Very late on Sunday afternoon (10th May 2020) and with all of the Mother’s Day festivities over, I headed out to do a very late afternoon/evening activation of the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 & VKFF-0781.
I have activated Kenneth Stirling many times before and well and truly qualified the park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.
The park is located about 17 km east of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’, just a short drive from my home.
The Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park in quite unique in that it consists of four autonomous sections: Wotton Scrub, Filsell Hill, White Scrub, and Burdett Scrub. The largest section being Filsell Hill.
The park is about 253 hectares in size and protects valuable remnant eucalypt vegetation. The park habitat includes Messmate Stringybark, Bracken, Heaths, Pea-flowers, Guinea-flowers, and Wattles. There is a 4.7 loop walking circuit in the park. More details on that can be found on the Walking SA website.
The park is named in honour of Kenneth George Stirling, who was an accountant and benefactor. He died suddenly in 1973, of heart disease, aged just 38. Stirling earnt considerable wealth due to shareholding in mining interests, and apparently, this paper value embarrassed him.
According to his wife, ‘he believed he hadn’t earned the money the mining boom brought him’ and ‘his main concern was to use it for the good of the community’. He was a member of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia and other organisations and over the years made several anonymous gifts including $200,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) to establish national parks in South Australia.
The money he gave to the A.C.F. helped to establish national parks at Montacute and Mount Scott, both near Adelaide, and in the extension of existing reserves at Scott Creek, in the Mount Lofty Ranges, and Warrenben, on Yorke Peninsula. In 1990 the State government acquired land in the Adelaide Hills for the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.
I have only ever operated from the Wotton Scrub section of this park, and this is where I again headed for this particular activation. I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. The dipole was supported by a 7 metre heavy duty telescopic squid pole. The ends of the dipoles were tied off to some trees.
There were some stations chatting on 7.140 so I started calling CQ on 7.145, 1 kc higher than 7.144 which is the suggested calling frequency for park activators. First in the log was Rod VK7RG in Tasmania with a beautiful 5/9 signal, followed by Scott VK4CZ, Bill VK3CWF, and then Robert VK4ADR.
I logged a total of 26 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6 and VK7. There was apparently no close in propagation, with no South Australian stations logged. And conditions into Victoria were a bit tricky at times with lots of deep fading on signals.
It was now just after 6.00 p.m. local time and it was totally dark. The temperature had dropped from 10 deg C top 5 deg C, and I had to get out my headtorch.
I moved to the 80m band and called CQ on 3.610. First in the log was Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland with a strong signal, followed by Rex VK3OF, Marija VK5FMAZ, and then Scott VK4CZ.
Band conditions on 80m were excellent. The band was exceptionally quiet, with no static crashes. I could even hear a conversation going on frequency between two USA stations.
I logged a total of 33 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK4, Vk5, and New Zealand. It was great to be able to log regular park huter Andrew ZL1TM on 80m.
I then moved back to the 40m for just a few more CQ calls before calling it quits for the night. I logged just the 4 stations on 7.130 before I started experiencing QRM from stations in South East Asia.
Before turning off the transceiver, I tuned across the band and found Matt KC1XX in new Hampshire USA with a very big signal. I waited a few QSOs and then gave him a call and much to my surprise he was able to hear me. Not surprising when you look at Matt’s QRZ.com page and see his antenna farm.
Below is a short video of Matt, including my QSO with him.
All up I logged a total of 64 contacts for the activation from Vk2, VK3, VK4, Vk5, VK6, VK7, New Zealand, and the USA.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/kenneth-stirling-conservation-park-wotton-scrub/>, viewed 29th July 2019.
Friends of Parks, 2019, <http://www.friendsofparkssa.org.au/members-directory/friends-of-kenneth-stirling>, viewed 29th July 2019