Waa Gorge & VKFF-582, 599 & 353
I decided to head out towards Narrabri over the weekend to activate several National Parks as part of the World Wide Flora & Fauna program for Amateur Radio operators. The first park would be Couradda, followed by Moema & then on to the northern part of Mt Kaputar National Park for an overnight stay near Waa Gorge.
Setting of from home around 7:30 am & travelling west through the Horton Valley & the Killarney Gap, then onto the plains 40 km north of Narrabri. The 130 km trip took just over 2 hours on the back roads, arriving at Couradda National Park with 15 miniutes to spare to the planned activation time of 10:00 am. I quickly set up a 40 meter Inverted V antenna just inside the park boundry, using the entrance sign to tie off the guy rope & set about putting out a call.
Couradda NP, VKFF-582 was created in 2005 & covers an area of just 362 hectares. It was once a State Forest, the surrounding countryside has been extensively developed for broadacre farming. The park is wooded with Cypress Pine & Ironbark trees.
After setting the Icom IC-7000 to 7.144 MHz, i started calling, the first contact for the day was Peter, VK3PF in Victoria, followed by Adrian, VK5FANA & Vk5PAS, Paul in South Australia, all good signals. The next station was a surprise, Amanda in Victoria using just 500 Milliwatts of power coming through quite clearly, great work Amanda. A steady stream of callers followed, ending up with 27 contacts in the log for just over an hour & a half calling.
The stations worked were:
VK3PF-Peter, VK5FANA-Adrian, VK5PAS-Paul, VK3FQSO-Amanda, VK3HRA-Allen, VK2BTC-Tony, VK3OF-Rex, VK2EJW-Jock, VK3ANL-Nick, VK2GKA-Karl, VK5BJE-John, VK3PMG-Mick, VK2BOB-Bob, VK4FFAB-Rob, VK3DAC-Fred, VK2NN-Peter, VK2DDS-Brenton, VK2IO-Gerard, VK3SMC-Simon,VK4DD-Dave,VK2MJB/P-Mick, VK2GJC-Greg, VK2FADV-Jim, VK4TAD-Allan, VK2AEV-Alex, VK3TKK/M-Peter, VK6BMM/2-Mal.
After a quick tour around the park it was just a short drive up to Moema National Park, VKFF-599.
This park was also created in 2005 & covers 2028 hectares with the same type of vegetation as the previous park. After a scout around I found a clearing just down the road to set up an antenna.
After a meal & a look around the park, then turned on the transceiver & had a scroll through the 40 meter band, finding Tony, VK3VTH portable in Lang Ghiran National Park, VKFF-760 & logged him as a park to park contact on 7.100 MHz. I started calling on 7.144 & made contact again with Rob, VK4FFAB who is a keen park activator & hunter. I logged 21 contacts while in the park including a station in Japan, Toshi, JM2MHQ who was calling CQ on 21.260 MHz.
The stations worked were:
VK3VTH/P-Tony, VK4FFAB-Rob,VK2IO-Gerard, VK2EJW-Jock, VK4SC/M-Stew, VK2JDS/P-Dave, VK2YK-Adam, VK3DBP-Paul, VK2XXM-Robert, VK4AAS-Allan, VK3OB-Rob, VK3FQSO/QRP-Amanda, VK4DD-Dave, VK3TKK/QRP-Peter, VK4FADW-Owen, VK2FMJK-Mick, VK3ZPF/P-Peter, VK2XAN-Peter, VK4ND-Dennis, JM2MHQ-Toshi, VK2AAA-Jim.
For those of you who follow this blog but are not involved in Amateur Radio here are some of the terms that are used, it sounds like we are speaking in code but the majority of it is just shortened words.
VK stands for stations in Australia. VK0 is Antarctica, VK1 in the Australian Capital Territory, VK2 is New South Wales, VK3, Victoria, VK4, Queensland, VK5, South Australia,VK6 is Western Australia, VK7 is Tasmania, VK8 is the Northern Territory & VK9 is islands such as Norfolk, Melville & several others.
Stations with the letter F after the number can use no more than 10 watts of power. Callsigns with /P are portable, /M are mobile & /QRP are stations running less than 10 watts of power.
So a callsign starting with VK is in Australia, followed by 8, meaning in the Northern Territory, /P meaning out working portable /QRP, using low power, giving the callsign of VK8FAAA/P/QRP. Hope that makes it a bit less mysterious.
After about 90 minutes the contacts were starting to dwindle away, so it was time to head to the northern end of Mt Kaputar National Park, VKFF-353 to an area known as Waa Gorge for an overnight stay & a bit of bushwalking up to the gorge on the following day.
The rugged Mt Waa, the remnants of a volcanic eruption some 20 million years ago.
It is a 40 km drive around the northern tip of the Nandewar Ranges to Waa Gorge from Moema NP. not a bad drive considering the views. I arrived at around 4:30 pm, just enough time to set up camp & get an antenna up before dark, a multiband G5RV this time as I planned to work on the 80, 40 & 15 meter bands. First order of business was get a meal on. I had recently refurbished an old camp oven & was keen to try it out, so with the fire lit & some hot coals the entree was cooked, a basic damper, then it was time to cook the main course, Lamb Shanks, Potato & Mushrooms.
Mt Kaputar National Park is made up of a large area that was once a Shield Volcano over 20 million years ago. The activity back then was similar to how the Hawaiian Islands have been formed. The park was created in October 1967. It covers an area of 50,225 hectares & has many different attractions including the summit at 1510 meters ASL, Sawn Rocks & Waa Gorge.
With dinner out of the way it was time to check the bands. First contact was with Tom operating the special event callsign of V100ANZAC on 7.112 MHz. I then started calling on 7.135, logging 8 stations before calling it quits & having a relaxing evening at the campfire before retiring for the night.
Stations worked on Saturday evening:
V100ANZAC-Tom, VK4CJM-John, VK2BOW-James, VK5PAS-Paul, VK3PMG-Mick, VK3PF-Peter, VK6MB-Mike, VK3DAC-Fred, VK3FQSO-Amanda. I have worked from this park many times before, so the 13 contacts were added to this tally.
Up early Sunday morning, restarted the fire & put the billy on & called into the Coral Coast Net on 7.060, contacting Al, VK4FALL, then moved to the 80 meter band to join in with a net of the locals, VK2PB, Brent, just down the road in Narrabri, Jock, VK2EJW & Les VK2LES. Had a chat for an hour or so while packing up camp. It was then out for a bushwalk up to the gorge, around 2 km and all uphill. I spent just over 3 hours exploring the gorge before heading home, with a quick stop at Rocky Creek for a bit of fishing. All up travelled 280 km, visited 3 parks, had 61 contacts for a very pleasurable weekend. Clear blue skies & mild Autumn weather made the weekend even better, although I am feeling the effects of the hike today.
73`s & 44`s.
Map images courtesy of NSW NPWS