It is just a short drive from Martin Washpool Conservation Park to the Messent Conservation Park, which was my third activation for Friday 6th June 2014.There is a sandy track that leads from Martin Washpool to Messent. The track dissects two pieces of farming land. Although the track is sandy, it can be passed in dry weather in a conventional vehicle. I stuck to the high points of the track and had no issues. I certainly wouldn’t try it in wet weather without a 4WD.
Messent conserves a large area of open scrub, open heath and tussock sedge land and includes a number of rare plant species. The park contains brown stringy barks, white and ridge-fruited mallee, deret banksias, fringed myrtle and yaccas. It is home to numerous native animals and birds including western grey kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, ashey-grey mice, emus, mallee fowl, and a variety of waterbirds.
I still have not been able to find anything on the internet to tell me how this park was named. However, I did find people of the name MESSENT in South Australia, so I presume the park was named in honour of one of them?
I last activated this park on the 5th September 2013. Details on that activation and a video can be found at…..
I set up in exactly the same location as last year, in the south eastern corner of the park. Although I wanted to explore more of this park, it was just too risky in a conventional vehicle. There are 2 tracks going off to the north and to the east, but as per last year, they were very sandy and not suitable for anything but a 4WD. So out came the little fold up table and deck chair, and after erecting the antenna I went to 7.095 on 40m. Again for this activation, I ran the Yaesu FT450, 40 watts and the linked dipole.
I didn’t even get a chance to call CQ. I asked if the frequency was in use and Brian VK5FMID came back to say it was all mine. Brian had a beautiful strong 5/9 signal coming in from Mount Gambier. This was followed by ever reliable John VK5BJE and then Norm VK5GI. One of the regular New South Wales parks chasers, John VK2AWJ then called in with a strong 5/9 signal.
A steady flow of callers followed including Gary VK5ZK who was mobile at the Wellington ferry, on his way down to the South East Radio Group convention at Mount Gambier.
I had one QRP contact whilst in the park, and that was with Simon VK3SMC who was portable. Simon was running QRP 2.5 watts and had a very nice 57 signal.
After 35 minutes of operating in the park I and a total of 21 QSOs in the log from VK2, VK3, and VK5. Time to move off to the Tilley Swamp Conservation Park.
The following stations were worked:
Brian VK5FMID; John VK5BJE; Norm VK5GI; John VK2AWJ; John VK5DJ; Amanda VK3FQSO; Greg VK5GJ; Gary VK5ZK/m; Tony VK5FTVR; Nigel VK5NIG; John VK5ET; Greg VK5ZGY; Stan VK3BNJ; Ormond VK3HAT; Simon VK3SMC/p; Charles VK5FBAC; Col VK5HCF; Tibor VK3MRO/m; Larry VK5LY; Greg VK7FGGT; and Haucke VK1HW/m.
Australian Government, Department of the Emvironment, http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;place_id=7958
Limestone Coast Tintinara Heart of the Parks brochure, 2010