Newland Head Conservation Park

My final activation of the day was the Newland Head Conservation Park, which is situated on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 7 km south west of Victor Harbor, and about 91 km south of Adelaide.

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Courtesy of http://www.mapcarta.com

Newland Head CP is a large park and consists of 1,036 hectares.  It takes its name from the rugged headlands that shelter the associated two long beaches, Waitpinga Beach, and Parsons Beach, which are a popular destination for surfers and fishers.  In fact my son Jake surfs here, as did I back in my ‘glory days’.  Now if I ventured onto the beach, Greenpeace would be trying to roll me back into the water.  Fishing is very popular as the wave action and gutters near the shore create ideal conditions for salmon, mulloway and mullet fishing.  Part of the famous Heysen Trail, which extends for 1,200 km, runs through the park.

The park is home to a large amount of birdlife including the Beautiful Firetail finch, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Wedge tailed wage, Sining honeyeater, and White-capped Albatross.

Southern Right Whales are frequently seen behind the surf zone or swimming towards the west.  After breeding in the warmer waters of southern Australia they return to the main feeding grounds of the subantarctic where they feed in preparation for the return journey.

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Marija and I initially checked Waitpinga Beach with a view to erecting the vertical antenna in the sand, but it was extremely windy and too exposed.  So we headed back into the Waitpinga campground and put up the gear alongside Dennis Hut, which was is an old stone hut built in 1890 by the Dennis family who lived in the area.

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The Waitpinga camp ground is the only campground in the Park.  It is only about 750 metres inland from Waitpinga Beach, but is well protected from the wind off the Southern Ocean.  The local aboriginal word for Waitpinga is ironically, ‘windy place’.  There are several walking trails which commence from the eastern end of the Waitpinga campground, which was full of campers, who became interested onlookers.

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Right alongside of the hut is a wooden table which was the ideal place to place the radio on and initiate as the ‘shack’.  My first contact was again with Larry VK5LY from the Riverland, and this was followed by Tim VK5AV in the south east of S.A., and then Nev VK5WG from Crystal Brook, followed by Ian VK5IS.  I even snuck in a Victorian National Park, with Marshall VK3MRG operating portable from the Lake Eildon National Park.

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After working a total of 15 stations on 40m it went very quiet.  So I tuned across 40m and other than Urey VK3ATA calling CQ DX, there was not a single VK station on the band.  I could also hear some Europeans coming through, but their signals were very low down.  So I decided to head over to 20m to try my hand.  And my first QSO was with Renzo P29FR.

I am trying my luck at QRP DXCC, and Papua New Guinea was a new QRP country for me.  So I was really happy to get Renzo in the log (5/8 sent and 5/4 received).  My next DX QSO was with Tom DJ7ZZ.  Unfortunately QRM made it very difficult for Tom (5/8 sent and 5/4 received).  And my 3rd DX contact was with Franc F5PAU who had a very strong signal (5/9 sent & 5/2 received).

But I think the highlight was my last QSO of the day, and that was with Anthony VK3YSA/ZL.  Anthony was operating QRP with just 3 watts from an FT-817 and an end fed vertical.  And he was in a Conservation Park, south of Dunedin. Signal reports of 5/3 both ways were exchanged.

Whilst I was operating I had quite a few interested onlookers.  In fact about one dozen people came up, curious as to what I was up to.  This included 3 young guys (one was a pilot) who were involved with UHF radio.

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After a few enjoyable hours of radio, chatting, and a bit of bushwalking in Newland Head CP, I had a total of 24 contacts in the log on 40m SSB and 20m SSB.  This was a really enjoyable activation with quite a few highlights for me.

I worked the following stations:-

Larry VK5LY; Tim VK5AV; Nev VK5WG; Ian VK5IS; Graham VK5KGP; Tom VK5EE; Barry VK5BW; Marshall VK3MRG/p; Peter VK2NEO; Allen VK3HRA; Col VK5HCF; John VK5DJ; Rod VK5VRB; Hans VK5YX; Don VK2HUH; Renzo P29FR; Tom DJ7ZZ; Roy VK7ROY; Don VK7DON; VK6LCK; VK2HAS; Mark VK6AR; Frank F5PAU; & Anthony VK3YSA/ZL (qrp).

Eric Bonython Conservation Park

Following our activation of Waitpinga Conservation Park, Marija and I continued south on the Tunkalilla Road and then turned left into Rymill Road, until we reached our next destination….the Eric Bonython Conservation Park.

Again, as is the case with Waitpinga CP, this is a small park and consists of just 6 hectares.  Although small it is an excellent example of what the vegetation was like on the Fleurieu Peninsula prior to the arrival of the Europeans and the destruction of the bush.  I was not able to find a lot of information on this park on the internet.  I presume it was named after Eric Bonython, the author ?

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The scrub in the park was very thick.  There were no visible cleared areas of land at all.  A large number of the native plants were out in flower.

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We set up the gear just off the side of the road as it was physically impossible to get into the scrub, and just too risky with the ‘Joe Blakes’ (snakes).  We stretched out the legs of the dipole and ran them along in the direction of the dirt road, and secured the squid pole with the squid pole holder and an octopus strap.

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My first contact was with Col VK5HCF who was up at the South East Radio Club clubrooms, Mount Gambier, using his normal QRP 5 watts.  Col had a great 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Tim VK5AV, also from the south east of South Australia, Graham VK5KGP from Victor Harbor, and Nigel VK5NIG in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide.

I had a steady flow of callers after this, but sadly the weather had really deteriorated. The cloud cover had moved in, the sun had disappeared, and the wind was extremely strong.  In fact it was so strong that the 7m telescopic squid pole, de telescoped twice during the activation.

I managed another contact with Marshall VK3MRG in the Lake Eildon National Park, and one SOTA contact with Brian VK3MCD who was portable on SOTA peak VK3/ VU-011.

The weather was just that lousy that it was not enjoyable sitting out there, so it was time to pack up.  I had qualified the park and had a total of 17 QSO’s from VK3 & VK5 in the log.

I worked the following stations:-

Col VK5HCF; Tim VK5AV; Graham VK5KGP; Nigel VK5NIG; Marshall VK3MRG/p; Tom VK5EE; Norm VK5GI; Tom VK5FTRG; Nev VK5WG; Brian VK3MCD/p; Barry VK5BW; Barry VK5BAR; Allen VK3HRA; Ian VK5IS; Bernard VK3AMB; Ian VK5CZ; Nick VK3ANL.

Waitpinga Conservation Park

My first park activation for Saturday 28th December, 2013, was Waitpinga Conservation Park, which is about 40 km west of Victor Harbor, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and about 113 km south of Adelaide.

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Courtesy of: wwww.mapcarta.com

Marija and I had another early start from Victor Harbor and headed out west along Range Road, through the beautiful dairying district of Parawa.  There are sensational views out to both the north and the south from Range Road.  Out to the north are the rolling hills and valleys of the Fleurieu and out to the south is the Southern Ocean.  We then turned left onto Tunkalilla Road and headed towards the coast and Tunkalilla Beach, before turning left onto Illawong Road.  We reached a point on Illawong Road, where we just could not go any further in Marija’s Mitsubishi Lancer.  The road was quite steep and was severely washed away in significant places.  It just wasn’t worth risking getting stuck.

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The Waitpinga Conservation Park is only a small park, which is about 3 hectares in size and is dedicated to the conservation of the rare Coral Fern.  The park consists of low open forest of stringy bark and Pink Gum, over an under storey of bracken, tea-tree, sedges and grasses.

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The vegetation within the park is very thick.  Many of the native plants were out in flower during our visit.  The park is located on the northern side of Illawong Road, and backs onto a pine plantation.  It is quite some distance away from the beach known as Waitpinga Beach.  Waitpinga in the local aboriginal language means ‘windy place’.  And it was windy where we decided to set up.  Despite it being a warm start to the day, a cool change was coming in quickly and the wind off the Southern Ocean was really starting to pick up.

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We set up on the edge of the park in a cleared area and erected the 7m squid pole and the 40m/20m linked dipole.  I tuned to 7.095 and asked if the frequency was in use, only to be greeted by Larry VK5LY with a great signal.  And this was followed by Graham VK5KGP, Col VK5HCF (qrp 5 watts), Tim VK5AV, and a steady flow of callers following that from VK3 & VK5.

I managed a few Victorian park contacts & SOTA contacts whilst in Waitpinga CP.  The first Victorian National Parks contact was with Marshall VK3MRG who was portable in Lake Eildon National Park, camping with the family.

I also spoke with Glenn VK3YY was portable on SOTA peak, Trapyard Hill, VK3/ VT-005, which is located within the Alpine National Park.

And then I was fortunate enough to stumble across Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL who were portable in Cobbobonee National Park, on their extended Christmas adventure of Victorian National Parks.

My final contact in Waitpinga CP, was with Tony VK3CAT who was portable on SOTA peak, King Billy No. 1, VK3/ VE-016.

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I worked a total of 29 stations on 40m SSB.  The following stations are in the log:-

Larry VK5LY; Graham VK5KGP; Col VK5HCF; Tim VK5AV; Brian VK5FMID; Marshall VK3MRG/p; Allen VK3HRA; Tom VK5EE; John VK5TD; Nev VK5WG; Andy VK5AKH; Frank VK3GFS; John VK5FMJC; Nick VK3ANL; Shaun VK5FAKV; Bill VK5MBD; Glenn VK3YY/p; Ron VK5BRL; Dennis VK5LDM; Mal VK5MJ; Steve VK5ST; Grant VK5VGC; Craig VK3NCR/m; Joe VK3YSP/p; Julie VK3FOWL/p; Dave VK3VCE; Tom VK5FTRG; David VK5KC/p; Tony VK3CAT/p.

References.

Parks of the Fleurieu Peninsula, 2011, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Adelaide, South Australia