Catch up with VK5FLEA and Greg VK8GM

A few weeks ago I heard John VK5FLEA activating a nearby park, The Knoll Conservation Park.  John is a newly licenced amateur and has taken to park activating like a duck to water.  I decided to pay John a visit, as we had been promising to try to catch up for the first time.

On the way there, another mate Greg VK8GM gave me a call.  Greg and his wife were in town.  So I met Greg briefly at Mount Barker, and then headed to The Knoll, arranging to met Greg there as well after he had got a bite to eat.

It was terrific to catch up with both John and Greg.

VKFF Activator 250 and 275

After our recent trip to Victoria, I have qualified a few more parks for the VKFF program, and as a result have reached the next couple of levels in the VKFF program as an activator.  The certificates are issued for having activated a total of 250 different VKFF references, and 275 different VKFF references.

Many thanks to all of the hunters.

VK5PAS VKFF Activator Honour Roll 250.png

VK5PAS VKFF Activator Honour Roll 275

First ever VK contact on his birthday

A few nights ago I spoke with Tim 2E0TWG on the 20m band on the short path.

I was his FIRST EVER VK contact, and on all days his birthday.

Tim was running 50 watts and a hamstick antenna on the roof of his car.

Below is a video that Tim put together of the QSO……

And here is a video of our contact the following night…….

Edenhope Flora Reserve VKFF-2311

Our final activation for the trip was the Edenhope Flora Reserve VKFF-2311, located at Edenhope, about 384 km north west of Melbourne.

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

The Edenhope Flora Reserve is about 111 acres.  Do not get this park confused with the adjacent Edenhope Natural Features Reserve.

To get into the park we travelled along Charles Street and through a gate and then followed a sandy track with the golf course to our right.  The track was very sandy and I would not recommend it in a comventional vehicle, as it is highly likely you will get bogged.

We set up in the northern section of the park on the side of a sandy track.  There was plenty of room here to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

Screen Shot 2018-12-22 at 7.55.13 pm.png

It was quite late in the afternoon, 4.30 p.m. local time, and we were aware that we still had quite a distance to get home.  Marija placed a spot up on parksnpeaks and I called CQ on 7.144.  This was answered by Ray VK4NH who used his other 2 calls, and then John VK4TJ who also used his other 2 calls.  So in the space of 2 minutes I had 6 contacts in the log.

A few minutes later I had the park qualified for VKFF, with a contact with Scott VK7NWT.  I then logged Gerard Vk2IO mobile, before swapping the operators chair with Marija.


First in the log for Marija was Scott VK7NWT, followed by Ray VK4NH and then John VK4TJ.  Within 5 minutes Marija had qualified the park for VKFF with 10 contacts.  her tenth QSO being with Andrew VK2AR.

I then put out a few CQ calls on 3.610 on the 80m band and logged 4 stations there, David VK5PL, Adrian VK5FANA, Andy Vk5LA, and Kevin VK3VEK.  To complete the activation I logged 3 stations on 20m.

We then went QRT from the park.  Our apologies to those that may have needed this park, but we had a big drive ahead of us.  We will be back to get our 44 contacts from this park.


Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7NWT
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK4DXA
  4. ZL4TY/VK4
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4/AC8WN
  7. VK4/VE6XT
  8. VK1DI
  9. VK7PSJ
  10. VK2AR
  11. VK2IO

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK1DI
  8. VK2XXL
  9. VK7FTAS
  10. VK7NWT
  11. Vk2IO/m

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5LA
  4. VK3VEK

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/AC8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT

After packing up we had a look at the Aboriginal Cricket Team mural at the Edenhope College.  The aboriginal crickets practised where the college now stands before they toured England in 1868.  Local artists Win Forster and Ella McLaren are responsible for the artwork.

There is also a monument here commemorating the 1868 Aboriginal Cricket Team.

We also paid a quick visit to the Edenhope Visitor Info Centre which is houses in the former Edenhope Court House.  The old lockup building can also be found here.

Lake Wallace was our next stop.  It is located in Edenhope.  An annual fishing competition is held here.

We headed out of Edenhope along the Wimmera Highway and soon reached the little town of Apsley, named after Apsley House in London.  We visited the local cemetery where Murrumgunerrimin (Jimmy Tarpot) is buried.  He was one of the Aboriginal cricket team who toured England.  He is also the World Record holder, running backwards 100 yars in 14 seconds at the MCG on 28th December 1866.

Whilst in Apsley we also looked at the large Red-flowering Gum on Wallace Street which is listed on the National Trust of Australia’s Significant Tree Register for Victoria.  It is reputed to be the largest flowering gum in Australia.  There is also a c. 1870 wooden wagon.  It was used for hauling heavy loads around a farming property in the Kaniva district.

It was 6.00 p.m. local time and we decided to stop at the Border Inn Hotel at Apsley for a meal.  And I am very pleased we did.  I enjoyed some very nice crumbed lamb cutlets.

We then headed out of Apsley on the Benayeo Road and soon crossed the South Australia/Victoria State border.  The weather had now set in, with a big storm rolling in.  As a result, there were flocks of corellas, galahs and cockatoos on the road seeking out the pools of water for a drink.


As we approached Bordertown, the heavens had really opened up.  But it soon cleared and we rewarded with a rainbow.


Our final stop was Wiese’s Horse Dip.  It was built in 1931 by local landholders using timber from nearby bulloak trees.  Its main function was to control a parasitic itch in working Clydesdale horses.  This malady caused great discomfort to the Clydesdale’s manes and tails, so much so that they used to rub constantly against fences and so cause damage to many fence lines.  Horses were walked into the dip, and due to the horses size, the operators bucketed and sponged the solution over the horses to complete the task.

We continued along the Dukes Highway through the towns of Keith, Tintinara, Coonalpyn, Coomandook, and Tailem Bend.  And then onto the South eastern Freeway, passing Murray Bridge.  We arrived hom at about 9.45 p.m. local time, unpacked and went off to bed.  It was the conclusion of a very enjoyable trip.

THANKYOU to everyone who called us during our PARK and SOTA activations over the 2 week period.




Wikipedia, 2018, <,_Victoria>, viewed 22nd December 2018

Peter Francis Points Flora Reserve VKFF-2421

Our next intended activation was the Peter Francis Points Flora Reserve VKFF-2421 which is located at Coleraine, about 329 km west of Melbourne.  This was to be the first time that the park had been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

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Above:- Map showing the location of he Peter Francis Points Flora Reserve at Coleraine.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

As we drove into Coleraine, we stopped briefly to have a look at the Adam Lindsay Gordon monument on the edge of town.  It commemorates the 19th century poet, who developed a reputation as a distinguished horse rider in the town’s Great Western Steeplechase.  Poems related to the race are “The Fields of Coleraine” and “Banker`s Dream”.

We then stopped for a drinks and toilet break at the Coleraine Visitor Info Centre which is et in the old Coleraine Railway Station.

We then headed to the Peter Francis Points Flora Reserve, also known as the Peter Francis Points Arboretum Nature Conservation Reserve.  We travelled south on the Coleraine-Merino Road and then turned right into Top Hilgay Road, and then Points Road and entered the park.

There were some very nice views of the town of Coleraine as we travelled along Top Hilgay Road.

The Peter Francis Points Arboretum is 37 hectares in size and is a collection of native Australian plants.  There are more than 10,000 recorded Australian native plants in the reserve, including several threatened species.  ‘The Points’ gets its name from two peaks of land on the site.

The Points Arboretum was started in 1966 by Mr. Joe Wright, Shire Engineer, Mrs. Mary Hope and Mr. Peter Francis.

We travelled to the lookout which overlooked the town of Coleraine.  As we were running a bit short of time, this was to be a very quick activation from the vehicle, using the Icom IC-7000 and the Codan 9350 self tuning antenna mounted on the rear of the Toyota Hi Lux.

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Above:- Map of the Peter Francis Points Flora Reserve, showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet 

There were some nice views of Coleraine through the trees from the lookout.

First in the log for this activation was a Park to Park contact, with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.  Both Marija and I logged Gerard.  We then found Mark VK4SMA on 7.140, activating the Freshwater National Park VKFF-0187.

After both logging Mark I moved down to 7.135 and started calling CQ.  The IC-7000 was then just about rattled off the windscreen, as I was called Steve VK3NSC who lives at Coleraine.  I logged Steve and arranged to pop in to see him quickly following the activation.

I made my 10 contacts and then handed the mic to Marija.  We were keen to qualify the park for VKFF and then get down to say hi to Steve and then continue on our journey, as we still had a few things we wanted to see, and a long way before we got home.


Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  2. VK4SMA/p (Freshwater National Park VKFF-0187)
  3. VK3NSC
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/Ac8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK7QP
  8. VK2LX
  9. VK4KY/p
  10. VK7GN

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  2. VK4SMA/p (Freshwater National Park VKFF-0187)
  3. VK3NSC
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK7FJFD
  6. VK2LX
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK4/AC8WN
  10. VK4/VE6XT

After Marija had qualified the park we headed down the road to Steve’s home, where he showed us his radio shack.  Unfortunately we were a bit pressed for time and after a 20 minute chat, we hit the road once again.  It was great to catch up with Steve, who I have spoken to a number of times on air, but had never met.


Our next stop was Glenelg Fine Confectionary, a specialist chocolate shop in Coleraine.  We ended up walking out with a number of bags of chocolates.


We then headed north out of Coleraine on the Coleraine-Edenhope Road, with out next intended stop being the town of Harrow.  We soon reached the outskirts of Harrow where there is a monument to commemorate the 1836 expedition of the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell.  We also stopped at the Glenelg River at Harrow where there is another monument recognising that Major Mitchell camped at the location on 31st July 1836.  This part of the Major Mitchell Trail, and there is an information board here with a number of interesting facts.

We then drove into Harrow, a little town which was originally known as Upper Glenelg.  The name of the town changed to Harrow in 1854.  There are claims that Harrow is the oldest inland town in Victoria.


We stopped to have a look at the old log gaol, which was built in 1858 from locally sawn logs.  It was used by police up until 1869.

There is also a stone wall here which is the remains of a stable which is believed to have been used by Cobb & Co coaches in the early days of Harrow.


Also nearby is Kalang Cottage, a settlers cottage built in 1876.  It was shifted into the town of Harrow and restored.  The cottage contains pit sawn boards and a single roof under the iron.

We then visited The Johnny Mullagh/Harrow Discovery Centre.  The museum features numerous exhibits relating to the Australian aboriginal cricket team which toured England in 1868.  I suspect not many Australians would know that this was the first Australian cricket team to tour England, and was comprised of aboriginals.  Johnny Mullagh was a member of that team, and is buried in Harrow.

The museum also features the largest Sir Donald Bradman collection in Australia.  If you are a cricket fan, you could spend hours here.  We highly recommend a visit here.

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We also visited the Harrow Bone Yard which contains a number of funny headstones.

Harrow is a town which both Marija and I confirmed we want to revisit and spend some time in.  It is an incredibly historic town and the caravan park/camping area on the Glenelg River looked idealic.




Monuments Australia, 2018, <>, viewed 22nd December 2018

Peter Francis Point Arboretum, 2018, <>, viewed 22nd December 2018

Victorian Heritage Database Report, 2018, ‘Peter Francis Points Arboretum’

Wikipedia, 2018, <,_Victoria>, viewed 22nd December 2018