2018 Oceania DX Contest

On returning to South Australia from my trip to Perth I found an email from the Oceania DX Contest Committee with the results of the 2018 Oceania DX Contest.

I entered into the Single Operator Low Power All Band-Phone category.  A total of 40 VK operators entered into this category.

I was placed in position 2 in this category and 6th in Oceania, with 279 QSOs and a score of 104,896 points.  Congratulations to Steve VK2NSS who came in 1st position.

Thank you to everyone who called me during the contest, and thanks you to the organisers of the contest.

VK5PAS 2018 Oceania DX Contest

VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 1,300 certificate

In the last few days, I have qualified for my latest VKFF award certificate.

It is the VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 1,300 certificate, issued for having worked 1,300 different VKFF references.

I have not been anywhere near as active this year in the WWFF/VKFF program for a variety of reasons.  One of those is the noise floor here at home.  I have gone from strength 5 noise on 40m to strength 9, making it almost impossible to work activators from home nowadays.  VKFF activators are now logged either from my mobile or when I go out portable myself.

Many thanks to all of the VKFF activators who have made this certificate level possible.

VK5PAS VKFF Hunter Honour Roll 1,300.png

Matilda Bay Reserve VKFF-2825

Marija and I arrived home late this afternoon (Monday 22nd July 2019) from our week away in Perth in Western Australia.  We spent 6 nights at the Hyatt Regency Perth.  This was NOT a radio adventure, but a one week holiday in Perth.

For overseas readers, Perth is about a 2,700 km drive from my home in the Adelaide Hills across the Nullabor Plain.  We flew via Qantas which took us about 2 and 1/2 hours.  The map below shows my home in Adelaide and Perth on the west coast of Australia.

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Above:- Map of Australia showing my home in Adelaide, and Perth on the west coast of Australia.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We activated just the one park while we were away, the Matilda Bay Reserve VKFF-2825, which is located about 6 km south-west of the Perth Central Business District.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Matilda Bay Reserve in Perth.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Matilda Bay Reserve is a thin strip of land which covers about 20.6 hectares between Hacket Drive and the Swan River.  The reserve extends from Mount Bay Road in the north to the windsurfing ramp at the southern section of the park.  It is located adjacent to the suburb of Crawley.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Reserve to the south-west of the Perth CBD.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Matilda Bay takes its name from Matilda Elizabeth Roe, the wife of John Septimus Rose, the first Surveyor of Western Australia.

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Above:- Matilda Elizabeth Roe nee Bennett.  Image courtesy of geni.com

Matilda Bay Reserve incorporates Pelican Point, an important breeding sanctuary for international migratory birds.  It takes its name for the pelicans which rest on sand bars at the end of the point.  Pelican Point was formerly named Point Currie after Captain Mark John Currie who in 1829 received an allotment of land in the area which became known as Crawley.

During the Second World War, the US Navy had a Seaplane Base at Pelican Point.   It was known as Pelican Point Advance Base “A” for “Able”.  QANTAS also used five RAF-supplied PBY-5 Catalinas at the Crawley Sea Base.

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Above:- A Catalina.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

It is reported that about 20 Bottlenose dolphins inhabit the Swan River and can often be seen from Matilda Bay Reserve.  The reserve is also home to numerous water birds including pelicans, swans, ducks, terns, herons and cormorants.

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Hans VK6XN kindly picked Marija and I up from Optus Stadium after a guided tour we had gone on there.  We drove out to Matilda Bay and set up in the carpark opposite the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

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Above:- An aerial view of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Royal Perth Yacht Club is the third oldest yacht club in Australia.  It can trace its origins back to 1841 when a group of sailors staged a modest regatta to celebrate Foundation Day.  In 1865 this original group of pioneer sailors formalised the Perth Yacht Club.

In 1983 an Australian syndicate representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club fielded the Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, against defender Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner.   Australia II won the match races to win the America’s Cup – the first winning challenge to the New York Yacht Club, which had successfully defended the cup over a period of 132 years.

For this activation, we ran Hans’ equipment, consisting of a Yaesu FT-857d and an end-fed wire and a vertical.

We were set up and ready to go by about 0720 UTC (3.20 p.m WA local time).  Maria placed a spot up for me on parksnpeaks and I started calling CQ.  Sadly we had strength 8 noise on 40m from the park.  It made it incredibly difficult to hear a lot of the stations that were calling.

First in the log was Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland region of South Australia, followed by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, and then Peter VK5PE.  I logged five stations before swapping the mic with Marija.  I know there were a lot of stations calling, but sadly the noise was shocking.

Marija’s first contact was with Gary VK6GC/m who was on his way to the park to catch up with us, followed by John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills,   Marija battled with the noise and logged a total of 6 stations from VK2, VK3, and VK5, before the noise got just too much for her.

I then tried my luck on 20m, logging 3 stations there, Scott VK4CZ, Allen VK3ARH, and Nik VK3ZNK.  But again I battled with noise, with strength 7 noise on the 20m band.

It was then off to 80m where sadly again we had strength 8 noise.  But this band did result in both Marija and I qualifying the park for VKFF with 10 contacts.  I logged 5 stations on 80m, whilst Marija logged 4.  The biggest signal on 80m was Ted VK6NTE who was strength 9 plus.

To finish the activation I headed back to 40m where I called CQ on 7.130.  Mark VK4SMA was first in the log, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Peter Vk3PF, Les VK5KLV and then John VK2FALL.  It wasn’t long before an Indonesian station popped up on the frequency, so I moved up to 7.135 where I logged Gerard VK2IO/8 and then Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.

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Above:- Marija VK5FMAZ on the mic battling with the noise.

During our activation, Gary VK6GC and his wife Veronica popped out for a chat.

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Above:- L-R: Hans VK6XN, Gary VK6GC, Veronica, & Marija VK5FMAZ

It was starting to get a bit chilly, so we decided to call it a day.  Marija had qualified the park for VKFF with 10 contacts.  I had also qualified the park for VKFF, with 22 contacts in the log.

We packed up just after 5.00 p.m. and Marija and I were dropped back into the city to our motel by Hans.  THANKS, Hans.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5PE
  4. VK34PDX
  5. VK6GC
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK5FRSM
  8. VK4SMA
  9. VK3SQ
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK2FALL
  13. VK2IO/8
  14. ZL1TM

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4CZ
  2. VK3ARH
  3. VK3ZNK

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK6ADF
  2. VK6GC/m
  3. VK6VCK/p
  4. VK6NTE
  5. VK6EA

It was dark as we headed back into the Perth CBD.  I took the photos below in the carpark adjacent to the Royal Perth Yacht Club.

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References.

Ozatwar.com, 2019, <https://www.ozatwar.com/airfields/crawley.htm>, viewed 22nd July 2019

Parks and Wildlife Service, 2019, <https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/park/matilda-bay-reserve>, viewed 22nd July 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Perth_Yacht_Club>, viewed 22nd July 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matilda_Bay>, viewed 22nd July 2019

Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752

Today (Monday 15th July 2019) I packed the 4WD and headed south to the Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752.  I have activated Tolderol previously, so today’s activation would go towards the Boomerang Award.

Tolderol is located about 77 km south-east of Adelaide, and about 12 km south of Langhorne Creek.

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After leaving home I headed south on Wellington Road, travelling through the town of Woodchester.  I then took Meechi Road and soon reached the Langhorne Creek wine growing region and then the town of Langhorne Creek which takes its name from Alfred Langhorne, a cattle drover who brought cattle overland from New South Wales during the 1840s.

Langhorne stopped to rest and feed his stock on the fertile local pastures, then referred by ‘overlanders’ as Langhorne’s Station.  The place where Langhorne traversed the Bremer River became known as Langhorne’s Crossing.  The first bridge built over the Bremer River in 1847 and the town surveyed in 1849, becoming known as Langhorne’s Bridge.

Areas known as Bremerton (Bremer Town) and Kent Town were encompassed in the broader area that became Langhorne’s Creek and later renamed Langhorne Creek.

In 1850 Frank Potts settled on the rich ancient flood plain of the Bremer River and planted the first vineyards in the district in the early 1860s.

Today the Langhorne Creek wine region is well known for the production of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.  These two red wine grape varieties constitute approximately 70% of the total vineyard plantings in the region.

I headed out of Langhorne Creek on the Langhorne Creek to Wellington Road and soon reached the turnoff to Tolderol.  This is well signposted and is located at the junction with Dog Lake Road.

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After a number of km I reached the intersection of Dog Lake Road, Mosquito Creek Road, and Marandoo Road.  Tolderol is signposted at this location.  I continued south on Dog Lake Road.

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I soon reached the first of two gates.  Today the gate was closed.  Sometimes you will find it open.  As the sign on the gate says, leave the gate as you find it.

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I headed slowly along Dog Lake Road with a number of obstacles along the way in the form of cattle.

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I then turned left at the dog leg in the road.  There is another park sign here.

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I then reached gate one of the park, the start of the Tolderol Game Reserve.

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Tolderol Game Reserve is 428 hectares in size and was first proclaimed on the 8th day of January 1970.  Initially, the reserve consisted of 226 hectares.  On the 26th day of February 1970, the land was re-proclaimed as a fauna conservation reserve.  Two years later on the 27th day of April 1972, it was reconstituted as a game reserve.  An additional 202 hectares were added on the 10th day of January 1980.

The reserve consists of extensive areas of samphire, reed and sedges with large open areas of water.  A series of seventeen ponds have been constructed which provide habitat for a wide variety of waterbirds.  The park is located on the northwestern side of Lake Alexandrina.

Tolderol is a highly regarded bird watching location,  The shallow basins, reed beds, lakeshore and grassy banks, attract a wide range of birds.  Tolderol is part of the internationally significant RAMSAR wetlands.  Tolderol is open for hunting during gazetted dates, however, it remains a critical habitat for protected birds.

As I entered the park a large flock of waterbirds were disturbed.  Initially, I thought it was me and the sound of the 4WD.

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But I then noticed a bird of prey which was flying across the pond and it was the cause of the other birds to take to the sky.

About 182 species of bird have been recorded in the reserve by Birds SA.  This includes Black Swan, Pacific Black Duck, Whiskered Tern, Straw-necked Ibis, Spur-winged Plover, Golden-headed Cisticola, Australia Reed Warbler, Latham’s Snipe, White-winged Tern, Spotless Crake, Baillon’s Crake, Ruff, and Long-toed Stint.

Below is a short documentary showing the wide variety of birds located in the park.

I took quite a few bird photos during my visit to Tolderol.  Some of those appear below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

During my visit to the park, I also observed a number of kangaroos.

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I travelled to the picnic area in the park.  There are three tables and benches here and plenty of area to stretch out a dipole.

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My operating spot was right alongside the northern shore of Lake Alexandrina which takes its name after Princess Alexandrina, the niece and successor of King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland.

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For this activation, I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 30 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole which was supported by my 7-metre telescopic squid pole.  I secured the legs of the antenna with some tent pegs.

After switching on the transceiver I tuned to 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use.  Ron VK3AHR came back to my call to advise that the frequency was clear.  This happens quite often where I don’t even get the chance to call CQ.  It appears that some of the park diehards sit on 7.144 waiting for activity.

After logging Ron I spoke with Brett VK2VW, Karl VK2GKA, and then Cliff VK2NP.  This was followed by a Park to Park with Mike VK6MB/3 who was activating the Bolton Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2272.

Contact number ten was with Ray VK4NH, just 9 minutes into the activation.  Although I had previously qualified the park it is always nice to get 10 and then 44 contacts in the log during an activation.

I logged a total of 24 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  It appeared that close in propagation was non-existent again, with just the one South Australian station logged.  That being Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  Adrian was very low down, 4/1, but was readable due to the low noise floor in the park.

I moved down to the 80m band and stated calling CQ on 3.610 after placing a self spot on parksnpeaks.  First in the log was Gerard VK2IO/5 who was mobile near Woomera in the north of South Australia.  This was followed by John VK5BJE, Sue VK5AYL, and then Peter VK3PF.  I logged a further 5 stations on 80m before callers on that band dried up.

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With 33 contacts in the log, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links for the 20m band.  I was about to start calling CQ on 20m when I saw a spot pop up on 40m for Mike VK6MB/3 who was now in a different park.

So it was back down with the squid pole and in with the 40m links.  I headed for 7.135 and logged Mike who was in the Moss Tank Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2394.

After working Mike I moved back to 20m and called CQ on 14.310 for about 5 minutes with no callers.  So I headed back to 40m for one final go on that band before packing up for the day.  Ken VK2HBO was the first to come back to my call, followed by Compton VK2HRX/5 mobile near Maree in the Far North of South Australia.

I logged a further 13 stations from VK1, VK2, VK4, and VK7.

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I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3AHR
  2. VK2VW
  3. VK2GKA
  4. VK2NP
  5. VK6MB/3 (Bolton Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2272)
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK4FARR
  12. VK3UH
  13. VK3MCK
  14. VK2ADB
  15. VK4FDJL
  16. VK3AWG/m
  17. VK2MG
  18. VK2AVT
  19. VK3MH
  20. VK5FANA
  21. VK2IO/5
  22. VK7LT
  23. VK2LEE
  24. VK3ZMD
  25. VK6MB/3 (Moss Tank Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2394)
  26. VK2HBO
  27. VK2HRX/m
  28. VK4RF
  29. VK4HA
  30. VK2TM
  31. VK2BHO
  32. VK4SMA
  33. VK2JON
  34. VK4VXX/m
  35. VK4/AG7WB
  36. VK1AMG
  37. VK4CPS
  38. VK2PKT
  39. VK7TU
  40. VK7DM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/5
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5AYL
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK3DNH
  7. VK3XPT
  8. VK3PTL
  9. VK5BMC

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/tolderol-game-reserve/>, viewed 15th July 2019.

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Alexandrina_(South_Australia)>, viewed 15th July 2019.

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek,_South_Australia>, viewed 15th July 2019

WWFF Activator 253 certificate

In the past week, I received another global WWFF certificate.  It is issued for having activated a total of 253 WWFF references and having reached 44 QSOs during each of those activations.

My current park tally is 307 park activations, with 256 where I have reached the 44 QSO threshold for the global WWFF awards.

Thank you to Friedrich DL4BBH the Awards Manager, and thank you to everyone who has called me during those activations.

VK5PAS Global Activator 253.png

Lowan Conservation Park 5CP-121 and VKFF-1052

I left Ettrick Conservation Park and headed for my next park, the Lowan Conservation Park 5CP-121 and VKFF-1052.  Again this was another park I had activated previously, so this activation would go towards the Boomerang Award and count towards my stats for the 2019 Top Activator.

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

I travelled along Glenburr Road and then Piggy Back Road and turned left onto Bowhill Road.  It wasn’t long before I reached the intersection with Gribble Bore Road.  There is a cairn here to commemorate the sealing of the Bowhill Road, and an old well and windmill.

I travelled east along Gribble Bore Road and soon reached the park which is well signposted.

The Lowan Conservation Park was established on the 9th day of September 1971 and was formerly known as the Lowan National Park.  The land was purchased by the South Australian State Government on the advice of “the Land Board and National Parks Council” from the owner “who were anxious to see scrub remain on the block.

On the 27th day of April 1972, the park was reconstituted as the Lowan Conservation Park upon the proclamation of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.  On the 2nd day of August 1973, land in section 73 of the Hundred of Bowhill was added to the conservation park.

The park consists of tall open scrubland and open mallee.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 88 species of bird in the park including Common Bronzewing, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, White-eared Honeyeater, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Weebill, White-winged Chough, Striped Honeyeater, Yellow Thornbill, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Gilbert’s Whistler, Magpie-lark, and Southern Scrub-Robin.

The park takes its name from the endangered Malleefowl which is also known as the Lowan.

I entered the park via one of the open gates on Gribble Bore Road and travelled down the 4WD track.

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I found a small clearing and set up my gear, the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the Lowan Conservation Park showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Once again I had very little if any phone coverage in the park.  I called CQ on 7.144 and within a short period of time, Deryck VK4FDJL came back to my call.  John VK2MOP followed, then Peter VK1JH on his way to a SOTA summit, and then Warren VK7WN/p on Bruny Island.

My first Park to Park for the activation came 13 QSOs into the activation.  It was with Peter VK3PF/p who was activating the Rokeby Flora Reserve VKFF-2428.  A few QSOs later I was called by Peter VK1JH who was now on top of his SOTA summit, Tuggeranong Hill VK1/ AC-038.  A few QSOs I had another Park to Park in the log, with a QSO with Rob VK4AAC/3 in the Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978.

I logged a total of 51 QSOs on 40m including three more Park to Park contacts: Ian VK1DI/p in the Goorooyaroo Nature Reserve VKFF-0841; Adam VK2YK/p in the Medowie State Conservation Area VKFF-1349; and David VK2JDS/m in the Sturt National Park VKFF-0470.

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I then headed off to 20m where I logged 8 stations from VK2, VK4, New Zealand, and Canada.  I was very surprised to be called by Marvin VE3VEE in Canada.

It was then off to 80m where I called CQ on 3.610.  Andy VK5LA in the Riverland was first in the log, followed by Marija VK5FMAZ, and then John VK5BJE.  I logged a total of QSOs on 80m including three Park to Park contacts with Ian VK1DI/p in the Goorooyaroo Nature Reserve VKFF-0841; Gerard VK2IO/5 in the Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755; and Peter VK3PF/p in the Sweetwater Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2200.

To conclude the activation I moved back to 40m.  I now had 68 contacts in the log.  I logged a further 14 stations on 40m including Max IK1GPG in Italy, and two further Park to Parks: Adam VK2YK/p in the Tilligerry State Conservation Area VKFF-1377; and Peter VK3PF/p in the Bull Beef Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2055.

It was now 3.30 p.m. and time to head home.  It had been another great activation, with 82 contacts in the log including 12 Park to Park QSOs.

Again, MANY THANKS to those who spotted me.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4FDJL
  2. VK2MOP
  3. VK1JH
  4. VK7WN/p
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK2CZ
  13. VK3PF/p (Rokeby Flora Reserve VKFF-2428)
  14. VK3MPR
  15. VK1JH/p (Tuggeranong Hill VK1/ AC-038)
  16. VK4SMA
  17. VK2NP
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK4AAC/3 (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  20. VK2VH/2 (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  21. VK2FGJO
  22. VK5LA
  23. Vk3PAT
  24. VK3MCK
  25. VK4FARR
  26. VK5BJE
  27. VK4CZ
  28. VK3MAB
  29. VK2KNV/m
  30. VK2DJP
  31. VK4TJ
  32. VK4/AC8WN
  33. VK4/VE6XT
  34. VK3ANL
  35. VK3ZNK
  36. VK3BHR
  37. VK5FANA
  38. VK3CWF
  39. VK6EA
  40. VK1DI/p (Goorooyaroo Nature Reserve VKFF-0841)
  41. VK2YK/p (Medowie State Conservation Area VKFF-1349)
  42. VK2PKT
  43. VK2ADB
  44. VK3SWV/p
  45. VK5PE
  46. VK2JDS/m (Sturt National Park VKFF-0470)
  47. VK3FLAK/p
  48. VK5IS
  49. VK5CZ
  50. VK3PF/m
  51. VK2KT
  52. VK7AN
  53. VK4MWB
  54. VK7DW/m
  55. VK4FDJL/m
  56. VK2YK/p (Tilligerry State Conservation Area VKFF-1377)
  57. VK3FRC
  58. VK3MKE
  59. IK1GPG
  60. VK4FGZA/2
  61. VK2ESG
  62. VK3MRO/m
  63. VK2QK
  64. VK3PF/p (Bull Beef Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2055)
  65. VK2KJJ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VE3VEE
  3. ZL1TM
  4. VK6XN
  5. VK6EA
  6. VK4TJ
  7. VK4/AC8WN
  8. VK4/VE6XT

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5LA
  2. VK5FMAZ
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK5ZX
  5. VK1DI/p (Goorooyaroo Nature Reserve VKFF-0841)
  6. VK2IO/5 (Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park VKFF-1755)
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK3SQ
  9. VK3PF/p (Sweetwater Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2200)

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/lowan-conservation-park/>, viewed 6th July 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lowan_Conservation_Park>, viewed 6th July 2019

Ettrick Conservation Park 5CP-267 and VKFF-1029

Today (Saturday 6th July 2019) was a beautiful sunny day ahead of some wet weather coming in from the west.  So I took the opportunity of heading east to activate some Murray Mallee parks.  The first park was to be the Ettrick Conservation Park 5CP-267 & VKFF-1029.  I have activated and qualified this park previously so today’s activation would go towards the Boomerang Award.

The park is located about 110 km east of Adelaide and about 33 km north east of the town of Murray Bridge.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ettrick Conservation Park in the Murray Mallee.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I left home at around 9.30 a.m. and headed east along the South Eastern Freeway to Murray Bridge.  I then headed north on Burdett Road and stopped briefly to admire some of the views of the Murray River.

I then turned right onto Glenburr Road.  This took me past a number of cropping properties and some old abandoned stone farm buildings.

About 4-5 km along Glenburr Road I reached the junction with Boundary Road.  This is the northwestern corner of the park which is not signposted.  I have mentioned this in previous posts, but do not get some of the surrounding scrub confused with the park and end up on private property.  There is a lot of native vegetation around the park which is not part of the Ettrick Conservation Park.

The Ettrick Conservation Park was established on the 31st day of October 2013 and is about 479 hectares in size.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Ettrick Conservation Park looking north.  The Murray River can be seen to the north of the park.  Image courtesy of Google Maps.

The park takes its name after the Hundred of Ettrick which was proclaimed on 4th May 1893. It was named by Governor Kintore who hailed from Scotland where there is a ‘Parish of Ettrick’ in Selkirk, derived from the Gaelic eadar-dha-eas – ‘between two waterfalls’.

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ABove:- Ninth Earl of Kintore, Governor Kintore.  Image courtesy of adb.anu.edu.au

The park is made up of open mallee with several species of Eucalpyt.  It is also home to one of the few remaining examples of tussock grassland in this part of the Murray Darling Basin.  The park is an important refuge for species such as the Malleefowl and Regent Parrot.

Birds SA have recorded about 65 species of bird in the park including Mallee Ringneck, Galah, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, White-browed Babbler, White-winged Chough, Peaceful Dove, Purple-backed Fairywren, Splendid Fairywren, Grey Butcherbird, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike, and Gilbert’s Whistler.

If you follow the main track through the park it will bring you to an old abandoned farmhouse which I suspect was the original homestead on the property before it was acquired by the South Australian Government as a park.

I travelled along a 4WD track which led into the park via a gateway (minus the gate) on Glenburr Road.  I found a clearing in amongst the scrub and set up my station comprising the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.  I ran about 30 watts for this activation.

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

I had very little phone coverage in the park so had a lot of difficulty in trying to self-post on parksnpeaks.  I called CQ on 7.144 and this was almost immediately answered by Hans VK5YX with a big signal from the southern suburbs of Adelaide.  I had forgotten to write down the park reference so Hans kindly looked it up for me.  Geoff VK3SQ and Brett VK2VW followed and I was informed that Rob VK4AAC/3 was down on 80m in a park.  So it was down with the squid pole and in with the 80m sections of the antenna and off to 3.640.  I logged Rob who was activating the Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978.

I then headed back to 7.144 on 40m and found that there was quite a pile up waiting for me.  I logged Lee VK2LEE, followed by Mike VK6MB/2 in the Kemendok National Park VKFF-1174.  About 8 QSOs later Rob VK4AAC/3 gave me a shout for a Park to Park on a different band.

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Within an hour I had 44 contacts in the log, with QSO number 44 being with Peter VK2FPAR.  A few QSOs after Pete I had my fifth Park to Park QSO in the log with a contact with Peter VK3PF/p who was activating the Rokeby Flora Reserve VKFF-2428.

I logged a total of 49 stations on 40m before heading over to the 20m band.  I called CQ and this was answered by Scott VK4CZ with a lovely 5/9 signal, although the pesky Over the Horizon Radar was present on 20m once again.  Hans VK6XN then gave me a shout followed by Ian VK6EA who has become a regular park hunter of late.

I logged 12 stations on 20m and then headed down to 3.610 on 80m.  As I had no internet coverage I was hoping there may be someone on that frequency monitoring.  And fortunately, there was.  John VK5BJE was first in the log, followed by Peter VK3PF/p in the Rokeby Flora Reserve VKFF-2428, and finally Gerard VK2IO/5.

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I had 64 contacts in the log in a little under 90 minutes and it was time to pack up and head off to my next park the Lowan Conservation Park.

A BIG THANKS to those who took the time to spot me during this activation.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5YX
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK2VW
  4. VK2LEE
  5. VK6MB/2 (Kemendok National Park VKFF-1174)
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK1MA
  9. VK3MCK
  10. VK2HHA
  11. VK2PKT
  12. VK5BJE
  13. VK4AAC/3 (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  14. VK2VH/3 (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  15. VK2NP
  16. VK2YK
  17. VK4NH
  18. VK4DXA
  19. ZL4TY/VK4
  20. VK4CZ
  21. VK4FARR
  22. VK2FADV
  23. VK4HNS
  24. VK4TJ
  25. VK4/AC8WN
  26. VK4/VE6XT
  27. VK3MPR
  28. VK2MJW
  29. VK4HAT
  30. VK1AT
  31. VK2CTG
  32. VK7FJFD
  33. VK6EA
  34. VK3XPT
  35. VK3CM
  36. VK3AHR
  37. VK7FEAT/m
  38. VK4MWB
  39. VK2XXM
  40. VK7NSS
  41. VK2MOR
  42. VK3ZNK
  43. VK2FPAR
  44. VK4FDJL
  45. VK3PF/p (Rokeby Flora Reserve VKFF-2428)
  46. VK7FRJG
  47. VK3LTL
  48. VK7VZ

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK4AAC/3 (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK3PF/p (Rokeby Flora Reserve VKFF-2428)
  4. VK2IO/5

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4CZ
  2. VK6XN
  3. VK6EA
  4. VK2LEE
  5. VK2NP
  6. VK4NH
  7. VK4DXA
  8. ZL4TY/VK4
  9. ZL1TM
  10. VK4TJ
  11. VK4/AC8WN
  12. VK4/VE6XT

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/ettrick-conservation-park/>, viewed 6th July 2019

State Library of South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 6th July 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ettrick_Conservation_Park>, viewed 6th July 2019