Mount George Conservation Park

Today (Sunday 18th May 2014) I ventured over to the Mount George Conservation Park near Bridgewater.  This is just a short 15 km drive from my home at Mount Barker, and about 25 km south east of Adelaide.

Mount George CP conserves about 85 hectares of native Mount Lofty Ranges vegetation and was proclaimed on the 7th November 1996.  The park was originally 67 hectares in size before the boundaries were extended in October 2003.  Mount George CP’s landscape ranges from everything including wetlands to open forests and rocky outcrops.  A section of the famous Heysen trail runs through the park.  The eastern section of the park encompasses the summit of Mount George which rises 520 metres above sea level, but sadly is not recorded as a SOTA summit.

The park is full of bird life including yellow tailed black cockatoos, wedge tailed eagles, superb blue wrens, red browned finches, white throated treecreepers and scarlet robins.  A number of native mammals can also be found in park including western grey kangaroos, echidnas, Southern Brown bandicoot, Yellow footed Antechinus, and koalas.

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Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I set up in the picnic area at the bottom of Mount George Road.  The picnic area is in close proximity to the very busy South Eastern Freeway.  You can hear the traffic from this part of the park, but it is generally masked by all of the thick vegetation.

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Above: Mt George Rd leading into the park

As it was another beautiful day, there were quite a few people enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful surrounds of the park.  Despite the fact that there are signs everywhere that dogs are to remain on leashes in this particular area of the park, there were still a few dogs running loose.  This included a small poodle who decided to ignore its elderly owner, and piddled on my squid pole.  Maybe this was a good luck sign?

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My first contact was with Mark VK3ASC who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Martin VK3/ VE-100 which is to the north east of Mount Beauty.  Mark had a beautiful 58 signal.  I then tuned up the 40m band to 7.105 and put out a CQ call to be answered by Peter VK3PF and then Arno VK5ZAR who was 40 db over S9.  A steady flow of callers followed from VK3, VK5 and VK6.  But unlike yesterday, VK2 was no represented.

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Above: the picnic area at the end of Mt George Road

A good catch was Mike VK6MB on 40m ssb.  This was 2 days in a  row that I had worked Mike on 40m ssb with a good signal.  Normally it is a bit of a battle to work Mike whilst I am in a park or on a SOTA peak.  But conditions were excellent, and Mike’s signal was coming in extremely well.

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I also managed a couple of Park to Park contacts.  The first was with Gary VK5FGRY who was operating portable in the Morialta Conservation Park.  Gary was a good strong 59 signal.  I then spoke with Bob VK5FO who was portable in the Morialta Conservation Park, and this QSO was courtesy of Peter VK3PF who had come up to advise me that Bob was out and about.  Bob was using his newly built home brew transceiver and was an excellent 59 signal.

After working 22 stations on 40m I ventured over to 20m hoping to work some DX.  But I was sadly disappointed.  My first contact was with Mike VK6MB and this was followed by Gary VK6NCS who was mobile in Perth, running 10 watts and a vertical antenna on the roof racks of his car.  Despite the QRM, Gary had a nice 55 signal.  My old mate Steve VK4KUS then came up to say hi and was kind enough to place me on the DX cluster.  I did hear two F4 stations from France calling but their signals were well down and clearly they were not able to hear me.  I went on to work Adam VK2YK and then Ted VK6NTE who nearly knocked the gear off the fold up table with a 40/9 signal.

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I tuned across the 20m band but did not hear the customary strong European stations.  In fact the band was almost dead with just a few signals coming in from Europe and they were well down in signal strength.  I then QSYd back to 40m and worked a further 8 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK7.  It was starting to get dark and the sulphur crested cockatoos were becoming increasingly noisy as they were preparing to roost for the night.

After 2 hours in the park, it was time to pack up and head home.  It almost completely dark and the mozzies were out in force.  I also had a casserole waiting for me and a nice bottle of Paulette’s cab sav.  I had a total of 35 QSOs in the log which I was very happy with.

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The following stations were worked on 40m ssb:-

Mark VK3ASC/p; Peter VK3PF; Arno VK5ZAR; Greg VK5ZGY/m; Amanda VK3FQSO; Bernard VK3AMB; Nev VK5WG; John VK5BJE; Shaun VK5FAKV; Rod VK5VRB; Bob VK5FPAC; Larry VK5LY; Brian VK5FMID; Trevor VK3FPY/5; Mike VK6MB; Craig VK3NCR; John VK5DJ; Peter VK3PF; Nick VK3ANL; Gary VK5FGRY/p; Graham VK5KGP; Bob VK5FO/p; Hans VK5YX; Dave VK2WLD; Roy VK7ROY; Colin VK4FAAS; Cedric VK7CL; Jess VK6JES; Alan VK4KO; and Colin VK3LO.

The following stations were worked on 20m ssb:-

Mike VK6MB; Gary VK6NCS/m; Steve VK4KUS; Adam VK2YK; and Ted VK6NTE.

References.

National Parks South Australia, http://www.environment.sa.gov.au

Department for Environment and Heritage, Mount George Conservation Park Management Plan.

Ferries McDonald Conservation Park

After packing up at Monarto Conservation Park, I headed just down the road to the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park, about 70 km east of Adelaide.

Ferries McDonald CP is about 845 hectares in size and contains one of the few pieces of remnant males vegetation close to Adelaide.  The land is named in honour of Mr. Ferries and Mr. McDonald, who kindly donated the land for conservation last century. The park is home to over 60 species of birds including the endangered Mallee fowl, and 300 species of plants some of which are significant in their rarity.  It is also home to short beaked echidnas, western grey kangaroos and the marsupial mouse.     Screenshot 2014-05-18 13.38.46

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

We parked in the carpark located in the south eastern corner of the park, off Chaunceys Line Road.  I strapped the 7 m telescopic squid pole to a nearby post and strung out the legs of the dipole.  After making myself comfortable in the deck chair at the fold up table, I tuned to 7.090.  I asked if the frequency was in use and was immediately greeted by Larry VK5LY who had a very strong 59 plus signal.  This was followed by Nev VK5WG and Terry VK5ATN, both of whom also had very strong 59 plus signals.

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The band was in excellent condition again with very strong signals coming in from all parts of Australia.  I even got to work Mike VK6MB who had a beautiful 59 signal coming in from Manimup.  Another interesting contact was with Andy VK3FRDN who was portable at the Cape Otway lighthouse near Apollo Bay.

Again, I had a few enjoyable contacts with QRP callers including Bob BK5FO who was running 11 watts, Darren VK2AUX running 10 watts, Bryan VK7KWB running 5 watts into a long wire antenna, and Scott VK7FTTT using just 5 watts.  All had terrific signals into the park.

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My last contact of the day was with Blue ZL3TT, in Napier New Zealand.  Blue was a good strong 59 signal and I received a 57 signal report back from across ‘the pond’.  A few guys had told me that a New Zealand station had been calling, so it was very pleasing when I heard Blue come back to my CQ call.  It was now dark and the mozzies were out in force, so it was time to pack up and head home after a very enjoyable afternoon in the 2 parks.

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After an hour in the park I had a total of 39 contacts in the log from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and ZL.

The following stations were worked:- Larry VK5LY; Nev VK5WG; Terry VK5ATN; Amanda VK3FQSO; Bob VK5FO; Greg VK5ZGY/m; Matt VK1MA; Colin VK3UBY; Tony VK5TT; Mark VK1EM; Peter VK3FPSR; Bernard VK3AMB; Col VK5FCDL; Max VK3MCX; Darren VK2AUX; Peter VK3ZPF; Neil VK4HNS; Haucke VK1HW; John VK2YW; Mike VK6MB; Tom VK2GU; Ian VK3VIN; ohm VK2MOP; Craig VK3NCR/p; Andy VK3FRDN/p; Danny VK4SD/2; Steve VK5SFA; Peter VK3PF; Bryan VK7KWB; Al VK4FFKZ; Ian VK3FIAN; Darren VK2NNN; Len VK3FB; Scott VK7NWT; Scott VK7FTTT; Arno VK5ZAR; Peter VK5NAQ; Dave VK2BDR; and Blue ZL3TT.

References.

Strathalbyn Garden Club, wwww.strathgardenclub.com.au

Monarto Conservation Park

Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 17th May 2014), I headed up to Monarto, about 34 km east of my home qth, and about 65 km east of Adelaide, with the intention of activating the Monarto Conservation Park, followed by the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.  I had activated these parks last year, but as this was a new calendar year, 2 more Activator points for the VK5 Parks award were up for grabs.

The Monarto Conservation Park is a nice 25 minute drive from home up the South Eastern Freeway towards Murrray Bridge.  I took the Monarto exit and then travelled south on Ferries McDonald Road for about 3 km before reaching the park which is located on the western side of the road.  You need to keep a close eye out for the park sign and the carpark as it is easy to miss.  The car parking area which is on the northern side of the park, is quite large and as per last year, I used the car park fencing constructed of permapine logs, to secure my 7 m telescopic squid pole to.

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Image courtesy of mapcarta.com

Monarto Conservation Park consists of typical open mallee, and is surrounded by cropping lands.  There is an easy 1 hour loop track around the park, which is well worth walking.  A large amount of wildlife can be found in the park including kangaroos and echidnas.  The park also supports a population of the rare Mallee fowl.  In fact there are signs in the area restricting your speed, so please be aware of the wildlife.  Only foot traffic is allowed in the park, and no camping or caravanning is allowed.

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The afternoon was glorious weather wise.  The temperature was around 25-26 degrees c, and it was very overcast.  In fact almost stormy conditions, but pleasantly to the ear, no static crashes were present on the bands.  After setting up the gear, I put out a CQ call on 7.095 and was greeted by Peter VK3FPSR who had a very strong signal coming in from near Cobram in northern Victoria.  This was followed by Andrew VK2UH, and Phil VK3BHR, both of whom were also very strong.  It appeared that 40m was in very good condition.

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Above:- My operating spot.  Links in the dipole highlighted.

My tenth contact in the park was with John VK4IAA/8, who was portable at Tobermorey on the Plenty Highway near the Northern Territory/Queensland border, and about 565 km north east of Alice Springs.  Pretty much in the middle of nowhere!  John had a nice 5/7 signal and I was very surprised that he was receiving me so well from ‘way up there’.

I had some nice QRP contacts whilst in the park, and this included a QSO with Amanda VK3FQSO who was running just 2 watts and who had a very nice strong 59 signal.  Philip VK2XPL was running 5 watts from his little FT817 and had a good 55 signal.  And Ian VK3VIN also had a nice 57 signal with his 8 watts.

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Above: – view towards Monarto (silos visible)

I also made contact with Steve VK2ZSZ who was operating portable from the Namdgi National Park and running just 5 watts from his Elecraft KX3 and a random wire.  I managed a SOTA contact with Perrin VK3XPT who was portable on Mount Fatigue VK3/ VT-057.  Perrin was running QRP 5 watts and had a good solid 55 signal.

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After an hour operating in the park, I had a total of 42 contacts in the log from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7, & VK8.  The following stations were worked:-

Peter VK3FPSR; Andrew VK2UH; Phil VK3BHR; Col VK5HCF; Greg VK5ZGY/m; Bernard VK3AMB; Matt VK1MA; Alan VK5FADP; Bill VK5MBD; John VK4IAA/8; Bob VK5FPAC; John VK2YW; Darren VK2NNN; John VK2VEX; Colin VK4FAAS; Amanda VK3FQSO; Rod VK2TWR/m; Philip VK2XPL; Dave VK3VCE; Jim VK5JW; Steve VK2ZSZ/p; Steve VK7LA; Patrick VK5MPJ; Chris VK1GG/2; Andrew VK3ARR; Perrin VK3XPT/p; Adam VK2YK; Larry VK5LY; Tony VK5TT; Terry VK5ATN; Andrew VK1NAM; Mark VK1EM; Nev VK5WG; Nigel VK5NIG; Rob VK2MZ; Colin VK3UBY; Eric VK5ZAG; Max VK3MCX; Ivan VK5HS; Jamie VK2TIM; Peter VK3ZPF; and Ian VK3VIN.

 

 

New WWFF Award

Yesterday I received via e-mail my latest World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) global award.  The certificate is for making contact with 132 different WWFF references.

These certificates are available for free by applying on line via the WWFF LogSearch facility.  As such, it is heavily weighted on Activators submitting their activation logs.

H 132 VK5PAS 2014 532