My first planned park activation for Friday morning (5th June 2015) was the Fairview Conservation Park (CP). This was to be a unique VK5 Park for me for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award. Fairview was the first of 5 planned park activations for the day. It was an early start from the motel. I was on the road by 7.00 a.m.
Fairview CP is situated about 17 km north of Lucindale and about 345 km south east of Adelaide. The park was constituted in 1960 and covers an area of around 1,398 hectares (3,440 acres) so it is quite a large park. The park contains two semi permanent lagoons which I did not visit. But I would like to get back to this park and explore it in my 4WD. According to the park Management Plan there is a picnic area situated between the lagoons which can be reached by a track leading from the north west corner of the park. But due to the date of this publication, I’m not sure if that still exists.
Above:- Map showing the location of the park. Image courtesy of mapcarta.com
The park also has extensive areas of seasonally inundated flats, sandy flats and ridges, and limestone ridges. The park contains large gums, Stringy Barks, various native grasses, and Banksias. Other than the native wildlife, deer can also be found in the park. The rare Red Tailed Black Cockatoo can be found in the park.
Above: Map from the Management Plan showing the track leading to the picnic area. Map courtesy of Dept Env Natural Resources (now DEWNR)
I travelled north west out of Mount Gambier along the Riddoch Highway and passed through Naracoorte. About 5 km out of Naracoorte is Lochaber Lane. There is a sign here for the park. I turned left here and continued west on Lochaber Lane for a number of kms, until I reached Woolumbool Road. A few km up Woolumbool Road, you will see the park on your right on the eastern side of the road.
I found an open gate off Woolumbool Road and pulled into the park. It was quite a bleak and cold morning, so I hurriedly set up my fold up table, deck chair, and antenna, in the hope to beat any rain. For this activation I ran my normal portable set up which consists of a Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and a 40m/20m linked dipole supported on a 7 metre squid pole.
Above: Map showing my operating location in the park. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
I found that there was a strong Asian station on 7.095 so I headed down a little lower to 7.090 and started calling CQ. My first taker of the morning was Amanda VK3FQSO and this was followed by Peter VK3TKK who was mobile, then Mark VK7MK, and then Les VK5KLD. Signals were excellent from all four stations.
I worked a total of 11 stations, until a VK5 planted himself on 7.088 and started calling CQ. My last contact there was with Gerard VK2IO who was mobile. So due to the QRM I QSYd up to 7.095 and was followed up by Scott VK7NWT. I worked a total of 13 stations here before the UTC rollover at 9.30 a.m. This included a contact with Al VK7AN who was on Flinders Island OC-195 in the Strzelecki National Park, VKFF-469. A new park for me. And man, was Al’s signal strong.
I also spoke with Ori who was kind enough to send me some photos via email (see below).
In turn I sent off Ori one of my unique QSL cards for this activation at Fairview (see below).
My first taker after the UTC rollover was Mr. Reliable, John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills with a very nice 5/9 signal. And this was followed by another park devotee, Les VK5KLV in Port Augusta. Les always has a 5/9 plus signal. My next contact was with Bryce VK3NBI. I was his first ever contact on 40m (5/9 both ways).
Just one QSO later I spoke with Rod VK5KFB who was mobile at nearby Willalooka, on his way down to Mount Gambier for the South East Radio Group Convention. I also worked Dave VK2BDR (Dodgey Bodgey Radio) who was also mobile (5/8 sent and 5/7 received). My last contact on 40m was with Cliff VK2NP.
So after working a total of 35 stations on 40m, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the antenna and headed off to 20m. I went to my normal calling frequency of 14.310 and asked if the frequency was in use, and this was answered by Dave VK4DD who told me that he had just started calling CQ from SOTA summit Springbrook Mountain VK4/ SE-011 in the Springbrook National Park VKFF-463. Now that was very fortuitous to stumble across Dave.
After working Dave I headed down to 14.305 and put out half a dozen CQ calls but had no takers. Unfortunately I had no mobile phone coverage in the park so I was not able to spot myself on parksnpeaks. And anyway, it had started to drizzle with rain. So I hastily packed up the gear and hit the road for my next park, Vivigani Ardune Conservation Park.
I would like to thank Greg VK5ZGY mobile who I worked during this activation, and gave me some good directions on how to get to Vivigani Ardune.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
The following station was worked on 20m SSB:-
- VK4DD/p (SOTA VK4/ SE-011 and VKFF-463)
Natural Resources Group, Deaprtment of Environment and Natural Resources, 1994, Small Inland Parks of the South East Management Plan