Our last radio stop of our 7 day trip to the Eyre Peninsula, was the Whyalla Conservation Park. This was on Sunday morning, 16th June, 2013, on our way back to the Adelaide Hills. I had driven passed this park many many times, as we frequently travel to Whyalla to visit family & friends. But I had never visited the park before.
Whyalla is situated about 383 kms north of Adelaide. Whyalla was founded in 1901 and was originally known as Hummock’s Hill. It was founded by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) as the end of a tramway bringing iron ore from the Middleback Ranges. It is the 3rd largest city in South Australia.
The Whyalla Conservation Park is situated about 10 kms north of Whyalla on the Lincoln Highway, just south of the Port Bonython turn off. It covers an area of about 2,020 hectares, and was proclaimed in 1971. It conserves a good example of the native flora and fauna of this semi-arid area. The land surrounding the park is pastoral lease used for sheep grazing. In fact the park was originally used for sheep grazing.
The park predominantly consists of low woodland comprising Western Myall and Acacia Papyrocarpa, with under storey of Bladder Saltbush and Bluebush. There are also Native Apricots, Quandongs, and Black Oaks. During spring, there are numerous wildflowers. The lichens on rocks, trees and covering the ground within the Park are some of the best examples in the world.
The most prominent topographical feature of the park is Wild Dog Hill, which rised sharply to a height of 90 metres. Its rugged features and imposing profile make it a popular picnic location for local residents.
Red and Western Grey kangaroos are found in the park, while euro can sometimes be seen on the slopes of Wild Dog Hill at sunset. At least three species of Dunnart (small carnivorous marsupial) are found in the park. More than 80 species of birds have been observed, including Wedge-tailed eagles and Australian Kestrels. About 30 species of reptile have been found in the park including the deadly Western Brown snake and the Bearded Dragon.
I set up the gear just inside the park boundary. I used my little Yaesu FT-817nd and 5 watts output, and my 40m/20m linked dipole on the 7m squid pole.
My first contact within the park was with Ian VK1DI who was portable near Wilpena Pound in the Flinders Ranges National Park. Ian had a nice strong signal, and we had a good chat with 5/8 both ways. Ian was intending to activate Binya Peak but this didn’t eventuate.
I also managed four SOTA contacts. The first was with Glen VK3YY on Mt St Leonards VK3/ VC-006, who had a nice signal (5/7 both ways). Then I spoke with Marshall VK3MRG on Mt Despair VK3/ VN-013. Marshall was perfectly readable but his signal was well down. Sadly just 4/2 to me. I then spoke with Ray VK3YAR on Mt Tarrengower VK3/ VN-023. Then I spoke to Allen VK3HRA who was portable on Mt Ritchie, VK3/ VC-003. Allen had a strong signal (5/8 both ways). My last SOTA contact was with Kevin VK3KAB who was portable on Mt St Phillack, VK3/ VT-006.
I also had an interesting QSO with Andrew VK2UH, who lowered his power down to .5 watt and was still very easy copy.
After a quick stop to the park, I had 14 QSO’s in the log, including the 4 SOTA contacts.
The following stations were worked:- Ian VK1DI/p; Col VK5HCF; Andy VK5AKH; Glen VK3YY/p (SOTA); Marshall VK3MRG/p (SOTA); Ray VK3YAR/p (SOTA); Jim VK5KOB; David VK5KC; Brian VK5FMID; Allen VK3HRA/p (SOTA); Andrew VK2UH; Greg VK2FGJW/p; Andy VK5LA; & Kevin VK3KAB/p (SOTA).
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