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).

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