robe-Penola Road.  This was another unique park for me for both the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 20.28.54

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

The park was gazetted on the 10th day of September 1970 and covers an area of around 226 hectares.  Vegetation within the park consists of woodland of brown stringybark, river red gums, swamp gum, and rough barked manna gums.  The park contains two large wetland areas including Green Swamp.

I drove into the park along the main track which leads to a beautiful little campground area.  There was a wooden table and benches here which made a perfect shack.  Again for this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and my 40m/20m linked dipole supported on a 7m telescopic squid pole.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 20.28.19

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

This time around I started off on 20m.  And I actually found 14.244 free which is quite a rarity.  I started calling CQ and it wasn’t long before this was answered by Brian VK4HBB (5/9 both ways).  Ron VK7VDL from Tasmania followed (again 5/9 both ways), and Tom VK2KF from Kandos then gave me a shout (and again 5/9 both ways).  My next caller was my first DX station for the activation, Al S58AL from Slovenia.  Al spotted me on the DX Cluster and this resulted in quite a few callers from Europe and a handful of VK’s.  Countries worked were VK, Slovenia, Russia, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Serbia, France, Czech Republic, and Spain.

After working 24 stations on 20m, I decided to check out 40m.  I called CQ on 7.095 and first taker there was Mick Vk3PMG who is a big follower of WWFF as both a Hunter and Activator.  This was followed by another active park Activator & Hunter, Col VK5HCF.  And as per normal, it wasn’t long before a mini pile up commenced.  I went on to work a total of 29 stations here from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.

I then moved back to 20m, and I’m pleased I did.  Because I stumbled across Gerard Vk2IO calling CQ on 14.290 from SOTA peak VK2/ NT-021.  Once I finished working Gerard, Adam VK2YK came up and asked if I could QSY up to 14.310 which I did.  I worked Adam who was a ncie 5/9 signal, and Adam was also kind enough to place me on the DX cluster.  This resulted in a number of calls from both VK and Europe again.  Countries worked this time around were VK, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary, and Canada.

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I was very pleased with the results of this activation with a total of 73 contacts in the log.  This was another unique WWFF park that I had qualified.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4HBB
  2. VK7VDL
  3. VK2KF
  4. S58AL
  5. RW6AEW
  6. VK2GKA
  7. DF8WZ
  8. I5FLN
  9. DL2ND
  10. IZ2IHO
  11. HA8TI
  12. DF2RR
  13. VK5BJE
  14. HA5MA
  15. YU1AB
  16. F5OUD
  17. S52KM
  18. OK1XP
  19. RA3PCI
  20. F1BLL
  21. DK0EE
  22. EA7TR
  23. VK7ZGK
  24. VK4MJA
  25. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ NT-021)
  26. VK2YK
  27. ON4BB
  28. DL4MDO
  29. VK6HAD
  30. VK4HNS
  31. IK2SAV
  32. EA4DTV
  33. IZ5JMZ
  34. IW2NXI
  35. OK2TS
  36. IK1GPG
  37. UT5PI
  38. I8OCA
  39. VE7CV
  40. DL3NDD
  41. HA6OB
  42. DL5MPO
  43. UR7ET
  44. HA0LG

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PMG
  2. VK5HCF
  3. VK5GK
  4. VK5HEL
  5. VK5JK
  6. VK2LX
  7. VK3OF
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK1AT/3
  10. VK3PF/m
  11. VK5FAJS
  12. VK5BJE
  13. VK5MBD
  14. VK3FSMT/2
  15. VK3DBP
  16. VK3AV
  17. VK3ANL
  18. VK4CPS
  19. VK3CAB
  20. VK3TKK
  21. VK5WG
  22. VK2NP
  23. VK2NNN
  24. VK3FJAE
  25. VK3NBL
  26. VK2SK
  27. VK2QS
  28. VK4GSF
  29. VK5FTVR


National Parks and Wildlife Service-Department of Environment and Planning, 1990, Small Parks of the Lower South East Management Plans

Calectasia Conservation Park

My second park for Tuesday (9th June 2015) was to be another unique VK5 park for me, Calectasia Conservation Park, which is located about 27km west of Penola.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 20.13.42

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

The park covers an area of just 14 hectares.  It is quite a small park.  The northern and southern sections of the park form part of a stranded dune system and have sandy soils.  Separating these two areas is a low lying area which comprises about 70% of the park.  This area is subject to inundation during the wet months of the year.  The park consists of brown stringybark, austral grass tree and a large amount of banksias.  The park was named after the endangered blue tinsel lilly Calectasia cyanea which can be found in the park.  Calectasia was totally devastated during the Ah Wednesday bushfires of 1983.

Again, I encountered a locked gat at this park, so I jumped the fence with my gear and set up in a little clearing just off the Claywells Road.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 20.13.29

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

Despite the fact that there were power lines close bay, the 40m band was very very quiet.  I called CQ on 7.095 and this was answered by Amanda VK3FQSO, following by Adrian VK5FANA, Paul VK5FUZZ, and Jeff VK5HK.  A number of the usual suspects followed including Mike VK6MB and Michael VK6MMB who were operating from a National Park in Western Australia.  Although they were very weak (5/1) they were perfectly readable.  I worked a total of 23 stations on 40m from VK3, VK5, and VK6.

I then tried my luck on 20m and after calling CQ on 14.310 a few times, I was greeted by Gerard VK2JNG/p.  This was followed by a contact with Gerard VK2IO mobile who was just about to activate a SOTA summit.  Gerard advised that he would be up on air at the summit in about 15 minutes.  So I decided to have a quick walk around the park and also a tune around the 20m band.  Whilst waiting for Gerard I spoke with Al EV1R in Belarus and Nelu YO2LEA in Romania.  I then returned to 14.310 and by pure luck I heard Gerard VK2IO calling me.  So I gave Gerard a 5/7 and he reciprocated with a 5/7 from SOTA peak, VK2/ NT-019.

My last contact in the park was another DX contact.  This time with Genna, UA7D in Russia (5/9 sent and 5/6-7 received).  Not bad with my little dipole and 40 watts.

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The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3FQSO
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5FUZZ
  4. VK5JK
  5. VK5HCF
  6. VK6MB/p (VKFF)
  7. VK3FOWL/p
  8. VK3OF
  9. VK3NBV
  10. VK5FAJS
  11. VK6MMB/p (VKFF)
  12. VK5FTVR
  13. VK3AV
  14. VK5MBD
  15. VK3FALE
  16. VK3FARO
  17. VK3PMG
  18. VK5GJ
  19. VK1AT/3
  20. VK3HQ
  21. VK2JNG/p
  22. VK3FAPH
  23. VK3LZE

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p
  2. VK2IO/m
  3. VK5MBD
  4. EV1R
  5. YO2LEA
  6. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ NT-019)
  7. UA7D



National Parks and Wildlife Service-Department of Environment and Planning, 1990, Small Parks of the Lower South East Management Plans


Gower Conservation Park VKFF-798

It was my final day in the South East (Tuesday 9th June) and I had planned to activate three parks: Gower Conservation Park, Calectasia Conservation Park, and the Penola Conservation Park.  All three were to be unique parks for me, for both the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award and also World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF).

My first park was the Gower Conservation Park which is situated about 25 km north west of Mount Gambier.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 18.03.17

Gower Conservation Park was gazetted on the 21st day of January 1971 and covers an area of around 39.5 hectares.   The vegetation in the park mostly consists of an open forest of messmate stringybark and brown stringybark with a shrub understorey of austral bracken and some spike wattle, grass tree, and silverleaved banksia.  In the south of the park you can find barked manna gum and large black wattle.

I headed out of Mount Gambier, heading north west on the Princes Highway, heading back towards Adelaide.  Just after the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, is a road to your right called McPherson Road.  This takes you direct to the park, passed an old quarry on your right and the pine forest on your left.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 18.03.07

I set up in a little clearing just to the east of the north western corner of the park.  There was plenty of room here to string out the dipole and because I had two convenient gum trees, I was able to get the ends of the legs quite high off the ground.  It was a much more pleasant day than Monday,  The sun was out, although it was still a typical cold June day down in the South East.

I called CQ on 7.095 and this was immediately answered by Col VK5HCF from Mount Gambier, who has previously activated Gower.  This was followed by Jeff VK5JK at Encounter Bay on the South Coast, Jim VK3AT/3, and then Tony VK5FTVR at Strathalbyn on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  All signals were 5/9 and above.  The band was in great shape.

I worked a steady flow of VK’s from VK2, VK3, VK5, & VK6, until there was a call ‘out of the box’.  I knew it was a Russian station or a Ukrainian station but struggled a bit with getting his call.  I penned in UA6IDX into my log who gave me a 5/3 report, but before I could confirm his call, he had gone.  A few calls later I spoke with Mike VK6MB who was with Michael VK6MMB in VKFF-161.  They confirmed that the call was in fact UA6IDX that had called me.

I worked numerous mobile stations during this activation.  They included Peter VK3TKK, Gerard VK2IO mobile on his way to a SOTA peak, Bob VK2AOR mobile on the M1 Freeway coming into Sydney, Gerard VK2JNG, Peter VK3PRF, Craig VK3NCR/5 mobile 160 km north of Port Augusta, Terry VK3UP, David VK5KC mobile at Orroroo in the Mid North, and Doug VK3FDES.  During most of my activations, I always ask for QRP, mobile, portable and outside of VK callers.  It is amazing how many of these stations come back to you, who would ordinarily be competing with many home stations running amps.

After working a total of 45 stations on 40m I headed over to 20m where I called CQ on 14.310.  Gerard VK2JNG had followed me over and was my first contact on 20.  This was followed by contacts with Cliff VK2NP, Bill VK5BMD, Neil VK4HNS and my final contact was with Stath VK4AEP who called just as I was packing up gear into the 4WD.

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Another successful activation under my belt with a total of 50 contacts.  The park had been qualified for WWFF.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HCF
  2. VK5JK
  3. VK1AT/3
  4. VK5FTVR
  5. VK5FANG
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK3TKK/m
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK3ZZS/4
  10. VK3NBV
  11. VK3PMG
  12. VK3FQSO
  13. VK2GKA
  14. VK5ZAR
  15. VK2IO/m
  16. VK6RZ
  17. VK5IS
  18. VK3HQ
  19. VK2NP
  20. VK2AOR/m
  21. VK3OF
  22. VK2HV
  23. VK5ZGY
  24. VK5NPP/3
  25. VK3AV
  26. UA6IDX
  27. VK3FOWL/p
  28. VK2JNG/m
  29. VK3PRF/m
  30. VK6MMB/p (VKFF-161)
  31. VK6MB/p (VKFF-161)
  32. VK3NCR/5
  33. VK3TJK
  34. VK7FGGT
  35. VK3UP/m
  36. VK3ZLD
  37. VK5KC/m
  38. VK3FGMO
  39. VK5RU
  40. VK3FDES/m
  41. VK5WG
  42. VK5TD
  43. VK5FIVE
  44. VK5MBD
  45. VK2YW

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/m
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK5MBD
  4. VK4HNS
  5. VK4AEP


National Parks and Wildlife Service-Department of Environment and Planning, 1990, Small Parks of the Lower South East Management Plans

Nene Valley Conservation Park VKFF-801

My final activation for Monday 8th June 2015 is certainly one of the wildest weather wise that I have ever undertaken.  I’ve activated a few parks in lousy conditions.  But this was certainly up there.  And the park that takes the prize is……….the Nene Valley Conservation Park VKFF-801.

The weather conditions were appalling with extremely strong winds and regular showers.  But this was another unique park for me for the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) program, and I really wanted to activate it and hopefully get my 44 contacts.

Nene Valley CP is located about 35 km west of Mount Gambier and about 455 km south east of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 17.28.42

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

The Nene Valley was declared a Conservation Park in 1972 and is about 373 hectares in size.  It is named after the Nene Valley, a 333 ton wooden barque, launched in England in 1852.   Built for the colonial trade to India and Australia it was on its second voyage to the southern hemisphere in 1854, bound for Portland Bay and Port Fairy in Victoria, from Gravesend in England.  During this period, international sailing ships travelled on Great Circle Routes: south down the mid-Atlantic and then east across the Southern Ocean.  Navigation was still uncertain and the first approach to land was always a risky business.  In October 1854, the lookout on the Nene Valley saw breaking surf in the darkness and reported land ahead.  The Captain decided it was only low cloud and sailed on.

The Nene Valley went aground soon afterwards immediately in front of what is now the town of Nene Valley.  The stranded vessel was driven ashore and broke up.  The crew and nine passengers all survived, but four sailors drowned the following day during a salvage attempt.  The shipwreck was a local landmark on the beach until the 1930s.  I have not been able to find a picture of the Nene Valley.

I last activated this park in June 2014 and set up off a little track not far from the Nene Valley town itself.  It was quite noisy there due to power lines.  For more information on that activation and extensive information on the park, please have a look at my previous post at…..

This time around I followed a sandy track on the north eastern side of the park and set up amongst the scrub.  I was hoping that the scrub would afford me some protection from the winds.  I was wrong.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 17.28.31

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

I started calling CQ on 7.090 and fortunately it wasn’t long before I had a little pile up going.  I am thankful to all the callers for keeping their overs short.  And I must apologise for this.  I normally like a little bit of a chat, but the weather conditions were so terrible, I wanted to get to 44 QSOs as quickly as possible and get back into the warmth of the 4WD.

Second up was Rex VK3OF, another amateur who has recently qualified for a number of WWFF & VK5 Parks certificates.  This was followed by Tony VK3CAT mobile, and Alan VK5FAJS.  Alan had made the wise decision after Tantanoola Caves to seek out a warm location.

My 13th contact in the park was not unlucky at all.  It was Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in the Kondalilla National Park, VKFF-266 with a nice 5/5 signal.  I also spoke with Ken ZL4KD who called in from Christchurch, and Erwin VK3ERW who was portable on SOTA peak Maher Hill VK3/ VE-233 with a beautiful 5/9 signal.

It was exceptionally hard to keep the squid pole up during this activation.  It collapsed about 6 or 7 times and on many occasions, the legs of the dipole were either flapping around in the wind or were dragging along the ground.  And it only got worse, as the aluminum squid pole holder, bent at almost right angles (see below).

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After getting 49 contacts in the log, it was time to make a hasty retreat.  I was cold and wet and I didn’t know how much longer the squid pole would take the punishment.  It was off to Col VK5HCF’s house for a nice warm coffee and then out for tea to the South Aussie Hotel at Mount Gambier with Col, and John VK5NJ and his wife Tanina.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. VK5LY
  2. VK3OF
  3. VK3CAT/m
  4. VK5FAJS
  5. VK1AT/4
  6. VK2IO/m
  7. VK2LX
  8. VK3FQSO
  9. VK5SFA
  10. VK5PZ
  11. VK3YAR
  12. VK7AN/p
  13. VK4FFAB/p (VKFF-266)
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK3MNZ
  16. VK3VAB
  17. VK3HRA
  18. VK3DBP
  19. VK3BBB
  20. VK5HCF
  21. VK3OHM
  22. VK5STU
  23. VK2YK
  24. VK5KLV
  25. VK3PF/m
  26. VK3FTAD
  27. VK3FAPH
  28. VK5JK
  29. VK4AAC/5 (Kangaroo Island)
  30. VK3LED
  31. ZL4KD
  32. VK2BDR
  33. VK3ZM
  34. VK5KBJ
  35. VK1DI
  36. VK3NBV
  37. VK3FLCS
  38. VK3PRF
  39. VK3FPBI
  40. VK3ERW/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-233)
  41. VK5GY/m
  42. VK5FTRG/m
  43. VK3KVK
  44. VK5NQP
  45. VK5ZAR
  46. VK3SQ
  47. VK7LTD
  48. VK5FUZZ
  49. VK3FLES


Department of Environment and Natural Resources, ‘Small Coastal Parks of the South East Management Plan’ 1994.

District Council of Grant,

Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park VKFF-804

My next park activation for Monday 8th June 2015, was the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, VKFF-804.  This was to be another unique park for me for the World Wide Flora Fauna program (WWFF).  I have activated Tantanoola Caves previously as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, but the park has recently been added to the WWFF program, so this was another park that I was hoping to get 44 contacts from.

Tantanoola Caves CP is about 430 km south east of Adelaide and is located just off the busy Riddoch Highway.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 16.21.20

I last activated this park in June 2014 whilst I was in the area for the 2014 SERG Convention.  I activated the park from a lawned area just below the carpark.For information on that activation and information on the park, please have a look at……

But this time around I wanted to find a new operating spot, so I drove in to the carpark and out again and up the Riddoch Highway, and then back into the carpark and out again.  I had pulled up on the side of the Highway, just north of the park, when a car pulled up behind me.  Not knowing what was really going on, I looked in the rear vision mirror and saw a gentleman approaching.  Fortunately it was not a road rage incident….it was Alan VK5FAJS.  He was aware through parksnpeaks that I had intended to activate the park and had come along with his wife Georgie for a look.  So we decided to go back into the carpark and set up on the lawn just below the carpark.

There are a few wooden benches and tables here, so we used one of those as our ‘shack’ for this activation.  We used my Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts (when I was operating and lowered the power for Alan), and my 40m/20m linked dipole.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 16.21.38

I started off first and called CQ on 7.095 and this was answered by Col VK5HCF in Mount Gambier, followed by Rob VK4AAC/5 on Kangaroo Island, and then Albert VK3KLB.  I went on to work 21 stations, so almost half way to the 44, when we swapped drivers.  Alan was a bit reluctant to take over the mic from me, but I was more than happy to see Alan have a go and qualify the park.  It wasn’t long before Alan had racked up his required 10 contacts.

I then jumped back into the drivers seat again and called CQ and this was responded to by the ever reliable John VK5BJE, then Tom VK5FTRG, and then Paul VK3DBP (who has recently qualified for quite a few VK5 Park certificates).  The 40m band was behaving and I had a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, and VK5.  Amongst that lot was Gerard VK2IO who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Gibraltar VK2/ MN-024.

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I pushed on and ended up with a total of 49 contacts on 40m.  Unfortunately the weather was pretty horrible and we had regular showers, which meant I was not able to try 20m as we were getting wet.  The shower were so heavy at times, that the water was seaping through the bothy bag.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HCF
  2. VK4AAC/5
  3. VK3KLB
  4. VK3ERW/m
  5. VK5JK
  6. VK3FLCS
  7. VK5KLD
  8. VK5NQP
  9. VK5FTVR
  10. VK5FDEC
  11. VK5FD
  12. VK3OHM
  13. VK3ANL
  14. VK5MBD
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK5ZX
  17. VK5HS/m
  18. VK5KFB/m
  19. VK1FIVE/p (Gooyeroo Nature Reserve VKFF-841)
  20. VK2JDS/p
  21. VK5FAJH
  22. VK5BJE
  23. VK5FTRG
  24. VK3DBP
  25. VK5STU
  26. VK5PZ
  27. VK2YK
  28. VK3YAR
  29. VK5KLV
  30. VK3OF
  31. VK3FAPH
  32. VK5WF
  33. VK3AV
  34. VK3CRG
  35. VK3FQSO
  36. VK7EK
  37. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-024)
  38. VK1AT/3
  39. VK3PRF/m
  40. VK3FPSR
  41. VK2LX
  42. VK2UH
  43. VK5FLEX
  44. VK3HEN
  45. VK3FBNG
  46. VK3ZPF
  47. VK3FKFK
  48. VK5KS
  49. VK3HRA

Telford Scrub Conservation Park VKFF -805

My first park activation for Monday 8th June 2015 was the Telford Scrub Conservation Park, which is located just 14 km north of Mount Gambier, via the Riddoch Highway.  Although I had activated this park previously, Telford Scrub was recently added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so I was looking for 44 contacts.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 12.17.12

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

It was another quick stopover at McDonalds for a Bacon & Egg McMuffin and an orange juice, and I then headed out along the Riddoch Highway.  Sadly, as is the case with numerous South Australian Conservation Parks, there are no signs on the Highway alerting you to the presence of a park.  I used the GPS to get there and turned off the Riddoch Highway into Grundys Lane.  The park is just a short distance up on the right, on the northern side of Grundys Lane.

As it was early morning (8.00 a.m.), there were plenty of kangaroos out grazing in the clearing between the roadway and the pine forest which is situated opposite the park.  As per my last activation, I set up in the north eastern corner of the carpark.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 12.17.42

Above:- Map showing my operating location in the park.  Map courtesy of

This is a magnificent park consiting of amazing Eucalyptus forest and bracken understorey.  But sadly this activation summed up the mess that South Australian Parks and the ‘system’ is in.  As I pulled in to the carpark, the first thing I saw was a television set which had been dumped in the carpark.  Who knows how long it had been there.  And half way through operating I had an interesting encounter with an elderly lady and her Golden Retriever.  Other than having a go at me for being in ‘her park’ (despite the fact that there were numerous other parks available), her dog was running around off the lead and kept jumping up on me and at one stage almost knocked over my table.  Without any apology, off she started to walk into the park with her do.  Despite the very clear sign that showed dogs were not allowed in the park.  I pointed this out to her, and after some complaining under her breath, off she walked along Grundy’s Lane.  In all probability, she has been walking her dog off the leash in the park for a long time, completely unfettered by DEWNR.

After packing up I went for a walk through the park and along the boardwalk (I’ll talk about this more later) and tried to read the interpretive signs which were totally covered in muck.  They clearly had not been cleaned in a long time.

For me, this highlighted the big problem we have here in South Australia with our beautiful parks.  I can only presume that DEWNR is sadly understaffed and under funded.  If it wasn’t for the dedication of the Friends of the Parks groups, I can only imagine what state the parks would be in.

Anyway, onto more positive thoughts.  The Telford Scrub Conservation Park is about 175 hectares in size and was once farmed by the Telford Brothers who subsequently sold the land to the Government.  The park contains at least 11 species of plants considered to be of conservation value.  Numerous native orchids can be found.  In fact, over 20 species have been recorded including Pink Fingers, Common Donkey orchid, Tiger orchid, and Purple Cockatoo.

The park is home to a wide range of native fauna including Western Grey kangaroos and echidnas.  Several koalas were reintroduced into the park in 1997 from Kangaroo Island.  The vulnerable Southern Brown Bandicoot and endangered Sugar Glider are also found in the park.

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My first contact in the park was with Craig VK2PAW who came back to my CQ call on 7.098.  This was followed by Scott VK7NWT, Steve VK3FSPG and John VK5FMJC.  Not long after setting up, I had 2 visitors.  It was Rod VK5KFB and his dad, Murray VK5BWA.  They had a quick look at my operating gear and then headed off enroute to Adelaide.

Conditions on 40m were very good, and a nice little flow of callers came back to my CQ calls, from all around Australia.  There were a number of the regular park hunters, but also a few new calls as well, which is always pleasing.  I worked 53 stations before the UTC rollover.  I even got to work a station in my own home town of Mount Barker, Kev VK5KS.  I managed one park contact and that was with Mike VK6MB who was portable in Frank Hann National Park, VKFF-183.

After the UTC rollover I worked a further 10 stations including Mike VK6MB again, and also Michael VK6MMB who was with Mike in the Frank Hann National Park.  I also spoke with Julie VK3FOWL who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Disapointment VK3/ VC-014.

After working a total of 60 stations on 40m I headed over to 20m and called CQ on 14.310.  My CQ call was answered by Adrian VK5AW/p who was extremely weak.  In fact almost totally unreadable.  This was followed by Jim VK2QA, who kindly helped me out with Adrian.  And my final contact was with Peter VK6RZ with a nice 5/8 signal from Western Australia.

At the end of the activation and packing up my gear, I went for a walk into the park along the track from the carpark.  This leads to a  beautiful picnic area with a bench and table.  There are some interpretive signs along the way telling you about the forest.  A 100 metre long and 4.2 metre high ‘Forest Canopy Walk’ boardwalk provides visitors to the park a unique ‘bird’s eye view’ of the forest.  There are also some extended trails that can be followed as well.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to try those out, but I will be back.

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This was another successful activation.  I had reached the 44 QSO threshold for WWFF, with a total of 63 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2PAW
  2. VK7NWT
  3. VK3FSPG
  4. VK5FMJC
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK5KLV
  7. VK6RZ
  8. VK5TRM/m
  9. VK3FQSO
  10. VK5HEL
  11. VK3DQ/p
  12. VK5MBD
  13. VK5HS/p
  14. VK5FTVR
  15. VK5ZAR
  16. VK3OF
  17. VK5BJE
  18. VK1AT/3
  19. VK5JK
  20. VK4HNS/m
  21. VK3NML/p
  22. VK5AW/m
  23. VK3KTO/2
  24. VK3FBNG
  25. VK2YK
  26. VK3HKV
  27. VK5ATQ
  28. VK5KS
  29. VK3FSMT/2
  30. VK6MB/p (VKFF-183)
  31. VK5TW
  32. VK5FLEX/p
  33. VK5FMID
  34. VK7BO
  35. VK3DBP
  36. VK5ZK
  37. VK3YE
  38. VK4FFAB
  39. VK3VIN
  40. VK5FD
  41. VK5ZGY/m
  42. VK5NQP
  43. VK3MEG
  44. VK5KFB/m
  45. VK3TKK
  46. VK6MMB/p
  47. VK3NCR/5
  48. VK3PF
  49. VK5FAJS
  50. VK2NP
  51. VK2HV
  52. VK3FCCC
  53. VK5FANA
  54. VK5BGN
  55. VK3MIJ
  56. VK5QI/m
  57. VK6MB/p (VKFF-183)
  58. VK6MMB/p (VKFF-183)
  59. VK5LDM
  60. VK3FOWL/p (SOTA Mt Disapointment)

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5AW/p
  2. VK2QA
  3. VK6RZ



Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, Telford Scrub Conservation Park brochure.

Postcards, 2009, <;,viewed 12th June 2015

Mobile activity around the Blue Lake & a nice feed

After leaving the SERG Convention on Sunday afternoon (7th June 2015) I drove up to the Blue Lake at Mount Gambier for some mobile action.  My mobile set up is an Icom IC-7000 and a Codan 9350 self tuning antenna mounted on the read of my Toyota Hi Lux.

As I was driving around the edge of the lake, I heard Tony VK3VTH on 14.311.  Tony was portable in the Dergholm State ParkVKFF-756 in the far west of Victoria, about 390 km west of Melbourne.  Tony was working into Europe, and was a little weak, but as this was a unique park for me, I thought it was worth giving him a call.  It took a little while to get through the European pileup, but eventually we made it (5/3 sent and 4/1 received).


Above:- The Blue Lake at Mount Gambier.

I then changed bands to 40m and worked Paul VK3HN who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Gordon, VK3/ VN-027 (5/7 sent and 5/5 received).  I then spoke with Peter VK3ZPF who was calling CQ for the VK Shires Contest.  Peter had a beautiful 5/9 signal.

I then pulled up at the Valley Lake lookout, and I had a further two SOTA contacts.  The first was with Rod VK2TWR who was portable on Wullwye Hill VK2/ SM-085, east of Jindabyne.  And the next was with Allen VK3HRA who was portable on VK3/ VW-017 North Burranj Range, in the Black Range State Park VKFF-751.

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I then tuned up the band and found Ian VK1DI calling CQ from another unique VKFF reference area for me, the Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve, VKFF-839.  This is one of the newly added VKFF areas to the WWFF program.  Ian had a nice strong 5/8 signal and he reciprocated with a 5/8 signal report for me.

I then changed over to 20m and started calling CQ on 14.275.  Almost immediately my CQ call was answered by Jos ON4ATK in Belgium (5/7 sent and 5/5 received).  This was followed by Ted VK4AVG (5/9 sent and 5/8 received).  But things dried up after this with no further takers.

So I tuned across the band and spoke with Theo OT4A in Belgium (5/9 sent and 5/7 received), Dan S59N in Slovenia (5/8 sent & 5/6 received), Jose EA3NG in Spain (5/9 both ways), and Tom DJ7ZZ in Germany (5/9 both ways).

I finished off the afternoon with another SOTA contact.  This time with Matt VK2DAG who was portable on SOTA peak, Bakers Downfall Hill VK2/ NW-006, not far from the famous Hanging Rock.

It was time to head back to Mount Gambier and a quick shower and off to the SERG Convention Dinner held at the Scout hall.  It was nice to try out the new antenna on the vehicle and get a bit of DX in the log.

After trying to make myself beautiful I headed back to the scout hall in Margaret Street at Mount Gambier, and listened to a sum up of the weekend by the SERG President, Tim VK5AV, followed by a very interesting talk on Surface mounted components, and then the presentation of certificates for the National Fox Hunting Championships.  I then enjoyed  avery nice meal in the adjacent hall consisting of soup, Roast Chicken, and Apple crumble.  I even won a bottle of nice red in the raffle, which was quickly consumed over dinner.

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Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park

After leaving Ewens Ponds Conservation Park I headed off to the Piccaninnnie Ponds Conservation Park (CP), which was to be another unique park for me for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

Piccaninnine Ponds CP is located about 32 km south east of Mount Gambier, and about 480 km south east of Adelaide.  It is very close to the South Australian/Victorian border.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 09.49.20

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

Piccaninnie Ponds has been recognised as a wetland of international importance.  The park is very popular with scuba divers and snorkellers.  The crystal clear waters have been slowly filtering through the limestone and forming the Pond’s features over thousands of years. The freshwater rising to the surface under pressure has eroded a weakness in the limestone to form The Chasm.  This same process has formed the large underwater cavern known as The Cathedral creating its majestic white walls of sculptured and scalloped limestone.

The park also incorporates the beachOn land, take a walk along the beach and see the freshwater springs bubbling up onto the sand. These springs are used by birds for freshwater and are also a favourite spot for shellfish.

There is also a walking trail through coastal wattle and beard heath to the ponds outlet. The walk then leads inland via boardwalks into silky tea-tree and cutting grass to a lookout where views of the wetland and bamboo reed and bulrush can be seen.

I drove down the Glenelg River Road and then turned into Piccaninnie Ponds Road.  The park is very well signposted.

I drove into the main ponds carpark, which was absolutely chocker block full of cars and activity.  There was a young lad with a generator running, filling up oxygen tanks for the divers that were about to head off for a dive.  There was no room to set up here and it was definitely too noisy.  But I did take the opportunity of walking down the track a short distance to the ponds, which were alive with activity.  A number of scuba divers had just entered the water.  There was also a large amount of birdlife including Geese and Herons.

I then drove down to the carpark at the end of the road near the beach.  I would have liked to have set up on the beach itself, but it was extremely windy and operation from there would have been too oppressive.  So I turned back around and headed back along Piccaninnie Ponds Road and found a track leading off into the scrub.  That is where I set up.   And with some difficulty.  It was exceedingly windy.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 09.49.06

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

Prior to calling CQ I had a tune around the band and found Rod VK2TWR calling CQ on 7.090 from SOTA peak Pine Hill, VK2/ SM-083.  Rod was QRP 5 watts and had a good strong 5/8 signal.  Not a bad way to start the park activation, with a SOTA QSO.  I then moved down to 7.085 and started calling CQ and this was answered by Adam VK2YK who was portable in the Worimi National Park VKFF-614, running just 5 watts (5/3 both ways).

A steady flow of callers followed from VK3, VK5 & VK7.  And then amongst the VK’s, I heard Ken again, ZL4KD with a good 5/5 signal.  Not bad considering this was just before 12.30 p.m. on 40 metres.  Ken gave me a 5/5 into Christchurch.  A few calls later, I had a SOTA trifecta.  Bernard VK2IB/3 was first to call, on SOTA peak VK3/ VE-241, south east of Wodonga.  Next was Andrew VK1NAM portable on SOTA peak Bullen Range VK1/ AC-035, and then Allen VK3HRA portable on SOTA peak Mount Byron VK3/ VW-015 which is located in the Black Range State Park VKFF-751.

A few calls later, I received a call from Gordon VK5GY who was portable in the Morgan Conservation Park.  It was a pleasant surprise to get a VK5 Park to Park contact with Gordon.

My last contact on 40m was with Jeff VK5JK at Encounter Bay, who always has a strong signal.  I then lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, and started calling CQ on 14.307.  First taker there was Adam VK2YK mobile, followed by Daniel VK6LCK and then Ian VK6DW.

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It was approaching 1.00 p.m. and I still needed to get back to Mount Gambier for the SERG Convention, so it was time to pack up and hit the road.  I had a total of 35 contacts in the log, including four SOTA contacts, one VK5 Parks contact, and two VKFF park contacts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2TWR/p (SOTA VK2/ SM-083)
  2. VK2YK/p (VKFF-814)
  3. VK3ZPF/p
  4. VK5WF
  5. VK3PH
  6. VK1AT/3
  7. VK3PF/m
  8. VK3OF
  9. VK5KKT
  10. VK3FKFK
  11. VK7BO
  12. VK5ZAR
  13. VK7KZ
  14. VK5FBFB
  15. VK5BJE
  16. VK3KLB
  17. VK5GJ
  18. ZL4KD
  19. VK5FCHM
  20. VK5KKS
  21. VK2IB/3 (SOTA VK3/ VE-241)
  22. VK1NAM/p (SOTA VK1/ AC-033)
  23. VK3HRA/p (SOTA VK3/ VW-015)
  24. VK3OHM
  25. VK3FMRC
  26. VK5GY/p (Morgan Conservation Park)
  27. VK2LEE
  28. VK3SFG/p
  29. VK3NUT
  30. VK3BHR
  31. VK4FFAB
  32. VK5JK
  33. VK2YK/m
  34. VK6LCK
  35. VK6DW

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. Adam VK2YK/m
  2. VK6LCK
  3. VK6DW


National Parks South Australia, 2015, <;, viewed 12th June 2015

Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-796

My first park for Sunday morning, 7th June 2015 was the Ewens Ponds Conservation Park which is situated about 36 km south east of Mount Gambier.  This was my only planned park activation for the day, but as it turned out, I also ventured over to Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park after this activation.  Ewen Ponds was another unique park for me for both the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award, and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.Screenshot 2015-06-12 00.06.17

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

Ewens Ponds Conservation Park was constituted in 1976 and covers a small area of about 24 hectares.  The park contains spring fed limestone ponds which are linked by shallow channels.  The channels actually connect three basin shaped ponds which are about 10 metres deep.  The clarity of the water enables water plants to grow underwater to a depth of about 6 metres.  Many of these plants are not found growing fully submerged underwater anywhere else in the world.

The ponds are very popular with scuba divers and snorkellers.  The minimum qualification for divers is ‘open water’.  In fact whilst I was set up, a couple arrived to go scuba diving in the ponds.  Due to the cold water and the potential for damage to the aquatic environment, swimming is not allowed.

The ponds have a large fish population including the endangered Gold Pygmy Perch.  In fact the ponds are one of only three recorded locations for the Gold Pygmy Perch.  The ponds are also home to populations of flatworms, freshwater crayfish, and mussels, and the larva of the carnivorous caddis fly.

The history behind the discovery of the ponds is extremely interesting.  The first European associated with the area was Thoms Ewens.  His dog chased a kangaroo into one of the ponds.  The land surrounding the ponds was gradually cleared for agricultural purposes and dairy farming.  A drainage system was constructed to draw water from the ponds for land sold for soldier settlement programs after the Second World War.  In 1978 a trout farm was established utilising the waters flowing through Ewens Ponds.

Screenshot 2015-06-12 00.07.32 (1)

Above:- My operating spot.  Image courtesy of

After setting up, I decided to head up to the WWFF calling frequency of 7.144.  It was only 8.20 a.m. and there was still quite a bit of DX on the band.  It was quite difficult to find a clear frequency below 7.100.  I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Andy VK5AKH who was mobile at Kingston on Murray with a very strong 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Tony VK5FTVR, and then Mark VK5QI who was also mobile up in the Riverland for the Canoe Marathon.

Conditions on 40m were exceptionally good and I had a nice little park pile up going for quite a while with callers from VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6 & ZL.  I was quite surprised when I head Ken ZL4KD amongst all the park hunters calling me.  Ken had a very good 5/7 signal coming into Ewens Ponds from Christchurch.

It was also nice to get a couple of the regular QRP hunters in the log.  They were Adrian VK5FANA running his typical 5 watts from the Yorke Peninsula (5/9 both ways), and Amanda VK3FQSO running 500 milliwatts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).

At about 2335 UTC I took a break to have a chat to the diver and his wife who had arrived at Ewens Ponds.  It was interesting to hear their comments about how the water within the ponds had become cloudier over the years, possibly due to run off from the surrounding farms.


By the time I had got back to the radio, the WIA broadcast had commenced on 7.140, so I headed back down the band and found Nigel VK5NIG calling CQ for the VK Shires Contest.  I gave Nigel a signal report and my Shire code which was GD5, and then headed for 7.100 and started calling CQ.  Most of the European DX had disappeared at this time.  My CQ call was answered by Brian VK5FMID at nearby Mount Gambier, and this was followed by Joe VK3YSP.  After the UTC rollover I was called by Mark VK1EM, Dave VK2BDR, John VK5FMJC and Julie VK3FOWL who was mobile.

I went on to work a further 25 stations on 7.100 in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK6.  The band was working perfectly, with great signals coming in from across Australia.  I had a few interesting contacts including Rob VK4AAB/5 on Kangaroo Island OC-139, and Ian VK5CZ who was portable on SOTA peak, Hallett Hill VK5-SE-003.

I also tried 20m and called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Paul VK2KKT, Peter VK6RZ, and David VK4DPM, all of whom were 5/9 to the South East of South AUstralia.

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After a little over 90 minutes operating, I had a total of 66 contacts in the log.  I had qualified another park for the WWFF program.  It was time to pack up and head off to Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park.  I wanted to sneak in that activation prior to getting back to Mount Gambier for the SERG Convention.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5AKH/m
  2. VK5FTVR
  3. VK5QI/m
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK3FONZ
  6. VK3YE/p
  7. VK6DW
  8. VK3VH
  9. VK5KLV
  10. VK3OF
  11. VK3FAAJ/p
  12. VK3DBP
  13. VK3TKK/m
  14. VK5BJE
  15. VK3PMG
  16. VK5FTCT
  17. VK5ZAR
  18. VK2NP
  19. VK3MCX
  20. ZL4KD
  21. VK5LSB
  22. VK5FAJS/m
  23. VK3PF
  24. VK5KFB/m
  25. VK2DEK
  26. VK2YK
  27. VK3FQSO
  28. VK5NQP
  29. VK6FLAB
  30. VK5NJ
  31. VK3HK
  32. VK5HS/m
  33. VK5FLEX/m
  34. VK5ZRY
  35. VK5NIG
  36. VK5FMID
  37. VK3YSP/m
  38. VK1EM
  39. VK2BDR
  40. VK5FMJC
  41. VK3FOWL/m
  42. VK3TST/p
  43. VK5WG
  44. VK5IY
  45. VK4AAC/5
  46. VK2PAW
  47. VK5FTRG
  48. VK1DR
  49. VK2MT/p
  50. VK5IS
  51. VK7FGGT
  52. VK3VTH/m
  53. VK1AT/3
  54. VK2MCB
  55. VK5CZ/p
  56. VK5LY
  57. VK5BGN
  58. VK3FACI/p
  59. VK5ND
  60. VK5NRG
  61. VK5JK
  62. VK3AFW
  63. VK3WMM

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2KTT
  2. VK6RZ
  3. VK4DPM



National Parks South Australia, 2015, <;, viewed 12th June 2015

Natural Resources Group, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1994, Small Inland Parks of the South East Management Plan.

Wikipedia, 2015, <;, viewed 12th June 2015