Mount Lofty VK5/ SE-005 as VI50IARU

On Sunday 17th June 2018 I activated Mount Lofty summit VK5/ SE-005 using the special VI50IARU3 call sign.  This was an impromptu activation.  I had wanted to get out to do something portable that day, but the weather was miserable.  However by 1.00 p.m. there was some blue sky appearing, so Marija and I packed the 4WD and headed for Mount Lofty, which is also located within the Cleland Conservation Park 5CP-042 & VKFF-0778.

We decided to try to activate the summit on 2m FM using my little handheld, Yaeu VX-6R.  Along the way we telephoned John VK5BJE who kindly placed a post on the Facebook page of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society.  Many thanks John.

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We were all set up and ready to go on the summit by around 1.30 p.m.  First in the log was Marija VK5FMAZ who had remained in the car as it was too cold and windy for her initially.  It was then fitting that I was able to log John VK5BJE at nearby Scott Creek.  Arno VK5ZAR followed and he had a very strong signal.  Next was John VK5OI in the southern suburbs, followed by Steve VK5SFA (very strong), and Kym VK5FKYM in the southern suburbs.

But that was the extent of calls sadly.  I thought more people may have called, but perhaps they couldnt hear me.

Marija and I were hoping to activate the summit on HF as well, but just when we thought the weather had cleared, the heavens opened up and it started raining again.  Plan B.  Head to the Monarto Conservation Park on the other side of the Mount Lofty Ranges, where it may be a little clearer.

I worked the following stations on 2m FM:-

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Mount George Conservation Park 5CP-147 and VKFF-0784

On Wednesday evening (13th June 2018) I headed to the Mount George Conservation Park 5CP-147 & VKFF-0784 for an evening activation using the special call of VI50IARU3.

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The Mount George Conservation Park is located just a short drive down the South Eastern Freeway from my home.

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

I have activated this park many times previously for both the WWFF program and the VK5 Parks Award.

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Above:- Aerial view showing the Mount George Conservation Park, looking back towards Adelaide.  Image courtesy of google maps.

I set up in my normal operating spot, in the picnic ground at the end of Mount George Road.

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Above:- Map of the park showing my operating spot.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

It was quite a miserable night weather wise and I had to retreat to the vehicle on a number of occasions.  I kicked off the activation on 3.620 on the 80m band.  First in the log was John VK4TJ with a strong 5/8 signal, followed by Tony VK5TT and then Ivan VK5HS.  Despite there being strong static crashes on the band, I had a steady flow of callers and ended up logging a total of 22 stations on 80m in 35 minutes, from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7 and VK8.  It was great to speak with Owen ZL2OPB/VK5 who has just moved to South Australia.  And also Wayne VK6JR/8 who was about 100 km west of Alice Springs.

I then headed to 7130 hoping to check into the 7130 DX Net, but it had already closed due to poor band conditions.  But I did log my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ.  Unfortunately I soon started to experience Indonesian interference, so I moved up the band to 7.180 where I logged 7 stations from VK3, VK4 & New Zealand.

I then moved back to 80m and called CQ on 3.615 logging a total of 5 stations from VK3 and VK6.  But callers dried up, so I tuned across the band and booked into the North East Victoria ARC Net where I logged 6 stations.  I then tuned across the band and found another group on 3.600 including Mark VK2PH.  I logged 5 stations on that frequency, before deciding it was just too wet and windy to continue the activation.

It was time to pack up and head back home to the warmth and out of my wet clothes.  I had a total of 46 contacts in the log and had hopefully given some more people the opportunity of logging the special call of VI50IARU3.

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK5TT
  3. VK5HS
  4. VK3UCD
  5. VK5PL
  6. VK3HJ
  7. VK2NP
  8. VK3JL
  9. VK3ZPF
  10. VK5KLV
  11. VK5NM
  12. VK3PF
  13. VK3VVC
  14. VK3LCB
  15. VK5YX
  16. VK6JR/8
  17. ZL2OPB/VK5
  18. VK6POP
  19. VK5FMAZ
  20. VK6DW
  21. VK3GYH
  22. VK7ROY

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. ZL1TM
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4FDJL
  5. VK3ZPF
  6. VK3GGG
  7. VK3PMG
  8. VK3TKK/m
  9. VK3ARH
  10. VK3GGG
  11. VK3PMG
  12. VK3FSTU
  13. VK6HRC
  14. VK3ANE
  15. VK3CM
  16. VK3MXT
  17. VK3BPH
  18. VK2MOP
  19. VK3AHR’VK2PH
  20. VK5VST
  21. VK5NJ
  22. VK3FMKE
  23. VK3KWB

 

 

 

Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park 5CP-085 and VKFF-0888

We left Bool Lagoon and drove about 10 km to Bournes Bird Museum, which contains an amazing collection of around 600 birds.  The bird specimens are generally from road kills or birds that have flown into power lines.  Marija and I met with Marion, the owner of the property.  She had kindly opened up the museum for us and explained in detail the history of the museum and her father Jack Bourne’s passion.  Not only are there birds, but there are reptiles, mammals, and a bird egg collection.  We highly recommend a visit here.

Marija and I then headed to the Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park 5CP-085 & VKFF-0888 for a quick activation, as the weather was turning nasty.  The park is about 25 km south of the town of Narracoorte, and 359 km south east of Adelaide.

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

Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park is 202 hectares in size and was proclaimed as a Fauna Reserve on 8th June 1967.  Further land was added on the 27th April 1972 and the area was proclaimed as the Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park.  Additional land was again added on 4th November 1993.

In 1985, the area covered by both the conservation park and the adjoining Bool Lagoon Game Reserve was added under the name “Bool and Hacks Lagoons” to the List of Wetlands of International Importance maintained by the Ramsar Convention.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 111 native birds at the park including Pacific Black Duck, Australian White Ibis, Swamp Harrier, Superb Fairywren, Australian Magpie, Willie Wagtail, Buff-banded Rail, Spotted Harrier, Red Wattlebird, Southern Emuwren, Striated Fieldwren, and Restless Flycatcher.

Some of the birds we observed are shown below

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We drove back into the park via Bool Lagoon and soon reached the park, which is located to the northeast of Bool Lagoon.  The park is well signposted.

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There is a niced lawned area here with picnic tables which would have made an ideal operating spot on a sunny day.  But we had very average weather and pulled up the Toyota Hi Lux close to one of the benches, to provide a bit of a windbreak.

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

I started off the activation, and again used the special call of VI50IARU3.  I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Geoff VK3SQ, followed by Brenton VK3YB, and then Eric VK7EV.  Band conditions were quite good and it didn’t take long for a little pile up to commence.  I logged a total of 23 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and Vk7, before the weather closed in and it started to rain.  But more concerning was the thunder and lighting.  It was a quick retreat to the vehicle and a break in operating until the weather had cleared.

During our activation we had some interested onlookers.

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Once the weather had cleared, Marija and I set up again and removed the links for the dipole, and headed to 14.310 on the 20m band.  First in the log there was Gerard VK2IO/p in the Queens Lake State Conservation Area VKFF-1771.  I logged a further 6 stations from VK2, VK3 and VK4, until callers dried up.

So I headed to the ANZA DX Net on 14.182 and checked in.  I worked 11 stations on the net from VK1, VK2, VK4, VK8 and New Zealand.

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I now had 41 contacts in the log and was just 3 short of qualifying the park for the global WWFF program.  Marija and I again lowered the squid pole and inserted the links so we could operate on the 80m band.

Marija called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Adrian VK5FANA with a very strong signal.  Within 10 minutes Marija had her 10th contact in the log, qualifying the park for VKFF.  Contact number 10 was with Geoff VK3SQ.

I then put out some CQ calls on 80m and it wasn’t long before I had contact number 44 in the log, with a QSO with John VK5BJE.

Marija and I had 59 contacts in the log between the two of us and it was time to pack up and hit the road, as we still had a substantial drive home ahead of us.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK3YB
  3. VK7EV
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. Vk2RP/m
  6. VK2BDR/m
  7. VK2VW
  8. VK5IS
  9. VK2JNG/p
  10. VK2KJJ
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK5VC
  13. VK4TJ
  14. VK3AWG
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK7FRJG
  17. VK7RM
  18. VK2PKT
  19. VK4FDJL
  20. VK4FARR
  21. VK2AHF
  22. VK7FMAC
  23. VK2QK

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Queens Lake State Conservation Area VKFF-1771)
  2. VK2LEE
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK4ME
  5. VK2NP
  6. VK2HPN
  7. VK4FE
  8. ZL2GLG
  9. VK2RI
  10. VK4NBP
  11. VK4LMB
  12. VK1TX
  13. VK2HOT
  14. VK4XCS
  15. VK8KMD
  16. VK7XX
  17. ZL4QJ
  18. VK4SWE

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5VC
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK3GGG
  7. VK3PMG
  8. VK3UCD

On the way home we stopped off at one of our favourite hotels, the Riverside Hotel at Tailem Bend, and enjoyed a great meal (as always).

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References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/hacks-lagoon-conservation-park/>, viewed 19th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacks_Lagoon_Conservation_Park>, viewed 19th June 2018

Bool Lagoon Game Reserve VKFF-1687

It was now Monday 11th June 2018, and time for Marija and I to head back home after 3 very enjoyable nights in Mount Gambier.  We had hoped to activate a park or two on the way home, but hadn’t really decided on which one, as the weather was looking quite threatening.  So after another stop at Subway for breakfast we hit the road and headed north along the Riddoch Highway out of Mount Gambier.

As we approached Penola we decided upon turning off at Narracoorte and activating some parks between there and Bordertown, on the South Australian/Victorian border.  But as we continued northwards, the weather became more threatening and we decided to activate a closer park, the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve VKFF-1687.

Bool Lagoon is located about 26 km (by road) south of Narracoorte and about 359 km south east of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

This was to be another unique park for both Marija and I in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The Bool Lagoon Game Reserve is about 3,103 hectares in size and was established on 8th June 1967.  It is one of the largest and most diverse freshwater lagoon systems in southern Australia.  In 1985, the area covered by both the game reserve and the Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park was added under the name “Bool and Hacks Lagoons” to the List of Wetlands of International Importance maintained by the Ramsar Convention.

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Above:- Aerial view of the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve.  Image courtesy of google maps 

Prior to its proclamation, Bool and Hacks Lagoons were subject to private pastoral leases.  In 1940 the Flora and Fauna Committee and the South Australian Ornithological Association (now Birds SA) proposed that all or part of the wetland be declared a Bird Sanctuary.    On the 8th June 1967, Sections 223 and 224 were proclaimed as a Game Reserve.  On Section 323 was added on the 29th August 1974, with Section 380 being added on 27th August 1992.  Section 330 and other land was added on 4th November 1993.

At certain times of the year there is no water at Bool Lagoon.  The park contains various habitat types including Tall Shrubland, Sedgeland, Grassland, Floating waterplants Herbland, and Open Water.

Bool Lagoon provides critical habitat for the nationally vulnerable Southern Bell Frog. Several hundred, perhaps thousands of these frogs live at Bool Lagoon.  The endangered Striped Legless Lizard also calls the park home.

Birds SA have recorded 183 native species of bird at Bool Lagoon.  This includes Black Swan, Australian Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Eastern Great Egret, Swamp Harrier, Plumed Whistling Duck, Glossy Ibis, Black-backed Bittern, Cattle Egret, Spotted Harrier, Australian Pratincole, and Sacred Kingfisher.

Below are some photos of some of the birds we observed during our visit to Bool Lagoon.

We entered the park via the main entrance which runs off Bool Lagoon Road.  The reserve is well signposted.

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There is an information board as you enter the park, with lots of interesting information about the reserve and its inhabitants.

We followed the track on the southern side of the lagoon and travelled to an area which is called Big Hill.  It was slow going along the track as there was lots of birdlife.

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We set up in a clearing near Big Hill.  There was plenty of room to stretch out the dipole and not interfere with other users of the reserve.  We initially set up outside of the vehicle, but the rain struck during our activation so we retreated inside the vehicle for the remainder of the activation.

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Above:- Our operating spot in the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I kicked off the activation, using the special call of VI50IARU3.  I had been allocated the call for a week, to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union in Region 3.

So what is the call about?

On the 12th April 1968, 50 years ago, a regional arm of the International Amateur Radio Union, IARU Region 3, was established in Sydney.  The IARU had been established a number of years earlier, in Paris, in 1925.  is an international confederation of national amateur radio organisations that allows a forum for common matters of concern and collectively represents matters to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

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First in the log from Bool Lagoon was Rob VK4AAC/5 at the Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025, followed by Andrew VK7DW, and then Gerard VK2JNG.  Despite this being a rarely activated park and a special call, the number of callers was far less than expected.  And after 15 minutes, callers had completely dried up on 40m.  I had 17 QSOs in the log, including another Park to Park contact, with Gerard VK2IO/p in the Macquarie Nature Reserve VKFF-1958.

I headed off to the 80m band where I called CQ on 3.610.  This was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Peter VK3ZPF.  I logged a further 5 stations, including another Park to Park, with Rob VK4AAC/5 at Dingley Dell.

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Marija then called CQ on 80m and logged 5 contacts from VK3 and VK5.  This included a Park to Park with Rob VK4AAC/5 at Dingley Dell.  Despite band conditions being quite good on the 80m band, callers soon stalled, so we headed back to 40m.  We put a call out on 7.144 to see if the frequency was in use and didn’t hear anything.  Ivan VK5HS/m then responded to our CQ call with a strong 5/9 signal.  But we then heard people tell us that the frequency was in use by a QRP station.  Rob VK4AAC then came up to let us know he was on the frequency but had been stomped on by VK5HS.  So after logging Rob, we moved down the band to 7.139.

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I logged a total of 20 stations on 7.139, swapping the mic every now and again with Marija so she could log particular stations.  Marija’s 10th contact, qualifying the park for VKFF, was a QSO with Rob VK4AAC/5 at Dingley Dell.  Contact number 44 for me was with Kevin VK7KEV in Tasmania.  We also logged some more Park to Park contacts, with Alan VK2MG/p in the Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550, and Gerard VK2IO/p in the Lake Innes Nature Reserve VKFF-1955.  Other good contacts were with Bob VK6POP over in Western Australia, Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand, and Ivan VK5HS maritime mobile on the Cadell ferry.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m where I logged 3 stations; Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand, Cliff VK2NP in Sydney, and Alan VK2MG/p in the Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550 VKFF-0550.

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Marija and I packed up, with another park under our belt, and took a walk along the boardwalk in the park.  Whilst doing so Marija put a call into Bournes Birds, a nearby tourist attracation, which we hoped to visit.  Unfortunately we reached their answering machine.  But 15 minutes later we received a call to advise they would open up for us, so it was off to Bournes Birds for us.  Just a short drive from the park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS/m
  2. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5UV
  5. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)
  6. VK2IO/p (Lake Innes Nature Reserve VKFF-1955)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5UV
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)
  2. VK7DW
  3. VK2JNG
  4. VK2AB
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK4TJ
  7. VK2VW
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK1MIC
  10. VK2NP
  11. VK4YLU
  12. VK3UH
  13. VK7JOn/m
  14. VK2AMF
  15. VK7FOLK/m
  16. VK2YK
  17. VK2IO/p (Macquarie Nature Reserve VKFF-1958)
  18. VK5HS/m
  19. VK4FFAB
  20. VK3SQ
  21. VK7DW/p
  22. VK2NEO
  23. VK5UV
  24. VK2MG/p (VKFF-0550)
  25. VK7GN
  26. VK4PDX
  27. ZL1TM
  28. VK7QP
  29. VK5HS/mm
  30. VK2MCG
  31. VK5LG
  32. VK5FANA
  33. VK6POP
  34. VK2IO/p (Lake Innes Nature Reserve VKFF-1955 VKFF-1955)
  35. VK2PKT
  36. VK7KEV
  37. VK2CPC
  38. VK2MT/p
  39. VK3ZZS/7

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3ZPF
  4. VK3ANL
  5. VK5BJE
  6. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK5UV

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL1TM
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550 VKFF-0550)

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/bool-lagoon-game-reserve/>, viewed 18th June 2018

Wireless Instittue of Australia, 2018, <https://www.wia.org.au/newsevents/news/2018/20180411-1/index.php>, viewed 19th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bool_Lagoon_Game_Reserve>, viewed 18th June 2018

Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park 5CP-178 and VKFF-0927

After packing up at Mumbunnar Conservation Park, Marija and I headed to our second park activation for the day, the Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park 5CP-178 & VKFF-0927.  The park is located about 30 km south east of Mount Gambier.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park in the lower south east of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park is  862 hectares (2,130 acres) in size and was established on the 16th October 1969.  It is located in the locality of Wye and overlooks Discovery Bay, which was named by explorer Thomas Mitchell in August 1836.

The park is located in close proximity to the State border with Victoria and is part of the Discovery Bay to Piccaninnie Ponds Important Bird Area, identified by BirdLife International as being of global significance for several bird species.  It is a listed Ramsar site.  The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of google maps.

Piccanninie Ponds is a very popular site for snorkelling and cave diving.  In 1964–1965, prior to its proclamation as a conservation park, underwater explorer Valerie Taylor described the ponds as “one of the most beautiful sights in Australia”.

The park contains three main features of interest to cave divers. The ‘First Pond’ is an open depression about 10 metres (33 ft) deep with a silt floor and vegetated fringe supporting much aquatic life. The ‘Chasm’ is a sinkhole with a depth of over 100 metres (330 ft), and the ‘Cathedral’ is an enclosed area with limestone formations and a depth of about 35 metres (115 ft).  Underwater visibility is excellent and may exceed 40 metres (130 ft). Snorkelling and cave diving at Piccaninnie Ponds is by permit only.  Several divers have died whilst exploring the caves.

 

After leaving Mumbannar we travelled back into South Australia via the Princes Highway and then travelled south along Dry Creek Road following the State border.  We soon reached the town of Donovans, where there are some nice views (through the trees) of the Glenelg River.

We then crossed the State border and continued along the Glenelg River Road and then on to the Piccanninie Ponds Road.

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It wasn’t long before we reached the park, which is clearly signposted, and has a number of information boards.

Before setting up, Marija and I stopped off to have a look at the ponds themselves.  They were absolutely crystal clear and were very inviting.  There was a young couple in the carpark putting on their wetsuits, getting ready for a dive.

We drove further along Piccanninie Ponds Road until we reached the section which takes you down onto the beach.  As we were running short a little of time, we decided not to lower our tyre pressure and drive down onto the sand.

Instead, we parked the vehicle and set up along a walking trail which cut its way through the scrub.  There was plenty of room to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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Above:- Aerial view of the Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

We were set up a little after 0500 UTC and had around 1 hour of the VK Shires Contest remaining.  I kicked off the activation, calling CQ on 7.133.  This was answered by Ian VK5IS in the Mid North of South Australia, followed by Andrew VK3AB/p, and then Andrew VK3MUD/p.  Contact number ten, qualifying the park for me for VKFF, was with Sam VK5ASK/m.

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Above:- Our operating spot down along the walking track.

After I had qualified the park for VKFF, Marija jumped on the mic and called CQ on 7.133.  This was answered by Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Cliff VK2NP, and then Adam VK2YK.  Marija’s 10th contact was with Geoff VK3SQ in Beechworth.  Marija was very pleased to log Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs, and Greg VK4VXX/8 near the South Australian/Northern Territory border.

With Marija having qualified the park for VKFF, I jumped back on the mic.  I logged a total of 34 stations before the VK Shires Contest concluded at 0600 UTC, and a further 11 stations after the contest.  This included a Park to Park contact with Marc VK3OHM/p in the Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623.

I then moved to 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged 6 stations from VK3, VK5, and VK7.  This included a Park to Park with Duncan VK3XBC/p in the Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549.  Whilst I was on 80m two park rangers arrived on the scene.  One of the rangers I had met earlier in the year during an activation at the Little Dip Conservation Park.

Time was marching on and Marija and I needed to pack up and head back into Mount Gambier.  That evening we were to attend the SERG Convention dinner.  Between us we had 63 contacts in the log.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1DI/2 (Livingstone National Park VKFF-0292)
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK2NO
  4. VK2YK
  5. VK3VCE/4
  6. VK2LEE
  7. VK4VXX/8
  8. VK8GM/p
  9. VK2VW
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK3ABP
  12. VK4TJ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5IS
  2. VK3AB/p
  3. VK3MUD/p
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK4VXX/8
  6. VK6QM
  7. VK2HPN
  8. VK2DEK
  9. VK1DI/2 (Livingstone National Park VKFF-0292)
  10. VK5ASK/m
  11. VK5FANA
  12. VK4TJ
  13. VK4/AC8WN
  14. VK4/VE6XT
  15. VK2NP
  16. ZL2AYZ
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK8GM/p
  20. VK3GK
  21. ZL1TM
  22. VK2YK
  23. VK7KR
  24. VK3PF
  25. VK2HHA
  26. VK5KLV
  27. VK2NEO
  28. VK2TTL
  29. VK2KTG
  30. VK2JDR
  31. VK3ELH
  32. VK7FMAC
  33. VK4FDJL
  34. VK2WA
  35. VK2ZVG
  36. VK2FJMM
  37. VK7AN
  38. VK2QM
  39. VK5NAW
  40. VK5MK
  41. VK2QK
  42. VK2QE
  43. VK6MN
  44. VK5PL
  45. VK3OHM/p (Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK7AN
  2. VK3XBC/p (Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549)
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK3AWG
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK5RM

We returned to Mount Gambier and freshened up and headed to the Scout Hall where we listened to Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL deliver a presentation on youth in our hobby.  This was followed by a presentation on aerial photography and drones.

We then enjoyed a great evening at the SERG Dinner.

 

 

 

References.

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramsar_Convention>, viewed 18th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piccaninnie_Ponds_Conservation_Park>, viewed 18th June 2018

Mumbannar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2161

It was now day three (Sunday 10th June 2018) of our trip.  We had one planned park activation for the day, over the border in Victoria.  After a warm shower Marija and I headed to Subway again for breakfast, comprising a coffee and an egg & bacon roll.  We then drove around the Valley Lake in Mount Gambier.  It was a sunny but very chilly morning, with lots of mist still hovering around the surface of the lake.

DSC_1578.jpg

Above:- Valley Lake

We then decided to take a walk up to the top of the Centennary Tower which commemorates the naming and the European discovery of Mount Gambier by Lieutenant James Grant in December 1800.  The tower sits 190 metres above sea level.

DSC_1579

This is not an easy walk.  It is a very steep walk.  However, I need the exercise, and the walk would burn off some of the red wine consumed the night before.  Along the way, the track was alive with Superb Fairy Wrens.

DSC_1588

And once you have got to the top, and have taken a number of breaths and regained your composure, you are rewarded with the best views of Mount Gambier and the surrounding countryside.

We had read on the internet that the tower was open at times, selling refreshments and souvenirs.  However it was not open during our visit.

We then walked back to the vehicle and took a drive around the famous Blue Lake at Mount Gambier.  The Blue Lake is a crater lake which between December to March turns to a vibrant cobalt blue colour.

Marija and I then attended the scout hall in Mount Gambier, the venue for the South East Radio Group’s annual convention.  We caught up with Col VK5HCF and a number of other SERG members.  We also said g’day to Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL who were busy with some students , undertaking some activities including soldering.  Joe and Julie do magnificent work with children through the School Amateur Radio Club Network.

Marija and I then headed to our first park activation for the day, the Mumbannar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2161.  The park is located about 40 km east of Mount Gambier, and 12 km (by road) west of the town of Mumbannar in south western Victoria.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 4.56.57 pm

Above:- Map showing the location of Mumbannar Nature Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of google maps

We headed out of Mount Gambier on the Princes Highway and soon reached the State border of South Australia and Victoria.  We stopped briefly for a photograph and then continued on to the park.

DSC_1607

Above:- Marija at the State border.

We turned off the Princes Highway onto Faheys Settlement Road.  We soon reached the park on the eastern side of the road.  The park was well signposted.  There were no gates into the park, so we pulled over to the side of the road and then climbed the fence with our gear and set up.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 4.58.38 pm

Above:- Aerial view of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of google maps

I have not been able to find out information on this park on the internet.  It is recorded on the Parks Victoria website, but there is no associated information.

The park is a piece of remnant scrub which is surrounded by cleared land for farming, and also pine plantations.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 8.25.26 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the Mumbannar NRC, looking west back towards the SA/Vic border.  Image courtesy of google maps

This was the weekend of the VK Shires Contest, so Marija and I intended on handing out some exchanges for the contest, as well as activating the park.  The objectives of this contest are for amateurs around the world to contact as many VK shires as possible in the contest period.  Our shire for this park was Glenelg Shire (GL3).

Mumbannar was to be a unique park for both Marija and I in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

After setting up we headed to 7.144 and found Tony VK3XV/p activating the Kara Kara National Park VKFF-0629 in western Victoria.  After logging Tony we tuned across the band and found Marc VK3OHM/p in the Terrrick Terrick National Park VKFF-0630.  Next was another Park to Park contact, this time with Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Beni State Conservation Area VKFF-1277.

I then propped on 7.160 and called CQ.  First in the log following my CQ call was Les VK5KLV, followed by Garry VK7JGD and then Mark VK7ME.  I logged a total of 33 stations on 40m including some more Park to Park contacts as follows….

  • Ian VK1DI/2 – The Rock Nature Reserve VKFF-2002
  • Rob VK4AAC/5 – Telford Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0805
  • VK4HNS/p – Archer National Park VKFF-0336
  • Brian VK3BCM/p – Alpine National Park VKFF-0619

With 33 contacts in the log I headed off to 3.610 on the 80m band.  John VK5BJE was first in the log, followed by Rob VK4AAC/5, and then Sue, both in the Telford Scrub Conservation Park.  Adrian VK5FANA then gave me a shout, followed by Peter VK3PF.  Despite band conditions on 80m being quite good, they were my only 5 contacts on that band.

I then moved back to 40m and called CQ on 7.140.  This was answered by Ivan VK5HS mobile.  My 44th contact, qualifying the log for the global WWFF program was with Nick VK3ANL/p in the Gresswell Forest part b Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2103.  I logged a further 2 stations, and with 46 contacts in the log, it was time to swap the mic with Marija.

Marija then called CQ on 7.140 and logged Nick VK3ANL/p in the Gresswell Forest part b Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2103, followed by John VK2YW/p, and then Greg VK4VXX/8.  Marija’s 10th contact, qualifying the park for VKFF was a QSO with Bill ZL2AYZ in New Zealand.  Bill was a strong 5/8 and gave Marija a 5/6 signal report.

Marija logged a further 6 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, & VK8.  This included a contact with our friend Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs.  Marija and I decided to give 80m a go again.  Marija called CQ on 3.610 and logged Ivan VK5HS/m, Adrian VK5FANA, and then Nick VK3ANL/p in the Gresswell Forest part b Nature Conservation Reserve.

To complete the activation we moved back to 40m where we logged another Park to Park contact, with Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Sappa Bulga National Park VKFF-1180.

Marija had qualified the park, with a total of 19 contacts.  I had qualified the park for both VKFF and WWFF with 48 conatcts.  Between us we had 16 Park to Park contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3XV/p (Kara Kara National Park VKFF-0629)
  2. VK3OHM/p (Terrrick Terrick National Park VKFF-0630)
  3. VK2JNG/p (Beni State Conservation Area VKFF-1277)
  4. VK3ANL/p (Gresswell Forest part b Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2103)
  5. VK2YW/p
  6. VK4VXX/8
  7. VK5LA/m
  8. VK7QP/p
  9. VK5HS
  10. ZL2AYZ
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK3AHR
  13. VK2KJJ
  14. VK2MT
  15. VK8GM/p
  16. VK4FDJL

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS/m
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK3ANL

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3XV/p (Kara Kara National Park VKFF-0629)
  2. VK3OHM/p (Terrick Terrick National Park VKFF-0630)
  3. VK2JNG/p (Beni State Conservation Area VKFF-1277)
  4. VK5KLV
  5. VK7JGD
  6. VK7ME
  7. VK1DI/2 (The Rock Nature Reserve VKFF-2002)
  8. ZL2AYZ
  9. VK3AHR
  10. VK2AB
  11. VK5LA/p
  12. VK5FANA/m
  13. VK2VEX
  14. VK2MTM
  15. VK4AAC/5 (Telford Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0805)
  16. VK3ZD/p
  17. VK2FSAV
  18. VK4HNS/p (Archer National Park VKFF-0336)
  19. VK3BCM/p (Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
  20. VK6MN
  21. VK2LKW
  22. VK3FXBR
  23. VK2KJJ
  24. VK2YE
  25. VK2VW
  26. VK5FANA
  27. VK2NP
  28. VK4TJ
  29. VK4/AC8WN
  30. VK4/VE6XT
  31. VK2AZ
  32. VK3SG
  33. VK5KFB
  34. VK5HS/m
  35. VK2BBQ
  36. VK2MT
  37. VK7EK
  38. VK8GM
  39. VK3ANL/p (Gresswell Forest part b Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2103)
  40. VK2YW/p
  41. VK4VXX/8
  42. VK2JNG/p (Sappa Bulga National Park VKFF-1180)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK4AAC/5 (Telford Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0805)
  3. VK5AYL/p (Telford Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0805)
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK3ANL/p (Gresswell Forest part b Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2103)

 

References.

Monument Australia, 2018, <http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/landscape/exploration/display/51260-centenary-tower>, viewed 18th June 2018

Wireless Institute of Australia, 2018, <http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/wavks/>, viewed 18th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Lake_(South_Australia)>, viewed 18th June 2018

Canunda National Park 5NP-002 and VKFF-0075; and the Lower South East Marine Park VKFF-1725

After leaving the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park we headed to the nearby town of Tantanoola, intending to visit the historic Tantanoola Pub.  But we were a little too early for lunch as it was only 11.30 a.m.  In fact as we pulled up in Tantanoola, they were only just opening up the hotel.  So we decided to do the Woakwine Range WInd Farm tourist drive.

We travelled out of town along the Poonada Road and then onto the Canunda Frontage Road.  We were soon amongst the wind turbines in the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.  When fully operational, the 123 spectacular turbines at Canunda and Lake Bonney wind farm development will generate almost 300 megawatts which represents the equivalent of one eighth of South Australia’s energy needs.  The turbines are about 100 metres tall.

DSC_1457

Above:- Marija standing in front of the wind turbines, giving you a good idea of just how big they are.

As we headed out along the Canunda Frontage Road we encountered some other road users (see below).

DSC_1458

Above:- Some of the other road users

A little further along we spotted a flock of Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos.  They are a large cockatoo which has a yellow cheek patch and yellow panels on the tail.  In South Australia they are listed as being vulnerable.

As we drove along Canunda Frontage Road we enjoyed some great views of Lake Bonney S.E.  This is not to be confused with Lake Bonney in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Lake Bonney S.E. is a coastal freshwater lake. With a surface area of 5,056 square kilometres, Lake Bonney S.E. is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Australia.

As we drove along the Canunda Frontage Road we decided to activate the Canunda National Park 5NP-002 & VKFF-0075.  I had activated and qualified this park previously, so our intention was to get the park qualified for Marija and then head back into Tantanoola to the hotel.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 1.19.01 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Canunda National Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

We turned off the Canunda Frontage Road and onto the Canunda Causeway and soon reached the park boundary.  We continued through the park along the Oil Rig Square Road.  A short distance later we reached the coastline.

It was here that we made the decision to head down onto the beach as it was quite a nice afternoon.  We lowered the tyre pressure down to around 12 psi and then drove through the dunes down onto the beach.

We drove about 1km along the beach and pulled off the trail made by other 4WDers and rolled out the awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  Once down on the beach I realised that we were also within the Lower South East Marine Park.

DSC_1515

Above:- Our operating spot.  A beautiful view.

Unfortunately I had no internet coverage so I was unable to self spot on parksnpeaks and/or Facebook, and I was unable to look up the VKFF number for the Marine Park.  So Marija put out some CQ calls on 7.135 and these were answered by Adrian VK5FANA.  Adrian kindly looked up the VKFF reference for us for the Marine Park and also spotted us.  I cannot encourage enough, that hunters spot activators.  Not only does it greatly assist the activators, but it also helps your fellow park hunters.

As a result of Adrian’s spot, Marija soon had a number of amateurs giving her a shout.  Within 9 minutes Marija had qualified the park for the VKFF program, with 10 contacts in the log.  QSO number 10 was with Charlie VK3FCIA.

Marija logged a total of 23 stations including three Park to Park QSOS:

  • Stef VK5HSX/3 – Croajingolong National Park VKFF-0119
  • Andrew VK7DW/p – Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area VKFF-1156
  • Mark Vk4SMA/p – Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639

It was an amazing day for this time of the year down in the South East.  It is normally cold and raining.  But today we were blessed with quite a bit of sunshine.  It was a beautiful spot, with the sound of the waves rolling in.  Occasionally we had some trailbikes and other 4WDers travelling passed us.

Other than that the only onlookers were some of the local birds (of the feathered variety).

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK3AZN
  3. VK4VXX/5
  4. VK3HOT
  5. VK2HHA
  6. VK3MIJ
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK3ER
  9. VK5HSX/3 (Croajingolong National Park VKFF-0119)
  10. VK7FCIA
  11. Vk2RP/m
  12. VK2BDR/m
  13. VK5TT
  14. VK3ELH
  15. VK2NP
  16. VK3UH
  17. VK3ANL
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK3PF
  20. VK3IRS
  21. VK2LEE
  22. VK7DW/p (Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area VKFF-1156)
  23. VK4SMA/p (Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639)

After Marija had qualified Canunda for the VKFF program, I jumped on the mic to activate the Lower South East Marine Park VKFF-1725.  The Lower South East Marine Park is divided into two sections: the first adjacent to Canunda National Park and the second from MacDonnell Bay just west of French Point to the Victorian border.  At 360 km2, it represents 1% of South Australia’s marine parks network.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 2.13.06 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the two sections of the Lower South East Marine Park.  Image courtesy of DEWNR.

First in the log for me were two Park to Park contacts, with Mark VK4SMA/p and Ade VK4SOE/p who were activating the Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639.  As this was a new park there was quite a flurry of activity at the commencement of the activation.  But this slowed down quite quickly, and with 37 contacts in the log on 40m, callers dried up.  I was 7 short of qualifying the park for the global WWFF program.

The 37 contacts were spread across VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.  Other than the Park to Park contacts with Mark and Ade, I had made the following Park to Park QSOS.

  • Alan VK2MG/p -Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550
  • Andrew VK7DW/p – Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area VKFF-1156

I also logged Graham VK3SOL/p operating portable at the Echuca Moama Steam Rally.

DSC_1516

I then headed to 3.610 on the 80m band where I called CQ.  This was answered by Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Ivan VK5HS/mobile and then Andy VK5LA/mobile.  I logged a further 5 stations, all from Victoria.  Peter VK3ZPF was contact number 44.

To complete the activation I QSY’d to the 20m band where I found Mike VK6MB/8 in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park VKFF-0505.  Mike had a brilliant 5/9 signal down to the beach from his iconic location in the Northern Territory.  I then moved up to 14.315 and worked Hans VK6XN.  Sadly Hans was my only caller.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639)
  2. VK4SOE/p (Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639)
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2RP/m
  5. VK2BDR/m
  6. VK5LA/m
  7. VK5HS/m
  8. VK2HPN/1
  9. VK3ELH
  10. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  11. VK3SOL/p
  12. VK2LEE
  13. VK3NXT
  14. VK2NP
  15. VK2HHA
  16. VK3SQ
  17. VK3PF
  18. VK3ZPF
  19. VK4TJ
  20. VK4CPS
  21. VK2IO/m
  22. VK3TKK/m
  23. VK7DW/p (Trevallyn Nature Recreation Area VKFF-1156)
  24. VK7FGRA
  25. VK3MAB
  26. VK5TT
  27. VK4VXX/5
  28. VK3ER
  29. VK2QK
  30. VK5PL
  31. VK3ARH
  32. VK3AHR
  33. VK7CC
  34. VK3ANL
  35. VK2VW
  36. VK7ME
  37. VK3KAI

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5HS/m
  3. VK5LA/m
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK3KAI
  6. VK3ARH
  7. VK3ZPF
  8. VK3SQ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB/8 (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park VKFF-0505)
  2. VK6XN

It was now coming up to 2.15 p.m. and time for us to pack up.  Marija had qualified Canunda for VKFF and I had qualified the Marine park for VKFF and WWFF.  We drove back down the beach and up the sand dunes, where we got the air pressure generator out and put the tyres back up to their correct psi.

DSC_1556

We drove back into Tantanoola and called into the Tantanoola Pub for a few drinks.  The hotel is well known for having the ‘Tantanoola Tiger’ on display.  During the late 1800’s it is reported that a Bengal tiger escaped from a travelling circus.  Soon after, locals started reporting missing sheep and cattle, but despite extensive searches, no animal was found.  And then in August 1895, a local man, Thomas Donovan shot an animal believed to the the tiger.  However it appears that it was not the tiger, but most likely a Eurasian wolf.

We drove back to Mount Gambier and had a shower and then headed to Jens Hotel for dinner.  We had an arranged dinner with a group incuding Rob VK4AAC and his wife Doris, John VK5NJ and his wife Tanina, Joe VK3YSP and his wife Julie VK3FOWL, Ross from Strictly Ham and his son.  This was a great night with lots of laughs.

 

 

References.

Attractions online directory, 2018, <http://www.attractions.net.au/attractions/sa/tantanoola/woakwine-range-wind-farm-tourist-drive/21341/>, viewed 18th June 2018

Govt of South Australia, ‘Marine Park 19 Lower South East Marine Park’

Mount Gambier Point, 2018, <https://www.mountgambierpoint.com.au/attractions/tantanoola-tiger/>, viewed 18th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Bonney_SE>, viewed 18th June 2018