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.
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.
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