On Saturday afternoon, Marija and I headed to Talisker Conservation Park, which is just a short distance away from where we were staying at Deep Creek. On the way there, we drove passed SOTA peak VK5/ SE-016 and I was very tempted to stop off and do a quick SOTA activation. But I thought better of it. I was already pushing my luck with Marija and wanted to be fed that night.
Talisker Conservation Park was established in 1976 and consists of 211 hectares of native scrub. It includes some very steep areas. We accessed the park via Range Road West, and then Talisker Road. There is a large parking area on Talisker Road, with an information sign.
The park incorporates the old Talisker silver-lead mine, which was discovered by John McLeod in 1862. It was named after a locality on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Talisker employed Cornish miners and supported a nearby township called Silverton. The population of Silverton grew to 3000 at its peak in 1870. The Talisker Mining Company worked the mine until falling ore grades and a lack of finance, forced the mine’s closure in 1872. Between 1917 to 1920, the mine was worked again, mainly for arsenic.
A view of the mine, c. 1875
Prior to setting up we went for a walk through the park. I highly recommend that you do this if you visit Talisker. The history here is amazing and there is an excellent marked trailed with interpretive signs indicating all the historic ruins. The trail is a bit steep in parts but is worth the effort. There are also open mine shafts but these are fenced off.
During our walk we spotted a few Western grey kangaroos trying to avoid the afternoon sun, and some beautiful butterflies. Everywhere you looked, there was bird life. Of the feathered variety ! Superb Blue wrens and Yellow tailed black cockatoos were in abundance.
As mentioned the trail is quite steep, but the views are well worth it. If you venture to the lookout, you can be rewarded with some spectacular views of nearby Kangaroo Island. The lookout is well signposted and can be accessed from the carpark on Talsiker Road.
Marija and I walked back to the car and got out all the gear and set up in the car park itself. There werent too many other options due to the very thick scrub and the steep terrain. It wasn’t all that busy, so I had a bit of room to play with, and stretched out the legs of the dipole. The ground was physically too hard to drive any stakes in, so I improvised and used a permapine post and a couple of octopus straps.
Prior to propping on a frequency and calling CQ, I decided to tune around the band and hopefully find some of the park activators. Although it was pretty quiet, I did find Paul VK5VCO who was portable in the Clinton Conservation Park. Paul had an extremely strong signal.
I then chose 7.120 and put out a CQ call, and was called by Greg VK5ZGY who was portable in the Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park in the south east of South Australia. This was followed by Tony VK3VTH/5 who was operating from the Canunda National Park, also in the south east. Some VK3 and VK5 Park Hunters followed, and soon afterwards Arno VK5ZAR called in, who was portable in the Angove Conservation Park in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide.
The quiet seclusion of the park did not last long. We were soon joined in the carpark by three car loads of children who were obviously part of a group. I certainly had some very strange looks, but none were game enough to come over and ask what I was doing. However, about ten minutes later, 2 gentlemen arrived with their wives, who did come over and I had a chat to them about the hobby and why this strange man was sitting in a car park with a squid pole, gibbering into a microphone.
I also spoke with Gordon VK5GY who was portable in the Cox Scrub Conservation Park. This was Gordon’s first activation as part of the VK5 Parks Award. Welcome aboard Gordon. Gordon was just one of many to activate the first park for the anniversary weekend, which was really pleasing to see.
The activity on 7.120 had started to slow down, and this was good timing, because the goat bleated from the SOTA Goat application on my mobile. I tuned up the band as a result, and spoke with David VK3IL who was portable on SOTA peak VK3/ VE-024.
I then found Greg VK5ZGY who had moved to the Custon Conservation Park. I headed back to 7.120 and put out a few more CQ calls, and it wasn’t long before the Park Hunters returned. A surprise call came from Andrew VK5MR who was portable in the Hopkins Creek Conservation Park. This was Andrew’s first ever park activation. Andrew told me that he had been motivated by all the park activity, and had headed out with a motorcycle battery as his power source. Peter VK5KPR also called in from the Winninowie Conservation Park near port Augusta. One of my last contacts on 40 metres was with Matt VK1MA on Yellow Rabbit Hill VK1/ AC-039.
I decided to swap over to 20m and try my hand at a little bit of DX. It was 3.30 p.m. and about that time of the day that long path to Europe opens up. My first contact was with Ian 2E0UDX in, who had a beautiful 5/9 signal. After my chat with Ian I tuned around the band and worked into Italy, Belgium, England, and Sweden, before deciding to find a frequency and start calling CQ. The 20m band was very busy and it was quite difficult to find a clear frequency. But eventually I did, and put out a call, only to be called by my mate, Jess VK6JES in Western Australia. His was followed by Mark VK4MON who was also running 40 watts and a dipole, and then Peter VK2NEO with his normal ‘thumping’ signal.
I then headed down to 14.156 and booked into the afternoon net run by John EA7BA in Almeria in Spain. I made contact with John EA7BA, Ted G4TLY, Charlie VK6ACF, Brian ZL2ASH, and F4GHB.
It was getting a bit late with the sun starting to set in the west, and both our stomachs were rumbling, so we packed up the gear and headed back to Glenburn cottage in the Deep Creek Conservation Park.
I worked a total of 52 stations on 40m ssb and 20m ssb including 7 Park to Park contacts and 2 SOTA contacts.
The following stations were worked:-
Paul VK5VCO/p; Greg VK5ZGY/p; Toy VK3VTH/5; Ian VK3VIN; Tim VK5AV; John VK5BJE; Tony VK3CAT; Peter VK3PF; Arno VK5ZAR/p; Amanda VK3FQSO; Patrick VK5MPJ; Brian VK5FMID; Gordon VK5GY/p; Peter VK3TKK; Greg VK5GJ; Bernard VK3AMB; Rod VK5VRB; David VK5LSB; John VK2AWJ; Keith VK5FEKH; Allen VK3HRA; Michael VK5ZEA/m; David VK3IL/p (SOTA); Greg VK5ZGY/p; Ben VK5BB; Colin VK3UBY; Nev VK5WG; Erwin VK3ERW/p; Graham VK5KGP; Col VK5FCDL; Andrew VK5MR/p; Darren VK5DT; Steve VK5AIM; Stuart VK5STU; Eric VK5ZAG; Peter VK5KPR/p; Matt VK1MA/p; Ivan Vk5HS; VK2PHP/p; Ian 2E0UDX; IZ7NLJ; ON7AB; G4RIQ; SM1ALH; Jess VK6JES; Mark VK4MON; Peter VK2NEO; John EA7BA; Ted G4TLY; Charlie VK6ACF; Brian ZL2ASH; F4GHB
More photos of this activation can be found in the Photos section of the VK5 Parks Award Yahoo group at…..
Department o Environment and Natural Resources, ‘Deep Creek and Talisker Conservation Parks’.