Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park 5CP-003 and VKFF-0866

Today (Tuesday 17th April 2018) I headed down south to activate a brand new park for me, the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park 5CP-003 & VKFF-0866.  The park is located about 48 km south of Adelaide, and about 60 km south west of my home.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, south of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park is 266 hectares in size and was proclaimed on the 7th November 1985.  It is home to a diverse range of rare plants and is recognised as a significant area for the conservation and protection of the region’s flora and fauna.  The park represents one of the last remnant patches of native coastal scrubland along the Adelaide coastline.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of google maps.

The area which is now the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park was part of the territory of the Kaurna aboriginal people.  The scrub and adjacent coastline  yielded a rich and bountiful supply of food and materials used for utensils.   Shellfish, fish, marsupials, reptiles, birds and plant foods such as nardoo, muntries, yams and quandongs were abundant in the area.  It is believed that Aldinga is a corruption of the aborignal word ‘Nal-dinga’ meaning ‘open wide’.  However there are other suggestions that it means ‘much water’, while other sources suggest it means ‘good place for meat’, ‘open, wide plain’ or ‘tree district’.

Aboriginal-huts-or-wurlies-constructed-by-the-Kaurna-as-shelter-during-the-rainy.png

Above:- A Kaurna tribe.  Image courtesy of http://www.researchgate.net

The nearby town of Aldinga was laid out by Lewis Fidge (1827-1895), farmer of Aldinga, circa 1857, who had arrived in the colony of South Australia aboard the Duchess of Northumberland in 1839.

In the 1960s the Willunga Council became concerned that subdivision of the area would cause erosion of the important sand dunes in the area.  Between 1965 and 1982, 300 hectares were purchased at Aldinga to be managed by the State Planning Authority as an Open Space Reserve.  In 1985 the reserve was declared Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park.

The park contains sand dunes, sand blows which are mobile dunes, mallee box woodland, remnant river red gum forests and closed heaths.  There are areas of bracken and tall shrubland dominated by Golden Wattle.  There are several rare species found in the park including the unique Lacy coral lichen, Aldinga dampiera and numerous native orchids.

Numerous native animals call the park home including Western Grey kangaroos and Short-beaked echidnas.  Various reptiles can also be found in the park including the Common Brown snake, Lined Worm Lizard, Marbled Gecko, and the Bearded Dragon.

Numerous native birds can be found in the park.  Birds SA have recorded a total of 133 species including Crested Pigeon, New Holland Honeyeater,  Eastern Spinebill, Striated Thornbill, Dusky Woodswallow, Australian Golden Whistler, Painted Buttonquail, Peaceful Dove, Tawny Frogmouth, White-winged Triller, and the Red-browed Finch.  Some of the birds I spotted and photographed are shown below.

I travelled to the park from home via Echunga, Meadows and then Willunga.  I travelled to the end of Hart Road and soon reached the north eastern corner of the park.  There were some terrific views here of the Southern Vales wine region, one of the most famous wine growing areas in Australia.

I parked the Toyota Hil Lux alongside the gate at the end of Hart Road.  There is a carpark here.  I was surprised to find the gate open, with the padlock not having been cut.   I started unloading the vehicle and found a nice shady spot about 30 metres from the gate.  As I was carting gear from the vehicle to my operating spot a National Parks truck and trailer arrived and I had a chat with the 3 park rangers who were very friendly.  One of them remembered me from  a recent activation on the Fleurieu Peninusla.  They advised that there was a working bee at the park involving The Friends of Aldinga Scrub Group.  They have an excellent website with lots of information on the park.

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, set at 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  The dipole was supported on the top of a 7m telescopic squid pole.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park showing my operating spot in the north eastern corner.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

To kick off the activation I had a tune across the 40m band and found Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Livingstone State Conservation Area VKFF-1343.  Gerard was 5/9 plus.  After working Gerard I moved up the band and called CQ on 7.150.  This was answered by Mark VK3UA, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and then Peter VK5ZPG.  There was a slow and steady mini pile up and within 13 minutes into the activation I had ten contacts in the log, thus qualifying the park for the VKFF program.

It was a weekday and activity on the band was much slower than a weekend.  I logged a total of 21 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5, before callers dried up.  I took the opportunity of tuning across the band and logged Jeff VK3HJA/p in the Alpine National Park VKFF-0619.

I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band and headed to 3.610.  Sadly there was a strength 7 noise floor on 80m and the Over the Horizon radar.  My CQ call was answered by John VK5BJE, then Tony VK5MRE, John VK5NJ, and finally Adrian VK5FANA.  There were others calling but sadly I wasn’t able to pull them through due to the noise floor.

I then headed back to 40m and put out a few CQ calls on 7.144.  John VK5NJ at Mount Gambier was first in the log.  This was followed by Mark VK3MDH mobile and then John VK2YW.  It was really slow going and I logged a further 8 stations including Horst VK2HL/p who was in the Coolah Tops National Park VKFF-0111.

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Above:- ‘The Shack”, a magnificent outlook across the scrub and the vineyards to the southern Mount Lofty Ranges

I now had 38 contacts in the log and required another 6 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  The squid pole was lowered again and I removed the links for the 20m band.  I put out a CQ call on 14.310 and this was answered by John VK4TJ, followed by Colin VK4PDX.  Sadly they were my only callers, so I headed down the band and booked in to the ANZA DX Net.  I logged a total of 9 stations on the net including Peter ZL2BAQ in New Zealand.  I also spoke to my good mate Ted VK6NTE who was 5/9 +++.

I checked the various Facebook pages on my phone and saw that David VK5PL had listened out for me on 80m but had missed me.  So I sent a message back to David and headed to 3.610.  I logged David who was 5/9, but despite spotting on parksnpeaks, David was my only caller.

I headed back to the 40m band and found Bill VK4FW/p on 7.141 who was activating the Tarong National Park VKFF-0479.  I called Bill and at the same time Bill received a phone call, and whilst he was on the phone, Rob VK4AAC/2 snuck in to log me.

I then moved down the band and called CQ on 7.130.  Peter VK2NEO called in with his normal booming signal.  This was followed by Gerard VK2JNG mobile and then Keith VK2PKT.  I logged a further 21 stations, including some interesting contacts.  One of those was Joe VK3YSP who was portable at the Moorabin & Districts Radio Club with some students from he and Julie’s School Amateur Radio Club Network.  I had a quick chat with some of Joe and Julie’s students: Henry, Stefano, and Hannah.

I also logged Andrei ZL1TM in Auckland, New Zealand and Owen ZL4CY in New Zealand.  And I was very pleased to have been called by Grant (VK5GR) YJ0AG in Vanuatu.  Grant is holidaying on Efate Vanuatu, and I was Grant’s first SSB contact.

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Above:- my gear, the Yaesu FT-857d and my hand written log

So after a very slow start to this activation I now had 78 contacts in the log, including 4 Park to Park QSOs.  It was 4.30 p.m. and time to pack up and head home.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Livingstone State Conservation Area VKFF-1343)
  2. VK3UA
  3. VK2HHA
  4. VK5ZPG
  5. VK3AHR
  6. VK4FDJL
  7. VK3HJ
  8. VK5LV
  9. VK4HNS
  10. VK3WAR
  11. VK5WF
  12. VK5FANA
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK2IO
  15. VK3ANL
  16. VK4TJ
  17. VK4/AC8WN
  18. VK4/VE6XT
  19. VK5KIK
  20. VK2VW
  21. VK2NP
  22. VK3HJA/p (Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
  23. Vk5NJ
  24. VK5JN
  25. VK3MDH/m
  26. VK2YW
  27. VK4NH
  28. VK4DXA
  29. ZL4TY/VK4
  30. VK3XP
  31. VK2EXA
  32. VK4PDX
  33. VK2HL/p (Coolah Tops National Park VKFF-0111)
  34. VK3MEG/p
  35. VK4AAC/2
  36. VK4FW/p (Tarong National Park VKFF-0479)
  37. VK2NEO
  38. VK2JNG/m
  39. VK2PKT
  40. VK4GSF
  41. VK6POP
  42. VK5MCB/p
  43. VK2LEE
  44. VK3YSP/p
  45. VK5VC
  46. VK3TKK/m
  47. VK7HCK
  48. VK5PET
  49. VK3VGB
  50. VK7LTD
  51. VK3FOWL/p
  52. ZL1TM
  53. VK3NCR/2
  54. VK3MLU
  55. YJ0AG
  56. VK7AN
  57. ZL4CY
  58. VK4FARR
  59. VK3TB
  60. VK6QM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5MRT
  3. VK5NJ
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5PL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/AC8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT
  4. VK4PDX
  5. VK6NTE
  6. VK7XX
  7. VK4DV
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. ZL2BAQ
  12. VK2HOT
  13. VK4DGU

 

References.

A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 17th April 2018

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/aldinga-scrub-conservation-park/>, viewed 17th April 2018

National Parks South Australia, 2018, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Fleurieu_Peninsula/aldinga-scrub-conservation-park>, viewed 17th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldinga_Scrub_Conservation_Park>, viewed 17th April 2018

Mantung Conservation Park 5CP-269 and VKFF-1055

Our second park for the day was the Mantung Conservation Park 5CP-269 & VKFF-1055.  The park is located about 228 km north east of the city of Adelaide and about 45 km west of Loxton.  Again, this was to be a unique park for both Marija and I as activators, for both WWFF and the VK5 Parks Award.

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

The Mantung Conservation Park is about 1,696 hectares (4,190 acres) in size and was proclaimed on the 16th October 2014.  So in the scheme of things, Mantung is a relatively new park.

At the opening of the park, Natural Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin District Manager, Mallee and Coorong, Paul Gillen stated:

“Proclaiming the Mantung area as a Conservation Park complements a large network of adjoining Vegetation Heritage Agreements in the area which are well-managed by local farmers and the Mantung-Maggea Land Management Group with support from the Murray Mallee Local Action Planning group and Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin…….The local community has really taken Mantung under its wing, taking part in extensive native habitat restoration work in recent years.”

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Mantung Conservation Park and the surrounding countryside.  Image courtesy of Google maps

Mantung is a local aboriginal word literally meaning ‘water on a native road’.   Aborigines traversing through the area, followed sandhills from Jadko about 6·5 km north of Swan Reach, via Bakara eastward to Loxton.  They obtained water from mallee trees, while sandhills contained root foods.  Needle bush roots also yielded water for indigenous travellers.

The Hundred of Mantung, County of Albert, was proclaimed on 15th June 1893.  The name was shown as an Aboriginal waterhole on an 1864 land tenure plan.  The town of Mantung, was proclaimed on 8th July 1915.

The conservation park is important for the conservation of the following bird species: Malleefowl, Southern Scrub Robin, Shy Heathwren, Inland Thornbill, White-browned Babbler, and Purple-gaped honeyeater.

After leaving Bakara, we travelled south on Start Road until we reached Bakara Well Road where we turned left and travelled east.  We continued east on Carnell Road and then Evans Road, and upon reaching the junction of Evans Road and Farr Road, we took Farr Road.  We soon reached the north western corner of the park.  There was an open gate at this location, with a Mantung Maggea Land Management Group sign.

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We continued along Farr Road and found another open gate and a 4WD track leading into the park.  We travelled along the track for about 500 metres and set up underneath the shade of some trees.  It was a warm afternoon, with the temperature approaching 35 deg C.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Mantung Conservation Park, showing our operating spot in the northern section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer

I kicked off the activation, calling CQ on 7.144.  This was answered by Mike VK5FMWW who had a big 5/9 plus signal.  It was great to see the 40m band open around South Australia.  Next in the log was Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Dharawal National Park VKFF-1167.  Marija and I swapped the mic so she could log Gerard Park to Park.  She then decided to stay in the operators chair and within7 minutes had logged 10 stations, qualifying the park for the VKFF program.  Contact number 10 for Marija was a QSO with Bill VK4FW/p who was activating the Baywulla Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1470.  I also logged Bill Park to Park.

I then jumped into the operators chair and called CQ.  Deryck VK4FDJL was the first taker, followed by Helen VK7FOLK and then Linda VK7QP.  The 40m band had improved quite dramatically compared to conditions during our first park activation at Bakara.  There was a steady flow of callers, with mini pile ups at times.  Contact number 44 was a QSO with Mike VK3FCMC.

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I also logged the following Park to Park contacts (Marija also logged these):

  • Liz VK2XSE/p -Jerrawangala National Park VKFF-0248VKFF-0248
  • Nik VK3NLK/p – Gippsland Lakes Conservation Park VKFF-0747
  • Peter VK3ZPF/p – Cathedral Range State Park VKFF-0755
  • VK4SMA/p – Maryland National Park VKFF-0309
  • VK2IO/p – Dharawal State Conservation Area VKFF-1313

During the activation the wind really picked up and the squid pole came crashing down.  As we had so many callers we didn’t get the opportunity of hammering the squid pole holder back into the dry and rocky ground.  So Marija and I took turns holding the squid pole upright.  Apparently our signal was still strong, even when the squid pole was lying on the ground.

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After logging a total of 46 stations on 40m I headed off to 14.310 on the 20m band where I spoke with Peter VK2NEO and Rob VK7VZ.

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It was now really hot and there wasn’t a huge amount of shade under the mallee shrubs, so Marija and I decided to call it a day.  Sorry, we didn’t try 80m during this activation.  It was just too hot and we wanted to get back into the air conditioned comfort of the Hi Lux.

Marija had qualified the park for VKFF with 16 contacts in the log, and I had qualified for the park for VKFF & WWFF with 48 QSOs.  We also had 14 Park to Park contacts in the log from Mantung.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Dharawal National Park VKFF-1167)
  2. VK3QB
  3. VK5FMWW
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK3CWF
  6. VK3PGK
  7. VK3FSPG
  8. VK3MPR
  9. VK7FOLK
  10. VK4FW/p (Baywulla Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1470)
  11.  VK2XSE/p (Jerrawangala National Park VKFF-0248)
  12. VK3NLK/p (Gippsland Lakes Conservation Park VKFF-0747)
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK3ZPF/p (Cathedral Range State Park VKFF-0755)
  15. VK4SMA/p (Maryland National Park VKFF-0309)
  16. VK2IO/p (Dharawal State Conservation Area VKFF-1313)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW
  2. VK2IO/p (Dharawal National Park VKFF-1167)
  3. VK4FW/p (Baywulla Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1470)
  4. VK4FDJL
  5. VK7FOLK
  6. VK7QP
  7. VK3FSPG
  8. VK3MPR
  9. VK2LEE
  10. VK2USH
  11. VK3ZD
  12. VK7VZ
  13. VK5VBR
  14. VK7JON
  15. VK2NP
  16. VK3BBB
  17. VK3UH
  18. VK3PF
  19. VK2PKT
  20. VK3FRAB
  21. VK3UCD
  22. VK5HS
  23. VK7DW/p
  24. VK4HNS
  25. VK5FMLO
  26. VK2XSE/p (Jerrawangala National Park VKFF-0248)
  27. VK3ARH
  28. VK5DW
  29. VK3NLK/p (Gippsland Lakes Conservation Park VKFF-0747)
  30. VK5KLV
  31. VK5FANA
  32. VK3ZPF/p (Cathedral Range State Park VKFF-0755)
  33. VK7EK
  34. VK4TJ
  35. VK4/AC8WN
  36. VK4/VE6XT
  37. VK2NEO
  38. VK5PL
  39. VK2YE
  40. VK4SMA/p (Maryland National Park VKFF-0309)
  41. VK2IO/p (Dharawal State Conservation Area VKFF-1313)
  42. VK3ANL
  43. VK3HY
  44. VK3FCMC
  45. VK3SQ
  46. VK3KMA

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2NEO
  2. VK7VZ

After packing up we drove into the little town of Mantung.  There isn’t a huge amount here nowadays.  It is another town which has suffered at the hands of the closure of the railway line.  But there are a number of interpretive signs pointing out historic sites in the town, courtesy of the Mantung Centenary Committee.  At the old hall there are 2 brochures which detail the historic railway towns of Mantung, Mercunda, Maggea, Galga and Eastern Well, and also the Mantung Centenary Walk.

In 1893 the Hundred of Mantung was surveyed into 14 large sections, however virtually no interest was shown.  In 1910 the Hundred of Mantung was surveyed into 46 smaller sections and these were all taken up and new pioneer families moved onto their land.

We then travelled south west on the Galga Road, and we worked Gerard VK2IO/p from the mobile.  Gerard was in the Dharawal State Conservation Area VKFF-1313 and was a strong 5/8 into the mobile.

We stopped briefly to have a look at the old settlement of Mercunda, originally known as Mattala.  Again, there is not a lot here, as the town collapsed following the closure of the railway.  However there is an interpretive sign at the old Mercunda hall and school.  Mercunda once boasted a railway siding with goods platform, passengers platform, stock loading yards, wheat shed and wheat stacking area, cottages for railway workers, several saw benches set up by wood merchants in the 1920’s and 30’s, a general store, blacksmith, post office, twon hall, school, football and tennis teams and also a golf club (1965-1974).

Our next stop was the town of Galga which was surveyed in October 1915 by Mr. A. Thomas, after the Waikerie railway line from Karoonda to Waikerie was opened in 1914.  The town was gazetted on 10th February 1916 and in its heyday consisted of a post office (opened in September 1915), a telephone exchange, a general store (opened in 1921), the Galga hall used for dances, two churches, and a school.  In 1920 the Galga Football Club was formed and originally played in a paddock until recreational land was surveyed in the town in 1922.

Perhaps Galga’s most famous former resident is singer, Julie Anthony (1951-).  She was born in Galga and was raised on the family farm.

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On the way home we spoke with Ian VK1DI/2 on 40m from the mobile.  Ian was in the Tallaganda State State Conservation Area VKFF-1375 and was a good 5/8 signal.  I also worked Bernie on 20m who was using the special call of VI4GAMES for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

We arrived home in the late afternoon.  We had a terrific time away.  Again, thanks to all of the organisers of the BRL Gathering, and thanks to those who called Marija and I during our park activations.

 

References.

All Music, 2018, <https://www.allmusic.com/artist/julie-anthony-mn0000840426>, viewed 9th April 2018

Natural Resources SA Murray Darling Basin, 2018, <http://www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au/samurraydarlingbasin/news/141125-mantung-cp>, viewed 9th April 2018

State Library South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 9th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantung_Conservation_Park>, viewed 9th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galga,_South_Australia>, viewed 9th April 2018

Bakara Conservation Park 5CP-008 and VKFF-0868

We had two planned parks for our trip home from the Riverland on Sunday 8th April 2018.  Our first park was the Bakara Conservation Park 5CP-008 & VKFF-0868 which is located about 203 km north east of Adelaide.

Although I had been to Bakara back in 2015 and activated the park, this was prior to Bakara being added to the WWFF Directory.  So that previous activation only counted for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  This was to be a unique park for both Marija and I as activators for WWFF.

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

Bakara Conservation Park is 2,030 hectares in size and was first proclaimed on the 15th May 1986.  An additional 1,028 hectares of land was added to the park in August 2009.  Bakara is the name which was applied by the Aborigines to a native camp on a track from Swan Reach to the Loxton district.  It derives from either bakarra, a word relating to a hot North-West wind, or balkara – ‘native dove’

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Bakara Conservation Park and the surrounding countryside.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

The ‘Bakara Run’ was established by W.P. Barker and D. McLean in 1864.  Originally, the land was held by Messrs Lucas and Reid from February 1860.  The Hundred of Bakara, County of Albert, was proclaimed on 15 June 1893.  The Bakara Post Office, 19 km South-East of Swan Reach, was opened in 1911 and closed on 30th June 1979.  The Bakara school, later known as the Netherleigh School was opened in 1909 and closed in 1935.

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Above:- Schoolchildren at the Bakara school, c. 1916.  Image courtesy of State Library SA

A total of 90 species of native birds have been recorded in the park by Birds SA, including Malleefowl, Galah, Mulga Parrot, Purple-backed Fairywren, Black-backed Fairywren, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Weebill, Grey Shrikethush, Eastern Barn Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Red-rumped Parrot, and Chestnut-crowned Babbler.

We travelled out of Renmark to Berri and then south on Bookpurnong Road and on to the town of Loxton.  We then travelled west along the Stott Highway, named after Tom Stott (1899-1076), a long-time farmer and member of South Australian state parliament.  The highway passes through his former electoral districts and near his farm.

We stopped briefly at Maggea, a former town which was proclaimed on 4th November 1915.  In the local aboriginal language Maggea means ‘camp’.  A post office was opened here in 1921 and closed in 1974, whilst a small country school operated between 1919 and 1967.  Today little remains, but there is an interesting interpretive board and a cairn to honour the pioneers of the district.  Sadly Maggea is another example of a town which declined when the railways closed around South Australia.  Marija and I commented on the number of towns which we have driven through, which were once bustling centres at the peak of the railway days, which are now virtually ghost towns.

We continued along the Stott Highway (Swan Reach – Loxton Road) and soon reached the north eastern corner of the park which was signposted.

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We continued a little further along the highway and found a track leading in to the park.

We drove a few hundred metres along the track and set up in a clearing in the scrub.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  Marija transmitted with 10 watts PEP power, whilst I ramped up the power to around 40 watts whilst I was operating.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Bakara Conservation Park showing our operating spot in the northern section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer. 

Before calling CQ Marija and I had a tune across the 40m band and found Gerard VK2IO/p on 7090 calling CQ from the Dharawal National Park VKFF-1167 with a strong 5/9 signal.  We both logged Marija and then headed up the band to 7.120 where I called CQ.  This was answered by Ken VK2KYO, followed by Phil VK3MB and then Geoff VK3SQ.

The band conditions on 40m were very poor with lots of fading on almost all signals.  Sadly there was not the big line up of callers waiting to work us.  It took me around 9 minutes to log my 10th contact which was Dave VK2JDR/p who was activating the Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041.

Marija and I then swapped the mic, with Marija also logging Dave Park to Park.  Cliff VK2NP became Marija’s 10th contact.  It was very slow on 40m so Marija and I decided to head to the 80m band.  Marija logged Adrian VK5FANA on 3.615 who had a 5/9 plus signal.  But during the QSO, the Victorian (VK3) WIA broadcast commenced, so Marija headed up to 3.620.  Marija then logged our good friend Ivan VK5HS and then handed the mic back to me.

I logged a total of 7 stations on 80m from VK3 and VK5, including a number of members of the Riverland Radio Club including Ivan VK5HS, Danny VK5DW, Ron VK5MRE, and Rob VK5TS.

With 17 stations in the log I headed back to 7.120 on 40m and called CQ, hoping to get my 44 contacts to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  Deryck VK4FDJL was first in the log, followed by Steve VK2USH and then Hans VK6XN.  Contact number 44 was with John VK4TJ in Queensland.

I logged a total of 27 stations after returning to 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK7.  This included some further Park to Park conversations: Ian VK1DI/2 in the Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997; and Peter VK3ZPF/p in the Cathedral Range State Park (also SOTA VK3/ VN-011).

To complete the activation I put out a few CQ calls on 14.310 on 20m and logged 6 stations from VK1, VK2, VK4 and VK7.  This included Ian VK1DI/2 at Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997.

It was approaching 11.30 a.m. and time for us to pack up and head off to our second park for the day, the Mantung Conservation Park.  Marija had qualified Bakara for VKFF with 13 contacts, and I had qualified the park for VKFF & WWFF with 50 contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Dharawal National Park VKFF-1167)
  2. VK2JDR/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  3. VK1FCLU
  4. VK4HNS
  5. VK3FCMC
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK2NP
  9. VK1DI/2 (Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997)
  10. VK3ZPF/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-011 & Cathedral Range State Park VKFF-0755)
  11. VK3BBB

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5HS

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Dharawal National Park VKFF-1167)
  2. VK2KYO
  3. VK3MB
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK4HNS
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK3ZZS/7
  9. VK2VW
  10. VK2JDR/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  11. VK4FDJL
  12. VK2USH
  13. VK6XN
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK4AAC/2
  16. VK3ALA
  17. VK7JON
  18. VK2PKT
  19. VK3ARH
  20. VK3HRA
  21. VK3UCD
  22. VK7ME
  23. VK2FOUZ
  24. VK2NP
  25. VK2HV
  26. VK3JP
  27. VK3CA
  28. VK2WOW
  29. VK3ZMD
  30. VK1FTRK/p
  31. VK1DI/2 (Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997)
  32. VK3HN
  33. VK3FIAN
  34. VK2XXM
  35. VK3ZPF/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-011 & Cathedral Range State Park VKFF-0755)
  36. VK3BBB
  37. VK4ZTJZ

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5DW
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK5MRE
  6. VK5TS
  7. VK3ARH

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK1DI/2 (Stony Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1997)
  5. VK7JON
  6. VK4HNS

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/bakara-conservation-park/>, viewed 9th April 2018

State Library South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 9th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stott_Highway>, viewed 9th April 2018

2018 BRL Gathering

On Saturday morning (7th April 2018) Marija and I left the motel at Renmark and made our way out to the historic Overland Corner Hotel for the 2018 BRL Gathering.  Each year in April the Riverland Radio Club hold a get together at Overland Corner, where amateurs travel from far and wide for a weekend of socialising and sharing their ham experiences.  This year, 2018, is the fourth year that such an event has been held, and Marija and I have been to each of these.

Screen Shot 2018-04-09 at 8.23.25 am.png

The BRL Gathering takes place at the Overland Corner Hotel which dates back to 1859.  For more information on this historic hotel, please see my post re the 2017 BRL Gathering at…….

https://vk5pas.org/2017/04/27/2017-brl-gathering-at-overland-corner/

This really is a great day of catching up with fellow hams and their partners.  There were a number of familiar faces, but this year I was really pleased to meet for the first time, Keith VK3FMKE who had travelled all the way from Melbourne.  Other long distance travellers included Dennis VK2HHA, Frank VK3VEF, and Joe VK2EIR who had made his way from Sydney.

Each Saturday morning the BRL Net is run on 7.115.  And on Saturday a special BRL Net was run from Overland Corner.  Ron VK5MRE was Net Control, with callers from all across Australia.

I set up a little display table at the gathering which promoted the WWFF program and the VK5 Parks Award.  I had a number of transceivers, power supplies, and awards on display.

The Riverland guys had recently been involved in a club project building cross yagis to work the amateur radio satellites.  These were brought out during the day and a number of contacts were made.

After lunch it was time for the group photo.

DSC_0753

A number of presentations were then made including the Home Brew competition.  Grant VK5VGC was the recipient for his home brew dipole antenna.

At around 3.00 p.m. Marija and I left Overland Corner and headed back to Renmark.  Along the way we stopped to have a look at the Lake Bonney Hotel ruins.  The hotel dates back to 1859 and was built by William Napper and William Parnell who had emigrated to Adelaide from Guernsey in 1855.  The ruins are the remains of the 11 room hotel and a separate store hut to the south.

We then stopped briefly at Lake Bonney at Barmera, a large freshwater lake which is fed and drained by the Murray River.

We then drove in to Berri and down to Martins Bend Reserve.  This is one of the Riverland’s most popular picnic spots and is located on the banks of the Murray River.

We then made our way back to the hotel where I caught a bit of shuteye.  It was then time to freshen up and head off to the Renmark Hotel where we had arranged to got out for tea with a group.  A nice meal was enjoyed and plenty of laughs were had.  It was the ending to a really enjoyable day.  THANKS to the member of the Riverland Radio Club.

IMG_1107.jpg

Pike River Conservation Park 5CP-180 and VKFF-0831

On Friday 6th April 2018, both Marija and I finished work early and headed home and pack the Toyota Hi Lux and headed off to the Riverland Region of South Australia.  We had planned to stay at Renmark for 2 nights and attend the BRL Gathering on Saturday at the historic Overland Corner Hotel just out of Barmera.   We had a 260 km drive from our home in the Adelaide Hills to Renmark.

Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 7.25.23 pm.png

Above:- Map showing our route to the Riverland.  Map courtesy of plotatoute.com

We drove to Tailem Bend and refuelled and then headed out along the Karoonda Highway.  We stopped briefly at the Goyders Line monument at Wynarka.  What is Goyders Line?  It is a line that runs roughly east-west across South Australia and, in effect, joins places with an average annual rainfall of 10 inches (250 mm).  North of Goyder’s Line, annual rainfall is usually too low to support cropping, with the land being only suitable for grazing.  Related to that, the line also marks a distinct change in vegetation. To the south, it is composed mainly of mallee scrub, whilst saltbush predominates to the north of the line.

Goyders Line earns its name from George Woodroffe “Bud” Goyder (1826 – 1898) who was the Sruveyor General of the colony of South Australia.  The colony was only 30 years old, and farmers needed reliable information about the climate and growing conditions.   In 1865, Goyder was asked to map the boundary between those areas that received good rainfall and those experiencing drought.   After traversing an estimated 3200 km on horseback (not including the Eyre Peninsula) in November 1865, he submitted his report and map to the state government on 6 December.

George_Woodroffe_Goyder

Above:- George Woodrooffe ‘Bud’ Goyder.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

We continued on to the town of Karoonda which was a buzz with activity.  Each year the Karoonda Farm Fair is held in the town.  It is an annual 2 day event showcasing local, state and interstate farming and general interest products, services and events.

Just after leaving Karoonda I booked in to the Kandos Group on 7.093.  Tom VK4ATH was Net Control and had a good 5/7 into the mobile.

We got into Renmark around 5.45 p.m. and booked in to our motel, the Citrus Valley Motel, where we regularly stay.  After checking in we headed to the Renmark Club and enjoyed a very nice meal on the decking overlooking the mighty Murray River.  It was a beautiful balmy evening.

Following our meal we headed east out of Renmark, over the Murray and through the little town of Paringa, for a quick activation at the Pike River Conservation Park 5CP-180 & VKFF-0831.  The park is located about 215 kilometres north-east of the state capital of Adelaide and about 2 kilometres south of the town of Paringa.

Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 7.16.14 pm.png

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

Both Marija and I have activated and qualified the park previously for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  Please click on the links below for details on my previous activations…..

https://vk5pas.org/2016/04/20/pike-river-conservation-park-5cp-180-and-vkff-0831/

https://vk5pas.org/2015/05/13/pike-river-conservation-park-vkff-831/

Pike River Conservation Park is 2.99 km2 in size and was gazetted on the 1st February 1979.  It is named after Pike River, a stream which flows through its eastern end.  On 10th December 2009, crown land in section 84 of the Hundred of Paringa which was formerly the Mundic Forest Reserve was added to the park

The park is a permanent wetland area and adjacent land on the River Murray flood plain.  It is a valuable feeding and breeding habitat for various water birds.

Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 7.55.39 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot showing the location of the Pike River Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Google maps

We entered the park via an open gate at the south eastern corner of the park.  It was totally dark by the time we got to the park, but it was a beautiful evening, with the temperature being 19 deg C.  We followed a 4WD track down towards the river and set up alongside of the track.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, on the top of the 7m telescopic squid pole.

Screen Shot 2018-04-08 at 7.16.48 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The 40m band was quite busy with lots of North American stations and also South East Asian stations, but I eventually found 7.155 and called CQ.  George VK4GSF was first in the log, with a lovely 5/9 signal.  Colin VK4PDX followed, he was also 5/9, then Ian VK1DI and then Kev VK2KEV/m.  However it was really slow going on 40m so I decided to head to the 80m band.

Again, the 80m band was busy, and I called CQ on 3.615 after Marija had spotted me on parksnpeaks.  Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta was first in the log on 80m, followed by Ian VK1DI and then David VK5PL.  Band conditions on 80m were excellent, and I logged a total of 14 stations on 80m from VK1, VK2, VK4, VK4, and VK5.  There were some very big signals.  Bob VK2WOW was 30/9 and gave me a 20/9 signal report.  Frank VK7BC was 20/9 and gave me 15/9.

I then moved back to 40m and booked in briefly to the 7130 DX Net where I logged my good mate Andy VK4TH and also Gary ZL3SV.  Sadly I was unable to hear the Victorian stations on the net, and the frequency was also being bombarded with interference from West Malaysian stations and also the Over the Horizon radar.

To finish off the activation I worked Bill VK4FW and Ivan VK5HS on 7.155.

DSC_0729

Marija and I packed up and headed back into Renmark and back to the motel, where I watched some of the Commonwealth Games and the footy, before heading off to bed.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB at Pike River:-

  1. VK4GSF
  2. VK4PDX
  3. VK1DI
  4. VK2KEV/m
  5. VK4TH
  6. ZL3SV
  7. VK4FW
  8. VK5HS

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV
  2. VK1DI
  3. VK5PL
  4. VK3UCD
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK2NEO
  7. VK4TJ
  8. VK5YX
  9. VK3MET
  10. VK4PDX
  11. VK2WOW
  12. VK7BC
  13. VK5MBD/p
  14. VK3ZPF

 

References.

Karoona Farm Fair, 2018, <http://www.farmfair.com.au/>, viewed 8th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Goyder>, viewed 8th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goyder%27s_Line>, viewed 8th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pike_River_Conservation_Park>, viewed 8th April 2018