Mount Gawler summit, VK5/SE-013

On the way home (Sunday 27th April, 2014) from my Dad’s place where we had a very enjoyable lunch, my wife Marija and I detoured to Mount Gawler, VK5/ SE-013.  It was not a big change in our route home.  In fact we were driving straight passed Mount Gawler Road on our way to Kersbrook in the Adelaide Hills.  Although I had activated the summit back in January, which meant there were no further activator points for me, it was such a lovely afternoon, that I decided to activate the summit again.  The temperature was about 21 deg C and bright sunshine and it was great afternoon to be outdoors playing radio.

Mount Gawler summit is located on private property, although Mount Gawler Road is well and truly within the activation zone.  When I pulled up I found the gates open to the land owner’s property, so I gave Noel a phone call, and he was only too happy for me to come onto his land and operate underneath the trig point.  So Marija and I parked the car down the road, and we walked back into the activation zone, and set up right underneath the trig point.

Because this was an easy activation, and I had a willing helper (well maybe not all that willing) I carried up the Yaesu FT450 and the 44 amp hour power pack with the intention of running 40 watts.  My antenna was the trusty 40m/20m linked dipole.


On the way to the summit I had heard John VK5BJE who was portable in the Mitchell River National Park.  I hedged my bets that John would not be moving in a hurry, so I didn’t give him a call from the car.  So after setting up at the summit, I tuned the radio to 7.095 and there was John with a beautiful 5/8 signal.  And this was a new park for me for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA).  This was my 42nd Victorian park, leaving me just 3 parks to hunt down, to have worked all 45 Victorian National Parks for the KRMNPA.


After speaking with John, I then moved up to 7.105 and started calling CQ.  My second contact was with Ron VK5FRHB at Mannum who had a massive signal (40/9).  Tim VK5AV followed and then Bob VK5FBAA who was mobile.

A number of QRP stations called in during the activation, which included Peter VK3PF, Col VK5HCF, Rhett VK3GHZ who was portable in the Wilsons Promontory National Park, David VK5NQP who was portable in the Sandy Creek Conservation Park, Andrew VK2UH running just 2 watts, Gerard VK2IO, Andrew VK2FAJG running 2 watts, and Roy VK5NRG.  The 40m band was in very good condition, so even those stations that called me on just 2 watts were very good signals.


After working a total of 39 stations on 40m SSB in VK1, VK2, VK3, & VK5, I moved to 20m SSB.  Nigel VK5NIG had been kind enough to find me a clear frequency on 20m before QSYing there.  Nigel followed me up to 20m and was my first contact there.  Nigel was then kind enough to spot me on SOTAWatch.  I then worked a total of 14 DX stations in Finland, Spain, England, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.  Most of the signal reports coming back to me were around the 5/5 mark.  Not bad for 40 watts and a simple wire dipole

There were more DX stations calling, however, ‘she who must be obeyed‘ had arrived back at the summit with strict instructions that it was time to pack up and yea dome for dinner.  Sorry to those who were still calling.  We also wanted to get home before it got dark, because the roads from Mount Gawler back to our home in the Adelaide Hills, are shared by kangaroos and emus at dusk and during the night.  Neither of those 2 creatures go well with the front fender of a car !

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After an hour at Mount Gawler I had a total of 54 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

John VK5BJE/3; Ron VK5FRHB; Tim VK5AV; Bob VK5FBAA/m; Greg VK5ZGY/m; Rod VK2LAX; Stuart VK5STU; Mark VK1EM; Mark VK3AC; Peter VK3FPSR; Compton VK2HRX; Peter VK5NAQ; Peter VK3PF; Col VK5HCF; Rhett VK3GHZ/p; David VK5NQP/p; Andrew VK2UH; Amanda VK3FQSO; Gerard VK2IO; Bowden VK4MBA/5; Tom VK5FTRG/m; Rob VK3EK; Erwin VK3ERW; Al VK1RX; VK2CCJ; Rod VK2TWR; Dick VK7DIK; Brian VK3MCD; Matt VK2DAG; Peter VK5KPR; Graeme VK3GRK; Andrew VK2FAJG; Roy VK5NRG; Ron VK3AFW; Adam VK2YK; Nigel VK5NIG; Mark VK3YN; Ken VK3DQW; and Mark VK3PI.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

Nigel VK5NIG; OH7XX; EA2LMI; Don G0RQL; Mike DJ5AV; DL1DVE; HB9MKV; Steve M0YCQ/p; Mike G6TUH; Colin G4XUH; EB2JU; Manuel EA2DT; EA2DZX; PA0SKP; and M0DAD.

Cromer Conservation Park

Our last park for the day was the Cromer Conservation Park, which is located about 7 km north of Birdwood, and about 7 km west of Mount Pleasant, in the Adelaide Hills.

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I was running a bit behind schedule for this activation, as Marija and I had stayed a bit longer at Porter Scrub chatting to some of the locals.  As I entered the park off Cromer Road, I saw a ladybird on the entry gate.  I had read previously that ladybirds are reputed to bring you good luck.  So this was a good start to the activation.


Cromer is a great park to activate from.  Although there are plenty of trees to shelter underneath from the sun, there are also lots of open space areas for you to string out your dipole.


I set up the equipment about 50 feet in from the roadway, and for this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-450 again and 40 watts into the 40m/20m linked dipole.

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Prior to calling CQ, I had a quick look around the band to see if I could track down VK1MA and VK3PF who I had heard from the mobile on the way to the park.  I found Matt VK1MA on 7.105, who was portable on SOTA peak Baldy Range, VK2/ ST-008.  I then spoke with Larry VK5LY who was portable in the Cooltong Conservation Park.  Another park to park to add to the list.  And finally, I found Peter VK3PF who was activating French Island National Park for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) and World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF).


I then propped on 7.090 and called CQ and was immediately called by Mark VK1EM.  This was followed by Tom VK5FTRG in the south east, and then David VK5NQP who was still portable in the Port Gawler Conservation Park.

After a few more VK1, VK3, & VK5 contacts, I was called by Peter VK3YE who was portable at Chelsea Beach, running one of his home brew QRP rigs and a wire antenna.  Peter had a very nice steady 5/6 signal.

Again, as was the case with the previous 2 parks, there were some very strong signals.  Pick of the bunch was Nigel VK5NIG (30/9), Darren VK5DT (40/9), and Kevin VK5KU (30/9).  A few more QRP stations called in, including Col VK5HCF (5 watts), Joe VK3YSP (10 watts), and Julie VK3FOWL.

My last 2 contacts on 40m were with mobile stations.  The first was with Peter VK2NEO who was mobile near Leeton.  And the second was with Steve VK3SRB who was mobile in New South Wales on the Riverina Highway.

I had intended to activate 20m in the first 2 parks, but simply ran out of time.  But when things slowed down on 40m, I lowered the antenna and took out the links in the dipole, and then raised the telescopic squid pole again.  After numerous CQ calls I managed 4 contacts on 20m with Shayn VK7HWW, Michael VK1XYZ, Damon VK4HBT who was portable near Bundaberg, and Dom VK2SX who was also portable.

I was active in the park for an hour, and managed 26 contacts on 40m SSB and 4 contacts on 20m SSB.  The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Matt VK1MA/p (SOTA); Larry VK5LY/p; Peter VK3PF/p; Mark VK1EM; Tom VK5FTRG; David VK5NQP/p; Arno VK5ZAR; Phil VK3BHR; Col VK5HCF; Brian VK3MCD; Nigel VK5NIG; Andrew VK1NAM; Joe VK3YSP/p; Julie VK3FOWL/p; Peter VK3YE/p; Mark VK5QI/p; Tony VK3CAT; Darren VK5DT; John VK5DJ; John VK5NJ; Mark VK3ASC; Allen VK3HRA; Kevin VK5KU; John VK3HJD; Marshall VK3MRG; Peter VK2NEO/m; and Steve VK3SRB/m2.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

Shayn VK7HWW; Michael VK1XYZ; Damon VK4HBT/p; and Dom VK2SX/p.

Porter Scrub Conservation Park

After activating Charleston Conservation Park, we headed north to the Porter Scrub Conservation Park.  I had also activated this park last year in July, but because this was a new calendar year, I could activate the park again for points for the VK5 Parks Award.  From Charleston we travelled along Lewis Road and Springhead Road, through the lush countryside of Charleston and Mount Torrens.  We then headed north along Onkaparinga Valley Road, and then Hirthe Road. before turning onto Maidment Road to travel west.  This is beautiful countryside.  Rolling hills, native scrub, and vineyards dominate the landscape.


Porter Scrub is located about 8 km north of the historic town of Lobethal, and about 8 km west of Mount Torrens.

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Porter Scrub is one of my favourite parks.  It is a very pretty park, with tall Stringybark woodland, Candlebark Gum forest, Mountain Gum, Pink Gum and River Red Gum.  There is a thick under storey with many ferns to be found  There is a very well maintained track which travels through the park, and I highly recommend a walk through the park.

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As we were driving along Maidment Road, Marija and I came across Greg VK5LG, driving in the opposite direction.   So after a quick chat, Greg turned his car around and followed us down to the intersection of Maidment Road, and Lihou Road.  There is a small parking area here and a gate, with access to the park.


We set up the station in the same spot as last year, on the edge of the walking track, about 30 feet inside the gate on Maidment Road.  There are not to many other options in the park, as there are no cleared areas and the vegetation is very thick.

Prior to putting out any CQ calls, Greg and I tuned across the 40m band and found Larry VK5LY who was portable in the Murray River National Park.  There were no missing Larry, as his signal was very strong (20/9).  I then propped on 7.105 and put out a CQ call and was called by Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland.  This was followed by Dave VK3VCE and then David VK5NQP who was still operating portable in the Port Gawler Conservation Park, north of Adelaide.  I then spoke with Frank VK2MI, Peter VK3PF mobile, and Peter VK3ZPF.  It was time to hand the reigns over to Greg.


Greg took over control of the microphone and his first contact was with Peter VK3ZPF, followed by Ian VK3FIAN, and then Arno VK5ZAR.  After 11 QSOs into VK3 and VK5, and a quick chat between the two of us, Greg decided to head home.  I was really pleased that Greg called in to the park to say hi, and look forward to catching up with him for another coffee soon (Greg works just across the road from me).


It was getting towards that time to pull the antenna down, but the goat had bleated on my SOTA Goat application on the iPhone, so I tuned to 7.090 and spoke with Mark VK1MBE who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Ainslee, VK1/ AC-040.  I then put out a few CQ calls on 7.105 and spoke with some of the dedicated park hunters including Brian VK5FMID, Tom VK5FTRG, John VK5DJ (40/9), Arno VK5ZAR (30/9), Greg VK5ZGY mobile, and Nigel VK5NIG (40/9).  Wow, some of those guys had very strong signals !

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My last contact was a park to park QSO with David VK5NQP in Port Gawler CP.  After 45 minutes in the park, Greg and I had 30 QSO’s in the log into VK2, VK3, and VK5.  This compared to 7 QSOs in this park last year in July.

As we were packing up, a local couple approached us and were interested in what we were doing.

I worked the following stations before the UTC rollover:-

Larry VK5LY/p; Ivan VK5HS; Dave VK3VCE; David VK5NQP/p; and Frank VK2MI.

I spoke to the following stations after the UTC rollover:-

Peter VK3PF/m; Peter VK3ZPF; Mark VK1MBE/p (SOTA); Brian VK5FMID; Tom VK5FTRG; John VK5DJ; Arno VK5ZAR; Nigel VK5NIG; Greg VK5ZGY/m; Roy VK5NRG; Rod VK2LAX; Rod VK5VRB; Allan VK5FADP; and David VK5NQP/p.

The following stations were contacted by Greg:-

Peter VK3ZPF; Ian VK3FIAN; Arno VK5ZAR; Dave VK3VCE; Larry VK5LY; VK3FLYY; Ivan VK5HS; VK5ET; Amanda VK3FQSO; Brian VK5FMID; Graham VK5KGP.


Charleston Conservation Park

On Saturday morning, bright and early, Marija and I headed off to the Charleston Conservation Park, which is near the little town of Charleston in the Adelaide Hills.  I had activated Charleston CP last year in July, and managed just 11 QSOs.  But this was a new calendar year, so it meant another activator point for me.

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image courtesy of Googlemaps.

I spoke a bit about the little town of Charleston in last years post, so I won’t rehash that information.  But here is an excerpt from ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?‘ which was written in 1908 by Rodney Cockburn…..

‘Charleston and Mount Charles-in the Mount Lofty Ranges, have given rise to some confusion.  Charles Dunn, (brother of John Dunn, the miller) who devoted his life chiefly to blacksmithing and farming in the hills, has been mentioned as supplying the derivation of these names, but a much stronger claim may be established for Charles Newman, who was on the spot nearly five years before the advent of Dunn.  Newman, who was experienced in the management of sheep, left Somersetshire in July 1837, under engagement to the South Australian Company as a shepherd.  The voyage was made in the Katherine Stewart Forbes.  He was the first man to camp a flock of sheep at Mount Charles, near which he took up a section of land in 1843 and established a home.  He built up a valuable estate, represented Charleston Ward in the Omkaparinga District Council, of which he was a Chairman; was a trustee of the local Methodist Church; and died on 7 September 1900, in his eightieth year’.1


In January 2014, a fire swept through the park, and I was interested to see what damage had been caused.  We accessed the park via Bell Springs Road, and as we drove down the narrow dirt road, we came across a few Western Grey kangaroos enjoying their breakfast.  We parked the car in a little carpark near an access gate on the northern side of the park, at Park Road.  And it was almost immediately evident that this part of the park had fortunately, not been affected by the fire.


With the assistance of my trusty wife, we set up the fold up table and chair right alongside of the Conservation Park sign just inside the park boundary.  I drove the squid pole holder into the ground and secured the 7 metre squid pole with an octopus strap.  I had brought along my Yaesu FT-450 and the Yaesu FT-817, but decided to run the bigger radio on 40 watts output.

We were in for a beautiful sunny day, but it was still early in the morning.  I was set up in the park ready to go at 7.30 a.m. and it was really chilly.  The sun was just starting to come up in the east, but the trees in the park were shielding me from the warmth of the sun.  After turning on the radio, I found the 40m band to be very busy.  There were quite a few VKs and even more DX stations coming in from Europe.  Some of the Europeans were so strong I was tempted to give them a shout.  But I figured that my meagre power and small dipole probably would not make the distance.


I had specified 7.095 in my alert on parksnpeaks, but there were a couple of VKs on 7.093, so I went up to 7.098 and put out a CQ call, to be immediately called by Darren VK5DT who had a massive signal (40/9).  This was followed by Larry VK5LY who was portable in the Pike River Conservation Park in the Riverland.  Larry also had a beautiful 5/9 signal.  It seemed the band was in very good condition.

I also scored another park to park contact.  This time with David VK5NQP who was portable in the Port Gawler Conservation Park, north of Adelaide.  David’s signal was very strong (20/9).  Conditions on the band were very good and it was very pleasing to get a few QRP stations in the log during the activation.  They included Amanda VK3FQSO, Matt VK5MLB on 10 watts on his KX3, and Marshall VK3MRG running 5 watts.

Greg VK5LG, who lives at nearby Cudlee Creek called in to say hello.  We arranged for Greg to meet me at my next park activation location which was to be the Porter Scrub Conservation Park near Kenton Valley.

My last contact of the day was with Larry VK5LY who was mobile on his way from Pike River CP to the Murray River National Park.  After an hour in the park, it was time to move on.  I had a total of 26 QSOs on 40m SSB in the log.  This was 13 more contacts than last year and is a testament to the popularity of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

The following stations were worked:-

Darren VK5DT; Larry VK5LY/p; Tim VK5AV; Col VK5HCF; Owen VK7OR; Ben VK5BB; Amanda VK3FQSO; David VK5KC; Brian VK5FMID; Tob VK5TS; David VK5NQP/p; Darren VK2NNN; Erwin VK3ERW/p; Len VK3FB; Peter VK3PF/m; Hreg VK3UT; Matt VK5MLB; Ian VK5CZ; Marshall VK3MRG; Alan VK3OA; John VK5TD; Greg VK5LG; John VK3HJD; Peter VK5NAQ; Arno VK5ZAR; and Larry VK5LY/m.


1.  Cockburn; S, 2002; ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?’

WWFF certificate

A couple of months ago I received the certificate below for making contact with 88 different World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) references.  I thought I would post a little bit on my WordPress site about the WWFF program, which is slowly picking up some momentum in Australia.  It is extremely popular in Europe and North America, and other parts of the world.

The WorldWide Flora and Fauna program encourages portable operation from various nature parks and protected nature areas around the world.  In Australia, the qualifying parks are NATIONAL PARKS.  I am the Australian co-ordinator for WWFF.



There is a global WWFF Award system, and various National WWFF Award programs.  This includes an AUSTRALIAN (VKFF) National Award program.  Each National program has their our award system, and offers their own unique award certificates.  This is the case, with the AUstralian program….a number of certificates are offered.

For the global WWFF certificates, activators require 44 contacts, for an activation to be deemed as valid.

However, for the Australian VKFF program, only 10 contacts are required for a valid activation.

For more information, have a look at the global WWFF website at…..

You can also find all the relevant information re the Australian (VKFF) program on the Australian website, which I put together, at…..

You are assured a lot of fun, if you can run a bit of extra power and get onto one of the DX bands such as 20m.  Not only will you be sought after as a VK, but being in a National Park that qualifies for WWFF, will make you a very good catch.  Just ask Tony VK3VTH and Peter VK3ZPF, who in recent times have been working huge European pile ups as part of WWFF.

Have FUN.

H 88 VK5PAS 2014 038

PR4Amateur Radio at Belair National Park

On Sunday 13th April, 2014, I headed over to the Belair National Park for the PR4Amateur Radio expo.  Myself and 5 other trusty volunteers from the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society (AHARS) had organised a small display at the National Park.

I arrived at the park at about 9.00 a.m. and started setting up on Gums Oval 1, which is just inside the main gates off Upper Sturt Road.  I put up my 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on a 7 metre squid pole.


I was joined by Paul VK5PH whilst I was setting up.  Paul had brought along his trailer with a 10 metre pump up mast.  Shortly after we were joined by Roy VK5NRG, David VK5AAH, Kim VK5FJ, and Tony VK5KAT.

Our first contact for the day was with Peter VK3ZPF who was portable on SOTA peak, VK3/ VC-029.  This was followed by a contact with Andrew VK1NAM/2 who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Cowangerong, VK2/ ST-001.

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We then propped on 7.105 and put a few CQ calls out.  First taker was Ian VK5CZ who was running QRP 7 watts.  Ian had a beautiful strong 5/9 signal coming in from the Clare Valley.  Peter VK3YE then called in who was pedestrian mobile on Chelsae Beach, running QRP 5 watts and using an end fed antenna.

Contact was also made with Andrew VK1DA on SOTA peak Mount Majura, VK1/ AC-034, Erwin VK3ERW on SOTA peak Huon Hill VK3/ VE-237, and Andrew VK3ASC portable on SOTA peak Mount Jack Range, VK3/ VE-090.

We also managed some park to park contacts for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Those contacts were with Larry VK5LY who was portable in the Telowie Gorge Conservation Park, and Gordon VK5GY who was portable in Kyeema Conservation Park.

We made contact with VK3ER who was also portable for PR4Amateur Radio.

I then decided to head over to 20 metres and try my luck.  Our first DX contact was with OL4A in the Slovak Republic, and this was followed by a contact with Vlad 4Z5IW in Israel.  I then chose a clear frequency on 14.302 and started calling CQ DX and was called by Hans VK5YX.  This was followed by Peter VK2EVB who was pedestrian mobile at Coffs Harbour.  A pile up into Europe then followed after being spotted on the DX cluster.

Sadly we did not have many members of the public visit us.  Unfortunately DEWNR were not prepared to hand out our promotional amateur radio brocuhures, which really limited our exposure.  Their rationale was that it was ‘advertising’.  However we did have about half a dozen visitors that were amateurs who were not active who wanted to see our operation.


Newland Head Conservation Park

My last activation of the weekend was the Newland Head Conservation Park, which is situated about 91 km south of Adelaide, and about 10 km south west of the seaside tourist town of Victor Harbor (where I once lived many years ago).


The approach to the park as you travel south along Dennis Road, is quite impressive.  There are very good views of beautiful Waitpinga Beach and the roaring waves of the Southern Ocean.  You also get a very good view of the Waitpinga Creek which flows out to the ocean.


Marija and I unpacked the gear from the car and walked down to the beach.  There is a boardwalk and stairs leading down to the beach.  I had activated Newland Head CP last year, but the weather was too unkind to head down onto the beach.  But today was a beautiful sunny day with a fairly calm breeze, so I decided to head down to the beach itself.  I set up the fold up table and deck chair facing the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean.  I initially felt a bit silly as I was the only person on the beach with a squid / fishing pole, that wasn’t trying to catch fish.


Prior to calling CQ, I wanted to try to get a few of the other park activators in the log, so I went for a bit of a hunt across the 40m band.  My first contact was with Col VK5HCF who was portable in the Big Heath Conservation Park, down in the south east of South Australia.  I then worked David VK5NQP who was portable in the Porter Scrub Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills, and then Andy VK5LA who was portable in the Murray River National Park.

I then found Peter VK3PF who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Lookout, VK3/ VT-030.  And before propping on a frequency, I spoke with Richard VK5ZRY who was portable in the Leven Beach Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula.

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I found 7.110 clear, so I put out a CQ call, and was called by Arno VK5ZAR who was portable in the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  A steady flow of Park Hunters followed including a number of park activators and Peter VK3ZPF who was portable on SOTA peak, VK3/ VC-037.  Park to Park contacts included ANdy VK5ARG in The Knoll Conservation Park, Steve VK5AIM at Martindale Hall Conservation Park, Andrew VK5MR in Mokota Conservation Park, Gary VK5FTRG in Moritalta Conservation Park, Larry VK5LY in Bakara Conservation Park, Andrew VK5KET in Ewens Ponds Conservation Park, Andy VK5ARG in Belair National Park, Col VK5HCF in the Glenroy Conservation Park, Richard VK5ZRY in Carribee Conservation Park, and Andy VK5ARG in Marino Conservation Park.


After operating on 40m for about 90 minutes, I decided to go and have a listen on 20m.  But I was sadly disappointed when I got there, to find the band very busy with eastern European contesters.  It didn’t sound like a great afternoon to be operating 40 watts on 20m.  However I found a clear frequency and put out a CQ call, and was immediately called by Grom VK6NUT.  But I hadn’t even been there for 1 minute, when UT7E from the Ukraine came on the frequency and started calling CQ Contest.  His signal was so strong that it tidally drowned out From.  I QSYd down about 10kc hoping that Grom would find me and sure enough he did, and we could complete our QSO.


The frequency remained clear and I managed to work Colin VK2CSW, Bernard VK2IB/3, Kevin M0DAD pedestrian mobile, Zenik SP5INQ, Phil 2E0EDX mobile, Alex R1NA, and VK4GCQ.

It was starting to get a bit late in the afternoon, and we still had an hour’s drive back home, with the prospect of work in the morning.  So sadly, I packed up the gear, and we made our way back home to Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.  I ended up with 62 contacts.

After a very enjoyable 2 hours of operating on the beach, I had a total of 61 contacts on 40m ssb and 20m ssb.

The following stations were worked:-

Col VK5HCF/p; David VK5NQP/p; Andy VK5LA/p; Peter VK3PF/p; Richard VK5ZRY/p; Arno VK5ZAR/p; Tim VK5AV; Peter VK3ZPF/p; John VK5BJE; Andy VK5ARG/p; Steve VK5AIM/p; Greg VK5ZGY/p; Andrew VK5MR/p; Tom VK5FTRG; Amanda VK3FQSO; Gary VK5FGRY/p; Brian VK5FMID; Rod VK5VRB; John VK2AWJ; Larry VK5LY/p; Shaun VK5FAKV; Wolf VK5WF; Andrew VK5KET/p; Steve VK5AIM/p; Bernard VK3AMB; Adam VK2YK; Dave VK3VCE; Nick VK3ANL; Keith VK5FEKH; Ted VK3HHK; Chris VK4FR/5; Keith VK3FT; Patrick VK5MPJ; Ben VK5BB; Paul VK5NE; Alan VK3OA; Glen VK3GMC; Ray VK3NBL; Andy VK5ARG/p; Peter VK5KX; Les VK5KLD; Colin VK3UBY; Tony VK3CAT; Michael VK5ZEA; Greg VK5GJ; Ian VK3VIN; Sandy VK3LSB; Clive VK3FCMR; Peter VK7LCW; Tom VK5FTRG/m; Col VK5HCF/p; Richard VK5ZRY/p; Andy VK5ARG/p; Grom VK6NUT; Colin VK23CSW; Bernard VK2IB/p; Kevin M0DAD/pm; Zenek SP5INQ; Phil 2E0EDD/pm; Alex R1NA; VK4GCQ.

More photos of this activation can be found in the Photos section of the VK5 Parks Award Yahoo group at…..

Eric Bonython Conservation Park

After leaving the Deep Creek Conservation Park, Marija and I headed towards the Waitpina Conservation Park, which was our next intended activation, but could not get access due to road closures.  So we chose an alternate activation at the Eric Bonython Conservation Park, which is located at Tunkalilla, about 100 km south of Adelaide, on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  I had activated Eric Bonython CP last year in December, so this was going to be another new activation for the new calendar year and another point to add to my activator tally.


We travelled from Deep Creek, along Range Road, and then south along Tunkalilla Road towards the Southern Ocean.  We then turned left onto Rymill Road.  The park commences on your left, just 100 metres down the road.  It is a very thick but narrow strip of native vegetation which is only 6 hectares in size.  The Tunkalilla Creek flows on the northern edge of the park.  There are some excellent views of the nearby Pages Islands and Kangaroo Island from the park.

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I am not 100 % sure of the origins of the name of the park, as there is very little on the internet.  But I understand it was named after Eric Glenie Bonython (1910-1971) who was an author, explorer, and conservationist.

The morning had warmed up and the sun had a bit of bite, so I set up in amongst the scrub on the northern side of Rymill Road, which afforded some shade.   We stretched putt the legs of the dipole so they ran parallel to the roadway, and drove the squid pole holder into the ground to support the squid pole.  The fold up table and deck chair were placed in position, and for this activation I used the Yaesu FT-450 on 40 watts.

Again prior to calling CQ on a particular frequency, I decided to have a ‘hunt’ around the band to see if I could get some more park activators in the log.  The band was extremely busy again with park activators and hunters.  This was really exciting to hear.  My first contact was with Greg VK5ZGY who was in the Narracoorte Caves National Park, and this was followed by Andrew VK5KET who was portable in the Nene Valley Conservation Park.  I kept tuning around the band and my next contact was with Andrew VK5MR, activating the Pandappa Conservation Park.  This was Andrew’s first weekend of park activating.  This was followed by contacts with Col VK5HCF portable in the Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park, and Tom VK5FTRG portable in the Reedy Creek Conservation Park.


I then found a clear frequency on 7.120 and put out a CQ call, to be called immediately by John VK5BJE who was portable in the Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Andy (VK5AKH) VK5ARG then called in from the Mount George Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Andy and Mark VK5QI were using the club call of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group, and were on their way to activate a total of 20 parks.

I had some more Park to Park contacts, which included Arno VK5ZAR in the Black Hill Conservation Park, Stuart VK5STU in the Port Gawler Conservation Park, Les VK5KLV in the Winninowie Conservation Park near Port Augusta, and David VK5NQP in the Porter Scrub Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Peter VK3PF also called in from the top of SOTA summit, Mount Matlock, VK3/ VC-001.

Whilst I was operating I had the pleasure to watch a Wedge Tailed eagle soaring above the cliffs.  He/she slowly glided closer and closer towards me.  They are an amazing bird with a wingspan of up to 2.27 metres (7 feet 5 in).


Callers had started to slow down a bit on 7.120 and it was getting time to pack up and head off to Newland Head Conservation Park.  But I decided to have a last look around the band and I managed to sneak in a few more Park to park contacts.  This included Tony VK3VTH/5 in the Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park, Andy VK5ARG portable in the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, Col VK5HCF in the Mary Seymour Conservation Park, Larry VK5LY in the Swan Reach Conservation Park, and Andrew VK5MR in the Caroona Creek Conservation Park.  I also had a QSO with Peter VK3ZPF who was portable on SOTA peak VK3/ VC-037.

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After about 90 minutes of activating, I had a total of 45 contacts on 40m in the log, including 17 Park to Park contacts.

The following stations were worked:-

Greg VK5ZGY/p; Andrew VK5KET/p; Andrew VK5MR/p; Col VK5HCF/p; Tom VK5FTRG/p; John VK5BJE/p; Andy VK5ARG/p; Tim VK5AV; Tony VK3CAT; Phil VK3BHR; Greg VK5GJ; Amanda VK3FQSO; Peter VK3PF/p; Bernard VK3AMB; Peter VK3SOL/p; Arno VK5ZAR/p; Les VK5KLD; Patrick VK5MPJ; Stuart VK5STU/p; Bob VK5FBAA/p; Rod VK5VRB; Colin VK3UBY; Terry VK3UP/m; Allen VK3HRA; Les VK5KLV/p; Chris VK4FR/5; Rick VK5FGSK; Peter VK3TKK/m; Wolf VK5WF; Keith VK5FEKH; Eric VK7EK; David VK5NQP/p; Paul VK5NE; Colin VK5DK; Charles VK5FBAC; Joe VK3YSP; Julie VK3FOWL; Tony VK3VTH/5; Andy VK5FTRG/p; Peter VK3ZPF/p (SOTA); Col VK5HCF/p; Brian VK5FMID; John VK2AWJ; Larry VK5LY/p; and Andrew VK5MR/p.

More photos of this activation can be found in the Photos section of the VK5 Parks Award Yahoo group at…..