Last Friday (21st October 2016) I flew over to Perth in Western Australia with my wife Marija and we stayed for 2 nights with Andrew VK6AS and his wife Allison. Andrew and I had a scheduled talk on WIA issues on Saturday afternoon and this was the reason for the lightning trip over to the west and back within 3 days.
Marija dug in to her frequent flyer points and we upgraded to business class on the flight over, which meant a relaxing one hour in the Qantas Club at Adelaide leading up to the flight, and then a very relaxing 3 hour flight over to Perth enjoying a few Bundies and coke. Sadly there were a number of controlled burns in the Perth Hills, so there was not much of a view to be enjoyed coming in to Perth.
Andrew picked us up from the airport and drove us back to his home. After settling in, I had a listen in to the 7.130 DX Net. Now this is different, being all the way over there in the west. It is a 3 hour time difference to the east coast of Australia, so the net starts at 5.30 p.m. Western Australia time. And as Andrew lives in the Perth suburbs, the noise floor is quite high. So it was a bit of challenge to hear a lot of stations on the Net. But I did manage to work Roy VK7ROY, Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington New Zealand, and William FO5JV in French Polynesia. I also had a great chat on 40m with Steve VK6OZ who is planning on going portable in the future.
We all enjoyed a glass or two of red and lasagne for dinner, and Andrew and I then mapped out our day for Saturday. We decided to active three parks prior to our planned WIA presentation at 2.30 p.m. They being Lesmurdie Falls National Park, Greenmount National Park, and John Forrest National Park.
Above:- In the shack of Andrew VK6AS, enjoying a glass of red.
On Saturday morning (22nd October 2016), after breakfast and a quick chat with the gang on the F Troop Net on 2m, Andrew and I headed off at around 9.30 a.m. Marija and Allison had plans to head out to Fremantle for the day.
Our first park of the day was the Lesmurdie Falls National Park VKFF-0284, which is situated about 22 km east of Perth. This was to be a unique park for me as an activator in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Lesmurdie Falls National Park to the east of Perth. Map courtesy of Protected Planet.
It took Andrew and I some time to get into position as everywhere we drove to there were only signs for the Mundy Regional Park. As it turns out it appears that the 56 hectare area of Lesmurdie National Park still exists and is surrounded by the larger Mundy Regional Park. We set up just off Falls Road, a little to the north east of the main Lesmurdie Falls carpark.
Above:- Map showing our operating spot at the Lesmurdie Falls National Park. Map courtesy of Protected Planet.
It was a beautiful day with the expected top temperature being 30 deg C, and not a cloud in the sky. During our activation we were visited by a very tame Australian Ringneck Parrot. In Western Australia these parrots are known as ‘Twenty Eights’. They are known as Twenty Eights because their contact call is usually rendered as twenty-eight
This was the first time that Andrew had switched on his brand new Yaesu FT-857d, which had only just arrived. We also used his brand new power supply, and telescopic squid pole and even broke in his newly acquired fold up table from Bunnings. I had brought over with me, two linked dipoles, and we used the 40/20m combination for this activation.
Sadly after turning on the radio, we experienced strength 8 noise. We had power lines on the roadway behind us, and as this park is surrounded by houses in the Perth Hills, we suspected we could not get away from the noise unless we walked a few km into the bush. And this was not going to happen, as Andrew’s power supply is extremely heavy.
After calling CQ for quite some time on 7.144 with no resposne, Allen VK6XL called in and was my first contact from Lesmurdie Falls. Ian VK6DW then followed with a strong 5/9 signal. My next caller was Bob VK6POP who was portable in the John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250. My first ever Park to Park contact from Western Australia….I was very happy. Unfortunately numerous CQ calls by both Andrew and myself went unanswered. We suspected others may have been calling us, but due to the very high noise floor on 40m, it was very very difficult to hear callers below the very high noise floor.
We then moved to 14.310 on 20m where I worked Greg VK5GJ in the Adelaide Hills, who was operating QRP, followed by Allen VK6XL, Peter VK3PF and Carsten VK6PCB mobile. Carsten had arrived at the park a few minutes earlier to say g’day and as we were desperate for callers, he drove a few km away and gave us a call to get us a little closer to the 10 contacts required for the Australian (VKFF) program.
Andrew and I then moved back to 40m where we were only able to make one further contact, and that was with Ben VK6LVI.
Sadly I only had 8 contacts in the log and I had not qualified the park for the Australian (VKFF) chapter of WWFF. I will have to come back another day. We were pushed a bit for time, so we decided to pack up and head off to the next park.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK6POP/p (John Forrest National Park VKFF-0250)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
At the conclusion of the activation I decided to do the 640 metre walk down to the Falls. Along with the way, I encountered the little guy below, a Southern Brown Bandicoot. In Western Australia they are sometimes referred to as Quendas.
The park was alive with flowers during my visit.
The walk down to the Falls is an easy and very pretty walk, passing by the Lesmurdie Brook which leads to the Falls. The Brook originates on the ridge beyond Lesmurdie Road where a number of small streams come together after capturing rainfall run-off and seepage from springs flowing from the groundwater beneath the laterite rock.
In winter after good rains, Lesmurdie Brook rushes through crevices in the orange laterite, then cascades over the exposed granite rocks before tumbling 100 metres over the Darling Scarp. The face of the falls is of sheer granite formed from weathering and eroding aong vertical fractures within the bedrock. In the foothills below the falls, Lesmurdie Brook merges with Yule Brook which meanders across the coastal plain to the Canning River.
There are some terrific views of Perth to be enjoyed from the park.
Department of Parks and Wildlife 204-15 Annual Report.