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.


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



Birds SA, 2018, <>, viewed 9th April 2018

State Library South Australia, 2018, <>, viewed 9th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <>, viewed 9th April 2018

2 thoughts on “Bakara Conservation Park 5CP-008 and VKFF-0868

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