I decided at late notice yesterday afternoon to go out for a drive down to Kyeema Conservation Park (CP), and activate the CP as part of the VK5 Parks Award.
Kyeema CP is situated about 60 kms south of Adelaide, between Meadows and Willunga. It covers an area of about 360 hectares and consists of thick scrub including messmate stringybark, pink gum, cup gum and candlebark gum. It provides habitat for a diverse range of wildlife, including the southern brown bandicoot and the swamp rat. I didn’t see any of those, but I did see a heap of kangaroos. And they were pretty game, as they got within about 30 metres of me, grazing on some grass.
The Kyeema Conservation Park has a colourful history. The area was once mined for alluvial gold for several years until it was abandoned in 1890 due to a low yield. A few years later some of the area was cleared for pine plantations before being used as a labour prison reserve. Following the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires, the Friends of Kyeema Conservation Park started to revegetate cleared areas of the park. This work still continues today.
Access is off the Brookman Road (road between Meadows & Willunga) and then Woodgate Hill Road. The views down to the south are really terrific. There was some evidence a little further south on Woodgate Hill Road of a recent bushfire going through the park, but it appears the majority of the park was not affected. Part of the Heysen Trail also goes through the park.
I set up the normal operating equipment (Yaesu FT-817nd & 40m/20m dipole) in a small clearing not far from the car park on Woodgate Hill Road.
I had just set up the antenna and turned the radio on to 7.090 and I heard David VK5KC in QSO with Peter, VK3ZPF, so I quickly picked up the mic and gave them a shout, not realising that I was on the 1 watt setting on the 817nd. Surprisingly they could both hear me very well.
I then turned up the Yaesu to the 5 watt setting, sat back on the deck chair and watched the sun set in the west. We had quite wet weather during the week, but by Friday afternoon the weather had cleared to the west. This made for a spectacular sunset.
Following the sun going down, it was initially quite mild as there was a fair bit of cloud cover. But that disappeared soon and although this was a possitive in that the night sky and the moon were spectacular, the cold snap crept it and it was pretty chilly. Only other bonus was that it was too cold for the mozzies !
I had some really enjoyable chats during the night. This included catching up with Jessie, VK6JES over in WA. I also managed quite a few mobile QSO’s which was great, including with Peter 3ZPF, Grant 5AMC who was tractor mobile in his field over on the Yorke Peninsula, Andy 5AKH up at Waikerie in the Riverland, and Wayne 7NET down in Tassie.
I also got a pleasant surprise when Andrew VK1DA gave me a shout from the top of Mount Ainslee (SOTA VK1/AC-040) Andrew was a great signal….5/8 here with no QSB.
Just after 7.00 p.m. local time I jumped onto the 7130 DX Net on 40m and worked a few fellas there, including some DX…Bill W1OW who gave me a 4/4 from Massachusetts, William FO5JV who gave me a 5/1 from French Polynesia, Brian ZL2ASH who gave me a 5/7, Gary ZL3SV who gave me 5/9, and Chuck K9RM who gave me 5/6. I took some video of the net, which I’ll place on You Tube. Gary ZL3SV has an amazing antenna…a centre fed dipole which is 640 metres long and he was absolutely rocketing in as always.
Some of the fellas were talking about conditions on 20m being really good and that the USA was coming in well, so I quickly jumped onto the Southern Cross DX Net and worked Jack W1FDY (gave me a 5/4), Larry W4VES (gave me a 5/2), and Bill W1OW (gave me a 5/4).
Stations worked were:- Peter VK3ZPF/m; David VK5KC; Peter VK5KPR; Peter VK3PF; Brooke VK4RZ/p; Grant VK5AMC/m; Andy VK5AKH/m; Andrew VK1DA; Jessie VK6JES; Adam VK2YK; Graham VK2FPW; Wayne VK7NET/m; Bill W1OW (on 40m); William FO5JV; Paul VK7CC; Rick VK2HFP; Brian ZL2ASH; Gary ZL3SV; Chuck K9RM; Roy VK7ROY, Andy VK4TH; Don VK7DON; Dean VK2FLYS; Jack W1FDY; Larry W4VES; & Bill W1OW.
All in all a really enjoyable late afternoon and evening, with some really interesting contacts with just my 5 watts.
I took some video & photos on my i-phone which I’ve placed on You Tube.