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.

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