After packing up Marija and I decided to head north and activate the Danggali Conservation Park 5CP-052 & VKFF-0825. This was to be a first-time activation for both Marija and me.
The park is located about 350 km north east of Adelaide and about 90 km north of Renmark.
As we had never been out to the park previously, we were unsure what the condition of Chowilla Track was beyond out spot in the Chowilla Regional Reserve. We had hoped that if it was as good as it had been, then we would have sufficient time to get out to Billiatt, make some contacts, and get back before it was dark, thus avoiding the kangaroos and emus.
We found the track to be in generally good condition with some very rough corrugations in parts.
The countryside out here is brilliant, consisting of mallee scrub. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon with blue skies and some puffy white clouds. This is certainly very remote country.
It was slow going along the track as there were dozens of kangaroos and emus.
The track was well signposted with signs indicating that we were heading in the correct direction to Danggali.
After about 30 km drive on the dirt, we reached the Danggali Conservation Park.
Danggali Conservation Park was established on the 4th day of November 1976 and is 28,417 hectares in size. Located to the north of the conservation park is the Danggali Wilderness Protection Area which is 202,815 hectares in size. The Danggali Conservation Park and Wilderness Protection Area was classified as Australia’s first Biosphere Reserve in 1977. This was in an effort to conserve the area’s dense mallee scrubland. Together they protect over 250,000 hectares of high-quality mallee vegetation.
The park comprises the former pastoral runs of ‘Morganvale’, ‘Canopus’, ‘Hypurna’ and ‘Postmark’. It was named after the aboriginal people that inhabited the area.
The park consists of undulating plains and dunes with the vegetation being dominated by Eucalyptus Mallee woodland and forest with a Triodia understorey. In the south-east of the park, you can also find extensive Casuarina woodland. The park forms a core component of the larger Riverland Biosphere Reserve, formerly known as the Bookmark Biosphere.
The park contains numerous native birds including the threatened and declining species of the Black-eared Miner and Malleefowl.
We set up near the information board at the southern boundary of the park. Again for this activation, we ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.
We had absolutely no phone coverage here in Danggali as it was too remote. As a result, we were unable to self spot on parksnpeaks. After setting up I started calling CQ on 7.144 hoping that some of the park regulars would find me. First in the log was Stu VK2FMEM/p, followed by Andrei ZL1TM, and then Deryck VK4FDJL. Thank you to Deryck for spotting me.
We had about 50 minutes in the park, so I whizzed through the contacts as quickly as possible. Within 9 minutes I had qualified the park for VKFF, with contact number ten being with Adam VK2YK. I then worked Ken VK3UH and decided to swap the mic with Marija so that she could qualify the park.
After I had reached my 10 QSOs for VKFF I handed the microphone over to Marija. She called CQ on 7.144 and was answered by Ken VK3UH, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Cliff VK2NP. It took Marija just 5 minutes to get her 10 QSOs. Contact number ten was with Murray VK4MWB.
I then jumped into the operator’s chair once again and called CQ. I logged a total of 31 stations on 40m and was now just 13 contacts short of the magical 44 QSOs. But callers had dried up on 40m so I headed down to 80m. I was a bit worried as I was unable to spot myself. But my fears were soon allayed when Joe VK3EIR came back to my CQ call. This was followed by Andy VK5LA who kindly spotted me on parksnpeaks.
Much to my surprise, I ended up logging a total of 21 stations on 80m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5. Contact number 44 was with Yern VK2KJJ. Conditions around VK5 were exceptional, with 5/9 plus 20 reports received from Hans VK5YX in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, and Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.
I had qualified the park for VKFF & WWFF and had 52 contacts in the log. Marija had qualified the park for VKFF. It was now 4.30 p.m. and time to pack up and head back along the Chowilla Track.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3TKK/p (VKFF-2374)
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK1CT/p (VKFF-0844)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
We made the slow trip back along the Chowilla Track and the Renmark-Wentworth Road, enjoying a magnificent sunset. It was slow going due to other road users, namely kangaroos and emus.
After getting back into Renmark we headed to the Renmark Club for a meal. It is always a nice meal at the club.
It was then back to the motel room to watch a bit of footy on the television and then off to bed in preparation for another long day on Sunday.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, ‘Danggali Wilderness Protection Area and Conservation Park Management Plan’.
National Parks South Australia, 2019, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Murray_River/danggali-conservation-park-and-wilderness-protection-area>, viewed 24th June 2019
State Library South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 24th June 2019
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danggali_Conservation_Park>, viewed 24th June 2019