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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

5th year anniversary certificate

Tonight I started emailing out the participation certificates to all activators who took part in the 5th year anniversary activation weekend for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.

The certificate features Peter VK5PE, Andy VK5LA & Danny VK5DW during one of their activations in the Riverland.  The photograph was taken by the 4th operator, Ivan VK5HS.  Thanks Ivan for allowing me to use the photo.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the weekend (there were a total of 17 amateurs who took part as activators, including Tony VK3XV/5).

VK5PAS 5th year participation.png

Bandon Conservation Park 5CP-263 and VKFF-0999

My third and final planned park activation for the day was the Bandon Conservation Park 5CP-263 & VKFF-099  which is located about 16 km east of the town of Copeville and about 130 km east of the city of Adelaide. 

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

The park is about 700 hectares in size and was proclaimed on the 22nd August 2013.  It is named after the The Hundred of Bandon in which it is located.  The Hundred of Bandon was named after the birthplace in Ireland of Sir George Strickland Kingston (1807-1880), engineer and politician who emigrated to Australia in the 1830’s.

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Above:- Sir George Strickland Kingston.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

The park comprises of typical mallee country and is surrounded by cleared land for farming.

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

I found the mallee vegetation in Bandon to be a little lower in height compared to Ettrick and Lowan.  The soil here was very sandy, which made it a lot easier for me to drive the squid pole holder into the ground.

The park is a little piece of remnant mallee in the area which otherwise has been cleared for farming.  The photo below shows the park boundary, with the scrub to the right, and the stark contrast of the cleared cropping land to the left.

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It was still pretty warm so most of the birds in the park were no doubt seeking the shade.  But I did spot these Crested Pigeons.

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To get to the park from Lowan I travelled east on Gribble Bore Road onto Rosenzweig Road and then turned left onto Perponda Road.  I stopped briefly in Perponda.  Don’t blink as you will miss Perponda, which consists of just a house or two and an old hall.  Perponda was proclaimed on 1st May 1919, and is a corruption of the Aboriginal word  ‘peraparna’ meaning  ‘rain water’.  There is a small memorial plaque here for the Perponda School which opened in 1924 and closed in 1942.

My next brief stop was a little further up the road at Kalyan, which was proclaimed on the 10th August 1933.  Kalyan is anAboriginal word meaning ‘you stop here’.  The Kalyan School opened in 1922 and closed in 1952.  There is a small memorial plaque here for the old school.

As it was a warm day there were quite a few Sleepy Lizards out on the road enjoying the sunshine.  Fortunately I did not see any snakes.

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Signage out here I found to be very poor.  Many of the signs had faded and the place names and road names were very hard to see.

I turned right onto Walshs Bore Road from the Perponda Road and then continued east on Kadie Bore Road.

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Above: an example of the faded signs

I soon reached the north western corner of the park.  The park is not signposted.  Well I certainly could not find a park name signpost.  There was a sandy 4WD track following the western boundary of the park but I continued along Kadie Bore Road and followed a sandy track on the eastern side of the park for a few hundred metres off the road.  I set up underneath the shade of a tree.  

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

I headed to 7.144 on the 40m band and called CQ.  Geoff VK3SQ in Beechworth answered my call, followed by Peter VK3PF, Dennis VK2HHA, and then Jim VK1AT.  The 40m band had really opened up nicely, with no fading detected and most signals being nice and strong.  Within 6 minutes I had qualifed the park for VKFF, with 10 contacts in the log.  Contact number ten being a QSO with Cliff VK2NP.

The band was quite busy, and was just opening up to Europe, so I experienced quite a bit of interference.  I was hoping to hear Yves ON8ON in Belgium who was activating a park, but sadly this was not to be.

I logged 40 stations on 40m before heading off to 20m hoping to get some European long path action.  I ended up logging a total of 11 stations on 20m including two DX contacts: Gianluca IK4LZH in Italy, and Max IK1GPG in Italy.

To finish off the activation I put out a few CQ calls on 3.160 on the 80m band.  I logged 5 stations there, from VK3 and VK5.  Again, despite band conditions on 80m being quite good, there were not a lot of callers there.

It was now just after 4.00 p.m. local time and I decided to pack up and head home.  I had a total of 56 contacts in the log at Bandon, and a unique park for me under my belt as an activator for WWFF/VKFF and the VK5 Parks Award.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2HHA
  4. VK1AT
  5. VK2EXA
  6. VK3AHR
  7. VK3FRAB
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK3ZPF
  10. VK2NP
  11. VK3ZMD
  12. VK3RW
  13. VK2PKT
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK3BBB
  16. VK4NH
  17. VK4DXA
  18. ZL4TY/VK4
  19. VK3YB
  20. VK3KMH
  21. VK2LEE
  22. VK3UP
  23. VK5KLV
  24. VK4FDJL
  25. VK3KTO
  26. VK4HNS
  27. VK3KKP/2
  28. VK2FF
  29. VK1DI
  30. VK2KYO
  31. VK2YW
  32. VK4AAC/2
  33. VK3VVC
  34. VK7JON
  35. VK7FOLK
  36. VK3FMKE
  37. VK2NEO
  38. VK3FLES
  39. VK4SMA
  40. VK3KMA

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA
  2. VK4TJ
  3. VK4/AC8WN
  4. VK4/VE6XT
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK6GLX
  9. IK4LZH
  10. VK3SX
  11. IK1GPG

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK3ZPF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5BJE

Following the activation I decided to take a different route home, along the Karoonda Highway.  I stopped briefly in Karoonda, which is an aboriginal word meaning ‘winter camp.  The town is located in the centre of the Murray Mallee region of South Australia.  The town has a population of around 600 people and was founded on wheat growing in the early 1900’s but is also well known for Merino sheep production.

There is a memorial in town for Constable Harold Pannell who was shot and killed on duty back in March 1957.  Pannell had attended a property to serve a warrant on John Fischer for the seizure of property after Fischer had failed to pay damages awarded against him in a court case.

I also had a brief look at Karoonda Pioneer park which has a very interesting collection of old buidlings, railcars, and other memorabillia.

After leaving Karoonda I worked Brett VK3FLCS/p on 40m.  Brett was activating the Tooborac Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2212, and had a good signal into the mobile.

I continued on my journey back home, arriving home just after tea.  Along the way I enjoyed a magnificent sunset.  I had a terrific day, with three parks activated and a total of 178 QSOs.  THANKS to everyone who called, and a big THANKS to those who took the time to spot me on parksnpeaks, Facebook, etc, as I had virtually no internet coverage all day.

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References.

Cockburn; R, 2002, ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?”

Monument Australia, 2018, <https://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/crime/display/50966-senior-constable-harold-rae-pannell> viewed 3rd April 2018

State Library South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 3rd April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bandon_Conservation_Park>, viewed 3rd April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karoonda,_South_Australia>, viewed 3rd April 2018

Lowan Conservation Park 5CP-121 and VKFF-1052

My second park of the day was the Lowan Conservation Park 5CP-121 & VKFF-1052 which is located about 20 km north west of the town of Karoonda and about 151 km from Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Lowan Conservation Park in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Lowan’s total area is about 675 hectares and consists of Hundred of Bowhill – Sections 71 and 73.  The park was purchased on the recommendation of the Land Board and National Parks Council recommendation.  The then private owners of the land were anxious to see scrub remain on the block.  Section 71 was proclaimed on 9th September 1971 as Lowan National Park.  It became Lowan Conservation Park on 27th April 1972.  Section 73 was added on 2nd August 1973.

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ABove:- Aerial shot of the Lowan Conservation Park (in the foreground) and the surrounding countryside.  Image courtesy of google maps.

Vegetation habitats within the park include

  • Tall open scrubland with Mallee Honey-myrtle (Melaleuca acuminata), Dryland Tea-tree (M. lanceolata), Red Mallee (Eucalyptus socialis) and Narrow-leaved Mallee (E. leptophylla)
  • Very open mallee with Ridge-fruited Mallee (Eucalyptus incrassata) and Dune Tea-tree (Leptospermum coriaceum)

There have been a total of 88 species of native bird recorded in the park by Birds SA.  This includes Common Bronzewing, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Weebill, White-winged Chough, Striped Honeyeater, Yellow Thornbill, Chestnut Quailthrush, Gilbert’s Whistler, Magpielark, andSouthern Scrub Robin.

Also located in the park is the Malleefowl, also known as Lowan.  It is from this bird that the park takes its name.

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It only took me a short time to get to Lowan from Ettrick.  I travelled along Glenbur Road and turned right onto Piggy Flat Road and then left onto the Bowhill Road.  I then turned right onto Gribble Bore Road.   There is an old windmill and stone water tank on the corner, so it’s not hard to miss this corner.  There is also a plaque here to commemorate the sealing of the Bowhill Road.

I soon reached the north western corner of the park.   A little further along Gribble Bore Road there is an unlocked gate and a 4WD track which takes you into the park.

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Above:- the gate and track leading into the park.

I drove a few hundred metres down the track and found a clearing in the scrub.  The day had really warmed up and it was now approaching 30 deg C, so I chose the shade of some trees for my operating spot.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, at 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Lowan Conservation Park, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

First in the log again was Peter VK3PF with a strong 5/9 signal, followed by Dave VK2RP/m with a great signal coming out of his mobile station.  I had ten contacts in the log within 9 minutes, that being a QSO with regular park hunter Keith VK2PKT who was roaring in with a 5/9 plus from Parkes in New South Wales.

The 40m band was still a little unstable, with considerable amounts of fading (QSB) on most signals.  But there were still plenty of park hunters lining up to get Lowan in their logs.

Park to Park activity had been scarce during the day, despite it being a public holiday.  This was in contrast with Easter Sunday, when there had been a huge amount of park activity.  Sadly I was working that day.  But 17 contacts into the activation, and I had a few Park to Park contacts.  These being with John VK3CU/p and Victoria VK3LO/p who were in the Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118 in western Victoria.  I’m glad I worked them when I did, with 5/9 plus signals, as 10 minutes later when I had a listen their signals had dropped right down.

About two dozen QSOs later I was called by Peter VK2KNV/p who was in the Lachlan Valley Regional Park VKFF-1784.

I logged a total of 52 stations on 40m before things slowed down a little, which was fortuative, as I had been told Sue VK5AYL was up on 7.155 in a park.  So I headed there and logged Sue who was activating the Clements Gap Conservation Park VKFF-0812.  Sue was roaring in with a 5/9 plus signal.  This was Sue’s first ‘solo’ park activation.  And while on the topic of Sue, can I remind everyone of Sue’s excellent parksnpeaks app.  The ParksnPeaks app allows (Australian & NZ) amateur radio operators to alert, spot and chase portable radio activity.

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I then moved back to 7.144 and called CQ again.  This was answered by Les VK3FLES, followed by Mark VK3FBOM.  This was Mark’s first every contact on HF.  I explained to Mark all about the park’s programs, and he seemed very keen.  Hopefully we will hear Mark out and about one day soon.

I logged a further 4 stations on 40m from VK3 and VK5, before lowering the squid pole and removing the links in the linked dipole.  I headed to 14.310 on the 20 band and found Rob VK4SYD/p in the Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555.  Rob had a strong 5/9 signal from Queensland.

I then moved up to 14.315 and was called by Peter VK3PF who kindly spotted me on parksnpeaks, as I had no internet coverage from the park.  I logged a further 4 calls on 20m, before heading off to 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged just the one station, Wolf VK5WF in Adelaide who was 5/9.

It was now a little after 1.30 p.m., so I packed up and headed off to my third and final park of the day, the Bandon Conservation Park.  I had a total of 66 contacts in the log at Lowan.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2RP/m
  3. VK2BDR/m
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK3AHR
  6. VK3BBB
  7. VK2LEE
  8. VK4HNS
  9. VK3FRAB
  10. VK2PKT
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK3FLES/m
  13. VK2NP
  14. VK2FADV/4
  15. VK3FMKE
  16. VK2IO
  17. VK3CU/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  18. VK3LT/p (Jilpanger Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2118)
  19. VK4NH
  20. VK4DXA
  21. ZL4TY/VK4
  22. VK1AT
  23. VK3UCD
  24. VK4TJ
  25. VK4/AC8WN
  26. VK4/VE6XT
  27. VK3LBT
  28. VK3BCM
  29. VK3FIAN
  30. VK3ARH
  31. VK3ZGC
  32. VK4AAC/2
  33. VK5KLV
  34. VK2NEO
  35. VK3TKK/m
  36. VK3YSA
  37. VK3HOT
  38. VK7JPN
  39. VK3WAR
  40. VK4FDJL
  41. VK2KNV/p (Lachlan Valley Regional Park VKFF-1784)
  42. VK2EXA
  43. VK7AN
  44. VK3YB
  45. VK5FMAZ
  46. VK2KYO
  47. VK3TP
  48. VK7RN
  49. VK5BJE
  50. VK5HS
  51. VK3CWF
  52. VK2SR
  53. VK5AYL/p (Clements Gap Conservation Park VKFF-0812)
  54. VK3FLES
  55. VK3FBOM
  56. VK5WF
  57. VK5PL
  58. VK5KLD
  59. VK3VIN

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4SYD/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5WF

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/lowan-conservation-park/>, viewed 3rd April 2018

Foulkes, J.N. & Gillen, J.S. 2000, ‘A Biological Survey of the Murray Mallee South Australia’.

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowan_Conservation_Park>, viewed 3rd April 2018

Ettrick Conservation Park 5CP-267 and VKFF-1029

Yesterday, Easter Monday (2nd April 2018), Marija went out for lunch with a girlfriend, so I headed out into the field to activate three Mallee parks.  Two of these, Ettrick & Lowan, I had activated before for both WWFF and the VK5 Parks Award.  But Bandon Conservation Park was to be a first for me.  I had a bit of a drive ahead.  In fact during the day I covered a distance of around 286 km.

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

My first park for the day was the Ettrick Conservation Park 5CP-267 & VKFF-1029 which is located about 35 km north east of the town of Murray Bridge and about 112 km east of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ettrick Conservation Park.  Map courtest of Location SA Map Viewer.

The park is 479 hectares in size and was gazetted on the 31st October 2013.  It is named after the Hundred of Ettrick, which was proclaimed on 4th May 1893.  It was named by Governor Kintore who hailed from Scotland where there is a ‘Parish of Ettrick’ in Selkirk, derived from the Gaelic eadar-dha-eas – ‘between two waterfalls’.  There are certainly no waterfalls out here at Ettrick.  It is typical harsh mallee country.  There is also a place called Ettrick in the Mid North of South Australia, near Riverton.

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Ninth Earl of Kintore, Governor Kintore.  Image courtesy of adb.anu.edu.au

The park is a piece of remnant mallee which is surrounded by cleared farming land.  The park is located in relatively close proximity to the mighty Murray River (which can be seen in the image below, to the right of the picture).

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Ettrick Conservation Park in the foreground.  Image courtesy of google maps.

The park consists mostly of Low Very Open Woodland with Mallee Box with Dryland Tea-treeIt is also home to one of the few remaining examples of tussock grassland in this particular part of the Murray-Darling Basin.

More than 65 species of bird have been recorded in the park by Birds SA.  This includes Mallee Ringneck, Galah, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, White-browed Babbler, White-winged Chough, Peaceful Dove, Purple-backed Fairywren, Splendid Fairywren, Grey Butcherbird, Black-faced Cuckooshrike, and Gilbert’s Whistler.

During my visit to the park I took the photos below of a Whistling Kite and also a Brown Falcon.  The Falcon, he/she was kind enough to sit up in the tree long enough for me to take a few shots.

After leaving Murray Bridge I took the Burdett Road and then turned right onto the Bowhill Road.  About 4 km up the road I turned left onto Boundary Road.   The western boundary of the park soon came into view.  There is a lot of other scrub surrounding and adjacent to the park.  I wonder whether one day this will be incorporated into Ettrick.

I headed to Glenburr Road and found an entry into the park.  I drove a short distance along the track and found a clearing in the scrub and set up.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Ettrick Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After setting up I put our a call on 7.144 to see if the frequency was in use.  A few voices came back to me to advise the frequency was clear.  One of the those was Peter VK3PF with a strong 5/9 signal.  I then logged Ron VK3AHR, followed by Geoff VK3SQ and then Neil VK4HNS.  Contact number 10, qualifying the park for me for the VKFF program, was a a QSO with Hans VK6XN in Western Australia.  This came ten minutes into the activation.

I was then called by VK3VG who asked if I wouldn’t mind moving frequency as the Old Timers broadcast was about to commence on 7.146.  So I moved down to 7.140 where I logged Jern VK2KJJ, Graeme VK3PGK, John VK4TJ, and then Keith VK2PKT.

Band conditions on 40m were average, with quite a bit of fading (QSB) on most signals.  However it was pleasing to have a steady flow of callers from all across Australia.  My 44th contact, qualifying the park for the global WWFF program, came with a QSO with Jarrad VK3BL, about 50 minutes into the activation.

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I logged a total of 47 stations on 40m, before lowering the squid pole and removing the links and then heading to 14.310 on the 20m band.  Unfortunately I had no internet coverage so I was unable to self spot on parksnpeaks.  I called CQ and this was answered by Russell VK4ARW, followed by Stuie VK8NSB in Darwin who had a strong 5/9 signal, and then Mark VK4SMA.  John VK4TJ followed, and then Snow VK4ME.  But despite 5 minutes more of CQ calls, I had no further takers.

John VK4TJ told me that Liz VK2XSE was in a park and was on 7.170.  So it was down with the squid pole and back in with the links, and off to 40m.  I logged Liz VK2XSE/p who was in the Lachlan Valley Regional Park VKFF-1784.  Liz had a strong 5/8 signal and reciprocated with a 5/8 for me.

I then lowered the squid pole again and inserted the links for the 80m band.  I had just enough coverage on the mobile to give Marija a quick call, and she became contact number 1 on 80m.  David VK5HYZ then called in, followed by John VK5BJE.  Despite band conditions being very good on 80m around South Australia, I had no further callers.

To complete the activation I put up the 1/2 wave 15m dipole and put out a few calls on 21.244, but had no takers.

It was time to pack up and head off to my second park, the Lowan Conservation Park.  I had a total of 56 contacts in the log.

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

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3AHR
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK4HNS
  5. VK2NEO
  6. VK3UCD
  7. VK4FDJL
  8. VK3NBL
  9. VK1TX
  10. VK6XN
  11. VK3VG
  12. VK2KJJ
  13. VK3PGK
  14. VK4TJ
  15. VK2PKT
  16. VK4AAC/2
  17. VK2IO
  18. VK2HHA
  19. VK7AN
  20. VK5FMAZ

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

  1. VK2FAD
  2. VK3FSPG
  3. VK3MPR
  4. VK2NP
  5. VK5BJE
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK5IS
  8. VK3ARH
  9. VK4HNS
  10. VK1HW
  11. VK2KYO
  12. VK3TKK/m
  13. VK4NH
  14. VK4DXA
  15. ZL4TY/VK4
  16. VK5KLV
  17. VK4AAC/2
  18. VK4AAV
  19. VK2KNV/m
  20. VK2XSE/m
  21. VK3NLK/2
  22. VK2IO
  23. VK3AOF
  24. VK3BL
  25. VK2EJW
  26. VK3PF
  27. VK3KMA
  28. VK2XSE/p (Lachlan Valley Regional Park VKFF-1784)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4ARW
  2. VK8NSB
  3. VK4SMA
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4ME

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK5HYZ
  3. VK5BJE

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/ettrick-conservation-park/>, viewed 3rd April 2018

Murray Valley Standard newspaper, 2018, <http://www.murrayvalleystandard.com.au/story/1966160/ettrick-conservation-park-proclaimed/>, viewed 3rd April 2018

State Library of South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 3rd April 2018