On Sunday morning, 9th June, 2013, my wife Marija and I headed up to Whyalla, which is about 400 kms north of our home in the Adelaide Hills. Our plan was to stay there a week and catch up with family and friends in both Whyalla and down in Port Lincoln at the bottom of the Eyre Peninsula. Marija’s mum, & Marija’s brother and his family live in Whyalla, which is a big mining city (iron ore). Marija’s mum was recovering from knee replacement surgery, so whilst Marija was looking after her during the day, I got permission to go out and play radio during the day.
The first radio stop of the trip was the Clinton Conservation Park. The park follows the coastline at the top of Gulf St Vincent. The park commences near the town of Port Wakefield which is about 100 kms north of Adelaide and follows the gulf around in a boomerang shape to the little town of Port Clinton on the Yorke Peninsula. It was gazetted back in 1972.
We had a bit of difficulty accessing the park near Port Wakefield, so we “drove around the corner” onto the Copper Coast Highway, and then onto the Yorke Highway and accessed the park from here, on the western side of the gulf. We followed a short dirt track down off the Copper Coast Highway, but could not get down to the water’s edge due to a no entry sign.
There’s not a huge amount to see here, if you are not into low coastal shrub and saltbush. There are large areas of swampy, marshy ground, and tidal mud flats, which support a large variety of birdlife. The park is large and covers an area of about 1,900 hectares. The nearby Wakefield River flows out into the gulf here which provides a haven for migratory wading birds and acts as a fish nursery.
We did spot an Australian Kestrel in a nearby tree, very close to a nest. He/she kept soaring around us and keeping a watchful eye.
The goat was bleating on my i-phone from the SOTA Goat application, so with the help of Marija I quickly set up the gear and my 1st QSO was with Andy VK5LA who was operating portable from the top of Mount Lofty, VK5/ SE-005. Andy had a terrific strong signal. Mount Lofty is located only about 20 kms west of my home qth. This was Andy’s first ever SOTA activation. Congratulations Andy.
I then moved up the band a bit and called CQ, and a few of the regular ‘Hunters’ came back to me including John VK5BJE, Bill VK5MBD, Brian VK5FMID, and Andrew VK2UH.
I then went chasing some of the SOTA fellas again, as the goat kept bleating on my i-phone, and I worked Allen VK3HRA/p on Mount Mitchell VK3/ VN-012, and Marshall VK3MRG/p on Mount Dom Dom VK3/ VN-017, just before the UTC rollover.
Then on the new UTC day, I spoke again with Marshall, and Andy. Also managed to speak with Ron VK3AFW/p who was on the top of Mount Burr VK5/ SE-019, in the south east of South Australia, and also Rick VK3KAN/p who was on the top of Mount Bogong VK3/ VE-001.
I then worked a few more of the regular Park ‘Hunters’ including Roy VK5NRG, and Ernie VK3DET.
From where we set up I could clearly see South Hummocks, VK5/ SE-017, to the north of me. I have operated previously from the top of that summit, and there are great views of the Gulf St Vincent and the Yorke Peninsula from the top.
Conditions on 40m seemed quite good both locally in VK5, and into the eastern states. I ended up with a total of 19 QSO’s which included 7 SOTA contacts, which edged me ever closer to ‘Shack Sloth’. But it was time to pack up and head off to Whyalla.
Stations worked were:- Andy VK5LA/p (SOTA – Mount Lofty); John VK5BJE; Peter VK2TQ; Bill VK5MRD; Brian VK5FMID; David VK5UG; Rick VK4KRX/p; Andrew VK2UH; Peter VK5KX; Allen VK3HRA/p (SOTA – VK3/VN-012); Marshall VK3MRG/p; Chris VK5LTD/p; Roy VK5NRG; Ernie VK3DET; John VK5EMI; Ron VK3AFW/p; and Rick VK3KAN/p.