My second activation of the day (Friday 12th July 2013) was the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park. The park which consists of about 189 hectares, is situated about 22 kms south east of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.
The park was first used for recreation in the 1930’s, and in 1945 it was purchased by the Young Mens Christian Association (YMCA). In 1953, the park was acquired by the State Government and was proclaimed the Loftia Recreation Park in 1972. The park was expanded in 1992 and 1995, and renamed in 1996 in recognition of its conservation values and to honour physicist and humanitarian Sir Mark Oliphant’s contribution to conservation.
Sir Marcus ‘Mark’ Laurence Elwin Oliphant who was an Australian physicist and humanitarian who played an important role in the first experimental demonstration of nuclear fusion and also the development of nuclear weapons. He was a former State Governor here in South Australia, and also has other places and things named in his honour including the Oliphant Building at the Australian National University; a South Australian high schools science competition; the Oliphant Wing of the Physics Building at the University of Adelaide; and a new high school located in northern Adelaide.
Messmate stringybark and brown stringybark dominate the forest canopy, and there is a small stand of candlebark gums near the Loftia oval. This tall eucalypt with white bark is rare and only found in the higher rainfall areas of the Adelaide Hills. Tiny patches of pink gum, manna gum and blue gum also occur in the park. In the forest understorey there are many spring-flowering shrubs, including myrtle- leaved wattle, beaked hakea and large-leaved bush-pea. The park’s flora was affected by bushfires in February 1980 and January 1995, but weeds are the main threat to native plants.
There is a variety of wildlife located in the park, including the rare southern brown bandicoot and yellow- footed antechinus, along with several lizard, snake and frog species. Numerous bird species are also found in the park including the superb fairy-wren, scarlet robin, golden whistler, Adelaide rosella and honeyeater species.
I accessed the park via Evans Drive which runs off Scott Creek Road, and I set up on the Honeyeater walking track. I used the permapine walking track sign as an anchor point for the squid pole which I secured with an octopus strap.
I placed the Yaesu FT-817nd on the sign and put a call out on 7.100 to be called by regular ‘Hunter’ Col VK5HCF, and then followed by another regular ‘Hunter’, Brian VK5FMID. Both had good strong signals coming in from Mount Gambier in the south east of South Australia. Larry VK5LY was my next contact who was using just 3 watts QRP and had a great signal. Also spoke with Nick VK3ANL who is a regular interstate ‘Hunter’ and is a recipient of the Bronze Hunter certificate.
Fortunately the weather held off, and I worked a total of 9 stations in VK3 & VK5 on 40m SSB.
Stations worked were:- Col VK5HCF; Brian VK5FMID; Larry VK5LY/qrp; Paul VK5FUZZ; Don VK5NFB; Garry VK3FWGR; Nick VK3ANL; Terry VK3UP; and Steve VK5AIM.