Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2120

Our final park for Saturday 3rd August 2019, was the Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2120.  The park is located about 18 km west of the town of Nhill in western Victoria.

This was to be a first-time activation of the park.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park is officially called the Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve but is still signposted as the Diapur Flora Reserve.  The park is located on the Nhill-Diapur Road at the intersection with Lawloit-Diapur Road.  Diapur is situated on the Melbourne-Adelaide railway line and is the halfway point of the journey.

George Coles, whose son Sir George James Coles, the founder of the Coles empire, lived at Diapur in the late 1800s.  He built a store, a blacksmiths shop and a hotel here.

The park is home to Jumping-jack Wattle Acacia enterocarpa which is listed as Threatened in Victoria and Endangered in South Australia.

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Above:- Jumping-jack Wattle.  Image c/o Peter Tucker, flickr.

We pulled up on the side of the road and strung out the 20/40/80m dipole.  There was barely enough room to stretch it out due to the scrub in the park.

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

We were in the park just before dark so we decided to kick off the activation 80m.  And as it turned out that is where we stayed for the duration of the activation.

First in the log was Peter VK3PF, followed by Nick VK3ANL, Scott VK4CZ and then David VK5PL.  Within just 6 minutes I had qualified the park for VKFF with 10 contacts in the log.  QSO number 10 was with Adam VK2YK.

I logged a total of 33 stations on 80m before swapping the mic with Marija.

DSC_9914

Marija’s first contact was with John VK5BJE, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Marija’s tenth contact came 6 minutes into her activation, with QSO number ten being with Nik VK3ZNK.

Once Marija had logged her 10th contact I got back on air and was hoping to pick up my 44 QSOs as quickly as possible as it was starting to get late and we needed to be back at Bordertown to book into our accommodation by 8.00 p.m.

DSC_9920

It took me just another 12 minutes to pick up my remaining 12 contacts.  My final contact was with Paul VK3DA mobile.

As we had qualified the park on 80m and we were pushed for time, we did not operate on 40m or 20m for this activation.

DSC_9919

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3CRG
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4/AC8WN
  7. VK4/VE6XT
  8. VK3DBP
  9. VK5YX
  10. VK3ZNK

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3ANL
  3. VK4CZ
  4. VK5PL
  5. VK5WG
  6. VK2HRX
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK5FILL
  12. VK2MOP
  13. VK4MWB
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK4TJ
  16. Vk4/AC8WN
  17. VK4/VE6XT
  18. VK3SQ
  19. VK4SMA
  20. VK3MPR
  21. VK3MKE
  22. VK7BEN
  23. VK5AYL
  24. VK5BJE
  25. VK5FD
  26. VK2VW
  27. VK3CRG
  28. VK3CIB
  29. Vk3DBP
  30. VK3ZNK
  31. VK2FALL
  32. VK7ROY
  33. ZL1TM
  34. VK2LPF
  35. VK5YX
  36. VK5FANA
  37. VK2EME
  38. VK5KLV
  39. VK3VEK
  40. VK2POW
  41. VK5LJ
  42. VK2UMA
  43. VK3UFO
  44. VK4CAN
  45. VK3DA/m

Marija and I drove back across the Victorian/South Australian State Border into VK5.  We booked into our motel and then headed to the Bordertown Hotel for a meal and a few beverages.

IMG_2392.JPG

 

 

References.

The Wimmera Mail Times, 2019, <https://www.mailtimes.com.au/story/968911/diapur-launched-dynasty/>, viewed 6th August 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diapur,_Victoria>, viewed 6th August 2019

 

Nhill Swamp Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2412

Our fourth park for Saturday 3rd August 2019 was the Nhill Swamp Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2412.  The park is located on the southern side of the town of Nhill in western Victoria, about 376 km north-west of the city of Melbourne.

This was to be the first time that the park had been activated for WWFF/VKFF.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Nhill Swamp Wildlife Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving Boyeo we travelled south-east on the Nhill-Yanac Road and soon reached the town of Nhill.  “Nhill” is believed to be a Wergaia aboriginal word meaning “early morning mist rising over water” or “white mist rising from the water”.

Marija and I initially headed to the northwestern part of the park just to the rear of the Jaypex park.  There are a few interesting things to see here including the John Shaw Neilson memorial cottage.  This was the birthplace of the lyric poet, John Shaw Neilson (1872-1942).  He was largely untrained and only had a basic education, but became one of Australia’s finest lyric poets.  The cottage was relocated from Penola in South Australia to Nhill.

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Above:- John Shaw Neilson memorial cottage

There is also an aboriginal scar tree.  The tree was removed from the Western Highway at the Jerparit junction.  The bark was removed from the trunk of the tree in about 1800 for use as a canoe.

There is also an information board about the endangered Malleefowl which can be found in parks in western Victoria.

DSC_9860

There are a number of information boards here about the park and a boardwalk which takes you through the swamp.

The boardwalk was originally constructed in 1996, but was closed in 2012 due to public safety concerns.  To their credit, the Nhill community rallied to rebuild the boardwalk.  A Boardwalk Committee was formed to advocate for a community-led refurbishment.  Following two years of fundraising by the Rotary Club Nhill and the Lowan Lodge of Freemasons Nhill, the prospect of a new boardwalk was in sight.  Remaining funds were secured with generous contributions from Freemasons Victoria, the Victorian Government and Parks Victoria.  Refurbishment works commenced in 2014 and works were completed in June 2015.

Adjacent to the park is Nhill Lake.  This was the site of a traditional aboriginal Corroboree Ground where aboriginal people would meet and perform ceremonies, consisting of traditional songs, dances, weddings, trading and celebrations.  A meeting between aboriginal people and the first squatters Dugald Macpherson and George Belcher took place here on 4th January 1845.

Macpherson and Belcher understood from their meeting with the local aboriginal people that the place was called ‘nhill’, a Wergaia aboriginal word meaning the abode of the spirits.  The aboriginal people believed that the mist rising from the waters early in the morning were the spirits of their ancestors.

In 1879 brothers Frank and John Oliver obtained a licence to build a flour mill on a 3-acre site around the northwestern edge of the swamp.  Within months land was surveyed for the township of Nhill.  With its water for horses, on the inland route from Adelaide to Melbourne, Nhill earned its place as a stop on the Cobb and Co coach route.

During our visit to the park, it was alive with birdlife.  I took the photographs below of a pair of Red-rumped Parrots and an Australian Owlet Nightjar, the smallest of the nocturnal birds found in Australia.

Marija and I decided to drive around to the southern side of the park on the Nhill-Harrow Road, opposite the Nhill racecourse.  The park is signposted here and we found a 4WD track which led right into the park.

DSC_9864

We drove a short distance down the track and set up.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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

I called CQ on 7.144 which was answered very quickly by Grant VK2LX with his usual big signal and great audio, followed by Scott VK4CZ with an equally big signal, and then regular park hunter John VK4TJ.  It took me just 4 minutes to qualify the park for VKFF, with contact number ten being with Ray VK4DXA.  One of those callers was Max IK1GPG in Italy who was 5/7 and gave me a 5/5 signal report into Europe.

As we were running short of time Marija and I decided that I would push through and get my 44 contacts to qualify the park for the global WWFF program, and Marija would then come on air to get her 10 for VKFF.  Just 45 minutes into the activation and I had my 44th QSO in the log, a contact with Danny VK2ARO.

I had made contacts into VK1, VK2, VK4, VK7, VK8, New Zealand, Italy and the Canary Islands.  I was very happy to log Juan EA8YT in Tenerife in the Canary Islands off the north-western coast of Africa.  What was noticeable was the lack of VK3’s and VK5’s in the log due to the lack of close-in propagation.

DSC_9889

Marija then jumped onto the mic and also very quickly qualified the park for VKFF.  Her first contact was with Jim VK2FADV, followed by Adam VK2YK, and then Fred VK4FE.  Contact number ten was with Ray VK4NH.

Marija logged a total of 18 stations from VK2, VK4, and VK7, before I jumped back into the operator’s chair and called CQ on 3.615.  Conditions were excellent on 80m into VK3 and VK5, with a total of 15 stations logged.

It was just after 5.30 p.m. local time and we hoped to squeeze in one more park, and still had to get back to Bordertown, so we packed up and hit the road.

DSC_9893

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2FADV
  2. VK2YK
  3. VK4FE
  4. VK4GJW
  5. VK4SYD
  6. VK7PAL
  7. VK4SMA
  8. VK4FDJL
  9. VK2LX
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK4MWB
  14. VK4FARR
  15. VK7ZTA
  16. VK4CZ
  17. VK4PHD
  18. VK2SLB

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2LX
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/AC8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK2VW
  7. IK1GPG
  8. VK2BY
  9. VK4NH
  10. VK4DXA
  11. ZL4TY/VK4
  12. VK4MWB
  13. VK2TM
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK2YK
  16. VK4SMA
  17. VK2PKT
  18. ZL1TM
  19. VK4HNS
  20. VK1MA
  21. VK4RG
  22. VK4RF
  23. VK4HA
  24. VK4FDJL/8
  25. EA8YT
  26. VK4PDX
  27. VK2BAI
  28. VK2JXA
  29. VK2SLB
  30. VK4FARR
  31. VK7PAL
  32. VK2QK
  33. VK7ZTA
  34. VK7AN
  35. VK4MGL
  36. VK2OWD
  37. VK1AT
  38. VK4FE
  39. VK2CDS/p
  40. VK2PV
  41. VK4SYD
  42. VK2RSB
  43. VK4GJW
  44. VK2ARO
  45. VK2QM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3ANL
  4. VK3PF
  5. Vk5YX
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK2LEE
  8. VK5PL
  9. VK2CDS/p
  10. VK5KLV
  11. VK5AYL
  12. VK4CZ
  13. VK5LA
  14. VK3MH/2
  15. VK3MPR

 

 

References.

Monuments Australia, 2019, <http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/arts/display/32925-john-shaw-neilson>, viewed 6th August 2019

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

Boyeo Flora Reserve VKFF-2275

Our third park for the day was the Boyeo Flora Reserve VKFF-2275, which is located about 14 km north-west of the town of Nhill in western Victoria.  Again this was to be a first-time activation of this park.

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

After leaving Red Gum Swamp we travelled east on Broughton Road and then turned right onto the Nhill-Yanac Road and travelled south.  We soon reached the park which is located at the intersection of the Nhill-Yanac Road and McDonalds Road.  The park is well signposted.

DSC_9830

The park is a small piece of remnant bushland surrounded by cleared land for farming.  I have been unable to find out very much about this park on the internet.

DSC_9833

Close by to the park is the Boyeo Hall.  In the adjacent grounds are a number of plaques commemorating pioneers of the district.

Little remains in the area nowadays.  The Boyeo school opened in February 1884 in a temporary building on a 2-acre site.  In 1885 a timber schoolroom was erected with a 4 room residence attached.  The school closed in 1944.  The ruins can be located north of the Boyeo Flora Reserve, near the Boyeo Swamp Wildlife Reserve.

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Above:- The Boyeo school in the late 1880s.  Image courtesy of ‘Wimmera Way back When’.

We parked the 4WD on McDonalds Road and set up on the northwestern side of the road in a clearing in the scrub.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Boyeo Flora Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google maps

First in the log for this activation was Mark VK4SMA/p who was calling CQ on 7.140 from the Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427.  Mark kindly handed the frequency over to us and I started calling CQ.  This was answered by regular par hunter Rick VK4RF, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Andrei ZL1TM.

Two QSOs later both Marija and I logged Gerard VK2IO/5 who was activating SOTA St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 in the Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0427.  St Marys Peak is the highest point in the Flinders Ranges at 1,189 metres (3,901 feet).

It took me just 4 minutes to get my 10 contacts to qualify the park for VKFF.  Contact number ten was with John VK4TJ using his Canadian call.

DSC_9852

After logging John I swapped the operator’s chair with Marija who started calling CQ on 7.140.  This was answered by Grant VK2LX, followed by Keith Vk2PKT and then David VK2CDS/p.  It took Marija just 8 minutes to reach the 10 QSO threshold.   Contact number ten was a QSO with Ian VK5CZ who has just started to become involved in the WWFF/VKFF program/s.

Marija went on to log a total of 20 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

DSC_9832

I had ten QSOs in the log and a long way away from the 44 required to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  Marija placed a fresh spot for me on parksnpeaks and I got stuck into calling CQ.  Lee VK2LEE responded to my call, followed by Grant VK2LX, and Scott VK4CZ who was very strong.

I logged a total of 30 stations on 40m before callers dried up.  I then headed down to 3.615 on the 80m band and called CQ, logging a total of 9 stations from VK3, VK5, & VK7.

I was now just 6 contacts short of 44, and I decided to try the 20m band.  After a fresh spot on parksnpeaks, I called CQ on 14.310.  Anthony VK6MAC came back to my call with a good 5/7 signal, followed by Hans VK6XN who was also 5/7.  Unfortunately, they were my only callers.

I moved back to 7.140 and called CQ which was answered by Brendon VK3MH who was mobile in VK2, followed by Ron VK2ABK, and then Glen VK4FSCC mobile.  But that was it, with no more takers.  I was one short of 44.  I had seen a post on Facebook from David VK5PL asking if I could go back to 80m which I did.  I logged David for my 44th contact.

DSC_9853.jpg

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  2. VK2IO/5 (St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 & Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)
  3. VK2LX
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK2CDS/p
  6. VK2FSAV
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK5CZ
  11. VK7OT
  12. VK4RF
  13. VK4HA
  14. VK7FJFD
  15. VK5KLV
  16. VK3PF
  17. VK2LEE
  18. VK4TJ
  19. VK4/AC8WN
  20. VK4/VE6XT

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK3PF
  5. ZL1TM
  6. VK5AR/m
  7. VK2IO/5 (St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 & Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK4/AC8WN
  10. VK4/VE6XT
  11. VK2LEE
  12. VK2LX
  13. VK4CZ
  14. VK1MA
  15. VK7OT
  16. VK2AB
  17. VK7FJFD
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK7KW
  20. VK4FARR
  21. VK2PKT
  22. VK4BR
  23. VK5KLV
  24. VK3SQ
  25. VK2NJP
  26. VK3DMP
  27. VK4IY/m
  28. VK4MWB
  29. VK7EE
  30. VK7ME
  31. VK3MH/2
  32. VK2ABK
  33. VK4FSCC/m

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3KAI
  3. VK3GV
  4. VK7EE
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK5BJE
  8. VK7ME
  9. VK5PL

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MAC
  2. VK6XN

 

 

References.

Wimmera Way Back When, 2019, <http://wimmera-w-b-w.blogspot.com/search/label/Boyeo>, viewed 6th August 2019

Red Gum Swamp (Yanac) Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2427

Our second park for Saturday 3rd August 2019 was the Red Gum Swamp (Yanac) Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2427.  The park is located about 31 km north of the town of Kaniva in western Victoria.  This was to be another first time activation.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Red Gum Swamp (Yanac) Wildlife Reserve in western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving Miramparim, Marija and I headed north on Broughton Road until we reached the junction with Block 40 Road.  Broughton Road makes a sharp right turn here.  A few hundred metres up the road we turned into an access track which leads to the park and runs in between two paddocks.

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Above:- Access track to the park from Broughton Road.

We soon reached the southwestern corner of the park which was well signposted.

DSC_9817

The Red Gum Swamp (Yanac) Wildlife Reserve is about 220 acres in size.  It takes its name from the small town and area of Yanac which was named after the Yanac-a-Yanac pastoral run which was established in 1846).  The run had a homestead near the Yanac swamp which is about 4 km south-east of the village.  This swamp is not to be confused with the Red Gum Swamp.  It is believed that the name was derived from an Aboriginal expression describing bats flying at night.

Further European settlement commenced in the Yanac district during the late 1870s.  In 1880 a school was opened at Yanac South.   In 1887 a Methodist church was built and in 1905 a Lutheran church was opened.  In 1912 the railway arrived in Yanac.  By the late 1880s, the Yanac School had opened in the methodist church and a blacksmith was established.

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Above:- The Yanac railway station, c. 1940s.  Image courtesy of ‘Wimmera Way Back When’.

Due to the establishment of the railway, Yanac became a minor local centre, with football, tennis and rifle clubs.  In 1921 a public hall was built.  The Yanac general store remained open until about 1998.   In addition to the store, post office and silos, Yanac has a recreation reserve, a hall, a Uniting church.  The 1990s saw several closures in Yanac including the school (1993), the Lutheran church (1995) and the Salvation Army Hall (1998).

We set up on the western side of the park.  We found a gate, however, it was locked, so we climbed over the fence and set up just inside the boundary fence.  Again for this activation, we ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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

Prior to calling CQ we tuned across the band and found Mark VK4SMA/p calling CQ from the Lockyer National Park VKFF-0719.  After logging Mark I moved down the band to 7.139 and started calling CQ.  Cliff VK2NP was the first to come back to my call, followed by John VK4TJ and then Jim VK1AT.

It didn’t take me long, just 6 minutes, and I had contact number ten in the log, a contact with Gerard VK2IO/5 who was activating SOTA peak St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 in the Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176.  Mary also took the opportunity of logging the SOTA summit and Park to Park with Gerard.

I logged a further 6 six stations from VK2. VK3, VK4, and VK7, before swapping the mic with Marija.  This included another Park to Park, with Adam VK2YK/p who was activating the Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595.

DSC_9824

Having lowered the power down to 10 watts for Marija to work Adam VK2YK/p, we decided it was a good opportunity for Marija to stay in the operator’s chair and get her ten contacts to qualify the park for VKFF.

Marija called CQ which was answered by a number of the park regulars, Lee VK2LEE, Peter VK3PF, and then Ray VK4NH.  Shortly thereafter, Marija had ten contacts in the log with a QSO with Mark VK4SMA/p in the Lockyer National Park VKFF-0719.

Happy with having qualified the park for VKFF, we again swapped the mic.

DSC_9822

I called CQ again on 7.139 which was answered by Brett VK2VW.  It was once again clear that there was very little if any, propagation around Victoria and back into South Australia on 40m.  So with 29 contacts in the log, I headed off to the 80m band.

Marija placed a spot up for me on parksnpeaks and I called CQ on 3.610.  John Vk5BJE came back to my call with a good strong 5/9 signal from the Adelaide Hills, followed by Ken VK2KYO, and then Adrian VK5FANA.

We were cognizant of time and wanted to fit in as many parks during the day as possible, so my thanks go out to John VK5NJ and Peter VK3PF who gave me some of their other calls to go towards my tally of 44.  I also logged Gerard VK2IO/5 for a second band from St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 & Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176.

I was now just 1 QSO away from the magical 44 and I moved to the 20m band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Rick VK4RF, followed by Ray VK4NH and then Andrei ZL1TM.

DSC_9819

We had both qualified the park for VKFF and I had qualified the park for WWFF.  With a total of 59 QSOs in the log including 7 Park to Park contacts, it was time to pack up and head off to our next park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/5 (SOTA St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 & Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)
  2. VK2YK/p (Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595)
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK7OT
  9. VK2JXA
  10. VK4SMA/p (Lockyer National Park VKFF-0719 VKFF-0719)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Lockyer National Park VKFF-0719)
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/Ac8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK1AT
  7. VK2HRX
  8. VK2PKT
  9. VK2LEE
  10. VK2IO/5 (SOTA St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 & Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)
  11. VK3PF
  12. VK4NH
  13. VK4DXA
  14. ZL4TY/VK4
  15. VK7OT
  16. VK2YK/p (Hunter Wetlands National Park VKFF-0595)
  17. VK2VW
  18. VK2AD
  19. VK2IK/m
  20. VK7ME
  21. VK3MH/2
  22. VK2SLB
  23. VK5KLV
  24. VK2FALL
  25. VK7DW
  26. VK7AN
  27. VK2ARZ
  28. VK2RU/4
  29. VK2QA
  30. VK4FARR

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK2KYO
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5PL
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK5LEX
  7. VK5CZ
  8. VK5NJ
  9. VK5JN
  10. VK5/ZL1NJ
  11. VK3KAI
  12. VK3GV
  13. VK2IO/5 (SOTA St Marys Peak VK5/ NE-001 & Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. ZL1TM

 

 

References.

Victorian Place Names, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/yanac>, viewed 5th August 2019