On Friday evening (13th February 2015) I activated the Kyeema Conservation Park, as part of the 3rd Summer afternoon/evening activation event for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award. Yes, it was Friday, the 13th. But fortunately I did not come across any scary monsters or demons in the park. I did however, bump into another amateur, as you will read a little later.
The Kyeema Conservation Park is situated about 60 km south of Adelaide, and is easily accessible via Woodgate Hill Road, which runs off Brookman Road (the main road between Willunga and Meadows). The park has a rich history, which includes alluvial gold mining, and a labour prison reserve. The area was devastated during the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.
Image courtesy of mapcarta.com
I have activated the park a number of times in the past. It is an ideal park for a night time activation, as there is a good cleared area between the road and the scrub, alongside of the carpark off Woodgate Hill Road. This area is on the western side of the carpark, near Gate 3. The gate is locked, but the wire fence alongside of the gate is easily negotiated.
I set up the fold up table and deck chair and I was ready to go by 6.15 p.m. S.A. local time. It was a beautiful evening, with the temperature being a very comfortable 25 deg C. It was very overcast with some very threatening black clouds in the sky. It had been a warm day in Adelaide, getting into the mid 30’s. But not as hot as expected. Unfortunately, the very hot weather predictions, had put off a lot of other park activators from venturing out this evening.
image courtesy of wikimapia
Before calling CQ, I had my normal scout around the 40m band to see who I could find, and to gauge what propagation was like. The 40m band seemed to be in good shape, with lots of signals coming through, but there were a lot of static crashes. I found Bob VK5FO calling CQ on 7.090 from the Morialta Conservation Park. Bob had a beautiful 5/9 signal coming into the Fleurieu, and it was a great way to start the activation with a ‘Park to Park’ contact.
I then moved up to 7.097. There was some activity on 7.093, so I could not get onto my nominated operating frequency of 7.095. My first taker after calling CQ was Hans VK5YX. Hans had been out a little earlier in the afternoon in the Hallett Cove Conservation Park. But unfortunately this time around, I had missed Hans whilst he was out in a park. Another regular park hunter then called in, Arno VK5ZAR. Arno normally heads out to activate on the Summer activation events, but this evening he had a club meeting to attend. I was then called by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, running QRP 5 watts with a nice 5/9 signal. Adrian seems to have been bitten by the ‘QRP bug’ and he does very well with his low power.
Unfortunately, the same ‘offenders’ that I had experienced last week whilst operating portable, came up on 7.098 whilst Adrian and I were in the middle of a QSO. They are VK2’s who appear to have a regular sked on 7.098 and speak in Italian. They were just too strong to compete with, and were bleeding over badly. Despite being told by some other stations to QSY, as per last week, they appeared to ignore this and kept on going. So again, as per last week, I QSYd.
I moved to 7.115, and my first taker there was another park regular, Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta. This was followed by Ian VK5CZ who had a hard day in the vineyard in the Clare Valley, and had to get up again at 4.00 a.m. Keep boxing on Ian!. And then another regular WWFF park activator and hunter, Rob VK4FFAB, gave me a call, followed by Brett VK4FTWO in Bundaberg.
A few QSO’s later I was called by Doug VK2FMIA, who is another keen park atcivator and hunter. And then a few calls later, Geoff VK5HEL called in from the Mowantijie Willawaur Conservation Park. This was a real surprise. I wasn’t aware that Geoff was heading out. I have activated Mowantijie before, but this was the first time I had got the park as a Hunter. Great, another ‘Park to Park’.
Tom VK5FTRG from Millicent gave me a shout a few contacts later. Tom often runs QRP, and tonight was no exception. With just 1 watt, Tom was 5/9 to Kyeema. Although, when he was running the processor on his transceiver, his audio was pretty average. But when it was switched off, the audio was lovely.
A few calls later I spoke with Phil VK2HPN who was mobile near Canberra on his way home from work. Phil told me that he follows my WordPress site and had been trying to work me for a few years. I was quite humbled by Phil’s comments, and I was very pleased to make contact with Phil. This was followed by a call from Gary ZL3SV on the North Island of New Zealand. Gary is always one of the strongest signals on the band. Have a look at his antenna on QRZ.com and you will see why…..
And then a few QSOs later, I was called by Mike VK6MB. Mike was a nice 5/9 to Kyeema, and he reciprocated with a 5/7 signal report for me. This time of the evening is ideal to work into Western Australia on 40m.
And to keep the good contacts rolling, a few QSO’s later I was called by my mate Andy VK4TH/1 who was portable near Canberra. Andy is on a road trip and I will be catching up with him in a week or two for a meal and a few beers. Andy was camping on the side of the Huon Highway near Canberra, and had a beautiful 5/9 signal.
I took a break from the radio and took the opportunity of taking some photos and having a drink. The Yellow tailed black cockatoos were out in large numbers in the park, along with numerous Superb Blue Wrens.
I returned to the radio and had a bit of a tune around the 40m band and found K1N on Navassa Island, working split. He had quite a good signal, but the pile up was unbelievable, with lots of VK’s, USA, & Japanese stations trying to get through. It certainly would have been nice to have worked them, but I didn’t even try.
Whilst operating, I had a car arrive in the carpark. As the male occupant got out of his car, he had a close look at the antennas on my car. He then walked towards me, and said hello, and kept walking off into the bush. A few times, he looked back in my direction, but kept walking. I thought, yep another guy probably wondering what the hell I was doing. Time passed, and the guy reappeared. This time he said hello, and introduced himself. It was Rafe VK5FRAF. Unbelievable. I’m in a Conservation Park, a fair way from anywhere, and I bump into another ham. Rafe told me that he had been licenced for about 6 years but was not very active. We had a good chat and exchanged phone numbers. Hopefully, Rafe will be attending the next meeting of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society.
I then joined the 7.130 DX Net which was being run on 7.140, as K1N was working split on 7.130. On the net I made a total of 9 contacts, including Caleb ZL2ML, Brian ZL2ASH, and ZL1CBE. Just as the Net was about to finish, the Indonesian QRM commenced, along with the Over the Horizon Radar (OTHR).
So after a few very enjoyable hours at Kyeema, I had a total of 41 contacts in the log. It was 9.30 p.m. and still 20 deg C. A beautiful evening.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- Bob VK5FO/p (Morialta CP)
- Hans VK5YX
- Arno VK5ZAR
- Adrian VK5FANA
- Les VK5KLV
- Ian VK5CZ
- Rob VK4FFAB
- Brett VK4FTWO
- Mick VK3FAFK
- Nev VK5WG
- Doug VK2FMIA/p (National Park)
- Jim VK2FADV
- Steve VK5ST
- Geoff VK5HEL/p (Mowantijie Willawaur CP)
- David VK5NQP
- John VK5FMJC
- Tom VK5FTRG/qrp
- Rod VK2LAX
- Adam VK2YK
- Phil VK2HPN/m
- Gary ZL3SV
- Brian VK5FMID
- Mike VK6MB
- Jeff VK5JK
- Steve VK5AIM
- Tony VK5KAT
- Andy VK4TH/1
- Paul VK5FUZZ
- Peter VK2FKAD
- John VK2XUP
- John VK2TH
- Caleb ZL2ML
- Brian ZL2ASH
- Roadl VK1FIVE
- Andy VK4TH/1
- Andrew VK2MWP
- Roy VK7ROY
- Connor VK2FCAC
- George VK4GSF