Gum Lagoon Conservation Park 5CP-083 and VKFF-0886

Yesterday (Wednesday 25th April 2018) was ANZAC Day.  Some would say the most important date on the Australian calendar.  ANZAC Day is a National day of remembrance in both Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations”.

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And each year on ANZAC Day, Australian amateurs can replace the normal VK prefix with the special prefix of AX.  It is normally raining at this time of the year here, but yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, and Marija and I decided to pack the 4WD and head to the Upper South East of South Australia to conduct two park activations: The Gum Lagoon Conservation Park, and the Bunbury Conservation Reserve.  These would both be unique parks for Marija and I in the World Wide Flora Fauna program and the VK5 Parks Award.

We had some travelling ahead of us.  We needed to travel to the town of Keith, about 200km to the south east of our home, and then our to the parks.  By the end of the day we had travelled around 450 km.

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Above:- Map showing our route for the day.  Map courtesy of plotaroute.

Our first planned park activation for the day was the Gum Lagoon Conservation Park 5CP-083 & VKFF-0886, which is located about 269 km south east of Adelaide, and around 45 km south west of the town of Keith.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Gum Lagoon Conservation Park in the Upper South East of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

We travelled out of Mount Barker along the South Eastern Freeway and along the way we logged Ivan AX5HS and Andy AX5LA who were activating the Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697 in the Riverland region of South Australia.  They were strength 9 into the mobile.  This was a good sign of things to come with band conditions.  Ivan and Andy informed us that Peter VK5PE was with them and was operating on 40m, so we headed there and also logged Peter who was 5/9 + into the mobile.  Here is a link to the Riverland Radio Club’s website with info on their activation…..

https://rrc.org.au/2018/04/25/anzac-day-activation-25-04-2018/

Both Marija and I then logged Rob VK4AAC/2 who was activating the Murramarang National Park VKFF-0371.  Rob had a good 5/8 signal into the mobile.

We then continued onto the Dukes Highway, passing through the towns of Coomandook, Yumali, Ki Ki, Coonalpyn, Culburra, and Tintinara, until we reached the town of Keith.   Along the way we logged Stef AX5HSX/3 who was activating the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954.  We also chatted with Mike VK3KMH, Ross AX7ALH and Mark VK3MDH/p.  Just outside of Tintinara we logged Danny AX5DW in the Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697.

We then took the Mount Charles Road and then turned left onto Cantara Road.  It is amazing some of the things we have seen in our travels.  And this trip didn’t disappoint.  Not sure what the significance is, but we found the fellow below hanging from a tree.

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A little further on we spotted the two Wedge Tailed Eagles below, soaring in the breeze above some paddocks.  Unfortunately they were a little too far away and too high for any good photos.  Wedge Tailed Eagles are the largest bird of prey in Australia.  They have a wingspan of up to 2.84 metres.  The females are larger than the males and can weigh up to 5.8 kg.  The wedge tail of the bird is clearly visible when they are in flight.

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As we travelled along Cantara Road we logged Mick AX3GGG/p who was in the Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118.  We soon reached the north eastern corner of the park at the intersection of Cantara Road, Wicks Road and Eatts Road.  This section of the park is known as Blacket Scrub, and is well signposted.

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We drove a little further up Cantara Road, looking for a clearing in the scrub.  Cantara Road is dirt but is in good condition and was quite busy.  It links the Dukes Highway with the Princes Highway and the Coorong.

The Gum Lagoon Conservation Park is a large park, comprising around 2,700 hectares.  It was originally proclaimed as Gum Lagoon National Park in August 1970 and constituted as Gum Lagoon Conservation Park on proclamation of the National Parks and Wildlife Act in 1972.  Historically, the area that is now Gum Lagoon Conservation Park had been held under miscellaneous and pastoral leases for “grazing and cultivation”.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Gum Lagoon Conservation Park, with the Coorong National Park to the left of the picture, and my home QTH and Adelaide in the distance.  Image courtesy of google maps

The park contains grasslands, herblands, heathlands, woodlands and scrub.  About 375 native plants have been recorded within the park, including four which are nationally threatened or rare.

The Duck Island Watercourse flows through the park.  It is an important flushing mechanism for the Tea-tree heathlands and wetland basins along its route.  The watercourse sustains a corridor of wetland habitat joining wetlands on Duck Island with Naen Naen Swamp in the park.

The conservation park has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area, principally because it supports an apparently sustainable population of the vulnerable Malleefowl.  The Malleefowl is a stocky ground-dwelling bird, about the size of a domestic chicken. They are notable for the large nesting mounds constructed by the males.

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Above: Mallefowl.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 133 bird species in the park including  Malleefowl, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Brown Hornbill, White-browed Woodswallow, Grey Shrikethrush, Grey Fantail, Swamp Harrier, White-necked Heron, Spotted Nightjar, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Slender-billed Thornbill, and Red-browed Finch

A number of native animals call the park home including some mammals of conservation significance including the rare Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Red-necked Wallaby, and Common Wombat, and the regionally rare Little Pygmy Possum.

We found a clearing in the scrub off Cantara Road and set up, rolling out the awning on the 4WD as the sun had quite some bite to it.  We used the Yaesu FT-897 and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- Map of the Gum Lagoon Conservation Park showing our operating spot in the north eastern corner of the park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After setting up Marija and I had a tune across the 40m band and found Stef AX5HSX/3 on 7.139, activating the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954.  It was a great way to kick off the activation, with a Park to Park contact.  We then found Mick AX3GGG/p on 7.144 in the Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118 in western Victoria.

Following logging Mick we moved down to 7.150 where I commenced calling CQ.  This was answered by Brett VK3FLCS and then Ivan AX5HS/p and Andy AX5LA/p who were in the Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697 in the Riverland region of South Australia.  And they were roaring in at signal strength 5/9 plus.

The 40m band was in very good condition.  The best I have heard it in a long time.  There was no fading (QSB) on signals as there has been in recent weeks, with signals from all across Australia coming in exceptionally well.  And it was pleasing to have the good old mini VKFF pile ups occurring.  The band was in such good shape, that within 30 minutes I had 44 contacts in the log, having qualified the park for the VKFF program.  Erick AX7EK was my 44th contact.

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I logged a total of 66 contacts on 40m before swapping the mic with Marija.  As Marija holds a Foundation licence, her power output is limited to 10 watts PEP.  Marija’s first contact after calling CQ was with Peter VK3PF, followed by Linda VK7QP (Marija’s 10th contact), and then Charlie VK5VC.  Marija had qualified the park for VKFF and continued on, logging a total of 57 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included some more Park to Park contacts & a SOTA contact:

  • Gerard VK2IO/p – SOTA VK2/ SY-001
  • Craig VK3NCR/2 – Koscisusko National Park VKFF-0269
  • Liz AX2XSE/p – Jimberoo National Park VKFF-1172
  • Peter VK2KNV/p – Jimberoo National Park VKFF-1172
  • David VK2CDS/p – Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595
  • Ivan AX5HS/p – Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698
  • Ivan VK5HS/p – Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698
  • Andy AX5LA/p – Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698
  • Andy VK5LA/p – Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698
  • Peter VK5PE/p  – Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698
  • Danny AX5DW/p – Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698
  • Danny VK5DW/p – Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698

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I then called CQ again on 7.150 and logged a further 11 stations including two further Park to Park contacts:

  • Neil AX4HNS/p  – Mount Barney National Park VKFF-0338
  • Ian VK1DI/2 – Yanunbeyan State Conservation Area VKFF-1400

It was very hard getting off 40m as there were so many callers.  And we were running a little short of time.  So I had to cut it short with a few of the final callers, as I really wanted to quickly try 80m and 20m and then head off to the next park.  So with 88 contacts in the log we moved to 3.610 on 80m.  First in the log was John VK5BJE, who was patiently waiting for us.  John had a brilliant 5/9 plus signal from the Adelaide Hills.  Next up was Peter VK5ZPG at Quorn in the north of South Australia, and then Greg AX5GJ who was running QRP with just 5 watts, with a good 5/8- signal.  I logged a further 3 stations on 80m, David VK3UCD, Keith AX3FMKE and finally Eric VK5KBB.

To complete the activation I put out a few quick calls on 14.310 on 20m.  I logged George VK4GSF and then Greg AX5GJ.  However a further dozen CQ calls yielded no takers, so we packed up and hit the road.  Sadly I didn’t have time to try the 15m band.

DSC_1023

This was a great activation, with excellent band conditions on 40m.  Between us we had 159 contacts in the log, including 44 Park to Park contacts.

As we were about to drive out of the park we logged from the mobile, Peter AX3ZPF/p who was in the Adams Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2034.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. AX5HSX/3 (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  2. VK5HSX/3 (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  3. AX3GGG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  4. AX3PMG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  5. VK3GGG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  6. VK3PMG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  7. AX5HS/p (Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697)
  8. AX5LA/p (Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697)
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK7QP
  11. VK5VC
  12. VK2KYO
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK5BMC
  15. VK5KLV
  16. VK3SQ
  17. VK2HHA
  18. AX2HHA
  19. VK2UH
  20. VK5KX
  21. VK3HQZ
  22. VK3VT
  23. VK3GG
  24. VK3AB
  25. VK3MUD
  26. VK5LA/m
  27. AX5LA/m
  28. VK3UCD
  29. VK5HS/m
  30. AX5HS/m
  31. VK3MIJ
  32. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ SY-001)
  33. VK3UH
  34. VK3NBL
  35. VK3CWF
  36. VK3MDH/p
  37. VK3MRG/p
  38. AX3MRG/p
  39. VK3NCR/2 (Koscisusko National Park VKFF-0269)
  40. AX3FMKE
  41. VK3FCMC
  42. AX2XSE/p (Jimberoo National Park VKFF-1172)
  43. VK2KNV/p (Jimberoo National Park VKFF-1172)
  44. AX3PF
  45. VK2NP
  46. VK2CDS/p (Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595)
  47. VK4GSF
  48. AX3FSTU
  49. AX7ALH
  50. VK3SS
  51. AX5HS/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  52. VK5HS/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  53. AX5LA/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  54. VK5LA/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  55. VK5PE/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  56. AX5DW/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  57. VK5DW/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  58. AX4HNS/p (Mount Barney National Park VKFF-0338)
  59. VK1DI/2 (Yanunbeyan State Conservation Area VKFF-1400)

Marija logged the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5ZPG
  3. AX5GJ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. AX5HSX/3 (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  2. VK5HSX/3 (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  3. AX3GGG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  4. AX3PMG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  5. VK3GGG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  6. VK3PMG/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  7. VK3FLCS
  8. AX5HS/p (Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697)
  9. AX5LA/p (Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697)
  10. VK5HS/p (Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697)
  11. VK5LA/p (Chowilla Game Reserve VKFF-1697)
  12. VK2EMI
  13. VK3MVS
  14. VK7JON
  15. VK5FANA
  16. VK5KLV
  17. VK3FSPG
  18. VK3MPR
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK2HHA
  21. AX2HHA
  22. VK3BBB
  23. VK2CCP/3
  24. VK2NP
  25. VK5BJE
  26. AX3AHR
  27. VK5TN
  28. AX2PKT
  29. VK2PKT
  30. VK3TKK/m
  31. AX3TKK/m
  32. VK3VIN
  33. VK5KX
  34. VK7QP
  35. VK3ARH
  36. VK4TJ
  37. VK3UH
  38. VK4NH
  39. AX4NH
  40. VK4DXA
  41. AX4DXA
  42. ZL4TY/VK4
  43. VK5MR
  44. AX7EK
  45. AX5GJ
  46. VK5FMWW
  47. VK3AB
  48. VK3MUD
  49. VK3MDH/p
  50. VK3MRG/p
  51. AX3MRG/p
  52. VK2KYO
  53. VK3ANL
  54. AX3ANL
  55. VK3NCR/2 (Koscisusko National Park VKFF-0269)
  56. VK5ATN
  57. VK2VW
  58. AX5TRM
  59. VK5TRM
  60. AX3FLJD
  61. VK6PCT/3
  62. VK3HQZ
  63. VK3VT
  64. VK3GG
  65. VK5VC
  66. VK5BMC
  67. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ SY-001)
  68. AX2XSE/p (Jimberoo National Park VKFF-1172)
  69. VK2KNV/p (Jimberoo National Park VKFF-1172)
  70. VK2CDS/p (Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595)
  71. AX5DW/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  72. VK5DW/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  73. VK5PE/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  74. AX5HS/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  75. VK5HS/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  76. AX5LA/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  77. VK5LA/p (Chowilla Regional Reserve, VKFF-1698)
  78. AX3ASU
  79. VK5ZPG
  80. VK3FKL
  81. VK2USH
  82. VK5PL
  83. VK4FDJL
  84. AX4HNS/p (Mount Barney National Park VKFF-0338)
  85. AX5KBB
  86. VK3KOP/p
  87. VK5DC
  88. VK1DI/2 (Yanunbeyan State Conservation Area VKFF-1400)

I logged the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5ZPG
  3. AX5GJ
  4. VK3UCD
  5. AX3FMKE
  6. VK5KBB
  7. AX5KBB

I logged the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4GSF
  2. AX5GJ

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/gum-lagoon-conservation-park/>, viewed 26th April 2018

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2005, Gum Lagoon Conservation Park Management Plan

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day>, viewed 26th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge-tailed_eagle>, viewed 26th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malleefowl>, viewed 26th April 2018

4 thoughts on “Gum Lagoon Conservation Park 5CP-083 and VKFF-0886

  1. Hi Paul
    Thanks for the chance to log a new park on two bands as well as a qso with Marija. I enjoyed reading about the park. It looks like the Government has added bits to the park if the map is any guide? You certainly drove a long way and thanks for that and the writeup: excellent photos as well.

    John D
    VK5BJE/VK5PF

  2. Hi John,

    Yes I think sections have been progressively added over time. I really like that Upper South East part of South Australia, but I don’t think I’d convince Marija on retiring there.

    Thanks for the contacts on both 40 & 80m. Great signal on both bands. The 40m band was in the best shape yesterday as I have heard in quite some time.

    73,

    Paul VK5PAS.

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