Mount Remarkable National Park 3rd October 2013, VKFF – 360

Mount Remarkable National Park is rugged, hilly and a magnificent place. This time we approached the Park from Wilmington, that is, from the East and drove the sealed road to the Alligator Gorge car park. We have also camped at Mambray Creek where the camp ground is very popular. Mambray Creek is approached from the West and is a short drive from Highway One.

Allligator Gorge

I was starting to think that the trip during the last two days was all in vain, because of poor propagation, and this was reinforced again this afternoon. I managed to send a text to VK5PAS, Paul, advising him I was on 7.100. I heard him : 5 and 0. Obviously Paul could not hear me.  May be starting to activate the park at 06:37 was a bit late! VK2ARK, Tom at Kandos could not hear me and nor could VK1CJ. There was no propagation to Adelaide. I could barely hear VK5BW, Barry in the noise – static crashes!

My day was made when I caught up with VK3AXH, Ian, in Ballarat, with whom I have had many weak signal contacts on 144.1 + from home. Ian was 5 and 9++ and I received a 5 and 5/6. Not a satisfactory outcome from Mount Remarkable National Park, but Ian was left in no doubt about how pleased I was with the contact.

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Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park, VKFF – 189

Entry to Vulkathuna-Gammon Ranges National Park

Entry to Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park

We have visited the Vulkathunha-Gammon Ranges National Park on previous occasions and have camped in the park using our camper trailer. But this time we made our base the Arkaroola Private Wilderness Sanctuary, which is next door to the National Park. If you have not visited Arkaroola you should. It is a great place and you can see the results of careful conservation work over a number of decades, especially in the care of the local flora. It is a large property. There are plenty of 4 x 4 tracks and lots of interesting places to see. We saw two Yellow-footed Rock Wallabies at the Arkaroola waterhole. There are also two astronomical observatories each beautifully equipped with 14 inch telescopes: see their web site for further details http://www.arkaroola.com.au/. And the Ridge Top Tour leaves people with enduring memories!

It was also great to catch up with VK5HS, Ivan, who with his wife, were taking advantage of their one hour gift flight on the Bell helicopter.

Bell Helicopter ready for VK5HS, Ivan & XYL

Bell Helicopter ready for VK5HS, Ivan & XYL

Six cylinder boxer engine: one side visible

Six cylinder boxer engine: one side visible

Weetootla Gorge 30th September 2013

My first activation in the very extensive park was at Weetootla Gorge Camping Ground. It was blowing a gale and dusty and I thought I had found a relatively protected spot. I managed seven contacts before everything blew down or away: log sheets going in all directions! I had contacts with: VK5LY, Larry; VK5HS/m, Ivan; VK1NAM/p QRP, Andrew, on VK3 VN005; VK5PAS, Paul; VK2FALL, John; VK5NQP and VK5WG, Nev.

V-GR NP Weetootla Gorge camping ground

V-GR NP Weetootla Gorge camping ground

Bolla Bollana 1st October 2013

Tuesday was a great contrast with Monday: a warm and sunny day arrived and we drove the 4 x 4 track from Arkaroola to the park at Bolla Bollana, where the old copper smelter remains are just inside the park boundary. I enjoyed contacts with VK5PAS, Paul; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5HS/m, Ivan on his way to Arkaroola for a helicopter ride; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5MBD, Bill and VK5HCF, Col: six contacts in all before the other vehicles arrived with their sightseeing passengers and the ignitions and refrigerators making a racket.

I did promise three activations, the third planned for Wednesday and here is the reason why I didn’t keep my promise. A bus load of passengers arrived at Arkaroola including a 24 hour gastro bug. I succumbed! I was not happy.  Twenty four hours may be a reasonable time for a younger person to overcome a 24 hour bug, but it took me more like 30!

Crossing Creek bed from Arkaroola into Vulkathunha

Crossing Creek bed from Arkaroola into Vulkathunha

Bolla Bollana Smelter and portable operation

Bolla Bollana Smelter and portable operation