VK100ANZAC at Farina on Thursday

After breakfast, Marija and I travelled back out to Farina from Lyndhurst.  It was another beautiful morning, with relatively clear skies and thankfully no rain.  We set up again at the rear of the old Post Office.  Sadly, this was to be an exceptionally slow day on the radio.

I was set up and ready to go by 8.50 a.m. and headed to 7.073 and the morning South Aussie net, where I spoke with Gary VK5ZK, Rick VK5BGN, and Ian VK5IS.  All with great signals.

I then went up to 7.095 where I called CQ and this was answered by Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland with a good 5/9 signal, followed by Jeff VK5JK at Victor Habor (also 5/9), and then Allan in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, followed by Al VK7AN portable on the east coast of Tasmania.

But it was very slow going, with long periods of calling CQ with no takers.  After working just 15 stations on 40m, I headed up to 20m.  I called CQ on 14.250 and this was answered by Norm VK4ANB (5/8 sent and 5/7 received), then Bill VK5MBD, followed by Karl VK2GKA.  During this time I had a number of visitors to the station again, including some members of the Farina Restoration Group, and a lady whose brother was a ham.

I worked just 3 stations on 20m and decided to take the opportunity of having a look around historic Farina with Marija.  Many of the tourists had either left or were leaving.  But the Farina Restoration Group volunteers were still busy manning the underground bakery and restoring some of the buildings.  And yes, I did pay the bakery a visit again.  The underground wood fired baked pasties and apple/cinnamon scrolls were extremely yummy.

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After a 2 and 1/2 break from the radio, I went back to 20m and called CQ again.  But nothing much had changed.  It was very slow going with just 4 takers in VK1, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  So I headed back to 40m and worked Larry VK5LY in the Riverland, Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, and Brian VK5FMID in Mount Gambier.

So I tried my luck on 15m and called CQ on 21.250 but sadly had no takers.  So it was back to 20m again where I found the band to be almost dead and very flat.  I booked in to the ANZA DX Net and worked VK2, VK3, VK4, VK4, USA, New Zealand, and the Marshall Islands.  At the end of the net I called CQ on 14.250 and this was responded to by John VK3JLS, followed by Ian VK6DW, and then Noel VK3NDX.

The 20m band was clearly down (now I know why, because of the solar flares & CME’s).  Peter G2YT called me and he was only a 5/7.  Peter is normally an exceptionally strong signal on 20m and to my great disapointment Peter gave me a 2/1 signal report.  Other than Peter, the only other DX stations I worked on 20m was Joe EA8DAJ in the Canary Islands, and Jim KA3UNQ in Maryland USA.

So after working just 14 stations on 20m I tried 15m and called CQ on 21.250.  This was answered by Geoff VK6FNLW and then JR6BF in Japan.  But it was time to pack up.  It was approaching 5.00 p.m. and we had planned to travel into Lyndhurst that night for a meal at the pub.

So at the end of a rather disapointing day I had a total of 54 contacts in the log.

Making my total contacts from Farina……….162.

I was rewarded with an amazing sunset at Farina as I was packing up.

DSC_1070

On Thursday I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5ZK
  2. VK5BGN
  3. VK5IS
  4. VK5HS
  5. VK5JK
  6. VK5FD
  7. VK7AN/p
  8. VK5FMJC
  9. VK5VGC
  10. VK5TW
  11. VK3YW/m
  12. VK5KLD
  13. VK5DC/p
  14. VK5KPR
  15. VK5MBD
  16. VK5LY
  17. VK5FANA
  18. VK5FMID

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4ANB
  2. VK5MBD
  3. VK2GKA
  4. VK4VI
  5. VK5HS
  6. VK1MCK
  7. VK3VIN
  8. VK4CC
  9. K7INA
  10. VK4SWE
  11. VK7XX
  12. VK4TD
  13. ZL2BAQ
  14. VK3IDM
  15. VK4NH/8
  16. VK2CV
  17. ZL1PWD
  18. K5KT
  19. V73/WW6RG
  20. ZL1ANF
  21. VK4EU
  22. AE7KI
  23. VK3JLS
  24. VK6DW
  25. VK3NDX
  26. VK2VU
  27. VK6TDF/m
  28. G2YT
  29. VK3GH
  30. VK4WM
  31. EA8DAJ
  32. VK2MI
  33. VK3JL
  34. KA3UNQ
  35. VK1TX
  36. VK1UU

I worked the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK6FNLW
  2. JR6BF

Here is a short video of our activation at Farina…..

VK100ANZAC at Farina on Wednesday

I woke up on Wednesday morning, a little concerned about the weather.  I hadn’t heard any rain overnight, so with a degree of nervousness, I poked my head out of the cabin door to have a look at the weather.  I was pleasantly surprised to see generally clear skies, even though it was only 7.00 a.m.  But I still hadn’t heard from David or John.  So I headed out to the HiLux and put out a call on 7.095 but didn’t hear back from my two missing mates.  So I headed back inside and had some breakfast and a shower, and by 7.40 a.m. Marija and I were on the road.

Screenshot 2015-06-28 10.32.30Above:- Map showing the location of Farina in the north of South Australia.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com 

As a group we had intended to activate the Lake Eyre National Park, VKFF-276, but roads north of Marree were closed, so that put a halt to that.  Plus, our other 4 travelling companions were ‘MIA’.  So Marija and I decided to activate the Gammon Ranges National Park.  On the way south towards Copley, I fired up the Icom IC-7000 in the vehicle and spoke with Alan VK5FAJS at Mount Gambier (5/9 both ways), followed by a contact with Mark VK6BSA who was mobile on his way in to work.  Mark had a very nice 5/9 signal and he reciprocated with a 5/9 for me.  The Codan 9350 antenna seemed to be working well.

I then moved up to 7.098 and called CQ and much to my pleasure, this was responded to by David VK5KC.  He had and John were on the move and were heading north.  The Warrioota Creek level had dramatically dropped overnight.  I now felt a lot better.

As David & John and crew were going to head to Leigh Creek for a shower, Marija and I had a bit of time up our sleeve so we decided the activation of Gammon Ranges was a goer.  It was slow going along the bitumen as there was a lot of wildlife and stock on the road, including sheep, horses, kangaroos and emus.

Upon reaching Copley we took the time to have a look at the tourist info boards.  Copley was originally called Leigh Creek after a nearby pastoral holding, and was surveyed in 1891.  It was officially named Copley after William Copley, Commissioner of Crown Lands.  The Great Northern Railway made its way to the town in 1881.

Whilst in Copley we caught up with John VK2KJO and his wife Sue who had also pulled into the town, hoping to head out the Gammon Ranges as well.  And they were the bearers of bad news, advising that the road out to the Gammons was closed.  After a chat with John and Sue we headed out to the Copley Road which heads out to Nepabunna and the Gammons.  Sure enough, it was closed due to all the recent rain.  Marija and I were very disapointed.

So Marija and I headed south to Leigh Creek and caught up with the rest of the gang and had morning tea at the Open Cut Cafe and Visitor Centre.

John and Joy wanted to do a bit of washing, so Marija and I headed back north along the Outback Highway (Bandioota Road), and stopped briefly to view the Leigh Creek coal fields.  Sadly the viewing platform for the coal fields no longer exists.  We also stopped for a photo opportunity, as there was a magnificent Wedge Tailed Eagle in a tree not far off the road.  We continued north and stopped at the ochre pits, just north of Lyndhurst.  Aboriginal people traded ochre from Lyndhurst and other nearby quarries within the Lake Eyre region for items such as pituri (native tobacco), spinifex resin, and stone axe heads.

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We continued north on the road between Lyndhurst and Marree, and turned left into the dirt track leading to Farina.  Farina is a ghost town and is situated about 620 km north of Adelaide.  Farina is a Latin name meaning Farinaceous or flour.  Farina was surveyed in 1876 by W.H. Cornish and R. Peachey, on a reserve baned Government Gums or Gums Waterhole.  It was laid out in the pattern first used by Colonel William Light.  Farina had 432 allotments of a 1/4 acre each and 88 suburban blocks ranging in size from 5 acres to 11 acres.  Farina was officially proclaimed on the 21st day of March, 1878.

By 1882 the narrow gauge railway had reached Government Gums.  This year also saw a severe grought, but despite this, optimists hoped that the town would become the centre of a vast agricultural storehouse.  The railway soon became known as the Transcontinteal Railway and the Great Northern Railway.

By 1888, Farina’s population had reached about 100, with about 30 houses in the town.  The town grew quickly and soon had two hotels, a church, hospital, and a school.  Farina’s population which at one point reached more than 400 people, supported several shops, including those of Manfield and Bell.

Today, Farina is a ghose town, with many of the old stone buildings, being lovingly restored by the Farina Resoration Group.

For more information on Farina and the Farina Restoration Group, have a look at the following…..

http://www.farinarestoration.com/

There is also a very good video from the ABC’s Landline program on Farina.  Please click on the link below…..

http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2013/s3802729.htm

Our reason for activating as VK100ANZAC from Farina was to commemorate the 75 year anniversary of a secret mission undertaken by two Australians and two Englishmen, to rescue the DeGaulle family from German occupied France during WW2.  The pilot of the aircraft flown in that mission was John Napier Bell, who came from Farina.

image_1_hires

At 2.55 a.m. on the 18th June, 1940, an amphibious Walrus aircraft, took to the sky from Mount Batten, near Plymouth in England.  There were four men aboard the plane: a crew of three and a special passenger, British Intelligence officer Captain Norman Hope.  The crew consisted of an Australian pilot, Flight Lieutenant John Napier Bell, an Australian navigator, Sergeant Charles William Harris, and a British wireless electrical mechanic, Corporal Bernard Nowell. As they left Plymouth in the early hours of the morning, the crew were totally unaware of their mission and destination.  It was the role of Captain Hope to brief the crew following their take off. What was their mission? To fly to the French coast and rescue the family of General Charles De Gaulle.  Following the invasion of France by the Germans in May 1940, De Gaulle instructed his wife to take their three children and leave their home near Rheims, and travel to Brittany.   There, safe passage to England would be arranged.  It is reported that De Gaulle flew to London and met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and asked him to assist in the rescue of his family from Carantec on the coast of the English Channel, where they had sought refuge with an Aunt.

However, there are no known official records to confirm this meeting.  What is known is that at 9.00 p.m. on the 17th  June, 1940 a ‘green form’ (authority for a flight) was received at Mount Batten Station at Plymouth.  It originated from Admiral Dunbar-Nasmith the Commander in Chief Western Approaches.  It stated: “One Walrus to proceed with Admiralty passenger from Plymouth sound to north coast Brittany at earliest 18/6. Passenger will give details of destination on arrival about 2359/17.  Aircraft to be fully armed and to keep defence watch at all time especially water borne. Return to base upon completion.” 

At about 4.30 a.m. on the 18th June, locals in the small village of Ploudaniel were awoken by the sound of a low flying aircraft.  It was the Walrus.  There is speculation that the plane may have been shot at.  But what is known is that the plane subsequently crashed at Kerbiquet adjacent to Ploudaniel, and all 4 on board were killed.  They were buried at the Ploudaniel churchyard, Ploudaniel, Brittany, France.

screenshot-2014-11-08-19-36-57

Above:- John Napier Bell’s headstone.  Photo courtesy of http://www.aircrewremembered.com

Since 1940, each year the people from Ploudaniel honour the crew with a special service at the crash site and the local church grave site. So who were the crew and specifically the Captain? John Napier Bell was born on the 25th day of April, 1916 at Largs Bay South, South Australia, to parents John ‘Jack’ Henry Bell and Eva Annie Bell.  Coincidentally, this was the same day that the Australian Government declared that day to be called Anzac Day.  On leaving school, Bell helped his father to run Mansfield’s Store (later renamed as Bell’s Store) at Farina in the Far North of South Australia.  Bell became an Air Force Cadet in July 1935 and in July 1936 at age 20, he was appointed Pilot Officer.  In April 1937 he was promoted to Flying Officer.

Screenshot 2015-06-28 18.21.45

Above:- Bell’s store in Farina, c. 1930.  Image courtesy of State Library of South Australia

Farina was a buzz with activity.  We saw numerous vehicles with vans entering into the old town and the camping area, with number plates representative from all around Australia.  Marija and I set up the amateur radio station behind the old Post Office, which is on the main dirt road entering Farina.  We decided it was a good operating spot, as people entering Farina could see us in clear view, but it was behind the old Post Office, so it didn’t inhibit those that wanted to admire the beautiful old building.  For the activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre squid pole.  Power to the radio was supplied by a 44 amp hour power pack.  As it was quite a sunny day, the solar panels were deployed to provide some extra grunt to the battery.

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I started off on 40m and called CQ on 7.095.  Our very first station in the log for VK100ANZAC at Farina was Karl VK2GKA who had a lovely 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula running just 5 watts.  And Jeff VK5IU/8 portable at Alice Springs then called with a nice 5/8-9 signal, followed by John VK6FABC who although very weak, was extremely readable.  The noise floor at Farina was very low so I was able to hear John very clearly.  I was very pleased with the first four contacts coming from all around Australia.

Not long after setting up, David & Joy, and John & Jenny had arrived at Farina.  They headed to the camground and after settling in fired up the radio and operated from there.

After working 46 stations on 40m, I headed over to 20m and called CQ on 14.250 and this was answered by Tony VK2RI who was portable at Botany Bay.  I worked another 3 VK stations in VK7 & VK3.  And it was at this time that two families approached me and were curious in what I was doing.  So I put down the mic and gladly explained to them the hobby of amateur radio and the reason for us being at Farina.  They seemed to be very interested and continued talking for about 20 minutes.

IMG_1467

By time I had got back onto 14.250 some other VK’s were on the frequency so I headed down the band and found 14.243 clear and called CQ again.  This time my CQ call was answered by the first DX station, IU2EFB in Italy with a good 5/7 signal.  Local South Australia time was only 2.12 p.m. so long path into Europe was still opening up.  This was followed by a call from Peter VK3CFA and Alex VK4TE.  I then had another visitor to the station and again took the time to explain the hobby and why we were activating at Farina.  In fact, this trend continued for most of the day with a lot of visitors, including a crew from Chanel Seven who did a little bit of filming whilst I was operating.

I remained on 20m until about 0630 UTC (4.00 p.m. SA local time) before going QRT.  There was a planned commemorative service at the Farina War Memorial at 5.00 p.m. so I wanted to freshen up a bit and pack up the gear before that started.  I had a total of 42 stations in the log on 40m SSB and a total of 49 stations in the log on 20m SSB.  Unfortunately, it was not as busy on the bands as I would have liked.  Countries worked were Australia, Italy, USA, Belgium, Switzerland, England, Spain, Germany, Mexico, New Zealand, and Hawaii.

At 5.00 p.m. we attended at the memorial service held at the War Memorial.  There were quite a few people in attendance, including members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).  Sadly, the planned fly over by the Orion PC3 did not occur (apparently it was redployed?).

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After the service, we all regrouped at the campground and decided what we were going to do for dinner.  We had planned on going to the Lyndhurst Hotel for tea, but the Farina Restoration Group were hosting a camp oven dinner, so that sounded like a good idea.

Me, being the crazy radio addict, I headed back to the Old Post Office and set up again.  I had promised Roy VK7ROY that I would book in to the 7130 DX Net if possible.  I was set up a little early, so I warmed up 7.130 for Roy and worked into Queensland, New Zealand, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria, before the 7130 DX Net commenced at 0930 UTC (7.00 p.m. SA local time).  Unfortuntaley just before the Net commenced, some JA’s came up on the frequency and they were extremely strong, making it incredibly difficult.  So the Net moved to 7.133, but it wasn’t long before we were swamped with QRM again.  A station came up on 7.135 from Honduras and he was very much in demand.  Sadly, the Net shut down early due to all the QRM,  But before it did close, I was able to work a total of 5 stations on the Net in Tasmania, New Zealand, Western Australia, Queensland, and the USA.

After the net I moved up to 7.145 and called CQ a number of times, but only worked a further 3 stations in New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia.

So I packed up and headed back to the campsite where we set up my linked dipole for 20/40/80 metres, and we made a few contacts on 80 metres, enjoying the warmth of an open fire and a few glasses of red.

Thanks to Adrian VK5FANA for posting on the VK5 Parks Facebook site that we would not be activating the park.

Thankyou to Adrian VK5FAJH who placed us up on the VK5 Parks Yahoo group.

And thankyou to those that took the time to spot us on the DX Cluster.

So, it was the end of day one at Farina, and I had a total of 108 contacts in the log.  Marija and I headed back to the Lyndhurst Hotel.  On the way I fired up the IC7000 in the Hi Lux and booked in to the Southern Cross DX Net and worked W1FDY in Virginia, KC2KU in Florida, W9WJ in Illinois, W5IZ in Texas, AI4JU in Florida, and W4AZB in Tennessee.

I worked the following stations at Farina on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2GKA
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5IU/p (Alice Springs)
  4. VK6FABC
  5. VK5KC/m
  6. VK4AAC/5
  7. VK5KAA
  8. VK5BJE/p
  9. VK5NAQ
  10. VK7ALH
  11. VK3XPT/m
  12. VK5HOS
  13. VK6POP/2
  14. VK3CWM
  15. VK7FGGT
  16. VK5FAJS
  17. VK5ZGY/m
  18. VK5KAF
  19. VK5BGN
  20. VK4UA
  21. VK5AAR
  22. VK4E
  23. VK5TW
  24. VK5FMID
  25. VK3PF
  26. VK3OB
  27. VK2SS
  28. VK3FGMO
  29. VK3TJK
  30. VK3FQSO
  31. VK5KLV
  32. VK2EXA
  33. VK3NBL
  34. VK2VU
  35. VK5FAJH
  36. VK3MC
  37. VK7EK
  38. VK3CRK/4
  39. VK3MEK
  40. VK2MJB
  41. VK4GSF
  42. VK3OW
  43. VK4MON
  44. ZL3TV/m
  45. VK4FBMW
  46. VK7LDK/4
  47. VK6ATS
  48. VK3FCAN/m
  49. VK4BR
  50. ZL1HX
  51. VK7ROY
  52. ZL2ALK
  53. VK6LCK
  54. VK4FAAS
  55. W1OW
  56. VK2QM
  57. VK3FSPG
  58. VK5FMID
  59. VK2FMIA

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2RI/p
  2. VK7GG/m
  3. VK3GMM
  4. VK3TJK
  5. IU2EFB
  6. VK3CFA
  7. VK4TE
  8. VK3MRH
  9. VK3VBC/m
  10. VK2VU
  11. VK2GE
  12. W5THT
  13. VK7ALH
  14. VK4QO
  15. VK4JWT
  16. VK3NBV
  17. VK4KWQ
  18. VK2HL/p
  19. VK2HOT
  20. VK5PET
  21. VK3VBI
  22. IK4DDI
  23. VK6PII
  24. OP7M
  25. HB9RDE
  26. NJ1Z
  27. G2YT
  28. WB4JSB
  29. EA3HHD
  30. VK3UP
  31. VK3MBW
  32. VK7BC
  33. VK4RF
  34. VK4OZI
  35. VK3FT
  36. VK6LCK
  37. VK2YK
  38. VK2MI
  39. VK6AAV
  40. DL1WM
  41. VK3GMC
  42. VK3XS
  43. XE1H
  44. VK3MEG
  45. ZL2MM
  46. VK6ATS
  47. VK3PRF
  48. VK2NRB
  49. KH6XM

References.

South Australian Tourism Commission, 2015, <http://www.southaustralia.com/info.aspx?id=9002305&gt;, viewed 29th June 2015

Heading north to Farina

It was an early start for us all on Tuesday 16th June, 2015.  We had a long drive ahead of us from Quorn, up to the old ghost town of Farina in the Far North of South Australia……about 300 km north of Argadells.  The weather had turned nasty again, with quite a bit of rain and generally very gloomy.  I was feeling incredibly frustrated.  We had driven all this way and the Gods had conspired against us.  And there was absolutely nothing I could do to alter the situation, other than take a deep breath as Marija told me.

Our day started off with a nice warm shower, and Marija and I then went to collect the eggs from the chooks.  Judy and Malcolm from Argadells had gone down to Adelaide for a few days so we agreed to collect the eggs.  We returned to the Overseers Cottage and enjoyed some fresh fried eggs on toast.

After breakfast we drove down to the campgound and caught up with John & Jenny, and David & Joy.  They were still packing up their gear and the vans.  As the weather was miserable, and we had some dirt roads to travel on, we agree that Marija and I would head off and act as ‘forward scouts’.  So with a tinge of sadness we left Argadells.  We had enjoyed a fantastic 3 nights here and all of us would highly recommend Argadells to anyone intending on coming up this way to the southern Flinders Ranges.

http://www.argadells.com.au/

Marija and I drove north along the Arden Vale Road, and stopped off briefly to have a look at the Wyacca memorial to honour the Francis family who arrived in the area in the 1880’s.  We then stopped briefly at Proby’s grave.  Hugh Proby took up the pastoral lease of Kanyaka in July 1851, and drowned whilst crossing the nearby Willochra Creek in August 1852.  We continued on, passing through the Kanyaka Creek which had a bit of water flowing through it, and then on to the Simmonston Ruins.  Simmonston was surveyed in 1872 on one of six major routes proposed for the railway line north from Quorn.  An advertisement of the time said the following:

‘There are few allotments in this splendidly situated town for sale.  I would advise intending buyers to make their bargains at once, or they will lose the opportunity of getting an allotment in the healthiest town in the Colony’.

Two buildings were commenced in 1880, one a two storey hotel and the other a general store.  However, before construction was completed, word was received that the railway line would go to the east of the ranges.  So, Simminston died before it had lived and became ‘the town that never was’.

After reaching the bitumen, we headed north on the Outback Highway (Bandoota Road) towards the town of Hawker.  We stopped briefly again to have a look at the amazing Kanyaka Ruins which are located about 42 km north of Quorn.  It was just a shame that it was drizzling with rain, and our walk around the ruins was cut short as the heavens absolutely opened up.  The Kanyaka ruins is very much worth stopping off for a look.

The buildings at Kanyaka include remnants of a stable and harness room, a woolshed and an overseer’s cottage.   The Kanyaka ruins are of the once huge sheep run, Kanyaka Station in the pioneering era.  In 1856 the Kanyaka Station leases totalled 365 square miles or 240000 acres (945 square km or 94500 hectares).  In good seasons the property housed up to 70 workers and their families.  The main homestead consisted of 16 rooms with 18 inch (46 cm) thick walls of stone and mortar construction.

We kept heading north on the Highway towards Parachilna, and along the way I had a chat with John VK5FMJC in Crystal Brook on 40m, followed by a QSO with Bill VK5MBD.

We took the opportunity of stretching our legs at the old ruins at Wilson, and detoured out to the old Wilson cemetery.  The town of Wilson was proclaimed on the 6th January 1881 and named by Governor Jervois after General Sir Charles Wilson.  When established, its main purpose was to serve the new farming districts and their communities.

But the showers prevented us from having a good look around, so we continued on to Hawker, about 400 km north of Adelaide.  In Hawker we regrouped, and had a late morning tea stop at the Sightseer’s Cafe, which is owned by the parents of a mate of mine.

After morning tea, we all continued north on the Highway, passing the turn off to Merna Mora where we planned to stay for 3 nights, as of Friday.  We also viewed the amazing Flinders Ranges to our right.  Sadly much of the ranges were covered in cloud and mist.  Upon reaching Parachilna, about 490 km north of Adelaide, we all stopped for a break.  It was at that time that we started receiving reports that one of the many creeks to the north of us was flooded and the main bitumen road had been completely blocked since about 8.00 a.m.  Bugger!  One of those people who gave us the bad news was John VK2KJO and his wife Sue, who were also travelling up north in their 4WD and caravan.

We all decided to take the opportunity for a lunch break.  I had been to the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna before, so I knew they served up great meals there.  So that’s where Marija and I headed.  And we weren’t disapointed.  Marija had a Chicken Thai salad, and I enjoyed a Roo burger and a nice cold beer.

We all hit the road again and headed north.  The first flooded creek we reached was Breakfast Time Creek, which was easy to get through.  But it was the next creek on, that was causing all the grief for people travelling north and south.  Warrioota Creek was flowing extremely well, and there was a big bank up of traffic on either side of the creek.  We patiently waited for about one hour, until it was noticeable that the water level had dropped quite significantly.  One brave 4WD enthusiast had decided they had waited for long enough and made the journey across the creek from south to north.  And it wasn’t long before a number of other motorists followed.

Marija and I decided that we should get across the creek while we could.  It was extremely black over the Gammon Ranges, where all the water was originating from.  And because we didn’t have a van, we didn’t fancy sleeping in the back of the Toyota Hi Lux.  The warm bed at Lyndhurst was much more appealing.  So over we went.  Sadly, leaving David & Joy, and John & Jenny behind.

David and John remained at old Beltana that night, while Marija and I continued north to Lyndhurst where we had booked in to the Lyndhurst Hotel.  On the way I put out a CQ call on 7.095 and spoke with Greg VK5GJ at Meadows, Trevor VK5TW, and John VK2KJO.

After booking in to the pub, we decided to go for a drive out to Farina.  Firstly to familiarise ourselves where Farina was, and secondly to touch base with somebody from the Farina Restoration group.  So we drove north out of Lyndhurst for about 6 km until hitting the dirt.  The weather had improved a little now as we were much further north, but it was getting dark and we did notice some very black clouds to our west.  Sure enough, just as we approached the turnoff to Farina, down came the rain.  And it was very heavy.  In an instant, it had changed the road conditions.  The dirt had become like driving on soap.

But we had succeeded in speaking with members of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Farina Restoration Group.

After leaving Farina, we had a very slow drive on the 2km section of dirt out of the old Farina township, as the road surface was incredibly slippery, despite the fact that it had stopped raining.  Once we got to the main dirt road between Lyndhurst and Marree, the surface improved.  But it was a slow drive back to Lyndhurst as it was not completely dark and the kangaroos were out in force.

My only concern now was….could David and John get out to Farina ?  Unfortunately we had no mobile phone coverage and I could not raise either David or John on 2m or 40m.  It was a waiting game.

References.

ExploreOz, 2015, <http://www.exploroz.com/Places/77859/SA/Kanyaka_Homestead.aspx&gt;, viewed 27th June 2015

Flinders Ranges Research, 2015, <http://www.southaustralianhistory.com.au/wilson.htm&gt;, viewed 27th June 2015

The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park VKFF-817

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.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.49.49

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…..

https://vk5pas.org/2013/05/04/the-dutchmans-stern/

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.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.49.35

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.

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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:-

  1. VK2YB
  2. VK2YES
  3. VK2DML
  4. VK4MON
  5. VK2YK
  6. VK3BY
  7. VK1XP
  8. VK3PMG
  9. VK3EY
  10. IZ5JMZ
  11. JA8RJE
  12. ZL4KD
  13. VK6HSB/p
  14. VK3FD/6
  15. VK6JON/p
  16. S58AL
  17. ON4BB
  18. DL2ND
  19. DK0EE
  20. RA3PCI
  21. DK4RM
  22. VK4JWT

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4JWT
  2. VK5HYZ
  3. VK5WG
  4. VK2PH
  5. VK5PZ
  6. VK5FANA
  7. VK3FPBI
  8. VK5FMID
  9. VK2FALL
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK2IO
  12. VK5HEL
  13. VK5FD
  14. VK2SOL
  15. VK2BJK
  16. VK5KAF
  17. VK3FONZ
  18. VK6NU
  19. VK3DBP
  20. VK1AT
  21. VK5ZGG
  22. VK4AJR
  23. VK4MAD
  24. VK5KKT

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.

Mount Brown Conservation Park

After our activation of The Devils Peak, we continued as a group down the Richman Valley Road for our next activation, which was the Mount Brown Conservation Park.  This park qualifies for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.

The Mount Brown Conservation Park is situated about 14 km south of Quorn and about 300 km north of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.14.07

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I have activated the park twice before.  The first time was in May 2013, with my wife Marija, when we climbed Mount Brown summit, VK5/ NE-014 which is located in the park.  And the second occasion was in August 2013.  For more information on the park, and details on those activations, please have a look at my previous posts at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2013/05/03/mount-brown-2/

https://vk5pas.org/2013/08/12/mount-brown-conservation-park/

We accessed a picnic type area in the park oon the western side of the Richman Valley Road.  There is a large rainwater tank and a shelter at this location.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 17.13.50 Above:- Map of the park, showing our operating location.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

Prior to doing an activating, we had lunch in the park.  It was about 1.00 p.m. local time.

John VK5BJE was keen to try his luck on 30m, so he and David headed down towards the Richman Valley Road and set up there.  I started off on 40m and set up about 100 metres away, and ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre squid pole.

I called CQ on 7.095 and my first taker was Trevor VK5TW (5/9 both ways).  This was followed by Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill, and John VK5FMJC at Crystal Brook.

Mount Brown is not yet a qualifying park for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so there was no pressure to reach 44 contacts.  But it was pleasing to get a steady flow of callers from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5 in the middle of the day on 40m, all with very good signals.

Each of the Advanced operators that I worked, I advised that John and David were on 30m, and many went up there to work John and David.

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There was only one QRP caller during this activation and that was Alan VK5FAJS at Mount Gambier runnign 5 watts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).  But I did work a few mobile stations.  They included Craig VK3NCR mobile 5, at Keith in the South East, on his way to Padthaway.  Also Dale Vk5DC who was mobile near Marree in the Far North of South Australia.  And finally Wayne VK2PDW mobile.

It was also very pleasing to speak with John VK5KAF.  I was his first contact on 40 metres for the last 20 years.  His interest in the hobby had just been reignited.

After an hour on air, I had a total of 31 contacts in the log on 40m.  It was time to pack up and head off to the next activation, at The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5TW
  2. VK5MBD
  3. VK5FMJC
  4. VK3AXH
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK3SIG
  7. VK5FAJS
  8. VK5VGC
  9. VK5KGP
  10. VK3PMG
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK5HCF
  13. VK5FMID
  14. VK5ZK
  15. VK3NCR/5
  16. VK5ZAR
  17. VK5DC/m
  18. VK5FD
  19. VK5JK
  20. VK1AT
  21. VK5KAA
  22. VK2PDW/m
  23. VK5WCC
  24. VK3FOWL
  25. VK5KAF
  26. VK2NP
  27. VK5WF
  28. VK3ZZS/4
  29. VK5NFB
  30. VK4ACL
  31. VK2JNG

The Devils Peak VK5/ NE-080

The weather on Monday morning (15th June 2015) was a little better than the previous 48 hours.  It was still threatening, but the rain had stopped.  So after an early breakfast we all headed out to activate SOTA peak, The Devil’s Peak, VK5/ NE-080.  The Devils Peak is located about 12 km south of Quorn, and about 330 km from Adelaide.
Screenshot 2015-06-24 16.04.14

Above:- Map showing the location of The Devils Peak.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

The Devils Peak is 665 metres above sea level and is worth 4 SOTA points.  It casts an impressive figure on the skyline.  In the native aboriginal Adnyamathanha language the summit is known as the ‘eagle’s nest‘ or ‘soaring eagle‘. The Devil’s Peak was so named by the European settlers, as it appeared that it was the devil lying on his back looking skywards.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 16.03.48

Above:- The Devils Peak.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

To get to the summit, we drove back into Quorn along the Arden Vale Road and then out along McConville Road (which becomes Richman Valley Road) towards the summit.  We then turned right into the Devils Peak Road.  It is 6.2 km from this point to the car park at the summit.  It is well signposted.  The summit itself is actually located on private property, so you will need to open and shut the gate at the end of Devils Peak Road.

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The walk up to the top of The Devils Peak is quite steep in places and is recommended for experienced and fit bushwalkers.  The first part of the walk is quite deceptive.  It is quite easy, following a well maintained track which is very slight in gradient.  It progressively becomes more difficult and involves a lot of scrambling over rocks.

John’s wife Jenny decided she would undertake some bird watching rather than climb.  Probably a sensible decision.  And David VK5KC and his wife Joy were still on their way.  So Marija, John and I headed off up to the top.

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We set up just below the top of The Devils Peak in a small clearing.  We had just enough room to stretch out the 40m/20m linked dipole which we supported on the top of a 7 metre squid pole.  For this activation we ran John’s Yaesu Ft-817 and 5 watts.

Just after setting up, David VK5KC and Joy arrived at our operating spot.

We swapped the mic for this activation.  My first contact was with Gary VK5ZK with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.  This was followed by Mark VK7MK in Ravenswood in Tasmania (5/5 sent and 5/1 received), David VK2JDS mobile (5/7 sent and 5/1 received).  My fourth qualifying contact was with Bill VK5MBD in Red Hill with a very strong 5/9 plus signal.

Not long into the activation I noticed that the FT-817 was showing that we were operating on 500 milliwatts.  We checked the LiFePo battery and found that it was very low in voltage, so the Yaesu was defaulting to very low power.  So out came another battery and we were back on deck again with a big 5 watts.

We each worked Phil VK2JDL who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Canobolas, VK2/ CT-001, in the Central Tablelands (5/7 sent and 5/4 received).

After working a number of stations each and qualifying the summit on 40m, we lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole for 20m.  Our first contact there was with Phil again, VK2JDL on Mount Canobolas.  Signal strengths had increased on 20m (5/8 sent and 5/9 received).

We then decided to give 6m a go.  But despite a number of calls there, our only contact was with Ian VK5CZ at Clare, about 200 km south of our location.  Ian was not strong (5/1) but was very readable.  And with John’s little 6m home brew dipole, Ian also gave us a 5/1 signal report.  Although we only made one contact on 6m, we were very happy to have a 6 m contact each in the log.

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As we climbed back down the summit, the weather was clearing.  By the time we got to the bottom, the cloud and fog had lifted and we were rewarded with a nice view of the summit.

DSC_0566

I worked the following stations:-

Screenshot 2015-06-24 15.59.18

 

A train ride, a feed in the pub, and portable in the Argadells RSL

On Sunday 14th June 2015 the plan was to activate two SOTA peaks, Mount Arden and Mount Benjamin.  But ‘Hughey’ had conspired against us, and the rain was relentless.  So any chance of activating was completely gone.

Instead we took a train trip on the famous Pichi Richi railway from Quorn out to Woolshed Flat and then back to Quorn.  It was a very enjoyable trip.

And then in the afternoon, after returning to Quorn on the train we went to one of the local pubs, the Austral Hotel, and caught up with Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR & his wife for lunch.  They had driven down from Port Augusta.

After returning to Argadells later that afternoon, John, David, and I decided to play a little bit of radio.  At the rear of the Overseer’s cottage where Marija and I were staying, was an old building which aptly had an ‘RSL Club’ sign above the door.  It made an ideal shack.  We set up the Yaesu FT-857, and in between the showers, we set up the 7 metre squid pole and the 40m/20m linked dipole.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3YSP
  2. VK5FTRG
  3. VK3PI/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-034)
  4. VK5FO/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-013)
  5. YF3BPL
  6. VK2UW
  7. VK8ZKZ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. PA3GWO

Not quite the day we had planned, but a very enjoyable day netherless.

Winninowie Conservation Park VKFF-820

After leaving the Clinton Conservation Park, Marija and I continued north on the Augusta Highway up into the Mid North of South Australia.  Our next park activation was the Winninowie Conservation Park, VKFF-820.

But prior to activating the park, we took a short detour into the little town on RedHill.  I had arranged to call in and say ‘g’day’ to Bill VK5MBD and his partner Hayley.  When we arrived at Bill’s place, which is the old school house, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was an unexpected visitor there, John VK5FMJC from Crystal Brook.  Bill, John, and I enjoyed a beer, while going on a tour of Bill’s antenna farm.  He certainly has a collection.

After leaving Bill’s place we continued north on the Augusta Highway towards Winninowie Conservation Park, which is about 20 km south of Port Augusta, and about 300 km north of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 08.05.00

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

We drove down Miranda Road into the Yatala Harbour section of the park and found a bit of a clearing in the scrub and set up the fold up table and deck chair.  Again for this activation, I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 40m/200m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre squid pole.

Screenshot 2015-06-24 08.04.41

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

Much to my pleasant surprise, my first contact in the log was with Larry VK5LY at Renmark in the Riverland region of South Australia.  Larry was meant to have accompanied us on the trip with his wife Di, but due to illness, could not come along.  So it was great to get Larry in the log.  Next up was John VK5BJE, another one of our travelling colleagues, who was already at Argadells near Quorn (our accomodation for the next 3 nights).

A few QSOs later I was called by Amanda VK3FQSO running her 500 milliwatts again.  Amanda had  a nice 5/7 signal coming in to the Winninowie.  It is truly amazing what you can do on real QRP when the conditions are favourable.

And then a few contacts later I spoke with Johnno VK3FMPB who was operating portable from the Kinglake National Park, VKFF-264.  Soon after I had a few more park contacts in the log.  This time it was Col VK5HCF and Alan VK5FAJS who were portable in the Telford Scrub Conservation Park, VKFF-805 near Mount Gambier in the South East.  For more information on their activation, please have a look at Col’s WordPress site at…..

https://vk5hcf.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/telford-scrub-conservation-park-vkff-805-13th-june-2015/

After speaking with Col and Alan, Tony VK3CAT gave me a shout from his backyard, running a small magnetic loop and just 4 watts.

And my park contacts continued about 12 contacts later, with Ian VK1DI calling in from the Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve, VKFF-835 with a good 5/7 signal.  For more information on Ian’s activation, have a look at Ian’s WordPress site at…..

http://vk1di.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/bruce-ridge-vkff-835.html

I moved through the constant stream of callers from all around Australia….VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  I was then called by Rob VK4AAC/5 in the Flinders Chase National Park VKFF-173 on Kangaroo Island OC-139.  Another park contact…I was very pleased.

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And then a few QSO’s later I was called by Ken ZL4KD in Christchurch with a good 5/7 signal.  Ken reciprocated with a 5/6 signal report for me.  Steve VK5SFA then called in from the Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-783, in the Adelaide Hills.  Steve was running just 5 watts and had a very strong 5/9 signal.

After working a total of 51 stations on 40m I headed over to 20m, hoping to get some Europeans in the log.  And I wasn’t to be disappointed.  Band conditions on 20m, long path into Europe were excellent.  My first contact after calling CQ on 20m was with Fred VK4FE.  Next up was Danny ON4VT in Belgium who is a regular park activator and hunter, Luc ON4BB in Belgium, Xaver DK4RM in Germany, and then Swa ON5SWA in Belgium.

During the pile up I heard ‘portable’ in amongst the callers.  It was Ian VK1DI in Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-835, calling in.  Ian was a nice strong 5/9.

I went on to work a total of 79 stations on 20m in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary, France, Austria, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Romania, Sweden, Slovak Republic, Poland, England, Wales, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Netherlands, Croatia, and Japan.

Thankyou to I5FLN, IZ1JLG, OO2T and ON3EA for spotting me on the DX Cluster.

This was a very successful activation with a total of 128 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5LY
  2. VK5BJE/p (Argadells)
  3. VK5FD
  4. VK2FALL
  5. VK3FQSO
  6. VK4FFAB
  7. VK5FTRG
  8. VK3FMPB/p (Kinglake National Park VKFF-264)
  9. VK5IS
  10. VK5HCF/p (Telford Scrub CP VKFF-805)
  11. VK5FAJS/p (Telford Scrub CP VKFF-805)
  12. VK3CAT/p
  13. VK7LTD/p
  14. VK3TKK/p
  15. VK4QC/2
  16. VK5QI/m
  17. VK5HS/m
  18. VK3OF
  19. VK5HYZ
  20. VK5GJ
  21. VK3PF
  22. VK3BHR
  23. VK1DI/p
  24. VK5BW
  25. VK3NBV
  26. VK3DBP
  27. VK3NBL
  28. VK5JW
  29. VK5FMID
  30. VK3ANL
  31. VK7EK
  32. VK2NP
  33. VK5FMJC
  34. VK3ZZS/4
  35. VK4HNS
  36. VK3YAR
  37. VK2SR/m
  38. VK3VIN
  39. VK4AAC/5 (Flinders Chase National Park VKFF-173)
  40. VK5MBD
  41. VK5RR
  42. VK3KYF
  43. VK3FLAK
  44. ZL4KD
  45. VK2SL/p
  46. VK5FANA
  47. VK5SFA/p (Morialta CP VKFF)
  48. VK3HRA
  49. VK5FAJH
  50. VK5KFB
  51. VK2HPN/m

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FE
  2. ON4VT
  3. ON4BB
  4. DK4RM
  5. ON5SWA
  6. DL1EBR
  7. VK2IO
  8. I5FLN
  9. VK4FR
  10. VK2GKA/m
  11. VK2NP
  12. EA4DTV
  13. HA5LV
  14. VK1DI
  15. HA6NF
  16. F4HJO
  17. IK1GPG
  18. HA6OB
  19. OH6IU
  20. RA3PCI
  21. S58AL
  22. HB9ELE
  23. DM5EE
  24. F1BLL
  25. YO3JW
  26. DL5WW
  27. IZ0PAD
  28. S52KM
  29. SA5ACR
  30. OM7OM
  31. DL2ND
  32. SP5INQ
  33. HA0LG
  34. IK8FIQ
  35. DL3APO
  36. OK7WA
  37. Dl2NOM
  38. IK8NSR
  39. DL1MDU
  40. IZ1CJZ
  41. DL1EKO
  42. ON1JU
  43. IZ1JLG
  44. IN3RTB
  45. EA3MP
  46. M6KVT/p
  47. ON7AB
  48. HB9LCZ
  49. MW0RLJ
  50. OE3QGA
  51. I3QDK
  52. IZ0OTV
  53. DF1YQ
  54. OK2BUT
  55. HA5HY
  56. HB9/DK2WC
  57. DL1ASA
  58. SP1MVG
  59. SP6KEP
  60. IW2NXI
  61. UX1AA
  62. PB1TT
  63. VK7VDL
  64. 9A2AA
  65. SP8GEY
  66. IZ1GRH
  67. S51ZZ
  68. ON4ATK
  69. IK2LQT
  70. OP7M
  71. JA8RJE
  72. F2YT
  73. IZ1JMN
  74. ON3EA
  75. YO6KNE
  76. VK6MAC
  77. VK6NU

After packing up at Winninowie, we continued north on the Augusta Highway and then took the turn off to Quorn.  We then travelled out along Arden Vale Road to ‘Argadells’.  What an amazing place.  Marija and I highly recommend Argadells to anyone who would like a beautiful stay in the north.  Argadells is a historic working sheep property set amongst 32 square kilometres of spectacular scenery, just 28 kilometres north of Quorn.  It is nestled between Warren Gorge and Buckaringa Gorge.  For more information on Argadells, please have a look at their website at…..

http://www.argadells.com.au/

After dinner, which was prepared in the amazing camp kitchen, and a few bottles of red, John, David and I fired up the Yaesu FT-857d and made a few contacts on 40m, before retiring for the night.  We even managed a contact into Panama on 40m (5/9 sent and 4/8 received).

Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-813

Our first activation for the trip to the north of South Australia, was the Clinton Conservation Park, VKFF-813, which is located about 100 km north of Adelaide.

Screenshot 2015-06-23 21.43.05

Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I have activated Clinton Conservation Park previously…..back in February 2015, and June 2013.  However, the park was recently added to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so I was seeking 44 contacts to qualify the park.

https://vk5pas.org/2015/02/08/clinton-conservation-park-2/

https://vk5pas.org/2013/06/09/clinton-conservation-park/

The Clinton Conservation Park was established in 1972, and is 1,923 hectares in size.  It is a boomerang shaped park, which is situated at the northern extremity of Gulf St Vincent.  It stretches around the top of the Gulf from just north of Port Wakefield, around to the little town of Port Clinton on the Yorke Peninsula.  The park comprises an expanse of mainly low-lying, coastal-fringe habitats, with mangroves and samphire communities, and extensive tracts of intertidal mudflats.  It is an important refuge as a fish nursery and a significant site for migratory wading birds.

Screenshot 2015-06-23 21.45.03

Above:- Map showing the park boundaries.  Map courtesy of mapcarta.com

I set up in the same spot as my activation earlier in the year, which is at the end of a dirt track on the western side of the Yorke Highway.  The track continues on from a parking bay off the Highway.

This was a typical park activation for me….I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 metre squid pole.  The weather was a little inclement.  It was quite chilly and there was the occasional shower.

Prior to calling CQ I tuned around the 40m band and found Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP operating on 7.100 from SOTA peak, Mount Hickey, VK3/ VN-015.  Julie and Joe were my first contacts from Clinton and had terrific 5/9 signals coming into the Yorke Peninsula.  I then headed down to 7.095 where I started calling CQ.  Greg VK5GJ at Meadows in the Adelaide Hills was the first responder.  This was followed by Adrian VK5FANA running QRP 5 watts from Arthurton on the Yorke Peninsula, just 50km south of my operating location.  Not surprising that Adrian was a very strong 5/9.  My next caller was from another part of South Australia.  This time the South East, about 600 km away.  It was Alan VK5FAJS with a nice 5/9 signal.

My 10th caller was from the other end of Australia.  It was Rob VK4FFAB north west of Brisbane in Queensland.  Rob was not all that strong (5/3), but he was perfectly readable as there was no man made noise at all on the frequency.

Again, for this activation, it was great to get some QRP callers in the log.  Amanda VK3FQSO called in quite early in the activation running just 500 milliwatts and was a genuine 5/7 signal.  I also spoke with Col VK5HCF at Mount Gambier (5/9 both ways), Ian VK5IS in the Mid North (5/9 both ways), Nick VK3ANL running 5 watts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received), and Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill also running 5 watts (5/9 both ways).

And a number of mobile stations also called me.  They included Terry VK3UP mobile at Buninyong (5/9 both ways), Mark VK5QI mobile on his way to Aztronics to spend some money, Greg VK5ZGY mobile in the South East (5/8 both ways), Tony VK3AN/mobile 5 at Burra in the Mid North, Ron VK3VBI, and Theo VK5MTM.

It was also nice to get Barry VK5BW in the log, operating VK5BAR from the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society (AHARS) shack at Blackwood.  Barry was using the club’s new Anan SDR transceiver.

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During our activation, we had a car towing a trailer drive down towards us.  A gentleman hopped out and had a close look.  We soon realised that the pidgeon contained pidgeons.  After a short time the fella then hopped in his car and drove off into the nearby parking bay and released dozens of homing pidgeons.  The man then drove off.  Not sure where the pidgeons were headed to?

After working a total of 53 stations on 40m, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole, so I could operate on 20m.  I headed up to 14.310 and started calling CQ and this was soon answered by Andrew VK2UH who had a lovely 5/9 signal.  This was followed by Cliff VK2NP, Peter VK3PRF and then Max VK6FN in Manjimup (5/9 sent and 5/7 received).  Chris VK4FR then gave me a shout from Townsville, running just 10 watts (5/6 sent and 5/7 received).  I went on to work a further 9 stations on 20m from VK1, VK2, VK5, VK6, VK7, and VK8.  Great representation from all across Australia, including Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs who was very strong.  I was also competing with a YV5 from Venezuela who was also on the frequency.

Unfortunately time and the weather were conspiring against me, and it was time for Marija and I to get back on the road and continue our journey north.  After an hour and twenty minutes in the park, I had a total of 67 contacts in the log.  I was happy man…I had qualified the park for WWFF.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3FOWL/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-015)
  2. VK3YSP/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-015)
  3. VK5GJ
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5FAJS
  6. VK5JK
  7. VK5FMID
  8. VK3FQSO
  9. VK5HCF
  10. VK4FFAB
  11. VK5IS
  12. VK3ANL
  13. VK5MBD
  14. VK3UP/m
  15. VK5FMJC
  16. VK5NQP
  17. VK3NBV
  18. VK5FD
  19. VK3OF
  20. VK4AAC/5
  21. VK5QI/m
  22. VK2XXM
  23. VK3XPT
  24. VK3CAB
  25. VK5KFB
  26. VK5ZGY/m
  27. VK1NAM
  28. VK3MEG
  29. VK2HV
  30. VK5BAR
  31. VK3PRF
  32. VK3HRA
  33. VK1DI
  34. VK3AN/5
  35. VK1AT
  36. VK5LDM
  37. VK5FLEX
  38. VK5FTRG
  39. VK6FN
  40. VK3VKT
  41. VK5ZAI
  42. VK2NP
  43. VK5TD
  44. VK5LY
  45. VK2IO
  46. VK7MK
  47. VK3VBI/m
  48. VK3VIN
  49. VK2GKA
  50. VK3MAT
  51. VK3PI
  52. VK2NEO
  53. VK5MTM/m

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2UH
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK3PRF
  4. VK6FN
  5. VK4FR
  6. VK2GKA
  7. VK1DI
  8. VK7MK
  9. VK5LG
  10. VK2KTT
  11. VK8GM
  12. VK6BSA
  13. VK1NAM
  14. VK2IO

References.

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2009, ‘Mainland Conservation Parks of Yorke Peninsula’.

Results from our travels to the north of SA

Arrived back home last night from my trip away with Marija, John VK5BJE & Jenny, and David VK5KC & Joy.

Marija and I travelled nearly 2,500 km in 11 days.  We activated 4 Conservation Parks, 3 SOTA summits, and 3 National Parks.  And we also operated as VK100ANZAC at Farina in the Far North on Wednesday & Thursday.  Total of 666 QSO’s (scary hey, the devil’s number).

I also squeezed in a bit of operating from the Argadells property near Quorn, and in the mobile as well.

John and David are still currently away, and I am sure that John will post his results & info on his WordPress site when he returns.

Thanks to everyone that called, and thanks to those who took the time to spot us on parksnpeaks, the DX cluster, here on the group, etc.  For most of the time away we had no phone coverage.

Here are the parks and summits I activated and the total number of QSO’s from each.

Saturday 13th June

Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-813

67 contacts

Winninowie Conservation Park VKFF-820

128 contacts

Monday 15th June

The Devils Peak VK5/ NE-080

18 contacts

Mount Brown Conservation Park

31 contacts

The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park VKFF-817

47 contacts

Wednesday 17th June

VK100ANZAC at Farina

108 contacts

Thursday 18th June

VK100ANZAC at Farina

57 contacts

Friday 19th June

Gammon Ranges National Park VKFF-189

52 contacts

Mount Scott VK5/ NE-111

28 contacts

Saturday 20th June

Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-176 (at Aroona Ruins)

43 contacts

Flinders Ranges National Park VKFF-176 (at Wilpena Pound)

29 contacts

Sunday 21st June

Lake Torrens National Park VKFF-278

47 contacts

Monday 22nd June

Mount Arden VK5/ NE-034

11 contacts

He is some quick audio from the WIA Broadcast re our trip…..