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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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’

2 thoughts on “Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park, VKFF-1082

  1. A nice haul and particularly encouraging to see Cape Pallarenda CP being represented on 15 and 20. Encourages me to see if I can do a bit while I’m on leave!

    Chris
    VK4FR/VK5FR

  2. G’day Chris,

    This is certainly an interesting park as it appears to be a ‘plain jane’ normal paddock. Certainly not a park to activate on a stinking hot day as there is very little shade.

    73,

    Paul VK5PAS.

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