Woakwine Conservation Park 5CP-257 and VKFF-1124

Our first activation for Sunday 11th March 2018 for day two of the 5th year anniversary activation weekend for the VK5 Parks Award was the Woakwine Conservation Park 5CP-257 & VKFF-1124.  The park is located about 8 km east of the town of Robe and about 343 km south east of Adelaide.

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

The Woakwine Conservation Park is about 424 hectares in size and was proclaimed in 2010.  It was formally known as the Woakwine Conservation Reserve (the old sign is still there).  In the mid 1980’s moves commenced to establish the park following applications for vegetation clearance through the Native Vegetation Branch.  Fortunately the applications were refused and the Minister for Environment and Planning purchased the land.  In 1993 two allotments were gazetted as the Woakwine Conservation Reserve to ‘conserve a remnant area of mallee vegetation’.  Some 17 years later it became a Conservation Park.

Woakwine is an aboriginal word meaning ‘elbow’ or ‘bent arm’. and refers to the shape of the large watercourse near the Woakwine Homestead. In fact, Woakwine is the only Aboriginal place name still used along the lower South East’s coastal region.

The park is a remnant area of mallee on the Woakwine Range that varies from coastal mallee, to Blue Gum, and Pink Gum woodlands from north to south.  The park forms an integral part of the Woakwine Range which is an area almost completely cleared of natural vegetation.  Woakwine is bisected by Drain L which moves surface waters south-westerly from Lake Hawdon North, to the ocean at Robe.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Woakwine Conservation Park.  The red arrow shows our operating position.  Image courtesy of google maps

The Woakwine Conservation Park is an important habitat for the vulnerable Painted Button-Quail and Rufous Bristlebird, and the rare Red-necked Wallaby, Common Wombat, Beautiful Firetail and Peregrine Falcon.  The nationally endangered Orange-bellied Parrot can also be found in the park.

After breakfast Marija and I headed out of Robe on the Southern Ports Highway and then turned left onto Boomaroo Park Road and then right onto the Old Naracoorte Road.  After a few km we reached the south western corner of the park, which still has the old Conservation Reserve sign.  Google maps showed a track at this location which headed north following the western boundary of the park.  But reality was that the track was completely overgrown and access was not possible.

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We drove a little further along the old Narracoorte Road until we reached the south eastern corner of the park.  There was another fire track here which followed the eastern boundary of the park.  This track was accessible.  But only in a 4WD.  Don’t try it in a conventional vehicle as the track is very rocky and you will bottom out.  We drove about 500 metres along the track until we encountered a fallen tree, preventing us from going any further.  A small chainsaw is our next investment.

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Above: the blocked track with the fallen tree

As we drove along the track we disturbed some emus who quickly took off.  I managed to get the camera just as they were pushing their way through a fence in an adjacent vineyard.

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The photo below shows the damage caused to fences on the edge of the park by emus and kangaroos.  This is why farmers are not fond of them.

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We found a small clearing in the scrub just off the track and set up there.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation, and also the 15m 1/2 wave dipole.  Marija ran 10 watts PEP whilst on air, while I ran 40 watts output power.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Woakwine Conservation Park, showing our operating spot towards the south eastern corner of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

It was a nice spot to active from, with thick scrub on one side of the track and a vineyard on the other side.

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Above:- the vineyard opposite our operating position.

It initially started off as quite an overcast morning, but the cloud cover burnt off quite quickly and the sun had a fair degree of sting, so we rolled out the awning on the Toyota Hi Lux.  I kicked off the activation with the first station in the log being Rod VK7FRJG, followed by Gerard VK2IO, Rob VK4FFAB and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Band conditions were poor, with huge amounts of fading (QSB) noted on signals, with a whooshing sound on the band.  Apparently there had been a solar flare in the preceding 24 hours which accounted for the poor band conditions.

Within about 12 minutes I had contact number 10 in the log, thus qualifying the park for the VKFF program.  That being a QSO with Ray VK4DXA.  It was very slow going on the band, and after logging 13 stations it went quiet.  This was good timing as I had seen a spot on 20m for Warren ZL2AJ on a SOTA summit in New Zealand.  I headed off to 14.310 after removing the links in the dipole and logged Warren who was on SOTA peak ZL1/ WK-151.  We exchanged 5/5 signal reports.

We reinserted the links and headed back to 40m.  It was time for Marija to qualify the park.  Marija’s first contact was with Ray VK4NH.  Contact number 10 came 11 minutes later, that being with John VK4TJ using his call of VK4/AC8WN.  Marija logged a total of 19 contacts from VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK4, including two Park to Park contacts, with Peter VK3PF/p in the Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125, and Liz VK2XSE/p operating in the Ingalba Nature Reserve VKFF-1940.  Marija took a break and I jumped back into the operators chair.

I logged a further 16 stations on 40m including the following Park to Park contacts:

  • Les VK5KLV/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  • Peter VK5KPR/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  • Stef VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  • Peter VK3PF/p (Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125)

Band conditions proved to be very challenging with very severe fading on most signals.  It had now just passed the UTC rollover and callers had slowed down, so I took the opportunity of tuning across the band.  We found Tony VK3XV/5 who was activating the Penola Conservation Park 5CP-177 & VKFF-0803.  Tony had a good 5/5 signal despite being close by, and Marija and I were very happy to get Tony in the log Park to Park.

Whilst on air I head what I thought was Marija hammering a peg into the ground.  I looked up as the sound got louder, only to see a large sheaok tree about 7 metres away crashing to the ground.  Fortunately it fell in the opposite direction.  It is a timely reminder to be vigilant on where you set up your station.  Fortunately it only partially blocked the track, and we were able to get out of the park later that morning.

We then headed to the 80m band where we called CQ on 3.610.  First in the log was Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland region of South Australia, with an excellent 5/9 signal.  We then quickly headed up to 3.620 to log Peter VK3PF/p Park to Park in the Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125.  We then moved back down to 3.610 and logged a number of stations in VK3 and VK5 including the following Park to Park contacts:

  • Stef VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  • Chris VK5FR/p (Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778)
  • Peter VK3TKK/p (Alex Chisholm Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2035)

I now had 41 contacts in the log and needed just 3 more to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  Marija was also rapidly approaching her 44, with 35 contacts in the log.

I called CQ on 7.155 and this was answered by Stef VK5HSX/3 in the Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968, followed by Chris VK5FR/p (Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778.  Jim VK5KOB was next, being the magical 44th contact.

Marija then took control of the mic and soon had 44 contacts in the log, with a QSO with Allen VK3ARH.  We logged a few further Park to Park contacts:

  • Mike VK6MB/p (Midgergoroo National Park VKFF-0650)
  • Peter VK5KPR/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  • Les VK5KLV/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)

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I then tuned across the band and made two further Park to Park contacts on 40m:

  • Bill VK4FW/p (Beeron National Park VKFF-1189)
  • VK5ALM/p (Kinchina Conservation Park 5CP-277 & VKFF-1764)

I then headed to 20m where I logged 3 stations on 14.310 from VK2 and VK3.  Marija and I then had one final listen on 40m and picked up a few more Park to Park contacts:

  • Peter VK3PF/p (Wonthaggi Heathlands Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2235)
  • Tony VK3XV/5 (Calectasia Conservation Park 5CP-028 & VKFF-1010)

To finish off the activation I put out a few quick CQ calls on 15m and logged Cliff VK2NP.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK2KMI
  5. VK2LEE
  6. VK7KEV
  7. VK2PKT
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK4/VE6XT
  10. VK4/AC8WN
  11. VK3PF/p (Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125)
  12. VK2XSE/p (Ingalba Nature Reserve VKFF-1940)
  13. VK3BBB
  14. VK3ANL
  15. VK2YK
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK2HHA
  19. VK1DI
  20. VK5KLV/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  21. VK5KPR/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  22. VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXZ
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK3PF/p (Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125)
  5. VK3XV/5 (Penola Conservation Park 5CP-177 & VKFF-0803)
  6. VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  7. VK5FR/p (Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778)
  8. VK5KOB
  9. VK3ANL/p (Ironbark Road Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2113)
  10. VK4FDJL
  11. VK3AHR
  12. VK2IO
  13. VK2JNG
  14. VK3ARH
  15. VK3OAK
  16. VK3UH
  17. VK6MB/p (Midgergoroo National Park VKFF-0650)
  18. VK3AW
  19. VK5KPR/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  20. VK5KLV/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  21. VK3FSPG
  22. VK3MPR
  23. VK2LEE
  24. VK3FMKE
  25. VK4FW/p (Beeron National Park VKFF-1189)
  26. VK3PF/p (Wonthaggi Heathlands Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2235)
  27. VK3XV/5 (Calectasia Conservation Park 5CP-028 & VKFF-1010)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK3PF/p (Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125)
  3. VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  4. VK5FR/p (Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778)
  5. VK3UA
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK3TKK/p (Alex Chisholm Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2035)
  8. VK5ATN

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK7FRJG
  2. VK2IO
  3. VK4FFAB
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK2MKI
  6. VK2VW
  7. VK3HBG
  8. VK4FDJL
  9. VK4NH
  10. VK4DXA
  11. ZL4TY/VK4
  12. VK2HHA
  13. VK2NP
  14. VK3PF/p (Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125)
  15. VK2XSE/p (Ingalba Nature Reserve VKFF-1940)
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK2KYO
  18. VK5FANA
  19. VK5KLV/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  20. VK5KPR/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  21. VK2PKT
  22. VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  23. VK2SR
  24. VK7ME
  25. VK3BYD
  26. VK5DW
  27. VK4NH
  28. VK4DXA
  29. ZL4TY/VK4
  30. VK5YP
  31. VK3PF/p (Wonthaggi Heathlands Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2235)
  32. VK3XV/5 (Calectasia Conservation Park 5CP-028 & VKFF-1010)
  33. VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  34. VK5FR/p (Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778)
  35. VK5KOB
  36. VK3OAK
  37. VK3ANL/p (Ironbark Road Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2113)
  38. VK6MB/p (Midgergoroo National Park VKFF-0650)
  39. VK5KPR/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  40. VK5KLV/p (Mount Brown Conservation Park 5CP-145 & VKFF-0914)
  41. VK4FW/p (Beeron National Park VKFF-1189)
  42. VK5ALM/p (Kinchina Conservation Park 5CP-277 & VKFF-1764)
  43. VK3PF/p (Wonthaggi Heathlands Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2235)
  44. VK3XV/5 (Calectasia Conservation Park 5CP-028 & VKFF-1010)

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL2AJ/p (SOTA ZL1/ WK-151)
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK2JNG/p
  4. VK3SX

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Kilcunda Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2125)
  2. VK5HSX/3 (Hepburn Regional Park VKFF-0968)
  3. VK5FR/p (Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778)
  4. VK3UA
  5. VK5BJE
  6. VK3TKK/p (Alex Chisholm Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2035)
  7. VK5ATN

I worked the following station on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2NP

As we were leaving the park we worked Mark VK4SMA on 40m, Park to Park.  Mark was activating the Tamborine National Park VKFF-0475.  We also logged Tony VK5MRT/op in the Bullock Hill Conservation Park 5CP-265 & VKFF-0873.  Tony was down quite low at the start and it was quite a challenge to break through the pile up.

We then drove out of the park and headed off the our second park of the day, the Lake Hawdon South Conservation Park.

 

 

References.

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2000, ‘Woakwine Conservation Reserve Management Plan’.

Wattle Range Council, 2018, <http://www.wattlerange.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=2341>, viewed 14th March 2018

4 thoughts on “Woakwine Conservation Park 5CP-257 and VKFF-1124

  1. Hi Paul
    In am glad to be in your logs for this Park, a new one for me as a chaser. I found chasing conditions for the VK5 parks quite difficult on the day. The 40 metre band signals seemed to miss Adelaide and surrounds. There was no short skip for much of the time.
    I also enjoyed reading your write up of the park. It is quite a contrast between mallee scrub and grape vines!
    Thanks for all of your efforts in encouraging activity for the anniversary weekend.
    Cheers
    John D
    VK5BJE/VK5PF

    • Hi John,

      This was an interesting activation. The tree crashing down really put Marija off. She wanted us to qualify the park and get out of there.

      You’re right about band conditions on 40m. We had the occasional opening around VK5, but it didn’t last long.

      Cheers,

      Paul VK5PAS.

  2. Hi Chris,

    Band conditions on 40m were really challenging during this activation. Initially thought we had a problem with the BNC connection, such was the QSB and this strange whooshing noise on the band, with signals being S1 one minuite and then S9 the next. Anyway, we made it.

    73,

    Paul VK5PAS.

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