Lake Torrens National Park, VKFF-278, 21 June 2015

The expedition to Lake Torrens National Park, VKFF-278, was a highlight of the trip for me as I am certain it was for the others. It is remote. A 4×4 track extends to the Lake from Merna Mora station and the round trip is about 90 kilometres and a ‘four to six hour experience’ according to the station brochure. Two of our three vehicles made the trip. The track was a fairly easy drive, although there were some slippery sections as a result of the rain. The owners also checked out the early stages of the track before giving permission for us to leave. It was about 10:15 when we were given a clearance to depart and the usual drive at the beginning of the track though the Moralana Creek was substituted with another drier station track. The station owners briefed us about their expectations as to how we should treat the track, particularly since the owner was suffering a painful shoulder injury as a result of a motor bike accident after crashing on a damaged station track. We were instructed not to drive through muddy ponds but straddle the track by driving down the middle and one side, or travelling on a loop around the damage.

Map of drive to Lake Torrens NP from Merna Mora Station courtesy of Merna Mora

Map of drive to Lake Torrens NP from Merna Mora Station courtesy of Merna Mora

It was my job to drive the lead vehicle. Most of the time the track was easy to follow, but we did obtain advice about one section via CB radio to the station.

It is a stunning landscape.

Sand dune on way to Lake Torrens National Park. JCD photo

Sand dune on way to Lake Torrens National Park. JCD photo

Crossing Moranana Inlet on way to Lake Torrens National Park. JCD photo

Crossing Moralana Inlet on way to Lake Torrens National Park. JCD photo

On the edge of Lake Torrens looking back to the Flinders Ranges. JCD photo

On the edge of Lake Torrens. JCD photo

And for those of you thinking about going for a swim – don’t even dream of it!  Here is a quote from the excellent notes provided by the station owner. ‘Under no circumstances drive onto the lake. It is bottomless. If walking take extreme care particularly if the lake is brown in colour. This lake is tidal and when brown indicates that it is very wet underfoot and extremely boggy….The lake is approximately 10 metres above sea level…’

Here is my log. I worked 22 stations, not enough to qualify the Park for the WWFF award. I appreciated all the callers. Thanks for your efforts.

03:45 10.130 VK3PF, Peter; VK5WG, Nev; VK5KFB, Rod; 10.135 VK7AN, Rob; 14.305 at 04:06 and Rob again at 04:12 VK4AAC/P5, on Kangaroo Island; VK4GSF, George at Toowoomba; 14.310 ZL4KD, Ken; 7.098 VK3PMG, Mick; VK5MBD, Bill; VK5KFB, Rod; VK6BSA/M, Mark; 7.100 VK3YSP/P Joe and VK3FOWL/P Julie at the Melbourne Museum; VK3MCD/P3, Brian on VK3/VG-015; VK2IO/P2, Gerard on VK2/CT-001; 7.105, VK5LY, Larry (I was delighted to work Larry who was the first to activate this Park) VK5ZAR, Arno; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5JK, Jeff; VK1DI/P1, Ian in VKFF-857 and VK3AAR, Andrew.

Mount Brown Conservation Park, 15th June 2015

Mount Brown Conservation Park is a park which qualifies for the South Australian National and Conservation Park Award. I have previously visited this Park. Here is a link to that activation:

On this occasion Paul chose a different and more open location than the one I used previously. There was even a shelter available but it was not required.

Mount Brown Conservation Park. JCD photo

Mount Brown Conservation Park. JCD photo

The afternoon activation was very successful. Here is my log:

10.130, beginning at 04:35, VK5TW, Trevor; VK2IO, Gerard; VK5KGP, Graham; VK3CAT, Tony; VK5ZK, Garry; VK5KLV, Les; VK4FE, Fred; VK5ZAR, Arno; 10.120, VK5AW, Adrian from Renmark; AK4AHL, Ron; VK5FD, Allan; VK5WG, Nev; 14:310, I5FLN, Luciano; VK2NP, Cliff;  IK4DDI, Steven; VK5GJ, Greg; KJ6OA, Dave from San Diego; WB4JSB, James from Georgia; I8OCA, Tommy; S58AL, Albert from Slovenia; IZ7MFY, Mike; DL5XU, Matt and S52KM, Hinko, making 23 contacts in all.

Devils Peak, SOTA VK5/NE-080, 15 June 2015

Devil's Peak start of the walking trail. JCD photo

Devil’s Peak start of the walking trail. JCD photo

Devil's Peak. JCD photo

Devil’s Peak. JCD photo

We climbed the Devil’s Peak in fog and descended in sun-light. It is quite a difficult climb when slippery, especially carrying radio gear, squid pole and other items such as water. A highlight for me was working Ian, VK5CZ, on six metres. I was inspired to make a dipole after my visit to Canberra for the WIA AGM where I saw the local amateurs having contacts on VHF and UHF. I am hoping to do some more work on six metres closer to Adelaide and try and generate some more interest in this band for portable use.

Devils Peak VK5/NE-080 Log

Devils Peak VK5/NE-080 Log

Mount Arden, VK5/NE-034, SOTA summit, 22nd June 2015

We originally planned to activate Mount Arden, VK5/NE-034, on Sunday 14th June. This was not possible because of the rain and the track was closed. The land-owners, who were advised of our radio interests, invited us back to their property, the Argadells, on our return from Farina. They are of course well aware of radio matters. Mount Arden is the site of a number of commercial installations, a CB repeater and VK5RAE, the 2 metre repeater. Thus, 22nd June became Mount Arden day! Our Nissan was the lead vehicle on the trip to the summit. The sun was shining and we were looking forward to the challenge. David and Joy chose to travel with us to the summit. This was a genuine 4×4 track, steep, slippery and with loose rocks. They had previously experienced my driving on the approximately 100k 4×4 trip to Lake Torrens National Park. They survived that experience and were prepared to trust their lives to me again. I think if they had studied the track in advance they might have changed their minds! However, they are still speaking with me! There are a number of You-tube videos of drivers on this track. Mount Arden is a great platform for some excellent views south. The power station at Port Augusta was visible as was the gulf. On the summit it was very windy and cold. However, Paul, David and I all successfully activated Mount Arden. My log is reproduced below. Mt Arden After qualifying the summit on 40 metres using Paul’s radio I went back to my radio and had three contacts on 30 metres. I also tried six without success. I could hear the six metre beacon on 50.315 MHz in the Barossa Valley. Then came the drive down led by Paul.

Summit Mt Arden VK5PAS/P & VK5BJE/P

Summit Mt Arden VK5PAS/P & VK5BJE/P