Ettrick Conservation Park, VKFF-1029

For the third Friday afternoon/evening activation event for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, held on Friday 15th January 2016, I headed out to the Ettrick Conservation Park, VKFF-1029.

Screenshot 2016-01-13 20.27.07

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

Ettrick CP is situated about 112 km east of Adelaide and about 32 km north east of Murray Bridge.  It is a newly formed park, and was proclaimed on 31st October 2013.  The park is about 484 hectares in size and predominantly comprises open mallee and several species of eucalypt.  It also contains some of the few remaining examples of tussock grassland in the Murray Darling Basin.  A number of vulnerable South Australian birds call the park home, including the malleefowl, Shy Heathwren, Hooded robin, White winged cough, Jacky Winter, Restless flycatcher, Painted Button quail, and the Regent parrot.

The park is NOT signposted, so check your maps prior to leaving home.  There is a lot of scrub in this area which can be confused for the park.

I headed east along the South Eastern Freeway and took the turn off onto the Old Princes Highway and then headed north east along the Karoonda Highway, passing the Bowhill Road, and continuing north on Burdett Road.  I then turned right onto Glenburr Road.  Keep your eyes peeled, as Glenburr Road only has a very small sign indicating its presence.


Above:- The Burdett Road and Glenburr Road intersection.

I travelled about 10 km east on Glenburr Road, which is a dirt road, but is in good condition.  I then reached the junction of Glenburr Road and Boundary Road.  This is the north western corner of the park.


Above:- Looking east along Glenburr Road towards the park

I found that there weren’t too many operating opportunities in the park.  There are 2 entry points on the northern side of the park off Glenburr Road.  One has an unlocked gate, whilst the other has no gate at all.  However both indicated that entry to those parts of the park were closed due to weed eradication issues.  I remember Geoff VK5HEL activating this park a long time ago and telling me about the presence of the signs.  I wonder if DEWNR have just forgotten to take them down?  Anyway, I didn’t want to test my luck, so I headed to the north western corner of the park where there were no signs and found a little clearing in the mallee scrub.

This is another issue.  The mallee in the park is very thick, so it is quite difficult to find a clearing, enabling you to stretch out a dipole.

Screenshot 2016-01-16 10.02.10

Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the Ettrick Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Much of the land surrounding the park has been cleared for agricultural purposes.  It is a stark contrast to see the barren farming land as opposed to the thick mallee scrub.  Much of this scrub would have been cleared during the 1800’s.  At first the trees were cut down, but settlers soon found that the roots produced regrowth.  So the regrowth and the shallow roots were burnt.  But this left deep roots which made it impossible for farmers to plough the soil.

Above:- Thick mallee scrub (left) and cleared farming land (right).

This situation had become so frustrating that by 1878 the South Australian Government had offered a £200 reward to anyone who could develop an effective solution to the problem.  This resulted in the invention of the stump jump plough which was invented by Richard Bowyer Smith.  The plough comprised a number of hinged shares.  When the blade encountered an underground obstacle such as a mallee stump, it would rise out of the ground.  Weights which were attached to the plough, forced the blade back in the ground when the mallee root was passed.

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Above:- the stump jump plough.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

I found a little clearing in the scrub and set up my fold up table and deck chair.  I ran my normal park operating equipment for this activation, consisting of:-

  • Yaesu FT857d, 40 watts
  • 40m/20m linked dipole
  • 15m dipole
  • 7 metre telescopic squid pole

It was a warm (26 degree C) day, but it was very windy.  I lost the squid pole when setting up, as I hadn’t driven the squid pole holder firm enough into the sandy ground.  I was flying the VK5 Parks Award flag for the first time and that was certainly moving around in the very strong breeze.

I was set up and ready to go by around 0700 UTC (5.30 p.m. South Australian local time).  I headed for my nominated operating frequency of 7.144 and started calling CQ.  It took a few calls, but I finally had my first contact in the log.  It was Russ VK2BJP with a good 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Steve VK3YW who was 5/9 plus, Alan VK3DXE and then Scotty VK7NWT.  Contact number 8 was with Roger VK5NWE who was operating portable from Mulyungarie Station near the South Australian/New South Wales border, not far from Broken Hill.  Roger was up there doing some electrical work.

My ninth contact was my first park to park for the activation, and it was with John VK5BJE who was operating portable in the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  John was quite low down, but due to the non existant man made noise in the park, I was able to hear him very well.  John has a great WordPress site, with details about his park & SOTA activations.  It can be found at…..

I continued to work the steady flow of callers, battling with a little bit of USA DX on the frequency as well.  Conditions on 40m were excellent, with some very strong signals from the east coast.  Clearly the close in propagation was not working, as I had very few calls from VK5.  And those that did call in were very low down.

Contact number 36 was another park to park.  This time it was Adrian VK5AW who was activating the Lyrup Flats section of the Murray River National Park.  This was Adrian’s first time out for a Friday VK5 Parks event, so I was very pleased to get Adrian in the log.

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Contact number 44, qualifying the park for me, was George VK3MVP, who has recently upgraded his call from VK3FJUD.  Congratulations George and what a great signal you had with your StepIR.

A few QRP stations called in.  They included John VK7HRS operating with 5 watts (5/5 sent), and Rod VK4FLYT also running 5 watts (5/7 sent).  I also worked a couple of mobiles including Peter VK3TKK/m (5/8 sent) and Alan VK3FPBI/m (5/8 sent).

After working a total of 52 stations on 40m I headed over to 20m and started calling CQ on 14.310.  First taker there was Mr. Reliable, Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.  Rick kindly spotted me which resulted in a few European callers.  However, band conditions were very poor, and my only successful DX contact was with Xaver DK4RM.  Sorry to Luciano I5FLN and Sergey RA3PCI, who were 2 of the European stations that I heard calling in.  Unfortunately we were not able to successfully exchange signal reports, making the contact void.  I was pleased though, to get John VK6NU in the log from Western Australia.  Propagation on 20m was very disappointing again, and the Over the Horizon Radar (OTHR) did not help either.

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Above:- The sun setting at Ettrick.

I then tried my luck on 15m, calling CQ a few dozen times on 21.244, with no takers.  Unfortunately I had no mobile phone coverage in the park, so I was unable to spot myself on parksnpeaks.  A quick listen across 15m resulted in me hearing a weak VU2 from India calling CQ, and a moderately strong RK9 working a very weak French station.

So I headed back to 40m and found Mark WC1X calling CQ on 7.133 from northern California.  Mark had a good strong 5/9 signal and nobody was coming back to his CQ call so I tried my luck, and got through in the second call.  I then booked in to the 7130 DX Net, where I worked a total of 10 stations in New Zealand, French Polynesia, VK2, VK5, and VK7.  This included a contact with Peter using a Magnetic loop antenna.  Peter was 5/9 plus.

I then left the net and found Rob VK4FFAB calling CQ from the Great Sandy National Park, VKFF-0216, with a very strong 5/9 signal.  This was my third park to park contact for the activation.

I then moved down to 7.139 and called CQ and this was answered by Steve VK4QQ who had a strong 5/9 signal, followed by Mike VK6MB who was also 5/9 from Western Australia.  I worked a further 19 stations on 7.139 including Owen ZL2OPB in New Zealand,  and my two mates Ted VK6NTE and Greg VK8GM.  Unfortunately a combination of deliberate QRM in the form of tuning and a very strong DU7 station on 7.140, brought the activation to a sudden halt.

I had a total of 89 contacts in the log, and another unique park under my belt for both the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award, and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Thanks to everyone who called in, and I hope I was able to give some park hunters, a new park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2BJP
  2. VK3YW
  3. VK3DXE
  4. VK7NWT
  5. VK2VW
  6. VK5KLV
  7. VK3PMG
  8. VK5NWE/p
  9. VK5BJE/p (Mark Oliphant Conservation Park).
  10. VK3HRA
  11. VK2IO
  12. VK3FLCS
  13. VK1DI
  14. VK3FGMO
  15. VK3TKK/m
  16. VK2SK
  17. VK4RF
  18. VK4HA
  19. VK7DIK
  20. VK3OF
  21. VK2FROD
  22. VK3AWG
  23. VK1HW
  24. VK7CW
  25. VK2YK
  26. VK3PF
  27. VK3SIM
  28. VK3MCK
  29. VK3FIRM
  30. VK3KCD
  31. VK3RU
  32. VK3GTS
  33. VK2NP
  34. VK5GJ
  35. VK5AW/p (Murray River National Park)
  36. VK7HRS
  37. VK1NS
  38. VK5FAKV
  39. VK4MWG
  40. VK4FAAS
  41. VK4ND
  42. VK2MOR
  43. VK3FINE
  44. VK3MVP
  45. VK3FADM
  46. VK2HHA
  47. VK7KJL
  48. VK2RI
  49. VK2FBBB
  50. VK3FPBI/m
  51. VK2GG
  52. VK4FLYT
  53. WC1X
  54. VK7ROY
  55. ZL2ASH
  56. VK7DON
  57. VK5FAKV
  58. VK2NED
  59. VK2PV
  60. FO5JV
  61. VK6WE
  62. VK2JNG/p
  63. VK7FGGT
  64. VK4FFAB/p (Great Sandy National Park)
  65. VK4QQ
  66. VK6MB
  67. VK4GSF
  68. ZL2OPB
  69. VK5FANA
  70. VK3MPV
  71. VK2NN
  72. VK6NTE
  73. VK8GM
  74. VK3KRH
  75. VK2YOJ
  76. VK4RF
  77. VK4HA
  78. VK4FAIE
  79. VK3RU
  80. VK2XJM
  81. VK3VIN
  82. VK2KNC
  83. VK2QA
  84. VK3FPSR
  85. VK4FATS

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. DK4RM
  4. VK6NU



Wikipedia, 2015, <;, viewed 16th January 2016

Stipiturus Conservation Park, VKFF-0936

I had planned for two parks to be activated for day two of the 2015 VKFF Activation Weekend, Sunday 29th November, 2015.  My first activation was the Stipiturus Conservation Park, VKFF-0936, which is located about 6 km south west of the nearest town, Mount Compass, and about 50 km south of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the park on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Again, this was a South Australian Conservation Park that I had operated portable from previously, but only as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, prior to Stipiturus being added to the VKFF list for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. I had activated the park in October 2013 and October 2014.  For more information on the park and my previous two activations, please see my previous posts at…..

Stipiturus Conservation Park is around 68 hectares in size and protects a high conservation value wet heath and sedgeland peat bog system, known as Glenshera Swamp.  The park is home to one of the largest known swamp-based population of the nationally endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus intermedius), after which the park was named.
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Above:- Southern Emu Wren.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

To access the park I travelled from home through the little town of Echunga, and along the Brookman Road from Meadows to Willunga.  Along the way I spoke with Peter VK3PF who was operating portable in the Yaringa Marine National Park, VKFF-0957.

I then drove south along the Victor Harbor Road before turning onto Pages Flat Road.  This is prime dairy country on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  I then turned right into Dodds Road until I reached the intersection of Dodds Road and Blockers Road.  I continued south for a very short distance until reaching Saffrons Road where I turned right.  There is no signage leading to the park.  There are some nice views of the park in the distance as you travel along Saffrons Road.


Above:- View of the park from Saffrons Road.

At the end of Saffrons Road I turned left into Beare Lane.  The park is just up on the left from here and is signposted.  Beare Lane is a dirt road but is in excellent condition and is easily passable in a conventional vehicle.


Above:- Beare Lane, looking east.

Beare Lane is the only access to this park.  It is located on the southern side of Stipiturus.  The western, northern and eastern sides of the park and landlocked by private property.


This is another one of those South Australian Conservation Parks that sadly the Department Environment Water Natural Resources (DEWNR) lock up like Fort Knox.  I understand their thinking that locking these parks up keeps the bad people out.  But when there is no way of getting into a park except for scrambling over a barbed wire fence, I think this is very poor.  Thats okay if you are young and nimble, but in my opinion it excludes elderly people or people with a disabilty.  I have notified DEWNR of this in the past, but unfortunately it has fallen on deaf ears.

There is a little bit of scrub just off Beare Lane on the southern side of the park.  It contains gum trees and an understorey of ferns.  There is another patch of scrub a little further to the north, and if you follow the track from the gate, this will take you to the swamp area.

I collected all my equipment from the 4WD and lined it up at the gate.  I scrambled over the fence, trying not to get caught up in the barbed wire.  I then reached over and collected all my gear including the transceiver, power supply, antenna, fold up table, and deck chair.  I then walked a short distance up the track and set up.  It was already quite a warm morning, so I set up the table and chair in the shade of one of the gum trees.

Screenshot 2015-12-13 00.10.04

I was ready to go by 2245 UTC (7.15 a.m. South Australian local time).  Prior to calling CQ I spoke with Tony VK1VIC who was activating the Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve VKFF-0865 (5/8 both ways).  I then headed to 7.110 and commenced calling CQ.  This was answered by Adam VK7VAZ in Tasmania, followed by Ron VK3MRH and then Matt VK1MA.  My fifth contact of the morning was with Peter VK3PF who was operating portable from the Yaringa Marine National Park, VKFF-0957.  Peter had an excellent 5/9 signal.

I worked a further 9 stations in VK2, VK3, and VK5, before being called by another park activator, Mick VK3PMG who was activating the Leaghur State Park, VKFF-0762.  Mick was romping in to Stipiturus with a beautiful 5/9 signal.  And then just 2 QSOs later I was called by Peter VK5KPR who was operating portable from the Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, VKFF-0817, in the north of South Australia.  Another 2 QSOs passed and I was called by Adrian VK5FANA who was activating the Clinton Conservation Park, VKFF-0813, on the Yorke Peninsula.

A number of the regular park hunters then called in, and this was soon followed by another park to park QSO, with Ian VK1DI who was activating the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve, VKFF-0847.  Ian’s signal was quite weak but we had a successful contact (5/1 sent and 5/2 received).  Some of the regular hunters followed, but calls soon slowed down.  So it was off on my quest to find some more park activators on the 40m band.

I soon found Tony VK1VIC on 7.090 who was operating from the Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve, VKFF-0840.  Tony’s signal was also quite low down but we were able to hear each other perfectly due to the low noise floor in both our parks (5/3 both ways).  But Tony was the only new activator I heard on the band.  All of the others that were calling CQ, had already called me.  So I then moved up to 7.110 and called CQ.  Ivan VK5HS from Renmark in the Riverland responded with a very strong 5/9 signal, and this was followed by Mal VK5MH who was maritime mobile on the Murray River.  Next up was another park to park contact.  This time it was Jim VK1AT/3 who was operating portable from The Lakes National Park, VKFF-0484.  Jim’s signal was very low but we successfully exchanged park details and signal reports (5/1 both ways).

Things slowed down quite quickly again, so I again ventured across the 40m band and soon found Tony VK3VTH on 7.120 in the Shepparton Regional Park, VKFF-0976, with a good 5/7 signal.  But Tony was the only new park activator, so I decided to have a listen on 20m.  The 7 metre squid pole was lowered and the links removed in the dipole, and I commenced calling CQ on 14.310.  My first responder was Keith VK2PKT from Parkes.  A few QSOs later, the park to park action continued.  I spoke wth Gerard VK2IO portable in the Cattai National Park, VKFF-0092 running just 12 watts with a nice 5/5 signal.  And this was followed by a call from Greg (VK8GM) operating the Alice Springs Amateur Radio Club call of VK8AR, from the West McDonnell Ranges National Park, VKFF-0532.  And shortly afterwards my third park to park on 20m, this time with Ian VK1DI activating Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve, VKFF-0847.

I worked a handful of other stations on 20m before callers slowed right down.  It was an ideal time to try out 15 metres.  So down came the squid pole and I laid the 20m/40m linked dipole on the ground, whilst erecting the 15m dipole.  Prior to calling CQ on 15m I had a tune around the band to gauge propagation.  I soon found Adam VK2YK on 21.275 calling CQ from SOTA summit Castle Hill, VK4/ NH-136, overlooking Townsville in Far North Queensland.  Adam’s signal was quite low down but we successfully completed our QSO (5/1 sent and 4/1 received).

I then started calling CQ on 21.244 and it wasn’t long before Cliff VK2NP called in from his mobile with a good 5/7 signal.  This was followed by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA who was 5/8, and then Michael VK4FBBA mobile.  I worked a further 12 stations on 15m from New Zealand, Japan, VK1, VK2, VK5, and VK6.

I decided to head back to 40m for one last listen before going QRT and heading off to the Nixon Skinner Conservation Park.  After returning to 40m I worked Greg VK5ZGY in the Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803, followed by Col VK5HCF & Tom VK5EE both in the Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927, Tony VK1VIC portable in Mount Taylor Nature Reserve VKFF-0854, and a handful of the regular park hunters.

After 3 hours in the park I had a total of 78 contacts in the log on 40m, 20m, and 15m, including an additional 16 x park to park contacts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1VIC/p (Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve VKFF-0865)
  2. VK7VAZ
  3. VK3MRH
  4. VK1MA
  5. VK3PF/p (Yaringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957)
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK3TKK
  8. VK3ZZS
  9. VK7CW
  10. VK3UH
  11. VK5JK
  12. VK5NJ
  13. VK2SR
  14. VK3AFW
  15. VK3PMG/p (Leaghur State Park VKFF-0762)
  16. VK3FIRM
  17. VK5KPR/p (The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park VKFF-0817)
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-0813)
  20. VK4RF
  21. VK4HA
  22. VK7NWT
  23. VK3FQSO
  24. VK3HRA
  25. VK2YW
  26. VK1DI/p (Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847)
  27. VK5FMID
  28. VK5NFT
  29. VK2AWJ
  30. VK3OF
  31. VK7WN
  32. VK3VBI
  33. VK1VIC/p (Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0840)
  34. VK5HS
  35. VK5MJ/mm
  36. VK1AT/3 (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
  37. VK3NBL
  38. VK5KBJ
  39. VK5MBD
  40. VK5WG
  41. VK3VTH/p (Shepparton Regional Park VKFF-0976)
  42. VK5ZGY/p (Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803)
  43. VK5HCF/p (Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927
  44. Tom VK5EE/p (Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927)
  45. VK5AV
  46. VK1AT/3
  47. VK5NIG
  48. VK5PL
  49. VK1VIC/p (Mount Taylor Nature Reserve VKFF-0854)
  50. VK5FTVR
  51. VK5GJ
  52. VK5FPAC

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2PKT
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK2XXM
  5. VK2IO/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
  6. VK8AR/p (West McDonnell National Park VKFF-0535)
  7. VK5YX
  8. VK1DI/p (Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847)
  9. VK3SQ

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2YK/4 (SOTA VK4/ NH-136)
  2. VK2NP/m
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK4FBBA/m
  6. ZL3CHE
  7. VK2MGA
  8. JA8RJE
  9. VK2LEE
  10. VK6GLX
  11. VK2FLRW
  12. VK4GSW
  13. VK1NS
  14. VK2XXM
  15. VK2FGOE
  16. VK1MA
  17. VK5GJ

Bullock Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0873

My final activation for Saturday and day one of the inaugural VKFF Activation Weekend was the Bullock Hill Conservation Park, VKFF-0873, which is situated near Ashbourne on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-12-12 21.46.58

Above:- Map showing the location of the Bullock Hill Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Bullock Hill was my third park of the day that I had activated previously as part of the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award, but not as part of the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  So this was going to be my third unique WWFF park for the day.

For more information on my previous activations at Bullock Hill, please see my previous posts at…..

Bullock Hill Conservation Park is quite a new park.  It was only proclaimed on the 20th January 2014.  It consists of 200 hectares of undulating countryside, mainly consisting of Pink and Cup gum, with a dense under storey of acacia and mixed heath.  Most of the scrub is located in the upper section of the park on the western side.

I accessed the park via Wattle Flat Road.  There is a small area where you can park your car.  Be careful not to block the gate for the farmer who property is on the eastern side of the park.  I unloaded the 4WD and then climbed through the fence to gain access to the park.  I set up my little fold up table and deck chair under the shade of a small tree.  Again, for this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20m/40m linked dipole.  I secured the 7 m squid pole to the park sign, using some octopus straps.

Screenshot 2015-12-12 21.46.21

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

Prior to calling CQ I tuned to 7.135 and worked Greg VK5GJ in the nearby Cox Scrub Conservation Park, VKFF-0824 (5/7 both ways).  I then headed up to 7.144 and called CQ.  My first responder was another park to park contact.  It was Gerald VK2IO who was portable in the Botany Bay National Park, VKFF-0048.  This was followed by Allen VK3HRA who was activating the Creswick Regional Park VKFF-0964.  And then another park to park, this time with Marcus VK3TST/2 who was in the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park, VKFF-0554.  All signals were very good, but there were quite severe static crashes present on the band.

A few calls later I spoke with Peter VK3YE who was operating a kite antenna on the beach.  The antenna consisted of 30 metres of wire.  Peter was a good strong 5/8 signal.  Peter never ever ceases to amaze me with what he can do with QRP, and his home brew transceivers and antennas.  A few QSOs later I spoke with Tim VK3MTB who was activating the Morwell National Park VKFF-0626, and this was followed by Ian VK5CZ who was in the Spring Gully Conservation Park, VKFF-0816, near Clare in the Mid North of South Australia.

I had a good steady flow of callers and all signals were exceptionally good.  I also managed another two park to park contacts.  They were with Peter VK3ZPF who was activating the Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-033, and Gary VK5FGRY who was in the Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-0783, in the Adelaide Hills.

I now had a total of 27 contacts in the log and then saw a spot on parksnpeaks for Greg VK8AR who was activating the West McDonnell National Park, VKFF-0532, near Alice Springs.  So I quickly lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed off to 14.280 on 20m.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear Greg coming in with a nice signal.  He had quite a few callers, but I patiently waited and made contact with him in a short period of time.

I then went to 14.225 and started calling CQ and this was answered by Jess VK6JES in Geraldton in Western Australia with a strong 5/8 signal.  About four contacts later I was called by Alex VK2HAS who was operating portable in an Armoured Personnel Carrier, with a 1/2 wave vertical.  I have worked Alex from this situation before.  It is certainly a very unique contact.


My first DX contact on 20m was with Max IK1GPG who had a good 5/7 signal on the long path.  This was followed shortly afterwards by regular park hunters, Xaver DK4RM and Uwe DL2ND in Germany.  Not long after I saw a 4WD pull up in the carpark area behind my 4WD.  It had the obvious amateur antenna fitted to it, but I wasn’t entirely sure of who my unexpected visitor was.  It turned out to be Greg VK5GJ, who had completed his activation at the nearby Cox Scub Conservation Park, and had called in to say hello.  I took a break from the radio to say gday to Greg.

Screenshot 2015-12-12 23.06.17

I returned to the radio about 15 minutes later, but unfortunately somebody else had jumped on to 14.225.  So I headed to 14.210 and called CQ and this was answered by David ZL1UA in Auckland with a strong 5/8 signal.  This was followed by Luc ON4BB and then Steve VK4QQ.  But sadly, an Italian station, an IT9, came up on the frequency and started calling CQ.  He was just too strong to compete with, so I decided to QSY.

Greg decided to head home at this point, so I headed up to 14.310 and started calling CQ again.  This was responded to by Don VK3MCK and then my good friends Danny ON4VT and Swa ON5SWA in Belgium. Danny was 5/6 and Swa was a little weaker at 5/5.  They were both hearing me around the 4/2-4/4 mark.  I worked just 2 more European stations: Hinko S52KM in Slovenia, and Luciano I5FLN.  The long path propagation seemed to just fall away at that point.

So I headed back to 40m and called CQ on 7.135.  It was now around 5.15 p.m.  My first taker was Peter VK3YE, who was still on the beach with his kite antenna, running just 1/2 watt.  His signal had come up even stronger, as had mine at Peter’s end.  My second contact was with Jonathan who was activating the Blackwood River National Park VKFF-0633.   It was a little bit of a struggle with Jonathan due to the static crashes, but I missed very little of our QSO.  This was followed by Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in the Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121.  Rob was an excellent 5/9 signal.  But Rob was struggling with even stronger static crashes than me, and gave me a 4/9 signal report.

I had a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK6, when I was rather unexpectedly called by Mark AF6TC in California with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  Mark reciprocated with a 5/9 for me.  Not long after I was called by John ZL2TUD in Wellington, and then Neil K6KWI in Santa Ana in California.  I was extremely pleased to work a second USA station on 40m.

I worked a further 27 stations on 40m, including VK3YSA running just 4 watts from Mount Disappointment, Mal VK5MJ who was maritime mobile on the Murray River, and Chris ZL2UKT in Auckland.

It was starting to get quite cool, and the local time was now just after 6.30 p.m.  I was also getting hammered by some local VK3’s talking to the USA on 7.136, so I thought it was a good time to pull the plug on what had been a great day.  I had a total of 102 contacts in the log from Bullock Hill, including a further 15 park to park contacts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ/p (Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0824)
  2. VK2IO/p (Botany Bay National Park VKFF-0048)
  3. VK3HRA/p (Creswick Regional Park VKFF-0964)
  4. VK3TST/2 (Murrumbidgee Valley National Park VKFF-0554)
  5. VK5AV
  6. VK3YE/p
  7. VK5FMID
  8. VK3MTB/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  9. VK5CZ/p (Spring Gully Conservation Park, VKFF-0816)
  10. VK1AT/3
  11. VK3PMG/m
  12. VK5NFT
  13. VK5FANA
  14. VK3ZPF/p (Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-0333)
  15. VK3AV
  16. VK3OF
  17. VK7FGGT
  18. VK3ANL
  19. VK3FQSO
  20. VK5EE
  21. VK1MTS
  22. VK3PF
  23. VK7VW
  24. VK3FLCS
  25. VK3DAC
  26. VK5FGRY/p (Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-0783)
  27. VK1MA
  28. VK5FO/p (Ramco Point Conservation Park VKFF-0930)
  29. VK3ZPF/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  30. VK8AR/p (West Macdonnell National Park VKFF-0532)
  31. VK3YE/p
  32. VK6JON/p (Blackwood River National Park VKFF-0633)
  33. VK4FFAB/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  34. VK4FBMW
  35. VK3TKK
  36. VK3HN
  37. VK2PKT
  38. VK6HRC
  39. VK3ZZS/2
  40. VK2OD
  41. VK2NEO
  42. AF6TC
  43. VK3MLU
  44. VK7LCW
  45. VK3ALZ
  46. VK3FJIM
  47. VK3GMC
  48. ZL2TUD
  49. VK6XC
  50. VK3RU
  51. K6KWI
  52. VK3HRA
  53. VK3MCD
  54. VK3YSA/p
  55. VK5HYZ
  56. VK4RF
  57. VK4HA
  58. VK5MJ/mm
  59. VK3etC
  60. VK7VEK
  61. VK4AJT
  62. VK6FBMW
  63. VK2FWAY
  64. VK6NU/p (Wandoo National Park VKFF-0656)
  65. VK5FSPJ/p
  66. VK5KLV
  67. VK2VKB
  68. VK5FVSV
  69. VK3THX
  70. VK3NBL
  71. VK2STO
  72. VK2FOUZ
  73. ZL2UKT
  74. VK5ZX
  75. VK2ZMT
  76. VK3FENV
  77. VK1NS
  78. VK2TG/m

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK8AR/p (West Macdonnell National Park, VKFF-0532)
  2. VK6JES
  3. VK3MRH
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK2HAS/p
  7. IK1GPG
  8. VK6SN
  9. VK6MSC
  10. VK2LEE
  11. DK4RM
  12. DL2ND
  13. IZ4RCQ
  14. VK6LOL
  15. VK2FR
  16. ZL1UA
  17. ON4BB
  18. VK4QQ
  19. EA5CTE
  20. VK3MCK
  21. ON4VT
  22. ON5SWA
  23. S52KM
  24. I5FLN


Mount Magnificent Conservation Park VKFF-0916

The weekend of Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November, 2015, saw the inaugural VKFF Activation Weekend.  I had planned on activating 5 Conservation Parks over the weekend: three on Saturday, and then two on Sunday.  My first activation for Saturday morning was the Mount Magnificent Conservation Park, VKFF-0916, which is about 66 km south of Adelaide, on the Fleurieu Peninsula.
Screenshot 2015-12-12 16.19.36

Above:- Map showing the location of the Mount Magnifient CP.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.  

I have activated Mount Magnificent twice before: back in July 2013, and December 2014.  But these activations were prior to the park being placed on the VKFF list for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  So this was to be a unique VKFF park activation for me, and I was hoping to pick up the required 44 contacts to qualify the park.

For details on my previous activations, and full information on the park, please see my previous posts at…..

After leaving home early in the morning I headed out through Echunga and Meadows, and then on to Prospect Hill.  I then travelled south on Blackfellows Creek Road, passing the eastern boundary of the Kyeema Conservation Park.    This is a nice high point and there are some very nice views out to the west of the surrounding countryside which comprises natural scrub, cleared farming land, and pine forest.

I soon reached the western boundary of the park.  I had not activated from this side of the park previously.  My last two activations had been from the eastern side, off Mount Magnificent Road.  So I thought it was worth a look at a different operating spot.

Sadly, most of this section of the park was burnt out.  I later learnt that a fire had impacted on the park earlier in November.  The fire had originally started at nearby Yundi and had burnt out about 70 hectares of land, and was finally brought under control by about 65 firefighters and 17 appliances, including water bombing aircraft.

I continued south on Blackfellows Creek Road until I reached the south western corner of the park.  There was a little access track following the southern boundary of the park, and this is where I drove along.

Screenshot 2015-12-12 16.19.09

Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the Mount Magnifient CP.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.  

After a few hundred metres I reached a point where I could not go any further as the track came to an abrupt halt.  But this looked like an ideal place to set up and operate from.  It wasn’t until I had almost set up that I noticed some yellow tape around some trees at the top of an embankment.  I then put two and two together and realised that this was the site of the illegal dumping of some horses here in the conservation park which had come to light in May earlier in the year.

Although a little off putting I continued to set up.  I also had a view up to the Mount Magnificent summit.  The trig point of the summit is actually just outside of the conservation park boundary.  Sadly, the summit does not qualify for the Summits on the Air program as it does not have sufficient prominence.  However, there are superb views from up there of the surrounding countryside.

I used the boundary fence to secure my 7 metre telescopic squid pole and then secured the legs of the 20m/40m linked dipole to the fence.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and 40 watts for this activation.  I was all set up and ready to go by 2230 UTC (9.00 a.m. South Australian local time).

After turning on the radio, I found that 7.144 was already occupied, so I headed down to 7.139 and started calling CQ.  My CQ call was answered by Ian VK1DI who was operating portable from Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, VKFF-0855.  Ian had a good strong 5/8 signal.  Next up was Ron VK3MRH, followed by Peter VK3PF and then Fred VK3DAC, all of whom had good strong signals coming out of Victoria.

I was then called by two more park activators.  First up was Rob VK4FFAB operating portable from Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121, with a good 5/5 signal (5/6 received).  I was really pleased to be able to get Rob in the log on 40m.  Next up was Nick VK3ANL operating portable from Wandong Regional Park VKFF-0979, north of Melbourne.  A few calls later I was called by Mick VK3PMG who was operating portable from the Kerang Regional Park, VKFF-0970.  Mick had a good strong 5/8 signal to Mount Magnificent.  It was really pleasing to see so many park activators out and about.

I had quite a steady flow of callers from all across Australia (VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, and VK7).  But there was a lot of QSB on the band and many of the park hunters were mentioning that they were experiencing fading signals.  Also noticeable was the lack of VK5’s.  It was clear that close in propagation was not working, which was a real shame.

My next park to park contact was about 14 contacts later.  It was Rob VK4FFAB who had now moved in to the Hampton National Park VKFF-0683.  A few QSOs later I was called by Warren VK3BYD in the Jarvis Creek Plateau Regional Park VKFF-0969.

And then as though someone had turned on a switch, about 4 QSOs later, I was called by Col VK5HCF at Mount Gambier with a weak but readable 5/3 signal.  Col informed me that he could not hear me at all a little earlier.  It was great that I was finally hearing a VK5.  And then two QSOs later, Brian VK5FMID, also in Mount Gambier, gave me a shout.  Brian had a strong 5/8 signal.

A few QSOs’ later, David VK5AAH who was activating the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, VKFF-0782, gave me a shout.  David was very weak (3/3), but at least I was hearing a VK5 park activator.  David was hearing me a little better, than me him, and gave me a 5/3 signal report.

A few QSOs later I had my second VK5 Park activator in the log.  It was Stef VK5HSX who was activating the Murray River National Park, VKFF-0372.  Stef was very weak (5/1) but was very workable.  It appeared as though the 40m band was improving a little for the close in propagation.  Next up was Greg VK5GJ who almost lifted the transceiver up off the table.  Greg was operating portable from the nearby Kyeema Conservation Park, VKFF-0826.  And the park to park activity wasn’t finished.  I was also called by Amanda VK3FQSO who was operating from the Kara Kara Conservation Park, VKFF-0629 (5/5 both ways).

When things slowed down a little, I took the opportunity of tuning across the band.  I was hoping to find a few more park activators.  And it wasn’t long before I had found my mate Gerald VK2HBG on 7.095, who was activating the Bimberamala Nationa Park, VKFF-0032 (5/5 both ways).  Next was Nigel VK5NIG and Stuart VK5STU who were on 7.110, operating portable from Sandy Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0933.  Although they were very weak (5/1), they were very workable, as there was no man made noise in either of our parks.

I then found Rob VK4AAC/5 on 7.115.  Rob was in the Little Dip Conservation Park, VKFF-0904 (5/5 sent and 4/3 received).  I was so pleased that propagation had opened up a little around VK5.  Next, I worked Adrian VK5FANA on 7.125, who was in the Bird Islands Conservation Park VKFF-0871 on the Yorke Peninsula, followed by Tony VK3VTH on 7.144, who was activating the Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978 (5/7 sent and 5/8 received).  I then found Ray VK3YAR on 7.090 who was operating from SOTA peak, Mount Moliagul, VK3/ VN-024, west of Bendigo.

After working Ray I headed to 7.100 and called CQ.  This was answered by John VK3FCAN, and then Peter VK3PF, followed by Alan VK3LSD, who I was struggling with a little.  Alan had a very severe hum on his transmission and it made reception quite difficult.  A few contacts later, I was called by Les VK5KLV operating from the Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0808.  Les had a very strong 5/9 signal coming in from the north of the State.  Unfortunately I started experiencing QRM from some VK6’s who were very closeby, so if I missed any low down callers, I apologise.

It wasn’t long before, I had another park to park contact.  This time it was Gerard VK2IO, who called in from the Sydney Harbour National Park, VKFF-0473.  Gerald’s signal was down a little (4/3) but we managed a successful contact (4/5 received).  Immediately after, Cliff VK2NP called me.  Cliff was activating the Sea Acres National Park, VKFF-0606, near Port Macquarie (5/3 both ways).  Two contacts later, I spoke with Greg VK5ZGY who was in the Nene Valley Conservation Park, VKFF-0801 in the South East of South Australia.  Greg had a strong 5/8 signal, so it was clear the band was improving.  And then finally, I was called by David VK5PL operating portable in the Warren Conservation Park, VKFF-0941 (5/3 sent and 5/5 received).

Time was getting on, so I headed to 20m and called CQ on 14.310.  This was answered by Fred VK3DAC (5/1 both ways), followed by John VK2FR, and then Robert VK2XXM.  But that was the end of the park hunters despite many CQ calls.  I tuned across the band and heard Gary VK8BN calling CQ from Darwin.  We had a good chat, as Gary was a good strong 5/9 and he was hearing me well (5/5).  At the end of my QSO with Gary, Geoff VK3SQ asked me to QSY down, which I did and placed Geoff in the log.

I then tried my luck on 15m.  I packed away the 20m/40m linked dipole and erected the 15m dipole.  I called CQ on 15m and this was answered by Geoff VK3SQ who had followed me up.  Geoff had a strong 5/8 signal on 15m.  This was followed by John VK2FR (5/9 both ways), who had also followed me up, and then Cleeve VK2MOR.  Rob VK4FFAB then called in from Hampton National Park, VKFF-0683.  Rob was not strong (4/1) but was very workable.  My final contact on 15m, and the final contact for the activation was with Kyoyu JA8RJE in Japan.

I packed up and headed off to my second activation of the day, the Scott Conservation Park.  I was very pleased, with a total of 75 contacts in the log, including 24 park to park contacts.  What an activation!  And what a great way to start the VKFF Activation Weekend.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1DI/p (Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve VKFF-0855)
  2. VK3MRH
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3DAC
  5. VK4FFAB/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
  6. VK3ANL/p (Wandong Regional Park VKFF-09979)
  7. VK3SL
  8. VK3PMG/p (Kerang Regional Park, VKFF-0970)
  9. VK7MK
  10. VK2MOR
  11. VK3WHO
  12. VK4CWL
  13. VK3SIM
  14. VK1MTS
  15. VK7CW
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK6ZZZ
  18. VK3AV
  19. VK2FBEP
  20. VK2XXM
  21. VK3FABE
  22. VK4FFAB/p (Hampton National Park VKFF-0683)
  23. VK3MDB
  24. VK1AT/3
  25. VK3BYD/p (Jarvis Creek Plateau Regional Park VKFF-0969)
  26. VK3OHM
  27. VK1MA
  28. VK7VKV
  29. VK5HCF
  30. VK3HRA
  31. VK5FMID
  32. VK2CPC
  33. VK5AAH/p (Mark Oliphant Conservation Park VKFF-0782)
  34. VK2FADV
  35. VK5HSX/p (Murray River National Park VKFF-0372)
  36. VK5GJ/p (Kyeema Conservation Park VKFF-0826)
  37. VK2AWJ
  38. VK3AJA/m
  39. VK5EE
  40. VK3FQSO/p (Kara Kara National Park VKFF-0629)
  41. VK2HBG/p (Bimberamala National Park VKFF-0032)
  42. VK5NIG/p (Sandy Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0933)
  43. VK5STU/p (Sandy Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0933)
  44. VK4AAC/5 (Little Dip Conservation Park VKFF-0904)
  45. VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands Conservation Park VKFF-0871)
  46. VK3VTH/p (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  47. VK3YAR/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-024)
  48. VK3FCAN/m
  49. VK3PF
  50. VK3LSD
  51. VK2VW
  52. VK5KLV/p (Whyalla Conservation Park VKFF-0808)
  53. VK3UT
  54. VK5FMID
  55. VK5FUZZ
  56. VK3JP
  57. VK3PAT
  58. VK5GJ/p (Kyeema Conservation Park VKFF-0826)
  59.  VK2PKT
  60. VK2IO/p (Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0473)
  61. VK2NP/p (Sea Acres National Park VKFF-0606)
  62. VK3TKK/m
  63. VK5ZGY/p (Nene Valley Conservation Park VKFF-0801)
  64. VK5PL/p (Warren Conservation Park VKFF-0941)

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3DAC
  2. VK2FR
  3. VK2XXM
  4. VK5GJ/p (Kyeema Conservation Park VKFF-0826)
  5. VK8BN
  6. VK3SQ

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK2FR
  3. VK2MOR
  4. VK4FFAB/p (Hampton National Park, VKFF-0683)
  5. JA8RJE

Ngarkat Conservation Park VKFF-0829

Whilst I was in Hattah Kulkyne National Park in Victoria, I had toyed with the idea of activating the Ngarkat Conservation Park, VKFF-0829, in South Australia, after I had crossed the border.  I still had a fair drive ahead of me to get home, but I had worked out that I had enough time for a quick stop at Ngarkat.  I had activated Ngarkat previously, but as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, and not the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  So this was to be another unique WWFF/VKFF activation for me.

Screenshot 2015-10-31 10.15.36

Above:- Map showing the location of Ngarkat CP.  Courtesy of

So after leaving Hattah Kulyne National Park I drove west along the Hattah Kulkyne-Robinvale road until I reached the Calder Highway and the little town of Hattah.  Don’t blink, because you will miss it.  There was once a post office here but it closed in 1974.  Today there is a General Store, and that is it.  I then travelled south to Ouyen where I stopped briefly for a bite to eat at the Mallee Deli, consisting of a very enjoyable steak sandwich with the lot.  I then drove west on the Mallee Highway, back through the towns of Walpeup, Torrita, Underbool. Linga, Boinka, Cowangie, Murrayville, and Carina, until I reached the Victorian/South Australian border.

Along the way I spoke with Rob VK4AAC/5 who was operating portable from the Padthaway Conservation Park, VKFF-0924.  Rob had a nice signal coming into the mobile from the South East of South Australia.


I continued west on the Mallee Highway, towards the town of Pinnaroo, until I reached the Rosy Pine Road.  There is a sign here which shows Ngarkat Conservation Park and another sign for Roseleigh Homestead.  Interestingly, the sign also refers to Scorpion Springs Conservation Park which no longer exists.  It was absorbed into the Ngarkat Conservation Park back in 2004.  Clearly the sign has never been replaced.


I stopped off briefly to have a look at the site of the old Rosy Pine school.  The school, along with a number of other outlying schools from the town of Pinnaroo, closed in 1943.  Students from these outlying areas were then required to travel to Pinnaroo by bus.  Today there is nothing left of the school.  But a memorial plaque signifies its previous existence.


Above:- The Rosy Pine school, c. 1916.  Image courtesy of State Library SA.

I continued on towards the park along Rosy Pine Road, which then becomes Centre Track, and on the way I spoke with Peter VK3PF who was portable on SOTA peak, Jarvis Creek Plateau VK3/ VE-208, which is contained within the Jarvis Creek Plateau Region Park VKFF-0969 (5/6 sent and 5/7 received).  I continued south until I reached the Scorpion Boundary Track where there is an unlocked gate.  I entered the northern side of the park, and paid my $10.00 entry fee, before proceeding into the Scorpion Springs camping area.

Ngarkat Conservation Park is a very large park and is located about 200 km south east of Adelaide.  It covers an area of around 270,000 hectares of vegetated sand dunes, mallee and heath.  Ngarkat was proclaimed in September 1979 to conserve the mallee heath habitat of the 90 Mile Desert.  The park was previously four separate sections: Ngarkat Conservation Park, Mount Rescue Conservation Park, Mount Shaugh Conservation Park, and Scorpion Springs Conservation Park, but these were all absorbed into the one park in May 2004.  On many maps, including Google maps, it incorrectly shows the former conservation parks.  Unfortunately, many of the tourism sites also refer to the former three Conservation Parks.

The park is adjacent to the Big Desert Wildnerness Park and Wyperfeld National Park in Victoria.  This is a vast area of remote mallee wilderness in South Australia and western Victoria.  The name Ngarkat (pronounced Narr-kat) takes its name from the Ngarkat aboriginal people who were the original inhabitants of the area.

The Ngarkat Conservation Park is alive with wildlife including Western Grey kangaroos, Little Pygmy Possum, Short-beaked echidnas, Mitchell’s Hopping mouse, and Common dunnarts.  More than 120 species of birds can be found in the park including the rare Malleefowl and the Western Whipbird.


Above:- The rare Malleefowl.  Image courtesy of wikipedia. 

It was a very warm afternoon, so the first thing I did was to seek out some shade.  I set up my gear, the Yaesu FT-857d and the 40m/20m linked dipole in the campground.  There was a wooden table and benches under the shade of a gum tree so I took advantage of that.  I attached the 7 metre squid pole to a post on a fenceline, with the assistance of an octopus strap.

Screenshot 2015-10-31 10.18.32

Unfortunately there was absolutely no mobile phone coverage out here so I couldn’t send out an SMS message or spot myself on parksnpeaks.

Prior to calling CQ, I hunted around for Peter VK3PF and found him calling CQ on 7.090.  After securing Peter in the log, I headed to 7.085 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by John VK2YW in Wagga Wagga with a strong 5/9 signal.  Half way through my QSO with John the radio cut out.  Bugger!  I have been having an intermittent problem with the connection between the power supply and the transceiver.  But fortunately that was sorted out quickly and I was back on air.  This was followed by calls from Mike VK3ZMD in Melbourne, Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, and then Mick VK3PMG in western Victoria, all with 5/9 signals.  My 16th contact in the park was with Rob VK4AAC/5 in the Padthaway Conservation Park, VKFF-0924.  Rob called me, so it saved me having to hunt him down.

I worked a total of 34 contacts on 40m in VK2, VK3, and VK5, before trying 20m.  Conditions on 40m were quite good, however with all the storms across Australia, the band was very noisy with strong static crashes.  I called CQ on 14.315 and this was answered by Rick VK4RF with a powerful 5/9 signal.  Rick had tried calling me earlier on 40m but we just couldn’t make it.  My first DX station was Xaver DK4RM in Germany.  This was followed by Gerard F1BLL in France, and then Mauro IZ7EIU in Italy.  Conditions into Europe on the long path were less than favourable, and after 20 minutes, I had worked a total of 12 stations on 20m in VK2, VK4, VK8, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Australia, and Greece.

After 90 minutes in Ngarkat I had a total of 46 contacts in the log and it was time to hit the road.  As I exited the park it was slow going as there were sheep on the road, and many kangaroos.  Once mobile back on the Mallee Highway I booked in to the Kandos Net on 40m which was being run by Tom VK2KF.  I then spoke with Doug VK7DK who had a very nice signal coming in to the mobile.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB from Ngarkat:-

  1. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-208 & VKFF-0969)
  2. VK2YW
  3. VK3ZMD
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK5FMID
  7. VK3AFW
  8. VK3VIN
  9. VK3YAR
  10. VK5JK
  11. VK3GP/m
  12. VK5GJ
  13. VK3FPBI
  14. VK5MBD
  15. VK5FDEC
  16. VK4AAC/5 (Padthaway Conservation Park VKFF-0924)
  17. VK5MAS
  18. VK5PL
  19. VK3DPG
  20. VK3FJJAE
  21. VK3FLMJ
  22. VK2PKT
  23. VK1AMG/m
  24. VK3FGMO
  25. VK5EE
  26. VK5PZ
  27. VK3JM
  28. VK5HCF
  29. VK7VEK
  30. VK4RF
  31. VK4HA
  32. VK2IO
  33. VK3PRF
  34. VK5NRG

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. DK4RM
  4. F1BLL
  5. IZ7EIU
  6. VK2XXM
  7. RN3QN
  8. VK8GM
  9. I5FLN
  10. OE6MBG
  11. VK4PHD
  12. SV3AQR


Department for Environment and Heritage, 2004, ‘Ngarkat Complex of Conservation Parks Management Plan’.

Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VKFF-881

I had to work today (Sunday 2nd August 2015) but at lunch time I did sneak outside to my vehicle to work Rob VK4AAC who was activating the Lashmar Conservation Park, VKFF-902.  This is one of the newly added South Australian Conservation Parks to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  It triggered my enthusiasm, to activate a park after work.  But the weather was not looking good.  There were quite heavy showers in the Adelaide CBD, broken up by period of bright sunshine.

So when work concluded, I headed back home to the Adelaide Hills.  On the way I worked Brett VK4FTWO in the mobile.  Brett was activating the WooWoonga National Park VKFF-712, west of Maryborough.

When I got home, my wife Marija had already kindly prepared all my radio gear for me, so it was just a matter of getting changed out of the suit, and loading the 4WD.  I decided to head for the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park, VKFF-881, which is about 35 kms by road, east of my home.  The park has also just recently been added to the WWFF program.  So although I have activated the park previously as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, this was to be a new WWFF park for me.

Screenshot 2015-08-02 20.56.06

Above:- Map showing the location of Ferries McDonald CP.  Image courtesy of

As I was driving along Chaunceys Line Road towards the park I worked Gerard VK2IO who was operating portable from Wollemei National Park, VKFF-544 (5/9 sent and 5/8 received).

I set up in my normal spot, which is in the south eastern corner of the park, off Chaunceys Line Road.  There is a carpark there and a nice cleared area where you can set up.  I used my normal operating gear….the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre squid pole.  But as I was setting up the antenna, I noticed that I was missing one of the crocodile clips.  So I had to improvise and use my teeth to strip back some of the insulation on the wire and join the wire together that way.  The test was going to be the VSWR.  But I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was very low when I turned on the tx.

Screenshot 2015-08-02 20.56.37

Above:- Map showing my operating location.  Map courtesy of

After setting up I headed to 7.090 hoping to work Gerard VK2IO again.  Sure enough, Gerard was still there, with a lovely 5/9 plus signal.  He was stronger on the linked dipole than the Codan 9350.

I then moved up to 7.095 and asked if the frequency was in use, and in reply I heard Matt VK1MA telling me that it was all clear.  So Matt was my second contact for the activation, with a beautiful 5/9 signal coming in from Canberra (5/7 received).  A pile up followed, with numerous callers from all across Australia.  The 40m band appeared to be in quite good condition.  Although it was evident that the ‘close in’ stuff was not working.  I only worked 4 VK5’s during this activation.  The first was Greg VK5LG at Cudlee Creek, a distance of about 50 km from where I was.  Greg was 5/8 and I received a 5/3.  The next VK5 was Peter VK5KPR at Port Augusta, a distance of around 375 km (5/9 both ways).  In fact Peter was very strong.  Next up was Andrew VK5KET down at Mount Gambier, a distance of about 385 km (5/9 both ways).  Again, Andrew was very strong.  And finally, Adrian VK5FANA at Arthurton on the Yorke Peninsula, about 140 km across the water over the Gulf of St Vincent.  Adrian was running QRP and was just 5/3 at best, and I received a 5/1.  So it appeared that anything within 150km was not going to work.

I had some very nice QRP contacts during this activation.  They included Brooke VK4RZ running just 2 watts from near Toowoomba in Queensland (5/9 both ways).  Also Mike VK3XL running 2 watts from Melbourne (5/6 sent and 5/9 received).  Next up was Adrian VK5FANA running his 5 watts (this was a little bit of a struggle).  Alan VK2AJG who was running 4 watts from near Newcastle.   There were no problems at all with Alan’s signal (5/8 sent and 5/7 received).  And finally Mark VK4MON north of Brisbane, running 5 watts (5/7 both ways).

I was also very pleased to be able to work Ken ZL4KD in Christchurch in New Zealand (5/9 both ways) and Owen ZL2OPB in New Plymouth on the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand (5/9 both ways).  And Doug VK4FAID (I was his first ever VK5 contact).

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VK3FILB was kind enough to send me this quick video clip of my signal as it sounded in Melbourne.

I worked a total of 57 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. VK2IO/p (VKFF-544)
  2. VK1MA
  3. VK3BBB
  4. VK3PI
  5. VK3ANL
  6. VK3MEG
  7. VK5LG
  8. VK3ZPF
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK4QQ
  11. VK4FFAB
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK3CM/m
  14. VK4RF
  15. VK4HA
  16. VK3AY
  17. VK3ANP
  18. VK3HRA
  19. VK4RZ
  20. VK4FBMW
  21. VK5KPR
  22. VK3TKK
  23. VK3CC
  24. VK3NBV
  25. VK7DX
  26. VK3FQSO
  27. VK3KKP
  28. VK2ST
  29. VK2NP
  30. VK3JK
  31. ZL4KD
  32. VK4HNS
  33. VK4FSCC
  34. VK2YK
  35. VK5KET
  36. VK3XL
  37. VK5FANA
  38. VK3AWG
  39. VK3TJK
  40. VK2FA/m
  41. VK2AJG
  42. VK1HW
  43. VK3FILB
  44. VK2XRC/p
  45. VK3ZZS/4
  46. VK3YSP
  47. ZL2OPB
  48. VK3GYH
  49. VK4MON
  50. VK4FAID
  51. VK7NXX
  52. VK2WDD
  53. VK6NU
  54. VK3UH
  55. VK2RM
  56. VK2MZZ
  57. VK4ICE/m

An update on SA Parks

As a result of the proposed addition of some more South Australian parks for the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) program, I decided to review my list and compare it with official information.  This is a follow up to an old post back in June 2014.

The State of South Australia (S.A.) has a total of 21 National Parks and 271 Conservation Parks.  These parks are managed by the Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR).  SA is currently divided into 8 different Natural Resource Management regions (NRM).  They are as follows:

  1. Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges
  2. Alinytjara Wilurara
  3. Eyre Peninusla
  4. Kangaroo Island
  5. Northern and Yorke
  6. South Australian Arid Lands
  7. South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
  8. South East

This is a relatively new group of regions which commenced in about July, 2013.  The seven old regions were as follows:

  1. Adelaide
  2. Kangaroo Island
  3. Murraylands
  4. Northern and Yorke
  5. Outback
  6. South East
  7. West


Above:- Map showing the eight DEWNR Regions.  Courtesy of

Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges.

This region’s total area is approximately 11,200 square kilometres.  Around 59% of that is land and 41% marine waters.  It supports around 1.3 million people which equates to 80 % of South Australia’s population.  The region includes metropolitanAdelaide and the western side of the Mount Lofty Ranges, extending from Mallala and the Barossa in the north, to the Fleurieu Peninsula in the south.  The region also extends up to 30km into the marine environment.  The region supports remnant busland, agriculture and horticulture, urban areas, beaches, spectacular coastal scenery and marine environments.


Screenshot 2015-07-30 13.43.52

Above:- Map showing the Adelaide & Mt Lofty boundaries.  Image courtesy of

The Region is divided into seven subregions as follows:

  1. Metropolitan Adelaide
  2. Northern Coast and Plains
  3. Northern Hills
  4. Central Hills
  5. Willunga Basin
  6. Fleurieu Peninsula
  7. Marine

Screenshot 2015-07-30 14.03.43

Above:- Map showing the subregions of the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges NRM.  Image courtesy of

There are a total of 46 parks in this region, comprising of 2 National Parks, and 44 Conservation Parks.  Parks in this region comprise nearly 17% of all parks in the State.  The parks in this Region are as follows:

  1. Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park
  2. Angove Conservation Park
  3. Belair National Park.
  4. Black Hill Conservation Park
  5. Charleston Conservation Park
  6. Cleland Conservation Park
  7. Cromer Conservation Park
  8. Cudlee Creek Conservation Park
  9. Deep Creek Conservation Park
  10. Eric Bonython Conservation Park
  11. Eurilia Conservation Park
  12. Ferguson Conservation Park
  13. Fort Glanville Conservation Park
  14. Giles Conservation Park
  15. Gum Tree Gully Conservation Park
  16. Hale Conservation Park
  17. Hallett Cove Conservation Park
  18. Horsnell Gully Conservation Park
  19. Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park
  20. Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park
  21. Marino Conservation Park
  22. Mark Oliphant Conservation Park
  23. Moana Sands Conservation Park
  24. Montacute Conservation Park
  25. Morialta Conservation Park
  26. Mount Billy Conservation Park
  27. Mount George Conservation Park
  28. Mylor Conservation Park
  29. Myponga Conservation Park
  30. Newland Head Conservation Park
  31. Nixon Skinner Conservation Park
  32. Onkaparinga River National Park.
  33. Port Gawler Conservation Park
  34. Porter Scrub Conservation Park.
  35. Pullen Island Conservation Park
  36. Sandy Creek Conservation Park
  37. Scott Creek Conservation Park
  38. Spring Mount Conservation Park
  39. Stipturus Conservation Park
  40. Talisker Conservation Park
  41. The Knoll Conservation Park
  42. Torrens Island Conservation Park (administered by the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary)
  43. Waitpinga Conservation Park
  44. Warren Conservation Park
  45. West Island Conservation Park
  46. Yulte Conservation Park

Screenshot 2015-07-30 13.55.57

Above:- Map showing the vegetation types in the Region.  Image courtesy of

For more information please see…..


Alinytjara Wilurara

The Alinytjara Wilurara (AW) natural resource management (NRM) region covers the north west third of South Australia. In Pitjantjatjara, ‘alinytjara’ means ‘north’ and ‘wilurara’ means ‘west’.  The AW NRM region covers more than 250,000 square kilometres, stretching from the Northern Territory and West Australian borders south to the Great Australian Bight. The regional boundary extends to the edge of the State Waters (three nautical miles off-shore) in the Great Australian Bight and includes the South Australian part of the Great Australian Bight Marine Park. The land and its 340 kilometres of coastline are mostly dedicated to conservation and traditional Aboriginal use and occupation. The homelands and community townships are inhabited by approximately 4,000 people.



Above:- Map showing the Alinytjara Wilurara NRM Region.  Image courtesy of

There are a total of 5 parks in this region, comprising of 1 National Park, and 4 Conservation Parks in this region. They are as follows:

  1. Mamungari Conservation Park
  2. Nullabor National Park
  3. Pureba Conservation Park
  4. Tallaringa Conservation Park
  5. Yumbarra Conservation Park

For more information please see….


Eyre Peninsula.

The Eyre Peninsula region covers a significant area of South Australia (80,000 square km / 8 million ha) and includes part of the upper Spencer Gulf, the City of Whyalla, across the southern boundaries of the Gawler Ranges, past Ceduna to the edge of the Nullarbor Plain and south to the fishing hub of Port Lincoln. Native vegetation covers about 44% of the land mass.  The coastline in this region stretches for about 2,475 km in length.  The region supports a population of about 55,000 people.


Above:- Map showing the Eyre Peninsula NRM Region.  Image courtesy of

There are a total of 75 parks in this region, which comprises about 27 % of all of the parks in South Australia.  Here are the parks in the Eyre Peninsula Region:

  1. Acraman Creek CP
  2. Avoid Bay Islands CP
  3. Baird Bay Islands CP
  4. Barwell CP
  5. Bascombe Well CP
  6. Boondinna CP
  7. Calpatanna Waterhole CP
  8. Cap Island CP
  9. Cape Blanche CP
  10. Caralue Bluff CP
  11. Carapee Hill CP
  12. Chadinga CP
  13. Cocata CP
  14. Coffin Bay NP
  15. Corrobinnie Hill CP
  16. Darke Range CP
  17. Eba Island CP
  18. Fowlers Bay CP
  19. Franklin Harbor CP
  20. Gambier Islands CP
  21. Gawler Ranges CP
  22. Great Australian Bight National Park
  23. Greenly Island CP
  24. Heggarton CP
  25. Hincks CP
  26. Ironstone Hill Conservation Park
  27. Kathai CP
  28. Kellidie Bay CP
  29. Kulliparu CP
  30. Lake Gilles CP
  31. Lake Newland CP
  32. Laura Bay CP
  33. Lincoln NP
  34. Lincoln CP
  35. Lipson Island CP
  36. Malgra CP
  37. Middlecamp Hills CP
  38. Moody Tank CP
  39. Mount Dutton Bay CP
  40. Munyaroo CP
  41. Murrunatta CP
  42. Neptune Islands CP
  43. Nicholas Baudin Island CP
  44. Nuyts Archipelago CP
  45. Nuyts Reef CP
  46. Olive Island CP
  47. Peachna CP
  48. Pigface Island CP
  49. Pinkawillinie CP
  50. Point Bell CP
  51. Point Labbatt CP
  52. Rocky Island (North) CP
  53. Rocky Island (South) CP
  54. Ruddall CP
  55. Sceale Bay CP
  56. Searcy Bay CP
  57. Shannon CP
  58. Sheoak Hill CP
  59. Sinclair Island CP
  60. Sir Joseph Banks Group CP
  61. Sleaford Mere CP
  62. The Plug Range CP
  63. Tucknott Scrub CP
  64. Tumby Island CP
  65. Venus Bay CP
  66. Verran Tanks CP
  67. Wahgunyah CP
  68. Waldegrave Islands CP
  69. Wanilla CP
  70. Wanilla Land Settlement CP
  71. Wharminda CP
  72. Whidbey Isles CP
  73. Whyalla CP
  74. Wittelbee CP
  75. Yeldulknie Conservation Park

Screenshot 2015-07-30 17.36.45

Above:- Parks on the Eyre Peninsula.  Image courtesy of

For more information please see….


Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island (KI) lies approximately 15 kilometres off the Fleurieu Peninsula in southern South Australia. The island covers an area of 4,370 square kilometres and is home to approximately 4,400 people who reside primarily in the four townships, the largest being Kingscote. The island welcomes more than 160,000 visitors each year, one third of whom are international guests.

KI contains the highest proportion of remnant vegetation of all South Australian agricultural regions. Around 40% of the island is covered by native vegetation, maintaining significant areas of relatively intact ecosystems.

The region is noted for its abundant wildlife, thanks to relatively few predators and extensive native habitats. Kangaroo Island and its marine waters are home to:

  • 18 species of terrestrial mammals
  • 255 recorded bird species
  • 18 reptile species
  • 6 frog species
  • 231 recorded fish species
  • 5 kinds of seagrass
  • up to 600 species of marine algae.


Above:- Map showing Kangaroo Island Rehion boundaries.  Image courtesy of Kangaroo Island NRM Plan 2009 

Kangaroo Island has a total of 22 parks, consisting of 1 National Park, and 21 Conservation Parks.

  1. Baudin CP
  2. Beatrice Islet CP
  3. Beyeria CP
  4. Busby Islet CP
  5. Cape Gantheaume CP
  6. Cape Willoughby CP
  7. Cygnet Estuary CP
  8. Dudley CP
  9. Flinders Chase NP
  10. Kelly Hill CP
  11. Lashmar CP
  12. Lathami CP
  13. Lesueur CP
  14. Mount Taylor CP
  15. Nepean Bay CP
  16. Parndana CP
  17. Pelican Lagoon CP
  18. Seal Bay CP
  19. Seddon CP
  20. Simpson CP
  21. The Pages CP
  22. Vivonne Bay CP


Northern and Yorke.

The Northern and Yorke (NY) natural resources management region extends for 34,500 square kilometres, or more than three million hectares. It is a varied and productive portion of South Australia and includes 1,350km of coastline and adjacent marine areas.

The region encompasses the Yorke Peninsula, the northern Mount Lofty Ranges, the southern Flinders Ranges and significant areas of Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent.

The region supports a population of approximately 95,000 people who reside in agricultural, coastal and urban communities. It welcomes a large number of visitors each year to destinations that include Innes National Park, the Clare Valley and the Southern Flinders Ranges.

The region includes traditional Aboriginal lands of the Kaurna, Narrunga, Nukunu, Ngadjuri, Meru, Danggali, Barngala and Adnyamathanha people.

The major urban centres are the cities of Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Clare, Kadina, Moonta and Wallaroo.

Natural resources underpin a range of industries. Approximately 80% of the region is under agricultural cropping and grazing production contributing a quarter of the South Australia’s agricultural earnings. The region embraces the major Clare Valley wine growing area, and supports significant mining and mineral processing activities, fishing, aquaculture, forestry, horticulture and tourism.

Northern and Yorke and its marine waters are home to:

  • 1,299 native species of vascular terrestrial plants
  • 33 native species of terrestrial mammals
  • 304 recorded native bird species
  • 91 native reptile species
  • 9 frog species.


Above:- Map of the Northern & Yorke NRM Region.  Image courtesy of

This region is divided into three districts as follows:

  • Upper North
  • Lower North
  • Yorke Peninsula

There are a total of 24 parks in this region, comprising of 2 National Parks, and 22 Conservation Parks. They are as follows:

  1. Althorpe Islands CP
  2. Bird Islands CP
  3. Black Rock CP
  4. Carribie CP
  5. Clements Gap CP
  6. Clinton CP
  7. Goose Island CP
  8. Innes NP
  9. Leven Beach CP
  10. Martindale Hall CP
  11. Minlacowie CP
  12. Mount Brown CP
  13. Mount Remarkable NP.
  14. Mount Brown CP
  15. Point Davenport CP
  16. Ramsay CP
  17. Spring Gully CP
  18. Telowie Gorge CP
  19. The Dutchmans Stern CP
  20. Troubridge Island CP
  21. Warrenben CP
  22. Wills Creek CP
  23. Winninowie CP
  24. Yalpara CP

For more information please see…..


South Australian Arid Lands.

The SA Arid Lands region cover over half of South Australia, taking up the state’s north-east corner to its borders with New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. The region’s environmental processes are determined by irregular rainfall and other episodic weather events that rarely follow predictable annual cycles. The region includes some of the driest parts of South Australia and has the largest percentage of intact ecosystems and natural biodiversity in the state. These iconic terrestrial ecosystems – including sandy deserts, stony plains, and the Gawler, Flinders and Olary ranges – are home to a range of unique plants and animals, many of which are only found within the region.

The human population in this semi arid region is small (less than 2% of the state) and geographically dispersed. The largest towns, Coober Pedy and Roxby Downs, are both associated with mining and are home to less than 5000 people, while the remaining scattered towns all have less than 1000 occupants.

Pastoralism is the most dominant land use, with over 400,000 square kilometres taken up by sheep and cattle stations. Large mining and petroleum companies also operate in the arid lands. Aboriginal land holdings are diverse and include pastoral leases, community managed land, indigenous protected areas and co-managed parks.

The region contains some of the state’s most environmentally significant natural resources including conservation reserves and National Parks, as well as two great inland water systems: Kati Thanda – Lake Eyre and the Great Artesian Basin.

Screenshot 2015-07-30 14.30.36

Above:- Map showing the SA Arid Lands NRM Region.  Image courtesy of

This region is divided into the following 6 districts:

  • Gawler Ranges
  • Kingoonya
  • Marla-Oodnadatta
  • Marree-Innamincka
  • North Flinders
  • North East

There are a total of 16 parks in this region, comprising of 7 National Parks, and 8 Conservation Parks in this region. They are as follows:

  1. Bimbowrie CP
  2. Breakaways CP
  3. Ediacara CP
  4. Elliott Price CP
  5. Flinders Ranges NP.
  6. Gawler Ranges National Park
  7. Ironstone Hill CP
  8. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre NP
  9. Lake Gairdner NP
  10. Lake Torrens NP
  11. Malkumba-Coongie Lakes NP.
  12. Pualco Range CP
  13. Simpson Desert CP
  14. Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges NP
  15. Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs CP
  16. Witjira NP

For more information please see…..


South Australia Murray Darling Basin

The SA Murray-Darling Basin region extends from where the River Murray crosses the border from Victoria into South Australia, down to where it meets the sea at the Coorong. It covers 70,000 square kilometres and includes six distinct ecological areas:

  • River Murray
  • Coorong and Lower Lakes
  • Murray Mallee
  • Murray Plains
  • Eastern Mount Lofty Ranges
  • South Olary Plains.

The region’s natural resources support a wide range of human activities. The River Murray supplies the majority of the water needs for the capital city of Adelaide as well as other towns in the state. The natural resources also support tourism, recreation and manufacturing, as well as one of the most productive agricultural areas in South Australia. About 82% of the land in the region is used for primary production, including pastoral lands, dryland cropping, grazing, horticulture, irrigation and dairy farming.

Within the region, there are ecosystems that are of state, national and international significance, including the Ramsar-listed Chowilla Floodplain and the Coorong and Lower Lakes. As a result, there are large areas of National Parks dedicated to nature conservation.

The region is also home to a diverse range of native plants and animals, many of them under threat:

  • 95 species of native mammal, of which 45 are under threat
  • 110 species of native reptiles, of which two are endangered and five are vulnerable
  • 13 species of native frogs, with the Golden Bell Frog considered nationally vulnerable
  • 31 species of native freshwater fish, with four listed as threatened
  • 3 species of threatened native estuarine fish.


Above:- Map of the Region.  Image courtesy of

The region is divided into the following 4 districts:

  • Rangelands
  • Ranges to River
  • Riverland
  • Mallee & Coorong

There are a total of 47 parks in this region, comprising 2 National Parks, and 44 Conservation Parks.  This consists of nearly 17% of the parks located in South Australia.  The region’s parks are as follows:

  1. Bakara CP
  2. Bandon CP
  3. Billiatt CP
  4. Brookfield CP
  5. Bullock Hill CP
  6. Carcuma CP
  7. Caroona Creek CP
  8. Cooltong CP
  9. Coorong NP
  10. Cox Scrub CP
  11. Danggali CP
  12. Ettrick CP
  13. Ferries McDonald CP
  14. Finnis CP
  15. Hesperilla CP
  16. Hogwash Bend CP
  17. Hopkins Creek CP
  18. Kapunda Island CP
  19. Karte CP
  20. Kyeema CP
  21. Lowan CP
  22. Maize Island CP
  23. Marne Valley CP
  24. Media Island CP
  25. Mimbara Conservation Park
  26. Mokota CP
  27. Monarto CP
  28. Morgan CP
  29. Mount Magnificent CP
  30. Mowantjie Willauwar CP
  31. Murray River NP
  32. Ngarkat CP
  33. Ngaut Ngaut CP
  34. Pandappa CP
  35. Peebinga CP
  36. Pike River CP
  37. Pooginook CP
  38. Poonthie Ruwe CP
  39. Ramco Point CP
  40. Red Banks CP
  41. Ridley CP
  42. Rilli Island CP
  43. Roonka CP
  44. Salt Lagoon Islands CP
  45. Scott CP
  46. Swan Reach CP
  47. White Dam CP

For more information please see…..

South East

The South East Natural Resources Management (SE NRM) region covers an area of approximately 28,000 square kilometres and is bounded by the Victorian border to the east, the Southern Ocean to the south and the Coorong to the west. This area of South Australia is commonly referred to as the Limestone Coast due to its proximity to the coast and the abundance of limestone located under the soil, which acts as a filter to produce high quality water.

The climate of the region is characterised by cool wet winters and mild to hot, dry summers. Average annual rainfall varies considerably within the region, from approximately 850mm in the south to 450mm in the north of the region. With a favourable climate, suitable soils and underground water, the South East has a strong history as a highly productive area that supports a diverse and profitable industry base. The region contributes about $5 billion per annum towards the South Australian GDP with more than 30% of the State’s GDP produced by the South East’s agricultural sector. The key economic activities in the region supported by natural resources include plantation forestry, wine/viticulture, agriculture, dairy, potatoes, fishing/aquaculture and their associated industries.

The region is distinguished by a series of stranded dunes that rise between 20-50 metres above interdunal plains. These plains can be inundated over winter and host a variety of internationally-recognised wetland systems, including the Ramsar-listed Bool and Hacks lagoons and part of the Coorong and Lower Lakes Wetlands. The region also hosts and extensive network of limestone sink holes and caves, which include the World Heritage Listed Naracoorte Caves.

Screenshot 2015-07-30 13.16.41

Above:- Map showing the South East boundaries.  Image courtesy of

The South East Region is divided into three SENRM groups:

  • Northern
  • Central
  • Southern


Above:- Map showing the South East NRM Groups; Northern, Central & Southern.  Image courtesy of

There are a total of 57 parks in the South East region, comprising 2 National Parks, and 55 Conservation Parks. This is about 21% of the total parks in South Australia.  The parks are as follows:

  1. Aberdour Conservation Park
  2. Bangham Conservation Park
  3. Baudin Rocks Conservation Park
  4. Beachport Conservation Park
  5. Belt Hill Conservation Park
  6. Big Heath Conservation Park
  7. Butcher Gap Conservation Park
  8. Calectasia Conservation Park
  9. Canunda National Park
  10. Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park
  11. Christmas Rocks Conservation Park
  12. Custon Conservation Park
  13. Desert Camp Conservation Park
  14. Dingley Dell Conservation Park
  15. Douglas Point Conservation Park
  16. Ewens Ponds Conservation Park
  17. Fairview Conservation Park
  18. Furner Conservation Park
  19. Geegeela Conservation Park
  20. Glen Roy Conservation Park
  21. Gower Conservation Park
  22. Grass Tree Conservation Park
  23. Guichen Bay Conservation Park
  24. Gum Lagoon Conservation Park
  25. Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park
  26. Hanson Scrub Conservation Park
  27. Jip Jip Conservation Park
  28. Kelvin Powrie Conservation Park
  29. Kungari Conservation Park
  30. Lake Frome Conservation Park
  31. Lake Hawdon South Conservation Park
  32. Lake St Clair Conservation Park
  33. Little Dip Conservation Park
  34. Lower Glenelg River Conservation Park
  35. Martin Washpool Conservation Park
  36. Mary Seymour Conservation Park
  37. Messent Conservation Park
  38. Mount Boothby Conservation Park
  39. Mount Monster Conservation Park
  40. Mount Scott Conservation Park
  41. Mullinger Swamp Conservation Park
  42. Narracoorte Caves National Park
  43. Nene Valley Conservation Park
  44. Padthaway Conservation Park
  45. Penambol Conservation Park
  46. Penguin Island Conservation Park
  47. Penola Conservation Park
  48. Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park
  49. Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park
  50. Reedy Creek Conservation Park
  51. Talapar Conservation Park
  52. Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park
  53. Telford Scrub Conservation Park
  54. Tilley Swamp Conservation Park
  55. Vivigani Ardune Conservation Park
  56. Woakwine Conservation Park
  57. Wolsley Common Conservation Park

For more information please see……



Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Natural Resources,

The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park VKFF-817

After packing up at Mount Brown, John VK5BJE decided that it was a bit cold to continue activating, and he and Jenny headed back to Argadells with David VK5KC and his wife Joy.  And they were right, it was getting very chilly.  But I was very keen to qualify The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, VKFF-817, which was recently added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, which is about 3,532 hectares in size, is situated about 10 km north east of Quorn and about 340 km north of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.49.49

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of

I have activated the park once before.  That was back in May 2013, when my wife Marija and I climbed The Dutchmans Stern summit, located in the park.  For more information on that activation and detailed information on the park, please see my previous post at…..

The park is accessed off Arden Vale Road and is well signposted.  The summit itself cannot be missed as it has a very striking shape.  The park gets its name from the bluff’s similarity to Dutch sailing ships of the 18th century.  The rocky outcrops and slopes appear to resemble the reverse stern of these ships.  The bluff was named by Captain Matthew Flinders who chartered the nearby Spencer Gulf in 1802.

As we entered the park, we were struck by the number of kangaroos, both Red Kangaroos and Western Greys.

We set up just on the southern side of the carpark.  Fortunately, there was a wooden table and benches there waiting for me, which made a perfect shack.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu Ft-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on a 7 metre squid pole.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.49.35

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

I started off on 20m as it was getting a little late.  It was 4.20 p.m. South Australian local time and it was starting to get dark, which meant that my window into Europe via the long path was quite limited.  I called CQ on 14.244 and this was answered by Erol VK2YB with a strong 5/9 signal, and then Marco VK2YES also 5/9.  My third contact was another station from New South Wales, Dave VK2DML who was also 5/9.

I worked a further 6 stations from Australia, in VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK4, before my first DX contact, IZ5JMZ in Italy.  This was followed by JA8RJE in Japan, and Ken ZL4KD in Christchurch in New Zealand.  The European attention had been generated as Erol VK2YB and Adam VK2YK had spotted me on the DX Cluster.  This really does help.

I went on to work 23 stations on 20m in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Sloevnia, Belgium, Germany, and Russia.  But I had left my run a bit late…the 20m band was almost shut on the long path.

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So with a further 21 contacts required I headed down to 40m and called CQ on 7.098.  My first taker there was John VK4JWT on Bribie Island who had followed me down from 20m.  This was followed by David VK5HYZ in Adelaide, and Nev VK5WG in Cyrstal Brook.  It was quite slow going, but I finally managed my 44th contact, with thanks to Ian VK5ZGG.  I worked 3 more stations, making my total 47 for the activation.  But with no further takers and an ever lowering temperature (now 5 degrees C), it was time to pack up and head back to Argadells.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2YB
  2. VK2YES
  3. VK2DML
  4. VK4MON
  5. VK2YK
  6. VK3BY
  7. VK1XP
  8. VK3PMG
  9. VK3EY
  10. IZ5JMZ
  11. JA8RJE
  12. ZL4KD
  13. VK6HSB/p
  14. VK3FD/6
  15. VK6JON/p
  16. S58AL
  17. ON4BB
  18. DL2ND
  19. DK0EE
  20. RA3PCI
  21. DK4RM
  22. VK4JWT

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4JWT
  2. VK5HYZ
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK2PH
  5. VK5PZ
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK3FPBI
  8. VK5FMID
  9. VK2FALL
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK2IO
  12. VK5HEL
  13. VK5FD
  14. VK2SOL
  15. VK2BJK
  16. VK5KAF
  17. VK3FONZ
  18. VK6NU
  19. VK3DBP
  20. VK1AT
  21. VK5ZGG
  22. VK4AJR
  23. VK4MAD
  24. VK5KKT

After reaching Argadells, I lit the open fire at the back of our accomodation, the Overseer’s cottage, and we were soon joined by David and Joy, & John and Jenny for a BBQ dinner.  And the obligatory few bottles of red.  It was a great end to a great day.

Mount Brown Conservation Park

After our activation of The Devils Peak, we continued as a group down the Richman Valley Road for our next activation, which was the Mount Brown Conservation Park.  This park qualifies for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

The Mount Brown Conservation Park is situated about 14 km south of Quorn and about 300 km north of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.14.07

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of

I have activated the park twice before.  The first time was in May 2013, with my wife Marija, when we climbed Mount Brown summit, VK5/ NE-014 which is located in the park.  And the second occasion was in August 2013.  For more information on the park, and details on those activations, please have a look at my previous posts at…..

We accessed a picnic type area in the park oon the western side of the Richman Valley Road.  There is a large rainwater tank and a shelter at this location.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.13.50 Above:- Map of the park, showing our operating location.  Map courtesy of

Prior to doing an activating, we had lunch in the park.  It was about 1.00 p.m. local time.

John VK5BJE was keen to try his luck on 30m, so he and David headed down towards the Richman Valley Road and set up there.  I started off on 40m and set up about 100 metres away, and ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre squid pole.

I called CQ on 7.095 and my first taker was Trevor VK5TW (5/9 both ways).  This was followed by Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill, and John VK5FMJC at Crystal Brook.

Mount Brown is not yet a qualifying park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so there was no pressure to reach 44 contacts.  But it was pleasing to get a steady flow of callers from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5 in the middle of the day on 40m, all with very good signals.

Each of the Advanced operators that I worked, I advised that John and David were on 30m, and many went up there to work John and David.

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There was only one QRP caller during this activation and that was Alan VK5FAJS at Mount Gambier runnign 5 watts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).  But I did work a few mobile stations.  They included Craig VK3NCR mobile 5, at Keith in the South East, on his way to Padthaway.  Also Dale Vk5DC who was mobile near Marree in the Far North of South Australia.  And finally Wayne VK2PDW mobile.

It was also very pleasing to speak with John VK5KAF.  I was his first contact on 40 metres for the last 20 years.  His interest in the hobby had just been reignited.

After an hour on air, I had a total of 31 contacts in the log on 40m.  It was time to pack up and head off to the next activation, at The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5TW
  2. VK5MBD
  3. VK5FMJC
  4. VK3AXH
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK3SIG
  7. VK5FAJS
  8. VK5VGC
  9. VK5KGP
  10. VK3PMG
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK5HCF
  13. VK5FMID
  14. VK5ZK
  15. VK3NCR/5
  16. VK5ZAR
  17. VK5DC/m
  18. VK5FD
  19. VK5JK
  20. VK1AT
  21. VK5KAA
  22. VK2PDW/m
  23. VK5WCC
  24. VK3FOWL
  25. VK5KAF
  26. VK2NP
  27. VK5WF
  28. VK3ZZS/4
  29. VK5NFB
  30. VK4ACL
  31. VK2JNG

Winninowie Conservation Park VKFF-820

After leaving the Clinton Conservation Park, Marija and I continued north on the Augusta Highway up into the Mid North of South Australia.  Our next park activation was the Winninowie Conservation Park, VKFF-820.

But prior to activating the park, we took a short detour into the little town on RedHill.  I had arranged to call in and say ‘g’day’ to Bill VK5MBD and his partner Hayley.  When we arrived at Bill’s place, which is the old school house, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was an unexpected visitor there, John VK5FMJC from Crystal Brook.  Bill, John, and I enjoyed a beer, while going on a tour of Bill’s antenna farm.  He certainly has a collection.

After leaving Bill’s place we continued north on the Augusta Highway towards Winninowie Conservation Park, which is about 20 km south of Port Augusta, and about 300 km north of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 08.05.00

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of

We drove down Miranda Road into the Yatala Harbour section of the park and found a bit of a clearing in the scrub and set up the fold up table and deck chair.  Again for this activation, I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 40m/200m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre squid pole.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 08.04.41

Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of

Much to my pleasant surprise, my first contact in the log was with Larry VK5LY at Renmark in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Larry was meant to have accompanied us on the trip with his wife Di, but due to illness, could not come along.  So it was great to get Larry in the log.  Next up was John VK5BJE, another one of our travelling colleagues, who was already at Argadells near Quorn (our accomodation for the next 3 nights).

A few QSOs later I was called by Amanda VK3FQSO running her 500 milliwatts again.  Amanda had  a nice 5/7 signal coming in to the Winninowie.  It is truly amazing what you can do on real QRP when the conditions are favourable.

And then a few contacts later I spoke with Johnno VK3FMPB who was operating portable from the Kinglake National Park, VKFF-264.  Soon after I had a few more park contacts in the log.  This time it was Col VK5HCF and Alan VK5FAJS who were portable in the Telford Scrub Conservation Park, VKFF-805 near Mount Gambier in the South East.  For more information on their activation, please have a look at Col’s WordPress site at…..

After speaking with Col and Alan, Tony VK3CAT gave me a shout from his backyard, running a small magnetic loop and just 4 watts.

And my park contacts continued about 12 contacts later, with Ian VK1DI calling in from the Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve, VKFF-835 with a good 5/7 signal.  For more information on Ian’s activation, have a look at Ian’s WordPress site at…..

I moved through the constant stream of callers from all around Australia….VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  I was then called by Rob VK4AAC/5 in the Flinders Chase National Park VKFF-173 on Kangaroo Island OC-139.  Another park contact…I was very pleased.

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And then a few QSO’s later I was called by Ken ZL4KD in Christchurch with a good 5/7 signal.  Ken reciprocated with a 5/6 signal report for me.  Steve VK5SFA then called in from the Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-783, in the Adelaide Hills.  Steve was running just 5 watts and had a very strong 5/9 signal.

After working a total of 51 stations on 40m I headed over to 20m, hoping to get some Europeans in the log.  And I wasn’t to be disappointed.  Band conditions on 20m, long path into Europe were excellent.  My first contact after calling CQ on 20m was with Fred VK4FE.  Next up was Danny ON4VT in Belgium who is a regular park activator and hunter, Luc ON4BB in Belgium, Xaver DK4RM in Germany, and then Swa ON5SWA in Belgium.

During the pile up I heard ‘portable’ in amongst the callers.  It was Ian VK1DI in Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-835, calling in.  Ian was a nice strong 5/9.

I went on to work a total of 79 stations on 20m in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary, France, Austria, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Romania, Sweden, Slovak Republic, Poland, England, Wales, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Netherlands, Croatia, and Japan.

Thankyou to I5FLN, IZ1JLG, OO2T and ON3EA for spotting me on the DX Cluster.

This was a very successful activation with a total of 128 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5LY
  2. VK5BJE/p (Argadells)
  3. VK5FD
  4. VK2FALL
  5. VK3FQSO
  6. VK4FFAB
  7. VK5FTRG
  8. VK3FMPB/p (Kinglake National Park VKFF-264)
  9. VK5IS
  10. VK5HCF/p (Telford Scrub CP VKFF-805)
  11. VK5FAJS/p (Telford Scrub CP VKFF-805)
  12. VK3CAT/p
  13. VK7LTD/p
  14. VK3TKK/p
  15. VK4QC/2
  16. VK5QI/m
  17. VK5HS/m
  18. VK3OF
  19. VK5HYZ
  20. VK5GJ
  21. VK3PF
  22. VK3BHR
  23. VK1DI/p
  24. VK5BW
  25. VK3NBV
  26. VK3DBP
  27. VK3NBL
  28. VK5JW
  29. VK5FMID
  30. VK3ANL
  31. VK7EK
  32. VK2NP
  33. VK5FMJC
  34. VK3ZZS/4
  35. VK4HNS
  36. VK3YAR
  37. VK2SR/m
  38. VK3VIN
  39. VK4AAC/5 (Flinders Chase National Park VKFF-173)
  40. VK5MBD
  41. VK5RR
  42. VK3KYF
  43. VK3FLAK
  44. ZL4KD
  45. VK2SL/p
  46. VK5FANA
  47. VK5SFA/p (Morialta CP VKFF)
  48. VK3HRA
  49. VK5FAJH
  50. VK5KFB
  51. VK2HPN/m

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FE
  2. ON4VT
  3. ON4BB
  4. DK4RM
  5. ON5SWA
  6. DL1EBR
  7. VK2IO
  8. I5FLN
  9. VK4FR
  10. VK2GKA/m
  11. VK2NP
  12. EA4DTV
  13. HA5LV
  14. VK1DI
  15. HA6NF
  16. F4HJO
  17. IK1GPG
  18. HA6OB
  19. OH6IU
  20. RA3PCI
  21. S58AL
  22. HB9ELE
  23. DM5EE
  24. F1BLL
  25. YO3JW
  26. DL5WW
  27. IZ0PAD
  28. S52KM
  29. SA5ACR
  30. OM7OM
  31. DL2ND
  32. SP5INQ
  33. HA0LG
  34. IK8FIQ
  35. DL3APO
  36. OK7WA
  37. Dl2NOM
  38. IK8NSR
  39. DL1MDU
  40. IZ1CJZ
  41. DL1EKO
  42. ON1JU
  43. IZ1JLG
  44. IN3RTB
  45. EA3MP
  46. M6KVT/p
  47. ON7AB
  48. HB9LCZ
  49. MW0RLJ
  50. OE3QGA
  51. I3QDK
  52. IZ0OTV
  53. DF1YQ
  54. OK2BUT
  55. HA5HY
  56. HB9/DK2WC
  57. DL1ASA
  58. SP1MVG
  59. SP6KEP
  60. IW2NXI
  61. UX1AA
  62. PB1TT
  63. VK7VDL
  64. 9A2AA
  65. SP8GEY
  66. IZ1GRH
  67. S51ZZ
  68. ON4ATK
  69. IK2LQT
  70. OP7M
  71. JA8RJE
  72. F2YT
  73. IZ1JMN
  74. ON3EA
  75. YO6KNE
  76. VK6MAC
  77. VK6NU

After packing up at Winninowie, we continued north on the Augusta Highway and then took the turn off to Quorn.  We then travelled out along Arden Vale Road to ‘Argadells’.  What an amazing place.  Marija and I highly recommend Argadells to anyone who would like a beautiful stay in the north.  Argadells is a historic working sheep property set amongst 32 square kilometres of spectacular scenery, just 28 kilometres north of Quorn.  It is nestled between Warren Gorge and Buckaringa Gorge.  For more information on Argadells, please have a look at their website at…..

After dinner, which was prepared in the amazing camp kitchen, and a few bottles of red, John, David and I fired up the Yaesu FT-857d and made a few contacts on 40m, before retiring for the night.  We even managed a contact into Panama on 40m (5/9 sent and 4/8 received).