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.
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…..
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.
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)…..
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.
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.
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