Cobbler Creek Recreation Park VKFF-1699

Today (Sunday 20th May 2018) Marija and I headed out north to visit my dad and stepmum.  Sadly Dad has not been in good health of late, so it was nice to catch up for lunch and a chat.  Dad and I enjoyed sitting back watching a DVD of the Avalon airshow.  Dad has always been keen on aviation.

We left at around 2.30 p.m. and decided to do a quick activation on the way home at the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park VKFF-1699.  This is just a short drive from my dad’s home.  The park is around 25 km north east of the city of Adelaide.

This was to be a unique park for both Marija and I as activators in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, north east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is 266-hectare (657-acre) in size and was declared a recreation park in 1989.  The park provides an open space barrier between the suburb of Golden Grove and the suburb of Salisbury.  The park is bounded by a number of main roads and is bisected by the four laned The Grove Way.   It is surrounded by housing.  There is a pedestrian underpass under The Grove Way which connects the two sections of the park.  The park was named after the watercouse ‘Cobbler Creek’ which crossed the northern part of the park.  The creek was named after the occupation of one of the early settlers of the area.  You can read about this a little later in this post.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, looking south back towards the city of Adelaide.  Image courtesy of google maps

In a 1962 State Government report, the park’s area was identified for use as future open space.  It was proposed that a golf course would be established along with other sporting facilities.  In 1970 the land was purchased by the South Australian State Government was part of the metropolitan open space (MOSS) network.  The park’s location was chosen to provide a development-free buffer between the existing suburbs of Salisbury and the proposed Golden Grove development.

Much of the land was a farming property known as Kelway Park, the western, cleared portion of which had been cropped.  The park was owned and managed by the State Planning Authority until 1982 when control passed to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.   Cobbler Creek was declared a recreation park on the 26th October 1989.

Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is administered and maintained jointly by the City of Salisbury, and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.  A volunteer group, Friends of Cobbler Creek, was formed in 1990 and works with rangers to improve and maintain the park.

Cobbler Creek Recreation Park sits in the traditional lands of the Kaurna aboriginal people.  One of the first European settlers in the area was William Pedler III (b. 1804.  d. 1874) who emigrated to Australia in 1838 aboard the Royal Admiral from Cornwall in England with his wife Elizabeth Pedler nee Nicholls.  The couple and their children initially lived in Carrington Street in the city of Adelaide.

In 1850 Pedler purchased 135 acres of land in the Hundred of Yatala in the vicinity of the Old Spot Hotel on the Little Para River.  He later sold the majority of this land an purchased adjoining land comprising around 269 acres east of Bridge Road near Cobblers Creek.  He established his farm ‘Trevolsa‘ of around 279 acres.  Pedler was a shoe maker (cobbler) by profession.  He made and sold shoes to teamsters passing through the Salisbury area who were carting ore to Burra in the Mid North of South Australia.  It is his profession that gave both the creek that passes through the northern part of the park, and the park their names.

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Above:- Memorial plaque in the park at the site of the old Trevalsa homestead.

Pedler subsequently passed the land on to his oldest son, William IV Pedler (b. 1829.  d. 1909), who farmed the land for many years with his wife Martha and their family.  In 1852 he travelled to the Victorian goldfields and returned home after some success.  But he soon headed back to the goldfields where after working the Eaglehawk area, he returned home at the end of 1852 to work on the family farm Trevolsa.

Also located in the park are Teakle Ruins which sit on the top of Cobbler Hill.  The property is named after its former occupants who vacated the farmhouse around 1900.

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Above:- Teakle Ruins.  Courtesy of wikipedia.

In the 19th century, Salisbury residents used this area for Sunday school picnics. Swings were temporarily built, water and food brought to the site and games and bands provided for entertainment.

Many sections of Cobbler Creek have been cleared of native vegetation due to previous land use.  However other sections of the park feature grassland, river red gum, and mallee box.  The park contains some of the last remaining mallee box grassy woodland in Adelaide.  Amongst the woodlands, plants like the blue-flowering flax lily are common.

Native fauna species found in the park include Western Grey Kangaroos and Brush tailed possums.  Reptile inhabitants of the park include Eastern bearded dragons, White’s skink, eastern brown snake, and sleepy lizard.  The park is home to a small population of the worm-like and vulnerable Flinders Ranges worm-lizard.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 105 native bird in the park including Crested Pigeon, Australian Magpie, Little Raven, Noisy Miner, White-plumed Honeyeater, Tawny Frogmouth, Peaceful Dove, Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo, and White-winged Triller.

There are several walking trails through the park, along with dedicated mountain bike areas, BBQ areas and playground.

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The Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, showing the parks boundaries and the various walking trails.

Marija and I entered the park via Smith Road off Bridge Road.  There is a large amount of carparking here.  We parked the vehicle and walked a short distance and set up.  We ran the Yaesu FT-897 for this activation, along with the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee, supported on the 7m telescopic squid pole.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot in the western section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

After setting up I turned on the Yaesu FT-897 which was already sitting on 14.310 on the 20m band.  And our worse fears were realised, with strength 8 noise due to all of the surrounding houses.  Mark VK4SMA/p was calling CQ on 14.310 from the Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507.  Fortunately Mark was above the noise floor, and was my first contact from Cobbler Creek.

Marija and I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links on the 20/40/80m linked dipole so we could operated on the 40m band.  We found 7.144 and I started calling CQ while Marija spotted me on parksnpeaks and Facebook.  First in the log following my CQ call was Brett VK2VW, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Cliff VK2NP.  Sadly we were experiencing strength 8 noise on 40m as well.

Within 10 minutes I had contact number ten in the log, thus qualifying the park for the VKFF program.  Contact number 10 was Andrew VK5MR at Roxby Downs in the north of South Australia.

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Above:- the shack for the afternoon

I perservered under some pretty trying and frustrating conditions.  It was extremely difficult to pull out anybody below strength 7-8.  And we knew there were a lot of stations calling us that fell into that category.  We were also right under the flight path of the light aircraft using the nearby Parafield Airport, and we had the occasional loud V8 car on the nearby Main North Road.  Sadly I missed out on a contact with Ron VK3AFW/p who was on Lord Howe Island.  People told me Ron was calling, but I just wasn’t able to hear Ron well enough to exchange signal reports with him.

Much to my surprise I reached 44 contacts within 45 minutes, qualifying the park for the global WWFF program.  Contacts were made into VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7 and New Zealand.  This including a Park to Park with Neil VK4HNS/p who was activating the Homevale National Park VKFF-0237.  It was also nice to log Andre ZL1TM who has become a regular park hunter.

Whilst on air I had a number of interested onlookers, and Marija took the time to explain to them the hobby of amateur radio and what we were doing.

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Above:- light aircraft flying above us from the nearby Parafield Airport.

I now had 47 contacts in the log on 40m.  So we lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m section of the antenna and headed to 3.610 where I called CQ.  This was answered by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula with a booming signal.  As I had qualified the park, it was now Marija’s turn to jump into the operators chair.  Marija logged Adrian after we had lowered the power down from 40 watts to 10 watts PEP for Marija’s Foundation class licence.

Following her contact with Adrian, Marija logged a further 8 stations on 80m from VK3 and VK5.  Sadly our noise floor on 80m was also strength 8.  Marija then headed back to 40m and worked Gerard VK2IO for her 10th contact, qualifying the park for VKFF.  Gerard had tried calling us on 80m but he was below our noise floor.

Marija had a steady flow of callers and ended up with a total of 22 QSOs on 40m from VK2, VK3, and VK4.  This included Park to Park contacts with Mark VK4SMA/p in the Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507, and Neil VK4HNS/p in the Homevale National Park VKFF-0237.

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Above:- Marija VK5FMAZ on air, battling the strength 8 noise floor.

So after about 90 minutes in the park, Marija and I had a total of 80 contacts in the log between us, including 5 Park to Park contacts.  Unfortunately we had missed out on the contact with Ron on Lord Howe Island, and a number of other stations that were below our noise floor.  I think the next activation of this park will be a hike in by a few km to get away from the nearby houses.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO
  2. VK4AAC/2
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3KAI
  5. VK2HHA
  6. VK4SMA/p (Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507)
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK6PCT/3
  9. VK4HNS/p (Homevale National Park VKFF-0237)
  10. VK2NP
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK3FIAN
  16. VK2ETA/4
  17. VK3UCD
  18. VK3SX
  19. VK4FDJL
  20. VK3CWF
  21. VK3AMP/m
  22. VK3VGB

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK3DET
  4. VK3GGG/p
  5. VK3PMG/p
  6. VK5MRT
  7. VK3ARH
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK3KAI

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2VW
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK3ANL
  5. VK3MAB
  6. VK3ZMD
  7. VK7JON
  8. VK3FT
  9. VK5MR
  10. VK2PKT
  11. VK2HHA
  12. VK5LA
  13. VK3AHR
  14. VK3PF
  15. VK2AR
  16. VK4NH
  17. VK4DXA
  18. ZL4TY/VK4
  19. VK7FKLW
  20. VK5KLV
  21. VK2OQ
  22. VK4FDJL
  23. VK3CWF
  24. VK4HNS/p (Homevale National Park VKFF-0237)
  25. VK2UH
  26. VK2YK
  27. VK2YW
  28. VK3KMF/2
  29. VK3GGG/p
  30. VK3PMG/p
  31. VK3MIJ
  32. ZL1TM
  33. VK2FF
  34. VK3FMKE
  35. VK2MZZ
  36. VK3GH
  37. VK3FSPG
  38. VK3MPR
  39. VK7QP
  40. VK3ZM
  41. VK4TJ
  42. VK4/AC8WN
  43. VK4/VE6XT
  44. VK2SVN
  45. VK3BY
  46. VK3EY
  47. VK4SMA/p (Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507)

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Venman Bushland National Park VKFF-0507)

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/cobbler-creek-recreation-park/>, viewed 20th May 2018

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, ‘Cobbler Creek Recreation Park’ brouchure

Department of Environment and Heritage, 2003, Cobbler Creek Recreation Park Management Plan.

Friends of Parks, 2018, <http://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/members-directory/friends-of-cobbler-creek>, viewed 20th May 2018

Salisbury and District Historical Society, 2018, <http://www.salisburyhistory.com.au/history/the-pedlars>, viewed 20th May 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobbler_Creek_Recreation_Park>, viewed 20th May 2018

WWFF Hunter 1,244 certificate

A few weeks ago I received my latest global certificate in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.   It was issued for having worked a total of 1,244 different WWFF reference areas around the world.

Thankyou to all of the activators and thankyou to the awards Manager Karl DL1JKK.

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Of those 1,244 references, I have worked a total of 42 different DXCC entities as can be seen below.

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The largest number of references of course coming from Australia (977 different references), followed by Belgium with 65, Poland with 46, Italy with 33, and then Germany & France both with 18.

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Nixons Mill and the 2018 Mills on the Air Weekend

The weekend just gone (Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th May 2018) was the annual Mills on the Air Weekend.  The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (S.P.A.B.) in the United Kingdom runs the National Mills Weekend each year in May, and as part of the event the Denby Dale Radio Society co-ordinate the amateur radio side of this event, the Mills on the Air Weekend.

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Last year was the first year I had taken part in the event.  On the Saturday I activated Nixons Mills at Hahndorf, and then on Sunday I activated the old Laucke Flour Mill at Strathalbyn.  Both times I used the VK5WOW callsign to celebrate the upcoming AGM for the WIA.

Unfortunately this year I was on Afternoon shift, so I limited to just a few hours at the historic Nixons Mill at Hahndorf.

My post re last years activation has a huge amount of information on this, South Australia’s oldest surviving windmill tower which was built in 1842.  You can read about the mill’s interesting history and view some historic photos at…….

https://vk5pas.org/2017/05/14/nixons-mill-and-mills-on-the-air/comment-page-1/

Nixons Mill is located on the eastern outskirts of the historic town of Hahndorf, just a short drive from home.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Mill, just a short distance from my home.

The mill was restored many years ago, including the fitting of blades to the mill.  But sadly vandals got to the mill.  In recent years some restoration of the mill has taken place and there are a number of interpretive signs detailing the history of the mill.

It is just a short walk up a flight of stairs to the mill.  I made a few trips carrying the radio equipment up to a cleared area alongside the mill structure.

The mill is located alongside the Hahndorf Farm Barn, so I had a few interested onlookers, both human and animal.

I found 7.150 on the 40m band and started calling CQ.  First in the log was Stef VK5HSX/3 in the Cape Patterson Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2063.  Next up was Gerard VK2IO, followed by Andrew VK7DW/p operating portable in the Narawntapu National Park as part of the VK7 WWFF day organised by Jonathan VK7JON.

It was quite a slow morning, with band conditions being quite average.  I had a steady trickle of callers but it was clear that there was again no close in propagation on 40m.  Contact number 17 was David VK3CMZ activating the Andersons Mill at Smeaton in Victoria.  My first Mill to Mill contact for the day.  A few QSOs later I was called by Ivan VK5HS/p in the Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 & VKFF-0923.  Ivan was very low down but we successfully exchanged signal reports (3/2 sent and 3/3 received).

It was quite a brisk morning with the temperature being about 11 deg C, so I was rugged up in my thick jacket which I bought in New Zealand a number of years ago.  A few QSOs after Ivan I logged some more Tasmanian park activators, Angela VK7FAMP/p and Tony VK7LTD/p in the Ida Bay State Reserve VKFF-1807.  And a few QSOs later Mick (VK3GGG) VK3BI/p gave me a shout from the Maryborough Flour & Chaff Mill in Victoria.

Unfortunately shortly thereafter I had some VK6 guys come up on the frequency, clearly for a sked, and without asking if the frequency was in use.  I did hear them mention that they thought the frequency was being used, but despite that they continued their chat.  As a result it made it quite difficult to log some of the lower down stations that were calling me.

After logging a total of 41 stations on 40m I moved down to 3.610 on the 80m band wgere I logged 4 stations, including Ivan VK5HS/p in the Cooltong Conservation Park.  Sadly I had a strength 8-9 noise floor on this band.

To complete the activation I headed back to 7.150 and called CQ which was answered by Frank VK7DX.  I logged a further 8 stations including Colin VK3NCC/2 in the Dthinna Dthinnawan National Park VKFF-0587.

Time was marching on, and I needed to pack up and head home for some lunch, a shower, and then off to work.  So In around 2 hours at the mill I had a total of 54 stations in the log.  Unfortunately I had no visitors to the mill during my activation, no doubt due to the very chilly weather conditions.  This is a fun event and I would encourage everyone to get involved in next years event.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HSX/3 (Cape Patterson Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2063)
  2. VK2IO
  3. VK7DW/p (Narawntapu National Park VKFF-0005)
  4. VK7QP
  5. VK3ARH
  6. Vk1MIC
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK3MET
  9. VK3KMH
  10. VK5MK
  11. VK2RP/m
  12. VK2BDR/m
  13. VK3FSTA
  14. VK1HW
  15. VK3XL
  16. VK2NP
  17. VK3CMZ/p (Andersons Mill, Smeaton)
  18. VK3WAC/m
  19. VK5MR/m
  20. VK2GKA
  21. VK5HS/p (Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 & VKFF-0923)
  22. VK3HBG
  23. VK7FAMP/p (Ida Bay State Reserve VKFF-1807)
  24. VK7LTD/p (Ida Bay State Reserve VKFF-1807)
  25. VK3NXT
  26. VK2VW
  27. VK3BI/p (Maryborough Flour & Chaff Nill)
  28. VK2JNG
  29. VK2IPK
  30. VK2KYO
  31. VK5KFB
  32. VK2NEO
  33. VK2QK
  34. VI2WG50
  35. VK3OV
  36. VK3CTM
  37. VK2USH
  38. VK6GLX
  39. VK3AHR
  40. VK2PKT
  41. VK3TKK/m
  42. VK7DX
  43. VK2VOM
  44. VK7FOLK/m
  45. VK7JON/m
  46. VK3FLES
  47. VK3NCC/2 (Dthinna Dthinnawan National Park VKFF-0587)
  48. VK3FVIC
  49. VK7ME
  50. VK2HHA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS/p (Cooltong Conservation Park 5CP-046 & VKFF-0923)
  2. VK5KFB
  3. VK5BJE
  4. VK5FANA

 

References

Denby Dale Amateur Radio Society, 2018, <http://www.mills-on-the-air.net/>, viewed 14th May 2018.

 

Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754 and the 2018 Harry Angel Memorial 80m Sprint

Over the weekend (Saturday 5th April 2018) I headed out to my local park, the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754, for the 2018 Harry Angel Memorial 80m Sprint.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Totness Recreation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I have activated Totness many times in the past as it is in very close proximity to my home.  In fact its just a short 6-7 minute drive.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the park and my operating spot, and m home a few km away.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Totness Recreation Park is 41 hectares in size and on the 15th January 1970 was proclaimed as Totness National Parks Reserve.  On the 22nd January 1976 it was reproclaimed as Totness Recreation Park.  Prior to 1970 the land that is now Totness was the property of the South Australian Railways and the Department of Transport.

The park terrain is hilly, with the park being split into a northern and southern section by the South Eastern Freeway.  The northern section of the park includes messmate stringybark woodland over kangaroo thorn, sweet bursaria and twiggy daisy-bush; South Australian blue gum/manna gum woodland; river red gum over swamp wattle and narrow leaf cumbungi sedge land around the lake which was previously a railway dam.  The southern section of the park has messmate stringybark open forest and South Australian blue gum woodland.

Plant species of conservation significance recorded within the park include the state rare Manna Gum and the regionally rare Spider Orchid.

The southern section of the park was completely burnt out during the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Totness Recreation Park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 57 native birds in the park including Superb Fairywren, Striated Thornbill, Brown Thornbill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Grey Shrikethrush, Australian Golden Whistler, White-throated Treecreeper, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, & Red-browed Finch.

Native bird species of conservation significance recorded within the park include the Bassian Thrush and Shining Bronze-cuckoo.

Various native animals can be found in the park including Western Grey kangaroo, Common ringtail possum, Koala, Short-beaked echidna, and various bat species are known to inhabit the park.  Wild deer can also be found in the park.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Totness Recreation Park in the foreground, looking west back towards Adelaide.  Image courtesy of google maps

In the northern section of the park you will find a large dam which was constructed in 1884 to supply the steam locomotives travelling to and from Victor Harbour until 1944.  The water was piped around 5 km to the Mount Barker Railway Station.  The dam also served as a water source for the township of Mount Barker, until replaced by water from the River Murray via the Adelaide-Mannum pipeline in 1955.

Totness Recreation Park also has historic associations with the wattle bark industry that flourished in the Mount Barker district during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The nearby Mount Barker Tannery sourced wattle bark from the area around the railway dam, for tanning leather.  Stringybark trees were also cut for use as firewoord in the steam boilers and brick kilns.

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Above:- A view of the Mount Barker Tannery from Paddys Hill.  Image courtesy of Mount Barker District Council.

A significant portion of the southern section of the park was land originally granted to John Dunne (1802-1894) who was a significant figure in Mount Barker’s early history.  Dunne emigrated to Australia in 1840, having been born in Devon, England in 1802.  His first steam mill, in Mount Barker, began working in 1844, the second steam mill in Australia at a time when South Australia was the only wheat producing colony in Australia.

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Above:- John Dunne Snr.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

The Harry Angel Sprint is an annual 80m contest event, first established in 1999, to commemorate the life of Harry Angel VK4HA who at the time of his becoming a Silent Key was the oldest licensed amateur in Australia.

The duration of the contest is 106 minutes one minute for each year of Harry’s life. The aim of the competition is to make as many contacts as possible in the allotted time. Each station may be worked on one occasion only per mode.

Henry Benjamin ‘Harry’ Angel was born on 14th December 1891 at Manor House, Essex, England.  His parents were Henry Samuel Martin Angel (1867-1911) and Elizabeth Jesse Angel nee Eyre (1871-1962).  In 1919 he married Rebecca Andrews (1891-1973).  They had 3 children: Lillian May Angel, Harold Vincent Angel, and Ronald Henry Angel.  Harry died in August 1998 at Brisbane, Queensland, aged 106 years.

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Harry Angel.  Image courtesy of ancestry.com.au

The State Library of Queensland holds an extensive collection of QSL cards, previously belonging to Harry Angel.

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A selection of JA cards in the Harry Angel QSL card collection.  Image courtesy of State Library of QLD

I arrived at the park at around 5.50 p.m. and it was starting to get dark.  I had around 10 minutes of light to set up.  I used the Yaesu FT-897 and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  I was all set up and ready to go by around 6.00 p.m. local time (0830 UTC).  I tuned across the 40m band which was quite busy with South East Asian stations and a few low down North American signals.  I found 7.175 clear and commenced calling CQ, which was answered by Andy VK5LA in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Andy was quite low down, as I was to him, but we made it.  Rod VK7FRJG then called in from Tasmania with a very big signal, followed by my wife Marija VK5FMAZ.

I logged a total of 10 contacts, including Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Churchill Island Marine National Park VKFF-0947, and Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand.  Again, Peter was quite a low signal, but as we both had no man made noise, we were able to exchange signal reports quite easily.  But that was it, with the 40m band being in quite poor condition.  It was apparent that propagation around VK2, VK3 & VK5 was very poor.

It was now approaching 0900 UTC and I still had one hour to go before the contest.  I tuned across the 40m band but didn’t find a signal VK station, except for Peter VK3ZPF/p who was calling CQ on 7.155.  The American net which is held each evening on 7.163 revealed only moderately strong signals.  Certainly not strong enough for me to call in and make contact with any of the USA stations.  So I took the opportunity of ensuring my logging software was up to date on my laptop, and set the time on my clock (to what I thought was accurate – it wasn’t.  Mentioned later).  I headed back to 7.175 and called CQ again, and again, and again, with no takers.  Eventually, Steve VK4QQ came back to my call, but he was the sole responder.

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At around 0950 UTC I moved down to the 80m band hoping to find myself a clear frequency before everyone starting calling CQ contest.  The 80m band was already quite full of stations and the Over The Horizon Radar (OTHR) was present across most of the band and was getting up around the strength 8.

I found 3.640 clear and started calling CQ which was answered by Chris VK6LOL with a 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Marija VK5FMAZ, Ken VK6AKT, and then Merv VK4EM.

I relogged Merv VK4EM and he became my first contact in the log for the Harry Angel Sprint.  Peter VK3PF was second in the log, followed by Ian VK2IAN, Bill VK3CWF and then Chris VK6NC.  Sadly it was very slow going, and after 20 minutes I had just 14 contacts in the log, including Peter VK3ZPF/p who had called back in for the Sprint.  So with things being very quiet, I tuned across the band and logged a number of stations.

I spent the remainder of the Sprint, calling CQ and hunting across the band for new callers.  Unfortunately I was having a nice little run of callers, when I much higher powered VK2 moved in just 2 kc away from me, and that was the end of the that.  The OTHR was also making it very difficult to pick up stations below strength 8.

I was pleased to pick up another Park to Park contact, with Marcus VK5WTF/p who was in the Sandy Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0933.  And also a call from Bill ZL3VZ in Christchurch, New Zealand.

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I ended up logging a total of 51 stations on 80m during the contest.  This was down by 12 compared to last year when I logged a total of 63 stations during the contest.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 10.12.22 am.png

Above:- Map showing my contacts during the Sprint (VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, & New Zealand).  Map courtesy of qsomap.org

Most of my contacts were into Victoria and New South Wales.  Conditions into the eastern States were pretty good, but there were some stations who were suffering with noise and struggled a bit with my signal.  Fortunately I had no man made noise in the park, except for the Over the Horizon Radar.  The map below shows my contacts into the eastern States.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 12.04.43 pm

Above:- Map showing my contacts into the eastern States.  Map courtesy of qsomap.org

I was very pleased to be able to work some Western Australian stations about 2,500 km away.  The map below shows my contacts into Western Australia.

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 12.05.09 pm

Above:- Above:- Map showing my contacts into Western Australia.  Map courtesy of qsomap.org

The graph below shows my contacts during the Sprint.  I worked thirteen (13) Victorian (VK3) stations, followed by twelve (12) from New South Wales (VK2), and nine (9) each from Queensland (VK4) and South Australia (VK5).

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 10.34.07 am.png

Above:- Graph showing my contacts per State/Territory/Country during the Sprint.

I was a little disappointed in the outcome.  Unfortunately there were not a huge number of participants in the Sprint, and my little portable signal wasn’t quite making the grade into certain stations.  This together with the very annoying OTHR.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the Sprint commenced:-

  1. VK5LA
  2. VK7FRJG
  3. VK5FMAZ
  4. VK5AYL
  5. ZL1TM
  6. VK6BEC
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK3ZPF/p (Churchill Island Marine National Park VKFF-0947 VKFF-0947)
  9. VK4TJ
  10. VK4DO
  11. VK4QQ

I worked the following stations on 80m before the Sprint:-

  1. VK6LOL
  2. VK5FMAZ
  3. VK6AKT
  4. VK4EM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB during the Sprint:-

  1. VK4EM
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2IAN
  4. VK3CWF
  5. VK6NC
  6. VK2io
  7. VK5FMAZ
  8. VK1MIC
  9. VK3LM
  10. VK3DAC
  11. VK4NA
  12. VK3ZPF/p (Churchill Island Marine National Park VKFF-0947)
  13. VK4LAT
  14. VK3AN
  15. VK2PR
  16. VK7JGD
  17. VK4YZ
  18. VK4KKN
  19. VK2PX
  20. VK4QH
  21. VK6AKT
  22. VK2XAX
  23. VK2MT
  24. VK2KDP
  25. VK4TLA
  26. VK5WTF/p (Sandy Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0933)
  27. VK5DT
  28. VK4JRO
  29. VK5CP
  30. VK4ITT
  31. VK3BL
  32. VK2DEK
  33. VK2QN
  34. VK2KQB
  35. VK1AT
  36. VK3AB
  37. VK3BOY
  38. VK6EK
  39. VK2EHQ
  40. VK5LJ
  41. VK2VIN
  42. VK6QM
  43. ZL3VZ
  44. VK5CV
  45. VK5GR
  46. VK5SFA
  47. VK3VT
  48. VK2XXL
  49. VK5FANA
  50. VK3OHM
  51. VK3FCMA

I worked the following stations on 80m after the Sprint:-

  1. VK2SR
  2. VK3MEG
  3. VK5FBBJ
  4. VK2KJJ
  5. VK5SFA
  6. VK2XXL

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/totness-recreation-park/>, viewed 6th May 2018

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2007, Totness Recreation Park Management Plan

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totness_Recreation_Park>, viewed 6th May 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dunn_(miller)>, viewed 6th May 2018

Wireless Institute of Australia, 2018, <http://www.wia.org.au/members/contests/harryangel/>, viewed 6th May 2018

Montacute Conservation Park 5CP-139 and VKFF-0910

Yesterday (Monday 30th April 2018) I started 2 days off from work, having just finished 7 straight shifts.  We have been enjoying amazing weather for this time of the year, and today was no exception, with the temperature being about 22 deg C and bright sunshine, with not a cloud in the sky.  So I decided to head out for a mid afternoon park activation.

I chose the Montacute Conservation Park 5CP-139 & VKFF-0910, which is located about 21 km east of the city of Adelaide, and about 42 km (by road) from my home.  I have been to Montacute previously, and qualified the park for the VK5 Parks Award and WWFF, so today was a bit of fun, and another activation to go towards the VKFF Boomerang Award.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 8.05.09 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Montacute Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer. 

I chose the ‘scenic’ route (and longer route) to get to the park.  It was a beautiful drive through Lenswood and on to Cudlee Creek.  Lenswood is located in a narrow river valley in one of the tributaries to the Onkaparinga River.  It takes its name from a battle near the town of Lens in northwestern France during WW1.  The area is well known for its production of apples, pears, cherries and wine grapes.  In excess of 20,000 tonnes of apples are produced annually.  Apple varieties include Pink Lady, Fuji, Sundowner, Royal Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith.  And at this time of the year, many of those varieties are in peak availability.  There were lots of pickers out in the orchards as I travelled through the Lenswood area.

I then travelled west along Gorge Road and stopped at the lookout for the Kangaroo Creek Reservoir.  Construction of the Kangaroo Creek dam began in 1966 and was completed in 1969.  The reservoir has a capacity of 19,160 megalitres and covers an area of about 103 hectares.

A major upgrade is underway at the reservoir, and as a result of the reservoir being drained, the old Batchelor’s Bridge which was built in the 1920’s is now visible.  The reservoir has only been drained twice in its 50 year history.  Batchelor’s Bridge, part of the old Gorge Rd, was built in the 1920s and became submerged when the dam was filled in the late 1960s.

I continued along Gorge Road and into the area of the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’ known as Montacute.  There really is no town of Montacute anymore, but rather a locality.  The area has a rich history.

In around 1843, Mr. Charles Drury Edward Fortnum (1820-1899), a chemist and mineralogist, settled in this district which was then known as Sixth Creek.   Fortnum reared bullocks in the area along Sixth Creek to meet the Colony of South Australia’s ever-growing demand for beef.  However it wasn’t long before the Montacute area was to be put on the map with the discovery of copper.

Charles_Drury_Edward_Fortnum_Alexander.jpg

Above:- Mr. Charles Fortnum.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

In late 1843, Fortnum’s overseer, Mr Andrew Henderson, set out to look for a steer that had strayed overnight.  During his search for the steer he located the first piece of copper ore in the district.  Henderson was climbing a steep spur when he noted the peculiar green colour of a perpendicular face of rock.  When he reached the summit, he discovered a curious mass of brown and green material.  Henderson broke off a piece and returned with it to Fortnum, who immediately recognised the rock as copper ore.

The copper ore had been discovered by Henderson on a government block, so Fortnum proceeded to purchase the land.  But the secret was already out.  The discoverers of the copper ore had already shared the information of their find to others, who in turn had notified the Survey Office. 

Deputy Surveyor-General Thomas Burr then ordered another survey and outcrops of copper were discovered.  The land, comprising around 80 acres was out up for public auction in February 1844.  A syndicate was formed known as the Montacute Mining Company.

One of the mine’s financiers, Sir John Baker (1813-1872), named the area after Montacute in Somerset, in the UK, which was near his birthplace.   Baker had a homestead called ‘Morialta’ near Norton Summit.  We nowadays of course have the nearby Morialta Conservation Park. 

John_Baker_SA

Above:- Sir John Baker.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

The first official finding of gold in Australia occurred at Montacute in 1846, at the North Montacute Mine, which was subsequently renamed the Victoria Mine.  The South Australian newspaper in April 1846 stated:

“‘the grand, the crowning triumph has been accomplished… South Australia seems destined to become the real Eldorado”.

Sadly this did not eventuate, with only a small amount of gold being located.  Mining in the area continued throughout the 1800’s, however the Montacute district lost many miners to the Victorian goldfields in the 1850’s.  Today numerous mine shafts still exist in the area, together with a number of miners cottages, both ruined and restored.

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 10.50.17 am.png

Above:- an old survey map c. 1849, showing the Montacute Copper Mine and the Victoria Gold Mine.  Image courtesy of mapco

In 1849 it was reported that the village of Montacute ” having a tolerable large and decent population, and abounding in the most singularly diversified and romantic scenery, with a never failing and abundant supply of good water, the place can neither boast of an inn for the traveller, nor a draper’s, butcher’s, green’s or, in fact, any kind of store or shop. Of the latter there is nothing nearer than Adelaide; the nearest public house is at Payneham, a distance of ten miles… “

In 1864 the Montacute School was opened, and the Montacute Post Office opened in 1887. In 1902 George Ross commenced a wholesale nursery at Montacute.  Today, Ross Roses is one of South Australia’s oldest rose nurseries.  In 1907 the foundation stone of the Montacute Institute was laid.

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Above:- the laying of the foundation stone at the Montacute Institute, 1907.  Image courtesy of http://www.flinders.edu.au

I then turned left onto Corkscrew Road and then left into Valley Road.  I soon entered the Montacute Conservation Park.  The park is about 194 hectares in size and is set in very rugged and hilly country.  It was established in 1971.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 8.20.07 pm

Above:- Aerial shot of the Montacute Conservation Park, looking west back towards Adelaide.  Image courtesy of google maps.

The park is remnant bushland and contains river red gums, stringybark, and messmate stringybark.  The Heysen Trail passes through the park.  Some sections of the trail and quite steep and challenging.

Birds SA have recorded over 57 species of native bird in the park including Adelaide Rosella, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Black-winged Currawong, Grey Fantail, Rufous Whistler, Common Bronzewing, Eastern Spinebill, Restless Flycatcher, Eastern Shriketit.

Various native animals call the park home including Western Grey kangaroos, echidnas, and koalas.

During my visit to the park I observed dozens of Superb Fairy Wrens.  But all females.  I didn’t spot a single male who has the very bright blue plumage.  They were dancing around in front of me during the entire activation.  I also had a koala in a tree close to where I was set up.  He/she didn’t appear at all phased about me being there and disturbing their afternoon siesta.

I drove along Valley Road and set up in the spot where I had activated from previously, a small dirt track leading off Valley Road.  There was plenty of room here to stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole, and plenty of shade.

Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 8.04.45 pm.png

Above:- the Montacute Conservation Park, showing my operating location.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The transceiver was already set on 7.144 when I turned it on.  I found that there were some stations chatting on 7.145, so I tuned down the band and found Colin VK3NCC/2 in the Warrumbungle National Park, VKFF-0520 calling CQ on 7.140.  I logged Colin Park to Park, and then moved up to 7.155 where I started calling CQ.  I had no internet coverage in the park, so I was unable to self spot on parksnpeaks.  First taker to my CQ calls was Peter VK3PF, followed by Deryck VK4FDJL, Gerard VK2IO, and then John VK4TJ.  Gerard VK2IO kindly spotted me on parksnpeaks.

Sadly the number of callers on 40m was way down compared to usual, and it was very slow going.  And I soon started to experience QRM, with G4PEL coming up on frequency, calling CQ North America.  Sadly he was unable to hear me.  So with just 12 QSOs in the log I QSY’d up the band to 7.165 and called CQ.  This was answered by Glenn VK4FARR, followed by Cliff VK2NP, and then Fred VK3DAC who was portable in the Bael Bael Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2040.

But again, callers dried up very quickly.  I now had 20 contacts in the log.  Fortunately reaching 44 today was not a priority, as I had previously activated and qualified the park.  I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed off to 14.310 on the 20m band.  Unfortunately 5 minutes of CQ calls went unanswered and I was unable to spot on parkspeaks.  I also had to endure the Over the Horizon Radar.  So I tuned across the band and found the final few minutes of the ANZA DX Net.  When the net closed I gave my mate Ted VK6NTE a call.  Ted was 5/9 but was suffering a bit from noise at his end.  I logged a total of 6 stations on 20m from VK2, VK4, and VK6. 

I moved back to 40m and called CQ on 7.160.  Ray VK4NH had kindly spotted me and followed me up from 20m.  I logged Ray with his 3 different calls and then Peter VK3TKK mobile.  But that was it.  No more takers.  So it was off to the 80m band.  I found Fred VK3DAC/p again, this time calling CQ on 3.610.  Fred had a strong signal.  I then moved down to 3.605 where I logged a total of 5 stations from VK3 and VK5.  But despite conditions on 80m being quite good, I had no further callers.

So it was back to 40m again where I again called CQ on 7.160.  This was answered by Ted VK6NTE, followed by Allen VK3ARH, and then Keith VK3FMKE.  I logged a further 5 stations from VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK6.  This included Lee VK6TY who was running QRP, with just 5 watts.  Lee was a good 5/3 signal and as there was no man made noise on the band in the park, he was ‘armchair’ copy.

Bill VK4FW came up to let me know that Marc VK3OHM/p was down on 7.155 in a park, so I headed there, and after some persistence I made contact with Marc who was activating the Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549.  I was hearing Marc better than he was hearing me, but we made it, with 5/1 sent and 3/1 received.

I then moved back to 80m hoping to get Bill VK4FW in the log on 80m.  He had advised that he had tried me earlier whilst I was on 80m, but I was unable to hear him.  Bill was in fact first in the log, responding to my CQ call.  This was followed by Charlie VK5VC who was extremely strong, and then Brett VK2FSAV.  I logged a further 6 stations including Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula who was 5/9 ++ (Adrian gave me a 5/9 plus 40 signal report), and also my lovely wife Marija VK5FMAZ who had just got home from work.

To complete the activation I put out a few final CQ calls on 7.160 on 40m.  And I’m pleased I didm as I logged 4 further stations including John ZL3MR in New Zealand, and Owen ZL4CY in New Zealand.  John was unaware of the WWFF program, so I took the time to explain to him what WWFF was all about and provided him with the addresses for the various websites.

DSC_1087

Above:- I was below the flight path for a number of the aircraft flying in to Adelaide.

So after quite a slow start I ended up with a total of 59 contacts in the log, including 4 Park to Park contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3NCC/2 (Warrumbungle National Park, VKFF-0520)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK4FDJL
  4. VK2IO
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4/AC8WN
  7. VK4/VE6XT
  8. VK2MOR
  9. VK3UH
  10. VK3VKT
  11. VK4FFAB
  12. VK2USH
  13. VK4FARR
  14. VK2NP
  15. VK3DAC/p (Bael Bael Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2040)
  16. VK2JLS
  17. VK4FW
  18. VK3GGG
  19. VK3PMG
  20. VK4VXX/3
  21. VK4NH
  22. VK4DXA
  23. ZL4TY/VK4
  24. VK3TKK/m
  25. VK6NTE
  26. VK3ARH
  27. VK3FMKE
  28. VK5VC
  29. VK4HNS
  30. VK6TY
  31. VK3ANL
  32. VK6FRAB
  33. VK3OHM/p (Wyperfeld National Park VKFF-0549)
  34. ZL3MR
  35. VK7JON
  36. ZL4CY
  37. VK7DIK

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6NTE
  2. VK2RI
  3. VK2HOT
  4. VK4VAZ
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3DAC/p (Bael Bael Grassland Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2040)
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK5RM
  5. VK3VBI
  6. VK3FMKE
  7. VK4FW
  8. VK5VC
  9. VK2FSAV
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK5KDK
  12. VK2YW
  13. VK1DI
  14. VK5FANA
  15. VK5FMAZ

 

References.

Adelaide Now, 2018, <http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/kangaroo-creek-reservoir-draining-reveals-batchelors-bridge-built-in-1920s-and-underwater-most-of-the-past-century/news-story/4199813d508e2579e38a89a9f160fe5f>, viewed 30th April 2018

Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/montacute-conservation-park/>, viewed 30th April 2018

Lenwsood Apples, 2018, <http://lenswoodcoop.com.au/about/our-fruit/>, viewed 30th April 2018

National Parks South Australia, 2018, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/montacute-conservation-park>, viewed 30th April 2018

SA Water, 2018, <https://www.sawater.com.au/community-and-environment/our-water-and-sewerage-systems/water-sources/reservoir-data/kangaroo-creek-reservoir>, viewed 30th April 2018

Smith, P, Piddock, S, & Pate, D, 2005, ‘Historic sites and landscapes Stonyfell to Tea Tree Gully’.

State Library South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/M.pdf>, viewed 30th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenswood,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th April 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montacute,_South_Australia>, viewed 1st May 2018