On Saturday 5th September 2015 I activated the Giles Conservation Park, VKFF-884. This was my second attempt at Giles. I operated from the park on 27th August, but the weather and band conditions conspired against me, and I fell short of my required 44 contacts for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. Unlike last time, the weather on this occasion was beautiful with long periods of sunshine.
For info on my previous activation, please see…..
On my way to the park I had the IC7000 going in the Toyota Hi Lux and I was lucky enough to get three park activators in the log. The first was Mick VK3PMG (5/7 sent and 5/9 received) who was activating the Ararat Hills State Park, VKFF-958, followed by Tony VK3VTH (5/9 both ways) who was in the Broken Boosey State Park VKFF-752, and then Rob VK4AAC/5 (5/7 both ways) who was activating the Hale Conservation Park, VKFF-889.
Above:- Map showing the location of Giles CP. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
I set up on the eastern side of the park, at gate 4 off Woods Hill Road. There was lots of activity in the park with many bushwalkers and joggers travelling passed me whilst I was setting up. Unfortunately this is not the quietest location as Woods Hill Road is quite a busy road between Norton Summit and Ashton. This includes the ‘weekend warriors’ on their high powered Japanese motorcycles, who roar passed the park on the windy stretch of road. There is a sharp right and then left hand bend just above the location where I set up, which then opens up into a short straight stretch, so the motorcyclists really accelerate hard out of those corners. I was waiting for one of them to come off and come sliding through the park fence.
And I didn’t get off to a great start. As I removed the squid pole from the car, with the linked dipole attached to it, both legs of the dipole snapped off due to the weight. So out came the leatherman and with some improvisation, I was very pleased to get the antenna working with a very flat VSWR.
I headed to 7.144 on 40m, my nominated operating frequency and asked if the frequency was in use. Tony VK3VTH came back to me from Broken Boosey State Park, to advise the frequency was all clear, and Tony became my first contact in Giles. This was followed by Mark VK5QI mobile and Gary VK5FGRY mobile, who gave me some directions on how to get to the picnic ground at Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, my next planned activation.
It wasn’t long before a little pile up ensued, with callers from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7. I was very pleased to hear the VK5’s coming though. This was certainly not the case last time I was here in Giles with local propagation being very poor. Eleven QSOs into the activation, and I was called by another park activator, Mick VK3PMG who was portable in VKFF-958. It was nice to speak to Mick from both the mobile and whilst I was in the park.
A handful of QRP stations called in again. They included John VK3FCAN running 5 watts from his Yaesu FT-817 (5/8 sent and 5/9 received); Peter VK3PF running 5 watts from his new Zeus ZS-1 software defined radio (5/3 sent and 5/7 received); Amanda VK3FQO running just 1 watt (5/4 sent and 5/6 received); and David VK3UCD running 5 watts from his little FT-817.
After working a total of 34 stations on 40m, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed to 14.310 on 20m. I could just barely hear Tony VK3VTH calling CQ on that frequency, so I headed up to 14.315 and called CQ. This was immediately answered by Albert S58AL in Slovenia. Sadly, 20m did not appear to be in great shape. Albert did not have his normal strong 5/9 signal but was still a respectable 5/7 signal, with a 5/5 report being returned to me. Not bad, considering I was just running 40 watts and the little dipole. This was followed by S52KM and then John VK5BJE.
I worked a total of 17 stations on 20m from Slovenia, Russia, New Zealand, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, VK4, VK5, and VK6. Things were very slow and this was not such a bad thing. I was running a bit late to get to the next park, and I was also being splattered by VK5HX who lives just down the road at Norton Summit.
After about 90 minutes in the park, I had a total of 51 contacts in the log. Combined with my 14 contacts from the August activation, I had well and truly qualified the park for WWFF. So I packed up the gear and headed to my next activation, the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK3VTH/p (VKFF-572)
- VK3PMG/p (VKFF-958)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-