Mount George Conservation Park VKFF-784

Today (Friday 21st August 2015) I had a day off work, but the morning did not give any good signs of it being an ideal day to head out for a portable activation.  The weather was cold, cloudy, with showers.  But by lunch time the weather had cleared and the sun had revealed itself.  So I packed the 4WD and headed to the Mount George Conservation Park, VKFF-784.  The park is just a short drive from my home, down the South Eastern Freeway towards Adelaide.

I have activated Mount George CP previously as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  But this was the first time I had activated the park as part of the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Screenshot 2015-08-21 20.05.31

Above:- Map showing the location of Mt George CP.  Courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Mount George CP was set aside as a reserve to protect stands of native vegetation, inspiring landscape and a diversity of habitat types.  The 62 hectare park is divided into trwo sections, which are separated by Mount George Road, Cox Creek and the Mount George picnic ground.  The famous Heysen Trail also passes through the park.

Prior to European settlement, the area of land belonged to the Peramangk Aboriginal people.  After European settlement, the land was farmed and the surrounding stringybark forests were logged for timber and firewood until the 1940’s.  Most of the park was left in its original condition.  The fenced Eastern Section was developed as an Earthwatch Reserve in 1986 for nature conservation and environment education.

The park is covered with vegetation ranging from wetlands to open forest.  Brown and messmate stringybark trees cover the higher slops.  A mixture of candlebark and manna gum (considered rare in South Australia) covers the lower slopes.  Rocky outcrops, some with superb views, are found in both sections of the park.  The understorey offers spectactular spring glowers, including flowering pea flower, ground hugging correas and various native orchids.  Native cherries are also pound in the park.

Many native bird species can be seen in the park including Superb blue wrens, red-brown finches, white-throated treecreepers, yellow tailed black cockatoos and wedge tailed eagles.

A variety of mammal species may be seen in the park, particularly at dawn and fusk.  They include western grey kangaroos, possums and echidnas.  Bearded dragons, sleepy and blue tongued lizard, and various skinks are just some of the reptiles to be found in the park.

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Above:- Map showing my operating spot.  Courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I set up on one of the wooden benches and tables in the Mount George Picnic ground area.  The afternoon was cool, but the sun was out and it was quite pleasant sitting under the large gum trees.  The park was quite active, with lots of people enjoying the sunshine.

I used the normal equipment for this activation, consisting of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and my 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre telescopic squid pole.

I had nominated 7.144 as a starting point, but there was a station from VK3 on 7.140, so I headed to 7.145 on 40m.  I called CQ for a few minutes before being answered by park stalwart, Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  Adrian had a good 5/9 signal.  This was a good sign, as 40m has been a little ordinary the past week or so.  Next up was Col VK5HCF at the other end of South Australia, down in Mount Gambier.  Again, a great 5/9 signal.  This was followed by a call from Rick VK4RF in Queensland with a nice strong 5/8 signal.  Rick has become a regular park hunter.

Thanks to Adrian VK5FANA and Mick VK3PMG for spotting me on parksnpeaks.  And also thanks to Rick VK4RF for spotting me on the VKFF/SOTA Facebook site and the WWFF Facebook site.  I’m sure this contributed to the steady flow of callers that followed.

I worked a total of 42 stations on 40m including some very interesting contacts.  That included a QSO with Amanda VK3FQSO who was QRP, running just 1 watt.  Amanda was a genuine 5/9 signal from Victoria.  I was also called by Andre V51B/VK2.  I have spoken with Andre a number of times from Namibia on 10m short path.  So it was a real surprise when I heard his voice on 40m.  Also some excellent mobile signals.  This included Andrew VK5FLCS mobile near Tiboburra in far north west New South Wales (5/9); Danny VK4SD/2 (5/9); John VK2YW mobile 180 km north west of Broken Hill (5/9); and John VK3FCAN mobile (5/8).

I was also called by Gerard VK2IO who was portable on top of Livingstone Hill, VK2/ SM-093 as part of the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  Gerard was a good 5/7 signal.

And I also spoke with regular park hunter, Ken ZL4KD in New Zealand, who called in with a good 5/7 signal from Christchurch.

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The weather was starting to come in from the west.  The sun had gone, the wind had picked up and I was receiving the occasional drop of rain.  So I headed to 20m where my first contact was Rick VK4RF with a very strong 5/9 signal.  Rick was kind enough to spot me on the DX cluster, which resulted in a number of DX contacts into Slovenia, Italy, Ukraine, Slovak Republic, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, England, Russia, Spain, Japan, and the Czech Republic.

There were also some VK’s in amongst the DX.  That included Perrin VK3XPT, who I had also worked on 40m; Robert VK2XXM who has become a regular park hunter; Peter VK4PHD on Bribie Island; and John VK5BJE who was my last contact.

Thanks to Rick VK4RF, Luciano I5FLN, Gyula HA6OB, and Robert VK2XXM for spotting me on the DX cluster.

So after 2 hours in the park I had a total of 64 contacts in the log.  Another successful activation, and another park under my belt.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5HCF
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK5EE
  5. VK3PMG
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK2MI
  8. VK4AAC/5
  9. VK3OF
  10. VK3TJK
  11. VK5ZAR
  12. VK3PF
  13. VK5PET
  14. VK3KRH
  15. VK5VBR
  16. VK3BHR
  17. VK3FQSO
  18. VK4FFAB
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK5FCLS/m
  21. VK5KAF
  22. VK3CRG
  23. C51B/VK2
  24. VK3JM
  25. VK4SD/2
  26. VK2PKT
  27. VK3UH
  28. VK5PL
  29. VK2YW/m
  30. VK5PXO
  31. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ SM-093)
  32. VK5AAR
  33. VK3FCAN/m
  34. VK5FTRG
  35. VK2HHA
  36. VK5WG
  37. VK3ZMD
  38. VK3XPT
  39. VK2YK
  40. VK5JK
  41. ZL4KD
  42. VK5BK

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. S58AL
  4. I5FLN
  5. UT5PI
  6. OM7OM
  7. DL2ND
  8. S52KM
  9. HA6OB
  10. LZ1HA
  11. VK3XPT
  12. G2YT
  13. DK4RM
  14. RA3PCI
  15. DL1MIJ
  16. EA1EJ
  17. JA8RJE
  18. VK2XXM
  19. VK4PHD
  20. EA1ACP
  21. OK1AOV
  22. VK5BJE

4 thoughts on “Mount George Conservation Park VKFF-784

  1. Hi Paul, I was glad to get you from Mt George CP. You have provided an interesting description of the Park and we have it on our list of places to explore. I wonder whether you could hear the traffic on the Freeway? I remember when I activated the Park for the SA award on a still winter’s day I could hear the traffic. Your operating spot appears near where I was (although I didn’t have a Park bench).
    cheers
    John D
    VK5BJE

  2. Hi John,

    Yes you could hear the traffic on the freeway, but not regularly. Mostly when a B double applied the air brakes heading down into Adelaide.

    What was most annoying in this park, was what I’ve experienced at other times. Dogs! There was a gathering of elderly citizens with their dogs. One ran away with the stick holding down one end of the dipole, almost pulling down the squid pole. And another one actually jumped up on the table in the middle of a QSO.

    Dogs are allowed in the picnic ground area but they must be on a lead. This wasn’t the case. But not surprising. DEWNR staff (rangers) are non existant, so people can pretty much get away with what they like in South Australian parks.

    I went for a walk along the Heysen trail when I finished the activation. Its a great park.

    Best wishes,

    Paul,
    VK5PAS.

  3. I often wonder why people ‘choose’ which rules apply to them and which ones don’t….. ‘dogs on leashes doesn’t apply to me’ …..’why is this man beating me up, it’s against the law!’…..well done on restraint Paul!!
    Besides that! Very interesting to see how close it is to the freeway and how much water is there.

    • Howdy Chris,

      The problem is that there is no DEWNR staff that go out to these parks, so people know they are free to do what they want, when they want. There are very clear signs at the park about dogs, but obviously disregarded. And absolutely no-one there to enforce it.

      Cheers,

      Paul.
      VK5PAS.

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