Murray River Parks, 5th July 2019

Thanks to a very generous series of activations by Mike, VK6MB/3, in the north western part of Victoria, I notice that Paul, VK5PAS, has issued a number of Murray River Parks awards to a few hunters. Mike certainly helped me over the line!

VKFF Hunter Award 5th July 2019

My hunting activities tend to be in bursts, based on how I am traveling. This year has been challenging and I now have a TCXO (pacemaker) on board! I am hoping when this settles down I can get back to activating. I am pleased to log 700 different VK areas. Thanks to those intrepid activators who get outside, no matter what the weather, to keep us, the hunters busy.

Kinchina Conservation Park, VKFF-1764, 16th April 2019

On the 16th April 2019 I left home soon after 0830 am to drive to Murray Bridge and Kinchina Conservation Park, VKFF-1764. I took the south eastern freeway and the 53 kilometres soon disappeared and I arrived at Murray Bridge and made my way along Maurice Road, past some homes, industrial sites and Mobilong Prison before arriving at the Park. I parked in the shade near the gate in quite a large parking area and set up my station and decided to get on the air milliseconds past the UTC rollover. I set up just inside the gate on a landscape which I told one of the operators reminded me of the surface of Mars: just red dirt and dust! At the time of setting up there was no wind and the temperature was in the twenties with a top predicted at 32 degrees for Murray Bridge. It was quite pleasant and it remained that way until just before noon. And then the wind started. Ivan, VK5HS, at Long Island Recreation Park was surprised about the wind. He said it was very still on the island and explained the calm by commenting on the lush and dense vegetation. Have a look at Paul’s excellent pictures on his blog, at and you will see what I mean. It was only when they were back on the river did they experience the wind, which resulted in dust in the air, not as bad or as widespread as the one in March, but still a nuisance. I am beginning to wonder what has happened to the wonderfully calm, warm and sunny Autumn days of the past? I had a similar experience with the dust at Kyeema Conservation Park.

The Park was very dry and dusty when the wind blew

The reason for activating Kinchina Conservation Park was to provide some additional VHF/UHF experiences for Paul and his team. The two parks are just a few kilometres apart and at Kinchina CP I had the advantage of height. Unfortunately we were limited to just two metres FM. But I enabled Paul and his two colleagues, Ivan and Danny to enrich their logs with two metre FM Park to Park contacts.

Kinchina Conservation Park, SA Government.

My operating position was near the parking sign on the map, just up the hill from Mobilong Prison. The Park is 414 hectares and is the largest remnant of intact bush in the area known as the Monarto Crown Lands. The land for the prison was also obtained from the same Monarto Crown Lands. The land was originally set aside for urban development. It is on the outskirts of Murray Bridge.

Plaque on granite block.
Park Notice Board. My operating position was just inside the Gate at P. The Park shares a boundary with Mobilong Prison on right of photo.


My first contact was logged at 00:03 on 3.610 with VK5TW, Trevor, who had a great signal 5 and 9 and I received 5 and 5.

2. 00:06 VK5FANA, Adrian 59 both ways.

Despite calling CQ for a few minutes there were no more contacts on 80 metres. The band was also noisy, more so than at home, where 80m is invariably quiet.

So I migrated to 7.139 and enjoyed the following contacts:

3. VK3SQ 59 58

4. VK4FDJL 54 52

5. VK5PAS/M 59 59 Paul on his way to the boat ramp at Murray Bridge.

6. VK3PF





11. VK4AAC/3

12. VK2VH/3

13. VK2YMU

14. VK4TJ

15. VK4/AC8WN

16. VK4/VE6XT

17. VK3UH

18. VK5KLV

19. VK3ZNK/P Nick at VKFF-0745 Cape Liptrap Coastal Park

20. VK7JON

21. VK2IO

22. VK3DEK

23. VK3ZNK/P Nick at VKFF-0745 suggesting we try 21.344 which we did unsuccessfully

24. 7.144 VK5PAS/P VKFF-1724, Long Island Recreation Park, VKFF-1724

25. VK5HS/P

26. 7.139 VK3SLB

27. VK3CKC

146.500 FM

28. VK5PAS/P VKFF-1724

29. VK5DW/P VKFF-1724

30. VK5HS/P 02:10 VKFF-1724

My log shows 30 contacts with some duplicates. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable activation and, as usual, special thanks to the chasers and spotters who assisted. I will return to the park to try and qualify for WWFF (44 contacts) and keep my promise of plugging in the key and giving the CW enthusiasts a chance to gain the park as well. I decided to have some lunch and just as I got comfortable in the car the wind came. I went back and packed up my station and then ate my lunch. I made a lunch at home of a slice of sour dough bread with cheddar cheese, dates, some grapes a mandarin and water. Sustaining yes, but not as interesting as the barbecue enjoyed by the threesome on Long Island Recreation Park!

Here is a video of me operating my FT857D from Kinchina Conservation Park. The video was made by Paul, VK5PAS from his vehicle, He is listening on his IC7000 and was not too far away from me. He was travelling from his home at Mount Barker to Murray Bridge in preparation for an activation of Long Island Conservation Park.

Kyeema Conservation Park, VKFF-0826, 24th March 2019

This year I determined I would participate in the sixth anniversary of the South Australian National and Conservation Park (SANCPA) award. I decided I would activate a new Park and chose Kyeema Conservation Park within the Fleurieu Peninsular south of Adelaide. The Park is nearly 41 kilometres from home. It was an easy Sunday drive although there was a bike event underway and lots of road cyclists.

The weather was good, a sunny day with a few clouds, a little humid, although there were puddles on the road suggesting some of the predicted rain showers had come early. It was an ideal day for an activation. However, I had not yet finished with cyclists. Off road bikes are permitted in this park and soon after I had eaten my lunch, a school bus, from a private school, arrived and about 30 young people alighted and retrieved their bikes from a trailer behind the bus. These folk did not disturb me and I am sure they had a good time. There were also bush walkers in the park. I wonder how the shared use of paths would work? Perhaps there was a lot of bell [w]ringing?

The Park

Kyeema Conservation Park is 347 hectares.

The following material is taken from the SA Government web pages for the Park: The area was mined for alluvial gold for several years until it was abandoned in 1890 due to low yield. A few years later some of the area was cleared for pine plantations before being used as a labour prison reserve. This area at the western end of the park, once known as the Kyeema Prison Camp, was established in 1932. The camp was intended for well-behaved prisoners from Yatala, it held around thirteen prisoners and only two guards, with the prisoners were placed on their honour to behave. The Kyeema Prison Camp closed in the mid 1950’s and today there is only a cleared area of land visible to remind us of the Prison Camp’s existence.

The Park has a rich history of bushfires also, being entirely burnt out during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, and partly affected by subsequent fires in 1994 and 2001. The Friends of Kyeema Conservation Park have worked hard over the years revegetating cleared areas of the park. Due to this history, the area provides a wonderful example of the regeneration capacity of South Australia’s native vegetation following fire, which you can explore as you follow one of the walking trails”.

The Heysen Trail passes through this Park as it makes its way from the coast to the top of the Flinders Ranges.

Kyeema Conservation Park Map


I enjoyed 25 qsos before the weather changed. Soon after midday the winds arrived and dust was flying in all directions. I decided I would pack up and head home. While driving home the rain started. It was a shame about the weather because I was prepared to stay late into the afternoon (band practice had been cancelled). Any way I appreciated the contacts and thank all of those who gave me a call, especially Geoff, VK3SQ and Peter, VK3ZPF, who both spotted me on parks and peaks. My phone would not load the parks and peaks website. Perhaps there was not enough signal?

0022 7.150 VK3SQ 59s 55r

0025 VK3UCD 59 58

0028 VK3ZPF 59 57

0031 VK2IR 59 53

0031 VK4TJ 52 310032

0032 VK4/AC8WN 52 31

0033 VK4/VE6XT

00:35 VK3XPT/P 59 59 Perrin was in the Barmah National Park, VKFF-0739 (see photos below)

0041 VK2LEE 59 52

0042 VK3KYO 58 55

0044 VK3ARH/M 57 53

0044 VK3AHR 59 57

0047 VK2HHA 59 57

0050 VK4NH 57 53

0051 VK4DXA 57 53

0052 VK2IO/P 53 53 VKFF-0272

0053 VK1DI/P 59 59

0056 VK3HOT/ 59 56

0058 VK2PKT 58 59

0103 VK3LTL 59 59

0107 VK5NJ 59 58

0127 VK3XV/5 53 51 VKFF-0797

0130 VK3MPR 59 57

0138 7.160 VK3XV/5 59 55

0145 VK3UH 59 41

Perrin, VK3XPT, using his UK/RT-320 (PRC-320) Military Manpack and 2.4 metre ‘battle whip’ transmitting 30 watts pep. Perrin was in the Barmah National Park. Thanks Perrin for the photo.

This photo, is from the man himself, Perrin. Perrin and I have had a number of contacts over the years and the one that comes to mind was a qso while he was at Devonport (my home town).

My operating conditions were more standard. I used my FT 857D, set for 20 watts, powered from an 8.4 amp hour LIFEPO4 battery. The antenna was a linked dipole.

Ánd now for something completely different’, 20th February 2019

I have never been a contester! My station has only ever been a ‘little-pistol’. The closest to a contest that has ever appealed to me were the 144.100 Mhz ‘scrambles’ held in Melbourne, where the aim was to work as many stations as possible on two metres-sideband in a set time-window, usually an hour. I participated in these from my QTH in Greensborough during the late 1970s and early 1980s as VK3BJE. They were held on a Sunday night and were a lot of fun. My IC202, which I still own, was a very little ‘pistol’, putting out three watts pep, and later 10 watts pep when I added the matching amplifier. The other reason for not participating in contests was work. I worked long and often irregular hours through my career. But I also thought I would not be competitive.

However that all changed recently. In August last year I joined AREG, the Amateur Radio Experimenters’ Group. I am possibly their oldest member!

Well over the weekend of 9th and 10th February the 2019 WPX RTTY Contest was held. Grant, VK5GR, knew of my interest in RTTY and invited me to join him at his suburban shack for part of the contest and to participate. Also Theo, VK5IR, was involved as part of the team. Theo and I had different times. I was at Grant’s place on the Saturday night.

Well the preliminary results are out:
33  VK5GR………….608,400 (VK5GR VK5BJE VK5IR)

and we could be winners in the M1 category.

1 VK5GR………..608,400 (VK5GR VK5BJE VK5IR)

2 YE1C…421.040

3 DX9EVM…12,816


Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115, 13th October 2018

On Sunday 13th October 2018, while on our way home, we stopped at Salt Creek to look at the birds and to activate the Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115. I have previously activated this park on five occasions, but never achieved 44 contacts for the WWFF program. Here is a link to my previous activation:

I made 17 contacts.

05:30 7.144 VK2HHA  s59 r58

05:33 7.144 VK5ZK  59 54

05:36 7.144 VK5KGP  58 55

05:37 7.144 VK1DI  59 58

05:39 7.144 VK2IO  59 45

05:40 7.144 VK4TJ  57 55

05:41 7.144 VK4/AC8WN  57 55

05:42 7.144 VK4/VE6XT  57 55

05:43 7.144 VK7AN  58 57

05:46  7.090 VK3EQ/P 56 33 VK3/VE-026

05:51 7.144 VK3ANL 57 33

05:59 7.144 VK4AAC/3 59 55  VKFF-0742 Park to Park

06:33 7.095 VK7XDM/P 55 57 VK7/SC-001

and the following stations were worked using CW using my VK5PF/P call-sign:

05:56 7.032 CW VK3PF/P 579 559 VK3/VE-241

06:03 7.032 CW VK2IO 579 559

06:07 7.032 CW VK7CW 599 579


06:09 7.032 CW VK3BYD 579 559

Thanks, as always, to the chasers who made this tally of qsos possible.

My wife, Jenny, was able to identify 55 species of birds on our trip. About half of them were in the Coorong National Park and other nearby parks and on water/ponds on private property. This photo, by Jenny,  shows two species of ducks: Hard Head and Chesnut Teal and one, probably a juvenile Hard Head, (second duck in procession at the rear).


Salt Creek

Salt Creek in the Coorong National Park





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

The excellent facility within ParksnPeaks ( 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.