Pike River Conservation Park, 5CP-180 and VKFF-0831

Late Friday afternoon (15th April 2016), Marija and I left home in the Adelaide Hills, and made our way towards Renmark in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Our reason for heading up to that neck of the woods was to attend the Riverland Radio Group’s BRL Gathering at the historic Overland Corner on Saturday.  Fortunately I was still on holidays, but Marija had to work on Friday, so it was around 3.00 p.m. when we left home.

We had planned to activate the Pike River Conservation Park, 5CP-180 and VKFF-0831 on Friday evening, after booking in to our motel.  The park is located about 260 km north east of Adelaide, and around 10km from Renmark.

Screenshot 2016-04-19 16.40.43

Above:- Map showing the location of the Pike River Conservation Park near Renmark in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I have activated Pike River previously, for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, but that was prior to the park being added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  So this was to be a unique WWFF/VKFF activation for me.

It was just after 6.00 p.m. by the time we reached Renmark, and almost dark, so it was a quick check in to the motel, and then off to Pike River.  We headed south east along the Sturt Highway, through the little town of Paringa, passing over the historic Paringa Bridge, until we reached the open and unlocked gate leading into the park.  The park is not signposted, so keep an eye out for the gate which is a few hundred metres after passing the carpark/lookout on the western side of the Sturt Highway.

We drove a short distance down the dirt track towards Pike Lagoon, admiring the amazing sunset.

Pike River Conservation Park forms part of the Pike River Floodplain and is an anabranch system of the Murray River.  The park is about 296 hectares in size , and has a number of species of national significance including the Southern Bell Frog, Murray Cod, and the Regent Parrot.  It also contained an additional 18 species with State Conservation significance.

We set up the deck chair and fold up table.  I still had my thongs on but had to quickly change into socks and sandshoes as the mosquitos were biting hard and the stubble on the ground was extremely prickly.

Screenshot 2016-04-19 16.39.46

The 40m band was quite busy and I was unable to get to 7.144 due to some South East Asian stations who were in very close proximity to the frequency.  So I decided to head down to 7.130 and put out a CQ call.  My first taker was Jonathan VK2VJS who was a good 5/5 to the park, but sadly Jonathan was really struggling with me.  I received a 3/2 signal report.  Next up was Mike VK6MB who was booking in at 5/9 and Mike also reciprocated with a 5/9 signal report for me.  Rob VK4AAC/3 who was in the Mount Lawson State Park VKFF-0768 was next, with a good 5/9 signal.

Rick VK4RF/VK4HA gave me a shout and informed me that Phil VK6ADF was in a National Park on 7.144, so I ducked up there to get Phil in the log from Watheroo National Park VKFF-0524.  I then returned back to 7.130 and worked a further 4 stations just  prior to the 7.130 DX Net starting up.  I moved up to 7.135 and worked 7 stations in VK2, VK4, VK5 and VK6.  I then returned back to 7.130 and booked in to the Net where I worked into VK4, VK5, VK6, USA, Puerto Rico, and New Zealand.

Sadly for this activation, band conditions were well down, with lots of very severe QSB.  I did not reach the required 44 QSO threshold to qualify the park for the global WWFF program, but I did qualify the park for the Australian (VKFF) program, which only requires 10 QSOs from the park.

I had a total of 25 contacts in the log, including two Park to Park contacts and a handful of DX on 40m, so I was still quite happy.  It will be a trip back to Pike River to pick up the remaining 19 QSOs.

Marija also operated from the park and got her required 10 QSOs to qualify the park for VKFF, including two Park to Park contacts with Rob VK4AAC/3 and Phil VK6ADF/p.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VJS
  2. VK6MB
  3. VK4AAC/3 (Mount Lawson State Park VKFF-0768)
  4. VK2IO
  5. Vk4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK6ADF/p (Watheroo National Park VKFF-0524)
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK6VCK/m
  10. VK3SIM
  11. VK7ROY
  12. VK4GSF
  13. VK2WDD
  14. VK2HPN
  15. VK4FDAD
  16. VK5FAKV
  17. VK4NAI/6
  18. VK4FZZW
  19. VK5MJ
  20. VK6PCB
  21. NR6Q
  22. NP4A
  23. ZL3SV
  24. W1OW
  25. VK4TH

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB
  2. VK4AAC/3 (Mount Lawson State Park VKFF-0768)
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK6ADF/p (Watheroo National Park VKFF-0524)
  7. VK6VCK/m
  8. VK3SIM
  9. VK7ROY
  10. VK3PF

5 thoughts on “Pike River Conservation Park, 5CP-180 and VKFF-0831

  1. Pity you didn’t get the numbers Mate. Doesn’t look like to bad a spot to revisit. No thought on 20/15m to get the numbers up?

    Chris
    VK4FR/P

    • Hi Chris,

      This was a night time activation and we were a bit pressed for time. We were also getting eaten alive by mozzies, so we decided not to try 20m and 15m (which I normally do). The comfort of the motel room was a far more attractive option.

      Cheers,

      Paul,
      VK5PAS.

  2. Hi Paul,
    A great write up of your visit to the Park. We had car problems there: but they were mythical. We had three keys, but one wasn’t programmed and, surprisingly, it did not work!
    Chris raises the issue of 20 and 15 metres. I have tried both bands, not much joy on 15 and an occasional contact on 20 (usually VK6MB, VK6NU and VK4RF and sometimes Bill from Toowoomba (VK4FW).
    I think that we are advancing into the cycle trough fairly quickly – sadly!
    Cheers

    John D
    VK5BJE/VK5PF

    • Hi John,

      I normally do try 20m and 15m but we were on a limited time schedule and it was pitch black and the mozzies were as big as birds. Its a shame that we were in the park at the time of the day we were. As the views out to Pike Lagoon and the Murray River are quite spectacular. Marija has not been to this park before (I have), so she hasn’t seen the park in daylight. We will have to go back.

      Cheers,

      Paul,
      VK5PAS.

    • I have to agree John, I had no joy on 15 and limited success on 20M from The Coorong and Swan Reach last weekend. I will be in Townsville for a week so will be watching these 2 bands as they will be my primary bands for the distance.

      Cheers
      Chris
      VK4FR

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