Some mid-December Parks fun

In the lead up to Christmas, I managed to get out for several day trips to activate a mixture of Parks and SOTA summits. Most of the Parks were activated only to the 10+ contacts, enough to qualify the Park for VKFF awards. I had activated some of the Parks previously, so the activations this time were just for fun en route to or from another target Park.

14 December 2017

I wanted to activate the Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort for the ARV Victorian Local Government Award Challenge, so I planned a loop around some of the Parks in the Latrobe River valley.

Moondarah State ParkVKFF-0764

I travelled from home to Moe and then towards Erica. I then took Tanjil Bren Road to a spot where I could set up off the main track. I tossed a line over a tree branch to raise the inverted V. I used this method for most of the day. I was on air and calling at about 2348 Z (13 December). I worked 8 callsigns prior to UTC midnight, and then worked 2 more callsigns just after rollover, all on 40 m SSB. With 10 in the log, I packed up after further calls yielded no responses.

I back tracked to the main road and headed north to Erica. Then north past Rawson to the South Face Road.

Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020

From the South Face Road I turned into East Tyers Road towards the campsite on the Australian Alps Walking Track. I found a spot to set up well inside the Park boundary. I worked 10 stations on 40 m SSB and then 3 more on 20 m SSB. Operating time was about 30 minutes.

I retraced my route to South Face Road and headed west and entered the access road to Mount Baw Baw Village.

Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort

The main snow resorts in Victoria are actually excised from the surrounding Local Government Area and are classified as “Unincorporated areas” answering to the Victorian government. French Island is another such area.

I found a spot to set up inside the Resort boundary. I posted a spot to ParksnPeaks and started calling on 40 m a few minutes before 0200 Z. 30 minutes of operating yield 9 callsigns in the log. I again packed up and headed west through Tanjil Bren, Noojee and then south through Neerim South before turning onto Bloomfield Road.

Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965

I turned onto the southern section of Bridge Road (signposted for the historic timber trestle bridge) and then left onto a track that traverses the Park. I set up a few hundred metres down the track.

First in the log was Peter VK3TKK/p in Mount Ridley Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2156 – a pleasant surprise. I ended up with 20 callsigns in the log, all on 4o m SSB. Second last in the log was Rob VK4FFAB/p in Bullock Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1490, another unexpected Park contact.

With no further answers to calls, I again packed up and headed south to Nilma and then to Darnum and Cloverlea, before driving up onto the Strezlecki Range and travelling around to the eastern section of the next Park.

Mount Worth State Park VKFF-VKFF-0771

This time I set up using a squid pole lashed to a post to support the inverted V. First in the log was Rob VK4FFAB/p in Bullock Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1490 on 40 m SSB. I tuned around to find a clear frequency and started calling. I ended up with 11 callsigns in the log, all on 40 m SSB. The last contact was on 0532, after which I packed up and headed for home.

15 December 2017

I decided on a second day out playing Parks. I was a little slow getting going in the morning. I headed to Gormandale and then to Willung and into the southwest corner of the first Park.

Holey Plains State Park VKFF-0758

I found a spot on South Boundary Road, again tossing a line over a tree branch to support the inverted V. I was actually on air a few minutes before UTC midnight. First in the log was Nick VK3ANL on 80 m SSB. Nick has a birdie on 3.610 MHz, so I moved up 5 kHz to make it easier. I was about to re-spot myself and saw a spot for Peter VK3TKK/p. I quickly reconfigured the antenna for 40 m and called Peter, in Tooborac Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2212. Peter was about to pack up when I called, so I stayed on 7.144 MHz. in just over 20 minutes I had 20 callsigns in the log and then nothing – time to again pack up.

I retraced my route towards Willung and then east and south to get to the next target Park.

About 6 minutes from my target, I heard Peter VK3TKK/p in his next Park, so worked him whilst mobile.

Kangaroo Swamp Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2194

I found a spot to park inside the Reserve boundary and called Peter VK3TKK/p, still in Spring Plains Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2194. This was the first known contact from VKFF-2194. I called him again from the vehicle, completing a Park to Park contact. I then set up the inverted V antenna. I ended up with 20 in the log before I had no more callers. I decided against trying any band other than 40 m and packed up to head to the next target.

I headed south and west to the Hyland Highway and south to Yarram. Just outside Yarram I stopped and worked Peter VK3TKK/p in Costerfield Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2071. I continued on to Yarram and dropped in to have a coffee and chat with Ken VK3UH. During the chat, we both worked Andrew VK1DA/2 on VK2/SM-059 in VKFF-0138. After a 30 minute break with Ken, I was back on the road, heading to Alberton.

Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park VKFF-0748

I headed down Telegraph Road and onto a track into the Park to again set up the inverted V. I was on air just after 0300 Z. It took about 45 minutes to work 12 stations – harder work. With no more responses to calls, I again packed up to move on. I retraced my route to the South Gippsland Highway and then headed west to Foster and then to Sandy Point. En route, I stopped to again work Peter VK3TKK/p, now in Axedale Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2037. As I was leaving Foster, I decided to skip Wilsons Promontory National Park. At Sandy Point, I headed to the end of Sandy Point Road.

Shallow Inlet Marine and Coastal Park VKFF-0749

The last few hundred metres of Sandy Point Road is surrounded by the Park. I parked on the beach of Shallow Inlet, using the squid pole to support the antenna.

First in the log was again Peter VK3TKK/p, now in Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2158. I moved down the band slightly and started calling. I ended up with 16 in the log. Once I had no more replies to calls, I again packed up and headed back north and then west to Walkerville and on to the Cape Liptrap Lighthouse car park.

Cape Liptrap Lighthouse Reserve

The Victoria Local Government Award Challenge also counts activations and chases from lighthouse reserves, so this was an obvious target to include in this day. I grabbed the SOTA pack and walked down to close to the lighthouse to set up. I managed to work 4 stations over about 15 minutes of calling – enough to qualify the reserve.

I then packed up and moved back close to the car park so that I was outside the Lighthouse Reserve and now in the surrounding Park.

Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745

I again set up with the SOTA gear. First contact was Ken VK3UH on 80 m. Further calls went unanswered, so I moved to 40 m. 5 stations on 40 m, 4 on 30 m, no responses on 20 m. The eleventh contact was on 80 m: Peter VK3TKK/p, now in Jackass Flat Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2114. I again packed up and headed off, this time to Venus Bay, Inverloch and then along the coast road toward Cape Paterson. Once inside the area with the next Park offshore, I found a spot to set up within the required 100 m of the high water mark.

Bunurong Marine National Park VKFF-0945

Given that it was late in the afternoon, I started on 80 m SSB. I quickly worked 5 stations, including Peter VK3TKK/p, now in Pilchers Bridge Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2176. I switched to 40 m and worked another 9 callsigns. It was now after 0800 Z, so I packed up and headed toward home, almost 90 minutes away.

The journey was uneventful, but I was rather tired once I arrived.

Saturday 16 December

This was the first day of a trip to the northeast of Victoria for a family birthday and then Christmas. I packed the car and finally got on the road. I travelled west to Nilma and then north and west toward Warburton, then along the Warburton – Woods Point Road. I then headed west toward Marysville and into the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort.

Lake Mountain Alpine Resort

This was the last of the Alpine Resorts that I needed to activate to complete the main set of “Unincorporated Local Government Areas” for the ARV LGA Challenge. I drove up the access road to just beyond the winter pay station and set up on the edge of the car park. If I had more time, I would have driven up to the main resort area and included an activation of SOTA summit Federation Range VK3/VN-029, which is outside of the Resort area. I started calling on 7.090 SSB and finally raised some stations – I was unable to spot myself as there was no mobile signal. After I worked a few stations, I packed up and headed down to Marysville to buy some lunch, then headed north to Buxton.

Buxton Silver Gums Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2058

This NCR is located about 3.4 km south of Buxton, beside Maroondah Highway B360. There is a parking area off the highway. I set up, spotted myself and started calling. 10 minutes of calling yield 5 stations on 40 m SSB. Ten minutes later, I had another 3 call signs logged. I then tried 20 m SSB, gaining another 9 call signs in the log in the next 15 minutes. With 17 in the log, the Reference was well qualified for VKFF. I packed up and resumed my journey north to Alexandra.

McKenzie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2139

This reference is adjacent to the town boundary in Alexandra: head south on the main street (Grant St) and then watch for Plantation Lane on the right. I drove south along Mount Pleasant Road and observed the small parking area and display boards at the northern end of the reserve, then checked the rest of the eastern boundary. I doubled back and took Plantation Lane, finding a shady spot to park the vehicle and then grabbed the SOTA gear to walk into the Reserve to find a spot to set up.

I started on 80 m SSB, working 2 call signs within minutes. After another 5 minutes of calling without responses, I moved to 40 m, working another 13 call signs in just over 10 minutes. After no more calls, I went to 20 m and worked another 6 stations. 21 call signs in the log in about 45 minutes – not too bad. With no more replies to calls, I packed up and headed back to the car.

From here, I headed north and east to Benalla and then on to Wodonga, my base for the next 2 weeks.

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