After my steak sandwich and a cleansing ale at Port Broughton, I headed back to the Clements Gap Conservation Park. The park is situated about 22 km south west of Crystal Brook and about 200 km north of Adelaide.
map courtesy of mapcarta.com
Clements Cap is a largely undisturbed 11 square km of remnant bushland. It is believed that the area is named after an old shepherd employed in the locality. This park is sometimes referred to on maps as the Mundoora Conservation Park.
Clements Gap was once a thriving community. The only surviving building at Clements Gap is the Soldiers Memorial Methodist Church, which is still used today for monthly services and weddings. The church was officially opened on the 11th March 1926. It was free of debt, due in part to the effort of the local ladies who at the end of the war turned their Red Cross Society into a ladies church aid for the erection of the memorial. The architect of the church was Reverend T.G. White.
I found the following article re the opening of the church, from The Register, Friday 19th March 1926.
image courtesy of trove.nla.gov.au
The Clements Gap windfarm is located nearby in the Barunga Range. It was opened in 2010, and consists of 27 wind turbines with a total generating capacity of 57 MW. It provides enough electricity for up to 33,000 homes and is estimated to avoid the emission of 150,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year.
I set up on the northern side of the dirt road that runs through the park, between the Spencer Highway and Clements Road. There are a number of dirt tracks that run off this dirt road. I found a small clearing and set up the fold up table and deck chair.
image courtesy of mapcarta.com
I was planning on using the Yaesu FT-857d for this activation, but when I connected the radio to the 44 amp hour power pack, I found I had no power being delivered to the transceiver. Some careful checks were made and this revealed that one of the 25 amp fuses had fallen out of the cable that I connect between the radio and the power source. I had an open circuit. So I resorted to using the smaller Yaesu FT-817nd and 5 watts output.
I started calling CQ on 7.095 and the first taker was Adrian VK5FANA, and then Richard VK5ZRY. Both of whom are on the Yorke Peninsula. I then spoke with Jeff VK5JK at Victor Harbor and then Geoff VK5HEL at Murray Bridge. I had a little bit of QRM on the frequency from an EA1 on Spain, but it was not causing any major problems. However, three VK2’s came up on 7.095 and completely took over the frequency. There was no ‘is the frequency in use?’, they just completely took over. No doubt they couldn’t hear me, but how they didn’t hear the higher powered stations I was working, I do not know. And they also totally ignored the numerous ‘the frequency is in use’ calls that were made by other stations waiting to work me.
I gave up and moved up to 7.100 where I spoke with Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland. Sadly, our VK2 friends from 7.090 then came up on 7.098 and were bleeding over badly. I decided it wasn’t worth pursuing, and decided to go for a bit of a walk to soothe my nerves.
I returned to the radio about 15 minutes later and tuned up and down the 40m band and found an old friend, John VK3HJD in QSO with some other VK3’s. So I called in to the group and spoke with John, Steve VK3MSC, Colin VK3COL, and Colin VK3ZZS/p.
It was at this time that I heard a vehicle travelling down the road. I then saw a 4WD travel passed slowly and then come to a halt. The vehicle then reversed up, back towards the track I had travelled down. Oh no! I thought to myself. This is either a park ranger, or a trouble maker. I was hoping it was not the latter. Fortunately it was neither. It was Nev VK5WG and John VK5FMJC.
After a bit of a chinwag with Nev and John, we tuned across the 40m band and found Andrew VK1DA who was portable on SOTA peak, Spring Hill, VK2/ ST-036. All three of us spoke with Andrew.
I had intended on packing up by this time, but with Nev and John arriving, it was now 8.00 p.m. and it was time for the 7130 DX Net. I booked in to the net and worked a total of 13 stations including William FO5JV, Brian ZL2ASH, and Caleb ZL2ML.
After a few rounds of the net, I moved up to 7.135 where I called CQ. My CQ call was answered by Steve Vk3NSC who was running QRP 5 watts (5/8 both ways). But during our QSO, a JA moved in right alongside of us and this made continuing the contact, very difficult.
I moved up to 7.141 where I again called CQ, and much to my surprise, the CQ call was answered by Peter VK3PF/7 who was portable in the Freycinet National Park in Tasmania. I then spoke with Peter VK7LCW at Penguin in Tasmania. Peter was my last contact. It was getting late and I was a bit tired. So it was time to head back to Crystal Brook.
I had a total of 27 contacts in the log. Not bad, considering that I was running QRP 5 watts.
The following stations were worked:-
- Adrian VK5FANA
- Richard VK5ZRY
- Jeff VK5JK
- Geoff VK5HEL
- Peter VK5FLEX
- Ivan VK5HS
- John Vk3HJD
- Steve VK3NSC
- Colin VK3COL
- Colin VK3ZZS/p
- Ian VK1DA/p (SOTA)
- Roy VK7ROY
- Rod VK3OB
- William FO5JV
- Brian ZL2ASH
- Caleb ZL2ML
- Doug VK2FMIA/p
- Colin VK4FAAS
- Greg VK7FGGT
- Kevin VK7VEK
- John VK2FALL
- Craig VK6VCK/m
- Adam VK7VAZ
- Steve VK3NSC/qrp
- Peter VK3PF/7 (Freycinet NP)
- Peter VK7LCW
Cockburn, R, 1908, ‘South Australia. What’s in a Name?’, Axiom Publishing.
Monument Australia, 2015, <http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/conflict/ww1/display/50605-clements-gap-soldiers-memorial-methodist-church>, viewed 8th February 2015
Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clements_Gap_Wind_Farm>, viewed 8th February 2015