Kiata Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2347

Our final park for our trip away was the Kiata Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2347.  The park is located about 361 km northwest of the city of Melbourne and 14km east of the town of Nhill.

Again this was to be another unique park activation for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

 

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 8.09.05 pm.png

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

 

The park is located just south of the town of Kiata.  The name Kiata is believed to have derived from an Aboriginal word describing summer heat.  Much of the Kiata area was taken up for farm selections during the early 1870s.  The township of Kiata was surveyed in 1876.  In 1879 the Kiata West school was opened, and in 1881 the Kiata East school was opened.  In 1884 an Anglican church was opened.  The railway line was opened in 1887, and later there was a hotel, a store and a blacksmith.

In 1903 Kiata was described in the Australian handbook:

Today Kiata is just a small settlement.  The former Little Desert Hotel is now closed, while the school closed way back in 1968.

The park can be located just to the south of the town of Kiata on the southern side of the Western Highway, the main highway between Adelaide and Melbourne.

 

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 8.05.59 pm.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Kiata Flora & Fauna Reserve looking west.  Image courtesy of Google maps

 

The park is about 197 acres in size and conserves a small area of remnant bushland which was previously widespread in western Victoria prior to the area being cleared for farming by European settlers.

The park was alive with Rainbow Bee Eaters during our visit.  A number were quite happy to sit up on branches just a short distance from where we were operating.

We accessed the park via Kiata South Road.  We took a 4WD dirt track near the cemetery.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

 

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 8.04.56 pm.png

Above:- AN aerial view of the Kiata Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

 

We only had a short time in Kiata, so I was hoping to whiz through the contacts as quickly as possible.  I called CQ on 7.140 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF who gave me his other two calls so I could reach the 10 and 44 QSOs quicker.  This was followed by Ivan VK5HS, Rob VK2VH, and then Ron VK3AHR.

Contact number ten came in just 5 minutes with a contact with John VK5NJ.  I logged a total of 28 contacts on 40m before Marija jumped into the operator’s chair.

DSC_7086

Marija’s first contact was with Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Ian VK5CZ/m, John VK5NJ, and then Ray VK4NH.  Marija’s tenth contact was with Peter VK3KAI.  Marija logged 15 contacts and had qualified the park for VKFF, so took control of the mic once again.

I logged a further 12 contacts on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7.  I now had 40 contacts in the log and was just 4 QSOs short of the target of 44.  I moved to the 20m band and logged 5 stations from VK2 and VK7.  My 44th contact was with Adam VK6GA/2.

DSC_7092

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5CZ/m
  3. VK5NJ
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK2LX
  8. VK3GJC
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK3KAI
  11. VK3GV
  12. VK5PL
  13. VK2IO
  14. VK2VH
  15. VK4AAC/2

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3KAI
  3. VK3GV
  4. VK5HS
  5. VK2VH
  6. VK4AAC/2
  7. VK3AHR
  8. VK2VW
  9. VK5FANA
  10. VK5NJ
  11. VK5WG
  12. VK2LX
  13. VK4NH
  14. VK4DXA
  15. ZL4TY/VK4
  16. VK5PL
  17. VK4TJ
  18. VK4/AC8WN
  19. VK4/VE6XT
  20. VK4SSN
  21. VK3PAT
  22. VK3SQ
  23. VK3ATO
  24. VK5KLV
  25. VK3AXF
  26. VK5WU
  27. VK5LA
  28. VK5CZ/m
  29. VK5JN
  30. VK2NJ/5
  31. VK2UXO
  32. VK5YX
  33. VK7LG
  34. VK7PSJ
  35. VK3FKL
  36. VK2PKT
  37. VK5ZLG
  38. VK3PWG
  39. VK2YK
  40. VK4FDJL/5

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2LX
  2. VK2YK
  3. VK7LG
  4. VK6GA/2
  5. VK2IO

We packed up and headed into the town of Nhill and went to the Australian Pinball Museum.

DSC_7098

The museum features pinball machines from a wide range of eras.

Some of the classic machines include Kiss (1979), Playboy (2002), and Star Wars (2017).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The museum also features original pinball advertising memorabilia such as original advertising flyers, posters, and promotional products.

Below are a few videos I took in the museum.

We continued west and into the little town of Keith.  It was just a little before 6.00 p.m. local time and we planned on having a meal at the local pub, so we had a bit of time to have a look around the town.  One of the interesting sights in a landrover on a pole.

During the 1940s, the CSIRO found prosperity in the area. With the addition of trace elements, the area became a very productive area. The AMP Society funded the clearing of land to set up farming establishments.  There is also a display telling the story of the AMP Land Development Scheme.

We had a look at Pilmore Park where you can find a memorial for Andy Caldecott who was an off-road motorcycle racer.  He was born in Keith in 1964 and died in 2006 from a neck injury sustained in a crash in the Dakar Rally.

In the park, you can also see a Centurion army tank which spent the majority of its working life in the 1st Armoured Regiment and also saw service in Vietnam from late 1969.

We enjoyed a beautiful meal at the Keith Hotel.  I had kangaroo which was cooked to perfection, while Marija had salmon.

We continued west and stopped briefly at Culburra which was once a thriving self-supporting township.  Today very little remains, but there is a very interesting information board in the town which tells the story of the town.

We arrived home at around 9.00 p.m.

THANK YOU to everyone who called us during our 4 days away.  We had a lot of fun.

 

 

References.

Victorian Places, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/kiata>, viewed 10th December 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Caldecott>, viewed 10th December 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith,_South_Australia>, viewed 10th December 2019

Glenlee Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2323

Our third park for Monday (2nd December 2019) was the Glenlee Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2323.  The park is located about 371 km northwest of the city of Melbourne and about 19 km south of the town of Jeparit.

This was to be another first-time activation for the World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFFO) program.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 7.48.44 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Glenlee Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Glenlee Flora & Fauna Reserve is a large park comprising about 1,369 acres of remnant scrub which is split into blocks.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 7.52.46 pm.png

Above:- An aerial shot of the park looking north.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

The park consists of Buloke, Box, Cypress Pine and Sugar Gum.

During our visit to the park, we encounter the resident Hooded Robins and a bird of prey who was being harassed by some smaller birds.

We set up on a track in the northern section of the park.  Our operating equipment was the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole supported on the 7-metre telescopic squid pole.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 7.50.11 pm.png

Above:- An aerial shot of the Glenlee Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

I kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144.  First in the log was Peter VK3PF, followed by Rob VK2VH, and then Grant VK2LX.  Seven minutes into the activation and I had qualified the park for VKFF with a contact with Ian VK5CZ who has recently become a regular park activator and hunter.

I logged a total of 30 QSOs on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  I then handed over the mic to Marija.

DSC_6985

Marija called CQ on 7.144 and logged John VK5NJ, Adrian VK5FANA, Ian VK5CZ, and then Rob VK2VH.  About five minutes later Marija had qualified the park for VKFF with a contact with regular park hunter Grant VK2LX.

Marija logged a total of 23 stations on 40m before I jumped back into the operator’s chair.

DSC_6989

I logged a further 7 stations before heading off to the 20m band.  I logged a total of 12 stations on 20m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  Contact number 44 was with Ray VK4NH.  I then moved to 80m where a number of CQ calls resulted in just the one contact with Ivan VK5HS.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 21.244 on the 15m band where I logged a total of 6 stations from VK2, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

DSC_6987

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5NJ
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5CZ
  4. VK2VH
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK5PL
  7. VK3AHR
  8. VK3AZN
  9. VK2PI
  10. VK2LX
  11. VK3UH
  12. VK5KLV
  13. VK7OT
  14. VK3MIJ
  15. VK5WU
  16. VK3PF
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK4NH
  19. VK4DXA
  20. ZL4TY/VK4
  21. VK5HS
  22. VK5KBJ
  23. VK5JP

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC/2
  4. VK2LX
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK7OT
  7. VK2IO
  8. VK5LA
  9. VK5HS
  10. VK5CZ
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK2VW
  15. VK5NJ
  16. VK5PL
  17. VK3MCK
  18. VK5WG
  19. VK4FDJL/5
  20. VK3UH
  21. VK3FCMC
  22. VK2YK
  23. VK5FAAH
  24. VK3AHR
  25. VK4TJ
  26. VK4/AC8WN
  27. VK4/VE6XT
  28. VK4SSN
  29. VK3PI
  30. VK3MIJ
  31. VK3SQ
  32. VK5KBJ
  33. VK3BCM
  34. VK3AZN
  35. VK5KLV
  36. VK3KAI
  37. VK3GV

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3KAI
  3. VK3GV
  4. VK5WG
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK2LX
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK2IO
  12. VK3EKA

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK7JON
  2. VK4NH
  3. VK4DXA
  4. ZL4TY/VK4
  5. VK2VW
  6. VK5FANA

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/glenlee-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 10th December 2019

Gerang Gerung North Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2319

Our second park for the day (Monday 2nd December 2019) was the Gerang Gerung North Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2319 which is located about 353 km northwest of the city of Melbourne.

This was to be a first-time activation of the park for the World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 7.25.20 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Gerang Gerung Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

As we drove along the Gerang-Glenlee Road we saw two signs.  The first was for Mallee Dam Flora Reserve and a little further on was a sign for Gerang-Gerung Recreation Reserve.  We consulted the maps and confirmed that we were in the right place and this was, in fact, the Gerang Gerung Flora and Fauna Reserve.

The park is located on the northern side of the Western Highway, the main highway between Adelaide and Melbourne.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 3.16.17 pm.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Gerang Gerung Flora & Fauna Reserve, looking west.  Image courtesy of Google Maps.

The park is about 267 acres in size and conserves a piece of remnant bush surrounded by cleared farming land.  Angle Road and the Gerang-Glenlee Road dissect the park.

We drove down a dirt track on the northern side of the park and set up amongst a clearing in the scrub.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 7.32.29 pm.png

Above:- An aerial shot of the Gerang Gerung North Flora & Fauna Reserve showing out operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, Grant VK2LX, and Rob VK2VH.  Contact number ten came 5 minutes into the activation, with a QSO with Adrian VK5FANA.

Despite it being a weekday, there was a steady flow of callers.  The 40m band was in good shape again, with close-in propagation existing again into VK5 and around VK3.

DSC_6982

With 20 contacts in the log, it was time for Maija to qualify the park for VKFF.  Marija called CQ on 7.140 and this was answered by regular park hunter Peter VK3PF, followed by another regular Don VK3MCK, Chris VK3PAT, and then Ron VK3AHR.

Marija’s tenth contact came just 6 minutes after calling CQ, with a QSO with Les VK5KLV.  Marija logged a total of 13 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, and VK5, before we again swapped the mic.

I logged a further 9 stations on 40m before heading to the 20m band.  First in the log on 20m was ‘Mr. Reliable’ John VK4TJ with a good 5/7 signal.  I logged a total of 9 stations on 20m.  I was very surprised to be able to work David VK5PL in the lower Barossa Valley and Les VK5KLV in Port Augusta.

I then moved to 80m, logging 4 stations from VK2, VK3, and VK5.  To finish off the activation I tried 15m where I logged four contacts, all from Queensland.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3MCK
  3. VK3PAT
  4. VK3AHR
  5. VK2VH
  6. VK4AAC/2
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK2VK
  9. VK2VW
  10. VK5KLV
  11. VK5WG
  12. VK5LA
  13. VK3SQ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK2LX
  4. VK2VH
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK5QD
  8. VK5WG
  9. VK2VW
  10. VK5FANA
  11. VK5PL
  12. VK3ZLT
  13. VK5HS
  14. VK5WU
  15. VK4TJ
  16. VK4/AC8WN
  17. VK4/VE6XT
  18. VK4SSN
  19. VK3UH
  20. VK2YK
  21. VK4FDJL/5
  22. VK3AHR
  23. VK5FRSM
  24. VK2UXO
  25. VK5LA
  26. VK5KLV
  27. VK3PAT
  28. VK5NJ
  29. VK3DRT

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/Ac8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT
  4. VK4SSN
  5. VK2LX
  6. VK5PL
  7. VK2IO
  8. VK2VW
  9. VK5KLV

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2VH
  4. VK4AAC/2

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4TJ

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/gerang-gerung-north-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 10th December 2019

Gerang Gerung South Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2320

It was now Monday (2nd December 2019) and time for us to head home.  We had planned to activate about four parks on the way home to the Adelaide Hills, all dependent upon time.

To start the day we again headed to the Dimboola cafe and enjoyed breakfast consisting of bacon & eggs and some nice hot coffee.

Our first park activation of the day was the Gerang Gerung Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2320, which is located about 353 km northwest of Melbourne, and about 17 km west of the town of Dimboola.

This was to be another first-time park activation for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 1.04.54 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Gerang Gerung South Flora & Fauna Reserve in western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Our first stop for the day was Loch lel (Pink Lake) which is located on the Western Highway between Dimboola and Gerang Gerung.  The small circular, salt lake received its name from its distinctive pink colour, with the brightness of the hue varying according to the level of rainfall.

We continued west along the Western Highway and soon reached the little town of Gerang Gerung.  The name Gerang Gerung is believed to be derived from an Aboriginal word meaning leaf or branch.  European settlement of the area commenced as early as 1846.  Farms were first taken up in the area in the 1870s.  A water storage reserve was established in 1881 and this was followed soon after by the opening of the Junction Hotel.  A school was then built and in 1887 when the railway line was established, the town of Gerang Gerung was surveyed.

Pastoral occupation began in 1846 and closer-settlement farms were first taken up in 1874. In 1881 a water-storage reserve was established, and soon afterwards the nearby Junction Hotel was opened. Three years later a school was built and, in 1887 when the railway line was put through, the village of Gerang Gerung was surveyed.  This coincided with the opening of a General Store, a Bible Christian church, public hall, blacksmith and a saleyards.

The Australian Handbook of 1903 described Gerang Gerung as follows…..

Today not much remains of Gerang Gerung.  The hotel closed in 1958, while the store and post office closed in 1985 and 1988 respectively.  The school closed in 1993.

On the corner of the Western Highway and Clark Road we saw a sign for Junction Dam Flora Reserve.  It appears that this is the old name of the park and the sign has never been updated.

DSC_6923

Gerang Gerung (South) Flora & Fauna Reserve is also shown as a Nature Conservation Reserve on some maps.  It is located on the southern side of the Western Highway, while the Gerang Gerung (North) Flora & Fauna Reserve is located on the northern side of the highway.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 1.42.10 pm.png

Above:- An aerial view of Gerang Gerung South Flora & Fauna Reserve, looking west.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

The park is about 138 acres in size and conserves remnant scrub, including the endangered Hairy-pod Wattle.

The park was alive with the little birds below.  They are White-browned Woodswallows.

DSC_6944.jpg

We parked the 4WD on Clark Road and set up in the southern section of the park.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d, and the 15m dipole and 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

As this was another windy day, we positioned the 4WD to try to act as a windbreak.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 1.39.31 pm.png

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

I called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Geoff VK3SQ, Ivan VK5HS, Rod VK7FRJG and then Brett VK2VW.  It did not take long and I had qualified the park for VKFF.  My tenth contact was with Gerard VK2IO.  Band conditions on 40m appeared to be quite good, with some strong signals.  It was pleasing to see that close in propagation once again existed on the 40m band.

I logged a total of 29 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7, before swapping the mic with Marija.

DSC_6924

Marija’s first contact was with Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta, followed by Rob VK2VH, Geoff VK3SQ, and then Adrian VK5FANA.  It took Marija just 5 minutes to qualify the park, with contact number ten with Nev VK5WG in the Mid North of South Australia.

Marija went on to work a total of 21 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

I again jumped into the operator’s chair and logged a further 10 stations.  I was now just 5 QSOs from my 44 QSO target.  I moved to the 20m band and logged a total of 9 stations from VK2, VK3, and VK4.  Contact number 44 was with John VK4TJ.

I then moved to 80m and logged just the 3 contacts there, before we lowered the squid pole and attached the 15m antenna.  Marija called CQ on 21.244 while I put up a spot on parksnpeaks.  It was great to see the 15m band open again.  Marija logged a total of 10 stations, all from Queensland.

DSC_6970

We packed up around 11.00 a.m. local time and headed to our next park, the Gerang Gerung North Flora & Fauna Reserve.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV
  2. VK2VH
  3. VK4AAC/2
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK7OT
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK5WG
  11. VK3BCM
  12. VK2LX
  13. VK2KYO
  14. VK3PF
  15. VK5HS
  16. VK5ZLT
  17. VK4TJ
  18. VK4/AC8WN
  19. VK4/VE6XT
  20. VK4SSN
  21. VK3MCK

Marija worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/AC8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT
  4. VK4SSN
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK4RF
  9. VK4HA
  10. VK4HNS

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK7FRJG
  4. VK2VW
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK3MCK
  7. VK2VH
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK2IO
  10. VK3PWG
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK2YK
  15. VK3ANP
  16. VK3AHR
  17. VK4TJ
  18. VK4/AC8WN
  19. VK4/VE6XT
  20. VK4SSN
  21. VK7OT
  22. VK6MMB
  23. VK5NAQ
  24. VK2LX
  25. VK5WG
  26. VK5WU
  27. VK5LA
  28. VK5FLKJ
  29. VK5KLV
  30. VK3BCM
  31. VK2KYO
  32. VK5CZ
  33. VK2STG
  34. VK5NJ
  35. VK5KLD
  36. VK5GP
  37. VK5MRD
  38. VK3KAI
  39. VK3GV

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3KAI
  3. VK3GV
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK4SSN
  8. VK2VW
  9. VK2IO

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK5PL

 

References.

Victorian Places, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/gerang-gerung>, viewed 10th December 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_Lake_(Victoria)>, viewed 10th December 2019

Grassflat Swamp Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2326

After packing up at Mite Lake, Marija pointed out that there was another park very close by, the Grassflat Swamp Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2326.  The park is located about 380 km northwest of the city of Melbourne.

This was to be a first-time activation of the park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 11.00.43 am.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Grassflat Swamp Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park is located to the little locality of Grass Flat.  Don’t blink, as you will miss Grass Flat.

We accessed the park via Telfers Road.  The park was well signposted.

DSC_6909

The Grassflat Swamp Flora & Fauna Reserve is located just to the north of Mitre Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve.  The park is part of Telfer’s Swamp.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 11.05.45 am.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Grassflat Swamp Flora and Fauna Reserve.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

The park is about 86 acres in size.  There was very little if any water in the swamp during our visit.

I operated from the vehicle for this activation.  I ran the Icom IC-7000, 100 watts, and the Codan 9350 self-tuning antenna mounted on the rear of the Toyota Hi-Lux.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 11.07.15 am.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Grassflat Swamp Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

The 40m band was quite busy and it was a bit of a struggle to find a clear spot on the band.  I started calling CQ on 7.140 whilst Marija put up a spot to advise that this was going to be a quick activation.  First in the log was Charlie VK5VC, followed by Scott VK4CZ, Peter VK5PET, and Adrian VK5FANA.

It took me just 7 minutes to qualify the park for VKFF.  Contact number ten was with Glenn VK4FARR.  Two QSOs later I logged Gerard VK2IO/p for a Park to Park contact.  Gerard was in the VKFF-0444.

I went on to work a total of 31 stations on 40m including a further Park to Park, with Alan VK2MG/p in the Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049.

I then moved to the 20m band where I logged 23 stations from VK2, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.  This included a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p, for a second band.

DSC_6912

It was time for us to head off for some tea.  Amazingly I had 54 QSOs in the log.  I was hoping to get my 10 QSOs and qualify the park for VKFF.  So to get 44 QSOs and qualify the park for WWFF was a real bonus.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5VC
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK5PET
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5WG
  6. VK2YK
  7. VK5CZ
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK5KPR
  10. VK4FARR
  11. VK5LA
  12. VK2IO/p (Scheyville National Park VKFF-0444)
  13. VK3UH
  14. VK3MPR
  15. VK3RU
  16. VK5NJ
  17. VK3JAP
  18. VK4TJ
  19. VK2MG/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  20. ZL1TM
  21. VK4NH
  22. VK4DXA
  23. ZL4TY/VK4
  24. VK4FDJL/5
  25. VK5KLV
  26. VK5DW
  27. VK5SRV
  28. VK4SMA
  29. VK6NTE
  30. VK5FSAM
  31. VK5WU

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6NTE
  2. VK5CZ
  3. VK7JON
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK4SSN
  8. VK4SMA
  9. VK2YK
  10. VK6GA/2
  11. VK5GA/2
  12. VK2NN
  13. VK7VZ
  14. VK4NH
  15. VK4DXA
  16. ZL4TY/VK4
  17. VK2IO/p (Scheyville National Park VKFF-0444)
  18. VK5KLV
  19. VK2LEE
  20. VK2UXO
  21. VK4KK
  22. ZL1TM
  23. VK7KT

We packed up and headed back to Dimboola where we went to the Victoria Hotel again for our evening meal.

Following our meal, we had a drive around Dimboola having a look at some of the points of interest.

 

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/grassflat-swamp-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 10th December 2019

Mitre Lake Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2389

Our next park for the day (Sunday 1st December 2019) was the Mitre Lake Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2389.  The park is located about 378 km northwest of the city of Melbourne and about 13 km west of the little town of Natimuk in western Victoria.

This would be a first-time activation of the park for the World Wide Flora & Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 9.22.51 am.png

Above:- Map showing the location of Mitre Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Along the way, we stopped to have a look at the site of the old Duchembegarra North State School.  The school was opened in April 1889 and close in July 1955.  It is believed that the word Duchembeggara comes from the Aboriginal word ‘duckan’ meaning grey gum tree, and ‘bungarra’ meaning sky.

DSC_6894

As we drove along the Arapiles-Grass Flat Road we had to pull over for a farmer who was transporting a grain container.

DSC_6895

We then stopped to have a look at the cairn for the Gold Escort Route.  It reads:

“Along this track Commissioner Alexander Tolmer lead the first of eighteen police escorts which under various commanders transported from Mt. Alexander, Victoria, to Adelaide, South Australia, March 1852 to December 1853, 328, 509 ozs of gold”.

DSC_6897

We then reached the park by travelling along a 4WD track which ran off the Mitre-Grass Flat Road.  The park sign was in less than ideal condition.  It was apparent that the authorities had not been to the park for a long time.

Mitre Lake is a natural salt lake surrounded by Samphire, Melaleuca and other salt-tolerant vegetation.  It is part of a natural chain of wetlands that stretch from Douglas in the south to the north of Mt Arapiles.  The lake covers an area of about 720 hectares.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 9.33.38 am.png

Above:- An aerial view of Mire Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The Mitre Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve is home to numerous bird species including Red Capped Plovers, various birds of prey and various water birds. In spring flocks of the Banded Stilt, a migratory bird, visit the lakes of the area.

We set up on the northern shore of the lake.   Again, it was incredibly windy at Mitre Lake and so windy that it was not possible to roll out the awning on the 4WD.  We were getting the occasional drop of rain and decided that if it got much heavier we would re-locate to the inside of the vehicle.

For this activation we ran the Yaesu FT-857d, the 20/40/80m linked dipole and a 15m dipole.  We strapped the 7-metre telescopic squid pole to a park sign.

Screen Shot 2019-12-10 at 9.26.02 am.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Mitre Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

We decided to start this activation off on the 15m band as 15m had been performing well at our last park at Oliver’s Lake.  I called CQ on 21.244 while Marija placed up a spot on parksnpeaks.  Ray VK4NH was first in the log with a good 5/7 signal, followed by Robert VK2XXM, Linda VK7QP, and then Gerard VK2IO/p for a Park to Park.  Gerard was activating the Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984.  Marija also logged Gerard for the Park to Park contact.

Once I had 12 contacts in the log, and the park qualified for VKFF, I swapped the mic with Marija.

DSC_6900

Marija called CQ on 21.244 and Linda VK7QP responded with a strong 5/9 signal, followed by Ray VK4NH, and then John VK4TJ.  With Ray and John’s extra calls, Marija was now just 1 short of the 10 QSOs required to qualify the park for VKFF.  Marija’s tenth QSO was with Geoff VK3SQ in Beechworth, followed by Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.

IMG_3386

I then worked a further 3 stations on 15m, Geoff VK3SQ, Grant VK2LX, and Don VK3MCK.  Sadly despite the 15m band being in great shape, callers dried up.

We then lowered the squid pole and erected the 20/40/80m linked dipole.  I headed to the 20m band with the hope that I might get some DX in the log.  Unfortunately, there was no DX, but I did log a total of 29 stations on 20m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7, and New Zealand.  This included two Park to Park QSOs: Alan VK2MG/p in the Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049, and Gerard VK2IO/p in the Cattai National Park VKFF-0092.

The 20m band was in excellent shape, with some very strong signals.  It was quite a surprise to be able to work Victorian and South Australian stations with such strong signals.  I even managed to reach the 44 QSO level and qualifying the park for the global WWFF program.  Contact number 44 was with Rob VK7VZ.

I then moved to the 40m band and called CQ on 7.144.  I logged a total of 25 stations from VK1, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

DSC_6900

Marija worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  2. VK7QP
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK4TJ
  7. VK4/AC8WN
  8. VK4/VE6XT
  9. VK4SSN
  10. VK3SQ
  11. ZL1TM

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK2XXM
  5. VK7QP
  6. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  7. VK4TJ
  8. VK4/AC8WN
  9. VK4/VE6XT
  10. VK4SSN
  11. VK2ND
  12. VK2MT
  13. VK3SQ
  14. VK2LX
  15. VK3MCK

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2VH
  2. VK4AAC/2
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK3SX
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK2MG/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  7. VK3MPR
  8. VK2YK
  9. VK2LX
  10. VK2EXA
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK2IO/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK7TU
  17. VK3ANL
  18. VK7NJW
  19. VK3MCK
  20. ZL1TM
  21. VK3MDC
  22. VK2HRX
  23. VK5KLV
  24. VK5PL
  25. VK5LA
  26. VK3MVP
  27. VK3VET
  28. VK5WG
  29. VK7VZ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5LA
  2. VK3MCK
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK5KLV
  5. VK7VZ
  6. VK5HS
  7. VK5PE
  8. VK2LEE
  9. VK5FANA
  10. VK3UH
  11. VK7FRJG
  12. VK2VH
  13. VK3VET
  14. VK4NH
  15. VK4DXA
  16. ZL4TY/VK4
  17. VK7FJFD
  18. VK3SX
  19. VK5CZ
  20. VK5FB
  21. VK4FARR
  22. VK5DW
  23. VK2SVN
  24. VK3GB
  25. VK2VKB

 

References.

Arapiles Bike Trail, 2019, <http://www.arapilesbiketrail.com.au/natimuk-and-surrounds.html>, viewed 10th December 2019

Bonzle, 2019, <http://www.bonzle.com/c/a?a=p&p=59127&cmd=sp>, viewed 10th December 2019

Wimmera Places names, 2019, <https://swiftconsortium.org.au/client/en_AU/search/asset/243363>, viewed 10th December 2019.