Morgan Conservation Park 5CP-141 and VKFF-0911

After packing up at Hogwash Bend, Marija and I headed off to our second planned park activation for the day, the Morgan Conservation Park 5CP-141 & VKFF-0911.  The park is located about 166 km north east of Adelaide and on the eastern side of the Murray River opposite the town of Morgan.

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Map showing the location of the Morgan Conservation Park, north east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We travelled along the Morgan-Cadell Road, and soon passed the park on both our left and right.  Sadly, the wet weather which had been predicted, had now hit, and the shower activity was quite persistent.  Before activating the park, we headed across the Murray River on the ferry, and had some lunch at the local take away.

Morgan is a historic little town located on the banks of the Murray River, just downstream of where the Murray turns from flowing roughly westwards, to roughly southwards.  Morgan has a population of around 500 people and boasts two pubs, directly opposite each other.  The town was proclaimed in 1878, the year that the railway line from Adelaide via Kapunda was opened.  The town was named after Sir William Morgan, then Chief Secretary, later Premier of South Australia.

William_Morgan_(Australian_politician)

William Morgan.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia

The town has a number of heritage listed buildings, most of which have interpretive signs displaying the history of the building.  At its peak, Morgan was the second busiest port in South Australia, behind only Port Adelaide, with six trains a day carrying freight from the Murray to the sea at Port Adelaide.

After lunch we headed to the small lookout which overlooks the town.  It was a real shame that the showers had set in.

Just down from the lookout is a memorial cairn to commemorate Captain Charles Sturt, who passed by this location during his Central Australian Exploring Expedition in 1844.

We also briefly had a look at the old Morgan Railway station and Station Master’s House, and the old Morgan wharf which at its longest, was 168 metres long.

We crossed the ferry again and entered the park via a dirt track on the southern side of the Morgan-Cadell Road.  The park consists of a system of lagoons, swamps, creeks and Murray River anabranches bordered by majestic River Red Gum woodlands.  Morgan CP is 361 hectares in size and was first dedicated on 23rd September 1976 to protect the wetlands.  An additional 11 hectares were added on 4th November 1993.

About 150 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Grey Teal, White-faced Heron, Whistling Kite, Australian Darter, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Yellow Rosella, Striped honeyeater, and Zebra finch.

There were already two couples camping on the edge of the Morgan Lagoon, so we drove along the track a little further to the south and set up in a clearing amongst the scrub, right alongside the lagoon.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d, initially at 10 watts PEP for Marija, and then 40 watts for me, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole, inverted vee @ 7 metres.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 9.23.57 pm.png

Aerial shot of the park, showing our operating spot in the southern section.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

As it was still drizzling with rain we set up underneath the awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  Despite it being quite a miserable afternoon weather wise, it was a sensational operating spot, looking out across the Morgan Lagoon.

Marija started off on air first, and was just keen to get her 10 contacts to qualify the park for VKFF.  Her first 2 contacts were Park to Park QSOs with Jonathan VK7JON/p and Helen VK7FOLK/p who were activating the Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139.  I also logged Jonathan and Helen.

Marija then moved up to 7.150 and called CQ.  Her first taker was Michael VK3FCMC, followed by Mark VK3FOTO and then John VK5BJE/3 who was activating Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761.  We started to experience a little bit of European QRM and pondered on whether we should remain on the frequency of QSY.  We decided to stay and battle it out.

Marija was then called by Peter VK3TKK/p who was activating the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park VKFF-0955, and this was followed by another Park to Park (P2P) contact, this time with Derek VK3FAFC/p who was in the French Island National Park VKFF-0622.  Marija and I swapped the mic to log the P2P contacts.

About 7 contacts later, two further Park to Park log entries.  This time with Greg VK4VXX who was in the Mutawintji National Park VKFF-0374, and this was followed by Peter VK3TKK who was activating the Port Campbell National Park VKFF-0420.

Marija had 16 contacts in the log and had qualified the park for VKFF.  She kindly handed the mic over to me.

I called CQ on 7.150 and this was answered by Damien VK3FRAB, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Lee VK3FLJD, and then Steve VK3FSPG/VK3MPR.  Despite it being a holiday, it was quite slow going on 40m, with just a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK7.  No VK5’s appeared in the log at this stage, with close in propagation on 40m, again not working.

About 30 contacts into the activation and OZ8BV came onto the frequency and started calling CQ.  He was a strong 5/8 and at times was drowing out some of the VK callers.  I battled on for a few more minutes, but with 36 contacts in the log I decided it was time to QSY up to 7.135.  I there spoke with Nick Vk3ANL/p who was on SOTA peak Mount McKay VK3/ VE-007.  Marija also logged Nick.

DSC_6721

With a total of 40 contacts in the log I decided to try my luck on 3.610 on the 80m band.  First taker there was Roy VK5NRG in Adelaide with a strong 5/8 signal (5/8 received).  This was followed by Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta.  It was nice to log some VK5’s.  But despite the 80m band being open around South Australia, they were the only VK5 callers.  I logged a further 4 stations on 80m from VK2 and VK3.  Contact number 44 for me was the ever reliable Mick VK3GGG from western Victoria.

I then QSYd to 14.310 on the 20m band and called CQ.  Sadly the only station logged there was Bill VK4FW in Queensland.  No DX.

I had my 44 contacts and it was time for me to do a bit of bird watching/photography, of the feathered variety.  I encouraged Marija to try her luck again on 40m to see if she could pick up 44 contacts.  Whilst I was off on my walk, Marija managed to add a further 11 stations to her log from VK2, VK3, and VK4.  Unfortunately the magical number of 44 wasn’t reached, with numerous CQ calls going unanswered.

Marija and I packed up and hit the road.  It was 4.00 p.m. local time and we wanted to call into the Mount Mary Hotel for a drink.  We still had a 2 hour drive to get home.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7JON/p (Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139)
  2. VK7FOLK/p (Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139)
  3. VK3FCMC
  4. VK3FOTO
  5. VK5BJE/3 (Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761)
  6. VK3TKK/p (Twelve Apostles Marine National Park VKFF-0955)
  7. VK3FAFC/p (French Island National Park VKFF-0622)
  8. VK3SQ
  9. VK3FSPG
  10. VK3MPR
  11. VK2HOT
  12. VK3BQ
  13. VK4HNS
  14. VK3KMH
  15. VK4VXX/2 (Mutawintji National Park VKFF-0374)
  16. VK3TKK/p (Port Campbell National Park VKFF-0420)
  17. VK3ANL/p (SOTA Mount McKay VK3/ VE-007)
  18. VK2EJW
  19. VK1FWBD
  20. VK3TKK/m
  21. VK3FRAB/p
  22. VK3GRW
  23. VK2NP
  24. VK3VIN
  25. VK4SMA
  26. VK3HQZ
  27. VK3NBL
  28. VK1AT/3

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7JON/p (Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139)
  2. VK7FOLK/p (Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139)
  3. VK5BJE/3 (Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761)
  4. VK3TKK/p (Twelve Apostles Marine National Park VKFF-0955)
  5. VK3FAFC/p (French Island National Park VKFF-0622)
  6. VK4VXX/2 (Mutawintji National Park VKFF-0374)
  7. VK3TKK/p (Port Campbell National Park VKFF-0420)
  8. VK3FRAB
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK3FLJD
  11. VK3FSPG
  12. VK3MPR
  13. VK2NP
  14. VK3BQ
  15. VK4HNS
  16. VK3FOTO/p
  17. VK3SFG
  18. VK4RF
  19. VK4HA
  20. VK4MAD
  21. VK2FOUZ
  22. VK3ARH
  23. VK2IO/m
  24. VK2JNG/p
  25. VK7DW
  26. VK3KMH
  27. VK3VFR
  28. VK3MIJ
  29. VK3CWF
  30. VK4TJ
  31. VK4/VE6XT
  32. VK4/AC8WN
  33. VK4WID
  34. VK3ZMD
  35. VK5FD/p
  36. VK3FCMC/p
  37. VK3ANL/p (SOTA Mount McKay VK3/ VE-007)
  38. VK1RZ
  39. VK1MTS
  40. VK2HOT

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5NRG
  2. VK5KLV
  3. VK3PAH
  4. VK3GGG
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK2EXA

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FW

After packing up, we crossed the ferry again and headed west on the Thiele Highway.  We stopped briefly at the old Eba railway siding.  In days gone by Eba had its own school, a post office, blacksmith, grocery store, sawmill, and even a race track.  Today little remains.  Sadly, a sign of the times……someone has stolen the lady cutout from the old railway siding.

We continued on to the little town of Mount Mary, formerly krichauff and Beatty which is located on the Thiele Highway between Eudunda and Morgan.  The town was originally surveyed in 1883 and features the historic Mount Mary Hotel.  We stopped in for a couple of drinks.  This is a must if you are driving through the area.  The pub is currently for sale and the current owners did their best to try to convince me to buy the pub.

We continued on our way home, travelling along Bower Boundary Road, a dirt road between the Thiele Highway and the Sturt Highway.  It was very slow going as there were kangaroos everywhere.  Along the way I chatted with a number of stations from the mobile including Peter VK7PRN, Peter VK2STO, John VK6VZZ/m and Mark AF6TC.  We stopped off at the Mount Pleasant Hotel for a meal and then drove the final 45 minutes back home.  It was the end of a very enjoyable 4 days away.

IMG_0219

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/morgan-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find-a-Park/Browse-by-region/Murray-River/morgan-conservation-park&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Mary,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017

Hogwash Bend Conservation Park 5CP-092 and VKFF-0892

Marija and I had two planned park activations for Monday 24th April 2017, the final day of our Riverland trip.  The first being the Hogwash Bend Conservation Park 5CP-092 & VKFF-0892 which is located about 183 km north east of Adelaide and just a few km north west of the little town of Cadell.

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Map showing the location of the Hogwash Bend Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

We had a 110 km drive from Renmark to the park, which took us along the Sturt Highway to Waikerie, and then out along the Ramco Road through Qualco and on to the park via the Cadell Valley Road.  Along the way Marija and I stopped briefly to have a look at the memorial cairn which commemorates police officers, Corporal William Murray Wickham and Mounted Constable John Dunning Carter, who drowned on the 7th day of May 1847.  They were enroute from Mourundee, near Blanchetown, to Overland Corner for police duty in response to disturbances in the area.  They were the first police to die in the line of duty in South Australia.

Sadly, the memorial had been desecrated.  I have photo shopped the photo below and removed the grafitti.

DSC_6639

We continued on to Waikerie and stopped briefly at the Pooginook lookout at Waikerie.  There are some great views of the mighty Murray River from here.  It was along these cliff tops that the village settlers walked between the settlements of Holder and Waikerie.

We soon reached Hogwash Road which runs off the northern side of the Cadell Valley Road.  The park sign, which had been at this intersection on our previous visit, was no longer there, so we initially missed the turnoff.  Not sure what has happened to the sign?

I have activated the park once before, back on April 2015, but this was prior to the park being allocated a VKFF reference number for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  The previous activation only qualified for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  This was to be a unique park for Marija as an activator.

https://vk5pas.org/2015/04/23/hogwash-bend-conservation-park/

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Hogwash Bend Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 6th day of September, 2012.  The park contains some majestic River Red Gums.

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The park is 286 hectares in size and comprises three sections.  We operated from the section which is adjacent to the eastern side of the Murray River.

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Aerial shot showing showing the park (indicated by the arrows.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

The park was acquired by the South Australian State Government and the Australian Federal Government under the National Reserve System program to protect the largest breeding colony of Regent Parrots in South Australia.  There are thought to be only 300 breeding pairs of Regent parrots along the Murray.  And in Hogwash Bend, around 50 pairs use the ideal breeding habitat of mature river red gums, nesting sites and large areas of mature mallee scrubland.  Hogwash Bend plays an important role in the bird’s future which is listed as vulnerable at both State and National level.

RegentParrot_Hattah_Nov11_MG_8189-580x558

Regent Parrot.  Image courtesy of Birdlife.

There is an excellent website dedicated to Regent parrots which can be found at…..

http://regentparrot.org

In fact, the group is very keen to hear from people who sight a Regent Parrot.  You can telephone 1800PARROT.

Our operating spot was on the southern side of Hogwash Road, adjacent to the main camping area.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d, initially set at 10 watts PEP, and later 40 watts for me, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole.

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Aerial view of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Marija started off on air first, with her first contact being Cliff VK2NP, followed by Russell VK4ARW, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Wade VK1FWBD/p then called in from SOTA peak Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042 in the Black Mountain Nature Reserve VKFF-0834.  Marija and I swapped the mic so I could log Wade.  Marija continued on and soon reached 10 contacts, with contact number 10 being John VK4/AC8WN.

Contact number 12 was another Park to Park, this time with Gerard VK2IO/m who was activating the Watagans National Park VKFF-0522.  Five QSOs later Andrew VK1AD/2 called in from SOTA peak Mount Marulan VK2/ ST-039 east of Goulburn.

Marija logged a total of 17 contacts, qualifying the park for VKFF and threw the mic over to me.  Marija headed off to take some photographs and explore the park.

My first contact after calling CQ was regular park hunter Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, followed by Peter VK3TKK/m, then Geoff VK3SQ, and then Allen VK3ARH.  It was a warm day, about 30 deg C, and an idealic location, not far from the banks of the Murray River.  During contact number 12 with Helen VK7FOLK, the magnificent paddlesteamer, PS Murray Princess came into view, cruising along the Murray.

DSC_6659

The PS Murray Princess is the largest inland paddlesteamer in the southern hemisphere and can cater for around 120 passengers.

It was quite slow going on the band, with signals from Victoria being well down compared to normal.  Having said this I was pleased to log Nick VK3ANL who was activating SOTA peak Mount Nelse VK3/ VE-004 which is located in the Alpine National Park VKFF-0619 with a good 5/7 signal.  Sadly Marija was still off on her walk so she missed working Nick.

Soon after I was called by Bob VK2AOR/p and Rod VK2LAX/p who were activating Popran National Park VKFF-0417.  Bob and Rod were running a magnetic loop and although quite weak, 5/3, they were very readable as there was no man made noise on the band from the park.  Marija must have heard Park to Park, because she picked up her stride and made it back in time to log Bob and Rod.  A few QSOs later Nick called back in to log Marija.

About 8 QSOs later, Gerard VK2IO/p called in from SOTA peak Barraba Trig VK2/ HU-065 with a very nice 5/7 signal.

With 36 contacts in the log for me, and 21 contacts in the log for Marija, we decided to try the 80m band and hopefully log some VK5 stations, as it was clear that close in propagation on the 40m band was not working.  I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Ivan VK5HS who was 5/7.  Ivan had tried to make contact with us earlier on 40m but we couldn’t successfully exchange signal reports.  So it was a pleasure to get Ivan in the log on 80.  Marija and I swapped the mic for our 80m contacts, and logged a total of 7 stations from VK2 and VK5.

I was now sitting on 43 contacts, just 1 short of qualifying the park for the global WWFF program, so with no further callers on 80m, we headed to 14.310 on the 20m band.  I put out 10 minutes of CQ calls and did not log a single station.  So it was back to 7.144 on 40m.  I called CQ and this was answered by Bill VK3CWF.  Bill earnt the packet of smarties, being my 44th contact.  I was then called by Peter VK3TKK/p who was activating the Bay of Islands Coastal Park VKFF-0743.  As I now had my 44 contacts I handed the mic back to Marija who logged Peter and then called CQ.

It was another 20 minutes, and Marija had picked up the remaining 15 contacts, to get over the line with 44 contacts, thus qualifying the park for the global WWFF awards.  Contact number 44 was with Mark VK3FOTO/m.

It was coming up to 12.30 p.m. local time.  We packed up and headed off to Morgan for some lunch, with our next activation being the Morgan Conservation Park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. Vk2NP
  2. VK4ARW
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK1FWBD/p (SOTA Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042 & VKFF-0834)
  5. VK3FRAB
  6. VK3HBG
  7. VK4RF
  8. VK4HA
  9. VK4TJ
  10. VK4/AC8WN
  11. VK4/VE6XT
  12. VK2IO/m (Watagans National Park VKFF-0522)
  13. VK7JON
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK3QB
  16. VK3ARH
  17. VK1AD/2 (Mount Marulan SOTA VK2/ ST-039)
  18. VK2AOR/p (Popran National Park VKFF-0417)
  19. VK2LAX/p (Popran National Park VKFF-0417)
  20. VK3ANL/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-004 & Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
  21. VK2IO/p (SOTA Barraba Trig VK2/ HU-065)
  22. VK3TKK/p (Bay of Islands Coastal Park VKFF-0743)
  23. VK7CW
  24. VK3GGG
  25. VK3PMG
  26. VK3CWF
  27. VK3SFG
  28. VK1AT/3
  29. VK2QR
  30. VK2SWL
  31. VK4QQ
  32. VK5FD/p
  33. VK2GGA
  34. VK3ELH
  35. VK3TJC/m
  36. VK7DW
  37. VK3FOTO/m

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FDEC
  3. VK2AWJ
  4. VK5YX
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK5PET

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1FWBD/p (SOTA Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042 & VKFF-0834)
  2. VK2IO/m (Watagans National Park VKFF-0522)
  3. VK1AD/2 (SOTA VK2/ ST-039)
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK3TKK/m
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK3ARH
  9. VK4ARW
  10. VK2NWB
  11. VK2FADV
  12. VK7FOLK/m
  13. VK3FMPB
  14. VK4HNS
  15. VK7BC
  16. VK3ANL/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-004 & Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
  17. VK2RH/p
  18. VK2LAX/p (Popran National Park VKFF-0417)
  19. VK2AOR/p (Popran National Park VKFF-0417)
  20. VK3QB
  21. VK5HS
  22. VK4TJ
  23. VK4/AC8WN
  24. VK4/VE6XT
  25. VK4WID
  26. VK2RI
  27. VK2IO/p (SOTA Barraba Trig VK2/ HU-065)
  28. VK2QR
  29. VK7VZ/p
  30. VK3KMH
  31. VK2KT
  32. VK3KMB/p
  33. VK2GKA
  34. VK1AT/3
  35. VK7DW
  36. VK3CWF
  37. VK3TKK/p (Bay of Islands Coastal Park VKFF-0743)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FDEC
  3. VK2AWJ
  4. VK5YX
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK5PET

 

References.

Monument Australia, 2017, <http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/government—state/display/98413-corporal-william-murray-wickham-and-mounted-constable-john-dunning&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017

Government of South Australia, 2014, River Murray-South East Nature Link

Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 and VKFF-0823

Marija and I had one planned park activation for Sunday (23rd April 2017).  That being the Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 & VKFF-0823 which is located about 257 km north east of Adelaide, and just a few km to the west of the town of Renmark.

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Map showing the location of the Cooltong Conservation in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Marija and I have activated this park previously, for both the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  We visited the park together back in April 2015 when Marija had made 15 contacts, qualifying the park for VKFF, but falling a bit short of the 44 QSOs required for the global WWFF program.  So Marija was hoping to pick up a few more contacts to get over the 44 line.

https://vk5pas.org/2016/04/20/cooltong-conservation-park-5cp-046-and-vkff-0823/

And I had activated the park back in May 2015 and well and truly had qualified the park for both VKFF and WWFF.

https://vk5pas.org/2015/05/12/cooltong-conservation-park-vkff-823/

However, I had been given permission to use the special call of VK5WOW, issued to help celebrate the upcoming 2017 WIA AGM & Convention in Handorf.

imageedit_1_7675210881.png

We made an early start and had breakfast at the motel and then headed to the home of Ivan VK5HS.  As it turned out my wife Marija and Ivan had secretly arranged to instal a BHI noise eliminating speaker in the Toyota Hi Lux.  Many thanks to both Marija and Ivan.  It is a really welcome addition to the vehicle.  Peter VK5PE also popped around.

Whilst there we all worked Andrew VK1AD who was on SOTA summitBobbara Mountain VK2/ ST-044, and then John VK5BJE/3 who was portable in the Snowy River National Park VKFF-0455.  And we also worked VK5WOW on the callback after the VK5 WIA Broadcast.

Marija and I then headed across the historic Paringa bridge into the little town of Paringa.  The bridge was constructed in 1927 for the railway extension over the River Murray to Renmark.  It is one of South Australia’s significant engineering monuments and is a State Heritage Place protected by the Heritage Places Act 1993.

We then headed out to Lock 5 which was built during the 1920’s to regulate the flow and the levels of the Murray River.  There are a number of information boards here explaining how the lock was installed.  You can also view the 80 ton barge, the Bunyip.  Along the way we workd Nick VK3ANL who was activating SOTA peak Mount Torbreck VK3/ VN-001.

Our next stop was the Black Stump at Paringa, the largest of 11 known black stumps in Australia.

DSC_6599.jpg

We then visited the Olivewood historic homestead and museum.  This was the home of the Chaffey Bros, founders of Australia’s first irrigation settlement in Renmark in 1887.  The old homestead is open for inspection and is furnished from this period.

The adjacent museum contains numerous early photos and memorabillia, including an amount of old radio gear.

We then called in to the Twenty Third Distillery in Renmark for some lunch….wood fire oven pizzas and a few cold Ciders.

It was now approaching 1.30 p.m. local time and we headed out to the Cooltong Conservation Park.  We accessed the park via Santos Road which runs off the Sturt Highway.  There are no signs on the Highway indicating the park.   But a few km up Santos Road we reached the park which is signposted.

Cooltong Conservation Park was dedicated in 1993 and comprised 3,681 hectares of mallee vegetation.  The name Cooltong is derived from a local aboriginal name meaning ‘lizard place’.  A large number of native birds can be found in the park including the rarely seen Malleefowl.

Marija and I drove a short distance in the park and found a clearing in amongst the scrub off Santos Road.  It was a hot da7, 29 deg C, so we erected the awning on the Toyota Hi Lux and set up the deck chairs and fold up table underneath the awning.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d for this activation, initially set at 10 watts PEP for Marija, and then at 40 watts for me.  The antenna was the 80/40/20m linked dipole supported on the 7m telescopic squid pole.

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Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Marija started off first, with contact number one on 40m SSB being Mark VK5QI/m who was mobile on his way home from the Riverland.  Mark is an active member of AREG and had taken part in the balloon launch the day previous.  Contact number two for Marija was Jonathon VK7JON, followed by Damien VK3FRAB/p, Bruce VK3FBNG, and then Bill VK5MBD/p who was portable near Overland Corner.  Contact number 7 was a Park to Park contact with Greg VK4VXX/2 who was activating the Mutawintji National Park VKFF-0374.

The band was in good shape and there were a lot of amateurs about due to it being the Easter weekend.  Marija very soon had the required 29 contacts in the log (to add to her previous 15) to qualify the park for WWFF.  The honour of contact 29 goes to Ian VK3VIN in Corio.

Marija worked a total of 66 stations on 40 from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included further Park to Park contacts with John VK5BJE/3 who was portable in the Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761, David VK5HYZ/p in the Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0788, Peter VK3PF/4 on SOTA peak VK4/ SE-043 in the D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129, Bill VK4FW/p in the Nour Nour National Park VKFF-0701, and Bill VK3CWF/p in the Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055.

Craig VK3CRG streamed Marija’s contacts via VK3RTV, Digital Amateur TV in Melbourne.

Marija swapped the mic with me, allowing me to log the Park activators.

It was my turn to jump on the mic and operate as VK5WOW.  And WOW (sorry for the pun), what a pile up.  I reached contact number 44 in just 30 minutes (Kevin VK2VKB).  In around 1 hour & 20 minutes I had contact number 100 in the log (Ray VK3RW).  I logged a total of 104 contacts on 40m with most contacts around Australia into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  I logged 2 DX stations on 40m: Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington, New Zealand, and Vicente EA3GP in Tarragona, Spain.  I made one Park to Park contact, and that was with Peter VK3PF/4 who was in the D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129.

During my time on 40m, Shaun VK5FAKV called me.  Shaun lives very close by to the park and I gave him directions on how to find me.  I have spoken with Shaun many times on air, and it was a pleasure to meet him finally in person.

DSC_6634.jpg

I then gave the 20m band a crack, but had very little success there.  Long path propagation into Europe was non existant.  I logged just 6 stations on 20m from VK2, VK4, VK6 and Japan.

I then moved back to 40m where I logged a further 20 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK6.  This included a Park to Park with Bill VK4FW who was in the Nour Nour National Park VKFF-0701.

It was starting to get dark, 5.30 p.m. local time, and I decided to give the 80m band a shot.  I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Bernie VK4KX who had followed me down from 40.  This was followed by Ivan VK5HS at nearby Renmark who was of course 5/9 +++.  I worked a total of 19 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

I decided to give 40m one last try, hoping to get some North American DX in the log.  Sadly, this was not to happen.  But I did log a further 12 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK6.

It was now 6.30 p.m. local time and it was time to pack up and head back into Renmark for a bite to eat.  I had a total of 161 contacts in the VK5WOW log.  Thanks to everyone who called, and I apologise to those who missed out in the pile up.  Be patient and persistent and I am sure to work you.

At the end of the activation Marija and I enjoyed a very nice meal at the Renmark Club and it was then back to the motel room, for another early start in the morning.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5QI/m
  2. VK7JON
  3. VK3FRAB/p
  4. VK3FBNG
  5. VK5MBD/p
  6. VK3CGB
  7. VK4VXX/2 (Mutawintji National Park VKFF-0374)
  8. VK3YXC
  9. VK1AT/p
  10. VK5KLV
  11. VK5HS
  12. VK5PE
  13. VK7FOLK
  14. VK3FSPG
  15. VK3MPR
  16. VK2HPN/m
  17. VK5AYD
  18. VK7DW
  19. VK2NP
  20. VK2PDW
  21. VK2GAZ
  22. VK3FOWL
  23. VK3SQ
  24. VK2QK
  25. VK5WG
  26. VK2OD
  27. VK3TKK
  28. VK3AXF
  29. VK7AU
  30. VK3VIN
  31. VK3HKV
  32. VK5BJE/3 (Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761)
  33. VK3ZLD
  34. VK2LX
  35. VK5HYZ/p (Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0788)
  36. VK3PF/4 (SOTA VK4/ SE-043 & D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129)
  37. VK3FPSR
  38. VK3FAJH
  39. VK3FLJD
  40. VK3FPHG
  41. VK5TR
  42. VK5AFZ
  43. VK2KYO
  44. VK3YSP
  45. VK5YL
  46. VK3CRG
  47. VK3PAT
  48. VK5MA/p
  49. VK4FW/p (Nour Nour National Park VKFF-0701)
  50. VK3CWF/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)
  51. VK3ZZS/p
  52. VK5FANA/m
  53. VK7NWT
  54. VK5IS
  55. VK5CP
  56. VK2HI
  57. VK5HEL
  58. VK3GGG
  59. VK3PMG
  60. VK5FMJC
  61. VK4RF
  62. VK4HA
  63. VK2GPT/p
  64. VK3TL
  65. VK3MIC
  66. VK3ZL

I worked the following stations (under VK5PAS) on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4VXX/2 (Mutawintji National Park VKFF-0374)
  2. VK5BJE/3 (Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761)
  3. VK5HYZ/p (Scott Creek Conservation Park)
  4. VK3PF/4 (SOTA VK4/ SE-043 & D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129)
  5. VK4FW/p (Nour Nour National Park VKFF-0701)
  6. VK3CWF/p (Brisbane Ranges National Park VKFF-0055)

I worked the following stations (under VK5WOW) on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK3HSB
  3. VK3PF/4
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK5MBD/p
  7. VK3FOWL
  8. VK5MA/p
  9. VK3TKK
  10. VK5NE
  11. VK3TL
  12. VK5WG
  13. VK2HOT
  14. VK3ZLD
  15. VK3PAT
  16. VK5HEL
  17. VK2LX
  18. VK3GYH/p
  19. VK5KLV
  20. VK2GAZ
  21. VK2FRKO
  22. VK3CRG
  23. VK2VW
  24. VK3FRAB/p
  25. VK3FPHG
  26. VK3YSP
  27. VK3SRC
  28. VK2EJW
  29. VK3YQS
  30. Vk5FANA/m
  31. VK7JON
  32. VK3BL
  33. VK7VZ/p
  34. VK3GGG
  35. VK3PMG
  36. VK5JK
  37. VK3VLY
  38. ZL2ASH
  39. VK3JM
  40. VK2PDW/m
  41. VK2NP
  42. VK3MNZ
  43. VK4HNS
  44. VK2VKB
  45. VK2SK
  46. VK2EXA
  47. VK7FOLK
  48. VK3ZPF
  49. VK3FADM/2
  50. VK2JXA/p
  51. VK3YSP/p
  52. VK4FFAB
  53. VK4BX
  54. VK4ARW
  55. VK3FAJH
  56. VK5DJW
  57. VK5ZGY/m
  58. VK2NSS
  59. VK2VOL
  60. VK5FAKV
  61. VK4QQ
  62. VK3PLP
  63. VK5PE
  64. VK3VIN
  65. VK3BSG
  66. VK7DW
  67. VK4VXX
  68. VK5WF
  69. VK3PI
  70. VK2IO/m
  71. VK4SMA
  72. VK1RZ
  73. VK7FEAT/m
  74. VK7AN
  75. VK3RU
  76. VK3TJS
  77. VK3MCK
  78. VK5KFB
  79. VK2ZQ
  80. VK2BMU
  81. VK5BC
  82. VK5NJ
  83. VK2UCT
  84. VK3FSPG
  85. VK3MPR
  86. VK2NWB
  87. VK4ND
  88. VK2YW
  89. VK3BGE
  90. VK5NAW
  91. EA3GP
  92. VK5HS
  93. VK3MAB
  94. VK5ZKU
  95. VK3FMPC
  96. VK7AU
  97. VK3ZD
  98. VK3MJR
  99. VK3ELH
  100. VK3RW
  101. VK3STU
  102. VK3MCD
  103. VK5YX
  104. VK3HBG
  105. VK2QQ
  106. VK3TJK
  107. VK2HHS
  108. VK4FW/p (VKFF-0701)
  109. VK2QK
  110. VK2HBT
  111. VK3UH
  112. VK3SOT
  113. VK4HHA
  114. VK3WAR
  115. VK2FSAV
  116. VK5FD/p
  117. VK6WC
  118. VK2SOL
  119. VK3SX
  120. VK3NLK
  121. VK3FMDC
  122. VK4DA
  123. VK2BTO
  124. VK4KX
  125. VK4GAZ
  126. VK3FEVT
  127. VK3AND
  128. VK3FLES
  129. VK4FSCC
  130. VK4FRAL/m
  131. VK6NU
  132. VK3LBW
  133. VK2TMC
  134. VK2SVN
  135. VK2WWV
  136. VK5FDEC

I worked the following stations (under VK5WOW) on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4QQ
  2. VK2MI
  3. VK5BC
  4. JA1VRY
  5. VK2CMP
  6. VK6GLX

I worked the following stations (under VK5WOW) on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK4KX
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK3NLK
  4. VK4VCO/p
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK5HYZ
  7. VK3STU
  8. VK5FD/p
  9. VK7JON
  10. VK5ATQ
  11. VK3GGG
  12. VK3PMG
  13. VK3VLY
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK5MG
  16. VK4TJ
  17. VK3DQL
  18. VK5FMAZ/m
  19. VK2MTM

 

References.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, ‘Parks of the Riverland’

Discover Murray, 2017, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/paddleboats/river-boat-trail-renmark/&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017

Renmark Paringa Visitor Information Centre, 2015, ‘Renmark, Paringa & Lyrup Visitor Guide’

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooltong,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017

2017 BRL Gathering at Overland Corner

On Saturday morning (22nd April 2017) Marija and I headed out to the historic Overland Corner Hotel for the 2017 BRL Gathering, hosted by the Riverland Radio Club.  This was the third year that the club had held the event.  And this year was special as the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group (AREG) were going to conduct a High Altitude Balloon launch at the gathering.

So after breakfast at the motel, Marija and I made the 30 minute journey from Renmark out to the Overland Corner Hotel.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 2.32.41 pm

Map showing the location of the Overland Corner Hotel in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Map courtesy of google maps.

The Overland Corner Hotel is located about 21 km from Barmera, and is situated off the Goyder Highway.  The hotel was originally established as a watering hole for drovers and overlanders operating between New South Wales and Adelaide in the colony of South Australia.  It also served as a temporary camping ground for steamers passing through the area along the mighty Murray River, about 600 feet from the hotel.  The hotel was erected in 1859 and since that time has served as a staging point, a general store, a police station and a local Post Office.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 2.49.06 pm.png

The Overland Corner Hotel, c. 1910.  Courtesy of Trove.

The Brand brothers, Henry, William, George and James who migrated to Australia from Kent, England in 1851 were commissioned by John Chambers, the enterprising pastoralist to build the Overland Corner Hotel in 1859.   The hotel’s original construction was almost entirely of locally available materials, including limestone, red gum and native pine timbers, a dirt floor, and thatched roof of river reeds.  A nearby quarry provided the stone for the hotel.  The rock is composed almost entirely of fossils. Corals, shellfish and the occasional shark’s tooth give evidence that this area was once covered by warm, shallow seas, long before man walked on the earth, some fifteen million years ago.  That the building remains is a tribute to these pioneer builders and their skills of construction.

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 3.45.09 pm

The Brand brothers.  Courtesy of Barmera Visitor Information Centre

The National Trust purchased the building in 1965 and the fossilised limestone building was completely restored.  It is the oldest structure remaining in the area.

There is a small museum in the hotel displaying various relics, even an old morse key.

It is reputed that the bushranger Henry Arthur ‘Harry’ Readford, visited the hotel.  Readford was imortalised in the 1882-83 novel ‘Robbery Under Arms’.  The character ‘Captain Starlight’ in the book was a composite of several bushrangers including Readford created by the author Rolf Boldrewood.  It is reported that Readford and his gang came to Overland Corner, and after stopping in at the nearby police station, where they locked the police in the cells, retired to the Overland Corner for a drink.  Stories abound that Readford even rode his horse into the bar and before leaving he carved his name onto the hotel’s wall.  Sadly no trace of this remains today.

Henry_Readford

Harry Readford.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The carpark at the rear of the hotel offered plenty of room for those staying for a few nights at Overland Corner for the BRL Gathering.

DSC_6494

The BRL Gathering is a terrific social function, and if you have never attended, I highly recommend that you do.  It is a great day of catching up with old mates and sitting around in the pub’s gardens enjoying a frothy or two and a great pub meal.

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Without a doubt the highlight of this years BRL Gathering was a High Altitude Balloon launch by the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group (AREG).

Below is a short video of the balloon launch…….

This was the first test flight of a new experimental cross band voice repeater: Input- 147.500 MHz, Output- 438.850 MHz.  A number of contacts were logged on the repeater, with the special call of VK5WOW being used.  Marija and I were lucky enough to make contact via HT.

I had a small display table erected, promoting the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  I also delivered three short talks on these two programs, and operating portable.

Frank VK3VEF was awarded the BRL Net Award, while Dennis VK2HHA was issued with a special award certificate for assisting as a relay station on the Riverland Radio Group Net.

A great day had by all.  Marija and I will certainly be there again next year.

After leaving we popped in just up the road to have a look at a historic BlackBox tree dating back to 1780.   The species has fibrous roots that were chewed by Aboriginal women to make a tough fibre. The fibre was used to make netting to trap birds, animals and fish.  Nets were up to 50 metres long and could take a year or more to make.

We then stopped in to have a look at the Overland Corner cemetery, which is the largest cemetery in the area and is still used today.  Members of the Brand family and other residents of the early European settlement lie here.

We also visited the lookout from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the flats, river cliffs and the hotel.

We then stopped off at Chocolates and More at Monash which is located opposite the Monash Adventure Park.  Plenty of calories here to be enjoyed.

DSC_6565.jpg

We had a little bit of time before dinner, so we also visited the small lookout tower on the outskirts of Renmark, and enjoyed the sunset.

That evening, a number of us, including Ivan VK5HS and his wife Cheryl, Peter VK5PE and his wife Nat, and Mick VK3GGG and his wife Anne, had dinner at the Renmark Hotel.  Plenty of laughs were had.

DSC_6566

References.

Barmera Visitor Centre, 2009, ‘Historic Overland Corner Hotel’

State Library South Australia, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/murray/content/didyouknow/bushrangers.htm&gt;, viewed 27th April 2017