This morning at late notice I decided to head out and activate 3 Conservation Parks. The weather was beautiful at Mount Barker….nice and sunny, and that was the forecast for the day. But unfortunately that did not last long, and by the end of the day it was absolutely freezing. But luckily no rain.
My first park of the day was the Eurilla Conservation Park. I never knew until this morning when checking the internet, that this park even existed. Eurilla CP is located about 16 kms south east of Adelaide. It is located just off the eastern side of Summit Road, which leads to the Mount Lofty summit. The park is situated on the northern border of the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, and opposite the Cleland Conservation Park.
You cannot access the park via Summit Road, and there are no roads leading into the park. I accessed the park via the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. I entered the Garden via the lower carpark off Lampert Road, and then walked about 4 kms through the garden, and into the park. It took a bit of climbing and fence jumping, but I eventually got there. Below is a photo looking through the Garden up towards the CP. The three TV transmitter towers are in the background.
The Eurilla Conservation Park consists of thick eucalyptus forest. However the main feature and the reason for the park being dedicated is an undisturbed bog consiting of a dense mat of the rare coral fern and a large colony of mature king fern, an endangered species in South Australia. These specimens are amongst the finest in the State.
The park was named in honour of Warren Bonython, one of the members of the famous South Australian Bonython family. They lived nearby in ‘Eurilla’ mansion, which was built in1884, but was burnt to the ground during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.
I found a fallen log and used this as a seat, and also to prop the 7 m squid pole against, and secured it with some octopus straps. My i-phone was bleating at me from the SOTA Goat application, so I was keen to get the antenna up and get on air. There were plenty of options in the park re stringing up the ends of the dipole. Lots of tall gum trees.
My first contact of the day was with Tony, VK3CAT who was portable on Mount Dandenong summit VK3/ VC-025. This was Tony’s first SOTA activation, and he had a nice 5/7 signal and I received 5/8 back. So that was a good start. I then QSY’d up to 7.100 and put a call out and worked Larry VK5LY, Brian VK5FMID, and then John VK5BJE. John advised that he was considering going out in the afternoon to activate the Mount George Conservation Park and possibly the Belair National Park. So there were a few more Park to Park opportunities for me.
This was followed by a number of the regular ‘hunters’, all of whom had very good signals.
Matt, VK5MLB gave me a call from the Seddon Conservation Park on Kangaroo Island, and I got excited believing I had another Park to Park for my log. But alas, Matt was working from his car, whilst in the Seddon CP, so it didn’t qualify.
But I did work John VK5FMJC who was portable in the Clements Gap Conservation Park, on his very first VK5 Parks activation. John was using his little FT-817 and just 5 watts and was an excellent 5/9 signal into the Mt Lofty Ranges. Congratulations John.
I also had 2 good QRP contacts. The first being with Col VK5HCF who was using just 5 watts (5/8 signal), and Ian VK5IS who was using just 2 watts (5/8 signal).
After half an hour of sitting on a wet log, I had 18 QSO’s in the log on 40m SSB, into VK3 & VK5.
The following stations were worked:- Tony VK3CAT/p (SOTA); Larry VK5LY; Brian VK5FMID; John VK5BJE; Graham VK5KGP; Dave VK3VCE; Col Vk5HCF/qrp; Roy VK5NRG; Matt VK5MLB/m; Colin VK3UBY; Andy VK5LA; Nev VK5WG; Tom VK5EE; John VK5FMJC/p; Rod VK5FTTC; Peter VK3PF; Ian VK3FNBL; & Ian VK5IS/qrp.