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