On the way home from the VK5 SOTA & Parks symposium, Larry VK5LY and I stopped off at The Knoll Conservation Park, which is located at Crafers West in the ‘Adelaide Hills’ Mount Lofty Ranges. Before leaving the BBQ, the 2 ‘eager beavers’ Nigel VK5NIG & Stu VK5STU had mentioned they were going to whizz over to Mount Lofty summit which is located within the Cleland Conservation Park, and do a dual SOTA/Parks activation. So, Larry and I did not need any prompting.
I activated The Knoll CP last year, but because it was a new calendar year, this activation was another point for me. And this was a unique / new park for Larry. The Knoll CP is a beautiful little Conservation Park, which I am sure most people don’t even know about. The entrance is off Waverley Ridge Road, directly opposite Sheoak Road, and the start of busy Upper Sturt Road. I am sure that most people drive passed this park quickly and don’t even know it’s there.
There is a small carpark on the eastern side of Waverly Ridge Road, so we parked Larry’s car there and unpacked the gear. Larry and I then walked up the slight hill to the tower installation in the park, and set up just on the southern side of the tower and associated infrastructure. We couldnt venture too far into the park, because we were wearing ‘Japanese safety boots’ (thongs), and there is a large amount of leaf litter and debris on the ground within this park. We didn’t fancy a chance encounter with a snake ! We set up Larry’s home brew linked dipole and Yaesu FT-817, and found ourselves some shade from the very hot sun, under a large gum tree. We then tuned to 7.095 on 40m ssb.
Our first QSO’s were with Stu & Nigel on the top of Mount Lofty. They answered Larry’s first CQ call. Stu and Nigel were only about 3 km away from us, so it was no surprise that their signal/s were very strong. That was a great start. A SOTA contact and a Park to Park contact for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.
Larry kept calling CQ and got a few Park Hunters, but it was very quiet on the band. Trevor VK5TW called in, followed by Phil VK3BHR with a nice signal. Nick VK3ANL/p who was portable on SOTA summit Mount Ida VK3/ VU-009 and within Heathcote-Graytown National Park VKFF-624 then gave us a call. Another SOTA peak, and a WWFF park. But that was about it…..it was very quiet. So we checked the radio and found that we had the 817 on the 2.5 watt setting.
Larry and I then bumped up the power to a mighty 5 watts and were called by ‘the voice of the mid north’ Nev VK5WG, followed by Peter VK3PF. So after many minutes of calling CQ with no takers, Larry and I tuned across the band and found Tony VK3VTH/p. Tony was in Cobbobonnee National Park for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award & WWFF (VKFF-728). Tony had a very strong 5/9 signal.
We then ventured back to 7.095 and put a few calls out and were greeted by Brian VK5FMID; Tim VK5AV, Peter VK5KET, and Amanda VK3FQSO. Peter was running QRP 5 watts, using his FT-817 from home.
It was starting to get very hot, and we were heading out for tea, that night, so we packed up and headed home, with another park activation under our belt.
The following stations were worked:-
Stu VK5STU/p (SOTA); Nigel VK5NIG/p (SOTA); Phil VK3BHR; Nick VK3ANL/p (National Park); Nev VK5WG; Peter VK3PF; Tony VK3VTH/p (National Park); Brian VK5FMID; Tim VK5AV; Andrew VK5KET/p; Amanda VK3FQSO; and Trevor VK5TW.
That night, my wife Marija and I, and Larry and his wife Di, enjoyed a very nice meal and some fine wine at one of our local restaurants ‘Nonna’s’ at Mount Barker.