Desert Camp Conservation Reserve VKFF-1705

After packing up at the Aberdour Conservation Park, Marija and I continued south on the Riddoch Highway.  As it was only just after lunch, and the weather was holding up nicely, we decided to activate the Desert Camp Conservation Reserve VKFF-1705.  The park is located about 235 km south east of Adelaide and about 17 km north west of the town of Padthaway.

This was to be a unique park for both Marija and I as activators in the WWFF program.

Screen Shot 2018-06-14 at 9.26.50 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Desert Camp Conservation Reserve in the south east region of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Desert Camp Conservation Reserve is not to be confused the with Desert Camp Conservation Park.  The reserve is the much larger piece of scrub located on the eastern side of the Riddoch Highway.  The Desert Camp Conservation Park is a small section of Scrub to the east of the Riddoch Highway, on the Rowney Road West.

Desert Camp Conservation Reserve is 882 hectares in size and was proclaimed on the 11th November 1993.  I have not been able to find out the origin of the park name, as there is certainly no desert here.

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Above:- Aerial view of the Desert Camp Conservation Reserve.  Image courtesy of google maps

About 248 species of native plants have been recorded in the park.  Of these, 17 are considered rare or threatened in the south east, and 10 are either threatened or rare in South Australia.  One species, the Metalic sun-orchid is considered endangered nationally.

The park comprises Brown stringybark Low Woodland; Pink gum Woodland over a Mixed Heath; Pink gum Low Woodland over a desert banksia, heath yacca and heath tree; Open South Australian Blue Gum; Dwarf hakea, dwarf sheoak, honey myrtle; Coastal white mallee; Broombush, silver broombush Open Heath; and Mixed Herbland.

The reserve is recorded as being “the largest block of remnant vegetation in the Hundred of Marcollat” and which “accounts for over half of the remaining native vegetation in blocks greater than 25 hectares in that Hundred.”  It is surrounded by cleared farming land.


Above:- Cleared farming land to the east of the park.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 93 native birds in the park including Peaceful Dove, Galah, Australian Magpie, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Southern Emuwren, Grey Butcherbird, White-winged Triller, and Eastern Yellow Robin.

I snapped the photo below of a Whistling Kite, which was perched up high in a tree in the park.  He/she kindly sat there allowing me to snap off some shots.


The park is easily located, just to the south of the intersection of the Riddoch Highway and Rowney Road.  The park is well signposted.


We continued south on Riddoch Highway, passing Rowney Road and followed a 4WD track into the park, which followed a fenceline.


We drove a few hundred metres along the track and found a clearing which allowed us to set up the 20/40/80m linked dipole.  As the weather was a little inclement, we rolled out the awning on the Toyota Hi Lux and sat underneath that in the deck chairs.

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Above:- Aerial view showing the Desert Camp Conservaiton Reserve, showing our operating spot.  The dark green area is the adjacent Desert Camp Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Marija started off the activation, calling CQ on 7.139 after I had placed a spot up on the WWFF Australia Facebook page and on parksnpeaks.  Gerard VK2IO/p was first in the log, with a Park to Park contact into the Booti Booti National Park VKFF-0046.  Next in the log was Brett VK2VW, followed by John VK4TJ.  Within 10 minutes Marija had qualified the park for VKFF, with 10 contacts in the log.  Contact number 10 was with Greg VK4VXX/5.

We then swapped the mic and I called CQ on 7.139.  Peter VK3PF was first in the log, followed by Cliff VK2NP and then Andrew VK7DW.  Six minutes later I had contact number 10 in the log, with a QSO with Glenn VK4FARR.  After working Glenn, both Marija and I logged Neil VK4HNS/p who was activating the Conway National Park VKFF-0110.  This was followed by another Park to Park contact, this time with David VK5HYZ/p in the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176.

I kept calling CQ on 7.139 and had a steady flow of callers from all across Australia.  This included another Park to Park, this time with Bill VK4FW/p in the Goat Island Conservation Park VKFF-1549.  I ended up logging a total of 52 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7 and New Zealand.  It was nice as always to log Andre ZL1TM who has become a regular VKFF Hunter.  I was also pleased to work Geoff VK3MCM who had only been on air for around 2 weeks and I was his 4th contact.  Welcome to the hobby Geoff.

We then lowered the squid pole and inserted the 80m links and headed to 3.610.   I called CQ and this was answered by Rob VK3FKL who had followed me down from 40m.  Conditions on 80m were brilliant, with absolutely no noise.  I logged 11 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band, but sadly only logged 1 station there, Cliff VK2NP.


It was time to pack up and head off to Mount Gambier.  Desert Camp was another successful activation, with a total of 76 contacts between the 2 of us, including 7 Park to Park contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Booti Booti National Park VKFF-0046)
  2. VK2VW
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK3HOT
  6. VK4CZ
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK7DW
  9. VK2KYO
  10. VK4VXX/5
  11. VK4HNS/p (Conway National Park VKFF-0110)
  12. VK5HYZ/p (VKFF-0176)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Booti Booti National Park VKFF-0046)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK7DW
  5. VK4CZ
  6. VK2KYO
  7. VK4VXX/5
  8. VK7ME
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK4FARR
  11. VK4HNS/p (Conway National Park VKFF-0110)
  12. VK5HYZ/p (Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)
  13. VK2FOUZ
  14. VK3GGG/p
  15. VK3PMG/p
  16. VK3ANL
  17. VK2HHA
  18. VK2STO/p
  19. VK2SMS/p
  20. VK3OHM
  21. VK2GKA
  22. VK3FKAR
  23. VK3FNQS
  24. VK3VHF
  25. VK3VFO
  26. VK4FE
  27. VK3MCM
  28. VK3ZZS/7
  29. VK2QK
  30. VK4FW/p (Goat Island Conservation Park VKFF-1549)
  31. VK4FDJL
  32. VK2ARL
  33. VK2VOO
  34. VK5WG
  35. VK2WE
  36. VK3ANP
  37. VK3ATO
  38. VK5KLV
  39. VK1AT
  40. VK3ZIG/m
  41. VK7FRJG
  42. VK3FLJD
  43. VK2LEE
  44. VK3ZMD
  45. VK5CZ
  46. VK4TJ
  47. VK2WR
  48. VK2KDP/m
  49. VK3FKL
  50. VK7TZ
  51. ZL1TM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3FKL
  2. VK5MRE
  3. VK5PL
  4. VK4AAC/5
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK5CZ
  8. VK7TZ
  9. VK3PAT
  10. VK2HHA
  11. VK5BJE

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2NP

We had missed the predicted wet weather, but that did not last.  We had timed our activations well, as not long after getting mobile, the heavens really opened up.  We arrived at Mount Gambier at around 5.00 p.m. and booked into our accomodation, the Motel Mount Gambier.  After freshening up we headed out for tea at the Mount Gambier Hotel.




Birds SA, 2018, <>, viewed 14th June 2018.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 1997, ‘Desert Camp Conservation Reserve Management Plan’.

2 thoughts on “Desert Camp Conservation Reserve VKFF-1705

  1. Hi Paul,
    Sorry I missed your Saturday activations. I was pursuing another interest of mine: music. I really enjoyed the post and the photos, particularly of the kite, are excellent. I think I might pencil Mount Gambier into my diary for next year. I have never been to the Long Weekend Convention. I should try and make the effort.
    John D

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