Coorong NP and the John Moyle Field Day 2015

For the 2015 John Moyle Memorial Field Day Contest I headed down to Parnka Point at the Coorong National Park, about 170 km south east of Adelaide.

The Coorong National Park qualifies for the World Wide Flora and Fauna program (it is VKFF-115) and also qualifies for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

Screenshot 2015-03-23 12.17.09

Map courtesy of wikimapia

The park’s name is thought to be a corruption of the local aboriginal word kurangh, meaning ‘long neck’, which is a reference to the shape of the lagoon system.  The name is also thought to be from the Aboriginal word Coorang, “sand dune”, a reference to the sand dunes that can be seen between the park and the Southern Ocean.

More information on the Coorong National Park can be found at…..

http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_park/Browse_by_region/Limestone_Coast/Coorong_National_Park

Screenshot 2015-03-23 12.16.48  map courtesy of wikimapia

I drove to the end of Parnka Point and set up in a little shelter shed on the western side of the point.  Parnka Point is  the narrowest part of The Coorong as the water is less than 100 metres wide.  Parnka Point is where the northern and southern lagoons of The Coorong meet each other.  The water at this point is often referred to as Hells Gate.

The northern lagoon is partly fed by the waters of the River Murray, and varies in salinity from brackish to hyper saline.  In contrast the southern lagoon is always hyper saline.  While this narrow channel often appears calm, a change in wind direction or water levels can create treacherous currents through this narrow but deep channel.

Parnka Point was a significant meeting site for the five aboriginal tribes that formed the Ngarrindjeri clan.  Parnka is a Ngarrindjeri word meaning ‘sandy beach’.  As you look out across the lagoon, you can see wooden poles in the seater.  These are the remains of a ferry built last century to access the Younghusband Peninsula.

It was a very beautiful outlook, overlooking the lagoons.  The weather was sensational…..28 degrees C.

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map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I took part in the 6 hour section and I managed a total of 238 contacts.  Most of those were on 40m SSB (222), but I did squeeze in 26 on 20m SSB.  Most of the contacts on 20m were with other VK’s, but a few Europeans and Japanese gave me a call, and exchanged numbers.  They were obviously aware of the JMMFD.

For the contest I used my Yaesu FT-857d and 40 watts on 40m and 80 watts on 20m.  The antenna was a 40m/20m linked dipole supported by a 7 metre telescopic squid pole (inverted vee).  The radio was powered by a 44 amp hour power pack(2 x 22 amp hour SLAB batteries) which I topped up with the use of some solar panels.

I used my laptop for this activation and Mike’s VK Contest Log.  But the inverter which I had purchased to connect the laptop to via the power pack, threw off S8 noise.  So I had to take some breaks from the radio, to charge the laptop.

I probably ‘gasbagged’ a bit for the first few hours, telling people a bit about my location and what equipment I was using.  This is what I like about the JMMFD.  You can take it easy or take it very seriously.

At tea time, I sat back and enjoyed the magnficent sunset and a glass or 2 of red with my evening meal.  And then back into it until about 9.00 p.m. SA local time when I packed up and headed home.

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Charleston Conservation Park

Friday the 13th March 2015 was another ‘Summer’ activation event, so I headed over to the Charleston Conservation Park (CP), which was recently added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Charleston CP is now allocated as VKFF-777.

Charleston CP is located about 46 km east of Adelaide.  It is located near the little township of Charleston.  The town was named after Charles Newman, who left Sommersetshire in England in July 1837 under engagement to the South Australian Company as a shepherd.  In 1843 he took up land in the vicinity of Mount Charles and built a home there.  To this day, the Newman homestead remains on Newman Road at Charleston.

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I managed to find a video of the homestead, from Adcock Real Estate when it was up for sale back in 2012.

And here is an extract from The Advertiser, Wednesday 3rd October 1990 re the death of Newman.

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I have activated Charleston CP a number of times previously, but this was the first time I had activated the park as part of WWFF, so it was quite exciting.

For more information on my previous activations, click on the links below…..

https://vk5pas.org/2015/01/12/charleston-conservation-park-3/

https://vk5pas.org/2014/04/28/charleston-conservation-park-2/

https://vk5pas.org/2013/07/24/charleston-conservation-park/

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Above: Map showing the location of Charleston Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Charleston CP is just a short distance from my home.  It is a very pleasant drive through Nairne, and on towards Woodside.  I then travelled along Pfeiffer Road passed the Country Fire Service Air base.  Six (6) single engine AT802 ‘Air Tractors’ are based at Woodside.  These aircraft are manufactured by Air Tractor Inc in the United States and have a cpacity to carry 3,200 litres of water/fire retardant.  A number of helicopters are also based at Woodside.

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I set up just inside Gate 1 on Bell Springs Road, at the north western corner of the park.  There is another entrance to the park at the north eastern corner, however it is a little heavier wooded at that location.  So I chose to set up at Gate 1 again as per my previous activations.  This is a track here which runs along the northern boundary and another track which runs along the eastern boundary.  The scrub is quite thick, so I walked about 30 metres inside the boundary fence and found a clearing and set up the 40m/20m linked dipole, my deck chair and fold up table.  For this activation I again ran the Yaesu FT-857d at 40 watts.

Screenshot 2015-03-20 20.33.38

Above: Map showing my operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

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My first contact was with Andrew VK1NAM who was portable on SOTA peak Isaacs Ridge, VK1/ AC-041.  Andrew had a nice strong 5/8 signal coming in from eastern outskirts of Canberra.

After working Andrew I tuned around the 40m band and found my first VK5 Park.  It was John VK5BJE who was portable in the Scott Creek Conservation Park, another recently added park to the WWFF program.  John had a very good 5/9 signal coming in from Scott Creek CP, VKFF-788.

I then found Arno VK5ZAR on 7.105.  Arno was in the Ferguson Conservation Park in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide near the foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges.  Arno was running QRP 5 watts and a linked dipole and had a strong 5/9 signal.  Arno is one of the regulars who always gets out on a Friday evening.

I then tuned up the band and found Peter VK5FLEX calling CQ on 7.115 from the Pike River Conservation Park near Renmark in the Riverland region along the Murray River.  Peter has recently been bitten by the ‘parks bug’ thanks to Larry VK5LY.

My next park contact was with Geoff VK5HEL who was portable in the Ettrick Conservation Park in the Murray Mallee.  Ettrick CP is a recently gazetted South Australian Conservation Park.  Geoff has also recently become a regular park activator.

I then spoke with Peter VK5PET who was operating from the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park in the Murray Mallee.  I was very pleased to make contact with Peter as this was his first ever park activation.  Well done on getting out there Peter.

I then propped on 7.110 and started calling CQ.  It wasn’t long before I had a small pile up of ever keen park hunters.  My first taker was Peter VK5KPR, followed by Doug VK2FMIA who was in the Horton Falls National Park, VKFF-594.  If you would like to see Doug’s excellent blog and read about his activation at Horton Falls, please click on the following link….

http://vk2fmia.com/2015/03/15/horton-falls-national-park-vkff-594-2/

A few QSOs later I was called by David VK5NQP who was operating portable from the Cromer Conservation Park near Birdwood in the Adelaide Hills.  And a number of QSOs later I was called by Les VK5KLV in the Mount Remarkable National Park in the north of South Australia.

When things got a little quiet, I tuned around the band and found Adrian VK5FANA operating portable from the Bird Islands Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula.  Adrian was running QRP, just 5 watts, but nether less had a beautiful 5/9 signal.  Adrian is another amateur who has recently renewed his interest in the hobby by activating from South Australian parks.  It is great to see the Foundation calls getting involved.

I then settled on 7.100 and started calling CQ and this was answered by Gordon VK5GY who was operating portable from the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Gordon was also running QRP 5 watts and was a good strong 5/8-9 signal.

I worked a further 6 stations in VK2 and VK5, but when things slowed down a little I took the time to try 20m but conditions there were not at all good.  I put out a number of CQ calls but had no takers.

So I headed back to 40m and put out a CQ call on 7.105 and this was answered by Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier, followed by Adam VK2YK with a very strong 5/9 signal, and then Rob VK4FFAB.  A steady flow of callers from VK3, VK4, & VK5 followed.  I spoke with Peter VK3PF who advised that there was a VK6 SOTA station a bit further up the band on 7.130.

So I headed up to 7.130 where I made contact with Phil, VK6ADF who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Desmond, VK6/ SG-011, north of Hopetoun in Western Australia.  Phil was quite a good signal, however there were some Japanese stations on frequency which caused me to loose the occasional word (4/6 sent and 5/7 received).

I then returned back down the band to 7.105 where I spoke with Colin VK4FAAS and Mike VK6MB.

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At 0936 UTC (7.06 p.m. South Australian local time) I booked in to the 7.130 DX Net where I worked into VK3, VK5, VK7, French Polynesia, and New Zealand.

Whilst I was on the net, the sun was setting in the west, and the native bats had come out.  There were a number of them flying in very close proximity to where I was set up.  I was certainly hoping that their eyesight was good as they quickly darted through the air.

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After a few rounds on the Net I headed up to 7.150 where I put out a few CQ calls and this was responded to by Steve VK3NSC, Steve VK3FSPG, and Shaun VK5FAKV.  But despite conditions being very good, it was very quiet on the band.  So I had one final tune around the band and found Steve VK5SFA calling CQ.  Steve’s signal was very strong and was literally lifting the FT-857d off the table.

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I was happy.  I had reached the 44 QSO threshold for the WWFF program, and had a total of 59 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked:-

  1. Andrew VK1NAM/p (SOTA)
  2. John VK5BJE/p (Scott Creek CP)
  3. Arno VK5ZAR/p (Ferguson CP)
  4. Peter VK5FLEX/p (Pike River CP)
  5. Geoff VK5HEL/p (Ettrick CP)
  6. Peter VK5PET/p (Ferries McDonald CP)
  7. Peter VK5KPR
  8. Doug VK2FMIA/p (Horton Falls NP)
  9. Peter VK3FPSR
  10. Fred VK3DAC
  11. Marc VK3OHM
  12. Greg VK5GJ
  13. David VK5NQP/p (Cromer CP)
  14. Peter VK5NAQ
  15. Amanda VK3FQSO
  16. Garry VK2GAZ
  17. Mick VK3PMG
  18. Peter VK3PF
  19. Nick VK3ANL
  20. Ian VK1DI
  21. Les VK5KLV/p (Mount Remarkable NP)
  22. Paul VK3DBP
  23. Andrew VK3ARR
  24. Bill VK5MBD
  25. Adrian VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands CP)
  26. Gordon VK5GY/p (Kenneth Stirling CP)
  27. Peter VK2TTP
  28. Greg VK5ZGY
  29. Tom VK5EE
  30. Hans VK5YX
  31. Col VK5FCDL
  32. Ron VK5VH
  33. Brian VK5FMID
  34. Adam VK2YK
  35. Rob VK4FFAB
  36. Ian VK3VIN
  37. Tom VK5FTRG
  38. Nev VK5WG
  39. Ian VK5CZ
  40. Jim VK5JW
  41. Chris VK5FCHM
  42. Colin VK3NCC
  43. Brendon VK5FBFB
  44. Owen VK5HOS
  45. Chris VK2UW
  46. Brian VK7ABY
  47. VK6ADF/p (SOTA)
  48. Colin VK4FAAS
  49. Mike VK6MB
  50. Roy Vk7ROY
  51. Rod VK3OB
  52. William FO5JV
  53. Brian ZL2ASH
  54. Mal VK5MJ
  55. Steve VK3NSC
  56. Steve VK3FSPG
  57. Shaun VK5FAKV
  58. Steve VK5SFA
  59. Frank VK3FADI

 

References.

Cockburn, R, 2002, ‘South Australia.  What’s in a Name?’

Country Fire Service, 2015, <http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/site/about/aerial_firefighting/firefighting_aircraft.jsp&gt;, viewed 23rd March 2015

Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Tractor_AT-802&gt;, viewed 23rd March 2015