On Saturday morning, 28th March, Marija and I awoke to the sounds of noisy galahs and a beautiful sunrise. We cooked up a hot breakfast of bacon and eggs, and enjoyed a nice hot cup of coffee and sat outside on the verandah of the old Post Office at Inneston, taking in the view. We then packed the 4WD and got on the road and headed for my first proposed activation of the day, Point Davenport Conservation Park. However, everything went downhill from here.
We could not find the park. In fact we drove around aimlessly for numerous hours trying to find our way in. What we did find was that the GPS in the Toyota Hilux and the mapping system on our i-phones were unreliable. Many roads were marked on the maps, but when we reached that particular location, no road existed. Also, a number of the roads had totally different names on the actual road sign, to what appeared on the maps. And many marked roads were obviously Government roads that were now either very poorly maintained dirt tracks that were fenced off, or totally covered in scrub. The upshot was that we just could not get into Point Davenport. The closest we got would have been a few kms, and we were not sure whether we would have to walk across private property, so we cancelled this activation.
Instead we headed for my 2nd planned activation, the Caribbie Conservation Park, which is located south of Corny Point and about 266 km by road from Adelaide. The park is 19.5 hectares in size and was gazetted in 1972. It is located beneath the ‘toe’ of the Yorke Peninsula. It contains a small area of remnant sheoak and mallee vegetation. The park’s vegetation comprises of open scrub dominated by Coastal White Mallee and Red Mallee. It has an understorey that includes Acacia and Correas. Some sections of the park also contain Drooping Sheoak woodland. There are 81 native plant species recorded from this park. The only known species of conservation significance is the Western Dady-long-legs. Carribie is native aboriginal meaning ’emu flat’. And there are certainly plenty of emus down here at the bottom of the Yorke Peninsula.
Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
Marija and I travelled along the Marion Bay Road and then turned right onto Gleesons Road. The park was a few kms up on our right. We set up just over the fenceline, just to the east of Rockleigh Road. This is in the south western corner of the park. The last time we activated the park we were set up in the south eastern corner of the park.
For more information on my initial activation back in 2013, please see…..
Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
What was very pleasing about this particular activation was the lack of flies. When we activated this park back in 2013, the bush flies were out in force and it was almost impossible to be out in the open without a head netting. But this time around, they were few and far between I am pleased to report.
As per usual, for this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on the top of my 7 metre telescopic squid pole.
Unlike the previous night’s activation at the Innes National Park, there was absolutely no noise at all on the band here in Carribie. It was dead quiet. I called CQ on 7.095 and this was immediately answered by Adrian VK5FANA who was portable on the western side of the Yorke Peninsula in the Bird Islands Conservation Park. Not a bad start, a park to park contact. This was followed by Tim VK5AV at Mount Gambier, and then another park to park contact, this time with Tom VK5FTRG who was portable in the Reedy Creek Conservation Park in the South East. Signals were very good and the 40m band seemed to be in very good condition.
My next park to park contact was with David VK5NQP who was portable in the Mid North of South Australia in the Mokota Conservation Park (5/9 both ways). This was immediately followed by another park to park contact, with Peter VK5PET operating portable in the Bullock Hill Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide (also 5/9 both ways). And this was followed by a call from Arno VK5FO in the Angove Conservation Park in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide (5/9 both ways), and then David VK5AAH portable in the Cleland Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills. David was also doing a Summits on the Air activation from Mount Lofty, VK5/ SE-005 (5/9 both ways).
A few QSO’s later I was called by Richard VK5ZRY who was portable in the Ramsay Way Conservation Park on the eastern side of the Yorke Peninsula (5/9 both ways as you would expect).
I had a steady flow of callers from VK3 and VK5, and I was then called by Tim VK3MTB who was portable in the Grampians National Park in western Victoria. Tim was on his way to South Australia to activate some VK5 Parks for the anniversay weekend. As was the case with the VK5 activators, Tim had a lovely 5/9 signal from the Grampians.
About half a dozen QSOs later, I had my eighth VK5 Park to Park contact in the log from Carribie. This time it was with Greg VK5ZGY who was operating portable from the Martin Washpool Conservation Park in the Mallee (5/9 both ways). And what an interesting history that park has. It is named after Malachi Martin, who was convicted murderer. For more information please see…..
A few QSOs later I was called by Chris VK4FR/5 who was portable on Kangaroo Island in the Beyaria Conservation Park (5/9 both ways).
When things started to slow down a little, I took the opportunity of QSYing from 7.095 and tuning around the 40m band. I found Tony VK3CAT calling CQ on 7.100 from SOTA peak Basalt Knob, VK3/ VE-074 (5/7 both ways).
I then propped on 7.090 and called CQ and this was answered by Mike VK6MMB (5/2 sent and 4/8 received). This was my first VK6 park hunter for Carribie. Mark VK5QI then called in from the Coorong National Park with a very strong 5/9 signal. Next up was Matt VK1MA, my first VK1 hunter. I went on to work a further 3 VK5 stations, before lowering the squid pole and removing the links in the dipole, so I could operate on 20m.
I put out numerous CQ calls on 14.314 but there were no takers. I had no phone coverage so I was unable to spot myself on parksnpeaks. But my CQ call was finally answered by Dane VK2LDF (5/9 both ways), followed by Wayne VK3XF and then Brian VK3BBB. But this was the end of callers on 20m, so I headed back to 40m.
First up I worked Tom VK5FTRG who was portable in the Furner Conservation Park (5/9 both ways). Tom was calling CQ on 7.090. I then settled on 7.095 and called CQ and this was answered by Peter VK3TKK, followed by Nick VK3ANL, and then Mick VK3PMG. Peter, Nick and Mick are all very active park activators and hunters. I then bagged my 13th park to park contact, this time with David VK5NQP, who had now moved to the Caroona Creek Conservation Park in the Mid North of South Australia.
Again, when things slowed down, I cruised around the band and found David VK5HDW calling CQ on 7.060 with a very very big signal, from the Lake Frome Conservation Park in the South East. David was certainly the strongest activator signal on the band.
I then went back to 7.095 and put out a few final CQ calls and worked a further 8 stations, including another two park to park contacts. The first was with Tony VK5ZAI who was portable in the Mount Scott Conservation Park in the South East (5/9 both ways), and then Tony VK3VTH/5 who was portable in the Far North of South Australia in the Gammon Ranges National Park (5/9 sent and 5/7 received). My last caller was Ron VK3JP, who is a regular park hunter.
Whilst I was activating, one of the locals arrived at the scene. He had seen our 4WD parked on the side of the road and wanted to check on our welfare. But it was clear that this old fella also liked a chat. Whilst I hid behind the radio, Marija spoke to this old timer for over an hour, even being introduced to his dog Molly on the back of the Ute. And the local Constabulary also arrived. They had a report of a crashed car a little further up the road, which we went to have a look at after we had packed up.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands Conservation Park)
- VK5FTRG/p (Reedy Creek Conservation Park)
- VK5NQP/p (Mokota Conservation Park)
- VK5PET/p (Bullock Hill Conservation Park)
- VK5FO/p (Angove Conservation Park)
- VK5AAH/p (Cleland Conservation Park & SOTA VK5/ SE-005 Mt Lofty)
- VK5ZRY/p (Ramsay Way Conservation Park)
- VK3MTB/p (Grampians National Park)
- VK5ZGY/p (Martin Washpool Conservation Park)
- VK3CAT/p (SOTA Basalt Knob VK3/ VE-074)
- VK5QI/p (Coorong National Park)
- VK5FTRG/p (Furner Conservation Park)
- VK5NQP/p (Caroona Creek Conservation Park)
- VK5HDW/p (Lake Frome Conservation Park)
- VK5ZAI/p (Mount Scott Conservation Park)
- VK3VTH/5 (Gammon Ranges National Park)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
Department for Environment and Heritage Management Plan, Mainland Conservation Parks of the Yorke Peninsula 2009