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.

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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.

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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.

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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.