Bullock Hill Conservation Park

Late yesterday afternoon (Monday 19th January 2015) I activated the Bullock Hill Conservation Park (CP), situated near the little town of Ashbourne on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  The park is about 65 km south of Adelaide, and just a short 35 minute drive from home, via Strathalbyn.

Screenshot 2015-01-20 09.31.37

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Bullock Hill CP is a newly gazetted park.  It was proclaimed on the 20th January, 2014, so it was just 1 day short of its 1 year birthday during my activation.  The park was first activated by Gordon VK5GY.  I last activated the park back in April 2014.  For more information on that activation, have a look at my previous post at…..

https://vk5pas.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/bullock-hill-conservation-park/

Should you wish to read the proposal to constitute the park as a Conservation Park, here is a link to the document submitted by the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning Association Inc…..

http://www.gwlap.org.au/docs/GWLAP%20Submission_Proposal%20to%20Constitute%20Bullock%20Hill%20CP.pdf

Bullock Hill is about 200 hectares in size, with some spectacular gums and very thick bush on the western side of the park.  The terrain is hilly.  It is home to a large amount of wildlife, as I found out.  When I arrived at the park, there were between 30-40 Western Grey kangaroos grazing in the open grassland area on the eastern side of the park.

I accessed the park via Wattle Flat Road, which runs off the Ashbourne – Strathalbyn Road.  The park is well sign posted.  If you are a little more adventurous, you could access the park via Haines Road, but this is 4WD access only.

Screenshot 2015-01-20 09.32.20

Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I set up on the eastern side of the park, which is an open native grassland area.  There is plenty of room here to string out a dipole, and some small gums to afford some shade.  It was a warm afternoon, so the shade was appreciated.

The park is deceptive at this location, in that there is not too much scrub here at this point.  As you look west towards Bullock Hill itself, there is just a small outcrop of scrub and the occasional impressive gum tree on the grassland.  It isn’t until you reach the top of Bulllock Hill, that you can truly see all of the thick scrub on the western side of the park.  The climb to the top is quite easy.  It takes about 10-15 minutes and offers spectacular views of the Fleurieu Peninsula.  There is a wooden table and bench at the top, should you wish to operate from there.

Screenshot 2015-01-20 09.33.17

map courtesy of mapcarta.com

For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and my 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on a 7 metre telescopic squid pole from Haverfords.

My first contact on 40m was with Peter VK5BWH at Port Augusta, with a strong 5/9 signal.  This was followed by the ever reliable park hunter, John VK5BJE, and then Peter VK5KPR and Les VK5KLV, both at Port Augusta.  I went on to work a total of 14 stations on 40m in VK3 & VK5.  My 44 amp hour power pack was madly beeping at me, despite the fact that I had charged it at home before leaving.  So I cut short my QSO with John VK5NJ and Tom VK5FTRG in the South East.

I very quickly lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, and had a quick listen on the 20m band.  Although I heard signals coming in from Europe, there were no real stand outs.  So I headed down to 14.156 where there is a daily get together of VK’s, ZL’s, G stations.  The net is run by John EA7BA, a British expat, now living in Almeria in Spain.  John was an excellent 5/9 signal and I received a 5/8 signal report back from Spain.  I also worked my old mate Brian ZL2ASH.  Brian’s signal was not as strong as usual on 20m, but he was still 5/7.  I received a 4/5 from Brian in Wellington.

I then put out a few CQ calls on 14.212 hoping that some of the VK6 fellas may call in.  But sadly there was no reply.  It is made very difficult with no phone app for the parks, such as there is for the SOTA program.

I then took the opportunity to charge the battery, whilst I went for a walk up to the top of Bullock Hill.  After the short walk to the top, I sat there for about an hour, admiring the view, before venturing back down the hill and firing up the radio again.

I returned to 40m and put out a CQ call on 7.135 and this was answered by Joe VK3YSP who was operating QRP with just 5 watts.  Joe was a good 5/8 signal and very readable, as there was no man made noise in the park at all.  The only noise on the band were the static crashes.  I worked a further 6 stations in VK2, VK3, & VK5, before QSYing down to 7.130, where I joined the 7130 DX Net, which was being run by Mal VK5MJ in the Riverland.  Mal’s signal was incredibly strong, with the two plus signs showing on the FT857d.

On the net I worked Brian again, ZL2ASH.  This time with a beautiful 5/9 signal.  And Brian returned a 5/8 signal report to me.  I also spoke to William FO5JV in French Polynesia (5/9 sent and 5/4 received).  The strongest signal though, was Gary ZL3SV who was 5/9 plus plus plus from Nelson on the South Island of New Zealand.  Gary has a nearly 2,000 foot long centre feed sloper antenna.  It is amazing.  Here is a link to Gary’s QRZ.com page

http://qrz.com/db/zl3sv

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I also spoke to Bill W1OW on the net.  Bill is located in Massachusetts in the USA.  Bill had a very nice 5/8 signal report coming in from The States, and Bill returned a 5/5 signal report to me.  I was very pleased with this, with just my 40 watts and a simple dipole antenna.  And I also made contact with Bowden ZL1HX in Welsford on the North Island of New Zealand.

And to top things off I had a contact with Richard VK2XRC who was portable in the Morton National Park, New South Wales.  This park qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and is VKFF-334.

I worked a total of 18 stations on the 7130 DX Net in French Polynesia, USA, New Zealand, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.   This net is always a lot of fun and is held each Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 0930 UTC.  Here is a link to the 7130 DX Net Facebook page…..

https://www.facebook.com/pages/7130-DX-NET/681316281955226

After the net I was going to pack up, but the weather was beautiful and the band was in good shape.  So I had a quick tune around the 40m band, and I was very pleased I did.  I heard Pedro NP4A, calling CQ on 7.145.  Pedro’s signal was 5/9 plus.  He was being called by a large number of VK’s and Indonesian stations.  But I patiently waited for about 10 minutes, and got through to Pedro who gave me a genuine 5/9 signal report.  I was very excited.  I am aiming for DXCC as a portable station, and Puerto Rico was a new country for me whilst in a park or on a SOTA summit.

I then headed up the band to 7.150 and out out a CQ call and this was answered by Paul VK5FUZZ at Wellington on the River Murray.  Whilst working Paul I heard some gunshots in the distance, and could see the spotlight off to my south, over the hills.  They were perhaps 3 km away, but netherless made me feel a bit uneasy as I was sitting in complete darkness.  The night was only lit up occasionally by my headset that I was wearing when I logged a station.  But I decided to stay, as it was a beautiful balmy night with very clear skies.  I even saw a couple of satellites pass over head as I chatted away on 40m.

I worked a further 7 stations in VK2, VK3, and VK4, before deciding to pack up and head home.  I was getting hungry and I felt a bit uneasy about the spotlighters as they appeared to be getting a bit closer.  They were very close to the Conservation Park.  I’m not sure if they were locals and probably have my suspicions that they were shooting kangaroos.  With a permit?  Who knows?

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/managing-natural-resources/plants-and-animals/Permits_licences/Native_animals_in_the_wild/Hunting_Permits

This was a very enjoyable activation.  Beautiful surroundings with lots of wildlife, and very good band conditions on 40m.  I had a total of 51 contacts in the log.  It’s a shame that a few more park activators don’t head out during the evening, as this is certainly when the 40m band is at its best, with propagation possible all across Australia, and lots of DX.

The following stations were worked on 40m ssb:-

  1. Peter VK5BWH
  2. John VK5BJE
  3. Peter VK5KPR
  4. Les VK5KLV
  5. Mick VK3FAFK
  6. Adrian VK5FANA
  7. Chris VK4FR/5
  8. Adrian VK5AJR/p
  9. Nev VK5WG (qrp)
  10. John VK5NJ
  11. Bob VK5FPAC
  12. Adrian VK5AJR/m
  13. Greg VK5GJ
  14. Tom VK5FTRG
  15. Joe VK3YSP (qrp)
  16. Wolf Vk5WF
  17. Scott VK2FZSD
  18. Julie VK3FOWL
  19. Doug VK2FMIA
  20. Ian VK3VIN
  21. Bob VK5HAC
  22. Mal VK5MJ
  23. Brian ZL2ASH
  24. Chris VK2UW
  25. William FO5JV
  26. Gary ZL3SV
  27. Roy VK7ROY
  28. Paul VK7CC
  29. Greg VK7FGGT
  30. Colin VK4FAAS
  31. Gavin VK3MLU
  32. Steve VK2FISN
  33. Richard VK2XRC/p
  34. Tony VK2RI
  35. Giles VK5FFAA
  36. Shaun VK5FAKV
  37. Mark VK4MON
  38. Bill W1OW
  39. Bowden ZL1HX
  40. Pedro NP4A
  41. Paul VK5FUZZ
  42. Chris VK4FCHM
  43. Rob VK4FFAB
  44. Gavin VK3MLU
  45. Chris VK2UW
  46. Frank VK2HFS
  47. Tom VK5FTRG
  48. Oscar VK4BOV

The following stations were worked on 20m ssb:-

  1. John EA7BA
  2. Wayne VK4XG
  3. Brian ZL2ASH

Below is a video I took of some of the stations I heard on the 7130 DX Net…..

One thought on “Bullock Hill Conservation Park

  1. Pingback: Bullock Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0873 | vk5pas

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