Summary of my portable activities

Last evening, I added all my contacts that I have had whilst operating portable, to the Logbook of the World (LOTW) and Clublog systems.  As a result I was able to find out the total number of QSO’s I had attained whilst either sitting in a park or on a peak for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  I also checked off on my spreadsheets, those South Australian National Parks and Conservation Parks that I had activated, and also National Parks for both the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Here’s what I found….

VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

  • I have activated 10 of the 21 SA National Parks.
  • I have activated 80 of the 266 SA Conservation Parks.
  • I have activated a total of 90 VK5 parks (combined National Parks & Conservation Parks).
  • I have had a total of 126 South Australian park activations (as some of those parks I have visited twice)
  • My most activated park is Belair NP.
    • not surprising really considering it is just a short distance from my home.

IMG_1475

Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA)

  • I have activated 4 Victorian National Parks:
    • Grampians NP, Little Desert NP, Murray Sunset NP, and Wyperfeld NP.
  • I have worked 42 of the 45 Victorian National Parks
    • I need Erinundra NP, Lind NP, & Snowy River NP.

IMGA0037_2

World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF).

  • I have activated a total of 15 WWFF parks
  • I have activated parks in three separate countries:
    • Australia, Belgium, & Germany
  • I have worked 172 WWFF parks around the world from 26 different DXCC entities.
    • the majority of those being from Australia (237), followed by Germany (17) and Italy (17).

IMGA0047_4

Summits on the Air (SOTA).

  • I have a total of 75 activations and 183 activator points.
  • I have activated summits in4 different Associations in 3 different countries.
    • DM (Germany)
    • ON (Belgium)
    • VK3
    • VK5
  • I have worked 1,271 activators and have 5,804 chaser points
  • I have worked 503 unique summits

IMGA0067

Other info.

I have had nearly 5,000 QSO’s whilst operating portable.  As you can see from the table below, I am 149 QSOs less than last year, with about 2 months remaining in 2014.

Screenshot 2014-10-29 15.14.01

I have worked 50 DXCC entities this year, compared to 2013 when I worked 30.

Screenshot 2014-10-29 15.18.46

I have worked a total of 52 DXCC entities whilst operating portable.  I have worked 52 DXCC entities on 20m SSB, and 8 on 40m SSB.  The vast majority of those has been whilst operating QRP with just 5 watts.

Here is a list of the DXCC entities I’ve worked whilst portable.  I’m only half way to ‘portable’ DXCC.

  1. Asiatic Russia
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Azores Islands
  5. Baeleric Islands
  6. Belarus
  7. Belgium
  8. Brazil
  9. Canary Islands
  10. Chatham Islands
  11. Costa Rica
  12. Croatia
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Denmark
  15. Ecuador
  16. England
  17. Estonia
  18. European Russia
  19. Federal Republic of Germany
  20. Finland
  21. France
  22. French Polynesia
  23. Greece
  24. Hawaii
  25. Hungary
  26. Ireland
  27. Italy
  28. Japan
  29. Lithuania
  30. Lord Howe Island
  31. Luxembourg
  32. Netherlands
  33. New Caledonia
  34. New Zealand
  35. Norfolk Island
  36. Northern Ireland
  37. Papua New Guinea
  38. Poland
  39. Portugal
  40. Puerto Rico
  41. Republic of Korea
  42. Romania
  43. Saint Helena
  44. Scotland
  45. Serbia
  46. Slovak Republic
  47. Slovenia
  48. Solomon Islands
  49. South Cook Islands
  50. Spain
  51. Sweden
  52. Switzerland
  53. Ukraine
  54. United States of America
  55. Wales

My first ever portable activity was a SOTA activation (VK5/ SE-016) in March, 2013.

 

Spring Mount Conservation Park

My third and final park activation for Saturday was the Spring Mount Conservation Park, which is located about 71 km south of Adelaide, and about 20 km north west of the seaside town of Victor Harbor.

Screenshot 2014-10-27 20.28.14

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I last activated this park in December, 2013, whilst my wife Marija and I were staying at nearby Victor Harbor.  For more detailed information on the park, please refer to my December 2013 post at…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/spring-mount-conservation-park/

As soon as I approached the park, I encountered my first kangaroo, a Western Grey.  He/she allowed me to get quite close, before they scampered off into the thick bush.  I operated from the same spot as last year, which was on the eastern side of the park, off Mount Alma Road.  There is a nice cleared break between the park boundary fence line and the start of the thick scrub.  So there is plenty of room to string out a dipole.  I used a permapine post forming part of the fenceline to secure my squid pole with some octopus straps, and ran out the legs of the dipole, also securing them to the fence., so they were about 1.5 metres off the ground.

Screenshot 2014-10-27 20.28.01

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Again for this activation I only operated on 40m SSB.  I figured that the 20m band was going to be just too busy with the CQ WW DX Contest, to event attempt to operate from that band.  And again, I used the Yaesu FT-450, 40 watts and the 20m/40m linked dipole (inverted vee)

I had nominated that I was going to operate on 7.095, however when I tuned to that frequency, I found that there were some very strong Europeans already there.  So I tuned down to 7.090, and although there were some European signals there as well, they were a little weaker.  I only put out one CQ call on 7.090 and was immediately greeted by Scott VK7NWT from North West Tasmania with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  This was followed by Peter VK3PF running QRP 5 watts, and then park stalwart Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier.  I was pleasantly surprised when I was called by Wolfgang VK2LKW who was operating portable from the Burrowa Pine Mountain National Park in Victoria.  Wolfgang had a beautiful 5/9 plus signal (20/9) with his G5RV inverted vee antenna.  This park qualifies for both the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award and the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Conditions on 40m SSB were excellent.  There were some static crashes on the band, but they were not severe, and the man made noise floor within the park was non existent.  Here’s where the static crashes were coming from (a severe storm approaching South Australia, from Western Australia)…..

Screenshot 2014-10-25 22.23.46  Image courtesy of weatherzone.com.au

I had a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6, and VK7.  And some of those stations had extremely strong signals, with many between 20/9 to 40/9.  Many were using QRP, including Peter VK3PF on 5 watts, Damien VK5FDEC using 5 watts, Wolf VK5WF again on his home brew QRP transceiver, and Ian VK5IS in the Mid North of South Australia, using just 5 watts.

It was nice to get a few VK7’s in the log this time.  As mentioned my first contact was with Scott VK7NWT.  But I also had a good chat to John VK7JB who had a lovely signal coming in from Sandy Bay near Hobart.  t was also pleasing to get a contact with Bruce VK2FBJM.  I was Bruce’s first ever contact to VK5.  And my last contact of the night was with Daniel VK6LCK at Cottesloe in Western Australia.  Daniel was my only VK6 for this activation.

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Whilst I was operating, a couple of Western Grey kangaroos emerged from the scrub and were feeding on the grass in the break between the fenceline and the scrub.  At one point, they got within 50 metres of me and didn’t seem at all preturbed by the noise from the radio. That was until a passing car on Mount Alma Road, and off they went into the scrub.  But they soon re-emerged.

It was starting to get very chilly, and getting dark, and I had a long drive home.  I had also left my jacket at home!  So I decided to ‘pull stumps’ and head off home for some dinner and a nice bottle of red.  A shame really, because band conditions were very good, and there were still some people calling when I went QRT.  After an hour and 10 minutes in the park, I had a total of 29 contacts in the log from VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6, and VK7.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Scott VK7NWT; Peter VK3PF; Brian VK5FMID; Nev VK5WG; Damien VK5FDEC; Ian VK5CZ; Bruce VK3NDM; Wolfgang VK2LKW/p (Burrowa Pine Mountain NP); John VK2FALL; Les VK5KLV/p; Ivan VK5HS; Nigel VK5NIG; Wolf VK5WF; Garry VK3FREQ; Connor VK2FCAC; John VK5FMJC; Grant VK3GMV; Bruce VK2FBJM; John VK7JB; Frank VK3GFS; Tim VK5AV; Amanda VK3FQSO; Peter VK5NAQ; Ian VK5IS; Colin VK3ZZS/p; Graham VK5KGP; Peter VK5JP; Ron VK3JP; and Daniel VK6LCK.

Yulti Conservation Park

After my activation at the Stipiturus Conservation Park, I headed off to the Yulti Conservation Park, which is located about 60 km south of Adelaide and about 3 km south east of Myponga.

Screenshot 2014-10-27 19.14.04Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Again, I had activated this park in October, 2013, so this new activation was awarded another one point for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Yulti Conservation Park is also referred to as Yulte Conservation Park.  As I mentioned in my 2013 post, the DEWNR website records the spelling as Yulte, and yet the sign in the park shows the spelling to be Yulti.  The road leading to the park is spelt as Yulte.  Since my last activation, I’ve located some information which suggests that the park derives its name from the Kaurna aboriginal word ‘yulti’ meaning stringybark.

For more detailed information on this park, please see my 2013 post…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/yulti-conservation-park/

I set up int he same spot as last year, which was at the end of the dirt track on Yulte Road.

Screenshot 2014-10-27 19.14.34

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Again I used the Yaesu FT-450, 40 watts, and my 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre squid pole.  I started off on 7.095 mhz on 40m, and first station in the log was Dave VK3VCE at Bamawm near Echuca in northern Victoria.  This was followed by regular park hunter, Nev VK5WG at Crytal Brook, and then Les VK5KLV who was portable near Port Augusta.

As per the last activation, the conditions on 40m SSB seemed very good, with some very strong signals coming in from VK3 and VK5.  It was again pleasing to get some calls from QRP operators including Ian VK5CZ running 5 watts from the Clare Valley, Peter VK3PF running about 1 watt from his software defined radio, Wolf VK5WF running 5 watts from his home brew transceiver, and Greg VK2FGJW also running just 5 watts.

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I did ‘t bother trying 20m for this activation, as the band would have been just too busy with the CQ WW DX contest.  So sadly I didn’t get any VK4’s or VK6’s in the log for this activation.  However, I did attain a total of 22 contacts into VK2, VK3, and VK5 after operating in the park for about 45 minutes.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Dave VK3VCE; Nev VK5WG; Les VK5KLV/p; Amanda VK3FQSO; Bruce VK5BMC; John VK5FTCT; Terry VK5ATN; Bill VK5WCC; Brian VK3MCD; Peter VK3TKK; Tim VK5AV; John VK5NJ; Col VK5HCF; Brenton VK3CM; Peter VK3ZPF; Brian VK5FMID; Ian VK5CZ; Peter VK3PF; Wolf VK5WF; Greg VK2FGJW; Peter VK5NAQ; and Connor VK2FCAC.

 

References

Tiechelmann, C.G. and Schurmann, C.W. 1840, ‘Outlines of A Grammar, Vocabulary, and Phraseology of the Aboiriginal language‘.

Stipiturus Conservation Park

On Saturday 25th October, 2014, I ventured down to the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide, where I activated three Conservation Parks.  The first being the Stipiturus Conservation Park, which is located about 58 km south of Adelaide, and about 6 km south west of the little town of Mount Compass.

Screenshot 2014-10-26 20.45.40

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I had activated this park in October, 2013.  But as this was a new calendar year, I could pick up another point towards the VK5 National and Conservation Parks award.  Please have a read of my previous post for some interesting facts about the park…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/stipiturus-conservation-park/

The park is home to one of the largest known swamp-based population of the nationally endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus intermedius), after which the park was named.  Below you can see a photograph of this beautiful little bird.  I did see a few whilst in the park, along with many Superb Blue wrens, and a variety of other birdlife including rosellas and wattlebirds.

Stipiturus_malachurus_-_Southwest_National_Park

Image courtesy of wikipedia.com

I accessed the park by travelling west along Lanacoona Road from Mount Compass, and then south along Saffrons Road.  As you travel south along Saffrons Road you will reach a sharp left hand bend.  Once you’ve passed the bend, continue east along Saffrons Road, and you will see the park on your left after a few hundred metres.  It is well sign posted.  There is a locked gate on the south western corner of the park.  To access the park you need to climb over the gate or the fence.  Careful of the barbed wire.  I can understand DEWNR’s reasoning for locking the gate to keep the ‘trouble makers’ out.  However, what it also does is keep the good people out as well.  I’ve encountered this quite a bit with a number of Conservation Parks as I’ve travelled around South Australia….having locked gates.  My own personal experience is that the ‘bad element’ will get into places if they really want to, no matter what the security measures are.  I am sure that there are a lot of less nimble people that don’t bother going in these parks once they see they have to scramble over fences.  You need ‘good’ people around these parks, to prevent the ‘bad’ people.  Just my opinion.

Screenshot 2014-10-26 20.40.46

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

After setting up the deck chair and fold up table just off the small dirt track which traverses the park, I erected the 7 metre squid pole and attached the 40m/20m linked dipole.  I ran out one leg of the dipole, and then the other, and noticed that one of the leads to the crocodile clip had broken off.  Fortunately I had another dipole in the car, so I retrieved that and erected it on top of the squid pole.  For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-450 and 40 watts output, with the radio powered by my 44 amp hour power pack.

I tuned to 7.095 and asked if the frequency was in use, and was immediately greeted by Larry VK5LY from The Riverland with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  This was followed by Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier, and then Robin VK5TN, also in Mount Gambier.  Fortunately the band appeared to be in far better shape than last Sunday when I was in the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, right in the middle of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).

A good steady flow of callers gave me a shout from VK3 and VK5.  This included a few amateurs running QRP, including Les VK5KLV operating portable from Blanche Harbor, south of Port Augusta.  Les was running 5 watts from his little Yaesu FT-817 into a linked dipole.  Amanda VK3FQSO also called in, running QRP, 2.5 watts with a nice 5/9 signal.  This was followed by a call from Wolf VK5WF using his home brew transceiver and 5 watts, and then Ian VK5CZ also running just 5 watts.  I also worked a couple of mobile stations….Jesse VK3FJPM mobile, followed by Peter VK3FPSR.  Both had good 5/5 signals and were easily readable from the park due to the low noise floor.

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At one point I had a VK2 come up on frequency and start calling another station without asking if the frequency was in use.  Thanks to the various stations, including Dave VK3VCE, who repeatedly reminded him that the frequency was in use.  Eventually he got the message and moved on.

After operating on 40m SSB for about 55 minutes, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, and tuned to 14.328 and put out a number of CQ calls.  The band was very busy with the CQ WW DX Contest, and it took some time to find a clear frequency.  Unfortunately my nominated frequency of 14.310 was busy.  I only managed one contact on 20m SSB and that was with VK6SMK.

After an hour in the park I had a total of 27 contacts in the log.  I was already running behind time, so I quickly packed up my gear and headed off to the next park, the Yulti Conservation Park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Larry VK5LY; Brian VK5FMID; Robin VK5TN; Greg VK5LG; Nev VK5WG; Les VK5KLV/p; Nigel VK5NIG; Art VK3OZI/p; David VK5HYZ; Bill VK3WCC; Terry VK5ATN; Amanda VK3FQSO; Wolf VK5WF; Ian VK5CZ; Col VK5HCF; Tony VK5KAT; Marshall VK3MRG/p; Jesse VK3FJPM/m; Dave VK3VCE; Tim VK5AV; Ron VK3JP; David VK5NQP; John VK5FTCT; Peter VK3FPSR/m; Basil, VK5BK; and Doug VK3FJAE.

The following station was worked on 20m SSB:-

Steven, VK6SMK.

Talk at SCARC

On Thursday 23rd October, 2014 I ventured down to the Seaford Meadows clubrooms of the South Coast Amateur Radio Club (SCARC) and delivered a presentation on the VK5 Parks National and Conservation Parks Award, the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and equipment used for portable operation.

A very keen group of about 20 amateurs attended.

I spoke about the basics of the VK5 Parks award and WWFF program.  And I also spoke briefly about various transceivers that can be used for portable operation, portable power sources, and antennas for portable use.  I brought along some of my portable gear including the Yaesu FT-817nd, my 44 amp hour power pack, various antennas, bothy bag, etc.

Thanks to Peter VK5PET for asking me to come down to SCARC.

image_1_hires

Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park

This afternoon (Sunday 19th October, 2014),as promised I headed down south with the intention of activating the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, and then the Moana Sands Conservation Park.  First up, was the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park, which is situated about 46 km south of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2014-10-19 19.08.55

The park, which is 300 hectares in size, is home to a diverse range of rare plants and is recognised as a significant area for the conservation and protection of the region’s flora.  The park consists of sand dunes, sand blows, mallee scrub, lacy coral lichen, closed heaths, and remnant red gum forests.  A variety of wildlife lives in the park including Brush-tailed possums, and Short-beaked echidnas.  Over 166 species of birds have been recorded in the park.  The park is also home to numerous reptiles including the dangerous Brown snake, and the Red Bellied snake.  Fortunately I did not encounter any of these, making as much noise as possible to discourage them from paying me a visit.

Prior to European settlement, the area was part of the territory of the Kaurna Aboriginal people.  The scrub provided an abundance of food and materials used for utensils.  Shellfish, fish, marsupials, reptiles, birds and plant foods such as nerd, moonrise, yams, and quandongs were abundant in the area.

Aldinga is the final spelling of a word that has masqueraded as Ngalti-ngga, Audlingga and Alinghi.  The meaning of which nobody has ever been able to establish with any degree of authority.  There are widely differing opinions suggesting that this means ‘tree district’, ‘much water’, ‘battle or burial ground’, and ‘open wide plain’.

Mr. F. Culley was the first European settler in the area, in 1857.  Prior to World War One, the scrub was subdivided and several attempts were made to farm the area.  However, this did not prove to be viable, due to the sandy soil.  During the 1960’s, the local Willing Council became concerned that the subdivision of the area would cause erosion.  As a result, between 1965 and 1982, 300 hectares were purchased at Aldinga, to be managed by the State Planning Authority as an Open Space Reserve.  It was not until 1985, that the reserve was declared Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park.

To get to the park I travelled south through Echunga, on to Meadows and then Willunga.  This is a beautiful drive through the southern Mount Lofty Ranges.  I then travelled west along Aldinga Beach Road, towards the ocean, and then along the Esplanade and then left into Quandong Avenue.  I parked the car at the corner of Quandong Avenue and Acacia Terrace, and entered the park via Gate 3.

I set up about 50 metres inside the park boundary, under the shade of some gum trees, as it was a warm afternoon.  The temperature was about 30 degrees C.

Screenshot 2014-10-17 20.03.21

After setting up the linked dipole, I turned the radio on to find that the 40m band was very noisy.  Prior to calling CQ, I tuned across the band and did not hear a single station.  But what I did hear was a lot of noise.  And to make things worse, there was some form of pulsing noise every 10kc.  Not sure if it was a nearby electric fence.

So back to 7.095 I went and put out a CQ call.  No takers.  This was very strange.  The park hunters are normally queued up waiting to work the activators.  Another CQ call, and no takers.  This was the pattern for the next 5 minutes, despite me sending out a few SMS messages to advise that I was on air.  No takers.  Finally I received a call from Mark, VK5QI, who was operating portable in the Black Hill Conservation Park.  So, despite a very slow and not very promising start, it was refreshing to get my first call.  And a ‘park to park’ contact to boot!  Mark was initially a good 5/6, but then he was GONE!  It was as if the band had dropped out.

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But I persevered and continued to call CQ.  Tony VK5FTVR from Strathalbyn then called in.  However, Tony’s signal was well down on what I accustomed to.  This was followed by Greg VK5GJ from Meadows, who normally always calls me using just QRP 5 watts.  Today he was running 100 watts and was only a 5/3 at very best.  And Greg was really struggling with me.  Wow, this was not good.  Despite a number of further CQ calls I had no takers.  I did receive some SMS replies from John VK2AWJ and Larry VK5LY, advising that they had no reception and that the band was ‘dead’.

So I lowered the squid pole, and removed the links in the dipole for 20m, hoping that conditions there would be a little better.  I was to be very let down.  I called CQ for about 5 minutes on 14.310 and did not have a single caller.  So I tuned around the 20m band, and the only signals I could hear were those of Col VK4CC and John VK4LJ, running the ANZA DX Net on 14.183.  But their signals were extremely low as well.  I was starting to think there was a problem with the antenna.  But the VSWR was showing no indication of an issue.  Then I heard Col mention that there had been an X class flare.  There was the explanation.  It was time to pack up the gear and head home.  No reason to persevere.

If you want to read a bit more on solar flares, have a look at the following…..

http://spaceweather.com/glossary/flareclasses.html?PHPSESSID=2kq1a2unf15t8rk9ieiaik2no4

The image below shows today’s Class X-1 flare from Behemoth sunspot AR2192.

x1_strip2

Image courtesy of http://spaceweather.com

The graph below shows the X class flare.  It commenced at 0417 UTC, and it peaked at 0503 UTC.  My QSO with Mark was right in between this.

flares_20141019

Image courtesy of http://www.tesis.lebedev.ru/en/sun_flares.html

I had a grand total of 4 QSO’s for this activation.  This was by far, the most least successful activation I have every undertaken.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Mark VK5QI/p (Black Hill CP); Tony VK5FTVR; and Greg VK5GJ.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

Greg VK5GJ.

References.

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

Department for Environment and Natural Resources, 2014, ‘Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park‘.

Unactivated summits

Are you trying to find out which peak for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program has not yet been activated?

A great way to find out this information is on the Adventure Radio mapping site, which I have mentioned previously.  Adventure Radio was designed by Mario, DL4MFM  It can be found at…..

http://www.qwj.de

On the yellow buttons, click “Mountains”.  Below that, you will find the yellow button,“Select Sota”.  However, DO NOT click it, yet.  Just to the right of that button, click the small grey square auxiliary button.  Once you see the check mark on that button, then click “Select Sota”.  From the drop-down list that appears, pick your association and wait about ten seconds for the un-activated peaks to show.

Screenshot 2014-10-19 09.44.04

 

You can also do this via…..

http://www.sotamaps.org/

This site is on the bar at Sotawatch. The list indicates un-activated summits.  Use the filter at the lower left to make the map do that, too.

Giles Conservation Park

After packing up at the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, I headed for the Giles Conservation Park, which was just a short drive away.  The park is located about 10 km east of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  I had activated this park in August 2013.  For information on the park and the previous activation, please have a look at my previous post….

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/giles-conservation-park/

Screenshot 2014-10-18 21.39.22

I operated from the same spot as last year, which was off Woods Hill Road.  There is a locked gate here, and the commencement of a section of the famous Heysen Trail.  There is also a small parking spot just outside the gate, so you do not have to walk far at all.  The park is well sign posted, with a ‘Giles Conservation Park’ sign visible from the road.  I used the park sign, to secure my squid pole with an octopus strap.

Screenshot 2014-10-18 21.39.38

Again, for this activation, I started off on 40m.  I tuned to 7.095 and asked if the frequency was in use.  I was immediately greeted by Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier.  Brian is a real stalwart of the VK5 Parks award and as per usual, had a very nice 5/9 signal coming in from the South East.  This was followed by Greg VK5GJ, again using his home brew transceiver, running just 5 watts from Meadows in the southern Adelaide Hills.  It was a little later in the afternoon now, and the 40m band had started to come to life.  Greg’s signal was a good two S points stronger than in the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park.

Conditions on 40m appeared quite good.  There were some static crashes making it a little difficult at times with some of the weaker stations.  And there was some European DX on the frequency.

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Peter VK3YE was out and about again on the beach, pedestrian mobile.  Peter was ankle deep in water, operating with his vertical antenna, and had a good 5/6 signal with just 5 watts.  Bernard VK3AV called in again, stationary mobile at Port Franklin in Victoria, operating with his IC7000 and Terlin trap whip.  Bernard’s signal had also increased since working him from Horsnell Gully.

After working a total of 27 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, & VK5, I QSYd to 20m to my nominated frequency of 14.310.  However, when I arrived there I found that it was unusable, as there was Over the Horizon Radar there.  I tuned down the band to 14.263 and put out multiple CQ calls but had no callers.  So I tuned around the band, but found it rather empty.  Those signals coming in from Europe were quite low.  I heard my friend Marnix OP7M, but his signal was just too low for me to work.  However, I did manage to work 2 stations from Spain.

After an hour and twenty minutes in the park, I had a total of 29 contacts in the log.  The vast majority of those were on 40m SSB, with just 2 contacts (both being DX) on 20m SSB.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Brtian VK5FMID; Greg VK5GJ; Les VK5KLD; Rob VK5FRGM/3; Nev VK5WG; Adam VK2YK; Tony VK5FTVR; David VK5NQP; Peter VK3YE/p; Shirley VK5YL; Peter Vk5PET; David VK5HYZ; John VK2AWJ; David VK5KC; Tom VK5FTRG; Jim VK5TR; Matt VK5MLB; Ian VK5CZ; Steve VK5ARC/p; Colin VK3ZZS/p; Matt VK5ZX; Bernard VK3AV/m; Ron VK3JP; Peter VK3PF; Tony VK3CAT; Greg VK5LG; and Peter VK3TKK.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

Juan EA5IDG; and Gustavo EB1IRJ

Horsnell Gully Conservation Park

Late this afternoon (Saturday 18th October, 2014), I headed out to activate the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, which is situated about 10 km east of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  I previously activated this park in August 2013.  You can read about that activation and the history of the park in my previous post…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/horsnell-gully-conservation-park/

Screenshot 2014-10-18 20.59.01

It is a beautiful drive from my home at Mount Barker, to the park, through the Adelaide Hills.  It takes me out through Piccadilly and Summertown and on towards Norton Summit.  I drove to the end of Coach Road, as I did for my last activation.  Coach Road does not continue down to the suburb of Magill through the park, as many maps indicate.  In fact the road finishes where the eastern edge of the park starts.  There is a locked gate at this point which prevents vehicular access down through the park.  There is however a small car parking area here at the start of the park.

Coach Road was once the principal road into Adelaide from the east during the 1870s and 1880s.  There was a coach gate located on the highest point, known as ‘Coach Hill’.  Today, this area is the suburb of Skye.  The coach driver blew a trumpet to let the settles know that the coach had passed through the gate and that they had to climb up to close the gate.  A hut for the team keepers was located near the spot where the powerlines cross Coach Road.  The team keepers kept fresh horses here for the coaches.

The park was named after pioneer, John Horsnell.  An interesting piece in Horsnell can be found at…..

http://parkfriends.com.au/more-on-john-horsnell/

And here is some more information, including some audio…..

http://parkfriends.com.au/prog-05-john-horsnell-legacy/

Screenshot 2014-10-18 21.08.05

I set up my deck chair and fold up table on the dirt track (which is Coach Road in the maps) on the other side of the locked gate.  Last year I set up just on the other side of the large rocks that you will see.  However, it was a little noisy there, with the overhead power lines.  So I decided to walk down the track a little this year, away from the power lines.  It was a warm day, with the temperature being about 26 degrees C, so I chose a nice shady spot under the gum trees.  Over my shoulder (to the west) was a very deep valley, and to my east, was a gentle slope covered in gum trees and scrub.  What was very evident in the park, were the many wildflowers and native plants in flower, including the grevillias.  It was quite spectacular.  I was also fortunate enough to see a number of the impressive Yellow tailed Black cockatoos.  They are a large cockatoo, easily identified by their black plumage, and yellow cheek patch and yellow panels on the tail.

The operating equipment was my standard gear, the Yaesu FT-450, 40 watts, and a 40m/20m linked dipole.  I started off on 40m and my first contact was with Peter VK3TKK.  Peter’s signal was a little down.  However, it was only 0430 UTC (3.00 p.m. local time), so the 40m band was still asleep.  Brian VK5FMID was the next to call in, from Mount Gambier, and this was followed by John VK2AWJ in Gol Gol in New South Wales.  My fourth contact was with Ian VK5CZ in the beautiful Clare Valley.

I went on to work a total of 20 stations on 40m SSB in VK2, VK3, & VK5.  This included Greg VK5GJ operating QRP 5 watts with his home brew transceiver.  Nigel VK5NIG also called in, operating portable for Jamboree on the Air (JOTA), using just 1 watt from Tranmere.  Nigel had a great 5/9 signal despite being a short distance away.  And my last QRP contact for the activation was with Gary VK5PCM, who was operating with just 2 watts.  It was quite a struggle with Gary at times, with very deep QSB.

I also made contact with Bernard VK3AV who was mobile, and Colin VK3ZZS who was portable on the banks of the Murray River at Wentworth in New South Wales.

Sadly, I experienced a lot of QRM on 40m from some JOTA stations, who came up on the same frequency in the middle of QSO’s.  Clearly they couldn’t hear us at this time of the day.

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When things started to slow down on 40m, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and changed to the 20m band, where I put out a CQ call on 14.310.  This was answered by Daniel VK6LCK who was a good 5/7 signal.  I received a 5/8 signal report from Daniel.  Daniel is quite keen on commencing portable activities, so we had a discussion on the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program and the various park activities.  And then Bill VK2MWG called in from his mobile.  This was followed by Anthony VK6MAC.  Despite a number of CQ calls and a ‘self spot on the parksnpeaks site, I had no further callers on 20m.  It was interesting to note that the static crashes appeared a lot louder on the 20m band than on 40m.

After an hour & 20 minutes in the park, it was time to pack up and head off to the Giles Conservation Park.  I had a total of 23 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

Peter VK3TKK; Brian VK5FMID; John VK2AWJ; Ian VK5CZ; David VK5KC; Fred VK3DAC/m; Jerry VK7EE; Terry VK5ATN; Peter VK5PET; Tony VK5FTVR; Greg VK5GJ; Nev VK5WG; Jim VK5TR; David VK5NQP; Les VK5KLD; Les VK5KLV; Bernard VK3AV/m; Colin VK3ZZS/p; Nigel VK5NIG/p; and Gary VK5PCM.

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

Daniel VK6LCK; Bill VK2MWG/m; and Anthony VK6MAC.

 

References.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2014, ‘Horsnell Gully Conservation Park and Giles Conservation Park’.