Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park, 19th April 2014, VKff-069

We accessed the Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park by a road less travelled. Taking the first left-hand turn from the Murray Valley Highway onto Jeffcott-Jewells Road we made our way to the Park boundary and then followed the Black Mountain Track just past the Bush Rat Track and just short of the Ross Lookout. The track is a comfortable two wheel drive track and I selected a point where I could easily turn our 4 x 4.

I used my tripod and nine metre squid pole and home-made linked dipole. I was hoping for a successful activation and my hopes were not dashed.

I began my day by calling VK2TWR/P2, Rod at 03:56, on SOTA summit VK2 SM 072 and then up five, VK3PF/P3, Peter on VK3 VE 072; VK2MT, Rob, on VK2 CT 001; VK3MTB, Tim; VK1MA, Matt; VK3VTH/P2, Tony in Ben Boyd National Park, VKFF026; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK3UBY, Colin; VK3XD, John; VK5PAS, Paul; VK2IB/P3, Bernard on SOTA summit, VK3 VE 082; VK3FIAN, Ian; VK3AFW, Ron; VK3ETC, Ethan; VK5KC, David; VK5CZ/M5, Ian; VK5FMID, Brian; VK2FLEX, Tim; VK3MNZ, Don; VK3XL, Mike; VK2IAX/P2, Richard; VK5LY, Larry; VK5NIG/P5, QRP, Nigel; VK2TWR/P2, Rod on VK2 SM 065; VK5GY/P5, Gordon at Bullock Hill CP and VK2IB/P3, at 05:43, Bernard on VK3 VE 061, making 26 contacts in all.

The Burrowa-Pine National Park was accessed fairly easily from the Murray Valley Highway, which traverses magnificent sub-alpine scenery. We were travelling from Shepparton to Corryong and the Park is just out of Corryong. We purchased our lunch in Wodonga and stopped to lunch at the Historic Trestle Bridge. I could not resist the temptation to take a photo of this trestle bridge on the Cudgewa Line. The line was closed on the 22nd January 1995. I have travelled to Cudgewa on a steam-hauled special train many years ago and it was an interesting experience to walk some of the road bed and experience the grades. The rail track bed is now called the High Country Rail Trail and we noticed many people using it: riding bikes, walking and walking dogs.

Historic trestle bridge on Cudgewa line

Historic trestle bridge on Cudgewa line

Another view of trestle bridge

.

Gunbower National Park, 18th April 2014

Gunbower National Park

Gunbower National Park

We approached this park from Cohuna. We called at the Information Centre to obtain a map of the park. We were also told that there had been about 60 millimetres of rain and that the track had been damaged. We found the track generally dry but soft on the shoulders with large patches of water remaining (see photo below).  We eventually came to a point where the track became a bog. We chose not to try and get through. After crossing the bridge at Gunbower Creek we followed the main road for just a few kilometres before taking the Nursery Track into the Park, then through the Gunbower State Forrest before emerging into the Park again near the Murray River. Nursery track is not clearly marked and we went just beyond the turnoff before noticing our error. The 4 x 4 just in front of us also made the same navigational error and on our way out of the Park we saw another car do the same thing. The Park sign is just too far off the road.

I chose spot away from campers on a ‘lawn’. The grass was green and the track dry. After setting up the squid pole on a stump and the linked dipole antenna in place I thought I would use the Ten Tec Argonaut V1. After checking 7.100 a few times I called CQ at 01:17 and was answered by VK3SRB/M2, Steve, near Parkes. Signals were good and after a short contact I worked VK5AR/M5, Allan; VK5FO/P5, Bob; VK5ZAR/P5, Arno in Clinton Conservation Park; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5LY, Larry; VK5NJ, John; VK3AFW, Ron; VK3MQ, Rob; VK5MBD, Bill; VK3FQSO, Amanda, giving her a new Park; VK3BHR, Phil; VK3HRA, Allen; VK3UCD, David; VK2AWJ, John; VK3VZZ, Charlie; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5NJ, John for a second time; VK2UH, Andrew; VK1MA, Matt; VK3TB,  and at 02:17 VK3GRW, Greg.  Twenty-three contacts in an hour I thought was great fun. Generally the band was quiet: there appeared to be few other signals on 40m, so thanks to all those who took time out to give me a call.

Easter campers among the trees

Easter campers among the trees

Nursery Track Gunbower National Park

Nursery Track Gunbower National Park

Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, 17th April 2014, VKFF – 231

Hattah-Kulkyne National Park: old pump-house

Hattah-Kulkyne National Park: old pump-house

I activated the Hattah-Kulkyne National Park on the 17th April, en route to Narooma in New South Wales, via Ouyen, Shepparton and Corryong. The Park is large: about 50,000 hectares. We took the Hattah Nature Drive which begins at the Lake Hattah Visitor Centre and stopped at the old pump-house which has been restored by volunteers. It provided a great spot for my activation. I used the low-level fence around the car-park to support my squid pole.

The following contacts were made beginning at 06:20 UTC, VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5FAKV, Shawn; VK3FI, Noel; VK5LY, Larry; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5WK, Graham; VK5FEKH, Errol and VK4GJP, Geoff at 06:58. Eight contacts in 40 minutes and then the band went dead! However, there were plenty of nets in action although these don’t work well with QRP stations and I resisted the temptation to join various queues. Well it is a successful activation as far as the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award is concerned, but I needed another two contacts to creep over the line and count for the VKFF.

First year anniversary SANPCPA, 5th & 6th April 2014, Scott Creek Conservation Park

The 4th, 5th and 6th of April were set aside to celebrate the first anniversary of the SANPCPA award. It was a week end of exceptional activity especially on the 40 metre band. There were lots of activators, including some for the first time, and many chasers. My first contact was with VK5PAS/P5, Paul, who activated the Cox Scrub Conservation Park. I worked Paul from home. My last contact, from my home station, was on Sunday afternoon at 05:21 with VK5ARG/P5 (Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc.) Andrew at Belair National Park, 59 contacts later. These contacts included a number of new parks for me.

On Sunday morning local time, UTC 22:48 5th April 2014, I went back to Scott Creek Conservation Park, which I last activated on the 19th May 2013. I returned to Gate 8 on Mount Bold Road (See map on Friends of Scott Creek web page – link below). My equipment this time was a home made linked dipole for 20 and 40 metres and the Ten Tec Argonaut V1 (model 539).  Power was drawn from a 8.4 amp hour LIfePO4 battery, which was more than adequate for this activation. About one hundred metres inside the park there is a plateau which makes a fine activation spot. I enjoyed 52 contacts, including a number of new Parks and also with VK3PF/P3, Peter, on VK3 VC 001, Mount Matlock.

Here are my contacts: VK5NQP/P5, David at Cromer CP; VK5KET/P5, Andrew at Telford Scrub CP; VK5KC, David; VK5WG, Nev; VK3FQSO, Amanda; VK5GJ, Greg; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5LY/P5, Larry at Lowan CP; VK5PAS/P5, at Deep Creek CP; VK5AV, Tim; VK2AWJ, John; VK5IS, Ian; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK3UBY, Col; VK3CAT, Tony; VK3VIN, Ian; VK4FR/P5, Chris; VK5JP, Peter; VK5KRF/P5, Peter at Winninowie CP; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5KLV/P5, Winninowie CP; VK5DT, Darren;  and VK5FTRG/P5, Tom at Furner CP.  Then after UTC rollover, VK3VTH/P5, Tony at Carpenters Rocks CP; VK5FTRG/P5, Tom at Furner CP; VK5PAS/P5, Paul at Deep Creek CP; VK5ARG/P5, Andy at Horsenell Gully CP; VK5KLV/P5, Les at Winninowie CP; VK3CAT, Tony; VK5VCO/P5. Paul at Clinton CP; VK5KX/P5, Peter; VK5AV, Tom; VK5DJ, John; VK5LY/P5, Larry at Ridley CP; VK5TRM, Rob; VK2UH, Andy; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5NRG, Roy; VK5KET/P5, Andrew at Nene Valley CP; VK5LY/p5, Larry at Ridley CP; VK5NQP/P5, David at Charleston CP; VK5MJP, Patrick; VK5NE, Paul; VK5ZGY/P5, Greg at Naracoorte Caves NP; VK5ZAR/P5, Arno at Black Hill CP; VK3LY/M3, Bill at Yannack; VK3PF/P3, Peter at VK3 VC001, Mt Matlock; VK5MR/P5 Andrew at Tandappa CP; VK5HCF/P5, Col at Hacks Lagoon CP; VK5FTRG/P5, Tom at Reedy Creek CP; VK5PAS/P5, Paul at Eric Bonython CP and VK5STU/P5, Stu at Port Gawler CP.

Thanks to all those amateurs who gave me a call. It is greatly appreciated and I didn’t think Scott Creek Conservation Park would be so popular as the park has been activated three times: twice by me and once by VK5PAS, Paul.

Scott Creek History

Scott Creek History

Marie Steiner’s excellent book, published in 2000,  contains a wealth of research about the various sections of land which were incorporated into  Scott Creek Conservation Park, gazetted in 1985. ‘The Land Acquisition Act, passed in 1969′ (Steiner, 2000, p. 7), provided the basis for the State Government to pursue the long-term water needs of the community by purchasing the private land in the area now included in the Park. Not all of the land was in private hands but clearly the majority. Steiner’s (2000) book traces the challenges and hardships of trying to make a living on rocky, steep and, in places, infertile land.

The land was acquired to extend the catchment for the Mount Bold Reservoir, including the size of the dam. The plan was later modified because of unstable geological features which could lead to failure of a larger water holding.

The Crooked Chimney, Scott Creek CP

The Twisted Chimney, Scott Creek CP

The Twisted Chimney, for example, was on a holding of 17 and a quarter acres, Section 1190.  Steiner (2000, p. 53) sketches the history of the occupation of this section and others.  Such a long history, of 150 years of human occupation and endeavour, is reflected in the challenges of living in the area and the gaps in knowledge. She asks how could such a large parcel of land with this history, come to be created a conservation park (Steiner, 2000, p. 55)? Her answer is that ‘Scott Creek Conservation Park contains some of the most diverse and interesting areas of indigenous vegetation left within the Mount Lofty Ranges’ and that much of it ‘survived the impact of settlement’.

Remains of a tractor

Remains of a tractor

The picture shows the remains of a tractor, ‘discovered’ following a spraying of blackberries by the Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park. http://www.users.on.net/~dld/Friends%20of%20scott%20creek/Website/

SA Water land (left) and Scott Creek CP (right)

SA Water land (left) and Scott Creek CP (right)

This picture shows the two fire breaks, one each side of the fence, separating the Park from SA Water land.