Murray Sunset National Park, Victoria, VKFF-0373, 18th September 2018

It is just over five years ago, on the 26th July 2013, that I first activated the Murray Sunset National Park. This Park is located in the North Western corner of the state and adjoins the South Australian border. On that occasion I made 16 contacts. That park activation counted for the WWFF program and the Keith Roget Memorial National Park Award.

My wife, Jenny, and I had visited what is now the Park, when it was simply called Sunset Country and we crossed from South to North in our Toyota 4 x 4, camping in the reserve. It was a great adventure, just one vehicle and something we would now probably not do today without a second vehicle. This was remote country in the early 1970s! However, we were well equipped with plenty of food and water.

For the July 2013 activation we travelled along the highway for a few kilometres before taking a secondary track into the park. A photo of my station on that occasion has previously been published and appears on my page. My description of the activation was brief and there is only one photo.

This time we crossed into Victoria from South Australia about 200 metres and on the Northern side took a track into the park for about two kilometres where we found a clearing and I set up there. This was my first solo park activation since Lake Tyers State Park in Victoria in April 2017. I have had a few health issues, but thankfully,  I seem to have all but one under control and, more importantly have the energy and drive to be more active.

MJD Murray Sunset 18092018

This photo my station set up at Murray Sunset National Park. I used my Yaesu 857 D set for ten watts and a linked dipole supported in the middle by a squid pole. I used a 33 amp hour gel cell for station power and later an 8.400 amp hour LiFePo4 battery. JCD photo.

MJD2 Murray sunset NP

Here is another closer shot of the station set up.  I placed the green box (portable gear) near the squid pole as it was quite windy. JCD photo.

So on Monday we decided we would have two nights away from home and visit SA Riverland. We hired a cabin over looking the Murray River in the Big 4 park at Renmark, the same place we stayed in 2013.

Cabin at Renmark 2


Our cabin

White faced Heron

White faced heron

Houseboat at Renmark

Houseboat motoring by

So we chose to go back to the Murray Sunset National Park and aim for 44 contacts. I already had 12 in the bank from the 2013 trip. I would also try for some CW contacts using my VK5PF call-sign.



00:16 VK5PL


01:25 VK3PF





VK4TJ s 58 r 41


01:37 VK2JNG/P  Park to Park VKFF-0504


01:41 VK1MIC/3 Wade, Park to Park VKFF-0761



VK3ALA/P Ken Motor home

01:49 VK3KMH,  Mike


02:19 VK7ME, Mark












VK3FAIN, Ian, Dromana




CW contacts as VK5PF


01:58 VK2IO, Gerard s 599 r 579

02:00 VK7CW, Steve, s 599 r 599

02:02 VK4TJ, s 559 r339

Thanks to all of the operators who gave me a call.

On the way home we visited three parks to check out good activation spots.

The first was Bakara, the second, Swan Reach and the third Marne Valley Conservation Park.

Swan Reach CPMarne Valley CP


My National & Conservation Park activations

Murray Sunset NP Murray-Sunset National Park: turning North from the Sturt Highway.

I commenced activations for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award on 19th May when I visited the Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills. This splendid park is near my home. Accompanying me on this occasion was David, VK5KC and we made many contacts, in order: VK1MA, Matt; VK3HRA/p Allen; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5PAS/p, Paul; VK5ATW,Trevor; VK3FDJT, Darren; VK3FMPB, John; VK5NRG, Roy; VK3CRG/p, Craig; VK5HGW, David; VK2MDC, Doug; VK5HCF, Col; VK5KFB, Rod and on 20 metres, VK2AXB, Grant and VK2ELF, Rowan. A number of other activations soon followed: Mark Oliphant (VK5FTTC/p, Rod in Talisker CP; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5MBD, Bill; VK5PAS, Paul; VK2JTF/p, Shane; VK2XT, Bill; VK1MA, Matt; VK5CZ, Ian; VK5LA, Andy and VK5ZKR, Rod) and Mylor of the 21st May (VK5PAS/p, Paul in Ferries-McDonald CP; andVK2YW, John. On the 2nd June, when it was threatening to rain, I visited Onkaparinga National Park, VKFF – 402, to activate this park. My wife and I have walked in this park many times and it is great. In my CFS days I helped extinguish a significant fire in this park. I had contacts with: VK2YW, John; VK2UH, Andrew; VK3AFW, Ron; VK5PAS/p Paul; VK3PAH, Warren; VK3ZPF, Peter; VK5LA, Andy; VK5ZLG, Geoff; VK5FMID, Brian; VK3HRA, Allen and VK3ANL, Nick. All my contacts to this time were made using my FT817 (not ND), purchased at Wyong in 2004 and running 5 watts and a home made linked dipole supported at the centre on a squid pole.

Then I had a break! Winter ills: a ‘bug’ that I couldn’t seem to shake off.

After more than a month I thought I would make up for lost time! On the 24th July we set off for the Riverland and activated Ridley CP en route to the Riverland.  Contacts were made with: VK5EE, Tom; VK5LY, Larry; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5WG, Nev; VK5LA, Andy; VK5HCF, Col; Ian VK3FD/p, qrp 2.5 watts,  and VK3AMB, Bernard both in Melbourne.

Murray River National Park – Lyrup Flats Section 25th July, VKFF – 372 Murray River National Park Lyrup Flats This park is typical Murray River Flats country and constitutes a flood plain. There are plenty of numbered camping sites for those who want to stay, watch birds, fish or walk.  I was quickly on the air in the morning and had contacts with: VK5LY, Larry; VK5HCF, Col; VK3FD, QRP, Ian 2.5 watts; VK7KO, Gerry near Devonport, my home town, and Larry, VK5LY.

At work

At work in MRNP

Cooltong CP 25th July

Cooltong CP

Cooltong CP

Cooltong is a beautiful park, the mallee is in great shape and the trees are tall  (just visible in the background of the picture). It is my pick of the bunch for a mallee park.  Using my new Ten-Tec Argonaut VI for the first time I made the following contacts: VK5HCF, Col; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5EE, Tom; VK5WG, Nev; VK5TN, Robin; VK5LY/m, Larry; VK2XT, Bill; VK5FBAC, Charles; VK2KF, Tom from Kandos on 7.105 checking out his amplifier before the Kandos Group and VK5VW/p4 Mark, who has just moved to Queensland from SA. Mark was delighted to hear someone with a South Australian accent!

In the morning of 26th July I activated Pike River Conservation Park, which along with MRNP, Lyrup Flats, is very close to Renmark. Contacts were had with VK5LY/p, Larry, who was in the Pooginook CP; VK5PAS/p, Paul, who was activating Mt Magnificent CP; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5EE, Tom; VK3ANL, Nick; VK5HS/m, Ivan; VK3AZZ, Mac; VK3PF, Peter; VK5WG, Nev; VK3ATA, Yuri; VK3KAN/m, Rick; VK5FBAC, Charles; VK5HOS, Owen; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5LA, Andy; VK5PAS/p, Paul, Finnis CP; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5YX/m4, Hans at Windora and VK5LY/p, Larry at Morgan CP. Larry was able to visit and activate two parks while I had a most relaxing late morning at Pike River CP waiting for the RAA agent to come because our car wouldn’t start.

After lunch, and ensuring the car would start x times before setting off, we made a visit to Murray- Sunset National Park, VKFF – 373,  in Victoria. Sixteen contacts from this park kept me busy on a beautiful winter’s afternoon with quite a few VK3 calls taking time out to get this park in their logs: VK5WG, Nev; VK5PAS/p, Paul; VK3AW, Laurie; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK4CPS, Paul; VK3ANL, Nick; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5CZ, Ian; VK3UP, Terry; VK3PHA, David (having his first ever contact) VK2FPQ, Graham; VK5EE, Tom; VK5TN, Robin; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5HS/m, Ivan and VK5LY/p, Larry at Maize Island CP.

On the 27th July after a visit to Larry’s QTH we set our for Danggali CP: after 23 contacts it was time to pack up and travel back to Renmark. Contacts were had with: VK5KC/p, David at Lowan CP; VK5LY, Larry; VK5HCF, Col; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5HS/m, Ivan; VK3ANL, Nick; VK5ZK, Garry; VK3LY, Bill; VK5PAS/p, Paul SS. 077; VK5CZ, Ian; VK5WG, Nev; VK5LY, Larry; VK3JP, Ron; VK5HOS, Owen; VK3FKAA, Greg; VK5EE, Tom; VK3HRA, Allen; VK5KC, David; VK5PET, Peter, (newly licenced); VK5ATN, Terry; VK5AFW/m, Ron; VK5FMID, Brian and VK5AKH, Andy. Danggali is about 100 kilometres north of Renmark. It would be a great place to visit with a 4×4 club.

Operating in Danggali Conservation Park

Operating in Danggali Conservation Park

Maize Island CP 28th July Maize Island Lagoon CP Operating at Maize Island Lagoon CP Maize Island Lagoon CP was a morning destination and the following stations were worked: VK3MBW, Barry; VK3SMC, Simon; VK5LY, Larry; VK5PAS/p, Paul at un-named summit VK5 SE 006; VK5LA, Andy; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5FD, Allan, 3 watts; VK5NRG, Roy; VK5ZTJ/p, Trevor at Burra George; VK5EE, Tom; and VK5HCF, Col.

Ramco Point CP 28th July

We did not drive through this!

We did not drive through this!

It took us a little while to find this park. From the surrounding cliffs it is quite obvious as a point in the river. It is approached though the Ramco Wetlands which appears to be a council park. A very fine bird hide is provided and after my contacts we spent some watching some of the local water fowl make a living. I worked the following stations: VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5LA, Andy; VK5HCF, Col; VK5LY, Larry; VK5FMID, Brian; VK3ZPF/ QRP, Peter at Beaconsfield; VK5BW, Barry; VK5EE, Tom; VK3ANL, Nick; VK5KC, David; VK3FKAA, Greg; VK5FMID, Brian and VK5PAS/p, Paul at Mt Bryan VK5  SE 001.

Pooginook CP 29th July

In Pooginook CP

In Pooginook CP

Guess who lives here?

Guess who lives here?

Pooginook CP is home to an introduced colony of Southern Hairy Nosed Wombats and they wouldn’t be very popular if they trespassed onto nearby farmlands and used their earth-moving skills! I had nine contacts: VK7FMPR, Mark; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5WG, Nev; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5HCF, Col; VK5FMID, Brian; VK3FJAE, Doug from Maryborough and VK5NFB, Don.

Whites Dam CP 29th July

Whites Dam CP

Whites Dam CP

Operating in the rain at Whites Dam

Operating in the rain at Whites Dam

Whites Dam CP was the second activation before lunch and it was beginning to rain. The antenna was set up hanging from a tree and was a bit low. Nevertheless, I had 13 contacts before packing up and heading for Morgan for lunch. I worked: VK5KC, David; VK5LY, Larry; VK5WG, Nev; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5EE, Tom; VK5ZK, Garry; VK5KGP, Graham;  VK5HCF, Col; VK5FMID, Brian; VK2JDS, Dave; VK3RV, Peter; VK5AKK, Phil and VK5TN, Robin.

Morgan CP 29th July

Morgan CP

The light rain eased to showers at Morgan CP where we ate our lunch before beginning the third shift for the day. Contacts were had with: VK5LDM, Dennis; VK5LY, Larry; VK5WG, Nev; VK5ZK, Garry; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5HCF, Col; VK5EE, Tom; VK5AKK, Phil; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5ATQ, Trevor; VK5BW, Barry; VK5ATW, Trevor; VK5FMJC, John and VK5KGP, Graham. After Morgan CP I thought we should do something else. We decided to travel on the Waikerie side of the river via Cadell back to Waikerie over a road I have driven many times in an earlier (working) life! Not far out of Waikerie we saw the sign: Hogwash Bend CP and we decided to investigate.

Hogwash Bend CP 29th July

DSCN2531 (400x300)

Hogwash Bend is a relatively new CP. I checked the Parliamentary record and it was proclaimed a CP on 6th September 2012. It has always been a popular picnic and camping spot and there were hardy folk camping under canvas when we visited. It is a beautiful park with a sandy beach in the river on the Park side. The relevant Government Department (DEWNR) has (in a time of budgetary distress) already improved the signage and placed vehicle barriers across sensitive areas.

Hogwash Bend CP

It was late in the day and I am grateful to the five amateurs who enabled me to activate this park: VK5LY, Larry; VK5HCF, Col; VK3KAN/p, Rick,  Bogong National Park in Victoria; VK5EE, Tom and VK5PAS, Paul. We always enjoy the Riverland and thanks to all who helped to make it fun with keeping track of me via amateur radio. And the dogs of the Riverland are smart!

Notice for the smart dogs of the Riverland!