The Plug Range Conservation Park VKFF-1107 and 5CP-231

After leaving the Heggaton Conservation Park I made my way to The Plug Range Conservation Park VKFF-1107 and 5CP-231.  The Plug Range is located about

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Above:- Map showing the location of The Plug Range Conservation Park on Eyre Peninsula.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I thought that this was going to be a short 30 minute drive from Heggaton and I would be there.  But that was not to be!   I drove down the Mangalo-Kielpa Road into the little area of Mangalo, which is easily identified as there are two large grain silos at the intersection with Burton Road.

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Above:- the grain silos at Mangalo

I then drove north on Burton Road, heading towards what I thought was the park.   Unfortunately mobile phone coverage was very poor and it wasn’t long before I was lost.  Fortunately a local lady came along and kindly turned her car around and guided me to where I wanted to be to get into the park.  I am very appreciative of this.  It was a set of gates on Watchanie Road with a dirt track leading towards the scrub through a farming property.  Definitely no signs for this park.

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Above: the track leading into the park (is actually a part of the park).

I drove to the end of the track and soon entered the scrub.  The dirt track leading to the scrub is actually part of the park.  You can see the narrow thin green line on the aerial below, which is the track leading to the park.  I set up off a little track following a ridgeline in the south western corner of the park.

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Above:- Aerial shot of The Plug Range Conservation Park, showing my operating spot in the south western section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Plug Range Conservation Park was established on the 6th September 2012 and comprises 2,582 hectares.  The park is surrounded by farming land.  Again, I could find very little on this park on the internet.

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Above:- Aerial shot from Google Maps showing the location of The Plug Range Conservation Park in relation to Heggaton Conservation Park.

The wet weather was moving in fast and I had my doubts that I was going to get my 44 contacts from the park before the rain started coming down.  I was on air at around 0315 UTC (1.45 p.m. local time), with my first contact in the log being a Park to Park contact with Adam VK2YK in the Glenrock State Conservation Area VKFF-1319.  I then moved down the band to 7.130 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Mick VK3GGG who was mobile in the Grampians National Park VKFF-0213.  Next up was Gerard VK2IO, followed by Chris VK5FR, and then Tony VK5MRT.

As the rain was fast approaching I moved through each QSO quite quickly during this activation.  The band was completely devoid of any man made noise, but the static crashes were very strong from the nearby storms.  I had reached contact number 40 within 30 minutes of activating.  This was with Brian VK3BBB, when the heavens opened up.  Damn, I had 4 more contacts to get in the log to qualify the park.  So it was back to the 4WD and out with the bothy bag.

I returned to the deck chair and the fold up table, huddled underneath the bothy bag, and worked a further 5 stations before hurriedly going QRT.  My last contact was with Steve VK5SFA.  The rain was that heavy, that water was starting to seap through the bothy bag.  So out from underneath the bothy bag I came, and I commenced packing up the gear in the rain.  This normally only takes me around 2 minutes, but it was enough for me to be like a wet rat.

Unfortunately I did not have time or the opportunity to try any bands other than 40m during this activation.  The rain had beaten me.  But I had qualified the park with a total of 45 contacts.

Many thanks to the following stations who spotted me: Brett VK3FLCS, Rick VK4RF, and Robert VK2XXM.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2YK/p (VKFF-1319)
  2. VK3GGG/p (VKFF-0213)
  3. VK3PMG/p (VKFF-0213)
  4. VK2IO
  5. VK5FR
  6. VK5MRT
  7. VK3MRH
  8. VK5WG
  9. VK3BNJ
  10. VK2HHA
  11. VK3MCK
  12. VK3SFG
  13. VK3PF
  14. VK4RF
  15. VK4HA
  16. VK3FENC
  17. VK7ALH
  18. VK1AT
  19. VK5KLV
  20. VK3SIM
  21. VK5ZK
  22. VK4HNS/p
  23. VK4AAC/3
  24. VK7FOLK
  25. VK2KYO
  26. VK2YW
  27. VK3TKK
  28. VK3FLCS
  29. VK5EE
  30. VK5AFZ
  31. VK2VW
  32. VK5GJ
  33. VK2XXM
  34. VK2MOR
  35. VK3FRAB
  36. VK6JON/7
  37. VK5ZGY/m
  38. VK2JCC
  39. VK3FSPG
  40. VK3BBB
  41. VK3UH
  42. VK3BSG
  43. VK3NXT
  44. VK3AJA
  45. VK5SFA

 

References.

Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources, Eastern Eyre Peninsula Parks Management Plan 2014

Heggaton Conservation Park VKFF-1037 and 5CP-089

It was a bright and early start for me on Saturday 17th September 2016.  I had four planned park activations for the day, with the first being the Heggaton Conservation Park VKFF-1037 and 5CP-089.  So after some toast and a coffee I was on the road by just after 7.00 a.m.  I had about a one hour drive to get out to Heggaton.

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One thing that was reinforced with me from this activation was, don’t always rely on the GPS.  It took me the long way!  Instead of taking me down the Lincoln Highway to Cowell, I was guided out of Whyalla along the Lincoln Highway and then told to turn off on the Middleback Road through the very impressive Middleback Ranges.  It was slow going as the dirt was quite slippery in sections and there were a lot of kangaroos out and about.  The Middleback Road then became Sectus Tanks Road and this brought me out onto the Eyre Highway.  And directly in front of me was the Lake Gilles Conservation Park.  I was very tempted to stop off here for a quick activation.

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Above:- Sectus Tanks Road at Bama.

But I decided not to stop, and I continued south west on the Eyre Highway and into the little town of Kimba.  The word ‘Kimba’ is derived from the local aboriginal word for ‘bushfire’.  The town is known as being ‘halfway across Australia’ as the crow flies.  It is also well known for the Big Galah.  I stopped here briefly to stretch the legs and take a few photos.

I then travelled south out of Kimba along the Cleve-Kimba Road and then turned right onto Whitwell Road and on to the Old Cleeve Road.  A short distance up the Old Cleeve Road I turned right onto King Hicks Road.  The northern section of the park soon came in to view.

I set up in this northern section off King Hicks Road, in a clearing in the scrub.  Cleared land for cropping bordered the park at this location.

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I was unable to find a lot of information about the Heggaton Conservation Park on the internet.  The park is 6,476 hectares in size and is located to the south east of Kimba and the south west of Whyalla.  The park which was proclaimed on the 6th September 2012, provides important habitat for the Mallefowl and also the rare Gilbert’s Whistler.

It was quite a mild morning and the flies had not taken a rest from yesterday.  They were out in force again and no matter how much insect repellant I applied, it had no effect.  There was enough room in the clearing for me to string out the longer 80/40/20m linked dipole which is what I did.  I was all set to go by about 0020 UTC (9.50 a.m.).  It had taken me a lot longer to get to the park than expected.

My first caller of the morning on 7.144 on 40m was Brian VK5FMID at Mount Gambier who was 5/9.  This was followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Les VK5KLV and then Greg VK5ZGY mobile in the South East of South Australia.

About eight contacts into the activation, I had my first Park to Park contact in the log.  It was with Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in the Conondale National Park VKFF-0109. Rob’s signal was quite low, 5/4, but he was very readable as there was no man made noise at all on the band from within the park.

Shortly after I made a few QRP contacts.  The first was with Peter VK3PF who was 5/5, running just 1 watt.  And then Adrian VK5FANA running 5 watts who was 5/9 from the Yorke Peninsula.  About 12 QSOs later I was called by Greg VK5GJ running 4 watts from Meadows in the Adelaide Hills.  Greg was a terrific 5/9 signal to Heggaton.  This was followed by Ian VK5IS running just 5 watts from the Mid North of South Australia, and he too was 5/9.  Nev VK5WG, also in the Mid North, followed soon after running 5 watts (5/9 both ways).  The 40 m band was in great shape, and despite the quite strong static crashes, I was hearing everyone extremely well.

Peter VK3YE then called in, running just 5 watts, operating as a flagpole station with a kite antenna at Chelsea Bicentennial Park.  As it turned out, it was International Talk Like A Pirate Day, on which the Manly Warringah Radio Society run a Flagpole Contest.  Peter was a nice 4/4 signal, with Peter receiving me at 5/7 at his end.

But the QRP contact of the activation was with Greg VK5GJ.  After initially working him on 4 watts, Greg called back running just 400 milliwatts.  Greg had not dropped from a 5/9 down to a 5/2 but was still perfectly readable.  He called back shortly afterwards running just 40 milliwatts and had dropped to a 4/1.  AMAZING.  This was the highlight of this park activation for me.  Greg’s QTH was about 300 km to the east of Heggaton, across the Spencer Gulf and the St Vincent Gulf.

I worked a total of 53 stations on 40m before having a quick listen on 20m where I spoke with Cleeve VK2MOR, Lee VK2LEE and then John VK6NU.  Finally I headed over to 80m where I logged 2 contacts, Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill in the Mid North of SA, and then Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland region of SA.

Time was marching on, and the weather was moving in rapidly from the west.  A lof of rain was predicted and I still had three planned park activations.

Thankyou to the following who spotted me: Rick VK4RF, Robert VK2XXM, Adrian VK5FANA, Lee VK2LEE, and Cleeve VK2MOR.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMID
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK5KLV
  4. VK5ZGY/m
  5. VK2IO
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK4FFAB/p (VKFF-0109)
  9. VK1AT/3
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK5FANA
  12. VK5ZK
  13. VK5BJE
  14. VK5HCF
  15. VK5EE
  16. VK3GGG/m
  17. VK3PMG/m
  18. VK3OHM
  19. VK3SFG
  20. VK5MRT
  21. VK2HHA
  22. VK7ALH
  23. VK2PKT
  24. VK5FR
  25. VK5GJ
  26. VK5IS
  27. VK5VBR
  28. VK2XXM
  29. VK4HNS/p
  30. VK7CW
  31. VK3BBB
  32. VK5PL
  33. VK5RM/m
  34. VK3ZMD
  35. VK1DI
  36. VK2KYO
  37. VK5WG
  38. VK5HDW
  39. VK5HS
  40. VK3FLCS
  41. VK5GJ
  42. VK3IO
  43. VK3YE/p
  44. VK3FADM
  45. VK5MBD
  46. VK2LEE
  47. VK3MCK
  48. VK5AFZ
  49. VK5GJ
  50. VK5TRM
  51. VK5MRE/m
  52. VK5SFA/m
  53. VK2MOR

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2MOR
  2. VK2LEE
  3. VK6NU

The following stations were worked on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5MBD
  2. VK5HS

 

 

References.

Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources, Eastern Eyre Peninsula Parks Management Plan 2014

 

Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0805 and 5CP-253

My last planned park activation for Friday 16th September 2016 was the Whyalla Conservation Park (CP) VKFF-0808 and 5CP-253.  Whyalla CP is about 10 km north of the town of Whyalla, on the Lincoln Highway.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Whyalla Conservation Park, just north of the town of Whyalla.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I have activated Whyalla Conservation twice before.  The first back in June 2013, and then again in December 2014.  For more information on those activations please see my previous posts at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2013/06/16/whyalla-conservation-park/

https://vk5pas.org/2014/12/28/whyalla-conservation-park-2/

Below are some photographs from the December 2016 activation when I operated from Wild Dog Hill within the park….

Whyalla Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 4th November 1971 and comprises1,971 hectares (4,870 acres).  The park was conserved both for conservation value of Eyre Peninsula woodland and for its position just 10 km north of Whyalla.  It was intended to serve a recreational purpose for Whyalla as a picnic site.  The park originally covered an area of 1,011 hectares, and in 2003 an extra area of land to the south of the Park, almost identical in size, was added.

This land was originally part of the BHP Indenture Act land and was under BHP’s care and control. With the divestiture of it’s Whyalla steel making operations to a new company, OneSteel, some of the land that was excess to requirements was added to the Park and the remainder was handed back to the local community.

Within the north west corner of the park, Wild Dog Hill, a sandstone outcrop, rises above the surrounding plains and offers some great views of the surrounding countryside.  There is an easy walking trail to the top.  Below are some photos taken back in December 2014 at Wild Dog Hill.

The park is alive with Red and Grey kangaroos, along with Euros who are often sighted on the slopes of Wild Dog Hill.  The Common Dunnart, a carnivorous mouse sized marsupial which eats grasshoppers and small lizards is also found in the park.

Over 80 species of birds have been observed in the Park including Wedge-tailed Eagles, Australian Kestrels, Grey Butcherbird, Crested Pigeon, White-browed Babbler, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater and the Black-faced Woodswallow.

More than 20 species of reptiles have been recorded in the Whyalla Conservation Park, including the Western Brown Snake, Bearded Dragon, Western Bluetongue and Sleepy Lizard.

The most common tree that can be seen in the Park is the Western Myall, Acacia papyrocarpa. These majestic trees with their dome shaped canopy and silver-grey foliage can live to be over 250 years old. Sugarwoods, Bullock Bushes, Native Apricots, Quandongs and Black Oaks can also be found in many areas and Saltbush and Bluebush dominate the understorey.

Despite the sometimes oppresive weather conditions in the park, numerous wildflowers can be found at certain times of the year.  These include Fringe-lilies and Paper-daisies.  Delicate lilac Rock Isotomes flower almost constantly at the top of Wild Dog Hill, whilst the tube like flowers of Emu Bushes can be found throughout the Park.

It is reported that the lichens located on the rocks and trees within Whyalla Conservation Park, are some of the best examples in the world.

I set up just inside the park boundary on the eastern side of the park.  I again ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 80/40/20m linked dipole.

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Above:- Map of the Whyalla Conservation Park, showing my operating spot on the eastern side of the park.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

It was almost dark by the time I got to the park, so I had to use the headlights on the Toyota Hi Lux to help me set up.  I was all ready to go by around 0925 UTC (6.55 p.m. South Australian local time).

It was extremely difficult to find a spot on the 40m band.  Everything below 7.100 was totally taken up by Indonesian and Malaysian stations.  There were some North American stations close by to 7.144, and I eventually found 7.135 to be clear.  My first caller was Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, followed by Roald VK1MTS, and then Roy VK7ROY.  Even poor old Roy couldn’t get on to 7.130 for the 7.130 DX Net.  I offered to relinquish 7.135 to Roy and the net, but Roy very graciously declined and headed up a little higher.

My fifth contact from Whyalla was a Park to Park contact with Rob VK4FFAB, who was activating the Conondale National Park VKFF-0109.  Rob was a beautiful strong 5/8 signal to Whyalla.

I went on to work a total of 44 stations and qualified the park, before heading up the band to the 7.130 DX Net which was being held on 7.140.  On the net I worked Bill W1OW in Massachussetts USA, William FO5JV in French Polynesia, and Chuck K9RM in Indiana USA.  I then QSYd down the band a little to work Perrin VK3XPT who was operating remote.  Gerard VK2IO and Brian VK3BBB then called in to finish off the activation.

I had a total of 50 contacts in the log fom VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, USA and French Polynesia.  It was back to my mother in law’s for some late dinner.

Thanks to the following who spotted me: Rick VK4RF and Brett VK3FLCS.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK1MTS
  4. VK7ROY
  5. VK4FFAB/p (VKFF-
  6. VK2YW
  7. VK3LSD
  8. VK6MB
  9. VK6FFAR
  10. VK2HHA
  11. VK3GGG
  12. VK3PMG
  13. VK1AT/3
  14. VK4AAC/3
  15. VK4HNS/p
  16. VK5FMID
  17. VK3ELH
  18. VK4ME
  19. VK3FLCS
  20. VK4FBMW
  21. VK6VZZ/m
  22. VK5FANA
  23. VK3PAT
  24. VK5EE/m
  25. VK6XN
  26. VK3FSPG
  27. VK2MRX
  28. VK5ZGY
  29. VK6FBOS
  30. VK5CGM
  31. VK6DW
  32. VK4FAAJ
  33. VK1HW
  34. VK2YK
  35. VK2NEO
  36. VK5MJ
  37. VK2XZ
  38. VK6MSC
  39. VK4TJ
  40. VE6XT/VK4
  41. AC8WN/VK4
  42. VK5KLV
  43. VK6BSA
  44. W1OW
  45. FO5JV
  46. K9RM
  47. VK3XPT
  48. VK2IO
  49. VK3BBB

 

 

References.

Friends of the Whyalla Conservation Park, 2016, <http://www.fwcp.org/park.htm&gt;

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whyalla_Conservation_Park&gt;

Ironstone Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0895 and 5CP-095

My second planned park activation for Friday 16th September 2016 was the Ironstone Hill Conservation Park, VKFF-0895 and 5CP-095, just a relatively short drive away from Munyaroo Conservation Park.  The park is around 50 km south west of Whyalla.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ironstone Hill Conservation Park on the Eyre Peninsula.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Ironstone Hill Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 26th August 2010.  The park’s total are is 19,650 hectares (196.50 km2).  Sections 10 and 13 of the park, comprising 5,862 ha, were added to the park on 6th September 2012.  Prior to be declared a Conservation Park, the land was part of the Shirrocoe Pastoral Lease.  In 2014, the conservation park was described as being “particularly significant for the protection of sandy dunes, which are preferred habitat of the endangered Sandhill Dunnart.

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Above:- A Sandhill Dunnart.  Image courtesy of Australia & Pacific Science Foundation

The park is predominantly malle vegetation, and protects various plant species including the Desert Greenhood and Sandalwood which are listed as vulnerable under the National Parks and Wildlife Act“.  The conservation park is bounded on its western side by the private protected area, the Secret Rocks Nature Reserve.  Arium’s Iron Duke mine is situated immediately to the east of the park.

Over 60 species of birds have been recorded in the park including Mulga Parrots, White-eared Honeyeaters, Weebill, Striated Pardalote, Willy Wagtail, and Jacky Winter.  Mallee Fowl have been sighted in the park, and many have fallen victim to traffic on the surrounding roads.   A series of powerpoint presentations were delivered in January 2012, by the Environmental Representative of HWE Mining Pty Ltd.  This was to raise awareness of the presence of Mallefowl on the Lincoln Highway, south of the Iron Duke mine towards Cowell.  Notices were also placed in crib-rooms and small items submitted in work bulletins.   It wasn’t long before mine workers began reporting sightings of Malleefowl on the entrance road to the mine.

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Above:- A Mallefowl.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the park and its proximity to the mine.  Image courtesy of Google Maps.

I entered the park off the Lincoln Highway, to the south west of the entry into the Arium mine.  There is a small section of the park here that abuts the Lincoln Highway.  However, it is not signposted, so please ensure that you are within the boundaries of the park.

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Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the park.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

A large portion of the park appeared to be recovering from a fire.  I have since read that a controlled burn took place in the park in September last year.  I suspect it is still recovering from that.  But in amongst the burnt vegetation, there were a number of flowering plants.

A very significant fire burnt through the park back in 1991, and crossed the Lincoln Highway into surrounding countryside.

Again for this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 80/40/20m linked dipole.  I was ready to go by just after 0630 UTC (4.00 p.m. South Australian local time).  I immediately headed to 7.144 again and found Les VK5KLV who was still in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757.  After working Les he kindly handed the frequency over to me, and a mini pile up soon ensued.  The first caller being Mick VK3GGG, followed by Rob VK4AAC/3 and then Ross VK7ALH.

The flies here were no less forgiving than Munyaroo, and they were joined in tag team action by mosquitos.  And no matter how much insect repellant I applied, they would not take no for an answer.

Nine QSOs into the activation I had a further Park to Park contact in the log.  This was with Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in Conondale National Park VKFF-0109.  Rob had an excellent 5/8 signal to me, and reciprocated with a 5/9 for me.

I worked a total of 40 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7.  Band conditions were very good, and the frequency was very quiet until around 45 minutes into the activation when a ZL4 came up on 7.143 calling CQ.

I then QSY’d to 20m and commenced calling CQ on 14.310.  This was answered by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, followed by Gyula HA6OB in Hungary,  Jonathan VK6JON/7, and finally Peter VK4PHD.  Sadly despite conditions appearing to be quite good, I had no further callers on 20m.  The Over the Horizon Radar did not help and was running at strength 8-9 to me.

I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m section of the antenna and started calling CQ on 3.610.  This was answered by Marc VK3OHM who was 5/9 to me, but who was sadly struggling with noise at his end.  Next was Adrian VK5FANA (5/9 both ways), and then Nev VK5WG who was running QRP from his little X1M transceiver.  I worked a further 7 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, and VK5.  All with great signals.  Who says that 80m is only open at night!

It was now just after 5.30 p.m. and the sun was starting to set.  I still had the Whyalla Conservation Park to activate, so it was time to pack up and hit the road.

Other than the amazing sunset, I was also rewarded with a glorious full moon which occasionally darted in behind the clouds.

I had a total of 55 contacts in the log and another successful and unique VKFF park activation completed.

Thanks to the following stations who spotted me: Mick VK3GGGG, Marc VK3OHM, Adrian VK5FANA and Rick VK4RF.

 

References.

Birds SA, 2016, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/ironstone-hill-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 21st September 2016

National Mallefowl Recovery Team, 2012, ‘Around the Mounds’ newsletter, Spring 2012 Edition Two.

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironstone_Hill_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 21st September 2016

Munyaroo Conservation Park VKFF-0920 and 5CP-154

My wife Marija was born in Whyalla in the ‘Iron Triangle’ region of South Australia, the name given to the iron producing region in the north of South Australia which is bounded by the towns of Whyalla, Port Augusta and Port Pirie.  Marija’s mum, and brother and his family still live there, so we venture up to Whyalla on a fairly frequent basis.  And we were due for another visit.  So bright and early on Friday morning (16th September 2016), we left home in the Adelaide Hills and commenced our 420 km drive north.

We headed into the city and then north out along Port Wakefield Road.  It wasn’t long before we came across the famous Port Wakefield Road protest sculptures at Lower Light.  These were built back in the 1990’s as a public protest to the South Australian Government who had proposed to build a large waste dump in the area.  Sadly the dump went ahead anyway, but the imposing sculptures stand as a reminder of people’s outrage at the building of the dump.

We continued north to Port Wakefield where we stopped briefly for a coffee and a sausage roll, and then headed further north through the Mid North of South Australia.  Along the way we passed the 3 little SOTA summits in the Hummock Range ‘The Hummocks’ and then a number of SOTA summits in the lower Flinders Ranges.  Also Telowie Gorge Conservation Park and the Mount Remarkable National Park.  I had an itchy PTT finger already.

We arrived at Whyalla around lunchtime and headed straight to Marija’s mum’s house.  My mother in law is of Croatian background.  So after a typical big meal, consisting of Snapper, calamari, and prawns, I headed out to the Munyaroo Conservation Park (CP) VKFF-0920 and 5CP-154, whilst Marija and her mum went shopping.   Munyaroo CP is about 36 km south west of Whyalla.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Munyaroo Conservation Park on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet. 

Munyaroo consists of three autonomous sections of land comprising a total of 123 km2.  Two of these adjoin the coastline with Spencer Gulf,  immediately south of Muminnie Beach and Plank Point and the third being located to the west on the east side of the Lincoln Highway.  I have operated from this park previously from one of the coastline sections, but for this activation I headed to the Lincoln Highway section.

This was to be a unique VKFF park for me, and the first time the park had been activated for World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF).  I did operate portable from Munyaroo back in December 2014, but that was prior to the park being added to the WWFF program.  So that activation was exclusively for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  For more information on my previous activation of this park, please have a look at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2014/12/28/munyaroo-conservation-park/

Munyaroo was proclaimed in 1977, and is considered to be significant in that it provides an important habitat link between the coastal vegetation and inland mallee of the Eyre Peninsula.  The two large coastal sections include low impact sandy beaches with an intertidal zone of mangrove and samphire communities.   This provides habitat for various shorebirds including plovers, terns and the rare Sooty Oystercatcher.

Haematopus_fuliginosus_Bruny.jpg

Above:- Sooty Oystercatcher.  Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Low open woodlands of Western Myall and False Sandalwood, with a Bluebush and Bladder Saltbush understorey, exist behind the coastal dune system.  Yellow Swainson-pea which is listed as vulnerable can be found here, along with Dwarf Four-toed Slider which is listed as rare.

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Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the park, and the nearby coastline, and the towns of Whyalla and Port Augusta.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Prior to the establishment of the park, the area was used for grazing, and a small coastal strip was cropped.  The ruins of a farm dwelling and various farm implements can be found in the park.

A large variety of native animals are found in the park including Red Kangaroos, and Sandhill Dunnarts.  A large variety of birdlife can be also be found in the park including emus, Mallefowl, Stubble quail, Pied Cormorants, pelicans, white-faced herons, Little Eagles, Blue breasted fairy wrens, but to name a few.

As I travelled south along the Lincoln Highway, the Iron Duke mine came into view in the Middleback Ranges.  Arrium mining control the mine here, and they are an exporter of hematite iron ore.  They supply iron ore feed to Arrium’s integrated steelworks at Whyalla.  My brother in law works for Arium.  The business currently exports approximately 12 million tonnes per annum of hematite ore, primarily to China.  Iron ore has been mined in the Middleback Ranges for around 100 years.

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Above:- View of the Iron Duke mine from the Lincoln Highway.

I continued south west on the Lincoln Highway until I reached Plane Road which runs off to the south east.  I turned left here and entered the park.  Plane Road actually disects the park.  So if you set up on either side of the road, you are safely within the park boundary.

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Above:- Looking along Plane Road, with the park on either side.

A few hundred feet from the Lincoln Highway and Plane Road junction, I found a clearing in the scrub and set up my station here.  This was on the south western side of Plane Road.

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Above:- Aerial image of the Munyaroo Conservation Park, showing the 3 autonomous sections, and indicating my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole supported on the 7m squid pole.  The ground was quite sandy so the squid pole holder slid into the ground nicely.  It was quite a warm afternoon, so I made as much noise as possible to keep any snakes at bay.  The flies here were absolutely relentless.

The park was alive with flower during my visit as you can see from the photographs below.

I headed to 7.144 and found Les VK5KLV calling CQ from the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757.  As Les was only a 100km or so away,unsurprisingly he was 5/9 plus to me.  A nice way to start the activation with a Park to Park contact.

I then moved down to 7.135 and was followed there by Mick VK3GGG.  Next up was Rick VK4RF, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and Ron VK3MRH.  Rick was a strong 5/8 signal but there was some QSB on his signal.  Netherless a good signal coming to the West Coast of South Australia from Queensland, about 2,000 km away.

I scored one further Park to Park for this activation, and that was with Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in the Maleny National Park VKFF-0690.  Rob had a good 5/5 signal into Munyaroo.  I also spoke with Dave VK2JDS in the Norah?? National Park and Paul VK2WPT/7 in the South West National Park.  Sadly they do not partake in the WWFF program, so although they were Park to Park contacts, they will not count on Logsearch.

I worked a total of39 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7, before QSYing to 20m.  I headed to 14.310 and commenced calling CQ and this was almost immediately answered by Fred VK4FE who was a strong 5/8 signal, but who was competing with the Over the Horizon Radar.  My next caller was Joszef OK1ES in the Czech Republic, followed by Bill VK4FW, and then Rick VK4RF.  I went on to work a further 6 stations from Western Australia, Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, and Croatia.  It was now 0550 UTC and just a little too early for long path Europe.

Finally to finish off the activation, I headed to 80m where I called CQ on 3.610.  This was answered by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula with a strong 5/8 signal.  Adrian responded with a 5/8 for me.  But despite a number of CQ calls, Adrian was my only taker on the 80m band.

It was approaching 3.30 p.m. South Australian local time and it was time to pack up and head off to my next park, the Ironstone Hill Conservation Park.  I was very pleased, with another unique VKFF activation under my belt, and a total of 51 contacts in the log.

Thanks to the following stations for spotting me: Mick VK3PMG, Fran OK7WA, Rick VK4RF, and Adrian VK5FANA.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK3MRH
  8. VK4FW
  9. VK1AT/3
  10. VK3LSD
  11. VK2YW
  12. VK3SFG
  13. VK4AAC/3
  14. VK5FMID
  15. VK5FDEC
  16. VK3PF
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK3NKC/p
  19. VK2KYO
  20. VK4HNS/p
  21. VK5EE
  22. VK2JDS/p
  23. VK2IO
  24. VK2NEO
  25. VK4FFAB/p (Maleny National Park VKFF-0690)
  26. VK2HEW/m
  27. VK2EJW
  28. VK7LTD
  29. VK3GP/m
  30. VK3OHM
  31. VK2WPT/7
  32. VK6VCK/p
  33. VK3KN
  34. VK7FRJG
  35. VK7EE
  36. VK2MTC
  37. VK3PAT
  38. VK3MCK
  39. VK5FANA

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FE
  2. OK1ES
  3. VK4FW
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK6MB
  7. JA1QVR
  8. OK7WA
  9. OK1FFU
  10. DL2ND
  11. 9A709A

The following station was worked on 80m SB:-

  1. Adrian VK5FANA

 

 

References.

Arium, 2016, <http://www.arrium.com/our-businesses/arrium-mining&gt;, viewed 21st September 2016

Scientific Expedition Group, Expedition Munyaroo, Eyre Peninsula September 2012, Expedition Handbook

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munyaroo_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed