Cox Scrub Conservation Park

Our second park of the day was the Cox Scrub Conservation Park, which is just a  short drive from the Bullock Hill Conservation Park.  I activated this park in December last year, so this was going to be another point for me as it was a new calendar year.  Activators for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award can activate a park for points every calendar year.

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Marija and I set up in the same spot as last year, which was the car park off Bull Creek Road.  This is a very busy road, with lots of traffic travelling to and from the Fleurieu Peninsula, including a number of trucks from the Goolwa quarry.  So be a little careful when you come out of the carpark, as it is on a sweeping bend.  The car park is a great spot to set up as there is lots of room to string up the dipole.  The only down side is that it can be a little bit noisy with all the traffic from the nearby Bull Creek Road.


The radio was still set on 7.095 on 40m, so after asking if the frequency was in use, I was immediately greeted by John VK2AWJ with a very strong signal.  There is no need to tune the 40m/20m antenna as it is resonant for both the bands.  The coax just plugs straight into the back of the radio.  I have never had the need to use a tuner.  I had just a few minutes before the UTC rollover, but I managed to sneak in Wolf VK5WF and Rob VK5TRM before the new UTC day.  Park Hunters for the VK5 Parks award can get points for a particular park every UTC day.

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After the rollover, John VK2AWJ was the first to call back in again.  This was followed by Nev VK5WG and Peter VK3PF.  The band was still holding up quite well.  Signal strengths had dropped slightly, as you would expect later in the morning, but conditions were still very good.  I spoke with Harry VK2DWT/m5, who was mobile at Coober Pedy, using his FT857d, 100 watts, and a multi band vertical.  Harry had a very nice signal and we had a very enjoyable chat.

I then QSYd to 20 metres, not really expecting to get much in the log.  However, I always like to try 20m for some of the further afield Australian operators.  But what followed was certainly not expected.  I worked 11 stations, and probably could have kept going, except for the fact that we were running out of time and wanted to get on the road.

My first contact on 20m was with Phil VK2PHP who was portable in Newcastle, and this was followed by Ian VK3VIN, running QRP from his little Argonaut.  I received calls from VK2, VK3, and VK4.  All with very nice signals.  The Victorian guys were extremely strong which is not normally my experience on 20m.

Marija had received a telephone call from Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier, wondering if I was going to try 40m again, so I quickly went back to 40m and worked Brian, Rob VK5TS mobile and John VK5BJE, before going QRT.  We then packed up and headed off to Mount Compass where we enjoyed a very nice meal at the Mount Compass Tavern.  I had some beautifully prepared kangaroo fillets.

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I worked a total of 26 stations from the park.  A total of 15 of those were on 40m ssb and 11 on 20m ssb.

The following stations were worked before the UTC rollover:-

John VK2AWJ; Wolf VK5WF; and Rob VK5TRM.

The following stations were worked after the UTC rollover:-

John VK2AWJ; Nev VK5WG; Peter VK3PF; Rob VK5TRM; Larry VK5LY; Norm VK5GI; Amanda VK3FQSO; Col VK5HCF; Harry VK2DWT/m5; Phil VK2PHP/p; Ian VK3VIN; Norm VK5GI/qrp; John VK3JLS; Max VK3MCX; Bob VK4ZL; Trevor VK3PD; Zenon VK2YZS/m; Anthony VK3LAJ; Dave VK2DML; Terry VK3ASU; Rob VK5TS/m; John VK5BJE; and Brian VK5FMID.

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

Bullock Hill Conservation Park

On Friday 4th April, 2014, my ever faithful and tolerant wife Marija and I, headed south towards the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula to spend a few nights in the Deep Creek Conservation Park.  We had booked ‘Glendale’ cottage located in the heart of the park.  Our reason for heading down there, was that weekend was the 1st anniversary of the VK5 Parks Award, and a special activation weekend had been arranged to celebrate the event.

I had convinced Marija, that we  would stop into a couple of parks on the way down to the Fleurieu.  So our first stop was the Bullock Hill Conservation Park, which is located about 65 km south of Adelaide, near the small town of Ashbourne.

The Bullock Hill Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 20th January 2014, so it is a very young park.  It consists of 200 hectares of undulating countryside, mainly consisting of Pink and Cup gum, with a dense under storey of acacia and mixed heath.

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Earlier in the year I had spoken with Tony Randall, the Programs Manager of the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association Inc.  Tony had submitted a proposal that the scrub be proclaimed as a Conservation Park and was keenly awaiting a reply from the State Government.  And then just a few weeks ago, I received an email from Greg VK5GJ, to advise that the park had been gazetted as a Conservation Park.

Marija and I travelled through Ashbourne and then south along Wattle Flat Road.  Should you ever visit Ashbourne, there is a terrific little pub there called The Greenman Inn.  The hotel, which was built in 1865, was the original Post Office and General Store for the area.  As we travelled down Wattle Flat Road, the park was visible on our right, but we continued down to Haines Road, hoping to access the park from there.  However the road was impassable.  Haines Road is a dirt track, and the Giles Creek crosses it, and it was totally impossible to try crossing it, as you can see from the photograph below.


So we headed back north along Wattle Flat Road, and found a sign for the park and decided to set up there.  As we travelled along Wattle Flat Road, we encountered quite a lot of Western Grey kangaroos on the road.  It was slow going, as they were out in force, with it still being early in the morning.


I used the Conservation Park sign to strap the squid pole to, with the use of the ever reliable octopus straps.  The antenna was the 40m/20m linked dipole, inverted vee.   Next was the fold up table and deck chair.  For this activation, I decided to use my Yaesu FT-450, powered by the 44 amp hour power pack.  I ran the FT450 at 40 watts.

I turned the radio on and put a call out on 7.095 to be greeted by Larry VK5LY from Renmark in the South Australian Riverland, with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  This was followed by Trevor VK5ATQ who was also 5/9 +, and then John VK2AWJ who was also very strong from New South Wales.  The 40m band seemed to be in very good condition.  I went on to work a further nine stations from VK3, VK5, and VK7.  Nobody was under S9.  I had not heard such strong signals on 40m ssb for a long long time.


When things got a little quiet, I walked up to the top of the hill behind me, and into the scrub.  There were some spectacular views from here out to the west towards the nearby Finnis River and down to the south.  I also encountered a significant number of Western Grey kangaroos.  The park was also alive with Superb Blue wrens darting around the scrub.

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So after a few moments of admiring the view, it was time to head back down the hill, and pack up, and head off to the next park, the Cox Scrub Conservation Park.

The following stations were worked:-

Larry VK5LY; Trevor VK5ATQ; John VK2AWJ; John VK5BJE; Les VK5KLD; Amanda VK3FQSO; Peter VK3PF; Hans VK5YX; Damien VK3CT/mobile; Paul VK7CC; Wolf VK5WF; and Rob VK5TRM.

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





Department of Environment & Natural Resources, Parks of the Fleurieu Peninsula brochure