Wednesday 19 December 2018
I decided to return towards Yarrawonga and Mulwala and target two of the Murray Valley Parks in NSW. The first target was not far west of Mulwala, with a marked Park entrance about 900 m past Wemyss Road.
Murray Valley Regional Park VKFF-1785
I followed the track down to the northern bank of the Murray River, finding several caravans and camps set up. I travelled a couple of hundred metres east and found a good spot to set up. Mobile phone coverage was marginal, which made for frustrating spotting – one needed to move around until network connectivity was achieved before you could spot.
I was set up and calling on 40 m SSB by around 2325. John VK4TJ was first in the log. I had 12 in the log by 2350, but then no responses, so dropped down the band for some CW. I managed eight contacts in about 15 minutes. In that period, I missed one caller: he replied at much faster than my 10 wpm and my brain could only decode part of the callsign, even after a couple of repeats. VK2B?? I think, from memory. Sorry, but sometimes my brain just gives up briefly on CW. I moved back up the band for some more SSB, working 10 more stations in about 15 minutes. I then moved up to 20 m for six SSB contacts followed by three on CW. I returned to 40 m SSB for another six contacts over 15 minutes, bringing the total for the Park to 45.
After packing up, I travelled back out to the bitumen and turned west.
Murray Valley National Park VKFF-1178
7 km further west along Mulwala Barooga /Tocumwal Road brought me to the track into the next Park. This time I decided to set up only about 100 m inside the Park boundary, hoping for better phone coverage. I again tossed a line over a tree branch. I was up on air, spotted and calling within 40 minutes of closing down in the previous Park.
John VK4TJ was first in the log, on 40 m SSB. 15 minutes of operating saw eight contacts logged. I moved down the band for CW, with another five added to the log. I then moved up to 20 m SSB for another five contacts in a few minutes. The temperature was warming up, it was now 1330 local and I was feeling tired and peckish, so I shut down the station.
I packed up and headed back onto the bitumen, again heading west to Barooga and into Cobram to purchase a late lunch. I then headed to River Road and into the Park.
Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961
I found a spot close to a wide sweeping bend of the River, close to Scotts High Bank Camping Area and again set up with a line over a tree branch.
I started on 40 m SSB. Gerard VK2IO was first to call whilst I was still getting the antenna strung out. Twelve minutes saw nine stations in the log. After several minutes of calling, I dropped down the band for some CW, working five stations in 10 minutes. I had 14 in the log, was feeling the heat, so packed up and headed back to Wodonga.