On Saturday morning, 8th March, 2014, I headed over to the Belair National Park, to do an activation for both the VK5 Parks Award and WWFF. This was my first activation of Belair NP for 2014, so it was 2 extra activator points for the VK5 Parks Award. And I needed to try to get a few more QSO’s to head towards 44 for the global WWFF award.
I have activated Belair NP previously and have talked about this beautiful park in other posts. But very briefly, it is located about 13 km south east of Adelaide and is about 835 hectares in size. Belair NP was the first dedicated National Park in South Australia, having been established in 1891. About 250,000 visitors enjoy the park each year.
My ever faithful wife Marija came along, who enjoyed a bush walk through the park, whilst I played on the radio. I set up near Pines Oval 2 just off Pines Oval Road. Marija became all sentimental, because this is where we had our engagement party years ago. Plenty of fond memories and lots of stories from that day which probably should not be mentioned here !
I set up my 40m/20m linked dipole on the top of the 7m squid pole, and for this activation I used by Yaesu FT-450, and ran 30 watts.
Band conditions seemed extremely good, however, there were not many stations on the 40m band at all. My first contact was with Rod VK2ZRD who had a very strong 5/8 signal, with a 5/8 coming back to me. This was followed by one of the regulars, Col VK5HCF down in Mount Gambier (5/9 both ways). And then Nick VK3ANL called in with his QRP 5 watts with a nice 5/8 signal. I also worked Ian VK3VIN, and David VK5NQP. But the surprise call came from Neil VK8ZCU who was mobile 30 km south of Alice Springs with a very nice 5/7 signal from his mobile.
I kept calling CQ for a while but there were no takers, so I headed down to the Riverland Radio Group Net where I spoke with Ron VK5BRL and a further 7 stations, including Col VK5FCDL/2.
After the UTC rollover I headed to 7.095 and called CQ and was called by Roy (VK5NRG) who was operating VK5BAR at the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society clubrooms at nearby Blackwood. This was followed by some of the regular Park Hunters including Nev VK5WG, Tim VK5AV, Bernard VK3AMB/m, and Don VK5NFB. New to the park’s log was Murray VK5BWA.
Things really slowed down on 40m, so I headed over to 20m and called CQ for about 5 minutes but there were absolutely no takers. I think this is due to the fact that we have no audible alert system for the parks, like SOTAGoat and Rucksack Radio. This is something we really need to work on. So I tuned across the band and heard quite a few USA guys but their signals were down a bit so I didn’t bother calling. But I did find John VK5TD calling CQ who was incredibly strong, so I had a chat with him. I then worked felix VK4FUQ in Ingham in Queensland with a beautiful 5/9 signal, and then Ron VK6KRC who was a good 5/7 into Belair NP.
After about 90 minutes in the park, it was time to pack up. I had a total of 24 QSO’s in the log.
The following stations were worked before the UTC rollover:-
Rod VK2ZRD; Col VK5HCF; Nick VK3ANL; Ian VK3VIN; Neil VK8ZCU/m; David VK5NQP; Ron VK5BRL; Grant VK5VGC; John VK5NJ; Dennis VK5LDM; Tim VK5AV; Daniel VK5DF; Col VK5FCDL/2; and Keith VK5ND.
The following stations were worked after the UTC rollover:-
Roy VK5BAR; Roy VK5NRG; Nev VK5WG; Tim VK5AV; Murray VK5BWA; Bernard VK3AMB/m; Don VK5NFB; John VK5TD; Felix VK4FUQ; and Ron VK6KRC.
National Parks South Australia, http://www.environment.sa.gov.au