Mylor Conservation Park 5CP-156 and VKFF-0785 as VI5WOW

Late on Sunday afternoon (21st May 2017) proceedings had started to slow down a little, and I had a small window of time to head out to a park and operate as VI5WOW before the scheduled 6.00 p.m. BBQ tea at the Hahndorf Oval.  I decided on Mylor Conservation Park 5CP-156 & VKFF-0785, as it is just a short drive from Hahndorf.

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Map showing the location of the Mylor Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Mylor Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 27th day of February 1997.  While most of the land around the park has been cleared for residential and agricultural purposes, the park preserves an important area of remnant bushland.  The park is mostly Open Forest with Candlebark Gum, Brown Stringybark, Messmate Stringybark, Cup Gum, Pink Gum and Manna Gum.  Understory plants include Myrtle Wattle , Spiny Wattle, Narrow-leaf Bitter-pea, Large-leaf Bush-pea and Silver Banskia.

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Aerial shot of the Mylor Conservation Park, with Adelaide in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The park takes its name from the nearby small town of Mylor which was proclaimed in 1891 by Acting Governor of South Australia, Sit James Boucaut who named it after his Cornish birthplace.

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Sir James Penn Boucat (1831-1916).  Image courtesy of Wikipedia

There is a 2.3 km track winding through the park which is rated as ‘challenging’ and will take you around 2 hours to complete.

The park is home to a large amount of native wildlife including Western Grey kangaroos.  More than 50 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Adelaide Rosella, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairywren, Grey Fantail, and the Australian Golden Whistler.

I set up in my normal operating spot off Whitehead Road and Centre Track which is part of the Heysen Trail.

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Aerial shot of the Mylor Conservation Park showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 80/40/20m linked dipole for this activation.  I was set up and ready to go by just after 0710 UTC (4.40 p.m. South Australian local time).  I had around 60 minutes of on air time before I needed to pack up.

My first contact was on 7.144 on the 40m band with Steve VK4QQ.  This was followed by Phil VK3GTS, Cliff VK2NP, Gerard VK2IO and then Colin VK4PDX.  All had good strong signals ranging from 5/8-9.  The band appeared to be in pretty good shape.

I had contact number 10 in the log in around 9 minutes, this being with Matt VK3FORD.  Contact number 44, with Ian VK1DI, was reached in around 45 minutes.  I worked a total of 52 stations on 40m from VK2, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7, including a Park to Park contact with Nikolas VK3NLK who was operating portable in the Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978.

To finish off the activation I headed to 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged just 4 stations from VK3, VK5 and VK7.  Sadly I was really pushing for time and needed to go QRT.

So in around one hour in the park I had logged a total of 56 stations.  Hopefully I gave people another good contact towards the special 2017 AGM/Convention Award.

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I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4QQ
  2. VK3GTS
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK2IO
  5. VK4PDX
  6. VK4SMA
  7. VK4KX
  8. VK3FPSR
  9. VK3SX
  10. VK3FORD
  11. VK3AWG
  12. VK5NJ
  13. VK2YW
  14. VK4DA
  15. VK5HDW
  16. VK5FMAZ
  17. VK5XD
  18. VK7DIK
  19. VK4HNS
  20. VK3LPG
  21. VK2NSS
  22. VK2QR
  23. VK2SWL
  24. VK4FMAX
  25. VK6NU
  26. VK6MAC/m
  27. VK7ZGK
  28. VK4BX
  29. VK3BL
  30. VK4TJ
  31. VK2FKDM
  32. VK7EV
  33. VK2FOUZ
  34. VK2BY/p
  35. VK5GY/m
  36. VK5NFT/m
  37. VK7FRJG
  38. VK3BKT
  39. VK4JWT
  40. VK3MAB
  41. VK1HW
  42. VK6EA/p
  43. VK4HDY
  44. VK1DI
  45. VK3YV
  46. VK2SK
  47. VK3NLK/p (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  48. VK2TMC
  49. VK5GJ
  50. VK2LEZ
  51. VK2LMT
  52. VK4NHH

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5GY/m
  3. VK3LDB
  4. VK7CW

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/mylor-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 26th May 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/mylor-conservation-park&gt;, viewed 26th May 2017

Display at Hahndorf Oval

After packing up at Mark Oliphant Conservation Park I headed back to the Hahndorf Oval, where with the assistance of Chris VK5FR we set up a small display table promoting WWFF and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  This was as part of the Come and Try Day for the 2017 WIA AGM/Convention.

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At the parks display table

We had a number of transceivers on display including the Yaesu FT-857d, Elecraft KX3, and the Yaesu FT-817nd.  Also numerous power sources, squid poles, antennas, and other surplus equipment.  Our WWFF & VK5 Parks Award handouts diminished as the afternoon went on.

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Robbie VK5FRSM & Tony VK5ZAI at the display

Many thanks to Chris VK5FR for lending a hand, and thanks to those who stopped by for a chat and showed interest in the display.

Mark Oliphant Conservation Park 5CP-127 and VKFF-0782

On Sunday morning (21st May 2017), myself and four other team leaders had planned to take a number of people out into the field to activate South Australian parks as part of the 2017 WIA AGM & Convention.  The team leaders and parks comprised…..

  • John VK5BJE…..Scott Creek Conservation Park
  • Peter VK5PET…..Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park
  • Les VK5KLV…..Mount George Conservation Park
  • Chris VK5FR…..Cleland Conservation Park
  • Paul VK5PAS…..Mark Oliphant Conservation Park.

John VK5BJE and his team headed direct to Scott Creek, while Chris VK5FR and his team headed to Cleland.  The remainder of us met outside the Gums Bistro at Hahndorf at 9.00 a.m. and departed from there.

I had three people in my group…..

  • Gerard VK2JNG
  • Al VK2OK
  • Stuart VK3STU

Our park was to be the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park 5CP-127 & VKFF-0782, which was a short 20 minute drive from Hahndorf.  The park is about 2 km south east of Adelaide.

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Map showing the location of the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

 

Mark Oliphant is 189 hectares in size and features tall forest trees and spring wildflowers.  The park is typical of an Adelaide Hills forest environment and features medium and steep sloping hillside, rounded ridge tops and narrow valley floors.

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Aerial shot of the park, with Adelaide in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps

Messmate stringybark and brown stringybark dominate the forest canopy in the park.  There is a small stand of candlebark gums near the old oval.  This tall eucalypt with white bark is rare and only found in the higher rainfall areas of the Adelaide Hills.  Tiny patches of pink gum, manna gum and blue gum also occur in the park.

The park was first used for recreation during the 1930’s and was purchased by the Young Men’s Christian Association of Adelaide Incorporated (YMCA) in 1945.  In 1953 it was acquired by the South Australian State Government and was used as a National Pleasure Resort.  In 1972 the park was proclaimed as the Loftia Recreation Park.  In 1992 and again in 1995, the park was expanded.  In 1996 the park was renamed in honour of former State Governor Sir Mark Oliphant’s contribution to conservation.

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From the Adelaide Advertiser, Tue 19 Feb 1952.  Courtesy of Trove

Sir Marcus Laurence Elwin ‘Mark’ Oliphant (1901-2000) was an Australian physicist and humanitarian who played an important role in the first experimental demonstration of nuclear fusion and also the development of nuclear weapons.

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Sir Marcus Laurence Elwin ‘Mark’ Oliphant.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

The park is home to  large amount of native wildlife including the nationally endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot and the rare Yellow Footed Antechinus.  Over 70 species of bird have been recorded in the park including the Superb Fairy Wren, Scarlet Robin, Golden Whistler, Adelaide Rosella, Crescent Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, and Grey Fantail.

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We set up in my normal operating spot, on Honeyeater Track on the northern side of Evans Drive.  This is in a high position in the park and there is plenty of room to string out a dipole.

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Aerial shot of the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

It was an absolutely beautiful sunny morning and was had indeed been blessed by the weather gods.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 60 watts output and the 80/40/20m linked dipole, inverted vee, supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.

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Gerard VK2JNG was up first and had soon qualified the park for VKFF, with in excess of 10 QSOs in the log.  Cliff VK2NP was number one in the log.  Gerard commented to me that he had been bitten by the portable bug, so I expect to hear Gerard on air from parks in the near future.  Gerard’s tally included 2 Park to Park contacts; Chris VK3PAT in Cape Conran Coastal Park VKFF-0744m and Ivan VK5HS in the Pike River Conservation Park 5CP-180 & VKFF-0831.

Next up was Al VK2OK.  Everyone seemed to have come out of the woodwork, and it wasn’t long before Al was managing a mini pile up.  Al very very quickly qualified the park for VKFF, making a total of 20 contacts including numerous Park to Park QSOs.

Meanwhile, Stuart VK3STU was making contact with other park activators on 20m simplex.

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Stuart VK3STU making 2m handheld contacts

Just before midday Gerard and Al left to head back to the oval at Hahndorf.  Stuart VK3STU took the opportunity of getting onto 40m and 80m, making a number of contacts and well and truly qualifying the park.  Stuarts tally was 23 QSOs with 11 Park to Park contacts.

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Stuart VK3STU on 40m

I also squeezed in 20 minutes from the park as VK5WOW.

It was great morning out, with many positive comments about operating portable from parks.  Hopefully we have recruited a few more park activators and hunters to the ranks.  Thanks to the team leaders and participants.  And thanks to everyone who called.

I worked the following stations as VK5WOW on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4HNS/p (Southwood National Park VKFF-0462)
  2. VK3GTS
  3. VK5FMAZ
  4. VK3FLCS/p (Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763)
  5. VK2NP
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK3TJS
  8. VK2KYO
  9. VK3VLA
  10. VK3SFG
  11. VK4AAC/2 (Cape Byron State Conservation Area VKFF-1295)
  12. VK4QQ
  13. VK2SVN
  14. VK3PKY
  15. VK2IO/p (Bents Basin State Conservation Area VKFF-1278)
  16. VK2PDW
  17. VK3SG/p (Kinglake National Park VKFF-0264)
  18. VK4FSCC/7 (Arthur Piemann Conservation Area VKFF-1132)
  19. VK4RF
  20. VK4HA
  21. VK7FOLK/p (Arthur Piemann Conservation Area VKFF-1132)
  22. VK5GJ
  23. VK5ZRY
  24. VK5HS
  25. VK5PE
  26. VK3OHM
  27. VK5FANA
  28. VK3FCMC/p
  29. VK3FOTO/m
  30. VK3MRG/p
  31. VK3PF/p (Porter Scrub Conservation Park 5CP-189 and VKFF-0787)

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/mark-oliphant-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 25th May 2017

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, ‘Mark Oliphant Conservation Park’.

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/mark-oliphant-conservation-park&gt;, viewed 25th May 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Oliphant&gt;, viewed 25th May 2017

 

2017 WIA AGM and Convention in Hahndorf

An amazing weekend has come and gone…..the 2017 Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Convention in Hahndorf, South Australia.  The theme for this year was….

‘Radio is Magic!’

Firstly I would like to congratulate the very hard working AGM/Convention Organising Committee, which comprised members from the various amateur radio clubs in Adelaide:

  • Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society
  • Amateur Radio Experimenters Group
  • Elizabeth Amateur Radio Club
  • North East Radio Club
  • South Coast Amateur Radio Club

I was not part of the Committee, but was incorporated in their email group, and as a result I know of the tireless hours that the Committee put in behind the scenes to organise what was a sensational event.  They can all take a bow and be very proud of what was achieved.  They certainly made South Australia very proud.

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Hahndorf is a small town situated in the Adelaide Hills, about 28 km south east of Adelaide.  It is just a short 7 minute drive from my home.  Hahndorf is classified as Australia’s oldest surviving German settlement, and each year, tens of thousands of tourists flock to Hahndorf’s main street which features historic hotel, restaurants & cafes, craft shops, lolly shops, smallgoods outlets, and bakeries.

For my wife Marija VK5FMAZ and I, the proceedings commenced late on Thursday afternoon, with Heath VK3TWO and his wife Monique VK6FMON arriving at our house.  Heath and Monique had arranged to stay with us during their visit.  Peter VK3PF was also scheduled to arrive, but was activating some parks along the way.  Marija, Heath, Monique and I headed out for tea at the local Auchendarroch House and got back home around 8.30 p.m.  Peter arrived soon after we got home and we all enjoyed a few nightcaps.

On Friday morning (19th May 2017) I headed off to work early, so that I could finish early.  Upon completing work I headed down to the airport and collected Andrew VK6AS.  We headed back to Hahndorf and caught up with David VK5KC and John VK5BJE for a coffee at the Three Gums Bistro.  A group of us then headed down to the Hahndorf Inn in the Main Street of Hahndorf for a few traditional German beers.

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Andrew VK6AS & Ian VK3BUF enjoying a German ale

A little later that evening we attended the Friday night festivities which were held at the Hahndorf Convention Centre.  The evening was very well attended and featured all you can eat gourmet pizza.  It was a fun evening and it was terrific to catch up with a number of familiar faces, and meet a few new people.

On Saturday morning we all headed for the AGM, Forum, and presentations which were held at the Hahndorf Convention Centre.  Forgetting the politics of the AGM, the day was a huge success.  The new WIA Board were welcomed in, and I certainly wish them very well for the future.

Guest speakers in the afternoon were:

  • David VK5KK and Iain VK5ZD…..Introducing Amateur Mircowaves
  • David VK5DMC…..Getting into Digital Amateur Television
  • Mark VK5QI…..High Altitude Balloon Tracking
  • Steve VK5SFA…..Operating Low Band HF in confined spaces
  • Paul VK5PAS…..Operating Field portable in the great outdoors
  • David VK5DGR…..HF Digital Voice
  • Joe VK3YSP & Julie VK3FOWL…..Promoting amateur radio & the SCARC program
  • Grant VK5GR & Matt VK5ZM…..Promoting the Magic of Radio

During the day, Doc VK5BUG officialy launched his new book ‘Cellar Dwellars in the Go – operating 22200m, 630m, and 160m away from home’.

Whilst enjoying the Forum and talks at Hahndorf, many others chose the Partners Tour on the Saturday which featured two separate tours: a trip to the world famous Barossa Valley wine growing region, and a Mount Lofty Ranges tour.

All of the presenters were kindly given a certificate of appreciation, $50.00, and a nice bottle of red.

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Later that evening we attended the Convention dinner which was held at the Hahndorf Convention Centre.  The keynote speaker was Craig VK5CE who gave a very interesting presentation on his exploits in the Islands on the Air (IOTA) program.  It was a thoroughly enjoyable and at times humorous presentation.  Craig certainly opened a few eyes on how challenging operating from islands can be.  Sue VK5AYL also spoke on her newly released Parks and Peaks App for iPhone which I have since used and it is great.

On Sunday morning, with a slightly sore head from the night before, I headed back to Hahndorf where I met up with a keen group of amateurs who we had arranged to take out in the field.  For many it was to be their very first park activation.  There were five teams, headed by John VK5BJE, Chris VK5FR, Les VK5KLV, and Peter VK5PET, and myself.  We each had about 3 participants in each team.

The following parks were activated:

  • Scott Creek Conservation Park
  • Mark Oliphant Conservation Park
  • Mount George Conservation Park
  • Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park
  • Cleland Conservation Park

My three keen park activators were Stuart VK3STU, Al VK2OK, and Gerard VK2JNG.  All 3 qualified the park for VKFF and appeared to have been bitten by the ‘portable bug’.  I also gave VK5WOW a 20 minute run from the park.

Whilst some took up the opportunity of park activating on Sunday morning, others chose the trip to the National Motor museum at Birdwood.  About 60 people attended the museum.

Just after midday I headed to the Hahndorf oval where the Come and Try amateur radio day was being held.   With the help of Chris VK5FR, we set up a small display table on operating portable from a park.  The display table included a number of transceivers, antennas, power sources, certificates, etc.  Lots of questions were thrown at us from budding park activators.

Other displays and demonstrations at the oval included:-

  • live microwave communications
  • live ATV
  • WICEN
  • FreeDV digital HF voice operation
  • Parks and Peaks i phone app
  • HF transmitting magnetic loop antennas
  • High altitude ballon tracking
  • Radio direction finding
  • HF digital modes
  • D Star usage ad hotspot
  • 640m band beacon
  • IRLP usage
  • LEO satellite tracking
  • remote station operation

The Amateur Radio Experimenters Group (AREG) launched a Project Horus high altitude balloon which contained a number of payloads, including  2m/70cm repeater.  This was certainly one of the highlights of the afternoon.

Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL also kept a large group of children from the local Hahndorf Primary School enthralled with a number of activities.  It was great to see the kids having a lot of fun.  Who knows, some of them may go on to becoming amateurs.  Well done Joe and Julie.

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Children from the Hahndorf Primary School.  photo courtesy of Stuart VK5STU

Late in the afternoon I had a little bit of time to kill before the 6.00 p.m. BBQ tea at the oval.  So I headed down to the Mylor Conservation Park and put VI5WOW on air for around an hour and logged a further 54 contacts from around Australia.

I then headed back to the Hahndorf Oval for the evening BBQ, which was the last hooray for the weekend.  On Monday morning, I bidded farewell to Heath & Monique, and Peter, and headed to Hahndorf where I collected Andrew VK6AS and dropped him at the airport.  It was the end of a truly MAGIC weekend.  Again, thanks to all those involved.

Don’t forget that all contacts with VK5WOW and VI5WOW count towards the special 2017 WIA AGM/Convention Award, which can be applied for on-line via the WIA on-line awards system.

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