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.
Above:- Map showing my operating spot. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
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.
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:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- 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!