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.
Photo/map courtesy of mapcarta.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mylor Tourism Information Section, 2014, viewed 14th September 2014, <http://www.adhills.com.au/tourism/towns/mylor/>
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>