After packing up at Mount Brown, John VK5BJE decided that it was a bit cold to continue activating, and he and Jenny headed back to Argadells with David VK5KC and his wife Joy. And they were right, it was getting very chilly. But I was very keen to qualify The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, VKFF-817, which was recently added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.
The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, which is about 3,532 hectares in size, is situated about 10 km north east of Quorn and about 340 km north of Adelaide.
Above:- Map showing the location of the park. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
I have activated the park once before. That was back in May 2013, when my wife Marija and I climbed The Dutchmans Stern summit, located in the park. For more information on that activation and detailed information on the park, please see my previous post at…..
The park is accessed off Arden Vale Road and is well signposted. The summit itself cannot be missed as it has a very striking shape. The park gets its name from the bluff’s similarity to Dutch sailing ships of the 18th century. The rocky outcrops and slopes appear to resemble the reverse stern of these ships. The bluff was named by Captain Matthew Flinders who chartered the nearby Spencer Gulf in 1802.
As we entered the park, we were struck by the number of kangaroos, both Red Kangaroos and Western Greys.
We set up just on the southern side of the carpark. Fortunately, there was a wooden table and benches there waiting for me, which made a perfect shack. For this activation I ran the Yaesu Ft-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on a 7 metre squid pole.
Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park. Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
I started off on 20m as it was getting a little late. It was 4.20 p.m. South Australian local time and it was starting to get dark, which meant that my window into Europe via the long path was quite limited. I called CQ on 14.244 and this was answered by Erol VK2YB with a strong 5/9 signal, and then Marco VK2YES also 5/9. My third contact was another station from New South Wales, Dave VK2DML who was also 5/9.
I worked a further 6 stations from Australia, in VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK4, before my first DX contact, IZ5JMZ in Italy. This was followed by JA8RJE in Japan, and Ken ZL4KD in Christchurch in New Zealand. The European attention had been generated as Erol VK2YB and Adam VK2YK had spotted me on the DX Cluster. This really does help.
I went on to work 23 stations on 20m in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Sloevnia, Belgium, Germany, and Russia. But I had left my run a bit late…the 20m band was almost shut on the long path.
So with a further 21 contacts required I headed down to 40m and called CQ on 7.098. My first taker there was John VK4JWT on Bribie Island who had followed me down from 20m. This was followed by David VK5HYZ in Adelaide, and Nev VK5WG in Cyrstal Brook. It was quite slow going, but I finally managed my 44th contact, with thanks to Ian VK5ZGG. I worked 3 more stations, making my total 47 for the activation. But with no further takers and an ever lowering temperature (now 5 degrees C), it was time to pack up and head back to Argadells.
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
After reaching Argadells, I lit the open fire at the back of our accomodation, the Overseer’s cottage, and we were soon joined by David and Joy, & John and Jenny for a BBQ dinner. And the obligatory few bottles of red. It was a great end to a great day.