Marne Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0906

Our third and final park for the day was the Marne Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0906.  This was another park that Marija and I had previously activated from and qualified.  The park is located about 106 km northeast of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Marne Valley Conservation Park northeast of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Marne Valley Conservation Park is about 94 hectares in size and was first proclaimed on the 11th day of March 1976.  The major vegetation association being River Red Gum open forest.  The southwestern corner, along the eastern central boundary, and along the northern boundary the native vegetation has been largely cleared.  The park is bisected by the Marne River.

Prior to the establishment of the park, the land was part of the main Adelaide to Sydney stock route.

The Marne River was originally known as the ‘South Rhine River’ until 1918 when it was renamed due to anti-German sentiment.  It was named the Marne due to a 1914 German advance of troops was checked at the Marne River in France.  Anti-German feeling ran high during World War One and a Nomenclature Committee was set up to make recommendations for changes from names of “foreign enemy origin” to British or South Australian native names.   The Committee suggested ‘Pongaree River’ meaning ‘shade reflection in water’ but it was rejected by the government.

New-Australia-Map-3.jpg

Above:- An anti-German poster.  Image c/o NSW Migration heritage Centre

In pre-European times, the Ngarrindjeri aboriginal people used the Marne Valley as a route up into the hills to trade with the Peramangk people in the Barossa Valley and to cut bark canoes from the River Red Gums in the hills which had thicker bark than those near the Murray. The original name of the Marne River was Taingappa, meaning “footrack-trading road”.

Birds SA have recorded about 68 species of bird in the park including Galah, Adelaide Rosella, Mallee Ringneck, Brown Treecreeper, Noisy Miner, White-plumed Honeyeater, Striated Pardalote, Common Bronzewing, Purple-backed Fairywren, Red-capped Robin, and Magpielark.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Marne Valley Conservation Park.  The nearby turf farms can be seen.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

I have been to the park many times before and have always access it via Black Hill Road.  This time Marija and I decided to see if we could get into the park a different way.  We travelled down Muellers Road hoping to access the park via Havelberh Road.  However, the road had a locked gate and access was not possible.

We continued north along Muellers Road and turned left onto Sleep Track and headed west.  We then reached an un-named dirt road and travelled south down to the north-western corner of the park at Havelberg Road and Tamkes Road.  We travelled down Tamkes Road but could not find a suitable spot.  We also travelled east on Havelberg Road following the northern boundary of the park.  There was no shade so we decided to head back around to Black Rock Road.

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Above:- The northern side of the park on Havelberg Road.

Once we got to the Black Rock Road entrance to the park I noticed that a pedestrian gate and new park sign had been installed since my last visit.

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Above:- The Black Rock Road entrance on the southern side of the park.

There was plenty of room here to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.  We used one of the fence posts as a securing point for the telescopic squid pole, with the help of an octopus strap.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Marne Valley Conservation Park showing our operating spot in the southern part of the park.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Unfortunately, the static crashes had not subsided, nor had the contest traffic.  As a result, it was very hard to find a clear spot on the 40m band.  I called CQ on 7.142 and Mark VK4HYD called soon after, to be number one in the log.  Lee VK2LEE followed, then Wayne VK7NET, and then Mark VK4SMA.

But it was really tough going, and with just 9 contacts in the log, callers dried up.  It was at this time that I swapped the mic with Marija.

Marija’s first contact was with park regular John VK4TJ, followed by Lee VK2LEE, Andrei ZL1TM, and then Peter VK3PF.  Marija logged just one further contact, with Brett VK2WWV, before her callers also dried up.

We decided to tune across the band to see if I could work some of the ‘big guns’ in the CQ World Wide Contest.  The first DX station to be logged was Dan W7WA in Washington state.  Next was VK9NC on Norfolk Island, followed by KL7RA in Alaska.

KL7RA was so strong that I decided to get Marija to give him a call.  And with a legitimate 10 watts, Marija logged Alaska (after a few repeats of her call sign).  This was Marija’s first-ever contact into Alaska.

I then logged VK6LLL, K3EST in California, and VK4SDD.  I tried calling some of the other DX stations, but my 40 watts and little bit of wire just weren’t cutting through.

We then headed down to the 80m band where we logged a total of 16 contacts between the two of us, into VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

To complete the activation I went back to 40m.  I again tried calling some of the contest stations, but I just wasn’t getting through all the interference.  The band was extremely busy.  I logged just the one station K7RL in Washington.

It was now 8.30 p.m. local time and it was almost dark.  It was time to pack up and head for home.  We had activated three parks and made a total of 157 QSOs on 40 & 80m SSB. This included 43 Park to Park contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/AC8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT
  4. VK4SSN
  5. VK2LEE
  6. ZL1TM
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK2WWV
  9. KL7RA

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3KAI
  3. VK5BJE

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4HDY
  2. VK2LEE
  3. VK7NET
  4. VK4SMA
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4/AC8WN
  7. VK4/VE6XT
  8. VK4SSN
  9. W7WA
  10. VK9NC
  11. KL7RA
  12. VK6LLL
  13. K3EST
  14. VK4SDD
  15. K7RL

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK2LEE
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK5KLV
  4. VK3MCK
  5. VK5ZTS
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK3HP
  8. VK4SWR
  9. VK4CZ
  10. VK3HQZ
  11. VK7NET
  12. VK5WG
  13. VK2FAAY

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/marne-valley-conservation-park/>, viewed 29th October 2019

Family History SA, 2019, <https://www.familyhistorysa.org/sahistory/germanplacenames.html>, viewed 29th October 2019

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia, 2019, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Murray_River/marne-valley-conservation-park>, viewed 29th October 2019.

State Library South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/M.pdf>, viewed 29th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marne_River_(South_Australia)>, viewed 29th October 2019

Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932

Our second park for the 2019 VKFF Team Championship was the Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932.  The park is located about 121 km (by road) north-east of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ridley Conservation Park northeast of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After packing up at Swan Reach we travelled east back along the Stott Highway and then turned right onto Murraylands Road and headed south.  We stopped off briefly at the Marks Landing lookout.  There are some great views here of the Murray River across to the town of Swan Reach.

The Ridley Conservation Park is about 414 hectares in size.  It is a long narrow park measuring 10 km in length and 400 metres in width.  The park consists of two major vegetation formations:

  • 35% – Open scrub of Red Mallee and yorell with Murray Pine and areas of shrubland dominated by Hop bush.
  • 65% – Low open woodland of Native Apricot and false sandalwood, with an understorey of spear-grass and ephemeral herbs.

The park was part of the Travelling Stock Reserve which ran for about 5-10 km parallel to the Murray River.  This part of the reserve linked the stock market of Burra in the north of South Australia, with Murray Bridge to the south.

During 1966 when the land was being resumed and purchased for the purpose of national parks, the Land Board proposed that portions of the Travelling Stock Reserve be retained and dedicated as a Wildlife Reserve.  The park was first proclaimed as the Ridley National Parks Reserve on the 30th day of May 1968.  It was re-proclaimed on the 27th day of April 1972, as the Ridley Conservation Park.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Ridley Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Birds SA have recorded about 109 species of bird in the park includingWhite-winged Chough, Galah, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Brown Treecreeper, Southern Whiteface, Little Eagle, White-winged Fairywren, Regent Parrot, Striped Honeyeater, and Yellow Thornbill.

The park was originally set aside to conserve native vegetation and bird habitats, but in addition, the open areas of the park include a number of warrens of the Southern Hairy-nosed Wombat.  Other native animals found in the park include echidna and Western Grey kangaroos.

During our visit to the park, we observed one wombat, who was very quick on his/her feet but did stay still long enough for me to get some photographs (see below).

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We drove a short distance off the road into the park off Murraylands Road and set up under the shade of some vegetation.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- Map of the Ridley Conservation Park showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The 40m band was very busy due to the CQ WW Contest and it was very hard to find a clear frequency.  Compounding issues was the 5/9 plus static crashes due to storm activity around Australia.  I found 7.115 clear and started calling CQ.  First in the log was Ron VK3APP, followed by park regular Rob VK2VH, and then Peter VK3ZPF who is another VKFF devotee.

This was followed by Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361.  Marija also logged Gerard for a Park to Park contact.  Five contacts later and we were called by Alan VK2MG/p who was also in the Munmorah State Conservation Area.

I logged a total of 12 stations on 40m, with conditions being quite poor.  I then swapped the mic with Marija.

DSC_5835

Marija called CQ and this was answered by Rob VK2VH, followed by Adam VK2YK, and then Peter VK3PF.  Marija had quite a steady flow of callers which was very pleasing.  We also logged further Park to Park contacts with Rob VK4SYD/p and Scott VK4CZ/p who were activating the Samford Conservation Park VKFF-1639, and Deryck VK4FDJL/6 who was in the Frankland (South) National Park VKFF-0653.

Marija logged a total of 18 stations on 40m, before handing the mic back to me,  I called CQ on 7.115, but only managed 2 further callers, Steve VK3YW and Craig VK2KDP.  The contest interference became so bad that we decided to head down to 80m.

DSC_5838

Together, we logged a total of 10 contacts on 80m into VK3 and VK5.  This included a Park to Park contact with Mike VK6MB/5 who was activating the Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709 on the Eyre Peninsula.

I decided to have one last go on 40m.  But I was to be very disappointed, with just one contact logged, that being with Lee VK2LEE.  The contest QRM and the static crashes proved to be the winner.

We then packed up and headed off to our final park for the day, the Marne Valley Conservation Park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  2. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  3. VK2VH
  4. VK4AAC/2
  5. VK2YK
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK3PR
  8. VK1JH
  9. VK2LX
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK4SYD/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  14. VK4CZ/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  15. VK2LUV
  16. VK4FDJL/6 (Frankland (South) National Park VKFF-0653)
  17. VK2FAAY
  18. VK3MAB

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709)
  2. VK3BBB
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK3NBL

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3APP
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC/2
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  6. VK3CQC
  7. VK7PSJ
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK7JON
  10. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  11. VK3MCK
  12. VK2YK
  13. VK4CZ/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  14. VK4SYD/p (Samford Conservation ParkVKFF-1639)
  15. VK4FDJL/6 (Frankland (South) National Park VKFF-0653)
  16. VK3YW
  17. VK2KDP
  18. VK2LEE

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Marine Park VKFF-1709)
  4. VK2DJH/4
  5. VK3BBB
  6. VK5FANA

We drove west on the Black Hill Road and took a short detour into Shell Hill Reserve.  We have been here before, but it is a very interesting place.  Shell Hill is a deposit of oyster shells believed to be the only shell deposit of its type in the Southern Hemisphere.  It was originally part of a shallow sea which occupied the Murray River Basin millions of years ago.

During the early 1930s, a company called Ellis & Clarke realised the value of the shell as a fertiliser and work commenced on a crushing plant in the gully below the deposit.  A 50-metre long chute fed the plant from the shell deposit.  The crushed shell contained a high percentage of lime and was used in agricultural pursuits.  Sir  Thomas Playford, the South Australian Premier used a significant quantity for his orchards in the Adelaide Hills.  The plant ceased operation in 1946.

 

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/ridley-conservation-park/>, viewed 29th October 2019

Discover Mrray Mallee, 2019, <http://www.murrayriver.com.au/swan-reach/shell-hill/>, viewed 29th October 2019

Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832

Yesterday (Saturday 26th October 2019) Marija and I travelled up to the Swan Reach area to take part in the 2019 VKFF Team Championship.  We left home at about 10.00 a.m. local time and travelled the 145 km to Swan Reach which is located on the Murray River between Blanchetown and Mannum.

Our plans were to activate three parks: Swan Reach Conservation Park, Ridley Conservation Park, and Marne Valley Conservation Park.  We had activated and qualified all three parks previously.

Our team name was ‘The Walky Talkies’.

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Above:- Map showing our route to Swan Reach, via Murray Bridge, Bowill, Nildottie.  Map courtesy of Google Maps.

We travelled to Murray Bridge via the South Eastern Freeway and crossed the mighty Murray River on the Swanport Bridge.  We then took the Burdett Road, north out of Murray Bridge. We then took Hunter Road and headed east into the Murray Mallee region of South Australia.  Originally the Mallee region was covered in thick mallee scrub.  From as early as the 1880s, large expanses of the mallee were cleared for agricultural development.  It is estimated that about 80% of the land was cleared.

Our first stop for the morning was at Bow Hill, a little settlement located on the Murray River.  It was named after the Hundred of Bow Hill which was proclaimed on the 4th day of May 1893 and named by Governor Kintore after a town in Scotland.  Between 1911-1913 the town of Bow Hill had two blacksmith shops, a painter’s shop, a store, boarding house, a branch office of the Bank of Adelaide, and a wharf.  The town’s population was 181.

Today, Bow Hill is a collection of shacks, a general store, a community club, and is a popular water skiing spot along the Murray River.

We continued along Hunter Road and then detoured into the little town of Purnong.  The town was surveyed in 1911 and is named after an aboriginal word meaning ‘at the wide place’.  We had a look at the original bell which was used to summon the ferry.  This is the narrowest crossing on the Murray River.  Potato and onion production is widespread in the Purnong area.  Onions from Purnong are exported around the world.

We also travelled up to the lookout which affords magnificent views of the Murray River and the surrounding countryside.

We then drove a little further along to Len Kroeehn’s Lookout which has some terrific views of the Murray River, the third-longest navigable river in the world.  The lookout is named in honour of Leonhard Erwin Artjir ‘Len’ Kroehn.

Our next stop was the little town of Nildottie which is located on the eastern side of the Murray River.  The name is derived from an aboriginal word ‘ngurltartang’ which means ‘smoke signal hill’.  There is a general store here and an old English wagon on display.  The wagon was used by a local farmer, Alfred Gierke between 1909 and 1936.

Next was Big Bend Lookout which is located between Nildottie and Swan Reach.  Here you can view some of the amazing cliffs along the Murray River.  This is a popular nesting area for cockatoos and has the tallest cliffs and the longest single bend along the entire length of the Murray.

We soon reached the town of Swan Reach which was first settled in the 1850s and was originally the largest of five sheep and cattle stations in the area.  In its heyday, Swan Reach was one of the first riverboat ports in South Australia and was a loading port for grain and wool.  The town gained its name from the large number of black swans that once thrived in the area.

DSC_5805

It was about 12.30 p.m. local time and our tummies were rumbling, so we stopped at the Swan Reach Hotel for a meal.  Marija enjoyed her meal of salmon, whilst I had Kangaroo fillet.  The hotel has a very interesting history.  It was not a purpose-built hotel but was formed around the original Swan Reach homestead which was built in c. 1865.  There are numerous historic photos and stories on display in the hotel.

After leaving the hotel we took a quick drive up to Graetz lookout which overlooks the Murray River and the area opposite known as Tenbury-Hunter Reserve.

We then drove down to the ferry.  Whilst waiting for the ferry to return from the other side of the river we had a look at a stobie pole which shows the various flood levels.  What is a stobie pole?  It is a power line pole made of two steel joists held apart by a slab of concrete.  It was invented by Adelaide Electric Supply Company engineer James Cyril Stobie.

The 1956 flood is considered the biggest flood in the recorded history of the Murray and described as “the greatest catastrophe in South Australia’s history, despite there being no lives lost.  The flood involved the rising of waters in the Murray River and flooding of many towns in South Australia, New South Wales, and Victoria. The flood occurred due to higher than average rainfalls in Western Queensland and heavy rains in the proceeding three months in the Murray-Darling Basin.  Some areas were flooded up to 100 km from the natural flow of the river.  In South Australia, the flood water peaked in South Australia at Morgan at a height of 12.3 metres (40 feet)

DSC_5820

Above:- Stobie pole at Swan Reach showing the flood levels.

We boarded the ferry at Swan Reach and crossed over the Murray River, heading towards our first park of the day, the Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832.

We then drove west along the Stott Highway (Angaston-Swan Reach Road) towards Sedan.  The highway was named in 2008 in honour of Tom Cleave Stott, a long-time farmer and member of the South Australian State parliament.

After travelling about 13 km along the Stott Highway we reached the Swan Reach Conservation Park.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Swan Reach Conservation Park, northeast of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Swan Reach Conservation Park is about 2,017 hectares in size, with the majority of the area being an open area of scrub of mallee box, red mallee, and yorrell.  The remaining area comprises low woodland with false sandalwood and bullock bush over an understorey of spear-grass and ephemeral herbs.

A majority of the mallee scrub in the region has been cut for firewood, with the present vegetation being predominantly regrowth.  Some areas were completely cleared and now exist as grassland.

On the 28th day of May 1970, an area of 874 hectares was proclaimed as the Swan Reach National Park.  On the 27th day of April 1972, it was re-proclaimed as a Conservation Park.  A further 1,021 hectares of land was added on the 16th day of May 1974.  A further 122 hectares was added on the 25th day of January 1979.

Various native animals can be found in the park including Western Grey kangaroo, Red kangaroo and the Southern hairy-nosed wombat.  The elusive wombat was the primary reason for the proclamation of the park.

About 97 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, Southern Whiteface, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Australian Magpie, Malleefowl, Little Eagle, Crested Pigeon, and Inland Thornbill.

DSC_5824

We entered the park via the Old Punyelroo Road which runs off the Stott Highway.  It was a warm day, with the temperature being about 26-28 deg C, so we chose an operating spot underneath a tree.  For this activation, we ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole supported on the 7-metre telescopic squid pole.

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Above:- Map of the Swan Reach Conservation Park showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of Plot a route.

It was about 2.15 p.m. local time.  I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by David VK3HAQ in Portland in south-western Victoria.  This was followed by Nick VK3ZK, and then David VK5PL/p and Ian VK5CZ who were activating the Little Mount Crawford Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2884.  David and Ian were taking part in the Team event.  Their team name was ‘QRS Dot Dash’.  Marija also logged David and Ian.

I logged a total of 15 stations before swapping the mic with Marija.  This included two further Park to Park contacts with Mark VK4SMA/p and Murray VK4MWB/p who were activating the Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326.  Mark and Murray were taking part in the Team Championship as ‘The VK4 WIPeouts'”.  Marija also logged Mark and Murray.

DSC_5826

Marija then called CQ and this was answered by Rob VK2VH, followed by David VK3HAQ, and Mark VK3PI.  Mike VK6MB/5 then called in who was activating the Franklin Harbor Conservation Park VKFF-0807.  Next was Gerard VK2IO/p who was in the Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361, and soon after Alan VK2MG who was also in the Munmorah State Conservation Area.   Gerard and Alan were taking part in the Team Championship as the ‘QRParktivators”.

Marija had her eighth Park to Park contact in the log a few QSOs later.  This time with Ade VK4SOE/p who was activating the Sundown National Park VKFF-0471.  Marija now had 16 contacts in the log and callers had slowed, so we again swapped operating spots.

I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Perrin VK3XPT/p who was mobile, followed by Jeff VK3PT who was also mobile.  Deryck VK4FDJL/6 then called in from the Mount Frankland South National Park VKFF-0653.  A few QSOs later I was called by Neil VK4HNS/2 who was in the Nightcap National Park VKFF-0389.  This was followed by Rob VK4SYD/p and Scott VK4CZ/p who were in the Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493.  Rob and Scott were competing in the Team Championship.  Their team name was ‘The VK4midables”.

I logged a total of 32 stations on 40m before heading to the 80m band.  First in the log there was Mike VK6MB/5 who was activating the Franklin Harbor Conservation Park VKFF-0807.  Nev VK5WG then called in from the Mid North with a big signal, followed by Adrian VK5FANA.  John VK5FLEA/p, Ian VK5CZ/p and David VK5PL/p then gave us a call from the Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-0779.

With 8 contacts in the log on 80m and callers having dried up, I moved back to 40m for some final CQ calls on 40m.  I logged a further 8 stations on 40m from VK2 and VK3.  Last in the log was Darrin VK2FAAY.

DSC_5825.jpg

Between us, we had 71 contacts in the log from Swan Reach, including 31 Park to Park contacts.  It was a good start to the 2019 VKFF Team Championship for us.

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5CZ/p (Little Mount Crawford Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2884)
  2. VK5PL/p (Little Mount Crawford Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2884)
  3. VK4MWB/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)
  4. VK4SMA/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)
  5. VK2VH
  6. VK4AAC/2
  7. VK3HAQ
  8. VK3PI
  9. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Conservation Park VKFF-0807)
  10. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  11. VK3PT/m
  12. VK3MPR
  13. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  14. VK2XXM
  15. VK2PKT
  16. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  17. VK4HNS/2 (Nightcap National Park VKFF-0389)
  18. VK4SYD/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)
  19. VK4CZ/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Conservation Park VKFF-0807)
  2. VK5FLEA/p (Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-0779)
  3. VK5PL/p (Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-0779)
  4. VK5CZ/p (Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-0779)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3HAQ
  2. VK3ZK
  3. VK5PL/p (Little Mount Crawford Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2884)
  4. VK5CZ/p (Little Mount Crawford Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2884)
  5. VK2VH
  6. VK4AAC/2
  7. VK7NWT
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK2LUV
  10. VK4SMA/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)
  11. VK4MWB/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326)
  12. VK3SQ
  13. VK2PR
  14. VK3PI
  15. VK4JAZ
  16. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Conservation Park VKFF-0807)
  17. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  18. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  19. VK4SOE/p (Sundown National Park VKFF-0471)
  20. VK3XPT/m
  21. VK3PT/m
  22. VK4FDJL/6 (Mount Frankland South National Park VKFF-0653)
  23. VK3ZMD
  24. VK4HNS/2 (Nightcap National Park VKFF-0389)
  25. VK4SYD/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)
  26. VK4CZ/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)
  27. VK3CRG
  28. VK2PKT
  29. VK3NBL
  30. VK3FT
  31. VK7HCK
  32. VK7FJFD
  33. VK3ZLT
  34. VK3FCCK
  35. VK2LEE
  36. VK3FCMC
  37. VK2LX
  38. VK3MAB
  39. VK3ZPF
  40. VK2FAAY

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB/5 (Franklin Harbor Conservation Park VKFF-0807)
  2. VK5WG
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5FLEA/p (Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-0779)
  5. VK5CZ/p (Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-0779)
  6. VK5PL/p (Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-0779)
  7. VK3HAQ
  8. VK5BJF

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/swan-reach-conservation-park/>, viewed 27th October 2019

Flinders Ranges Research, 2019, <https://www.southaustralianhistory.com.au/bowhill.htm>, viewed 27th October 2019.

Mid Murray Council, 2019, <https://www.mid-murray.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=927>, viewed 27th October 2019

Mid Murray Council, 2019, <https://www.mid-murray.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=925>, viewed 27th October 2019

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia, 2019, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Murray_River/swan-reach-conservation-park>, viewed 27th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Mallee>, viewed 27th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stobie_pole>, viewed 27th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purnong,_South_Australia>, viewed 27th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nildottie,_South_Australia>, viewed 27th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swan_Reach,_South_Australia>, viewed 27th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1956_Murray_River_flood>, viewed 27th October 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stott_Highway>, viewed 27th October 2019

2019 VKFF Team Championship

THANK YOU to everyone who took part in yesterdays VKFF Team Championship.

Marija VK5FMAZ and I entered into the “2 ops/single tx/40 & 80m/wire antenna/100w or less” category.  Our team name was ‘The Walky Talkies’.

We travelled to the Swan Reach area (about 145 km from home) and activated three parks:-

  1. Swan Reach Conservation Park VKFF-0832
  2. Ridley Conservation Park VKFF-0932
  3. Marne Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0906

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 12.43.59 pm.png

We had a late start (2.15 p.m. local time on-air), as we did a lot of ‘touristy’ stops on the way up, and had a great meal for lunch at the Swan Reach Hotel.

We found band conditions to be very challenging.  There were long periods of calling CQ with no takers, huge QSB issues, very loud static crashes, and of course the contest traffic from the CQ WW Contest.

In the end, we made a total of 157 QSOs on 40m & 80m SSB.  This included 43 Park to Park contacts.

I will finalise the results in the next week or two.

Again, thanks to everyone who took part.  I hope you had fun.

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Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve VKFF-1701

On the Sunday afternoon of the Oceania DX Contest (Sunday 6th October 2019) I decided the noise floor at home was that horrible, that I would head out to activate a park.  I chose the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve VKFF-1701 which is located about 6 km south of Adelaide and about 8 km south of the town of Ashbourne.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 11.26.24 am.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve south of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve is not to be confused with its ‘bigger brother’, the Cox Scrub Conservation Park (which was formerly a National Park).  The Reserve is located a little further to the south on the Goolwa Road and is much smaller than the Conservation Park which is about 563 hectares in size.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 11.35.33 am.png

Above:- Map showing the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve, and the much larger Cox Scrub Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of National Parks SA

I have been unable to find any information on the Reserve on the internet.  The majority of the adjacent Conservation Park was previously owned by the late Mr. V. COX of Ashbourne, who preserved the area in a natural state for overwintering his honey bees.  In 1969 the land was purchased from Mr. COX on the condition that he was allowed to keep bees in the park.  This agreement was upheld until he passed away.

The Cox Scrub Conservation Park has an active Friends group who have a good website.  It can be located at…….

http://www.communitywebs.org/FriendsCoxScrub/history.php

During my visit to the Reserve, many of the native plants had started to come out in flower.  I only had my i-phone on this visit, and not the Nikon, so I apologise about the quality of the photos.

I drove down a narrow track running off the Goolwa Road and set up in a small clearing in amongst the scrub.  With a little bit of ‘bush bashing’ there was just enough room to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 11.29.09 am.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

I headed to 7.144 and found Ian VK1DI/3 calling CQ from the Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761.  I logged Ian who had a great signal, and Ian then kindly handed the frequency over to me.  Next in the log was Geoff VK3SQ, followed by Garry VK3VLA, and then Deryck VK4FDJL/6.

As this was a contest I was unable to self spot on parksnpeaks, and as a result, it was very slow going.   I logged 28 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7, before moving to the 80m band.

Just three stations made it into my log on 80m.  The first being John VK5BJE, followed by Adrian VK5AW in the Riverland, and finally Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.

I went back to 40m and had a tune across the band, but heard very few DX stations.  Somewhat disappointed I packed up and headed home.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1DI/3 (Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761)
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3VLA
  4. VK4FDJL/6
  5. VK3PI
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK7HCK
  8. VK3TNL
  9. VK3XPT
  10. VK3PT/m
  11. VK3NBL
  12. VK3AUQ
  13. VK3PF
  14. VK3RU
  15. VK2NSS
  16. VK2VH
  17. VK3MB
  18. VK7OT
  19. VK3MET
  20. VK3AVV
  21. VK3YAR
  22. VK5FMAZ
  23. VK2DWP
  24. VK5QD
  25. VK3FWDS
  26. VK2UXO
  27. VK3AQZ
  28. VK4FOMP/p
  29. VK3CLR
  30. VK3QA
  31. VK4PDX
  32. VK2KNV
  33. VK3ZM
  34. FK4QX
  35. VK2AU
  36. VK3KJ

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5AW
  3. VK5FANA

 

References.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia, 2019, ‘Cox Scrub Conservation Park PDF brochure’.

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cox_Scrub_Conservation_Park>, viewed 27th October 2019

2019 Oceania DX Contest

The 2019 Oceania DX Contest has been and gone for another year.  And this year I found band conditions really difficult.

download-1.png

The Oceania DX Contest is one of the longest-running contests in the amateur radio calendar.  It is an annual competition between radio amateurs to make contacts on the HF (shortwave) bands, specifically DX (long distance) contacts with stations in Oceania.

The contest ran for 24 hours from 0800 UTC Sat 5th – 0800 UTC Sun 6th October 2019.

Fighting off some bronchitis after my overseas trip, I had a very early night on Saturday night and as a result, I missed out on a lot of contacts.

I still haven’t done anything about a dedicated 80m antenna at home, so my handful of 80m contacts were made on my 40m dipole.

In the end, I made a total of 112 contacts on 15, 20, 40 & 80m SSB.  This was way down on my efforts in previous years:-

  • 2018 – 279 QSOs
  • 2017 – 497 QSOs
  • 2016 – 273 QSOs
  • 2015 – 400 QSOs
Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 12.31.10 pm.png

Above:- Bar graph showing my QSOs per band during the contest.  Graph courtesy of https://nces.ed.gov

I worked the following DX entities:-

  1. Asiatic Russia
  2. Australia
  3. China
  4. European Russia
  5. Hawaii
  6. Hong Kong
  7. Indonesia
  8. Japan
  9. New Caledonia
  10. New Zealand
  11. Taiwan
  12. Thailand
  13. Tokelau Islands
  14. Tonga
  15. Ukraine
  16. United States of America

The map below shows my contacts around the world during the contest.

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 12.40.56 pm.png

Above:- Map showing my contacts around the world during the contest.

The vast majority of my contacts were around Australia on the 40m band.

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 12.41.13 pm

Above:- Map showing my contacts around Australia during the contest.

I worked very little in the way of Europe during the contest other than European Russia and Ukraine.  Those contacts were made during the early evening on 20m on the shortpath and on 15m short path.  I did not hear any opening to Europe on 20m long path.

Indonesian stations were very well represented during the contest.  I heard numerous Indonesian stations on 40m during Saturday evening, but my 100 watts and wire antenna just weren’t cutting it with most of those stations.

Sadly there was no major opening to Japan on 15m, with just a handful of Japanese stations worked on that band.

Screen Shot 2019-10-07 at 12.41.50 pm.png

Above:- Map showing my contacts into Asia during the contest.

The highlight for me this year was working A35JT on Tonga and ZK3A on Tokelau Islands, both on the 40m band.

2019 VK Shires certificate

Hi all,
 
I checked the WIA website tonight and saw that I won the 2019 VK Shires Contest in the Single Op – Rover category.
 
I activated 6 parks in the Barossa Valley, Adelaide Hills, and the Fleurieu Peninsula in 6 different Shires.
 
Thanks to everyone who called and many thanks to the organisers.
 
Screen Shot 2019-10-04 at 7.58.55 pm.png