Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve, VKFF-2115, 10th, 11th and 12th October 2018.

We arranged to meet our extended family from Sydney, our son, his spouse and two grand-children, in the Grampians. It was the second week of the NSW school holidays and they camped and we took a cabin at a holiday park at Halls Gap. We stayed at this park on a previous holiday and enjoyed our time.

We left home on Friday 5th October and drove, via a number of SA conservation parks, to Naracoorte. On Saturday we moved to Ballarat to meet up with University friends from the 1960s for dinner and lunch on Sunday with an additional couple from Bendigo (also University friends). We had a great time.

On Sunday afternoon we travelled to Halls Gap. Our son and his family arrived not long before us and were setting up their camp. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were all warm and sunny days.

On Monday Nick, Kylee and I visited the south Grampians to climb The Piccaninny. This was a great walk and we were able to take some wild flower photos. The views of Mount Sturgeon were also spectacular. While we were travelling and walking Jenny spent enjoyable time with our grand-children. Tuesday was wet all day. This made the falls quite spectacular. We visited a winery and had lunch out. Wednesday we set out for the day and Nick received a phone call from the holiday park indicating that his gazebo had turned up side down and collapsed in the strong winds.  We were on our way to falls near Dunkeld. After the call we returned to the family’s camp to see the damage and clear up the debris.

Of course I wanted to activate a Park or two. In the end I was only able to activate one park near the Grampians, Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve. This park is 1165 hectares and  ‘is characterised by high quality, species rich open wood-land’. I was impressed with the park and birdlife, although rubbish had been dumped in one area near my second activation spot.

Jallikar NCR blog

The park map shows roads marked in red and my first location was near the entry from the Ararat-Halls Gap Road. Look for Londonderry Road  which becomes Bellellen Road. A short distance into the park I found an attractive clearing which can be seen in the photo below. The second photo shows the open woodland. On Saturday, my second activation in the Park, we drove all of the roads and tracks looking for birds and another activation spot. We found a wooded location just off the main road which dissects the park and close to our earlier location just after the road leaves the private property.

Jallukar map

Map Courtesy of http://www.parks.vic.gov.au

The excellent facility within ParksnPeaks (wwwparksnpeaks.org) has a link to the map.

allikar woodland for blog

Very attractive open woodland

shack Jallikar blog

My shack: a Yaesu 857D, 20 watts, hand morse key, linked dipole, 33 amp hour battery and LiFePO4 batteries and and a tablet for spotting myself. The park, as a forest, was previously used for harvesting wood for domestic purposes. Note the large stump on the left.



23:58 ssb 7.144 VK2XSE/P Liz in VKFF-0107. Gaining a Park to Park contact as number one in the log gave me a flying start. And was I fortunate in beginning just before UTC roll-over!


00:01 VK2XSE/P VKFF-0107

00:07 7.150 VK5FANA

00:08 VK4TJ

00:09 VK4/AC8WN

00:11 VK4/VE6XT

00:12 VK2IO

00:12 VK2VW

00:14 VK2UXO

Contacts were difficult to achieve. I tried 80m, 20m and 40m a second time and soon after 01:00 packed up as it was time for lunch and time to join the rest of the family.


00:30 7.144 VK2IO

00:31 VK7KPC/P Peter in VKFF-0005

00:36 VK5KLV

00:38 VK2JNG/P Gerard in VKFF-0597

00:11 VK4GSF

00:43 VK2XXM

00:45 VK4HNS

00:48 VK5FANA

00:53 VK4FDJL

00:58 VK2UH

01:01 VK3SQ

01:03 VK2XSE/P VKFF-0554

01:07 VK2HHA

01:11 VK1XP/M

01:12 VK2XP/1

01:14 VK5CZ

01:15 VK2GZ

01:17 VK2AHR

01:19 VK2MRN/M

01:20 VK2UXO

01:22 VK4TJ

01:24 VK4/AC8WN

01:25 VK4/VE6XT

01:29 VK2KNV/M

7.170 VK2JNG/P

03:08 7.135 VK5BC/2

03:12 7.144 VK2JNG/P

03:15 VK3PF/2 VK2/SW-021

03:19 VK7KPC/P VKFF-0005

03:20 CW 7.032 VK2IO

03:30 CW VK4TJ

03:34 CW VK4XUE

03:35 CW VK2NP

03:45  7.150 ssb VK2XSE/P VKFF-0554

03:47 7.145 ssb VK2AWJ

03:57 7.135 ssb VK2AB

04:07 14.310 ssb VK4TJ


04:15 VK2GJC

Thanks to the chasers who helped to make this a successful activation.


vTimber Jinker JCD photoTimber Jinker at Edenhope, Victoria. JCD photo

Timber Jinker facts

JCD Photo

Retreiving an antenna

At the Saturday location the wind became stronger in the afternoon and my antenna became tangled in a tree. I used a second squid pole and a forked branch attached with rubber bands to retrieve it, successfully.

Nick & Kylee for blog

Nick and Kylee on the track to Piccaninny

sign post for blog


The GPS breadcrumb trail for the Piccaninny walk. Parks rank medium.

Mount Abrupt for blog

Mount Abrupt

wikdflower 3

Wax-Lip Orchid on Piccanniny track.

wid flower for blog

Dwarf Bush Pea

Silverband falls blog

Silverband Falls

silverband falls 2

Silverband Falls


Parks Victoria brochures

Elliot, R & Brownlie, J., nd, Wildflowers of the Grampians, Halls Gap Tourist Information Centre.






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.