Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2471

Our second for park for Satuday 10th November 2018, was the Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2471, which is located about 80 km east of Murrayville, and about 459 km north east of Melbourne.

This was to be another unique park for both Marija and I, and a brand new park for all of the WWFF hunters.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 12.48.41 pm

Above:- Map showing the location of the Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Walpeup, pronounced wol’pee UP, is a small town with a population of about 200 people.  The town was settled, following the arrival of the railway during the 1910’s.  The Walpeup Primary School was established in June 1912, followed by the Post Office which commenced in Walpeup in December 1912.

DSC_3261

In its heyday in 1920, Walpeup had a population of about 400 people, with a general store, blacksmith, butcher, a bank branch, and other businesses.  ‘Walpeup’ is derived from an Aboriginal word with several meanings including ‘stumpy tailed lizard’ and another is an indigenous acacia.

DSC_3262

The Walpeup Nature Conservation Reserve is about 1.78km2 and is located in 9 autonomous blocks, on both the southern and northern side of the Mallee Highway in the town of Walpeup.

Marija and I headed out of town on the Walpeup-Hopetoun Road.  As it was a warm sunny day, there were plenty of Shingleback or ‘Stumpy’ lizards on the road.

We found a small track running off the bitumen, with a small clearing amongst the scrub.  It appeared to be ain ideal spot to set up.  Little were we to know that when we turned on the transceiver, the noise on the 40m band was strength 7 to 8.  I suspect we were just a little too close to the town.  My recommendation for those wanting to activate this park in the future, is to try the south western part of the park away from the town.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 1.33.26 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the Walpeup NCR, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

To kick off the activation Marija and I had a Park to Park contact with Nik VK3NLK/p who was activating the Grampians National Park VKFF-0213.  We then moved up the band to 7.155 and I started calling CQ.  Greg VK2EXA came back to my call, followed by Peter VK3TKK, and then Keith VK2PKT.  Fortunately they all had strong signals, as the strength 7 to 8 was making it very difficult to hear the lower down stations.

I logged 5 stations, including another Park to Park, with Gerard VK2IO/p in the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784, with Marija also logging Gerard.  As Marija had the mic, we decided to swap operators.

DSC_3265

Next in the log, was a third Park to Park, with Mark VK4SMA/p who was activating the Daisy Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1525.  Marija soon qualified the park for the VKFF program, with her 10th contact being with Linda VK7QP.  Marija logged a total of 14 stations, before the noise got so annoying that she had enough.  This included a 4th Park to Park, with David VK5PL/p who was in the Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739.

I then tried to pick up a few more contacts on 40m, under pretty trying conditions.  Thoe noise was awful, so I apologise to anyone who was calling that I could not hear.  I logged a further 10 stations on 40m including Alan VK3ALN/p who was at Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750.

Feeling a little frustrated I headed down to the 80m, but it was no better there, with a strength 8 noise on that band.  As a result I logged just one contact there, with Andy VK5LA in the Riverland.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band and logged a total of 13 stations from VK2, VK4, VK7, VK8 and New Zealand.  I was really pleased to be able to speak with Stuie VK8NSB in Darwin, and also Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.  I also made another Park to Park contact, with Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-2784.

DSC_3267.jpg

With just 31 contacts in the log for me, and 14 for Marija, we decided not to persevere with the noise, and pack up and head off to another park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NLK/p (Grampians National Park VKFF-0213)
  2. VK2IO/p ( Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  3. VK4SMA/p (Daisy Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1525)
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK2EXA
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK5KLV
  9. VK5YX
  10. VK7QP
  11. VK2NP
  12. VK5PL/p (Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739)
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK3TKK

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NLK/p (Grampians National Park VKFF-0213)
  2. VK2EXA
  3. VK3TKK
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  7. VK5PL/p (Para Wirra Conservation Park VKFF-1739)
  8. VK5BJE
  9. VK3OHM
  10. VK5KLV
  11. Vk2KYO
  12. Vk2YK
  13. VK3ALN/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK5LA
  16. VK2VW
  17. VK3WAC/m

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5LA

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK8NSB
  5. VK2MBA
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK4/AC8WN
  10. VK4/VE6XT
  11. VK7PSJ
  12. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  13. ZL1TM

 

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2018, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/walpeup-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 14th November 2018

Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/walpeup>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpeup>, viewed 14th November 2018

Torrita Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2460

It was now day two (Saturday 10th November 2018) of our 2018 KRMNPA trip.  The weather forecast was for a beautiful day in the low 30’s (deg C).  Marija and I had a bit of a sleep in and left the caravan park at around 7.30 a.m. and headed towards the Cobb & Co Cafe in Murrayville for some breakfast.

First though, we stopped briefly to have a look a the old shops in Reed Street, Murrayville.  Sadly many are now empty.  One of the old shops of note is the old Nana’s Deli, which still has the old Holstens aerated drinks sign on the front window.

Murrayville is a small town with a population of about 350 people.  It is located about 22 km east of the South Australian/Victorian State border.  The town was named in honour of John Murray (1851-1916), the Premier of Victoria from 1909-1912.  The town was surveyed in 1910, with the post office opening that year, and the hotel built in 1911.  Murrayville’s main industry is cereal crops, sheep and cattle.  However, tourism is now an important income for the town.  It is an ideal base to explore the many nearby parks.

DSC_3222

Above:- Outside the Murrayville Hotel.

We paid a quick visit to the old Murrayville railway station, an old timber weatherboard building, which opened in 1912 and ceased operating a number of years ago.  In the park opposite the hotel, there are a number of information boards and an old horse drawn wagon which was used to cart bags of grain during the early years of settlement of Murrayville.

Murrayville is the birth place of former Olympic basketballer Rachael Sporn.  She played for the Adelaide Lightning and the Detroit Shock, and competed at three Olympic Games.

DSC_3224.jpg

After a quick look around the town we headed to the Cobb & Co Cafe for breakfast.  We enjoyed a nice brekkie of bacon and eggs.  The shop was originally run way back in 1911 as a Fruit & Vegetable shop.

After breakfast we headed east along the Mallee Highway.  Our first stop was Cowangie, about 19 km east of Murrayville.  The name “cowangie” comes from the Wergaia Aboriginal word “cow” meaning “white”.  There are a few points of interest here, including one of Victoria’s first Bush Nursing Centres, and the old Bakehouse which was opened in 1912.  The bakers oven has now been restored.

Our next stop was the town of Underbool on the Mallee Highway.  The town name is thought to come from the German word underbolt given to it by surveyor Dr. Neumayer when he camped there in October 1861.  The town was proclaimed in 1911.  There is a pioneer memorial here and a number of other displays.

We also travelled a short distance out of town to the Underbool cemetery to view the gates which came from the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.

We decided on our first park activation of the day to be the Torrita Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2460, which is located about  76 km east of Murrayville, and about 467 km north west of Melbourne.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 11.18.30 am.png

The Torrita Flora & Fauna Reserve is about 2.52 km2 in size.  It is located on the southern side of the Mallee Highway at the small town of Torrita.

DSC_3303

The park appears on some maps as the Nyang Flora Reserve.  A Post Office was opened at Torrita in July 1912, providing a regular mail service as a result of the opening of the railway from Ouyen to Murrayville a month earlier in June 1912.  The railway stop was originally known as Nyang until 1921.

Marija and I drove down Pole Road and found a track leading into the park.  It was a warm morning, so we set up underneath the shade of some trees and competed with the flies.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 11.18.15 am.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the Torrita Flora & Fauna Reserve, showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I started off the activation, calling CQ on 7.150 after Marija had thrown up a spot on parksnpeaks.  First in the log was Rod VK7FRJG in Tasmania, followed by the ever reliable John VK4TJ, and then Ray VK4NH.  I reached my 10 QSOs, qualifying the park for the VKFF program, in 10 minutes.  Contact number 10 being a QSO with Dennis VK2HHA.  This included a Park to Park with Alan VK3ALN/p who was activating SOTA peak Arthurs Seat VK3/ VC-031 in the Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750.

Marija and I then swapped the mic, after I had lowered the power back down to 10 watts PEP for Marija.  Marija’s first contact was with VK3ALN/p in VKFF-0750 , followed by Ken VK2KYO, Dennis VK2HHA, and then Ian VK5IS.  Marija’s 10th contact came 16 minutes into her being on air, a contact with Ray VK4NH in Queensland.  Marija logged a total of 19 stations before we swapped the mic.

DSC_3254

The flies here were absolutely relentless, and no matter how much Aerogard we applied, we couldn’t keep them at bay.  I ended up getting out my netting.

My first contact was with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.  I logged a further 17 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, before callers dried up.  I now had 27 contacts in the log, and was hoping to get my 44 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  We lowered the squid pole, and inserted the 80m links and headed off to 3.610.  Adrian VK5FANA had kindly placed a post for us, advising that we were about to head to 80.  John VK5BJE was first in the log on 80m, with a strong 5/8 signal from the Adelaide Hills.  This was followed by Ivan VK5HS, Peter VK2UXO, and then Ian VK5IS.

I logged 13 stations on 80m, and I was now just 4 contacts short of my 44.   So it was off to 20m.  I called CQ on 14.310 and Ray VK4NH came back to my call with a good 5/5 signal.  Contact number 44 was a QSO with John VK4TJ.

DSC_3260

Much to my surprise I had qualified the park for WWFF, with 46 contacts in the log.  Marija had also qualified the park for VKFF, with 19 contacts in the log.  It was time to pack up and head off to our next park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ALN/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-031 & Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  2. VK2KYO
  3. VK2HHA
  4. VK5IS
  5. VK2FHIT
  6. VK3ANL
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK2PKT
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK3MKE
  14. VK3WAC/m
  15. VK3MAB
  16. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK1DI
  19. VK7QP

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7FRJG
  2. VK4TJ
  3. VK4/AC8WN
  4. VK4/VE6XT
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK3ALN/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-031 & Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  9. VK2KYO
  10. VK2HHA
  11. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  12. VK7QP
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK5BJE
  15. VK5KLV
  16. VK5YX
  17. BK3BCM
  18. VK2UXO
  19. VK5SFA
  20. VK3SQ
  21. VK2VW
  22. VK5EMI
  23. VK3WAC/m
  24. VK3FRAB
  25. VK3MAB
  26. VK3LTL
  27. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK2UXO
  4. VK5IS
  5. VK5YX
  6. VK3WAC/m
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK3SQ
  9. VK5SFA
  10. VK3MAB
  11. VK3MKE
  12. VK7QP
  13. VK5NPP

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT

 

 

References.

Aussie Towns, 2018, <http://www.aussietowns.com.au/town/murrayville-vic&gt;, viewed 14th November 2018

Murray Mallee Touring Route, 2018, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/torrita.html>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murrayville,_Victoria>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rachael_Sporn>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underbool>, viewed 14th November 2018

A quick mobile activation of Murrayville Flora Reserve VKFF-2407

After tea on Friday night (9th November 2018), I decided to head out for a quick activation of the Murrayville Flora Reserve VKFF-2407, and book in to the 7130 DX Net.

I activated this park again on Saturday evening, and I will place info on the town of Murrayville and the park in that post.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 10.54.41 am.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Murrayville Flora Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I drove out of Murrayville on the Murrayville North Road, and found a small clearing in the scrub.  I ran the Icom IC-7000 from the Toyota Hil Lux, with 100 watts, and the Codan 9350 self tuning antenna mounted on the rear of the vehicle.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much DX around, but I did log 5 stations on the net, from VK2, VK4 and VK7.  I then moved up the band to 7.180 where I had a great chat for about 20 minutes with Ted VK6NTE in Western Australia.  Red was 5/9 plus into the mobile.  Kelly VK2KEL then gave me a shout, followed by Hauke VK1HW.

I then headed back to the cabin at the caravan park.  Marija had already headed off to bed, so I stayed up for a while watching Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 10.54.26 am.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the Murrayville Flora Reserve, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7RN
  2. VK4GSF
  3. VK2FALL
  4. VK7VZ/2
  5. VK4BOB
  6. VK6NTE
  7. VK2KEL
  8. VK1HW

 

 

Boinka Flora Reserve VKFF-2270

Our third park for the day (Friday 9th November 2018) was the Boinka Flora Reserve VKFF-2270.  The park is located about 39 km east of Murrayville on the Mallee Highway, and about 500 km north west of Melbourne.

This was to be another unique park for both Marija and I, and the very first time that the park had been activated for World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF).

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.39.03 am.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Boinka Flora Reserve in north western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Boinka Flora Reserve can be located on the northern and southern side of the Mallee Highway, at the little town of Boinka.  Don’t blink, as there is not much here.  The name Boinka means “flat black beetle” in the language of the aboriginal people of Lake Hindmarsh.

The town of Boinka was established in the early 1910’s, with the Post Office opening on 15th July 1912 when a regular mail service was provided by the opening of the railway from Ouyen to Murrayville a month earlier.  Town blocks became available for sale in 1912, with the average price at Boinka being £48.45.

Sadly, as is the case with many towns that Marija and I have visited, with the closing of the railway, came the death of Boinka as a town.  The town once boasted a grocers shop, blacksmith, boarding house and coffee palace.  The very first store was operated from tent where groceries were sold.

We stopped in briefly to take a look at the old Boinka State School which is listed by Heritage Victoria.  The school operated from 1913-1979.  Unfortunately we could not get inside the school, but were able to peer in through the windows.  The old school, which is now the community centre, contains the original school desks and a photo display.

The park itself is relatively small, being about 1.41 km2.  The Boinka Flora Reserve is listed within the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act of 1988 as being one of only two places in Victoria where Pale Myoporum, an erect shrub of up to 2 metres in height (widespread in South Australia), is known to grow indigenously outside of that location.

As we drove into the park I spoke with Tommy VK2IR who was operating portable on Windang Island, south of Wollongong.  Tommy was running just 5 watts, and had a beautiful 5/9 signal into the mobile.  Some photos of Tommy’s operation are below.

Marija and I found a clearing in the scrub and set up underneath the shade of some gum trees.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d for this activation, set at 10 watts PEP for Marija, and 40 watts for me.  Our antenna was the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, 7 metres at the apex.

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 9.37.20 am.png

Above:- Aerial view of the Boinka Flora Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Prior to calling CQ I tuned across the 40m band and logged Ade VK4SOE/p who was in the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471.  Ade had an excellent 5/9 signal to north western Victoria from Queensland.

It was starting to get late in the afternoon, and the band was opening up to Europe, so it was quite hard finding a clear frequency.  I eventually proppped on 7.170 and called CQ.  First in the log there was Simon VK2JAZ, followed by Peter VK2UXO with his normal booming signal, and then John VK4TJ.

DSC_3213

The 40m band was in good condition, although it was interesting to note that we worked very few Victorian stations and no South Australian stations.  I suspect we were a little too close for the propagation to be working for the closer in stations.  I logged a total of 17 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK4, before swapping the mic with Marija.

Marija was keen to get her 10 contacts to qualify the park for the VKFF program, and then hand back the mic.  And it didn’t take her long to do that.  Within 6 minutes, Marija had contact number 10 in the log, with a QSO with George VK4GSF.

We then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band.  I called CQ on 80m and this was answered by Peter VK3PF with an excellent 5/9 signal.  George VK4GSF followed, then Adrian VK5FANA, and finally David VK3FDZE.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m band, where I logged George VK4GSF, for a third band, and then Mark VK4SMA.

DSC_3212

It was now a little after 6.00 p.m. local time and Marija and I were getting hungry, so we packed up, with a total of 36 stations in the log between the 2 of us.  We will need to come back here to get our 44 contacts.  Hopefully we were able to give a few hunters a brand new park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4PDX
  5. VK2NP
  6. VK2HBO
  7. VK2IO
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK2POP
  10. VK4GSF
  11. VK3FDZE

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  2. VK2JAZ
  3. VK2UXO
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK2IO
  11. VK1DI
  12. VK7AN
  13. VK2HHA
  14. VK4FARR
  15. VK4GSF
  16. VK4PDX
  17. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK4GSF
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK3FDZE

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4GSF
  2. VK4SMA

As we drove back to Murrayville, we stopped briefly to have a look at the lone grave just off the Mallee Highway near Cowangie.  The grave is the resting place of a railway worker who died in 1913.

We headed back to the cabin to freshen up and then headed off to the Murrayville Hotel for a meal.

DSC_3218

Thanks to everyone who called us on day one of our trip.

 

 

References.

Mallee Highway Touring Route, 2018, <http://www.malleehighway.com.au/html/boinka.html>, viewed 14th November 2018

Protected Planet, 2018, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/boinka-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 14th November 2018

Victorian Places, 2018, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/boinka>, viewed 14th November 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boinka,_Victoria>, viewed 14th November 2018