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.
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…..
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.
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.
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.
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:-