My second planned activation for Friday 11th November 2016 was the Kerang Regional Park VKFF-0970, which is located on the edge of the town of Kerang itself.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Kerang Regional Park. Map courtesy of whereis.
Kerang Regional Park was established in June 2010 and is 1,138 hectares in size. The Loddon River flows through the park. Kerang is believed to an aboriginal word for Cockatoo.
The park was alive with birds during my visit. The Eastern Rosella below sat on a branch just above the vehicle for a good 30 minutes. He/she seemed totally unphased by my activity.
I accessed the park via a 4WD track on the eastern side of the Loddon River. This took me right down alongside of the Loddon.
Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the park. Image courtesy of http://www.bing.com
It was physically impossible to operate from outside of the vehicle as the mosquitoes were so vicious. It didn’t matter how much mosquito repellant I applied, they would not desist. So rather reluctantly I operated from the drivers seat of the HiLux with the coax running in through the passenger window to the Yaesu FT-857d sitting on the passenger seat.
After setting up I headed to 7.144 and found Gerard VK2IO was there calling CQ from the Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area VKFF-1329 with a very nice 5/9 signal. After logging Gerard I then headed down the band to 7.139 and started calling CQ. Rick VK4RF/VK4HA came back to my CQ call, followed by John VK5BJE and then Neil VK4HNS who was portable in the Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427. This was a good start to the activation, with a few Park to Park contacts in the log.
The 40m band was in very good condition however the static crashes were S9 plus due to a large amount of electrical storms in South Australia and Victoria. My wife had phoned me just prior to the activation to advise that many of the vehicles in her work car park had their windscreens smashed due to very heavy hail.
I was pleased to be able to log stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and New Zealand. Sadly I know there were some other stations calling who I was just unable to pull out underneath the static crashes. I logged a total of 19 sttaions on 40m before heading to the 80m band. My last station on 40m before QSYing was Andrew VK1AD who was portable on SOTA peak Isaacs Ridge VK1/ AC-041 located within the Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0845.
After inserting the links in the 80m section of the 80/40/20m linked dipole I headed to 3.610 and commenced calling CQ. My call was answered by Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG with a good 5/7 signal. This was followed by Chris VK3SOT, Ron VK3VBI, and finally Paul VK3IH. Unfortunately it was incredibly noisy on 80m with very loud static crashes and despite numerous further CQ calls I had no more takers.
So I headed back to 7.139 on 40m. It didn’t take long for a mini pile up to form. Third contact was another Park to Park, with Rex VK3OF who was portable in the Hattah Kulyne National Park VKFF-0231. About half a dozen contacts later I spoke with Marcus VK2SK who advised that there were some USA stations calling me. So I had a listen and called for ‘stations outside of VK’ and logged Gordie W5AZ in Louisiana (5/9 sent and 5/5 received). I put a few more calls outside of VK and spoke with John ZL1JRE in Whangarei in New Zealand. A few QSOs later I also logged Rick WA7ND in Oregon, and Steve ZL1PWR in Auckland in New Zealand.
I also managed to bag my fifth Park to Park contact from Kerang, and this was with Tim VK3MTB who was portable in the Tarra Bulga National Park VKFF-0480.
I logged a total of 36 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, VK7, New Zealand and USA, before heading off to the 7.130 DX Net. Sadly I was only to stay around for a short period on the net, logging Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington and Peter VK2STO in Lightning Ridge, before the electrical storm was on top of me. It was time to go QRT and head back to the caravan park.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2IO/p (Illawarra Escarpment State Conservation Area VKFF-1329)
- VK4HNS/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
- VK1AD/p (SOTA Isaacs Ridge VK1/ AC-041 & Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0845)
- VK3OF/p (Hattah Kulyne National Park VKFF-0231)
- VK3MTB/p (Tarra Bulga National Park VKFF-0480)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Parks Victoria, 2016, <http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/kerang-regional-park>, viewed 19th November 2016
Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerang>