My final activation on Monday 9th June 2014 was the Padthaway Conservation Park, which is located about 254 km south east of Adelaide. I did plan to activate Desert Camp Conservation Park, making that my 6th park for the day, but I had run out of time. Oh well, there is always another day. And there are plenty of other parks remaining in the South East that I am yet to activate.
Padthaway is a small town on the Riddoch Highway in the Limestone Coast region of the South East of South Australia. The name is derived from Potawurutj, the Aboriginal word for Good Water.
Padthaway was the name of the original pastoral station which was established near the town in 1847 by a successful Scottish businessman, Robert Lawson. In 1882 the Padthaway Estate Homestead was built by Eliza and Robert Lawson. In 1952 Padthaway became the centre of a soldier settlement scheme. The first vineyards were planted in the region in 1968 and today Padthaway is a top wine-producing region.
The Padthaway Conservation Park conserves a remnant block of native vegetation, and is an area of about 984 hectares. The parol wasgazetted in 1971 and is dominated by South Australian blue gum, manna gum and stringy barks.
A number of native animals can be found in the park including kangaroos and koalas. It is also a haven for a multitude of birdlife.
I accessed the park via Vogelsang Road which runs off the eastern side of the Riddoch Highway as you are leaving the town of Padthaway.
I entered the park via an unlocked gate at the start of a sandy track on the western side of the park. The track was sandy and was littered with quite a bit of tree debris, but it was passable in my Ford Falcon. If you do negotiate this track, just remember that you need to turn around.
The scrub within the park is very thick, and I had to choose a cleared area to allow me to erect the dipole on top of the 7 metre squid pole. I used an old tree stump to secure the squid pole with an octopus strap.
I was set up by 3.30 p.m. South Australian local time. My first contact was with Chris VK4FR/5, followed by Tom VK5FTRG in Millicent running QRP 1 watt, and then Charles VK5FBAC in Strathalbyn also running just 1 watt. It is about 250 km from Padthaway to Strathalbyn, and Charles was a good 5/8 signal. The noise floor in the park was non existent and I could literally hear a pin drop.
I made contact with a number of mobile stations whilst in the park. They included Rod VK5KFB who was mobile art Meningie on his way home after the SERG convention. Regular park hunter Greg VK5ZGY also called in from his mobile with a strong 5/9 signal. I also spoke with Peter VK5KX who was mobile at Mount Mary in the Riverland region of South Australia.
I had a multitude of QRP contacts from Padthaway. They included Tom VK5FTRG on 1 watt (5/9); Charles VK5FBAC on 1 watt (5/8); Rod VK5KFB/m and QRP; Roy VK5NRG running 7 watts from his FT7 (5/9); Ian VK5IS running 5 watts (5/9); Brian VK5FMID running 5 watts (5/8); Stan VK3BNJ running 5 watts from his Yaesu FT-817nd (5/8); Greg VK5GJ running 5 watts from his home brew QRP rig (5/9); Andrew VK3ARR (5/9); Peter VK5PET running 5 watts (5/9); David VK5NQP running 5 watts from his little Wouxon (5/9); Amanda VK3FQSO running 5 watts (5/9); Kim VK5FJ (5/7); Barry VK5BW running 5 watts (5/9); and Nev VK5WG running his little X1M at 5 watts (5/9).
Again I gave a specific call for any QRP stations and this is why I received so many QRP callers. It is always a good practice to specifically ask for QRP, mobile, portable, and even DX, before the madding crowd calls in.
It was very pleasing to get lots of calls from amateurs who were unfamiliar in my log and also from some recent park devotees such as Tony VK5FTVR who attended the recent SOTA and Parks introduction day. And again I managed to get Mike VK6MB in the log on 40m (5/7 send and 5/4 received). This was a good weekend for working Mike.
It was starting to get dark, with the local time being 3.45 p.m. and I still had a three hour drive to get home. So it was time to pack up and get on the road. I had a total of 36 QSOs in the log after activating for about 40 minutes.
As I was pulling out of the park, I noticed the Ned Kelly figure below in the front yard of the property opposite the park entrance.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:
Chris VK4FR/5; Tom VK5FTRG; Charles VK5FBAC; Rod VK5KFB/m; Roy VK5NRG; Ian VK5IS; Brian VK5FMID; VK3BNJ; Greg VK5GJ; Andrew VK3ARR; Peter VK5PET; David VK5NQP; Amanda VK3FQSO; Kim VK5FJ; Barry VK5BW; Greg VK5ZGY/m; Tony VK5FTVR; Nev VK5WG; VK7YUM; Arno VK5ZAR; Rick VK5FIVE; Peter VK5KX/m; Robin VK5TN; John VK5MG; Tony VK5TT/p; Steve VK5AIM/p; Ken VK3FKNZ; John VK5BJE; Tom VK5FTRG/p; Keith VK2PKT; Craig VK5LI; Nev VK5WG; Mike VK6MB; Dallas VK5WA; Peter VK5APR; and Peter VK2PJF.
National Parks South Australia, http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_park/Browse_by_region/Limestone_Coast/Padthaway