Red Bluff Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2426

Our second intended park activation for Sunday 4th August 2019 was the Red Bluff Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2426.  I had researched the park before leaving home and saw that it was quite remote and to get into it there was going to be a fair bit of ‘bushbashing’.  This would be the first time that the park had been activated.

The park is located about 90km by road from the town of Kaniva in western Victoria.

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

The Red Bluff Nature Conservation Reserve is about 3,900 hectares in size.  The park’s western boundary abuts the Victoria/South Australia State border, while its northern boundary abuts the Big Desert Wilderness Area.  Just over the State border to the north west of the park is the 270,000 hectare Ngarkat Conservation Park located in South Australia.

In 2014, Red Bluff Flora and Fauna Reserve and the Big Desert Wilderness Park were affected by large-scale fires.

To get to the park we travelled north on Taylors Road until we reached Red Bluff Firebreak Track.  We turned right onto the track.  Don’t turn left.  This will not take you to the park, but to the Border Track on the State border.

The track is absolutely 4WD only.  It is sandy and narrow and takes you through spectacular country.  There was a bit of water on the track in parts where we observed emus coming in for a drink.

After travelling some distance along the Red Bluff Firebreak Track we turned left onto the Red Bluff Track and travelled west.  We soon entered the track.  The terrain was starting to get a bit hilly, and as we were travelling on our own I did not want to get bogged.  So I did a 10 point turn and turned the 4WD around to face the way we came in.

DSC_9951

Marija and I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  I ran 30 watts output whilst Marija ran 10 watts.

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Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

This was a remote location and as such there was no internet coverage.  We were unable to place a self spot on parksnpeaks.  After setting up we tuned across the band and found Neil VK4HNS/p on 7.144 calling CQ from the Pooh Corner Nature Reserve VKFF-2878 in Queensland.

I then propped on 7.139 and called CQ.  This was answered by Peter VK3PF who informed me that Ian VK5CZ was up the band in a park.  Marija and I quickly tuned up to 7.154 and could hear Ian in there, albeit very light.  But due to the lack of man-made noise in both parks, we were able to work each other quite easily and logged Ian who was in the Caroona Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0875.

I then moved back down to 7.139 and called CQ, logging Cliff VK2NP and then Gerard VK2IO/5 who was activating the Flinders Rangers National Park VKFF-0176.  Marija also logged Gerard.

DSC_9971

I continued calling CQ on 40m and ended up logging a total of 37 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included Nigel VK5NIG/p who was activating SOTA peak Mount Gawler VK5/ SE-013.  This almost became an invalid contact as Nigel was very low down to me and somebody came up to relay Nigel’s callsign.  Unfortunately, this makes the contact invalid.  But Nigel persisted and I was able to legitimately copy his callsign and a signal report was also exchanged making the QSO valid.

I was just about to head to the 80m band when I was called by Jonathan VK7JON who was activating the Peggs Beach Conservation Area VKFF-2913 in Tasmania with his wife Helen VK7FOLK/p.  Both Marija and I logged Jonathan and Helen, and then left the frequency with them and we moved down to 80m.

I called CQ on 3.610.  Peter VK3PF had been very kind and had spotted my move to this band.  First in the log was David VK5PL, followed by John VK5BJE, and then Nev VK5WG.  Appropriately contact number 44 was with Peter VK3PF.  Contact number 45 was with Ian VK5CZ/p in the Caroona Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0875 for a second band.

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I had now qualified the park for the global WWFF program and it was time for Marija to pick up her remaining 5 contacts to qualify the park for VKFF.  Marija called CQ on 3.610 and logged Brian VK3BBB mobile, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Adrian VK5FANA, Andy VK5LA, and then Hans VK5YX.

Marija had now qualified the park and went on to work a further 7 stations from VK2, VK3, and VK5, including Ian VK5CZ/p in the Caroona Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0875.

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I then put out 5 minutes of CQ calls on 14.310 on the 20m band but had no takers.  To conclude the activation I moved back to 7.144 on 40m and called CQ, logging a further 2 stations from VK2.

It was time to pack up and make the journey back along the tracks and back to the Western Highway and our final park for the day, the Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve over the border in South Australia.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4HNS/p (Pooh Corner Nature Reserve VKFF-2878)
  2. VK5CZ/p (Caroona Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0875)
  3. VK2IO/5 (Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)
  4. VK7FOLK/p (Peggs Beach Conservation Area VKFF-2913)
  5. VK7JON/p (Peggs Beach Conservation Area VKFF-2913)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3BBB/m
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5LA
  5. VK5YX
  6. VK5AYL
  7. VK5BJE
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK6MB/3
  10. VK3ZNK
  11. VK2KJJ
  12. VK5CZ/p (Caroona Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0875)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4HNS/p (Pooh Corner Nature Reserve VKFF-2878)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK5CZ/p (Caroona Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0875)
  4. VK2NP
  5. VK2IO/5 (Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-0176)
  6. VK4CZ
  7. VK2LSB
  8. VK3UH
  9. VK2UH
  10. VK4SMA
  11. VK2FADV
  12. VK1MIC
  13. VK1MA
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK4NH
  16. VK4DXA
  17. ZL4TY/VK4
  18. VK7OT
  19. VK2RSB
  20. VK2TMO
  21. VK2AB
  22. VK1AT
  23. VK4RF
  24. VK4HA
  25. VK1VIC
  26. VK4TJ
  27. VK4/AC8WN
  28. VK4/VE6XT
  29. VK2UXO
  30. VK7KW
  31. VK2ABK
  32. VK7KT
  33. VK2PBC
  34. VK5NIG/p (SOTA Mount Gawler VK5/ SE-013)
  35. VK2LX
  36. VK7FOLK/p (Peggs Beach Conservation Area VKFF-2913)
  37. VK7JON/p (Peggs Beach Conservation Area VKFF-2913)
  38. VK2VW
  39. VK2KJJ

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK5LA
  5. VK3BBB
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK5CZ/p (Caroona Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1875)

 

 

References.

Bonzle, 2019, <http://www.bonzle.com>, viewed 7th August 2019

Parks Victoria, 2019, <https://www.facebook.com/ParksVictoria/posts/1199652090094748>, viewed 7th August 2019

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