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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Olivers Lake Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2418

Our second park for Sunday (1st December 2019) was Olivers Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2418, which is located about 329 km northwest of the city of Melbourne, and about 29 km west of Horsham.

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

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

We travelled through the original settlement site of Polkemmet.  There is a monument for the Polkemmet Church of Christ which was established in 1866.

The park is about 1,000 acres in size and incorporates all of Olivers Lake.  The vulnerable Bead Glasswort, a small succulent plant can be found at Olivers Lake.

The lake is a world-renowned spot for bird watching.  The lake is home to thousands of birds each year during the migration periods.  EBird Australia has recorded about 75 species of native bird in the park including Whistling Kite, Eastern Rosella, Musk Lorikeet, Masked Lapwing, Black-tailed Nativehen, and White-faced Heron.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Olivers Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve, looking south-west.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

We drove down an access track which ran off the western side of Lake Road.  This took us right down to the edge of the lake.

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Above:- the access track from Lake Road.

We set up right on the edge of the lake, which was bone dry during our visit to the park.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Olivers Lake Flora & Fauna Reserve showing our operating spot on the eastern side of the park.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

It was absolutely blowing a gale so we positioned the Toyota HiLux so that it shielded us somewhat from the westerly wind blowing across the lake.  The 7-metre telescopic squid pole certainly flexed and danced during this activation.

IMG_2394

Marija and I started the activation with a Park to Park contact with Peter VK3PF/p who was calling CQ on 7.144 from the Merrimans Creek Flora Reserve VKFF-2384.  I then moved down to 7.139 where I called CQ.  This was answered by Rob VK4AAC/3 who was in the Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053.

Contact number ten for me, thus qualifying the park for VKFF, came a few minutes later with a QSO with Stuart VK3STU.  This was followed by another Park to Park, this time with Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094.  A few QSOs later I was called by Liz VK2XSE/p and Peter VK2KNV/p who were in the Bemboka National Park VKFF-0025.

Despite the weather conditions being poor, the bands conditions were quite good.  I logged a total of 40 QSOs including two further Park to Park contacts with Nik VK3ZK/p in the Lower Goulburn National Park VKFF-0741, and Gerard VK2IO/p who was in the Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984.

DSC_6886

I was now just 4 QSOs short of the 44 required to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  It was time for Marija to jump into the operator’s chair.  Marija called CQ on 7.139 and this was answered by regular park hunter Ray VK4NH who became Marija’s tenth contact with his second call of VK4DXA.

Marija logged a further 10 stations before handing the mic back to me.  It was time to head off to the 20m band.  I logged 13 stations there including a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p for a second band.  Contacts on 20m were into VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

I then moved to 80m and logged 5 stations, including Park to Park contacts with Peter VK3ZPF/p in the Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094, and Peter VK3PF/p in the Stradbroke Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2443.

To conclude the activation we lowered the squid pole and hoisted the 15m dipole.  I made a total of 11 contacts on 15m including Park to Park contacts with Peter VK3ZPF/p in the Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094 (for a 3rd band) and Gerard VK2IO/p in the Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984 (also for a third band).

DSC_6884

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Merrimans Creek Flora Reserve VKFF-2384)
  2. VK4AAC/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  3. VK2VH/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  4. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094)
  5. VK2XSE/p (Bemboka National Park VKFF-0025)
  6. VK2KNV/p (Bemboka National Park VKFF-0025)
  7. VK3ZK/p (Lower Goulburn National Park VKFF-0741)
  8. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  9. VK4NH
  10. VK4DXA
  11. ZL4TY/VK4
  12. VK3GRW
  13. VK7ALH
  14. VK5AYL
  15. VK3ZIP
  16. VK3ALA
  17. VK5FMWW
  18. VK7OT
  19. VK7QP
  20. VK2LEE

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094)
  2. VK3PF/p (Stradbroke Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2443)

Marija worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094)
  2. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Merrimans Creek Flora Reserve VKFF-2384)
  2. VK4AAC/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  3. VK2VH/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK5WG
  6. VK7QP
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK3STU
  11. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094)
  12. VK5HS
  13. VK3MPR
  14. VK2XSE/p (Bemboka National Park VKFF-0025)
  15. VK2KNV/p (Bemboka National Park VKFF-0025)
  16. VK2EXA
  17. VK7OT
  18. VK3MCK
  19. VK2LUV
  20. VK3FRAB
  21. VK5FANA
  22. VK4TJ
  23. VK4/AC8WN
  24. VK4/VE6XT
  25. VK4SSN
  26. VK4FDJL/5
  27. VK5FAAH
  28. VK3KBC
  29. VK3VRA
  30. VK3ZK/p (Lower Goulburn National Park VKFF-0741)
  31. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature ReserveVKFF-1984)
  32. VK7ALH
  33. VK3KSK
  34. VK3ZSG
  35. VK3UH
  36. VK3ZIP
  37. VK3PWG
  38. VK3LBW
  39. VK7PAL
  40. VK5PL
  41. VK3GRW

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2LEE
  2. VK7ALH
  3. VK4NH
  4. VK4DXA
  5. ZL4TY/VK4
  6. VK7QP
  7. VK4RF
  8. VK4HA
  9. VK3SX
  10. VK2LX
  11. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  12. VK5KLV
  13. VK7LH

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK7ALH
  2. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094)
  3. VK3PF/p (Stradbroke Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2443)
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK5HS

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2094)
  2. VK7ALH
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK4VXX
  6. VK4BXX
  7. VK4/AG7WB
  8. VK7QP
  9. ZL1TM
  10. VK2IO/p (Pitt Town Nature Reserve VKFF-1984)
  11. VK7LH

 

 

References.

Environment Victoria, 2019, <https://www.environment.vic.gov.au/>, viewed 9th December 2019

Grampians Point, 2019, <https://www.grampianspoint.com.au/attractions/olivers-lake/>, viewed 9th December 2019

West Wail Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2484

It was now Sunday (1st December 2019) and day two of the 2019 VKFF Activation Weekend.  To kick off the day we went to the Dimboola Cafe and had a magnificent breakfast and coffee.

IMG_2393

We then headed to our first park for the day, the West Wail Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2484, which is located about 360 km northwest of the city of Melbourne, and about 10km west of the town of Pimpinio.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 4.27.52 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the West Wail Flora & Fauna Reserve in western Victoria.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The West Wail Flora and Fauna Reserve is a large piece of remnant bush surrounded by cleared farming land.  It is located in close proximity to the Little Desert National Park.  The park can be accessed via the Wail-Polkemmen Road.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 4.42.46 pm.png

Above:- An aerial view of the West Wail Flora & Fauna Reserve, looking north.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

The park is also referred to on maps as the West Wail Nature Conservation Reserve.  It is about 1,455 acres in size and conserves remnant Buloke woodlands and a number of threatened species including Wimmera spider orchids and Rigid spider orchids.

During the rain breaks in the park, I went for a walk to do a bit of birdwatching and spotted a number of native bird species, some of which appear in the photographs below which I took.

EBird Australia has a total of 106 species of bird recorded in the park.

We set up off a 4WD track in the park off the Wail-Polkemmen Road.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  As it was a relatively wet morning we had to roll out the awning on the side of the Toyota Hi-Lux.  At times we experienced quite heavy rain.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 4.29.56 pm.png

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

I kicked off the activation, calling CQ on 7.120 on the 40m band.  As this was a Sunday morning, the broadcasts from the Wireless Institute of Australia were in full swing, and as a result, we could not get near 7.144.  First in the log was Grant VK2LX with his normal strong 5/9 signal and excellent audio.

I logged a total of 22 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7, including the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Nik VK3ZK/p – Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961
  • Peter VK3ZPF/p – Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764
  • Pete VK2FPAR/p – Thirlmere Lakes National Park VKFF-0486
  • Rob VK4AAC/3 – Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053

It was a pleasure to log Peter VK2FPAR in his very first park activation.  Marija and I were also his first-ever Park to Park contacts.

DSC_6721

I then swapped the mic with Marija who within 10 minutes had qualified the park for VKFF.  Contact number ten was with Danny VK5DW in the Riverland region of South Australia.

Marija pushed on and within 40 minutes had contact number 44 in the log and the park qualified for the global WWFF program.  Contact 44 was with Rob VK2VH/3.  Marija’s contacts included the following Park to Park contacts (I also logged the P2P):-

  • Peter VK3ZPF/p – Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764.
  • Angela VK7FAMP/p – Lake Dulverton Conservation Area VKFF-2907.
  • Tony VK7LTD/p – Lake Dulverton Conservation Area VKFF-2907.
  • Nik VK3ZK/p – Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961.
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.
  • Malcolm VK3OAK/p – Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070.
  • Ian VK5CZ/p – White Dam Conservation Park VKFF-1122.
  • Rob VK4AAC/3 – Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053.
  • Rob VK2VH/3 – Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053.

DSC_6731

I then jumped back on the mic and logged a further 23 stations on 40m including the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Ian VK5CZ/p – White Dam Conservation Park VKFF-1122.
  • Nik VK3ZK/p – Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961.

I then moved to the 20m band where I logged a total of 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.  This included the following Park to Park QSOs:-

  • Liz VK2XSE/p – Lachlan Valley State Conservation Area VKFF-1338.
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.

I then moved down to the 80m band where I logged three contacts, all Park to park QSOs:-

  • Malcolm VK3OAK/p – Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070.
  • Peter VK3ZPF/p – Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877.
  • Peter VK3PF/p – Gormandale Flora Reserve VKFF-2325.

To conclude the activation I headed to 15m where I found conditions quite good, logging a total of 7 stations including a Park to Park on another band with Peter VK3ZPF.

We packed up and hit the road for our second park.  We had 117 QSOs in the log from West Wail, including 28 Park to Park contacts.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2FPAR/p (Thirlmere Lakes National Park VKFF-0486)
  2. VK4AAC/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK2KYO
  5. VK5WG
  6. VK3SX
  7. VK5VGC
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK3ZPF/p (Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764)
  10. VK5DW
  11. VK5CZ/m
  12. VK2EXA
  13. VK5HS
  14. VK5FBBJ
  15. VK3UH
  16. VK5AYL
  17. VK7FRJG
  18. VK7FCIA/m
  19. VK5NJ
  20. VK3MPR
  21. VK5BWA
  22. VK5KLV
  23. VK7QP
  24. VK2VLY
  25. VK2PKT
  26. VK7FAMP/p (Lake Dulverton Conservation Area VKFF-2907)
  27. VK7LTD/p (Lake Dulverton Conservation Area VKFF-2907)
  28. VK3LY
  29. VK3ZK/p (Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961)
  30. VK5FB/p
  31. VK3MCK
  32. VK5YX
  33. VK4FDJL/5
  34. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  35. VK7TW
  36. VK2LX
  37. VK3SQ
  38. VK3JP
  39. VK3CA
  40. VK3OAK/p (Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070)
  41. VK5CZ/p (White Dam Conservation Park VKFF-1122)
  42. VK2HHA
  43. VK4AAC/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  44. VK2VH/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Gormandale Flora Reserve VKFF-2325)
  2. VK3OAK/p (Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070)
  3. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2LX
  2. VK3ZK/p (Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961)
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3MCK
  5. VK3ZPF/p (Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764)
  6. VK3ELH/2
  7. VK3PF
  8. VK3SX
  9. VK5AYL
  10. VK5HS
  11. VK2YW
  12. VK3DAC
  13. VK2XXM
  14. VK2HHA
  15. VK7QP/m
  16. VK2HHA
  17. VK3FRAB
  18. VK2KYO
  19. VK5WU
  20. VK2FPAR/p (Thirlmere Lakes National Park VKFF-0486)
  21. VK5DW
  22. VK3BCM
  23. VK4AAC/3 (Boxwood Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2053)
  24. VK7FAMPp (Lake Dulverton Conservation Area  VKFF-2907)
  25. VK7LTD/p (Lake Dulverton Conservation Area  VKFF-2907)
  26. VK2EXA
  27. VK4TJ
  28. VK4/AC8WN
  29. VK4/VE6XT
  30. VK4SSN
  31. VK5VGC
  32. VK3SQ
  33. VK3NCR/m
  34. VK5CZ/p (White Dam Conservation Park VKFF-1122)
  35. VK5LA
  36. VK3MPR
  37. VK5FANA
  38. VK5FB
  39. VK5NJ
  40. VK3ZK/p (Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961)
  41. VK3UH
  42. VK3JP
  43. VK3CA
  44. VK3MAB
  45. VK3STU
  46. VK4FDJL/5
  47. VK3BCM
  48. VK2PKT

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5WG
  2. VK2XSE/p (Lachlan Valley State Conservation Area VKFF-1338)
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK4BXX
  5. VK4VXX
  6. VK4/AG7WB
  7. VK4RF
  8. VK4HA
  9. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  10. ZL1TM
  11. VK2LX
  12. VK7QP
  13. VK6MMB

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3OAK/p (Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2070)
  2. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877)
  3. VK3PF/p (Gormandale Flora Reserve VKFF-2325)

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877)
  2. VK2LUV/p
  3. VK7QP
  4. VK4MGL
  5. VK2LPF
  6. VK4TJ
  7. VK4HDY

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/west-wail-f-f-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 9th December 2019

Trip Advisor, 2019, <https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Attraction_Review-g255353-d9869550-Reviews-West_Wail_Flora_and_Fauna_Reserve-Horsham_Grampians_Victoria.html>, viewed 9th December 2019

Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291

After packing up at the Verandah Swamp Wildlife Reserve, Marija and I headed back into Dimboola and went to the Victoria Hotel for a meal.  The hotel is a very impressive building and was built in 1924.

After tea, we had a quick drive around DImboola which has a number of historic buildings.  This includes the old National Bank of Australia building which was built in 1909 in flamboyant Art Nouveau style and the former Victoria Coffee Palace.

We then decided to head out to the Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291.  Marija had never activated this park, so the activation was focussed around Marija getting 10 contacts to qualify the park for VKFF in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 9.56.55 pm

Above:- Map showing the location of the Little Desert National Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We chose the Horseshoe Bend campground as our operating spot.  This is a beautiful spot on the banks of the Wimmera River.

The campground was alive with birdlife including White-plumed honeyeaters, Red-rumped parrots, Eastern Rosellas, Yellow tailed Black Cockatoos.

There were also plenty of Western Grey kangaroos out for an evening graze.

We found 7.130 clear and I placed up a spot for Marija on parksnpeaks.  It didn’t take long and Marija had a mini pile-up going.  First in the log was Ken VK3UH, followed by Scott VK4CZ, and then George VK4GSF.  Contact number ten, qualifying the park for VKFF, came just 6 minutes into the activation, with a QSO with Ross VK7ALH.

A few QSOs later and Marija had her first Park to Park in the log for this activation, a contact with Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Kurth Kiln Regional Park VKFF-0971.

It took Marija just 40 minutes to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.  Contact number 44 was with Danny VK5DW.

Marija also spoke with young Alicia, the daughter of VK2EZT.

With Marija having qualified the park, and it being a beautiful balmy evening, we decided that I would put out some CQ calls.  The 40m band was in brilliant shape, and in just 20 minutes I had 21 contacts in the log.  Some of the biggest signals were from Peter VK2UXO (I was 5/9 to Peter) and Brad VK2BY (I was 30/9 to Brad).

To complete the activation I moved down to the 80m band and logged a total of 12 stations from VK3 and Vk5.

IMG_3383

After a very fun time in the park, we packed up and headed back to the motel room.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3UH
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK4GSF
  4. VK5FANA
  5. BK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK3ANL
  9. VK7FRJG
  10. VK7ALH
  11. VK3PF
  12. VK5PE
  13. VK3MB
  14. VK3ZPF/p (Kurth Kiln Regional Park VKFF-0971)
  15. VK5CZ
  16. VK3ZD
  17. VK3CC
  18. VK5FAAH
  19. VK2IO
  20. VK3AWG
  21. VK5WG
  22. VK5NJ
  23. VK2BY
  24. VK3MCK
  25. VK3AMJ
  26. VK3BEB
  27. VK2LEE
  28. VK5FDJK
  29. VK2YW
  30. VK3FNDR
  31. VK5LA
  32. VK2LX
  33. VK3JX
  34. VK3MCL
  35. VK4TJ
  36. VK4/AC8WN
  37. VK4/VE6XT
  38. VK4SSN
  39. VK2AB
  40. VK4SMA
  41. VK3FVMR
  42. VK2EZT
  43. VK1JH
  44. VK5DW
  45. ZL1TM

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5LA
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK5DW
  4. VK7ALH
  5. VK3BL
  6. VK3MCL
  7. VK3FSPN
  8. VK3MB
  9. VK5HS
  10. VK3AB
  11. VK2YW
  12. VK5FAAH
  13. VK1JH
  14. VK2UXO
  15. VK2LEE
  16. ZL1TM
  17. VK2BY
  18. VK7FMAC
  19. VK2FF
  20. VK5ZRK
  21. VK3KSK

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB;-

  1. VK5HS
  2. VK5LA
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK5CZ
  5. VK5DW
  6. VK3ANL
  7. VK3GV
  8. VK5WF
  9. VK5FAAH
  10. VK3MKE
  11. VK5FLKJ
  12. VK3WAR

 

Verandah Swamp Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2468

Our third park for Saturday (30th November 2019) was the Verandah Swamp Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2468, which is located about 320 km northwest of Melbourne, and about 2km north of the little town of Piminio in western Victoria.

This would be the first time that the park had been activated by Marija and myself.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 10.29.15 am.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Verandah Swamp WIldlife Reserve VKFF-2468.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Verandah Swamp Wildlife Reserve is located just to the north of the little town of Piminio.  The name Piminio is believed to have been derived from an Aboriginal word describing a man squatting on his heels, or children.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 10.33.58 am.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Verandah Swamp Wildlife Reserve, looking south towards the town of Pimpinio.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The Verandah Swamp Wildlife Reserve is about 42 acres in size and is also known as the Verandah Swamp Wetland Reserve.  It was absolutely bone dry during our visit.  The park sign was in very poor shape and there was evidence of shooting in the park.  I suspect the authorities have not visited the park in many years.

We travelled along Banyena Road off the Western Highway, and onto Verandah Swamp Road.  We took a 4WD track which led down into the park and set up under the shade of some gum trees.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole & 15m dipole for this activation.

Screen Shot 2019-12-09 at 10.31.27 am.png

Above:- An aerial view of the Verandah Swamp Wildlife Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

Marija and I decided to start this activation on the 15m band.  I called CQ on 21.244 while Marija placed up a spot on parksnpeaks.  First in the log was Ray VK4NH, followed by Scott VK4CZ and then Adam VK2YK.  Contact number ten came just 6 minutes into the activation, with a QSO with John VK4/AC8WN.

I worked a total of 12 stations on 15m and had qualified the park for VKFF.  I then swapped the mic with Marija.

DSC_6621

Marija’s first contact on 15m was with Greg VK4VXX, followed by John VK4TJ, and then Shane VK2LUV.  Marija had soon qualified the park for VKFF on 15m.  As we were pushed a bit for time, we again swapped the mic, moving to the 40m band.

Prior to calling CQ, Marija and I tuned across the 40m band in the hope that we would find some other park activators, which we did.  On 7.144 we logged Peter VK3PF/p and Sergio VK3SFG/p who were activating the Koonwarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2350.

DSC_6624

I then moved up to 7.150 and started calling CQ.  Dave VK5MRD came back to my call, followed by Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park VKFF-0272.

I went on to log a further 37 stations including some more Park to Park contacts with the following:-

  • Steve VK4JSS/p – Woongoolba Conservation Park VKFF-1680.
  • Brett VK3FLCS/p – Jackass Flat Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2114.
  •  Nik VK3ZK/p – Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961

DSC_6627.jpg

Time had marched on and it was now approaching 6.00 p.m. local time.  Marija and I packed up and headed back to Dimboola.

Marija worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4VXX
  2. VK4BXX
  3. VK4/AG7WB
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK4SSN
  8. VK2LUV/p
  9. VK4DH
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK2FSAV

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SFG/p (Koonwarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2350)
  2. VK3PF/p (Koonwarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2350)
  3. VK3FLCS/p (Jackass Flat Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2114)

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4CZ
  5. VK2YK
  6. VK4VXX
  7. VK4BXX
  8. VK4/AG7WB
  9. VK4TJ
  10. VK4/AC8WN
  11. VK4/VE6XT
  12. VK4SSN

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Koonwarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2350)
  2. VK3SFG/p (Koonwarra Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2350)
  3. VK5MRD
  4. VK2IO/p (Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park VKFF-0272)
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK2LX
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK3FRAB
  9. VK7QP
  10. VK5WG
  11. VK3RU
  12. VK3XPT
  13. VK3MPR
  14. VK2YK
  15. VK7AN
  16. ZL1TM
  17. VK4FDJL/5
  18. VK4JSS/p (Woongoolba Conservation Park VKFF-1680)
  19. VK3FLCS/p (Jackass Flat Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2114)
  20. VK3PWG
  21. VK3MCK
  22. VK2PKT
  23. VK1NK
  24. VK5FANA
  25. VK2HBG/1
  26. VK3ARH/m
  27. VK3ATO
  28. VK5QI
  29. VK7JON
  30. VK7FCIA
  31. VK5JDS
  32. VK4CZ
  33. VK5YP
  34. VK5DW
  35. VK3ZK/p (Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961)
  36. VK2JXA
  37. VK5KLD
  38. VK5FRSM
  39. VK3MVP
  40. VK5WF
  41. VK7ZGK

 

 

References.

Protected Planet, 2019, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/verandah-swamp-w-r-nature-conservation-reserve>, viewed 9th December 2019

Victorian Places, 2019, <https://www.victorianplaces.com.au/pimpinio>, viewed 9th December 2019