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.
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?’