Kyeema Conservation Park

This afternoon, I travelled down to the Kyeema Conservation Park, which is located just off the road between Meadows and Willunga.  It is located about 60 km south east of the city of Adelaide.

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It was another beautiful day in the Mount Lofty Ranges, with a temperature of about 21 deg C and bright blue sky.  The drive from my home, which is also in the Mount Lofty Ranges (Adelaide Hills), takes you through some beautiful countryside.  I travelled to the little town of Echunga and then on to Meadows, passing lush green countryside consisting of small farming properties and quite a bit of remnant scrub.  From Meadows, I headed towards the town of Willunga. IMG_1522 I had activated Kyeema CP last year in May, so this was another 1 point for me for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  I set up in exactly the same spot as last year.  This is a cleared area on the western side of the carpark which runs off Woodgate Hill Road, which in turn runs off the road between Meadows and Willunga (Brookman Road).  There really aren’t too many other options here, as the scrub is very thick. IMG_1525 For more information and history on the Kyeema Conservation Park, please have a look at my previous post….. https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/kyeema-conservation-park/

It is worth reading, as Kyeema has a very interesting history, including being a former labour prison reserve.  The ‘prison reformation camp’ was established in 1932.  A total of 11 names were suggested for the camp.  Eventually, the Controller of Gaols and Prisons, E.H. Whittle, chose ‘Kyeema’, which in aboriginal means ‘dawn’.  The name was chosen to associate the spirit of hope with the new movement. IMG_1530 I managed to find a bit of shade as the afternoon sun had a bit of a bite to it.  I set up my deck chair and fold up table under the shade of some gum trees.  I used my Yaesu FT450, running about 60 watts, and my 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on a 7 m squid pole.  The squid pole in turn was supported by a squid pole holder which I had driven into the ground.

I started off calling CQ on 7.095 on 40m SSB and my first caller was Jaimie VK3TZE with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  This was followed by regular park ‘hunter’ Arno VK5ZAR and then Tim VK5AV from the South East.  Both were 5/9 plus.  It seemed the 40m band was in veery good shape again.  The normal steady flow of park ‘hunters’ followed from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7. IMG_1527 IMG_1531 After operating for about 25 minutes, I was called by Steve VK5AIM, who was portable in the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park in the Barossa Valley.  Steve was using an Icom IC703 and his ‘slinky squid’ antenna.  Although his signal was down a little, I was still able to copy very well, as the noise floor in the park was negligible.  It was great to hear someone else out in a park. And then, just 2 QSO’s down the track, I was called by Steve VK5SFA who was also out portable.  Steve was operating from the Morialta Conservation Park, and had a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  Another ‘park to park’ contact which was very pleasing. A further 2 QSOs on, I was called by Damien VK5FDEC, who was operating with Steve VK5AIM, in the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park.  Damien’s signal was well over the 5/9 mark.  This was Damien’s first every park activation.  Welcome to the fold Damien.  I am sure you will have a lot of fun.  And with a signal like today’s, you will have no problems getting plenty of contacts in the log. IMG_1540 And to top the day off, a few QSO’s later, I was called by Matt VK5MLB, who also had a very strong signal.  Matt was operating from the Onkaparinga River National Park.  This was also Matt’s first ever park activation. So welcome to you as well Matt. It was pleasing to get a few calls from QRP operators.  This included Greg VK5GJ running just 5 watts from his home brew tx, Peter VK3TKK running just 2.5 watts, Wolf VK5WF running 4 watts into an inverted fee G5RV, Andrew VK3ARR running just 5 watts, Ian VK3VIN running QRP from his Argonaut, Robin VK5TN operating portable from his front yard, Erik VK3FMSC running 4 watts, and Peter VK3YE.  Peter was running just 1 watt from a recently completed home brew tx.  I was only his 2nd contact using his new home brew equipment.  All had great signals.

Things started to slow down a little, so I handed the frequency over to Steve VK5AIM.  I then tuned across the band and found Lee VK3GK operating as VK9NT from Norfolk Island, calling CQ on 7.160.  Only problem was, he was working split.  How do I get the FT450 to operate split?  After a couple of minutes, I had worked it out and gave Lee a call and got him in the log. IMG_1539 I then tuned down and found avid park hunter, John VK5BJE talking with Matt VK5MLB.  I quickly jumped in to tell John to head up the band after he had finished speaking with Matt.  John is a really keen park ‘hunter’ so I didn’t want him to miss out on Kyeema CP.  After working John, I was called by Terry VK3ASU who had just completed some antenna repairs, and this was followed by Ian VK5CZ with a huge signal from Clare.

There were no more callers, so I lowered the antenna and took the links out of the dipole, so I could operate on 20m. However, as per yesterday, the 20m band was full of contesters for the Worked All Europe Contest.  I couldn’t find a single station calling anything other than CQ Contest.  So I headed down to 14.156 to say hello to the regular crew that operate on that frequency each day.  I was lucky enough to make contact with John EA7BA in Spain, Ted G4TLY, Alan G0CRJ, and John M0CJW, all in England.  And signal reports were quite good.  I received a 5/9 from EA7BA, 5/8 from Ted, 5/6 from Alan, and 5/5 from John M0CJW. IMG_1534 It was starting to get late in the afternoon, and I still wanted to go for a walk through the park, so I quickly tuned across the 20m band and worked Duncan EA5ON who was mobile at the marina at Valencia in Spain.  Duncan had a very good signal and we had a very comfortable QSO.  However this was my last contact on 20m for the day.  I could not find anyone calling CQ.  The only stations other than contesters that I heard were VK6IA and VK6ANC working Europe, and Jason ZL3JAS.

So I decided to venture back quickly to 40m, and I am pleased I did.  I managed to work the Chatham Islands DXpetition, ZL7X, who were operating split on 7.174. So after about 2 and 1/2 hours operating, I had worked a total of 46 stations, including some interesting DX.

Time to pack up and go for a walk in the park, and then head home.  The sunset photo below is what greeted me when I returned to the car following my walk.  The native birds including the cockatoos, galahs, lorikeets and parrots were all very active at this time, getting ready to roost down for the night.IMG_1544 The following stations were worked:-

VK3TZE; VK5ZAR; VK5AV; VK3MRG/p; VK3ANL; VK5KLT; VK5GJ; VK5FMID; VK5IS; VK3AFW; VK5HCF; VK1MA; VK3TKK; VK5LY; VK2HHA; VK5AIM/p (Kaiser Stuhl CP); VK7NWT; VK5SFA/p (Morialta CP); VK5ZAT/m; VK5FDEC/p (Kaiser Stuhl CP); VK5WF; VK3ARR; VK5FTVR; VK2WGW; VK3VIN; VK5OB; VK5TN/p; VK3FMSC; VK5HS; VK5MLB/p (Onkaparinga River NP); VK5FTCT; VK3CM; VK3YE; VK5BW; VK3HRA; VK5TR; VK9NT (Norfolk Island); VK5BJE; VK3ASU; VK5CZ; EA7BA; G4TLY; G0CRJ; M0CJW; EA5ON/m; and ZL7X (Chatham Islands).

 

References.

Cockburn; R; ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?, 2002.

Mylor Conservation Park

Yesterday afternoon I headed out to the Mylor Conservation Park (CP), which is just a short distance from home.  The afternoon was just too beautiful to be sitting at home.  Not a cloud in the clear blue sky and a temperature of 21 deg C.  I had activated Mylor Conservation Park in September last year, so this was another 1 point to add to my activator tally.

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Photo/map courtesy of mapcarta.com

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Photo/map courtesy of mapcarta.com

It is a beautiful drive from my home to the park.  I travelled through the little town of Echunga, where I lived a number of years ago, and then on towards Mylor along the Strathalbyn Road.  The countryside is lush and green, a contrast to the aerial photographs above.  I then drove in to the little town of Mylor, which has a population of less than 1,000 people.

Mylor is sometimes referred to on some maps as Warrakilla Hill.  During the 1800’s, ‘Warrakilla’ was the name given by George Woodroffe Goyder to his estate and homestead in the vicinity.   Goyder was South Australia’s Surveyor-General and it was he who suggested some relatively flat ground in the area as a town site.  This was at a time when service centres were needed to support the new workingmen’s blocks.  Mylor was proclaimed in 1891 by Acting Governor Sir James Boucaut, who named it after his Cornish birthplace.

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Above: – Surveyor General Goyder.  Photo courtesy of wikipedia.

The village of Mylor was effectively a replacement for a little community which had informally developed on a property named Rockford.  Mylor thus gained instant substance as established businesses transferred to the new location and it quickly provided supplies and services.  Some settlers formed a co-operative store, while others handled anything from bread to bookmaking.  This co-operative store still stands today.

Some churches and a school were subsequently established, but not a hotel.  A fact that remains to this day.  The nearest hotel is at either Echunga or Bridgewater.  So no watering stop for me!  Apparently every attempt to establish a hotel in the area during the late 1800’s was frowned upon by the temperance-minded Methodists.

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Mylor CP is located about 15 km south east of Adelaide and contains remnant bushland of the Mount Lofty Ranges.  Most of the surrounding land has been cleared for residential and agricultural use.  A section of the famous Heysen trail runs through the park, and two fully laden bushwalkers walked passed my location whilst I was operating.

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I set up in the same spot as last year, which was at the end of Whitehead Road, which runs off the Strathalbyn Road. There is a small car park here and it is a short walk of just a few metres to the entrance gate to the park. Again, as per last year, I used the boundary fence as a securing point for my 7 metre squid pole and 40m/20m linked dipole.

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I set up my fold up table and deck chair just off the path which runs alongside the western boundary of the park.  There are beautiful shady gums here, so I was out of the afternoon sun.  As per my recent park activations, I operated with the Yaesu FT-450 and ran about 60 watts output power.  The power source was my 44 amp hour power pack.

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As we are going into warmer weather, many of the native plants were in flower, including the grevillias and wattle.  But the warm weather, also meant snakes.  The park si well known for its Eastern brown snakes, so I kept an ever vigilant watch.  Fortunately none were seen.

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Prior to putting out a CQ call, I tuned across the band and found Tony VK3CAT who was portable on a Summits on the Air (SOTA) peak, Mount Donna Buang, VK3/ VC-002.  Tony had a very good 5/9 signal coming into the Adelaide Hills.  After working Tony, I ventured up to 7.095 which was the frequency I had posted on the VK5 Parks Yahoo group, I would activate from.  But it was in use, so I moved down to 7.085 and started calling CQ.  It wasn’t long before the steady flow of park ‘hunters’ commenced.

First taker was Barry VK5BW, just up the road at Bridgewater.  Barry’s signal almost knocked the FT-450 off the table.  This was followed by Brian VK5FMID down in the South-East, who also had a strong 5/9 signal.  I was then pleasantly surprised to get a call from Gordon VK5GY who was operating portable from the Cox Scrub Conservation Park.  Gordon also had a good strong 5/9 signal.  It was great to get a ‘park to park’ contact in the log.

The signals on 40m were excellent.  Almost all stations that I worked were well over the S9 mark.  Some in fact were reaching 30 db – 40 db over strength 9.  The noise floor within this park is non existent, so I was even able to hear some very weak signals including Bob VK5FO and Ray VK5RR, who were both mobile.

After working a number of stations on 40m, I ventured over to 20m but found that the Worked All Europe contest was in full swing, so I did not hear many European stations calling anything but ‘CQ Contest’.  However I did find Nardo EC1DD who was portable on SOTA peak, Gabineira, EA1/PO-015.  I called a number of times, before getting through to him.  I was competing with a lot of European SOTA chasers and lots of QRM from the contesters.  Nardo was 5/5 and I received a 5/9 signal report.  I kept tuning across the band, hoping to find a station wanting to work some DX, and stumbled across Jo LX/PA9JO, amongst the contesters.

Marija and I were heading out for tea, so it was time to pack up and head home so I didn’t get into strife.  But whilst I was taking down the linked dipole, the i-phone bleated and I saw that Scott, VK2SWD was on a SOTA peak in New South Wales, VK2/ SM-053.  I couldn’t help myself.  Despite the squid pole being lowered and the dipole being very close to the ground, I put back in the crocodile clips for 40m and gave Scott a call and managed to get him in the log.  Matt VK1MA asked me to QSY up 5, and I had my last QSO with Matt before going QRT.

So after about 2 hours in the park, I had a total of 49 QSO’s in the log, with the majority of those being on 40m SSB.  A fun afternoon in the sun.  Thanks to everyone that called in.

The following stations were worked:-

VK3CAT/p (SOTA), VK5BW, VK5FMID, VK5GY/p (Cox Scub CP), VK5NIG, VK2NEO/m, VK5VRB, VK5GJ, VK5TR, VK3FQSO, VK5ZAR, VK5NJ, VK5FTCT, VK3AXF, VK5HCF, VK5LY, VK1NAM, VK3PI, VK1EM/m, VK7TW/p, VK5FTVR, VK3OB, VK5FTRG, VK2FV, VK5FBAC, VK5TN, VK5XY, VK5RR/m, VK2HHA, VK3XP, VK3MCX, VK5FGRY, VK7FMPR, VK5VH, VK5AW, VK2LAW, VK4XAC, VK3FIAN, VK5HS, VK3JP, VK3ARR, VK2NNN, VK5FO/m, VK3MRG, VK5WG, EC1DD/p (SOTA), LX/PA9JO, VK2SWD/p (SOTA), and VK1MA.

 

References

Mylor Tourism Information Section, 2014, viewed 14th September 2014, <http://www.adhills.com.au/tourism/towns/mylor/&gt;

National Parks South Australia, 2014, viewed 14th September 2014, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/Mylor_Conservation_Park&gt;