Mount Magnificent Conservation Park

This afternoon I travelled to the Mount Magnificent Conservation Park (CP), which is about 8km north east of the town of Mount Compass, on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula, about 58 km south of Adelaide.  This is a veery scenic drive from my home qth at Mount Barker, through the towns of Echunga, Meadows, and then on to Prospect Hill.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 21.49.26

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I last activated this park in July, 2013, so today’s activation was another 1 point for me for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Here is a link to a post re my previous activation…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/mount-magnificent-conservation-park/

Mount Magnificent CP was established in 1972, and is about 90 hectares in size.  It protects a small area of remnant bushland.  The major feature of the park is the 380 metre high Mount Magnificent, which sadly does not qualify for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program), as it does not have the required ‘prominence’.  Despite this, there are excellent views from the top.  The famous Heysen trail passes through this park and links the nearby Finnis Conservation Park and the Kyeema Conservation Park to the north west.

The park is full of a variety of native wildlfie, including Western Grey kangaroos.  And there were plenty of these to be seen.

I set up on the  eastern side of the park, on the western side of Mount Magnificent Road.  I was not all that far from the south eastern corner of the park.  Part of the fenceline here had collapsed from the weight of falling branches from the gum trees, so access to the park was very easy.  I set up my fold up table and deck chair, about 5 metres in from the boundary fence.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 21.49.58

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Prior to calling CQ I had a quick tune around the 40m band and I found Paul VK1ATP portable on SOTA peak Mount Majura, VK1/ AC-034, calling CQ on his own on 7.090 (5/7 both ways).  That was a nice way to start the activation for me.

I then went up to 7.095 and starting calling CQ and this was immediately responded to by Arno VK5ZAR, and then Les VK5KLV in Port Augusta.  Les is becoming a real regular park hunter now, which is great to see.  I was then called by Stuart VK5STU who was portable in the Sandy Creek Conservation Park.  Stuart had a very strong 5/9 signal, and it was great to be able to get a ‘park to park’ contact.  Mick VK3FAFK from Stawell then called in and he was kind enough to place me on the parksnpeaks site.

A few QSOs later I was called by Andrew VK1NAM/3 who was portable on Arthurs Seat, VK3/ VC-031.  And then a little further down the log I was called by John VK5BJE who was portable in the Greater Bendigo National Park, which qualifies for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) and also qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Greater Bendigo NP is VKFF-623.

After working a total of 22 stations on 40m SSB, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed up to 20m.  I called CQ on 14.205 and this was answered by Jeremy VK4EVE, with a strong 5/9 signal.  Sadly, a Japanese station moved in on 14.206 and that was the end of that.  I tuned across the band and found Juha EA8/OH1LEG who was calling CQ.  I gave Juha a call, and to my surprise, he responded.  I only received a 5/3 signal report from Juha, but I was very pleased that I was able to make it to the Canary Islands.  I kept tuning across the band and then worked Lauro IK4GRO (5/8 sent and 5/5 received).

I headed back to 40m and tuned across the band and found W1AW/KH6 calling CQ on 7.183.  He was not busy so I gave him a call.  After a number of attempts with my call sign, we made a valid contact.  The SOTA Goat app on my iphone bleated and I saw that there was a spot for Andrew VK3JBL/6.  SO I headed back up to 20m, and although it was a bit of a struggle, I was able to make contact with Andrew (3/4 sent due to the static crashed and 4/5 received).  I haven’t worked that many VK6 summits, so I was very pleased to make contact with Andrew.

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I went on to work Orlando, EA8CCQ, in the Canary Islands.  orlando was using a rotary dipole, and we were able to have a comfortable QSO (5/9 sent and 5/5 received).

It was starting to get a bit cool and the local time was just after 7.00 p.m. so I decided to pack up and head home.  As it was, it was a very slow drive, as the roads were covered in kangaroos.

After 2 hours in the park I had a total of 28 QSO’s in the log.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Paul VK1ATP/p (SOTA)
  2. Arno VK5ZAR
  3. Les VK5KLV
  4. Stuart VK5STU/p (park to park)
  5. Mick VK3FAFK
  6. Nev VK5WG
  7. Peter VK3TKK
  8. Andrew VK1NAM/3 (SOTA)
  9. Matt VK1MA
  10. Hans VK5YX
  11. Tom VK5EE
  12. Nick VK3ANL
  13. Andrew VK3ARR
  14. Grant VK2LX
  15. Brian VK5FMID
  16. John VK5DJ
  17. John VK5BKE/3 (KRMNPA & WWFF)
  18. Robin VK5TN
  19. John VK5FTCT
  20. Peter VK5NAQ
  21. Richard VK5ZRY
  22. David VK5HYZ
  23. W1AW/KH6

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. Jeremy VK4EVE
  2. Juha EA8/OH1LEG
  3. Lauro IK4GRO
  4. VK3JBL/6 (SOTA)
  5. Orlando EA8CCQ

 

References.

Department of Water, Environment and Natural Resources, ‘Parks of the Fleurieu Peninusla’, 2011.

Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Magnificent_Conservation_Park>viewed 21st Dec 2014

Don’t become a ‘black hole’

This morning, I received an SMS message from John VK5BJE advising me that he was on air in the Little Desert National Park.  So in the throws of making my coffee, I headed to the radio shack and there was John on 7.095 with a great 5/9 signal from western Victoria.

John was keen to get as many contacts as possible for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so I set about trying to alert as many other amateurs as I could to John’s presence on the band.  I kept listening, and it was really pleasing to hear John end up with a large pile up, with many of the stations I had alerted either via SMS, email, etc, giving him a call.

I have mentioned it before here on my WordPress site,

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/how-to-attract-chasers-and-hunters/

and during various presentations I’ve delivered, but I thought I would mention this again.

PLEASE, don’t become a black hole, and keep the contact to yourself.

Remember, that many of the National Park activators are seeking the required 44 QSOs for the WWFF global award program.  So the more calls they get, the better.

There are currently no phone apps similar to SOTA Goat or Rucksack radio, for park activations.  So park activators are relying on the goodwill of park hunters to let other amateurs know that they are in a park.

So, what can you do to let others know that a park activator is on a particular frequency?  The answer is quite a bit.

SMS message.

Consider setting up an SMS group on your mobile telephone.  A few amateurs are doing this, and it works extremely well.  If you work a park activator, send an SMS to your group, advising your mates of your contact, so that they too, can hopefully make contact with the park activator.

DX cluster

A DX Cluster is in essence a “chatroom” or node into which amateur DX hunters can post information about DX either worked or heard.  Physically, it is a central computer that collects, stores and disseminates information that hams send to it.  There are thousands of nodes around the world, connected together via the internet or radio.

Personally, I use dxwatch.com…..

http://www.dxwatch.com/

Screenshot 2014-12-21 10.48.46

Here is a link to the recent presentation given by Brian VK5BC at the Welcome to amateur radio symposium…..

parksnpeaks

The parksnpeaks site is a terrific spotting and alert facility created by Allen VK3HRA.  The parksnpeaks site is FREE to join.  Just simply register a new account.

http://www.parksnpeaks.org/

screenshot-2014-07-18-15-24-54

 

The parksnpeaks site has some excellent features.  It can be used to add VK activity including QRP operation, National Parks, Conservation Parks, or portable operation in general, whilst SOTA spots are added directly via SOTAWatch.

The parksnpeaks site offers:-

  • ‘spotting’ facilities

and

  • ‘alert’ facilities.

‘Spotting’ is where you can add details of stations you have worked or heard.  This allows you to share information with other amateurs.

‘Alerting’ is where you can add details of your proposed activations, so people can see what your future plans are.

email

Send an email to your mates.  Creating an email group is easy.

If you are using Gmail…..

  1. To create a contact group:
    1. Click Gmail at the top-left corner of your Gmail page, then choose Contacts.
    2. Select contacts that you want to add to a group, click the Groups button. , then Create new.
    3. Enter the name of the group.
    4. Click OK.

If you use another email platform, there are plenty of tips on the internet regarding creating groups.

Yahoo groups

Place a post on the World Wide Flora Fauna or VK5 Parks Yahoo groups.

Screenshot 2014-12-21 10.53.47

http://au.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sanpcpa/info

http://au.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/wwffaustralia/info

2m repeater

Send a message out to other amateurs on your local repeater.  I know that many of the amateurs in the South East of South Australia, are doing this, and it works well.

WWFF Forum

The World Wide Flora & Fauna program (WWFF) does not have a spotting & alert facility like SOTAwatch.  But Activators are encouraged to place their intended activations on the WWFF Forum.  A huge number of European amateurs read the Forum and will be able to see your intentions.

http://forum.wwff.co

 

So, as you can see there is a lot you can do.  So please, after working a park activator, don’t just sit back and do nothing.  Consider sharing your contact with other like minded amateurs.  You are not only benefiting the other park hunters, but also the activator themselves.