Hale Conservation Park

After packing up at Sandy Creek CP and saying see ya later to Andy VK5AKH, I started heading home through the Adelaide Hills.  My wife Marija had told me about another park that I was going to pass on the way home, so I took this as a ‘you have permission to stop in there on the way home‘, which is exactly what I did.

Hale Conservation Park is situated about 60kms north east of Adelaide.  It is located a few kms south of the town of Williamstown.  Access is via the Mount Pleasant Road.  The park has a diverse landscape and steep rocky ridges, and is the home to some of Australia’s more secretive mammals.  It conserves the oyster bay cypress pine.

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There are some challenging walking trails in the park which provide spectacular views of the South Para Valley and the South Para Reservoir.  The trail to the South Para River passes from the highlands to the river crossing while the trail to the north eastern boundary of the park follows the creek line to emerge in grasslands on the outskirts of Williamstown.

When I first arrived at the park, there were 2 other cars in the carpark.  I think they were 2 young lovers.  But they didn’t hang around for long.  The sight of some fella carrying a squid pole into the bush and the sounds of goats bleating (from SOTA Goat), got the better of them, and off they went to a more quiet location !

I set up the Bandhopper 40m/20m dipole on the 7m squid pole, and used my Yaesu FT-817nd with 5 watts.  There are plenty of trees here so there were no problems with getting the ends of the legs of the dipole up off the ground.

IMG_2535I had a steady flow of ‘hunters’ who responded to my CQ call, and I ended up with 16 QSO’s, all on 40m.  Included one QSO with Lamont in Gisborne in NEW ZEALAND.  Really good conditions between the 2 of us, with 5/8 both ways.

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It was a great little spot where I was set up and there was quite a bit of natural lightning, as it was almost a full moon.  But the cold weather got the better of me, and I headed home to the warmth, and spent there remainder of the evening watching the AFL on the TV.

Stations worked were:-

Hans VK5YX; Ian VK5CZ/m; John VK5FTCT; Nev VK5WG; Rod VK5FTTC; Brian VK3MCD/m; Matt VK1MA; Mark VK3YN; Steve VK3MEG; Michel VK3KVW; Shaun VK5FAKV; Bill VK7SV; Lamont ZL2ALK; Paul VK5FUZZ; Urey VK3ATA; and Roy VK7ROY.

Sandy Creek Conservation Park

On Saturday, the 25th May, 2013, I journeyed up to Riverton, about 130 kms north of home, for a get together lunch with Ian VK5CZ and Andy, VK5AKH. We had an enjoyable lunch at the Riverton Hotel, and a chat, and spoke a bit about the direction of SOTA in South Australia.

Riverton is a great little town situated in the mid north of S.A. in the Gilbert Valley.  It only has a population of about 720 people.  But in its heyday it was a very busy place, as it was situated on the bullock track to Adelaide, from the mining town of Burra.

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I had intended activating the Sandy Creek Conservation Park later that afternoon on the way home, and Andy showed his interest in coming along as well.  Over lunch, Ian then decided he would activate the Spring Gully Conservation Park on his way home

Following lunch, Ian headed west back to Clare, and Andy & I headed south to the Sandy Creek CP, which is located about 60 kms north east of Adelaide, between Gawler and Lyndoch in the southern Barossa Valley.  Access is via the Barossa Valley Highway.

We soon worked out why it is called Sandy Creek.  The soil here is certainly very sandy !  Funny that.  The Sandy Creek Conservation Park is surrounded by farmland, vineyards and deep sand mining pits.   It is established on gently undulating sand dunes with occasional creeks.  It conserves some of the last remaining vegetation of the sandy soil lowlands of the Barossa Valley.

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Several walking trails through the native pine and pink gum allow you to explore the park. There is plenty of wildlife in the park including western grey kangaroos. The richness and diversity of the park’s birdlife makes it particularly significant for naturalists and birdwatchers.  Unfortunately, bird populations are in decline due to the changing habitat.

Andy and I set up the Bandhopper 40m/20m linked dipole, using the 7m squid pole as support.  No problems here with putting the pole holder into the ground.  We used Andy’s Elecraft KX3, which is a great transceiver, and just 5 watts output.

Our first QSO’s were with Col VK5HCF and Brian VK5FMID down at the Ewens Ponds Conservation Park, in the south east of South Australia.  Col and Brian have been active supporters of the VK5 Parks Award.  It was great to speak to them and have them in the log.

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Ian VK5CZ then gave us a call from the Spring Gully CP, and we slowly wound back the power at both ends from 5 watts down to 100 milliwatts and were still able to hear each other very well.

Our next QSO was with Doug using the special event call of VI130WIA for the 2013 WIA National Conference in Perth, W.A.  This was a good one to have in the log.

Next we spoke with Marshall VK3MRG/p who was on top of Suger Loaf peak, VK3/ VN-011, in Victoria.  Marshall had a great signal, with very little QSB.

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Andy and I were just in the process of packing up and taking down the antenna, when a goat bleated from my iphone from SOTA Goat.  It was a spot for Wayne VK3WAM.  So the 2nd leg of the dipole was strung back up in the trees and we made contact with Wayne who was on the top of Mount Disappointment, VK3/ VC-014.  Signals were very good…5/8 both ways.

Matt VK1MA then asked us to QSY down 10, so we spoke with Matt, and then kept getting calls following that.  Which was great, but nature was calling, and unfortunately we had to go QRT.  Ended up with 13 QSO’s, all on 40m SSB.

The following is a list of stations worked:-

Col VK5HCF; Brian VK5FMID; Peter VK3ZPF; Peter VK3PF; Ian VK5CZ; Doug VI103WIA; Marshall VK3MRG/p; Wayne VK3WAM/p; Matt VK1MA; Allen VK3HRA; Paul VK3IH; VK3YN; and Peter VK5KPR.