Porter Scrub Conservation Park and the Jock White Memorial Field Day

Last night I headed out to the Porter Scrub Conservation Park, which is located at Kenton Valley in the central Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’, about 30 km north east of Adelaide.  It is a relatively short drive from my home in the Adelaide Hills, though Woodside and Charleston, and then out along Maidment Road.

Screenshot 2015-02-28 22.46.42

Above: Map showing the location of Porter Scrub CP.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

My main reason for heading out to the park was that the Jock White Memorial Field Day was on.  This is a New Zealand contest which is aimed at portable oepration, and is named in honour of Jock White, ZL2GX, who was the NZART Contest and Awards Manager for over 40 years.

http://www.nzart.org.nz/activities/contest-rules/rules-jock-white-field-day/

The Porter Scrub Conservation Park is 104 hectares in size, and was proclaimed on the 2oth October 2005, after the purchase from the estate of the late J.J. Porter.  The park conserves areas of Candlebark Gum open forest which is considered endangered in South Australia, Pink Gum low woodland, and River Red Gum woodland.  The park is home to a large amount of flora and fauna including the nationally endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot, the nationally vulnerable Clover Glycine, and the state endangered Spotted Quail thrush.

The park was originally home to the aboriginal Peramangk people, and following European settlement in the area, the land was used for grazing cattle and sheep, and timber extraction.  The mining of talc was in operation within the park right up until 1970.  If youw alk through the park you will see a number of old mine shafts and the stumps of very large trees which are evidence of days gone by.

As I was driving along Maidment Road approaching the park, out the corner of my eye, I caught something very large ‘taking off’ from one of the gum trees lining the road.  In fact, it was two large Wedge Tailed eagles.  So I quickly pulled up the 4WD and grabbed the video camera, but by this stage the eagles had flown off and were soaring above a nearby paddock.  I had missed an excellent photo opportunity.  However I did manage to snap a few photos of them in flight (see below).

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Above: A Wedge Tailed eagle.  Photo courtesy of wikipedia

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Once arriving at the park I set up in my usual spot, which is just inside gate one.  There is a nice parking spot here to pull off the road.  There is a boundary fence but this is easily scaled by either using the provided ladder, or straddling through the strains of wire.  I set up the fold up table and deck chair and strung out my 40m/20m linked dipole.  For this operation I again used the Yaesu FT-857d, and run 40 watts.  I powered the radio with my 44 amp hour power pack.

Screenshot 2015-02-28 22.47.24

Above: My operating spot.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I started off having a look around the 40m band to see if I could hear any signals coming in from New Zealand.  But I did not hear a single signal coming in across the Tasman.

So I then propped on 7.095 and started calling CQ and this was immediately answered by Stuart VK5STU, followed by David VK5NQP, and then Peter VK3YE who was portable on the Pier at Seaford in Victoria.  I worked a total of 18 stations in VK2, VK3, & VK5, until things slowed down a little.  I also had to compete with the Europeans who came onto the frequency a few minutes after I started calling CQ.  The European signals were quite strong, and I am sure there were some other VK’s calling me, but unfortunately their signals were being drowned out by the DX.  Once things got quiet with takers, I took the opportunity of tuning around the band again to see if I could hear any of the New Zealand stations coming through.  But it was still a little too early.  The local time was still only 6.10 p.m.

My last caller was Jim VK5TR with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  As there were no more takers I tuned around the band and heard the first good New Zealand signal calling CQ contest.  It was ZL1HCR, the Hibiscus Coast Radio Club in Auckland.  I worked ZL1HCR and I then continued to tune around the band, working a further 2 New Zealand stations, Zl1BCO in Taupo, and ZL3RR on Woodend.

But that was about the limit of Kiwi stations that I could hear at this stage.  However I did find Rob VK4FFAB calling CQ on 7.160 from the Moogerah Peaks National Park, VKFF-326.  Rob was set up near Mount French within the park and had a nice 5/9 signal.  Rob had worked Nick VK3ANL just before me.  Knowing that Nick is an avid parks activator and hunter, I made it clear that I was going to head down to 7.155.  Sure enough after my call, I caught up with Nick and got him in the log.  Nick was kind enough to spot me on parksnpeaks, and a number of callers followed from VK2, VK3, & VK5.

I then went on a scout around the band again.  It was now 7.00 p.m. and the signals had built up from across the Tasman.  I worked a number of New Zealand stations participating in the Jock White Memorial Field Day.  In between I was called by a few of the die hard VK5 park hunters including Greg VK5GJ.  I was also called by Tony VK5TT who had a friend, Brendon, in the shack with him, who is a budding Foundation call.  I gave Tony a rundown on my portable station and tried to enthusiastically encourage Brendon to do some portable operating when he obtained his Foundation licence.

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I then went back to working the ZL stations, who by this time were now quite strong.  However they were competing with the static crashes which were very loud at times.  Most of the contest activity was below 7.100 so the ZL’s were also competing with some very strong signals from Indonesia and South East Asia.

The Jock White Field Day closed at 9.00 p.m. local time, so I had a quick tune around the band and heard Jim WB2REM in Florida, calling CQ on 7.163.  I gave Jim a call and much to my surprise he came back straight away with a 5/6 signal report.  Jim and a number of other USA stations gather on this frequency each evening to work some DX.  I went on to work Ed KN4KL in Virginia, Nancy K9DIG in Noth Dakota (5/9 sent and 4/4 received), and Dave N5SDO in New Mexico (5/9 sent and 5/6 received).

This was a very enjoyable activation, and I ended up with a total of 81 contacts on 40m SSB.

The following stations were worked as part of the VK5 Parks award:-

  1. Stuart VK5STU
  2. David VK5NQP
  3. Peter VK3YE/p
  4. Marc VK3OHM
  5. John VK2AWJ
  6. Les VK5KLV
  7. Peter VK5FLEX
  8. Nev VK5WG
  9. Peter VK3PF
  10. Peter VK5KPR
  11. Bob VK5FPAC
  12. Arno VK5ZAR
  13. Robin VK5TN
  14. Tim VK5AV
  15. Rod VK5UV
  16. John VK5BJE
  17. Andtrew VK3ARR
  18. Jim VK5TR
  19. Rob VK4FFAB/p (Moogerah Peaks National Park)
  20. Nick VK3ANL
  21. Peter VK3TKK
  22. Mick VK3PMG
  23. Brett VK3FLCS
  24. Ian VK3TCX/m
  25. Ray VK3NBL
  26. Adrian VK5FANA
  27. Doug VK2FMIA
  28. Colin VK4FAAS
  29. VK2PBC/4
  30. Greg VK5GJ
  31. Tony VK5TT
  32. Steve VK3FSPG
  33. Jim WB2REM
  34. KN4KL
  35. Nancy K9DIG
  36. Dave N5SDO

I had a total of 45 Jock White contacts.  I worked the following stations:-

  1. ZL1AA
  2. ZL1BCO
  3. ZL1BHD
  4. ZL1EL
  5. ZL1HCR
  6. ZL1LC
  7. ZL1REG
  8. ZL1SA
  9. ZL1UX
  10. ZL1XH
  11. ZL2ARG
  12. ZL2G
  13. ZL2HV
  14. ZL2KO
  15. ZL2KS
  16. ZL2QF
  17. ZL2RO
  18. ZL3AC
  19. ZL3ARC
  20. ZL3RR
  21. ZL4AL
  22. ZL4AU
  23. ZL4GQ

 

References.

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2007, ‘Porter Scrub Conservation Park Management Plan’.

Onkaparinga River National Park, VKFF-402

Last night (Friday 27th February 2015) was the 4th Summer activation event for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  So I headed out to the Onkaparinga River National Park, which qualifies for both the VK5 Parks Award and also the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  The park is VKFF-402 in the WWFF program.

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Above: Map showing the location of Onkaparinga River National Park.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I set up near Gate 3 and the Bakers Gully track.  There is a good carpark here where you can park off Chapel Hill Road.  Just a short walk of 20 off metres is a wooden table and benches, which makes a great ‘shack’.  The scrub here is a bit thick, but there is enough room to string out a dipole which is exactly what I did.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on a 7 metre telescopic squid pole.  It was quite a warm afternoon, about 28 deg C, so the shade provided by the gum trees was very welcome.

Screenshot 2015-02-28 13.45.40

Above: Map showing my operating spot.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Prior to calling CQ I had a look around the 40m band hoping that I would find some of the other park activators.  And it wasn’t long before I did.  My first contact was with John VK5BJE who was operating portable from the Scott Creek Conservation Park on 7.100.  John had a lovely strong 59 signal.  I then found Tom VK5EE in the Gower Conservation Park in the South East on 7.088.  Tom was also 59 and was conducting a joint activation with Col VK5HCF and new park activator, Alan VK5FAJS.  It was great to get Alan in the log.  Welcome to the world of park activating Alan.

My next contact was with another new park activator, Adrian VK5FANA, who was in the Clinton Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula.  Adrian was operating from near Port Arthur, and had a very nice 5/9 plus signal to Onkaparinga River.  This was a great start to the activation, five park to park contacts.

I then headed up to my nominated operating frequency of 7.144, but found that there was a lot of activity on either side, so I settled for 7.142 and started calling CQ.  In fact there were 2 G stations on 7.138 having a chat amongst themselves.  They were not very strong, but very readable.  But I didn’t call them as I wasn’t confident that they would hear me.  My CQ call was answered by Marc VK3OHM who has recently become an avid park hunter, followed by another park to park contact, this time with Chris VK4FR/5 who was portable in the Morialta Conservation Park.  Although Chris was running QRP, his signal was still 59 to me.  I went on to work a number of stations in VK3 & VK5, including Mick VK3PMG who has recently upgraded his call (formerly VK3FAFK).  Well done Mick.

When things slowed down I took the opportunity of QSYing and having a look around the band.  I found Richard VK5ZRY on 7.110 calling CQ from the Ramsay Way Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula.  I wasn’t expecting Richard to be out and about so this contact was a nice surprise.  I then worked Les VK5KLV who was portable in the Winninowie Conservation Park, south of Port Augusta.

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I then lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, so I could try my luck on 20m.  The WWFF program is very popular in Europe, so I was hoping to work some of the European park hunters.  I headed to my nominated operating frequency of 14.244, however there was activity either side including a G station calling CQ on 14.245.  So I headed up to 14.250 and started calling CQ.  But unfortunately the same G station had followed me up the band and started calling CQ on 14.251.5, just above me.  Strike two!

I then moved up to 14.267 and started calling CQ again and this was answered by David VK5ADO with a very loud signal.  This was followed by a small group of European park hunters including F5TJC, DJ8QP, I5FLN, IZ2IHO, F1BLL, EA3MP, F2YT, DK0EE, EA1DFP, HA6OB, S52KM, ON4BB, and DK4RM.  Conditions were challenging to say the least.  Many thanks to my old mate Larry VK5LY for spotting me on the DX Cluster.  This certainly alerted the European stations to my presence in the park.  I also managed a few other VK contacts which included Andrew VK2AC, John VK5BJE in the Scott Creek Conservation Park, and my mate Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs.

Prior to heading back to 40m, I had a quick listen around the 20m band.  I’m very pleased I did, because I managed to work VK9LC on 14.199 on Lord Howe Island.  But the cream on the cake was a contact with Jerry PH9HB who was aeronautical mobile above the Canary Islands.  Jerry was a good 5/7 and he gave me a 4/4 with my 40 watts.  I have worked Jerry before whilst he has been in the air, but those contacts have been from home.  So this was a very exciting contact.

ph9hb-boeing-737-800-qsl-650x433

I then headed back to 40m, where I spoke with Geoff VK5HEL on 7.093, who was portable in the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.  Geoff had a beautiful 59 signal from the Murray Mallee.  I then QSYd to 7.144 and called CQ and this was answered by Perrin Vk3XPT who was portable in the Alpine National Park, running QRP 5 watts from his Yaesu FT-817 and an end fed 1/2 wave antenna.  Perrin was camping near Mount Buller and had a nice 59 signal.

I worked a further 11 stations in VK2, VK4 & VK5.  This included Tom VK4FAJB at Hervey Bay, who only received his licence in the mail the day prior.  Welcome to amateur radio Tom.

The drizzly rain had just started at this time, and it would continue on and off for the rest of the activation.  There were about five occasions when I had to drive underneath the bothy bag.

Again when things slowed down a little I had a look around the band.  I found Chris VK5FR/5 having a chat with Adrian VK5FANA who was portable in his second park, the Wills Creek Conservation Park.  After having a quick chat with Chris, Adrian came up asking Chris if he could quickly work me, to which Chris obliged.  It was great to get Adrian in the log from his second ever park activation.

I then spoke with Peter VK3YE who was pedestrian mobile at Port Phillip Bay.  Peter regularly goes pedestrian mobile and it never ceases to amaze me with the signal he puts out.  This evening was no exception, 5/8.

I then found Phil ZL2RO calling CQ on 7.167 from Hastings in New Zealand.  Phil had a very good 5/9 plus signal.

Following my contact with Phil, it was 8.00 p.m. local time (0930 UTC) so I headed to 7.130 for the 7130 DX Net.  On the net I had a total of 17 contacts including Bill W1OW in Massachusetts in the USA (5/7 sent & 5/5 received), William FO5JV in French Polynesia (5/8 sent and 5/5 received), Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington new Zealand (5/9 both ways) and Phil (VK2MCB) operating special event station VI110ROTARY for the 110th anniversary of ROTARY.  I also spoke with Andy VK4TH/8 who was sitting back enjoying the sunset in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory.

IMG_0737

Above: underneath the bothy bag.

Just prior to the closure of the net, I QSYd up to 7.135 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Steve VK5SFA.  I went on to work a further 11 stations on this frequency, in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, & VK7.  All with excellent signals.

I then decided to see what propagation was like on 20m, specifically the Southern Cross DX Net.  Once lowering the squid pole again, removing the links, and putting the squid back into place, I tuned to 14.338.5 and heard the Net Control, Jack W1FDY in Virignia, with a good strong 5/8 signal.  Surprisingly Jack was able to hear me quite well.  He gave me a 5/6 signal report.  I went on to work a further 5 stations on the net: Reg VK6BQQ, Peter VK3CFA, Peter KD2BMX in new York, Bill W1OW in Massachusetts, and Al K4AWM in Virginia.

Unfortunately I had to go QRT in a hurry, as the rain really started to come down heavy.

This was a very enjoyable activation, with a total of 87 contacts in the log.  This included 13 S.A. park to park contacts, two Victorian National Parks and one Northern Territory National Park.  And also some interesting DX contacts including the contact with Jerry PH9HB aeronautical mobile.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. John VK5BJE/p (Scott Creek Conservation Park)
  2. Tom VK5EE/p (Gower Conservation Park)
  3. Col VK5HCF/p (Gower Conservation Park)
  4. Alan VK5FAJS/p (Gower Conservation Park)
  5. Adrian VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park)
  6. Marc VK3OHM
  7. Chris VK4FR/5 (Morialta Conservation Park)
  8. Keith VK5FEKH
  9. Peter VK3TKK/m
  10. Fred VK3DAC
  11. Phil VK3BHR
  12. Lynton VK5FLKJ
  13. Peter VK3PF
  14. Amanda VK3FQSO
  15. Peter VK5KPR
  16. Mick VK3PMG
  17. Richard VK5ZRY/p (Ramsay Way Conservation Park)
  18. Les VK5KLV/p (Winninowie Conservation Park)
  19. Geoff Vk5HEL/p (Ferries McDonald Conservation Park)
  20. Perrin VK3XPT/p (Alpine National Park)
  21. Andrew VK2UH
  22. Rob VK4FFAB
  23. Tom VK4FAJB
  24. Wayne VK4MAD
  25. David VK5NQP
  26. Bob VK5FPAC
  27. Rod VK5VRB
  28. Theo VK5MTM
  29. Allen VK3HRA
  30. Jim VK1AT/3
  31. Greg VK5GJ (QRP)
  32. Adrian VK5FANA/p (Wills Creek Conservation Park)
  33. Peter VK3YE (pedestrian mobile)
  34. Phil ZL2RO
  35. Bill W1OW
  36. Chris VK2UW
  37. Peter VK4AAV
  38. Andy VK4TH/8 (Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park)
  39. John VK2FALL
  40. Mal VK5MJ
  41. William FO5JV
  42. Brian ZL2ASH
  43. Phil VI110ROTARY
  44. Gavin VK3MLU
  45. Craig VK6VCK
  46. Doug VK2FMIA
  47. Geoff VK5HEL/p (Monarto Conservation Park)
  48. Rick VK2HFP
  49. Keith VK2PKT
  50. VK6FABC (QRP)
  51. Greg VK8GM
  52. Steve VK5SFA
  53. Gavin VK3MLU
  54. Peter VK3TKK/m
  55. Derric VK6PI
  56. Wayne VK2PDW
  57. Roger VK5NWE
  58. Alan VK4NAI/p
  59. Adam VK7VAZ
  60. Ian VK3VIN
  61. Paul VK7CC
  62. Oscar VK4BOV
  63. Glen VK4FSCC

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. David VK5ADO
  2. F5TJC
  3. DJ8QP
  4. Luciano I5FLN
  5. IZ2IHO
  6. F1BLL
  7. EA3MP
  8. F2YT
  9. DK0EE
  10. EA1DFP
  11. HA6OB
  12. S52KM
  13. ON4BB
  14. VK2AC
  15. DK4RM
  16. VK5BJE/p (Scott Creek Conservation Park)
  17. Greg VK8GM
  18. VK9LC
  19. Jerry PH9HB (aeronautical mobile)
  20. Jack W1FDY
  21. Reg VK6BQQ
  22. Peter VK3CFA
  23. Peter KD2BMX
  24. Bill W1OW
  25. Al K4AWM

 

Mount George Conservation Park

On Friday 20th February, I met up with Andy VK4TH who is on a journey from Kingaroy in Queensland, down along the Great Ocean Road and up to the Northern Territory in his camper van.  Andy, my wife Marija, and I had an enjoyable meal at a local restaurant in Mount Barker.  I then showed Andy around the local area including the nearby Mount Barker summit.  We then headed to the Mount George Conservation Park at Bridgewater, where we booked in to the 7130 DX Net and ‘played radio’.

 

 

Screenshot 2015-02-28 13.21.16Above: Location of the Mount George Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Mount George Conservation Park is located about 25 km south east of Adelaide, near the town of Bridgewater.  The park conserves an area of about 85 hectares of important native vegetation.  The park was originally 67 hectares in size, until the park boundaries were extended in 2003.  A section of the famous Heysen Trail passes through the park.  The area was once part of the tribal land of the Aboriginal people, the Peramangk.  However, by the 1840’s much of the surrounding land was cleared for farming.

Andy I set up at the end of Mount George Road in the picnic area.  This is a beautiful shaded area, with nice lawns and plenty of shade from large gum trees.  There was a nice wooden table and bench waiting there for us.  So we took advantage of that and proceeded to set up the Yaesu FT-857d and my 40m/20m linked dipole on the 7 metre squid pole.  For this activation we ran 40 watts.

Screenshot 2015-02-28 13.21.41

Above: Our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

We had set up just in the nick of time for the commencement of the 7130 DX Net.  I sat back and watched Andy in action working stations on the net, whilst we enjoyed a nice bottle of South Australian red and some cheesecake.  It wasn’t real refinement, as we were drinking the red from plastic cups.  Netherless it still tasted very nice!

IMG_0726

It was great to catch up with Andy who I have spoken to many many times on air, but never met in person.  Andy is one of the Assistant Net Controllers on the 7130 DX Net.  Andy was amazed with what can be done with a simple dipole and just 40 watts.

I worked the following stations:-

  1. Mal VK5MJ
  2. Doug VK2FMIA/p (King Plains National Park)
  3. Brian ZL2ASH
  4. Caleb ZL2ML
  5. George VK4GSF
  6. Bill W1OW

 

References.

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2006, ‘Mount George Conservation Park Management Plan’.

National Parks South Australia, 2015, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/Mount_George_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 28th March 2015

Kyeema Conservation Park

On Friday evening (13th February 2015) I activated the Kyeema Conservation Park, as part of the 3rd Summer afternoon/evening activation event for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Yes, it was Friday, the 13th.  But fortunately I did not come across any scary monsters or demons in the park.  I did however, bump into another amateur, as you will read a little later.

The Kyeema Conservation Park is situated about 60 km south of Adelaide, and is easily accessible via Woodgate Hill Road, which runs off Brookman Road (the main road between Willunga and Meadows).  The park has a rich history, which includes alluvial gold mining, and a labour prison reserve. The area was devastated during the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.

Screenshot 2015-02-14 21.48.14

Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

I have activated the park a number of times in the past.  It is an ideal park for a night time activation, as there is a good cleared area between the road and the scrub, alongside of the carpark off Woodgate Hill Road.  This area is on the western side of the carpark, near Gate 3.  The gate is locked, but the wire fence alongside of the gate is easily negotiated.

I set up the fold up table and deck chair and I was ready to go by 6.15 p.m. S.A. local time.  It was a beautiful evening, with the temperature being a very comfortable 25 deg C.  It was very overcast with some very threatening black clouds in the sky.  It had been a warm day in Adelaide, getting into the mid 30’s.  But not as hot as expected.  Unfortunately, the very hot weather predictions, had put off a lot of other park activators from venturing out this evening.

Screenshot 2015-02-14 21.49.11

image courtesy of wikimapia

Before calling CQ, I had my normal scout around the 40m band to see who I could find, and to gauge what propagation was like.  The 40m band seemed to be in good shape, with lots of signals coming through, but there were a lot of static crashes.  I found Bob VK5FO calling CQ on 7.090 from the Morialta Conservation Park.  Bob had a beautiful 5/9 signal coming into the Fleurieu, and it was a great way to start the activation with a ‘Park to Park’ contact.

I then moved up to 7.097.  There was some activity on 7.093, so I could not get onto my nominated operating frequency of 7.095.  My first taker after calling CQ was Hans VK5YX.  Hans had been out a little earlier in the afternoon in the Hallett Cove Conservation Park.  But unfortunately this time around, I had missed Hans whilst he was out in a park.  Another regular park hunter then called in, Arno VK5ZAR.  Arno normally heads out to activate on the Summer activation events, but this evening he had a club meeting to attend.  I was then called by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, running QRP 5 watts with a nice 5/9 signal.  Adrian seems to have been bitten by the ‘QRP bug’ and he does very well with his low power.

Unfortunately, the same ‘offenders’ that I had experienced last week whilst operating portable, came up on 7.098 whilst Adrian and I were in the middle of a QSO.  They are VK2’s who appear to have a regular sked on 7.098 and speak in Italian.  They were just too strong to compete with, and were bleeding over badly.  Despite being told by some other stations to QSY, as per last week, they appeared to ignore this and kept on going.  So again, as per last week, I QSYd.

I moved to 7.115, and my first taker there was another park regular, Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta.  This was followed by Ian VK5CZ who had a hard day in the vineyard in the Clare Valley, and had to get up again at 4.00 a.m.  Keep boxing on Ian!.  And then another regular WWFF park activator and hunter, Rob VK4FFAB, gave me a call, followed by Brett VK4FTWO in Bundaberg.

A few QSO’s later I was called by Doug VK2FMIA, who is another keen park atcivator and hunter.  And then a few calls later, Geoff VK5HEL called in from the Mowantijie Willawaur Conservation Park.  This was a real surprise.  I wasn’t aware that Geoff was heading out.  I have activated Mowantijie before, but this was the first time I had got the park as a Hunter.  Great, another ‘Park to Park’.

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Tom VK5FTRG from Millicent gave me a shout a few contacts later.  Tom often runs QRP, and tonight was no exception.  With just 1 watt, Tom was 5/9 to Kyeema.  Although, when he was running the processor on his transceiver, his audio was pretty average.  But when it was switched off, the audio was lovely.

A few calls later I spoke with Phil VK2HPN who was mobile near Canberra on his way home from work.  Phil told me that he follows my WordPress site and had been trying to work me for a few years.  I was quite humbled by Phil’s comments, and I was very pleased to make contact with Phil.  This was followed by a call from Gary ZL3SV on the North Island of New Zealand.  Gary is always one of the strongest signals on the band.  Have a look at his antenna on QRZ.com and you will see why…..

http://www.qrz.com/db/ZL3SV

And then a few QSOs later, I was called by Mike VK6MB.  Mike was a nice 5/9 to Kyeema, and he reciprocated with a 5/7 signal report for me.  This time of the evening is ideal to work into Western Australia on 40m.

And to keep the good contacts rolling, a few QSO’s later I was called by my mate Andy VK4TH/1 who was portable near Canberra.  Andy is on a road trip and I will be catching up with him in a week or two for a meal and a few beers.  Andy was camping on the side of the Huon Highway near Canberra, and had a beautiful 5/9 signal.

I took a break from the radio and took the opportunity of taking some photos and having a drink.  The Yellow tailed black cockatoos were out in large numbers in the park, along with numerous Superb Blue Wrens.

I returned to the radio and had a bit of a tune around the 40m band and found K1N on Navassa Island, working split.  He had quite a good signal, but the pile up was unbelievable, with lots of VK’s, USA, & Japanese stations trying to get through.  It certainly would have been nice to have worked them, but I didn’t even try.

Whilst operating, I had a car arrive in the carpark.  As the male occupant got out of his car, he had a close look at the antennas on my car.  He then walked towards me, and said hello, and kept walking off into the bush.  A few times, he looked back in my direction, but kept walking.  I thought, yep another guy probably wondering what the hell I was doing.  Time passed, and the guy reappeared.  This time he said hello, and introduced himself.  It was Rafe VK5FRAF.  Unbelievable.  I’m in a Conservation Park, a fair way from anywhere, and I bump into another ham.  Rafe told me that he had been licenced for about 6 years but was not very active.  We had a good chat and exchanged phone numbers.  Hopefully, Rafe will be attending the next meeting of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society.

I then joined the 7.130 DX Net which was being run on 7.140, as K1N was working split on 7.130.  On the net I made a total of 9 contacts, including Caleb ZL2ML, Brian ZL2ASH, and ZL1CBE.  Just as the Net was about to finish, the Indonesian QRM commenced, along with the Over the Horizon Radar (OTHR).

So after a few very enjoyable hours at Kyeema, I had a total of 41 contacts in the log.  It was 9.30 p.m. and still 20 deg C.  A beautiful evening.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. Bob VK5FO/p (Morialta CP)
  2. Hans VK5YX
  3. Arno VK5ZAR
  4. Adrian VK5FANA
  5. Les VK5KLV
  6. Ian VK5CZ
  7. Rob VK4FFAB
  8. Brett VK4FTWO
  9. Mick VK3FAFK
  10. Nev VK5WG
  11. Doug VK2FMIA/p (National Park)
  12. Jim VK2FADV
  13. Steve VK5ST
  14. VK4OK
  15. Geoff VK5HEL/p (Mowantijie Willawaur CP)
  16. David VK5NQP
  17. John VK5FMJC
  18. Tom VK5FTRG/qrp
  19. Rod VK2LAX
  20. Adam VK2YK
  21. Phil VK2HPN/m
  22. Gary ZL3SV
  23. Brian VK5FMID
  24. Mike VK6MB
  25. Jeff VK5JK
  26. Steve VK5AIM
  27. Tony VK5KAT
  28. Andy VK4TH/1
  29. Paul VK5FUZZ
  30. Peter VK2FKAD
  31. John VK2XUP
  32. John VK2TH
  33. Caleb ZL2ML
  34. Brian ZL2ASH
  35. Roadl VK1FIVE
  36. Andy VK4TH/1
  37. Andrew VK2MWP
  38. Roy VK7ROY
  39. Connor VK2FCAC
  40. George VK4GSF
  41. ZL1CBE

 

Victorian National Parks and the WWFF program

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As most of you would know, only 41 of the existing 45 Victorian National Parks currently qualify for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  The reason being, is that all parks created/gazetted after 2008 are not on the VKFF list.

In fact when I took over as the WWFF co-ordinator back in March, 2013, there were numerous Australian National Parks ‘missing’ from the WWFF Directory.  Those ‘missing’ parks had been gazetted prior to 2008.

In January 2014, as a result of extensive work and consultation with the WWFF global Committee, over 100 Australian National Parks were added to the WWFF Directory.  However, for Victoria, that left out 4 National Parks:-

  • Barmah
  • Gunbower
  • Lower Goulburn
  • Warby Ovens

There is a 50%, 75%, 90% activated rule in the WWFF global rules.  In other words, when a certain % of parks have been activated, the National co-ordinators can apply to have extra parks added.

50% = up to 50 new references

75% = up to 75 new references

90% = up to 90 new references.

This is based on activation statistics that appear in WWFF LogSearch facility.  So, you can see the importance of activators providing their logs to me, so that I can upload them to LogSearch.  The more activity, the more parks we can have added.

I have now applied to have these remaining 4 Victorian National Parks added to the WWFF Directory so that they qualify for the WWFF program.

I would also like to point out that the WWFF rules talk about new parks being added once ‘National WWFF areas have been activated’.  I have argued that Australia is a unique place geographically, e.g. distance.  And therefore, activations stats should apply to each individual State.  And not a National level.

I will keep you updated on the outcome.

Below are the stats (as per WWFF LogSearch) of the existing 41 qualifying Victorian National Parks, and how many times they have been activated, and how many QSOs from each park.

  • Alfred VKFF-618
    • 6 activations
    • 89 QSOs
  • Alpine VKFF-619
    • 36 activations
    • 1,298 QSOs
  • Baw Baw VKFF-020
    • 20 activations
    • 244 QSOs
  • Brisbane Ranges VKFF-055
    • 20 activations
    • 380 QSOs
  • Burrowa Pine Mountain VKFF-069
    • 14 activations
    • 194 QSOs
  • Chiltern Mount Pilot VKFF-620
    • 17 activations
    • 332 QSOs
  • Churchill VKFF-621
    • 12 activations
    • 172 QSOs
  • Cobboboonee VKFF-728
    • 12 activations
    • 294 QSOs
  • Coopracamba VKFF113
    • 9 activations
    • 118 QSOs
  • Croajingolong VKFF-119
    • 9 activations
    • 138 QSOs
  • Dandenong Ranges VKFF-132
    • 23 activations
    • 277 QSOs
  • Errinundra VKFF-158
    • 7 activations
    • 11 QSOs
  • French Island VKFF-622
    • 5 activations
    • 230 QSOs
  • Grampians VKFF-213
    • 45 activations
    • 592 QSOs
  • Greater Bendigo VKFF-623
    • 11 ctivations
    • 193 QOs
  • Hattah-Kulyne VKFF-231
    • 13 activations
    • 194 QSOs
  • Heathcote Graytown VKFF-624
    • 13 activations
    • 243 QSOs
  • Kara Kara VKFF-629
    • 12 activations
    • 289 QSOs
  • Kinglake VKFF-264
    • 17 activations
    • 230 QSOs
  • Lake Eildon VKFF-625
    • 7 activations
    • 77 QSOs
  • Lind VKFF-287
    • 7 activations
    • 105 QSOs
  • Little Desert VKFF-291
    • 14 activations
    • 425 QSos
  • Lower Glenelg VKFF-296
    • 16 activations
    • 229 QSOs
  • Mitchell River VKFF-321
    • 7 activations
    • 143 QSos
  • Mornington Peninsula VKFF-333
    • 9 activations
    • 90 QSOs
  • Morwell VKFF-626
    • 17 activations
    • 72 QSOs
  • Mount Buffalo VKFF-339
    • 14 activations
    • 218 QOSs
  • Mt Eccles VKFF-345
    • 11 activations
    • 255 QSOs
  • Mt Richmond VKFF-361
    • 12 activations
    • 351 QSOs
  • Murray Sunset VKFF-373
    • 14 activations
    • 247 QSOs
  • Great Otway VKFF-405
    • 11 activations
    • 244 QSOs
  • Organ Pipes VKFF-627
    • 13 activations
    • 185 QSOs
  • Point Nepean VKFF-628
    • 10 activations
    • 107 QSOs
  • Port Campbell VKFF-420
    • 10 activations
    • 228 QOs
  • Snowy River VKFF-455
    • 8 activations
    • 183 QSOs
  • Tarra Bulga VKFF-480
    • 8 activations
    • 148 QSOs
  • Terrick Terrick VKFF-630
    • 14 activations
    • 270 QSOs
  • The Lakes VKFF-484
    • 11 activations
    • 192 QSOs
  • Wilsons Promontory VKFF-539
    • 11activations
    • 118 QSOs
  • Wyperfeld VKFF-549
    • 12 activations
    • 194 QSOs
  • Yarra Ranges, VKFF-556
    • 34 activations
    • 731 QSOs

Wills Creek Conservation Park

My last activation for my 4 days away was the Wills Creek Conservation Park, which is located near the little town of Price, about 132 km from Adelaide, on the Yorke Peninsula.

Screenshot 2015-02-07 14.50.25

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

The Wills Creek Conservation Park was proclaimed in 2006 and is 1,130 hectares in size.  It is situated at Mangrove Point on the north western shores of Gulf St Vincent.  It is a significant coastal wetland and estuary area supporting mangroves and intertidal habitats.  The park extends south from the township of Port Clinton to the town of Price.

The park consists of mangrove and samphire habitats along the coastal fringe.  Wills and Shag Creeks are known fish nursery areas and as an important habitat for sea birds.

I travelled to the end of the Causeway Road, leading out of Price, and set up at the boatramp on Wills Creek.  It was now very hot.  My temperature gauge showed 38 deg C.  So I quickly set up the gear and sought refuge in a little wood and tin shelter in the carpark, near the Creek.

Screenshot 2015-02-07 15.02.06

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I called CQ on 7.095 and this was answered by Greg VK5GJ at Meadows, running his normal QRP 5 watts.  Greg’s signal was 5/4 but extremely readable due to the very low noise floor in the park.  My second caller was Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier, followed by Nev VK5WG at Crystal Brook, and then Mick VK3FAFK in Stawell in western Victoria.  I went on to work a further 16 stations in VK3 and VK5.

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This was a quick 25 minute activation.  I had a total of 20 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Greg VK5GJ (qrp)
  2. Brian VK5FMID
  3. Nev VK5WG
  4. Mick VK3FAFK
  5. Adrian VK5FANA (qrp)
  6. John VK5BJE
  7. Tom VK5EE
  8. Amanda VK3FQSO
  9. Jim VK5JW
  10. David VK5NQP
  11. Tony VK3CAT
  12. Richard VK5ZRY
  13. Fred VK3DAC
  14. Jeff VK5JK
  15. Peter VK3TKK
  16. Ian VK5IS
  17. Steve VK3NSC
  18. Rob VK3ECH
  19. Stan VK3BNJ
  20. John VK5FTCT

 

References.

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2009, ‘Mainland Conservation Parks of Yorke Peninsula’.

Clinton Conservation Park

I was now on the downhill run of my 4 days away.  My first park for Friday the 6th February, 2015, was the Clinton Conservation Park, which is located about 100 km north of Adelaide, near the town of Port Wakefield.

Screenshot 2015-02-07 15.06.08

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

The Clinton Conservation Park was established in 1972, and is 1,923 hectares in size.  It is a boomerang shaped park, which is situated at the northern extremity of Gulf St Vincent.  It stretches around the top of the Gulf from just north of Port Wakefield, around to the little town of Port Clinton on the Yorke Peninsula.  The park comprises an expanse of mainly low-lying, coastal-fringe habitats, with mangroves and samphire communities, and extensive tracts of intertidal mudflats.  It is an important refuge as a fish nursery and a significant site for migratory wading birds.

I found a nice quiet little track off the Yorke Highway, which took me right down to the water’s edge.  I set up the fold up table and deck chair and then the linked dipole.  This was going to be a quick activation, as the expected temperature today was 38 deg C.  It was already approaching the mid 30’s and it was 9.30 a.m.  There was no shade at this location, but I was facing the sea, and there was a nice cool breeze coming in off the Gulf.

The area was alive with bird life.  Of the feathered variety!  There were Pelicans, Silver Gulls, Pacific Gulls, and Sandpipers.

Screenshot 2015-02-07 15.06.54

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and 40 watts for this activation.  I started off on 40m, where my first contact was with Mick VK3FAFK in Western Victoria.  This was followed by Adrian VK5FANA operating QRP 5 watts, and then Jim VK5JW on the Eyre Peninsula.  The voice of the Mid North then called in, Nev VK5WG, also operating QRP 5 watts.  A few QSOs later, another familiar QRP caller gave me a shout, Greg VK5GJ at Meadows in the Adelaide Hills.  I also worked Robin VK5TN who was mobile at the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier.

I did try calling CQ on 14.317 but had no takers.  Whilst having a break from my CQ calls I heard a very distinct burst of noise on the 20m band.  Initially I thought there was a problem with the antenna, but not so.  It was across the entire band.  Most likely a flare or CME.  The noise settled down after a minute or so.

But it was just getting far too hot out in the sun, so I packed the gear up after getting a total of 13 QSO’s in the log, and headed further south on the Yorke Peninsula to my next park, Wills Creek Conservation Park.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Mick VK3FAFK
  2. Adrian VK5FANA (qrp)
  3. Jim VK5JW
  4. Nev VK5WG (qrp)
  5. Trevor VK5ATQ
  6. Brian VK5FMID
  7. Greg VK5GJ (qrp)
  8. Ron VK3AFW
  9. Robin VK5TN/m
  10. Ian VK5IS
  11. Amanda VK3FQSO
  12. Tom VK5EE
  13. Greg VK2MTC

 

References.

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2009, ‘Mainland Conservation Parks of Yorke Peninsula’.