Mount Remarkable National Park, 27th September 2016

I was keen to get back to Mount Remarkable National Park to complete 44 plus contacts for WWFF. I had been to this beautiful park many times, including camping at Mambray Creek and have operated my portable station from three locations within the Park. Here is a link to my previous activation:

https://vk5bje.com/category/mount-remarkable-national-park/

mount-remarkable-from-matthew-flinders-lookout-arid-gardens

Mount Remarkable from Matthew Flinders Lookout over Gulf

This time I wanted to operate from the Napperby Block. The Park is in two sections and my last three activations were in the Mount Remarkable section. I checked the DEWNR web page and found that the Department was conducting pest eradication in the Napperby Block  and the nearby Telowie Gorge Conservation Park. Now while some people might consider amateur radio operators ‘pests’, I did not want to be in their ‘sights’. The most common pests are goats, not Mountain Goats of the Summits On The Air type, but four legged ones! So I decided the the Mambray Creek camping and picnic area would be a good choice. Mount Remarkable National Park attracts fees for campers and vehicles. For day visitors the cost is $10 ($8 concession). I knew from my last visit to Mambray Creek that internet coverage is only available near the main entrance and soon disappears within the folds of the hills. I stopped and paid my fee using my Ipad and credit card and saved the receipt so I could show that I had paid the appropriate fee.

I was soon in the park and drove through to the day visitors area. There was only one other couple present although there were school buses parked suggesting that there were school children camping and or walking in the park.

I was soon set up and ready to go and after checking the frequency called CQ about 10 minutes before UTC rollover. But the new day dawned before I made my first contact! I was fortunate to obtain 21 contacts as band conditions on 40 and 20 metres were poor. Contacts were made with VK 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 stations. I also tried 20 metres without success. I was hoping to be heard in VK6. Thanks to all who gave me a call and to those who patiently waited until the band opened and gained a contact quickly. Signals were not loud and QSB (fading) was rapid. I now have 44 plus contacts for this park.

mambray-creek-in-flood

This photo shows the Mambray Creek in flood.

The weather was great, warm, sunshine and no wind. It was in fact the calm before the storm! The Mambray Creek which runs through the Park was flowing rapidly and just within its banks. The Rangers had posted warnings about taking care near the creek and this Park and many others in the State were closed the next day as a result of the very severe weather system.

mambray-creek-warning-notice

This photo shows the warning notice about the creek.

The activation was leisurely  and I had many visitors both human and animal (grey kangaroos, grey butcher birds, kookaburras and many little brown birds (LBBs). A number of visitors were interested in what I was doing and, in turn, I heard stories of knowing amateurs and having a grandfather who was an amateur.

About mid-afternoon it was time to drive to our accommodation in Port Augusta and to a later dinner engagement. Tuesday evening we had dinner with Les, VK5KLV and Kaye and Peter, VK5KPR and Kate. We had a splendid evening talking about many things, not just amateur radio. Peter and Kate are long-time and active members of the Pichi Richi Railway Preservation Society Inc. and early Wednesday morning I accompanied Kate on a special visit to  to the Memorial Operations Centre to see the Afghan Express and steam locomotive NM 25.

This train, entirely comprised of ex-Commonweath Railways rolling stock is stabled at Port Augusta. The train will make a return journey to Quorn over the long weekend ahead. One preserved carriage was used by General Douglas MacArthur to travel from Alice Springs south and eventually to Melbourne and later Brisbane to oversee the allied war effort against the Japanese. It was at the Telowie station that MacArthur made his famous speech, ‘I shall return’. Anyone who visits this part of South Australia should, if at all possible, take a trip on the Pichi Richi Railway. Here is a link to a previous post featuring the Pichi Richi Railway:

https://vk5bje.com/category/pichi-richi-railway/

nm21-ex-commonwealth-railways-ghan-steam-engine

NM 25 ex-Commonwealth Railways locomotive

builders-plate-v1

Builder’s plate NM 25: many steam locomotives were built at Thompson & Co

dedication-plaque

Memorial to Joy Baluch AM: Mayor of Port Augusta for 29 years

coat-of-arms

Australian Coat of Arms affixed to side of carriage

Unfortunately I could not continue with my proposed activations on Wednesday and Thursday as the wind was too strong and the heavy rains were just beginning. It was raining lightly when I arrived at the Memorial Operations Centre to see the train. I knew before I left home that rain was predicted but not the cyclonic conditions that impacted quite widely on the State. At about 4.00 pm the power supply to the state shut down. We spent the evening having dinner by candlelight. The motel staff were able to complete cooking by gas and when we returned to our room we listened to ABC local radio from Port Pirie and 891 Adelaide to keep up with the unfolding drama. We decided to remain in Port Augusta on Thursday to avoid being on the roads but travelled home early Friday morning to ensure we were not further delayed by road closures at Port Wakefield. CFS crews were placing sand bags around the Lower Light Hotel as we drove past and the highway was later closed at Port Wakefield as predicted. Water was lapping at the top of the culverts on the highway at Lower Light when we passed by.

Contacts

VK7FMPR Mark

VK2CIM P2P  Hattah Kulyne National Park

VK3NCC/P

VK3FQSO

VK3FLAK

VK4FW

VK2PDH

VK3GGG

VK3PMG

VK3OHM

VK4AAC/P3

VK2PKT

VK3SQ

VK3PF

VK5EE

VK4RF

VK4HA

VK2MTC

VK3SFG

VK1AT

VK3SQ

 

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Mount Remarkable National Park, VKFF-360, 12 & 22 June 2015

I have activated this park in the past. I managed just one contact. Please read the record of my earlier visit to understand why I only achieved one contact. https://vk5bje.com/2013/10/03/mount-remarkable-national-park-3rd-october-2013/

On both the 12th and 22nd of June 2015 I visited the Park again. My 2013 activation was at Alligator Gorge. This time I chose as my first site, Mambray Creek, as we were travelling from Port Pirie to Port Augusta. And my last activation was from Willowie Forest on the Eastern side of the park just off the highway about six kilometres before Melrose driving south.

Mambray Creek 12th June 2015

Mount Remarkable National Park - Mambray Creek JCD photo

Mount Remarkable National Park – Mambray Creek JCD photo

Emu Mambray Creek JCD photo

Emu Mambray Creek JCD photo

Contacts on 40 metres, 7.095, were had with, VK5KLV, Les; VK5IS, Ian; VK5PAS; VK2JDL/P2, Phil on SOTA summit, VK2/HU-024; Rob, VK4AAC/P5, Kangaroo Island; David, VK5NQP; Mike, VK6MB/P in VKFF-411, Peak Charles National Park; John, VK5FMJC; Tony, VK5FTVR; Nev, VK5WG; Roy, VK5NRG and Bill, VK5MBD. All my received reports were Q5 except from VK2JDL/P and VK6MB who both gave me Q4. Twelve contacts was a little disappointing but I was too far into Mambray Creek to access the phone network to post my intentions.

Willowie Forest, 22nd June 2015

Mount Remarkable National Park: Winowie Forest

Mount Remarkable National Park: Willowie Forest JCD photo

Contacts on 7.090 were had with Gerard, VK2IO/P2 on SOTA summit VK2/CT-007; 7.110, Rex, VK3OF; Ron, VK5VH; Eugene, VK2ZA/M; Geoff, VK5HEL; Greg, VK5GJ/QRP; Chris from Cygnet, VK7JU; Adrian, VK5FANA; Rob, VK4AAC/P5, Kangaroo Island; Greg of Ulladulla, VK2GJC; Les, VK5KLV; Peter, VK3PF; Peter, VK3TKK; Phil, VK5RM; Paul, VK5DBP; Roy, VK5NRG; Bill, VK5MBD; Paul, VK5PAS/M; Barry, VK3FBKS; Matt, VK3FORD another chaser from Swan Hill and finally, VK3ZD, Charlie of South Oakleigh. It was beginning to get dark and we had to arrange accommodation. I thought I would return in the morning, but it was not to be as it was raining. Thanks to the 21 operators who successfully gave me a call.

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.