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.
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.
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…..
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.
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.
Above: Map showing my operating spot in the park. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
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….
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.
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.
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.
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:-
- Andrew VK1NAM/p (SOTA)
- John VK5BJE/p (Scott Creek CP)
- Arno VK5ZAR/p (Ferguson CP)
- Peter VK5FLEX/p (Pike River CP)
- Geoff VK5HEL/p (Ettrick CP)
- Peter VK5PET/p (Ferries McDonald CP)
- Peter VK5KPR
- Doug VK2FMIA/p (Horton Falls NP)
- Peter VK3FPSR
- Fred VK3DAC
- Marc VK3OHM
- Greg VK5GJ
- David VK5NQP/p (Cromer CP)
- Peter VK5NAQ
- Amanda VK3FQSO
- Garry VK2GAZ
- Mick VK3PMG
- Peter VK3PF
- Nick VK3ANL
- Ian VK1DI
- Les VK5KLV/p (Mount Remarkable NP)
- Paul VK3DBP
- Andrew VK3ARR
- Bill VK5MBD
- Adrian VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands CP)
- Gordon VK5GY/p (Kenneth Stirling CP)
- Peter VK2TTP
- Greg VK5ZGY
- Tom VK5EE
- Hans VK5YX
- Col VK5FCDL
- Ron VK5VH
- Brian VK5FMID
- Adam VK2YK
- Rob VK4FFAB
- Ian VK3VIN
- Tom VK5FTRG
- Nev VK5WG
- Ian VK5CZ
- Jim VK5JW
- Chris VK5FCHM
- Colin VK3NCC
- Brendon VK5FBFB
- Owen VK5HOS
- Chris VK2UW
- Brian VK7ABY
- VK6ADF/p (SOTA)
- Colin VK4FAAS
- Mike VK6MB
- Roy Vk7ROY
- Rod VK3OB
- William FO5JV
- Brian ZL2ASH
- Mal VK5MJ
- Steve VK3NSC
- Steve VK3FSPG
- Shaun VK5FAKV
- Steve VK5SFA
- Frank VK3FADI
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>, viewed 23rd March 2015
Wikipedia, 2015, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Tractor_AT-802>, viewed 23rd March 2015