Black Range State Park, VKFF-0751, 15th April 2016

On Tuesday 12th April we had a family day. In the morning we walked to MacKenzie Falls. I recommend this splendid walk if you are able to visit the Grampians. The Falls are not far from Halls Gap and there are various turn-around points if you don’t think the walk to the bottom is for you!

The path to the base of the Falls

This photo shows the track down to the base of the Falls.

MacKenzie Falls 1

This photo shows MacKenzie Falls from the base and the bridge to the other side of the stream composed of five large rocks.

Regulations 1

Three homo sapiens and a canis lupus

This photo shows three homo sapiens and a canis lupus sharing a bench.

Which living being cannot read? See the tail hanging below bench second from the left!

Thursday the 14th of April was the last day together with our Sydney family. They began the return journey on Friday morning. On Thursday we enjoyed some non-radio activities in and near the Grampians.

We travelled to Great Western to visit the Seppelt Winery where we had lunch and tasted a few wines. After lunch the family, including my xyl, left to do some more walking while I took the tour of the underground cellars. This facility is to close mid year. I had never visited it before and I am sure pleased I did. After the tour we (three visitors) were invited to try three sparking wines, two whites and a shiraz. They were excellent.

MJD underground

Various bottles

This photo shows the various bottle sizes used to package sparking wines. Most of them have names from the Old Testament (Jewish Scriptures).

My last activity on Thursday afternoon was to visit Mick, VK3PMG and VK3GGG. Mick is an active amateur who has risen through the ranks from F call, intermediate call and now full call, is a park activator and a very successful chaser/hunter. We arranged this meeting earlier and after an hour and a half it was time to go. It was great to see Mick’s shack and antennas and talk about our love of the hobby.

On Friday morning our Sydney family began the journey home. We decided to visit the Black Range State Park, VKFF-0751. Black Range State Park is located West of the Grampians National Park. We accessed the Park near the corner of Cherrypool and Black Range Roads. While the Park has recently suffered the ravages of a wild fire, where we entered the Park was untouched by fire. We found an excellent clearing and only had two visitors while we were there. We had a number of maps including the Black Range Self Drive Tour map which was quite helpful.

MJD at Black Range 2

I enjoyed this activation a great deal. While chasers were a bit slow to find me initially I was soon working a steady stream of amateurs. Here are the call-signs of the chasers.

I began the activation at 00:48 on 7.095 with:


VK3CM Thanks to Brenton for inviting me to take the frequency.



This was a dual mode contact: VK3BYD/P transmitted CW and I replied in SSB. Warren was activating VK3/VC-020 in VKFF-0264.







VK4RF  s55 r52 & VK4HA




VK2YK/P2  in VKFF-0195




VK3ARR/P7 on VK7/SC-001










VK3GGG, Mick with his new call-sign

















VK6MB 51s r35

I then moved to 14.310

VK6MB 59s 58r

VK6NU s55 r55

I spent about half an hour listening around on 20 metres. There were some strong stations around 14.150 to 14.250, but I would not be competitive with 10 watts and a dipole. I did not work work any further stations on 20 metres and moved back to 40 metres and had a further two contacts:

VK5KC/P s59 r59 David was portable at the Overland Corner ready for the Riverland Group’s meeting on Saturday and Sunday as was VK5IS (04:40z) , Ian was also s59 r59. I enjoyed a total of 51 contacts. My equipment on the day was an FT897, set for 10 watts and linked dipole.

Thanks to all the chasers who helped make this such an enjoyable activation.



4 thoughts on “Black Range State Park, VKFF-0751, 15th April 2016

  1. I have encounted the same problem in Namadgi NP. Good read John, recent 40m propagation into VK1 has been disappointing. I had a short QSO with Mick ‘GGG’ last week from Mount McDonald, a nice surprise to hear of Mick’s upgrade.

  2. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the comment. I suspect that propagation will deteriorate further. That makes each activation a greater challenge and may encourage more VHF/UHF activations here, at least, where such activations are very rare. We certainly had a great time in the Grampians NP.
    John D

  3. Hi John,

    Great to get you in the log. Great Western is a terrific place. I may not have got out to the park as quick as you. The wine at Seppelts is very appealing.



  4. HI Paul
    I was left there to enjoy the winery visit and the family went for a another walk. I am pleased I got there before it all closes.
    I brought six reds home with me!
    John D

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