Saturday, 26 November 2016

Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985

For the VKFF Activation Weekend thought I would activate the last few remaining parks in the ACT yet to be activated by anyone, Gigerline Nature Reserve VKFF-0985 and Old Naas Travelling Stock Reserve VKFF-0992. The 2 parks are close to each other and ideal for a days trip.

Gigerline Nature Reserve is located South of the rural town of Tharwa which is South of Canberra. It protects the Murrumbidgee River Corridor flora and Fauna as it enters the the Eastern edge of the ACT at Angle Crossing.It is one of the nature parks along the river as it flows through the ACT.

I decided to activate at Tharwa Sandwash, a picnic area on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River.

Drove through Tharwa, heading South and turned off onto Smiths Road on the left. Followed this down to a crossing over the Gudgenby River, where you enter the park.

Crossed the bridge. Looking back you can see Mount Tennent, SOTA summit VK1/AC-025. The scar on the side is from a rock fall some years ago.

There was a side road off Smiths Road leading to Tharwa Sandwash.

The side road follows the Murrumbidgee river for a while, dropping down to the river and ending at a picnic/swimming area.

Looking upstream from the picnic area

Looking downstream.

A few tables at the picnic area, this one had a good view of the river but trees above made it unsuitable for the squid pole.

Another table nearby had space above, plus some shade from a nearby tree. Decided to set up here. The table wasn't good for strapping the squid pole to, so used my own camping table instead.

My operating location, map from Protected Planet website.

Radio set up on the picnic table. A bit of shade, but did get warm later as the sun got overhead.

Got on 40m. To my disappointment the band was noisy, there was some electrical interference from nearby power lines. Put on the noise blanker on the TS-480 which removed most of it, however adjacent frequency interference increased. Splatter or noise... Decided to just put up with it as keen to get on air.

Started by working all the parks currently on air. First were Joe VK3YSP/p and Julie VK3FOWL/p in VKFF-0957 Yaringa Marine National Park. Then Marija VK5FMAZ/p in VKFF-1082 Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park.

Found a clear spot and called CQ parks. Contacts with VK2QA Jim, VK1AD/VK1NAM Andrew, VK3PF Peter, VK3SQ Geoff and VK3PMG/VK3GGG Mick, VK2VW, Brett.

Another park to park contact with Rob, VK2QR/p in VKFF-1392 Wereboldera State Conservation Area. This is just outside Tumut and on the other side of the Brindabella Ranges to me, Rob had a good strong signal.

Another park to park, Tony VK3XV/p in VKFF-0772 Paddys Ranges State Park. A couple more hunters, VK2NTJ Jerry and VK2AFY Chris. Another park to park with VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-0750 Arthurs Seat State Park.

Briefly chased a SOTA station, Andrew VK1MBE/2 on VK2/SC-042 Wandera Mountain on the South Coast NSW near Moruya, a summit I have done.

Another park to park with VK5PL/p David in  VKFF-1159 Wiljani Conservation Park.

Switched to 20m to work VK5PAS/p Paul in VKFF-1082 Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park. He had a strong signal and 20m was less noisy then 40m. A surprising contact with VK3ZPF/p Peter in VKFF-0750 Arthurs Seat State Park. This would be only about 600 Km away so short sporadic e skip was in on 20m. Some more contacts on 20m with VK4RF/VK4HA Rick, and VK4HNS/p Neil in VKFF-0300 Main Range National Park.

My next park to park was a real surprise for 20m, VK2IO/p Gerard in VKFF-1271 Bargo State Conservation Area. This is South of Sydney and only a few hundred Km away!? Also Adam VK2YK/4 a lot further away in VKFF-1504 Cape Pallarenda Conservation Park near Townsville.

Some more hunters on 20m, VK3SFG Sergio, VK2KYO Ken and VK3XV/p Tony again, this time on 20m, still in VKFF-0772.

Since sporadic e was in decided to try 15m. Didn't have an antenna for this band, but found the TS480s inbuilt antenna tuner would let me load up the 40m dipole okay on it. Worked VK4FFAB/p Rob in VKFF-0734 Lockyer (Recovery) National Park, also VK3ARH Allen and VK3UH Ken, all strong signals.

Ended up working VK5FMAZ/p Marija and VK5PAS/p Paul again in VKFF-1082, just to get them on 15m for a change.

While at the park I had a visit from the local park ranger, based at Namadgi Visitors Centre nearby. Wanted to know what I was doing. Gave him my email address and later on sent him an email with details on both WWFF parks awards and SOTA. He will pass this on to the other rangers so they are aware of it.

Packed up after lunch and headed off to my next park, VKFF-0992 Old Naas TSR for the afternoon.

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