Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832

Day two (Sunday 26th November 2017) of the 2017 VKFF Activation Weekend had arrived.  Marija and I had enjoyed 2 great nights in Morgan and it was time for us to move on to our first park activation of Sunday, the Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832 which is located about 170 km north east of Adelaide and about 12 km west of the town of Swan Reach.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Swan Reach Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After breakfast we headed down to the ferry at Morgan, which crossed the Murray River.  There are a couple of ways of getting to Swan Reach from Morgan, but this is the way the GPS decided to take us.  On the way to the ferry I spoke from the mobile with Liz VK2XSE/p on 7.144.  Liz was activating the Balowra State Conservation Area VKFF-1269 in New South Wales.

Whilst waiting for the ferry, and then whilst on borad the ferry crossing the river, Marija and I worked Mick VK3PMG/p on 7.160, who was in the Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2115.  Mick had a good 5/7 signal into the mobile, and gave us a 5/7 in return.

We travelled south on the Murbko Road which runs alongside the mighty Murray River.  There are a number of spots here where you can stop to enjoy some spectacular views of the Murray River, which is exactly what we did.

We then reached the Sturt Highway and headed towards the town of Blanchetown, before turning left on to Hunter Road which again hugged the Murray River to our right.  The town of Swan Reach was our next stop.  Swan Reach was initially settled way back in the 1850’s and was originally the largest of five sheep and cattle stations in the area.  It subsequently became a busy riverboat port in South Australia.  We waited to board the ferry at Swan Reach, whilst having a look at the flood levels on an electricity pole.  The 1956 flood literally wiped out the town of Swan Reach.

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After crossing the Murray, we travelled west on the Swan Reach-Angaston Road (the Stott Highway), and soon reached the park.  The Swan Reach Conservation Park is 2,017 hectares in size, with the majority of the park being an open area of Mallee Box, red mallee, and yorrell.  The remaining area consists of low woodland with false sandalwood and bullock bush over an understorey of spear-grass and ephemeral herbs.

DSC_1976

About 97 species of native bird have been recorded in the park including Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Shrikethrush, Australian Magpie, Malleefowl, Little Eagle, Crested Pigeon, and Inland Thornbill.  Most of the mallee scrub in the park has been cut ver for firewood and the present vegetation is regowth.  The park lacks the numbers of large, mature mallees which originally occurred in the area and provided nesting hollows for birds.  I hardly saw a bird in the park during our visit.

Native animals found in the park include Western Grey kangaroos, Red Kangaroos, and the Southern Hairy-nosed wombat.  Gould’s Goanna and Central Beared Dragons can be found in the park.

Marija and I turned on to the Old Punyelroo Road and then on to a dirt track leading into the park.

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

There was plenty of room here to pull the Toyota Hi Lux off the track and roll out the awning/annexe, and stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

As we drove in to the park we worked Marc VK3OHM/p who was activating the Warrandyte State Park VKFF-0774.  As we were within the boundaries of the park it qualified as a Park to Park contact, as mobile is allowed in the WWFF program.  Marc had a cracking 5/9 signal into the mobile.

We set up and immediately headed to 7.140 to get another Park to Park with Marc VK3OHM/p as we were now set up portable.  After logging Marc, we headed up to 7.150 and Marija started calling CQ, whilst I spotted her on parksnpeaks.  Marija’s CQ call was answered by Tom VK5NFT at Millicent in the South East, followed by Tom VK5AA also in the South East at Mount Gambier, and then Chris VK3FHCT.

Our second Park to Park was to follow, a contact with Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG who was activating the Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2115.  Marija soon had her 10th contact in the log, a QSO with John VK4/AC8WN.  Marija then logged John under another one of his calls VK4/VE6XT and then our good friend John VK5BJE.

As it was a little quiet, we took the opportunity of tuning across the 40m band   to see if we could find some more park activators.  We soon found Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984.

Marija then went back to 7.150 and called CQ, logging a total of 15 stations including the following three more Park to Park contacts….

  • Rob VK4AAC/p in the Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF- 1511
  • Rob VK4FFAB/p in the Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF- 1511
  • Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268

Marija now had 28 contacts in the log and the calls on 40m had slowed down a little, so we decided to go have a listen on the 80m band.  Marija called CQ on 3.610 which was answered by John VK5BJE, followed by Adrian VK5FANA, Tony VK5MRT, and then Ivan VK5HS mobile, all of whom had great signals on 80m.  We also made a Park to Park contact with Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG who was now activating the Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111.  Mick had a good 5/5 signal.

We headed back to 40m where we logged the following Park to Park contacts…..

  • Ian VK1DI/p in the Crace Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0838
  • Nick VK6FSEA/p in the Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park VKFF-1430

We returned to 7.150 and Marija continued to call CQ, logging a further 6 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK7.  Unfortunately we had a couple of VK6 stations come up on the frequency, and despite us hearing them well, they were unable to hear either Marija or I.  It just wasn’t worth competing with them, so we left the frequency.  We found Mick VK3PMG/VK3GGG on 7.155  in the Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111.  This was Marija’s 44th contact.  She had qualified the park for the global WWFF program.

IMG_0861

Marija then took a coffee break, whilst I put out a few CQ calls on 7.144 on 40m logging 16 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7, including a Park to Park with Neil VK4HNS/p who was in the Girraween National Park VKFF-0198.

Marija and I then headed up to 21.244 on the 15m band, hoping to get a few contacts.  And we were pleased that we put up the 15m /12 wave dipole as the band was wide open to New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.  Our first contact on 15m was a Park to Park with Gerard VK2JNG/p who was in the Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268.  Other Park to Park contacts on 15m were made with Neil VK4HNS/p in the Giraween National Park VKFF-0198, and Rob VK4AAC/p who was activating the Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF-1511.

So with a number of contacts in the log on 15m, it was time to try the 20m band.  I logged 10 contacts there including the following Park to Park contacts…..

  • Neil VK4HNS/p in the Giraween National Park VKFF-0198
  • Gerard VK2IO/p in thePitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984
  • Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268

We were about to pack up when we noticed a spot for Les VK5KLV/p on 7.150 in the Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0808.  So it was off to 40m again to log Les Park to Park.

Marija had 53 QSOs in the log including 18 Park to Park contacts.  I had 49 QSOs in the log including 22 Park to Park contacts.  Between us we had made 102 QSOs, including 40 Park to Park contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3OHM/p (Warrandyte State Park VKFF-0774)
  2. VK5NFT
  3. VK5AA
  4. VK3FHCT
  5. VK3PMG/p (Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2115)
  6. VK3GGG/p (Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2115)
  7. VK2PKT
  8. VK3MRH
  9. VK2XXM
  10. VK4TJ
  11. VK4/AC8WN
  12. VK4/VE6XT
  13. VK5BJE
  14. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK3KAI
  17. VK3GV
  18. VK3SQ
  19. VK3UH
  20. VK3FRAB
  21. VK3ANL
  22. VK4AAC/p (Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF- 1511)
  23. VK4FFAB/p (Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF- 1511)
  24. VK2JNG/p (Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268)
  25. VK4RF
  26. VK4HA
  27. VK3ARH
  28. VK3ZVX
  29. VK3FLJD
  30. Ian VK1DI/p (Crace Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0838)
  31. Nick VK6FSEA/p (Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park VKFF-1430)
  32. VK4NH
  33. VK4DXA
  34. VK3ELH
  35. VK7FRJG
  36. VK4PDX
  37. VK2VW
  38. Mick VK3PMG/p (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)
  39. Mick VK3GGG/p (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)
  40. VK4HNS/p (Girraween National Park VKFF-0198)
  41. VK5KLV/p (Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0808)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5MRT
  4. VK5HS/m
  5. VK3PMG/p (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)
  6. VK3GGG (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)

Marija worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268)
  2. VK4HNS/p (Giraween National Park VKFF-0198)
  3. VK4AAC/p (Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF-1511)
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK2YK

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3OHM/p (Warrandyte State Park VKFF-0774)
  2. VK3PMG/p (Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2115)
  3. VK3GGG/p (Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2115)
  4. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  5. VK4AAC/p (Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF- 1511)
  6. VK4FFAB/p (Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF- 1511)
  7. VK2JNG/p (Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268)
  8. Ian VK1DI/p (Crace Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0838)
  9. Nick VK6FSEA/p (Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park VKFF-1430)
  10. Mick VK3PMG/p (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)
  11. Mick VK3GGG/p (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)
  12. VK2YW
  13. VK7JON
  14. VK3FLJD
  15. VK3ELH
  16. VK4HNS/p (Giraween National Park VKFF-0198)
  17. VK4FDJL
  18. VK1CT
  19. VK3UH
  20. VK5FMWW
  21. VK2YK
  22. VK3MB
  23. VK5TR
  24. VK3PF
  25. VK5XD
  26. VK3MIJ
  27. VK5BJE
  28. VK5KLV/p (Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0808)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. Mick VK3PMG/p (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)
  2. Mick VK3GGG/p (Illawarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2111)

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268)
  2. VK2FSAV
  3. VK2YK
  4. VK4HNS/p (Giraween National Park VKFF-0198)
  5. VK2XXM
  6. VK4AAC/p (Clear Mountain Conservation Park VKFF-1511)
  7. VK6XN
  8. VK4RF
  9. VK4HA

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4HNS/p (Giraween National Park VKFF-0198)
  2. VK2UH
  3. VK6NI
  4. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  5. VK4PDX
  6. VK2YK
  7. VK4DA
  8. VK2JNG/p (Koreelah National Park VKFF-0268)
  9. VK6ADF/m
  10. VK4SMA/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/swan-reach-conservation-park/>, viewed 4th December 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Reach,_South_Australia>, viewed 4th Dceember 2017

4 thoughts on “Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832

  1. Hi John,

    We enjoyed our activation here at Swan Reach. About 40% of our contacts from here were Park to Park QSOs, such was the activity on the day. Pleased to be able to get you in the log.

    Cheers,

    Paul VK5PAS.

  2. Hi Paul

    Im really enjoying following your blog.

    Oddly enough its not for the radio part, Im into astrophotography and really like your reports on the park that you visit and the aerial shots of where you set up, it really helps me plan my visits.

    Thought you might like to know that your information is helping folks outside of your passion. 🙂

    Regards
    Chris

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