Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932

My third and final park for Sunday 27th November 2016 was the Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932 which is situated on the western side of the Swan Reach to Mannum Road, about 10 km south of Swan Reach, and about 120 km from Adelaide.

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-7-36-24-pm

Above:- Map showing the location of the Ridley Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Ridley is a long and narrow park (10km by 0.4 km) and has a total area of around 414 hectares.The southern boundary of the park lies on the edge of the valley of the River Marne, with the highest point in the park being located in this southern section.  The remainder of the park to the north comprises flat country which is typical of the limestone plaines west of the Murray River.  The park covers a transition zone in the natural vegetation just to the south of Goyder’s Line between the mallee open scrub to the south and the semi-arid, low woodland to the north.

The park is covered by two major vegetation formations: 35 per cent comprises an open scrub of red mallee (Eucalyptus oleosa) and yorrell (E. gracilis), including some very large specimens. Also present are stands of murray pine (Callitris columellaris) and associated areas of shrubland dominated by hop bush (Dodonaea attentuata), and cassias (Senna spp.).

The remaining 65 per cent of the park comprises low open woodland of native apricot (Pittosporumangustifolium) and false sandalwood (Myoporum platycarpum). The understorey consists of spear-grass (Austrostipa spp.) and ephemeral herbs; wait-a-while (Acacia colletioides) also occurs in this formation.  A small area near the southern boundary of the park and much of the northern part is almost devoid of trees and can be sub-categorised as open grassland.

The park was originally set aside to conserve native vegetation and bird habitats, but in addition, the open areas of the park include a number of warrens of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.

Southern_Hairy-nosed_Wombat.jpg

Above:- Southern Hairy-nosed wombat.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

Other native animals found in the park include echidna and Western Grey kangaroos.  Various birdlife can be found in the park including Mallee Ringnecks, Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Regent Parrot, White-winged Fairywren, and Butcherbirds.  A total of 109 species of bird have been recorded in the park.

Ridley was once part of a Travelling Stock Reserve (TSR) which ran for roughly 5-10 kilometres parallel to the River Murray.  This reserve linked the stock market of Burra to the north with Murray Bridge to the south.  In the early days of the colony of South Australia, sheep and cattle were driven overland from New South Wales to stock the newly-developed pastoral industry in South Australia.  During the early 1860’s when the Hundreds of land were proclaimed on the western plains of the Murray River, it became necessary to provide areas under the Crown for the localised movement of stock and to give access to markets.  Travelling Stock Reserves, which normally consisted of 20-chain (approx 400 metres) width, were given fixed boundaries and often followed existing stock tracks.

Screen Shot 2016-11-24 at 8.17.02 pm.jpg

This particular stock route, as with others, became uncessary with the advent of mechanised transport such as the railway.  The Morgan to Adelaide railway was completed in 1878.  Increasingly there were moves to resume and allot the TSRs to adjoining landowners.

By 1901 local landowners in the Ridley area had approached the Department of Lands, requesting that the TSR in the Hundreds of Ridley and Fisher be resumed and made open for allotment.  During 1901 and again in 1907, proposals went before Parliament, but were not approved.  In 1910 farmers adjoining the reserve requested permission to erect fences and graze sheep on the TSR, claiming that the unused TSR harboured vermin and tied up valuable grazing land.

By 1934 the District Council of Caurnamont had contacted the Director of Lands requesting that the TSR be resumed for allotment, again claiming that it was a home for vermin and was a drain on council funds.  Similar requests were made again in 1937.  In 1939, the ranger of the Crown Lands Department, Inspector Klau inspected the TSR and reported that it was used for camping and watering stock when feed was scarce in the districts to the north of the TSR.  He recommended that the TSR not be resumed as he believed the reserve would be used for this purpose again in the future.

During 1838-1940 there were a number of requests to cut wood in the reserve for charcoal burning and a proposal to clear 28 hectares of the reserve north of Haywards Hill.  The ranger described the reserve as ‘an asset to the State’ and recommended the TSR be retained in its uncleared state.

By 1956 there were further requests to utilise the TSR and on this occsion Annual Licences were granted for grazing purposes.

In 1966 when land was being resumed and purchased for the purpose of national parks, the Land Board proposed that portions of the TSR “be retained and dedicated as a Wildlife Reserve under the control of the Commissioners of the National Parks and Wildlife Reserves at the expiration of the current Annual Licence”.  In September 1967, a field officer for the National Parks Commission, Mr. G.C. Cornwall inspected the TSR and stated “Although a long narrow strip of land such as this is not the ideal shape for a national park, the idea of preserving natural vegetation and bird habitats by setting aside portions of the Travelling Stock Reserve is an excellent one and the area under investigation is suitable for this purpose‘.

First proclaimed as Ridley National Parks Reserve on 30 May 1968 and re-proclaimed on 27 April 1972 as Ridley Conservation Park.

After leaving Swan Reach I drove north along the Murraylands Road and it wasn’t long before I reached the northern section of the park, which is located on the western side of the Murraylands Road.  Along the way I spoke with Norm VK5GI and Greg VK5GJ who were in the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0866.  I told the fellas I was very close to setting up and that I would come to find them for a Park to Park contact.

dsc_4101

I found a spot to pull off the road and drove a short distance into the park and found a shady spot to set up.  Again for this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 80/40/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7m squid pole.

Screen Shot 2016-11-24 at 7.36.10 pm.jpg

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

After setting up, I turned the radio on.  It was already set on 14.310 and I had the links removed in the dipole.  It was fortunate, because on 14.310 I found Phil VK6ADF and Hans VK6XN, both in parks.  I gave Phil and a call and then crash, down came the squid pole.  The second section on this virtually new pole has a habit of de-telescoping.  An issue I have never had before.  So it was out with some tape to hold it in place.

I headed back to 14.310 and worked Phil VK6ADF who was in the Stokes National Park VKFF-0468, and then Hans VK6XN/p who was activating the Rapids Conservation Park VKFF-1437.  Phil was an excellent 59 signal and reciprocated with a 5/9 for me.  Hans was a little lower down and we exchanged 5/2 signal reports.

I then QSY up to 14.315 and called CQ.  This was answered by John VK6NU, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.  Band conditions on 20m were exceptionally good, wth great signals particularly from Queensland.  I logged a total of 9 stations on 20m from VK3, VK4, VK6, and VK7, before Rick reminded me that Greg and Norm were waiting for me on 40m.  So it was a quick dash to insert the links in the dipole, again tape the second section of the squid pole, and off to 7.130 on 40m.

I logged Norm and Greg Park to Park from Aldinga Scrub.  They had a very nice 5/9 signal coming in from south of Adelaide to the Murray Mallee.  I then headed up the band to 7.144 and it was not long before I had a mini pile up.   I logged a total of 48 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7.  This included two Park to Park contatcs on 40m with Hans VK6XN from the Rapids Conservation Park VKFF-1437 and Phil VK6ADF in the Stokes National Park VKFF-0468.  It was nice to log Hans and Phil on two bands.

Band conditions on 40m were extremely good and I had a lot of callers who in the end I kept the QSOs quite short with.  Time was starting to march on and I had an early start the next day.

To wrap up the activation from Ridley I headed to 3.610 on 80m where I made a total of 4 contacts with Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG, Jim VK5TR, and finally Michael VK5FMLO.  I would have liked to have stayed a little longer, but I really want to get on the road and head for home.

Fortunately during this activation, the only reptile I encountered was the little fella below, a Shingleback lizard.

DSC_4110.jpg

After 90 minutes in the park I had a total of 65 stations in the log, including 6 Park to Park contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5GI/p (Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0866)
  2. VK5GJ/p (Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0866)
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK3MLU
  6. VK2IO/m
  7. VK5KLV
  8. VK3PMG
  9. VK3GGG
  10. VK5FANA
  11. VK3FRAB
  12. VK3GTS
  13. VK3YSP
  14. VK5KKT
  15. VK7DW
  16. VK5KPR
  17. VK4SMA
  18. VK1AD
  19. VK2JDR
  20. VK6XN/p (Rapids Conservation Park VKFF-1437)
  21. VK1DI
  22. VK3TKK/m
  23. VK2VW
  24. VK3ARH
  25. VK3IRM
  26. VK5NJ
  27. VK2XXM
  28. VK1AT
  29. VK3PF
  30. VK5TR
  31. VK4FFAB
  32. VK5FMLO
  33. VK3JK
  34. VK6ADF/p (Stokes National Park VKFF-0468)
  35. VK2WGW
  36. VK1RX
  37. VK3SFG
  38. VK3BHR
  39. VK3FPHG
  40. VK3OY
  41. VK5YL
  42. VK2WOW
  43. VK5FD
  44. VK2FLEW
  45. VK3DDU
  46. VK3CC
  47. VK7FRJG
  48. VK3UH
  49. VK2FAD
  50. VK6VZZ/m

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PMG
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK5TR
  4. VK5FMLO

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6ADF/p (Stokes National Park VKFF-0468)
  2. VK6XN/p (Rapids Conservation Park VKFF-1437)
  3. VK6NU
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK4SMA
  8. VK3SQ
  9. VK3IRM
  10. VK7CW
  11. VK6MB

At the conclusion of the activation I made a quick tour down to Walker Flat.  I had not been there for many years.  This is where the mouth of the Marne River is located, flowing out to the mighty Murray River.

As I left Walker Flat I encountered this big fella, a Red Kangaroo bounding along the road in front of me, and then alongside of me.

Sadly another VKFF Activation Weekend had come to an end.  I certainly had a great time, and I sincerely hope all of the other activators did, along with the park hunters.

 

References.

Birds SA, 2016, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/ridley-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed

National Parks and WIldlife Service, 1984, ‘Conservation Parks of the Murraylands (Western Plains) Management Plans

Swan Reach Conservation Park, VKFF-0832

My second planned park activation for Sunday 27th November 2016 was the Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832, which is located south of the Swan Reach to Sedan Road, and about 10 km west of the town of Swan Reach and about 120 km from Adelaide.

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-8-52-43-pm

Above:- Map showing the location of the Swan Reach Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park covers an area of around 2,017 hectares and was primarily set asise to conserve the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.  Two major vegetation formations are found in Swan Reach Conservation Park.  Around 84% of the area is an open area of scrub of Mallee Box, Red Mallee and Yorrell.  The remaining 16% comprises low woodland with False Sandalwood and Bullock Bush over an understorey of Spear-grass and ephemeral herbs.

Other than the wombat, other native animals found in the park include Western Grey kangaroos and Red kangaroos.  Around 60 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Cockatiels, Mallee Ringneck parrots, Galahs, Banded Lapwings and White-winged Choughs.  Various reptiles can be found in the park including Gould’s Goannas and Central Bearded Dragons.

Although Occupationl Licences were issued to pastoralists in the early 1840’s and Pastoral Leases from 1851, the area south-west of Swan Reach township was not taken up.  It was not until the last decade of the 1800’s that the Swan Reach district was eventually occupied.  Swan Reach township was established in 1896, largely to cater for the small farms which were being developed in the surrounding district.

During the mid to late 1960’s, following seveeral years of devastating droughs and increasing land subdivision, there was growing public concern for the Southern-hairy nosed Wombat.  The Field Naturalists Society of South Australia approached landowners in the district and submitted various reports concerning wombats to the South Australian State Government.  It was suggested that an area of 180 square km be purchased near Blanchetown as a National Park for the conservation of wombats.  The suggestion was considered desirable, but also highly impractical as $300,000 was required to purchase the land, and this was not available.

southern_hairy-nosed_wombat

Above:- Southern Hairy-nosed wombat.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

In 1969 Mr E.M. Esau offered to the State Government Sections 38, 39, 55, 58, 59, & 60, Hundred of Fisher.  A number of wombat warrens were located on the property.  In August 1969 the 875 hectares was purchased at a cost of $7,500.  Swan Reach National Park was subsequently proclaimed on 28th May 1970. It was subsequently re-dedicated as Swan Reach Conservation Park.

In 1972 several other land owners offered to sell land to the State Government for conservation purposes.  Sections 40-43, 57 and 58, Hundred of Fisher, comprising 1,026 hetares, south of the original park, were offered to the South Australian State Government by E.R. and R.M. Greatz in January 1972.  In September 1972 Ministerial approval to purchase the land at $3.00 per acre was given, and the land was subsequently dedicated in May 1974.

A small area of land was added to the western boundary of the park and dedicated as Section 212 in January 1979.  This brought the park up to its current day size of 2,017 hectares.

Screen Shot 2016-11-24 at 9.04.21 pm.jpg

Above:- Map showing land offered by various land owners.  Image courtesy of

After leaving Marne Valley I turned left and headed north along Muellers Road for a few km until I reached the junction with Sleeper Track.  I then headed east until I reached the south western corner of the Swan Reach Conservation Park.  I then drove along the western boundary track of the park.  The track is very rocky in places and I would not recommend it in a conventional vehicle.

I drove a few km along the track trying to find a shady spot as it was now around 30 degree C.  But finding shade in this section of the park was not easy.  It was all quite low growing mallee, reaching about 8 metres in height.  I eventually found a spot to pull off the track which afforded a little bit of shade.

screen-shot-2016-11-30-at-12-44-13-pm

Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing my operating spot in the western section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

If you believe my themometer it was around 41 degree C in the sun.  And it certainly felt like that.  The park is absolutely bone dry and was nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing and as comfortable as Marne Valley.

Prior to calling CQ I tuned across the 40m band and logged a few Park to Park contacts.  They were with Ian VK1DI who was activating the Tidnbilla Nature Reserve VKFF-0989, and then Rob VK2QR who was portable in the Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054.  I then headed to 7.110 and commenced calling CQ.  My call was answered by Greg VK5GJ and Norm VK5GI who were both in the Moana Sands Conservation Park VKFF-1061.  I was very envious of them.  A beautiful beach with a sea breeze.  Certainly none of that here at Swan Reach.

I then logged a further three Park to Park contacts with Peter VK3PF/p in the Colquhoun Regional Park VKFF-0962, Allen VK3ARH in the Enfield State Park VKFF-0757, and then Bob VK5AFZ who was activating the Springmount Conservation Park VKFF-0789.

The band had picked up in activity and there were a lot of callers compared to earlier in the day at Marne Valley.  I logged a total of 54 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included a further 16 more Park to Park contacts as follows:

  • VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine National Park VKFF-1757)
  • VK5ZGY/p (Douglas Point Conservation Park VKFF-0795)
  • VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine National Park VKFF-1757)
  • VK4AAC/3 (Cobboboonee National Park VKFF-0728)
  • VK5FANA/p (Eastern Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1706)
  • VK5HCF/p (Calectasia Conservation Park VKFF-1010)
  • VK5EE/p (Calectasia Conservation Park VKFF-1010)
  • VK4HNS/p (Flinders Peak Conservation Park VKFF-1542)
  • VK3FCMC/p (SOTA VK3/ VT-046 Mount Tassie)
  • VK3TKK/p (Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972)
  • VK7JON/p (Arthur Piemann Conservation Park VKFF-1132)
  • VK7FOLK/p (Arthur Piemann Conservation Park VKFF-1132)
  • VK2IO/p (Burragorang State Conservation Area VKFF-1292)
  • VK5NIG/p (Para Wira Conservation Park VKFF-1739)
  • VK5GY/p (Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0824)
  • VK3XV/p (Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763)

I also spoke with Michael VK3FCMC who was activating SOTA peak Mount Tassie VK3/ VT-046.

I then decided to quickly try 20m.  I had intended to give 80m and 15m a shot as well, but the heat was starting to get to me a bit, so I gave those bands a miss from Swan Reach.  On 14.310 on 20m I logged a total of 13 stations including Park to Park contacts with Gerard VK2IO/p in the Burragorang State Conservation Area VKFF-1292, Peter VK3TKK/p in the Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972, and Tony VK3XV/p in the Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763.  Once again, the Victorian stations were coming in extremely well on 20m.

I also worked Mike VK6MB and it was very interesting to note that Mike had a lot of echoe on his signal.  My only DX station worked on 20m was Mike ZL1JLA in New Zealand.

The heat had won, and I was well and truly over Swan Reach.  So it was time to pack up and head off to Ridley.  I had a total of 67 contacts in the log including 25 Park to Park contatcs.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1DI/p (Tidnbilla Nature Reserve VKFF-0989)
  2. VK2QR/p (Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054)
  3. VK5GJ/p (Moana Sands Conservation Park VKFF-1061)
  4. VK5GI/p (Moana Sands Conservation Park VKFF-1061)
  5. VK3PF/p (Colquhoun Regional Park VKFF-0962)
  6. VK3ARH/p (Enfield State Park VKFF-0757)
  7. VK5AFZ/p (Springmount Conservation Park VKFF-0789)
  8. VK5LSB
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK3MRH
  11. VK3ELH
  12. VK5KBJ/p
  13. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine National Park VKFF-1757)
  14. VK7EK
  15. VK3PMG
  16. VK3GGG
  17. VK5ZGY/p (Douglas Point Conservation Park VKFF-0795)
  18. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine National Park VKFF-1757)
  19. VK4AAC/3 (Cobboboonee National Park VKFF-0728)
  20. VK2VU
  21. VK3YSA/m
  22. VK7CW
  23. VK3YSP
  24. VK3KMH
  25. VK1AD
  26. VK3IRM
  27. VK5FANA/p (Eastern Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1706)
  28. VK5HCF/p (Calectasia Conservation Park VKFF-1010)
  29. VK5EE/p (Calectasia Conservation Park VKFF-1010)
  30. VK5PL
  31. VK5KKT
  32. VK5KDK
  33. VK3FADM
  34. VK2VOO
  35. VK4HNS/p (Flinders Peak Conservation Park VKFF-1542)
  36. VK3FCMC/p (SOTA VK3/ VT-046 Mount Tassie)
  37. VK2XXM
  38. VK3TKK/p (Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972)
  39. VK2UH
  40. VK7ALH
  41. VK3WAC/p
  42. VK7JON/p (Arthur Piemann Conservation Park VKFF-1132)
  43. VK7FOLK/p (Arthur Piemann Conservation Park VKFF-1132)
  44. VK2IO/p (Burragorang State Conservation Area VKFF-1292)
  45. VK5FDEC
  46. VK5NIG/p (Para Wira Conservation Park VKFF-1739)
  47. VK2KYO
  48. VK3ALB
  49. VK5FANA/m
  50. VK3BHR
  51. VK3SFG
  52. VK5GY/p (Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0824)
  53. VK5MAP
  54. VK5FMID
  55. VK3XV/p (Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3IRM
  2. VK2IO/p (Burragorang State Conservation Area VKFF-1292)
  3. VK7ALH
  4. VK4SMA
  5. VK3TKK/p (Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972)
  6. VK6MB
  7. VK7DW
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK3XV/p (Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763)
  10. ZL1JLA
  11. VK3PMG
  12. VK3GGG
  13. VK1AD

At the conclusion of the activation at Swan Reach CP, I drove down towards the town of Swan Reach which is located on the other side of the Murray River.  I enjoyed the view of the mighty Murray for around 10 minutes and then headed off to Ridley.

 

 

References.

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1983, ‘Conservation Parks of the Murraylands (Western Plains) Management Plans

Marne Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0906

My first activation for Sunday 27th November 2016 and day two of the 2016 VKFF Activation Weekend was the Marne Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0906, which is located about 30 km north of Mannum , about 4 km east of the little town of Cambrai, and around 100 km north east of Adelaide.

I had been to this park a number of times previously and had qualified it for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

Screen Shot 2016-11-24 at 9.31.26 pm.jpg

Above:- Map showing the location of the Marne Valley Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Marne Valley was proclaimed on the 11th March 1976, and is 94 hectares in size.  The park is bisected by the Marne River.  The river valley formed part of the main Adelaide to Sydney stock route.

The major vegetation association in the Park is a River Red Gum open forest, with an understorey dominated by introduced species. This community extends from beside the watercourses, across the low-lying portions of the park. The other vegetation communities present in the park are tall open woodlands dominated by Mallee Box (E. porosa), and Narrow-leaved Mallee (E. foecunda) and Mallee Box and White Mallee (E. dumosa).

In the south western comer, along the eastern central boundary, and along the northern boundary the native vegetation has been largely cleared. The cleared areas are low open shrublands dominated by various exotic grasses and ephemerals and Small-leaved Bluebush (Maireana brevifolia), Climbing Twinleaf (Zygophyllum eremaeum), Bassia (Sclerolaena uniflora), Balcarra Grass (Austrostipa nitida), and Bladder Saltbush (Atriplex vesicaria).

Much of the surrounding land was cleared of many of its Red Gums by the early 1900’s.  A saw mill was located in the area, and the local red gum was considered superior to many other varieties for use as railway sleepers.

A large amount of birdlife can be found in the park including Adelaide Rosellas, Mallee Ringneck parrots, Brown Treecreepers, White Plumed Honeyeaters, and Striated Pardlotes.  Western Grey kangaroos call the park home.

The Marne River which passes through the park was originally known as the South Rhine River, with the nearby town of Cambrai originally being known as Rhine Villa.  However it was one of many Australian towns renamed during World War One to remove any connection with German place names and named after the Battle of Cambrai.

To get to the park from my home I drove out along Onkaparinga Valley Road through the towns of Woodside, Charleston, and then on to Birdwood and Mount Pleasant.  After leaving Mount Pleasant I started the decent out of the Mount Lofty Ranges and onto the Murray River plain along the Angas Valley Road.  There are some nice views from here out towards the east.

I then turned onto Ridley Road and it wasn’t long before I reached the Marne River, just on the outskirts of the town of Cambrai.

The gum trees here along the river were absolutely alive with very noisy Corellas.

I continued on into Cambrai and then turned right onto Black Hill Road and commenced to travel east towards the Marne Valley Conservation Park.  There are a number of turf farms here, and the lush green lawns broke up the already dry surrounding countryside.

As I drove towards the park I made contact with Gerard VK2IO who was portable in the Upper Nepean State Conservation Area VKFF-1386.  Gerard had a very nice signal into the mobile.

I then reached the southern boundary of the park on Black Hill Road.  This is from where I have operated in the past.  What I did notice this time was that the vegetation leading to the park boundary was very overgrown.  It worried me a bit as it was already a warn day and I was very cognisant of snakes.

DSC_4082.jpg

I parked the Hi Lux near the southern gate, which is locked.  However, the fence alongside of the gate is in a very bad state of repair and is easily stepped over.  I set up my fold up table, deck chair, the Yaesu FT-857d and the 80/40/20m linked dipole on the 7 metre squid pole.

Screen Shot 2016-11-24 at 9.31.01 pm.jpg

Above:- Aerial shot of the Marne Valley Conservation Park, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Sadly the previous access track into the park at this location which lead to a picnic area near the Marne River is no longer accessible.  This part of the park is the River Red Gum forest and it afforded me shade from the already hot sun.

I was up and ready to go by around 9.15 a.m. South Australian local time.  Prior to calling CQ I tracked down Gerard VK2IO so I could get a Park to Park contact with him from Upper Nepean State Conservation Area VKFF-1386.  As it was a Sunday morning, many of the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) broadcasts were occurring from 7.130 and above, so 7.144 was not an option for me to operate from.  I headed to 7.095 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG, followed by Joe VK3YSP, and then Peter VK5KPR who was portable in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757.

I went on to work a total of 28 stations on 40m including another Park to Park contact, with Les VK5KLV who was with Peter in the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757.  Band conditions on 40m were less than ideal, with signals being quite well down compared to normal.  Callers for me came from VK1, VK3, VK3, and VK5.

I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m section and headed off to 3.610.  I started calling CQ and this was answered by Adrian VK5FANA who was activating the Eastern Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1706.  Adrian was very low down, as I was to Adrian.  But we were able to hear each other perfectly and exchanged 5/1 signal reports.  Sadly I had no mobile phone coverage and I was not able to spot myself on parksnspeaks, so around 5 minutes of CQ calls on 80m went unanswered.

I then headed to 14.310 on 20m and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Ray VK4XXX.  What a great suffix.  Next up was Rick VK4RF/VK4HA who had a very strong 5/9 signal.  Rick was kind enough to replay an SMS message to my wife Marija to let her know I was safe in the park.  Thanks Rick, greatly appreciated.  I then worked Neil VK4HNS, Park to Park.  Neil was activating the Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326.

As 15m had performed well the day before, I then headed to 21.244 where I called CQ and this was answered by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, followed by Neil VK4HNS in the Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326, then Rob VK4FFAB, and finally Ray VK4NH.  The 15m band was certainly open to Queensland, with signals being quite good, ranging from strength 7 to strength 3.  Sadly I then started to experience some QRM from a JA1 who started calling CQ 1 kc above me on 21.245.  I gave him a shout but he was unable to hear me.  I then tuned across the 15m band and heard no further signals, so I headed back to 40m.

Before propping on a frequency and calling CQ, I tuned across the band and logged a few more Park to Park contacts.  These were with Rob VK2QR in the Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054, Tony VK3VX/p in the Werribee Gorge State Park VKFF-0775, Ian VK1DI in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve VKFF-0989, and Adrian VK5FANA/ P in the Eastern Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1706.

I then started calling CQ on 7.105 where I logged a further 11 stations.  This included two more Park to Park contacts with Rob VK4AAC/3 in the Cobboboonee National Park VKFF-0728, and Neil VK4HNS/p in the Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326.  This was my third band for Neil.  I also had an interesting contact with Glenn VK3YY who was operating pedestrin mobile/portable from Lysterfield Park.  Glenn was using his Elecraft KX2 handheld, with the internal microphone and a loaded whip on the radio.  Glen had a good 5/7 signal and he reciprocated with a nice 5/8 for me.

IMG_20161127_115013-001.jpg

Things were pretty slow, so I again tuned across the band and logged a further five Park to Park contacts before going QRT.  The P2P contacts were with Greg VK5ZGY/p in the Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025, Andrew VK7DW/p in the Notley Fern Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1145, Tom VK5EE and Col VK5HCF both activating the Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803, and finally Peter VK3PF/p who was in the Colquhoun Regional Park VKFF-0962.

After about 2 and 1/2 hours in the park I had a total of 58 contacts in the log on 15m, 20m, 40m and 80m.  This included 17 Park to Park contatcs.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Upper Nepean State Conservation Area VKFF-1386)
  2. VK3PMG
  3. VK3GGG
  4. VK3YSP
  5. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  6. VK5HCF
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK3DAC
  9. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  10. VK2GKA
  11. VK3PF
  12. VK3SFG
  13. VK2VW
  14. VK3NBI/p
  15. VK3MIJ
  16. VK2XXM
  17. VK3MRH
  18. VK2PKT
  19. VK3XPT
  20. VK2VU
  21. VK3PAT
  22. VK3MLU
  23. VK1AD
  24. VK3FPHG
  25. VK2MTC
  26. VK2KYO
  27. VK3ARH
  28. VK6MB
  29. VK2QR/p (Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054)
  30. VK3VX/p (Werribee Gorge State Park VKFF-0775)
  31. VK1DI/p (Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve VKFF-0989)
  32. VK5FANA/ P (Eastern Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1706)
  33. VK3CM
  34. VK5FMID
  35. VK3FSPG
  36. VK3YY/p
  37. VK3FOTO/m
  38. VK3FRAB
  39. VK7FPRN
  40. VK4AAC/3 (Cobboboonee National Park VKFF-0728)
  41. VK5NFT
  42. VK4HNS/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)
  43. VK3BHR
  44. VK5ZGY/p (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)
  45. VK7DW/p (Notley Fern Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1145)
  46. VK5EE/p (Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803)
  47. VK5HCF/p (Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803)
  48. VK3PF/p (Colquhoun Regional Park VKFF-0962)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA/p (Eastern Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1706)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4XXX
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK4HNS/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK4HNS/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)
  4. VK4FFAB
  5. VK4NH

 

References.

Birds SA, 2016, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/marne-valley-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed

National Parks and Wildlife, 1994, ‘Marne Valley Conservation Park Management Plan’

Cockburn R, 1990, South Australia What’s in a Name?

Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park VKFF-0919

Our second  park for Saturday 26th November 2016 was the Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park VKFF-0919 which is located a short distance from Poonthie Ruwe.  The park is situated about 9 km south of Adelaide and about 105 km east of Adelaide.

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-7-09-54-pm

Above:- Map showing the location of the Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park was proclaimed on 2nd June 2005 and conserves 142.9 hectares of Southern Cypress Pine Forest.  The park is found approximately six kilometres south-west of Tailem Bend in the Murralyands region of South Australia.  The nationally vulnerable Sandhill Greenhood Orchid and nationally endangered Metallic Sun-orchid have been found in the park. The population of Sandhill Greenhood Orchids is one of the nine remaining in our State.

‘Mowantjie’ is the Ngarrindjeri aboriginal name for the native pine found in Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park, while ‘Willauwar’ is a plural word meaning ‘forest of species’.  Therefore the name ‘Mowantjie Willauwar’ means ‘Native Pine Forest’, which provides an accurate description of the park.

Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park was previously constituted as the Tailem Bend Forest Reserve under the Forestry Act 1950.  While the reserve was managed by ForestrySA, it was subject to a number of management plans. State Flora at Murray Bridge performed the maintenance and pest control of the property on behalf of ForestrySA for the 10 years prior to its constitution as a park.  This included repairing fences, and controlling pest plants and animals, and surveys of reptile and bird species. The Princes Highway previously cut through the reserve and was re-routed to bypass the reserve during the 1990s.  Work has been undertaken to rehabilitate the former Princes Highway route, and the bare ground that remained after the construction of the current Princes Highway was revegetated by local schools in association with local naturalists. Surveys of orchid species, the Sandhill Greenhood in particular, have been conducted in the park by the Native Orchid Society of South Australia.

I have activated this park a few times previously and had always activated from the northern side of Placid Estates Road.  This time I decided to check out the southern section of the park.  We briefly stopped off to have a look at the plaque to commemorate the opening of the new Princes Highway.  The old highway previously passed through the park.

We soon reached Placid Estates Road where there are two gates to enter the park.  One on the northern side and one on the southern side.  We entered the park via the southern gate.

We drove a km or so along the old highway which in parts is dirt and in others, some of the old bitumen.

DSC_4045.jpg

We set up underneath the shade of some pine trees as it was a very warm afternoon.

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-7-09-10-pm

Above:- Aerial shot showing my operating spot in the Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park.  Aerial courtesy of Protected Planet.

Prior to calling CQ, Marija and I had a tune across the 40m band and logged a few Park to Park contacts.  They included Tony VK3XV in the Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968, Greg VK5ZGY/p in the Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796, Norm VK3XCI/p in the Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291, and Brett VK3FLCS/p activating the Wandong Regional Park VKFF-0979.

Marija then started calling CQ and this was answered by Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG, followed by Tony VK5MRT, and then Mike VK5FMWW/VK5FVSV.  Marija’s 10th contact, qualifying her for the VKFF program, was Les VK5KLV who was portable in the Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360.  Marija went on to work a total of 39 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  This included further Park to Park contacts with Ian VK1DI in the Old Naas Nature Reserve VKFF-0992, Gerard VK2IO/p in the Bargo State Conservation Area VKFF-1271, Tim VK3MTB/p in the Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747, Peter VK5PET in the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754, Gordon VK5GY/p in the Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0824, Peter VK3ZPF/p in the Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965, Rob VK4FFAB in the Lockyer National Park VKFF-0719, and Peter VK3TKK in the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750.  It was certainly Park to Park heaven!

Whilst Marija was on air I took the time to explore the park a little.  Although I didn’t venture too far as the weather was hot and sunny, and I suspected some of the scaly and slippery inhabitants of the park would have been out enjoying the sunshine.

Once things slowed down for Marija, I put out a few calls on 7.144 but only had 3 takers, Andrew VK2UH, Gerard VK2IO in the Bargo State Conservation Area VKFF-1271, and Sergio VK3SFG.   I then tried 15m and despite numerous CQ calls on 21.244 there were no takers.  This was a little disapointing considering how well that band had performed during our first park activation of the day.

We then headed to 3.610 on 80m where we logged 8 stations after calling CQ.  They included Ivan VK5HS, Mike VK5FMWW/VK5FVSV. Adrian VK5FANA, Charlie VK5KDK, Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG, and Bryce VK3NBI.  It was just before 5.00 p.m. and still very much daylight, but the 80m band was working very well across South Australia and into Victoria.  These further contacts got Marija over the line with her 44 contacts and another unique park for her as an activator.

I then called CQ on 14.310 for around 5 minutes but had no takers.  I tuned across the band and found only one decent signal and that was 9M6SWC in East Malaysia.  They were my only contact on 20m.

So a little dejected I headed back to 40m where I called CQ on 7.145.  This was answered by Colin VK4PDX, followed by Brett VK2VW, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  I logged a total of 17 stations including two more Park to Park contacts, with Neil VK4HNS in the Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0336, and Liz VK2XSE in the Nombinnie State Conservation Area VKFF-1364.

It was time to pack up and head back home.  Between the two of us, Marija and I had logged a total of 80 stations, including 22 Park to Park contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3XV/p (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  2. VK5ZGY/p (Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796)
  3. VK3XCI/p (Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291)
  4. VK3FLCS/p (Wandong Regional Park VKFF-0979)
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK3GGG
  7. VK3ZPF/p (Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965)
  8. VK2UH
  9. VK2IO/p (Bargo State Conservation Area VKFF-1271)
  10. VK3SFG
  11. VK4PDX
  12. VK2VW
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK7DW
  15. VK4HNS/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)
  16. VK4RF
  17. VK4HA
  18. VK2SK
  19. VK1HW
  20. VK4FAAS
  21. VK4WJW
  22. VK2XSE/p (Nombinnie State Conservation Area VKFF-1364)
  23. VK2FJTA
  24. VK1DI
  25. VK3UH
  26. VK2QK
  27. VK3ARH

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FMWW
  3. VK5FVSV
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5KDK
  6. VK3PMG
  7. VK3GGG

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. 9M6SWC

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5ZGY/p (Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796)
  2. VK3XCI/p (Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291)
  3. VK3XV/p (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  4. VK3FLCS/p (Wandong Regional Park VKFF-0979)
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK3GGG
  7. VK5MRT
  8. VK5FMWW
  9. VK5FVSV
  10. VK5KLV/p (Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360)
  11. VK1DI/p (Old Naas Nature Reserve VKFF-0992)
  12. VK2IO/p (Bargo State Conservation Area VKFF-1271)
  13. VK3MTB/p (Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747
  14. VK5YL
  15. VK2SG
  16. VK3BSG
  17. VK2KYO
  18. VK3UH
  19. VK3FRAB
  20. VK5GJ
  21. VK5PET/p (Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754)
  22. VK3SFG/p
  23. VK5TR
  24. VK4RF
  25. VK4HA
  26. VK5FANA
  27. VK5GY/p (Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0824)
  28. VK3ZPF/p (Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965)
  29. VK3MCD/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-024 and Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-0269)
  30. VK3YSP
  31. VK3TUL
  32. VK2UH
  33. VK4FFAB/p (Lockyer National Park VFF-0719)
  34. VK3TKK/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  35. VK5MAP
  36. VK3DAC
  37. VK2MTJ
  38. VK3PF
  39. VK3KAI
  40. VK3FSPG

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FMWW
  3. VK5FVSV
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5KDK

At the conclusion of the activation we drove a short distance down to have a look at the mighty Murray River which flows very close to the park.

 

References.

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2008, Management Plan Mowantjie Willauwar and Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Parks’

 

Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park, VKFF-1082

My first park activation for the 2016 VKFF Activation Weekend was on Saturday 26th November 2016, and was the Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park VKFF-1082.  The park is located about 5 km south east of Tailem Bend and about 101 km south east of Adelaide.

This was the second year of the VKFF Activation Weekend which is all about promoting the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program here in Australia.  It is not a contest, but rather a fun weekend to get out into the field and operate portable from a park.

Screen Shot 2016-11-24 at 10.10.19 pm.jpg

Above:- Map showing the location of the Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park was first proclaimed as Poonthie Ruwi-Riverdale Conservation Park on 16th  January 2003.  On the 29th May 2008 the name of the park was altered to Poonthie Ruwe.   This 240.9 hectare park protects the largest known area of intact Scented Irongrass tussock grassland, which is listed as critically endangered.  A total of 13 plant species of regional conservation significance can be found in the park.

Prior to proclamation the park was a Heritage Agreement under the Native Vegetation Act 1991 and prior to this the land had been used for grazing.  The South Australian Government purchased this land with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Reserve System Program of the Natural Heritage Trust and a contribution from the Native Vegetation Fund under the Native Vegetation Act 1991.

The name Poonthie Ruwe means ‘Hopping Mouse Country’ in the local Ngarrindjeri aboriginal language.  This refers to the park being recognised as hopping mouse habitat prior to European settlement.  Sadly they are long since gone from the area.

hqdefault.jpg

There are a number of bird species recorded in the park that rely on grasslands as a food source and use the trees for nesting.  At least 8 native bird species found in the park are of State or regional conservation significance.  It is believed that at one time the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat had established burrows in Poonthie Ruwe.  Sadly there are no current records for the wombat in the park, following a rabbit invasion.

Access to the park is via Blacketts Road which runs off the Princes Highway.  Dont bother looking for park signs.  This is another park that has not been signposted by DEWNR.  You could easily be fooled for believing that this is just another paddock.

Access to the park was gained via a gate on the northern side of Blacketts Road.  The gate is not locked.  It appears to be the only entry point into the park.

dsc_4020

Above:- the gate leading in to the park on Blacketts Road.

There was an overgrown track leading over to a small section of scrub on the northern boundary of the park near the Dukes Highway, but as it was a warm day and the grass was quite tall, we decided not to drive too far.

We parked the Toyota Hi Lux about 30 feet in from the park boundary and rolled out the awning for some shade from the rather warm sun.  We set up the fold up table and the deck chair and ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 80/40/20m linked dipole for this activation.

Screen Shot 2016-11-29 at 2.36.57 pm.jpg

Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing out operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps.

As I had been to the park previously and qualified it for the WWFF program, our main goal for the morning was for Marija to qualify the park, and hopefully give some park hunters a brand new park to add to their list.  This was to be a brand new park for Marija as an activator for both WWFF and the VK5 Parks Award.  Our first contacts were on 7.144 with fellow husband and wife team, Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL who were operating portable in the Yarringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957.  It was a nice way to start the activation with a couple of Park to Park contacts.

Marija and I then moved down the band to 7.130 and I started calling CQ.  This was answered by park stalwart Mick VK3PMG/VK3GG, followed by Tom VK5EE and then Michael VK3FCMC.  Col VK5HCF who was mobile at Mount Gambier then gave me a shout and he was keen to also log Marija, so we swapped the mic.  I then logged a further 3 stations getting me to 10 QSOs.  It was Marija’s turn to sit in the ‘driver’s seat’.  Marija’s first contact was with Peter VK3PF, followed by Ron VK5VH, and then Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.

Band conditions on 40m were less than favourable, with signals being much lower than usual.  Netherless Marija made a total of 12 contacts, and as a result had reached the 10 QSO threshold required for the VKFF awards.  This included a further Park to Park contact with Ian VK1DI who operating from the Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985.

We then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m section of the linked dipole.  We headed for 3.610 and Marija started calling CQ and this was answered by Bryce VK3NBI/p, followed by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, and then Adrian VK5FANA who was portable in the Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755.  Marija finished off on 80m with a contact with our good friend John VK5BJE.  Marija was quite excited as this was her first ever 80m contacts since being licenced earlier in the year.  We do not have an 80m antenna at home.

I made a few contacts on 80m including a Park to Park with Adrian VK5FANA, and we then moved back to 40m.

Marija and I tuned across the band and picked up a few more Park to Park contacts.  They included Tony VK3XV who was in the Paddys Range State Park VKFF-0772, Rob VK2QR in the Wereboldera State Conservation Area VKFF-1392, Adrian VK5FANA in the Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755, and Rob VK4AAC/3 in the Discovery Bay Coastal Park VKFF-0746.

I then propped on 7.150 and worked another 10 stations, including two more Park to Park contacts with David VK5PL in the Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159, and Peter VK3ZPF who was activating the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750.

I then headed off to 14.310 on 20m.  Conditions here on 20m were a real surprise.  My first caller was Mike VK6MB, followed by a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO who was in the Bargo State Conservation Area VKFF-1271, and then Andrew VK1AD.  Geoff VK3SQ then called in from Beechworth with a 5/9 plus signal.  I had to double check to make sure I was on 20.  I very rarely hear Victorian stations on 20m as the distance is just too close.  Geoff was to be the first of 8 VK3 stations to call in, all of whom had terrific signals.  This included Park to Park contacts with Adam VK2YK/4 in Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park VKFF-1503, Peter VK3ZPF in the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750, Ian VK1DI in the Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985, Warren VK3BYD on SOTA peak VK3/ VE-129 in Mount Lawson State Park VKFF-0768, Lewis VK6LDX on SOTA peak VK6/ SW-004 in the Stirling Range National Park VKFF-0467, Neil VK4HNS in the Main Range National Park VKFF-0300, and Tony VK3XV in Paddys Range State Park VKFF-0772.

I also spoke with James VK2TKR and Andrew VK1MBE/2 who were activating SOTA peak Wandera Mountain VK2/ SC-042.  Band conditions on 20m were excellent, and it was noticeably quieter than 40m.

Marija and I then lowered the squiddy and layed the 80/40/20m linked dipole on the ground and erected the 15m dipole.  We headed to 21.244 where we shared the mic and started calling CQ.  Our call was answered by Brett VK2VW with a good 5/7 signal, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then Rob VK4FFAB.  Marija and I went on to work a total of 24 stations on 21.244 including Park to Park contacts with Neil VK4HNS in Main Range National Park VKFF-0300, Adam VK2YK/p in the Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park VKFF-1503, Rob VK2QR in the Wereboldera State Conservation Area VKFF-1392, Les VK5KLV in the Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360,  Ian VK1DI in the Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985, Brian VK3MCD/2 in the Koscisuzko National Park VKFF-0269, Leigh VK3SG in the Kinglake National Park VKFF-0264, and Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG in the Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958.

The 15m band proved to be a real bonus.  It was extremely quiet and conditions were great, with callers from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  And again Marija was quietly pleased, as these were her first ever contacts on ther 15m band.

Before heading back to 40m we had a tune across 15m and found Brian VK3MCD/2 calling CQ from SOTA peak Tantangara Mountain VK2/ SM-024 and Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-0269.

Once back on 40m we generally tuned across the band and made a number of further Park to Park contacts.  This included contacts with Les VK5KLV in the Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360, Norm VK3XCI in the Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291, Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG in the Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958, and Leigh VK3SG in the Kinglake National Park VKFF-0264.

I also spent a brief period of time on 7.120 but only had 7 callers.  This included Peter VK5PET who was activating the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754, which is very close to our home.

Prior to going QRT we had one final tune across the band and logged a few more Park to Park contacts.  They included Greg VK5ZGY in the Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796, Brett VK3FLCS in the Wandong Regional Park VKFF-0979, Andrew VK7DW in the Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area VKFF-1156, Tony VK3XV in the Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968, and David VK5PL in the Wiljani Conservation Park VKFF-1159.

After spending around 4 hours in the park, Marija and I had a total of total of 153 QSOs in the log, including 52 Park to Park contacts.  Not a bad mornings work.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3YSP/p (Yarringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957)
  2. VK3FOWL/p (Yarringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957)
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK3GGG
  5. VK5EE
  6. VK3FCMC
  7. VK5HCF/m
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK2XXM
  11. VK3XV/p (Paddys Range State Park VKFF-0772)
  12. VK2QR/p (Wereboldera State Conservation Area VKFF-1392)
  13. VK5FANA/p (Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755)
  14. VK4AAC/3 (Discovery Bay Coastal Park VKFF-0746)
  15. VK2AWJ
  16. VK5PL/p (Wiljani Conservation park VKFF-1159)
  17. VK5AFZ
  18. VK3TKK/m
  19. VK3ELH
  20. VK7FRJG
  21. VK3ZPF/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  22. VK5HCF
  23. VK3NCC/m
  24. VK3FRAB
  25. VK5KLV/p (Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360)
  26. VK3XCI/p (Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291)
  27. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  28. VK3GGG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  29. VK3SG/p (Kinglake National Park VKFF-0264)
  30. VK5NFT/m
  31. VK5FMWW
  32. VK5FVSV
  33. VK5BJE
  34. VK5PET/p (Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754)
  35. VK3STU/p
  36. VK3MAB
  37. VK5ZGY/p (Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796)
  38. VK3FLCS/p (Wandong Regional Park VKFF-0979)
  39. VK7DW/p (Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area VKFF-1156)
  40. VK5GJ
  41. VK3XV/p (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5VRB
  2. VK5FANA/p (Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB
  2. VK2IO/p (Bargo State Conservation Area VKFF-1271)
  3. VK1AD
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK6HC
  6. VK2VW
  7. VK5IS
  8. VK2TKR/p (SOTA VK2/ AC-042)
  9. VK1MBE/2 (SOTA VK2/ SC-042)
  10. VK3TXB/m
  11. VK2YK/4 (Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park VKFF-1503)
  12. VK3ZPF/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  13. VK1DI/p (Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985)
  14. VK3BYD/p (Mount Lawson State Park VKFF-0768 and SOTA VK3/ VE-129)
  15. VK6LDX/p (SOTA VK6/ SW-004 Mount Toolbrunup & Stirling Range National Park VKFF-0467)
  16. VK4HNS/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  17. VK3PAT
  18. VK2ZK
  19. VK3SFG/p
  20. VK2KYO
  21. VK4NH
  22. VK2AAH
  23. VK3UH
  24. VK2JDR
  25. VK3XV/p (Paddys Range State Park VKFF-0772)

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK4FFAB
  4. VK2NN
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK4HNS/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  8. VK3UH
  9. VK3GTS
  10. VK3FSTA
  11. VK3VLY
  12. VK2YK/4 (Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park VKFF-1504)
  13. VK2QR/p (Wereboldera State Conservation Area VKFF-1392)
  14. VK2LAD
  15. VK3ARH
  16. VK2KYO
  17. VK5KLV/p (Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360)
  18. VK3PF
  19. VK2PKT
  20. VK3SQ
  21. VK3SFG/p
  22. VK2MTJ
  23. VK3TUL/p
  24. VK1DI/p (Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985)
  25. VK2HEY
  26. VK3MCD/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-024 and Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-0269)

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3YSP/p (Yarringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957)
  2. VK3FOWL/p (Yarringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957)
  3. VK5HCF/m
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK5VH
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK5LG
  9. VK7YX
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK1DI/p (Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985)
  12. VK2XXM
  13. VK3XV/p (Paddys Range State Park VKFF-0772)
  14. VK2QR/p (Wereboldera State Conservation Area VKFF-1392)
  15. VK5FANA/p (Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755)
  16. VK4AAC/3 (Discovery Bay Coastal Park VKFF-0746)
  17. VK3ZPF/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  18. VK3FLCS/p (Wandong Regional Park VKFF-0979)
  19. VK5ZGY/p (Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796)
  20. VK7DW/p (Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area VKFF-1156)
  21. VK5GJ
  22. VK3XV/p (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  23. VK5PL/p (Wiljani Conservation park VKFF-1159)

Marija worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK4NM
  3. VK4FFAB
  4. VK2NN
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK4HNS/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  8. VK3UH
  9. VK3GTS
  10. VK3FSTA
  11. VK3VLY
  12. VK2YK/4 (Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park VKFF-1504)
  13. VK2QR/p (Wereboldera State Conservation Area VKFF-1392)
  14. VK2LAD
  15. VK3ARH
  16. VK2KYO
  17. VK5KLV/p (Mount Remarkable National Park VKFF-0360)
  18. VK3PF
  19. VK2PKT
  20. VK3SQ
  21. VK3SFG/p
  22. VK2MTJ
  23. VK3TUL/p
  24. VK1DI/p (Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985)
  25. VK3MCD/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-024)
  26. VK3SG/p (VKFF-0264)
  27. VK3PMG
  28. VK3GGG
  29. VK5FMWW
  30. VK5FVSV

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3NBI/p
  2. VK3PMG
  3. VK3GGG
  4. VK5FANA/p (Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755)
  5. VK5BJE

References

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2008, Management Plan Mowantjie Willauwar and Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Parks’

2016 VKFF Activation Weekend

Wow, what a weekend that was.  The 2016 VKFF Activation Weekend was held last weekend, on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th November, 2016.

There was activator representation from all States and Territories around Australia, except for the Northern Territory (VK8).  Early stats suggest there were around 40 different parks activated on Saturday and another 40 or so on Sunday.

My wife Marija VK5FMAZ and I activated 2 parks on Saturday 26th: Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park VKFF-1082, and Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park VKFF-0919. We made a total of 233 QSOs including 74 Park to Park contacts

On Sunday 27th I activated 3 parks: Marne Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0906, Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832, and Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932. I made a total of 191 QSOs including 48 Park to Park contacts.

Thankyou to everyone who called us and thankyou to everyone who took the time to spot us.  A number of the parks we had no mobile phone coverage in.

 

Once all the activators have provided their logs for upload to Logsearch, I will compile some more detailed stats on the weekend.

Thankyou to everyone who took part in the weekend’s VKFF Activation Weekend, both activators and hunters.

KM4ATT, Violetta

Back in late September 2016 I was tuning across the 40m band and came across Jim WB2REM on 7.163, and a net which he runs with fellow USA stations.  I worked Jim and a further 7 stations in the USA, including Violetta KM4ATT in Pennsylvania.  What was special about the QSO with Violetta is that she is just 12 years old.

I sent off a QSL card to Violetta along with some photos of myself and my wife Marija, and some Australiana photos including kangaroos, koalas, etc.  I was very pleased to receive a QSL card back from Violetta.

KM4ATT459.jpg

Violetta told me in her reply thatI was her first QSO to Australia and of course the first QSL card she had ever received from Australia.  Violetta told me that she is one of 9 in her family and that f those 9, 8 are licenced amateurs.  Wow!  The youngest being her only brother Aaron KM4LEJ who is just 7 years old.

Violetta said: “Ham radio is so cool.  There’s always new stuff to learn‘.

It was great to hear a young person with so much enthusiasm for the hobby.

KM4ATT460.jpg

Violetta also sent a photo of her Dad, Shannon KA8JRQ.  More information can be found on Shannon’s QRZ.com page.

KM4ATT461.jpg