NPWS certificate

Today I activated four South Australian Conservation Parks to bring my tally of VK5 parks activated in August to five.

As a result, I have qualified for the special National Parks & Wildlife Service South Australia certificate.

This special certificate is on offer during August for anyone who activates or works at least five different South Australian VKFF references during August.  More information can be found on the WWFF Australia website at…….

https://www.wwffaustralia.com/national-parks–wildlife-service-vk5.html

Thanks to everyone who called me.

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2019 John Moyle Memorial Field Day

I took part in the 6 hour portable category of the 2019 John Moyle Memorial Field Day.  I activated the Coorong National Park.

I made a total of 187 QSOs with a score of 374 points.

There were 14 amateurs who entered this category in the Field Day.

I came first in this category.  Peter VK3ZPF came in 2nd position, followed by Tony VK3XV in third.

JMMFD 2019.jpg

Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve VKFF-1714

Our final intended park activation for our 2 days away was the Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve VKFF-1714.  This was the first time that Marija and I had activated the park.

The park is located about 35 km by road north of Bordertown and about 260 km southeast of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

To get to the park we travelled northwest on the Dukes Highway and turned right onto the Ngarkat Highway and headed north towards Pinnaroo.  The Highway takes its name from the Ngarkat (Ngargad) who were an indigenous Australian people of the state of South Australia, now believed to be extinct.

The park is located about 24 km north of the Dukes Highway and Ngarkat Highway junction.  The park is well signposted.

The Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve is 7 hectares in size and is located on the western side of the Ngarkat Highway in the locality of Sherwood.  The park was established on the 24th day of April 1997.  It takes its name from the natural soak or spring located in the park.

The area was originally part of the ‘Tatiara Station’.  The park was named after William Harding (ca.1824-1874), an early pastoralist.  Hardings Springs was first used by surveyors in the late 1800s.  It was then called ‘175 Mile Camp’ referring to its distance from Adelaide.

In about 1909 Fred Lampert took up land around the soak and farmed it until about 1928 when falling wheat prices made is unviable.  Lampert planted the tall sugar gums in 1911 as a narrow gateway to his property for a horse and cart.  The water in the soak provided enough water for domestic use, a modest vegetable garden and for two horses each day, all carried by bucket.  Today the soak is usually dry, the water level probably lowered by the roots of the trees,

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Above:- William HARDING.  Image courtesy of Wikitree

The park has an active Friends of the Parks group.  An information board can be found in the park, along with a nature trail to the natural soak located in the park, a picnic table, and also a bird hide.  A brochure can be found in the park pointing out interesting spots along the walking trail.

Numerous native birds can be found in the park including Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Shy Heath-wren, White-browned Babbler, Rufous Whistler, Misstleoebird, Red Wattlebird, Eastern Rosella, and Brown Falcon.  Some of the birds I spotted during our visit can be seen in the photographs below.

We parked in the carpark off the Ngarkat Highway and set up just inside the park boundary.  Again we ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation

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Above:- An aerial view of the Hardings Springs Conservation Reserve showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

We had no internet coverage in the park so we were unable to self spot.  I started calling CQ on 7.139 and this was answered by Greg VK2GJC, followed by Kevin VK2HMV.  Matt VK1MA then called in and was kind enough to spot me on parksnpeaks.  As a result, a number of the regular park hunters then called in.

Within ten minutes I had qualified the park, with contact number ten being with Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.

I logged a total of 16 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK4, VK7, and New Zealand.  This included Rob VK4SYD/p who was activating the Kurwongbah Nature Reserve VKFF-2868.

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After logging Rob VK4SYD and bagging the park for VKFF, Marija jumped into the operator’s chair and also spoke with Rob whilst I went for a bit of walk through the park.  Next in the log for Marija was Cliff VK2NP who spotted Marija on parksnpeaks, followed by Robert VK2XXL and then Ray VK4NH.

It only took 7 minutes for Marija to qualify the park for VKFF.  Contact number 10 was a QSO with Greg VK4VXX/p who was activating the Albinia National Park VKFF-0661.

When I came back from my short walk Marija was very quick to point out that she had worked Max IK1GPG in Italy.  This was Marija’s first-ever contact into Italy.

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We then moved down to the 80m band and I started calling CQ on 3.615.  First in the log was John VK5BJE, followed by Ian VK5CZ/p who was activating the Mimbara Conservation Park VKFF-1060.  Marija also logged Ian for a Park to Park.

I logged a total of 7 stations on 80m including a further Park to Park, with Brett VK3FLCS/p who was activating the Whroo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2229.  Marija also jumped in to get the Park to Park with Brett.

I then moved up to the 20m band.  Mark VK4SMA had spotted me on parksnpeaks to advise that I would be on this frequency.  I logged Anthony VK6MAC, Andrei ZL1TM, and Paul VK2HDX/4 who was on Cape York in Far North Queensland.

I now had 29 QSOs in the log and required a few more to get to my 44.  I moved back to 7.144 on 40m and logged a further 19 stations.  Contact number 44 was a QSO with Murray VK4MWB.  I also logged Andrew VK1AD/p who activating SOTA peak Mount Stromlo VK1/ AC-043, looking for some European Summit to Summit contacts.

It was now 4.30 p.m. and we still had more than a 2-hour drive to get home, so we packed up and hit the road.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SYD/p (Kurwongbah Nature Reserve VKFF-2868)
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK2XXL
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK4SMA
  8. VK2GJC
  9. IK1GPG
  10. VK4VXX (Albinia National Park VKFF-0661)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5CZ/p (Mimbara Conservation Park VKFF-1060)
  2. VK3FLCS/p (Whroo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2229)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2GJC
  2. VK2HMV
  3. VK1MA
  4. VK1AT
  5. VK2RSB
  6. VK7OT
  7. VK2RU/4
  8. VK2IPK
  9. VK7OR
  10. ZL1TM
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK2NP
  15. VK4SMA
  16. VK4SYD/p (Kurwongbah Nature Reserve VKFF-2868)
  17. VK4VXX/p (Albinia National Park VKFF-0661)
  18. VK7KW
  19. VK2FABE
  20. VK2QM
  21. VK2LEE
  22. VK2LX
  23. VK7TU
  24. VK1AD/p (SOTA VK1/ AC-043)
  25. VK4CZ
  26. VK2YK
  27. VK2IO/5
  28. Vk2ISO
  29. VK2VW
  30. VK4PDX
  31. VK4TJ
  32. VK4/AC8WN
  33. VK4/VE6XT
  34. VK4MWB
  35. VK4RF
  36. VK4HA
  37. VK4HNS
  38. VK3UH

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5CZ/p (Mimbara Conservation Park VKFF-1060)
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK5PL
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK3FLCS/p (Whroo Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2229)
  7. VK3SQ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MAC
  2. ZL1TM
  3. VK2HDX/4

It soon started to get dark and we enjoyed a magnificent sunset as we headed west along the Dukes Highway.

On the way home, we stopped off at the Riverside Hotel at Tailem Bend.  It is always a great meal here and a regular watering hole for Marija and me.

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We arrived home about 45 minutes after leaving Tailem Bend.  It had been a great 2 days away.  We had activated a total of eight (8) parks and made a total of 518 QSOs on 20, 40, & 80m SSB into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, New Zealand, Italy, & the Canary Islands.  This included 35 Park to Park contacts.  Seven of the eight parks were first time activations.

 

 

References.

Bordertown Field Naturalists, ‘Harding Springs Nature Track’ brochure

State Library South Australia, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/H.pdf>, viewed 7th August 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservation_reserves_of_South_Australia>, viewed 7th August 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ngarkat>, viewed 7th August 2019

Red Bluff Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2426

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSC_9960

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

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

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

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

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

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

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

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

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

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

 

 

References.

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

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

Yarrangook Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2497

Marija and I hit the road on Sunday morning (4th August 2019) at around 8.30 a.m. local time and headed down the main street of Bordertown for a morning coffee.  We then filled up with diesel and had a look at a few of the local attractions.

The first was the childhood home of former Australian Prime Minister (PM) Robert James Lee ‘Bob’ Hawke.  He was the Australian PM from 1983 to 1990.  Hawke was born on the 9th December 1929 in Bordertown and lived in the town until 1935.  The building was built by the National Bank in 1884 and conducted business there until the branch closed in June 1885.  It was purchased by the Congregational Church as a manse in 1897.  Clem A Hawke was the Minister from 1928 to 1935.  It ceased to be a manse in 1976.

Bordertown is also famous for its white kangaroos which can be seen at the Bordertown Wildlife Park.  A mob of White Kangaroos that are a genetic strain of the Western Grey can be seen in the park.

We then left Bordertown and drove over the South Australian/Victorian State border into VK3 for our first park of the day, the Yarrangook Flora and Fauna Reserve VKFF-2497.

The park is located about 58 km north-west of the town of Kaniva.

 

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

Just after crossing the State border we turned left onto the Serviceton North-Telopea Downs Road and headed north.  This road runs parallel to the State border.  The road is sealed for a number of km but then turns to dirt and becomes Taylors Road.

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We continued along Taylors Road and about 44 km after leaving the Wimmera Highway we reached the southwestern corner of the Yarrangook Flora & Fauna Reserve which is well signposted.

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The Yarrangook Flora and Fauna Reserve is 1,525 hectares in size and consists of five areas of undisturbed mallee-broom bush scrub.  The westernmost section is located on Taylors Road about 44 km north of the Western Highway.  Two other sections are located on Chappel Road.  While the two eastern sections of the park are located on Murrawong North Road.

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Above:- The five sections of the Yarrangook Flora and Fauna Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The name Yarrangook comes from the aboriginal words yarran meaning acacia, and ook meaning water.  Thus acacia growing by water.  The mallee—broom bush vegetation in the park is interspersed with areas of open heath and brown stringybark scrub.

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The park provides an important refuge for the Australian Bustard, a large ground bird which is often referred to as the Plains Turkey or Bush Turkey.  The male is up to 1.2 metres tall with a 2.3-metre wingspan.  Unfortunately, we did not see any during our visit to the park.

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Above:- the Australian Bustard.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

The park is surrounded by cleared farming land.

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We found a gate to a paddock on the western side of Taylors Road and parked the 4WD there and carried the gear across the road to the park.  We set up in a small clearing in amongst the scrub.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the westernmost section of park and our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Google maps

This was quite a remote location and we had internet coverage in the park so we were unable to place a self spot up on parksnpeaks.  The 40m band was busy with the broadcasts from the Wireless Institute of Australia, so we were unable to get onto the frequency of 7.144.  I found 7.130 to be clear and started calling CQ hoping that some of the park regulars would find me and then place a spot up for me.

First in the log was Paul VK7PAL, followed by Matt VK3FORD/2, Haucke VK1HW and then Peter VK3ZPF.  I had been lucky.  Peter VK3ZPF who is a regular park hunter and activator and is the VK3 State rep, placed a spot up for me on parksnpeaks.  This resulted in a steady flow of callers.  Thanks Peter.

A few QSOs later I was called by Gerard VK2IO/5 who was activating the Bunkers Conservation Reserve VKFF-1692.  Marija also logged Gerard.  This was a new park for both of us as hunters.

I logged 23 stations on 40m before the callers dried up.  I then called CQ on 3.610, unable to self spot.  Fortunately, John VK4TJ had kept listening on 40m and spotted me on parksnpeaks when I announced that I was moving to 80m.  First, in the log, was Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Gerard VK2IO/5 in the Bunkers Conservation Reserve VKFF-1692 for a second band for both Marija and me.  Conditions were quite good on 80m and I ended up logging a total of 7 stations there from VK3 and VK5.

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I had 30 contacts in the log and it was time for Marija to get on the air and qualify the park for VKFF.  We decided to remain on the 80m band.  Marija called CQ and this was answered by David VK5PL, followed by Peter VK3PF, Ken VK2KYO, John VK5BJE, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  But a further 5 minutes of CQ calls went unanswered so we decided to move back to the 40m band, with Marija requiring just 3 more contacts for her 10.

Marija called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF who spotted Marija on parksnpeaks.  Geoff VK3SQ then called in, followed by contact number ten with Ken VK2KYO.  Marija logged a further 3 station before callers once again dried up.

It was an opportune tune to move to the 20m band.  Peter VK3PF kindly placed a spot up for me to advise that I would soon be on 14.310.  Marija and I lowered the squid pole and removed the links for the 20m and then headed for 14.310.  I called CQ and Ray VK4NH responded, followed by John VK4TJ.  Both Ray and John have other callsigns, so 2 contacts became 6.  I then logged Peter VK6RZ with a strong 5/9 signal from across the other side of Australia in Western Australia.

I now had 37 contacts in the log and needed a further 7 to qualify the park for WWFF.  So it was back to 7.144 on the 40m band.  Rob VK4AAC/2 came back to my CQ call, followed by Peter VK2OQ mobile and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Contact 44 followed soon after with Chris VK1CT.

I ended up logging a total of 54 stations including 2 Park to Park contacts.  Marija logged 13 stations including 2 Park to Park contacts.

THANK YOU to those who took the time to spot us on either parksnpeaks and/or Facebook.

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Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/5 (Bunkers Conservation Reserve VKFF-1692)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK2KYO
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK2VH
  7. VK5FANA

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/5 (Bunkers Conservation Reserve VKFF-1692)
  2. VK5PL
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK2KYO
  5. VK5BJE
  6. VK3SQ

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK7PAL
  2. VK3FORD/2
  3. VK1HW
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. VK7OT
  6. VK2IO/5 (Bunkers Conservation Reserve VKFF-1692)
  7. VK1NP
  8. VK1MA
  9. VK4CZ
  10. VK4RF
  11. VK4HA
  12. VK4NH
  13. VK4DXA
  14. ZL4TY/VK4
  15. VK2VW
  16. VK3PF
  17. VK2PKT
  18. VK2EXA
  19. VK4TJ
  20. VK4/AC8WN
  21. VK4/VE6XT
  22. VK2ADB
  23. VK2LEE
  24. VK4AAC/2
  25. VK2VH
  26. VK2OQ/m
  27. VK3SQ
  28. VK7KT
  29. VK4SMA
  30. VK1CT
  31. VK3UH
  32. VK2TTL
  33. VK3BD
  34. VK2KNV/m
  35. VK2LIS/m
  36. VK5KLV
  37. VK3ARH
  38. VK1AT
  39. VK1DI
  40. VK7ALH

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK2IO/5 (Bunkers Conservation Reserve VKFF-1692)
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK3SQ
  5. VK3MCK
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK2KYO

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4NH
  2. VK4DXA
  3. ZL4TY/VK4
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK6RZ

 

 

References.

Land Conservation Council, 1986, Wimmera Area Final Recommendations.

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_bustard>, viewed 6th August 2019

Wimmera Place Names, 2019, <https://swiftconsortium.org.au/client/en_AU/search/asset/243363>, viewed 6th August 2019

Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2120

Our final park for Saturday 3rd August 2019, was the Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2120.  The park is located about 18 km west of the town of Nhill in western Victoria.

This was to be a first-time activation of the park.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park is officially called the Jumping Jack Wattle Nature Conservation Reserve but is still signposted as the Diapur Flora Reserve.  The park is located on the Nhill-Diapur Road at the intersection with Lawloit-Diapur Road.  Diapur is situated on the Melbourne-Adelaide railway line and is the halfway point of the journey.

George Coles, whose son Sir George James Coles, the founder of the Coles empire, lived at Diapur in the late 1800s.  He built a store, a blacksmiths shop and a hotel here.

The park is home to Jumping-jack Wattle Acacia enterocarpa which is listed as Threatened in Victoria and Endangered in South Australia.

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Above:- Jumping-jack Wattle.  Image c/o Peter Tucker, flickr.

We pulled up on the side of the road and strung out the 20/40/80m dipole.  There was barely enough room to stretch it out due to the scrub in the park.

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

We were in the park just before dark so we decided to kick off the activation 80m.  And as it turned out that is where we stayed for the duration of the activation.

First in the log was Peter VK3PF, followed by Nick VK3ANL, Scott VK4CZ and then David VK5PL.  Within just 6 minutes I had qualified the park for VKFF with 10 contacts in the log.  QSO number 10 was with Adam VK2YK.

I logged a total of 33 stations on 80m before swapping the mic with Marija.

DSC_9914

Marija’s first contact was with John VK5BJE, followed by Peter VK3PF, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  Marija’s tenth contact came 6 minutes into her activation, with QSO number ten being with Nik VK3ZNK.

Once Marija had logged her 10th contact I got back on air and was hoping to pick up my 44 QSOs as quickly as possible as it was starting to get late and we needed to be back at Bordertown to book into our accommodation by 8.00 p.m.

DSC_9920

It took me just another 12 minutes to pick up my remaining 12 contacts.  My final contact was with Paul VK3DA mobile.

As we had qualified the park on 80m and we were pushed for time, we did not operate on 40m or 20m for this activation.

DSC_9919

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3CRG
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4/AC8WN
  7. VK4/VE6XT
  8. VK3DBP
  9. VK5YX
  10. VK3ZNK

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3ANL
  3. VK4CZ
  4. VK5PL
  5. VK5WG
  6. VK2HRX
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK5FILL
  12. VK2MOP
  13. VK4MWB
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK4TJ
  16. Vk4/AC8WN
  17. VK4/VE6XT
  18. VK3SQ
  19. VK4SMA
  20. VK3MPR
  21. VK3MKE
  22. VK7BEN
  23. VK5AYL
  24. VK5BJE
  25. VK5FD
  26. VK2VW
  27. VK3CRG
  28. VK3CIB
  29. Vk3DBP
  30. VK3ZNK
  31. VK2FALL
  32. VK7ROY
  33. ZL1TM
  34. VK2LPF
  35. VK5YX
  36. VK5FANA
  37. VK2EME
  38. VK5KLV
  39. VK3VEK
  40. VK2POW
  41. VK5LJ
  42. VK2UMA
  43. VK3UFO
  44. VK4CAN
  45. VK3DA/m

Marija and I drove back across the Victorian/South Australian State Border into VK5.  We booked into our motel and then headed to the Bordertown Hotel for a meal and a few beverages.

IMG_2392.JPG

 

 

References.

The Wimmera Mail Times, 2019, <https://www.mailtimes.com.au/story/968911/diapur-launched-dynasty/>, viewed 6th August 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diapur,_Victoria>, viewed 6th August 2019

 

Nhill Swamp Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2412

Our fourth park for Saturday 3rd August 2019 was the Nhill Swamp Wildlife Reserve VKFF-2412.  The park is located on the southern side of the town of Nhill in western Victoria, about 376 km north-west of the city of Melbourne.

This was to be the first time that the park had been activated for WWFF/VKFF.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Nhill Swamp Wildlife Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

After leaving Boyeo we travelled south-east on the Nhill-Yanac Road and soon reached the town of Nhill.  “Nhill” is believed to be a Wergaia aboriginal word meaning “early morning mist rising over water” or “white mist rising from the water”.

Marija and I initially headed to the northwestern part of the park just to the rear of the Jaypex park.  There are a few interesting things to see here including the John Shaw Neilson memorial cottage.  This was the birthplace of the lyric poet, John Shaw Neilson (1872-1942).  He was largely untrained and only had a basic education, but became one of Australia’s finest lyric poets.  The cottage was relocated from Penola in South Australia to Nhill.

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Above:- John Shaw Neilson memorial cottage

There is also an aboriginal scar tree.  The tree was removed from the Western Highway at the Jerparit junction.  The bark was removed from the trunk of the tree in about 1800 for use as a canoe.

There is also an information board about the endangered Malleefowl which can be found in parks in western Victoria.

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There are a number of information boards here about the park and a boardwalk which takes you through the swamp.

The boardwalk was originally constructed in 1996, but was closed in 2012 due to public safety concerns.  To their credit, the Nhill community rallied to rebuild the boardwalk.  A Boardwalk Committee was formed to advocate for a community-led refurbishment.  Following two years of fundraising by the Rotary Club Nhill and the Lowan Lodge of Freemasons Nhill, the prospect of a new boardwalk was in sight.  Remaining funds were secured with generous contributions from Freemasons Victoria, the Victorian Government and Parks Victoria.  Refurbishment works commenced in 2014 and works were completed in June 2015.

Adjacent to the park is Nhill Lake.  This was the site of a traditional aboriginal Corroboree Ground where aboriginal people would meet and perform ceremonies, consisting of traditional songs, dances, weddings, trading and celebrations.  A meeting between aboriginal people and the first squatters Dugald Macpherson and George Belcher took place here on 4th January 1845.

Macpherson and Belcher understood from their meeting with the local aboriginal people that the place was called ‘nhill’, a Wergaia aboriginal word meaning the abode of the spirits.  The aboriginal people believed that the mist rising from the waters early in the morning were the spirits of their ancestors.

In 1879 brothers Frank and John Oliver obtained a licence to build a flour mill on a 3-acre site around the northwestern edge of the swamp.  Within months land was surveyed for the township of Nhill.  With its water for horses, on the inland route from Adelaide to Melbourne, Nhill earned its place as a stop on the Cobb and Co coach route.

During our visit to the park, it was alive with birdlife.  I took the photographs below of a pair of Red-rumped Parrots and an Australian Owlet Nightjar, the smallest of the nocturnal birds found in Australia.

Marija and I decided to drive around to the southern side of the park on the Nhill-Harrow Road, opposite the Nhill racecourse.  The park is signposted here and we found a 4WD track which led right into the park.

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We drove a short distance down the track and set up.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- An aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I called CQ on 7.144 which was answered very quickly by Grant VK2LX with his usual big signal and great audio, followed by Scott VK4CZ with an equally big signal, and then regular park hunter John VK4TJ.  It took me just 4 minutes to qualify the park for VKFF, with contact number ten being with Ray VK4DXA.  One of those callers was Max IK1GPG in Italy who was 5/7 and gave me a 5/5 signal report into Europe.

As we were running short of time Marija and I decided that I would push through and get my 44 contacts to qualify the park for the global WWFF program, and Marija would then come on air to get her 10 for VKFF.  Just 45 minutes into the activation and I had my 44th QSO in the log, a contact with Danny VK2ARO.

I had made contacts into VK1, VK2, VK4, VK7, VK8, New Zealand, Italy and the Canary Islands.  I was very happy to log Juan EA8YT in Tenerife in the Canary Islands off the north-western coast of Africa.  What was noticeable was the lack of VK3’s and VK5’s in the log due to the lack of close-in propagation.

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Marija then jumped onto the mic and also very quickly qualified the park for VKFF.  Her first contact was with Jim VK2FADV, followed by Adam VK2YK, and then Fred VK4FE.  Contact number ten was with Ray VK4NH.

Marija logged a total of 18 stations from VK2, VK4, and VK7, before I jumped back into the operator’s chair and called CQ on 3.615.  Conditions were excellent on 80m into VK3 and VK5, with a total of 15 stations logged.

It was just after 5.30 p.m. local time and we hoped to squeeze in one more park, and still had to get back to Bordertown, so we packed up and hit the road.

DSC_9893

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2FADV
  2. VK2YK
  3. VK4FE
  4. VK4GJW
  5. VK4SYD
  6. VK7PAL
  7. VK4SMA
  8. VK4FDJL
  9. VK2LX
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA
  12. ZL4TY/VK4
  13. VK4MWB
  14. VK4FARR
  15. VK7ZTA
  16. VK4CZ
  17. VK4PHD
  18. VK2SLB

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2LX
  2. VK4CZ
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/AC8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK2VW
  7. IK1GPG
  8. VK2BY
  9. VK4NH
  10. VK4DXA
  11. ZL4TY/VK4
  12. VK4MWB
  13. VK2TM
  14. VK2LEE
  15. VK2YK
  16. VK4SMA
  17. VK2PKT
  18. ZL1TM
  19. VK4HNS
  20. VK1MA
  21. VK4RG
  22. VK4RF
  23. VK4HA
  24. VK4FDJL/8
  25. EA8YT
  26. VK4PDX
  27. VK2BAI
  28. VK2JXA
  29. VK2SLB
  30. VK4FARR
  31. VK7PAL
  32. VK2QK
  33. VK7ZTA
  34. VK7AN
  35. VK4MGL
  36. VK2OWD
  37. VK1AT
  38. VK4FE
  39. VK2CDS/p
  40. VK2PV
  41. VK4SYD
  42. VK2RSB
  43. VK4GJW
  44. VK2ARO
  45. VK2QM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3ANL
  4. VK3PF
  5. Vk5YX
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK2LEE
  8. VK5PL
  9. VK2CDS/p
  10. VK5KLV
  11. VK5AYL
  12. VK4CZ
  13. VK5LA
  14. VK3MH/2
  15. VK3MPR

 

 

References.

Monuments Australia, 2019, <http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/people/arts/display/32925-john-shaw-neilson>, viewed 6th August 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nhill>, viewed 6th August 2019