On Sunday 18th October 2015, my wife Marija suggested we go for a drive as it was such a beautiful day. And she hinted to take the radio gear, so I didn’t let the opportunity slip. We packed the 4WD and headed south for the Newland Head Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsula. The park qualifies for the World Wide Flora Fauna program and is VKFF-0922 and also qualifies for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.
We drove down to the little town of Strathalbyn and then further south through Finnis and then the wine growing region of Currency Creek. We stopped off for a stretch of the legs and a look at the magnificent canoe tree at Currency Creek on the side of the Strathalbyn – Goolwa Road. The tree is a very large River Red Gum and is listed with the National Trust of South Australia. Aboriginal people used wood and bark to construct canoes. The length of this particular trees scar is about five metres, which indicates that the canoe was capable of carrying a number of people.
We continued on to the seaside towns of Middleton, Port Elliot and Victor Harbor. We again stopped briefly to admire the view of Victor Harbor from Range Road.
Newland Head Conservation Park is located about 100 km south of Adelaide and about 15 km south west of Victor Harbor. The park protects two long beaches, Waitpinga and Parsons, along with rocky headlands and surrounding coastal vegetation including the sand dunes. The park takes its name from Newland Head which features prominently at the eastern boundary of the park. The park is about 12 km2 in size and is popular with surfers and fishermen. It is believed that Waitpinga is an aboriginal word meaning ‘Windy Place’.
Above:- Map showing the location of the park, south of Adelaide. Map courtesy of SA Maps Viewer.
We decided to head to the Waitpinga Beach section of the park, and took a brief photo stop at the corner of Waitpinga Road and Dennis Road. If you continue west along Waitpinga Road, you will reach the Parsons Beach section of the park.
The view as you travel along Dennis Road into the park is very nice. The mighty Southern Ocean is visible, as are the sand dunes and the adjacent Waitpinga Creek which flows out into the ocean.
Prior to setting up we had a quick look at all the activity on the beach. There were quite a few surf fisherman trying their hand in catching salmon and mullett. You certainly do not want to try swimming here. This is not a swimming beach! If you travelled south, the next piece of land you would reach is Antartica. Waitpinga Beach has rough waves, power rips and not to mention the White Pointer sharks that frequent the area for a feed of fish. There was a fatal shark attack here back in 1989, whilst I was working in the area.
We then travelled to the campground area for a look at Dennis Hut which was built in 1890.
We then headed back to the Waitpinga Beach carpark and carried the radio gear down the boardwalk and onto the beach. I was the only one on the beach with a squid pole, not doing any fishing! For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and 40 watts, and the 40m/20m linked dipole supported on my 7 metre telescopic squid pole. Because it was such a sunny day, we even set up the solar panels to keep the 44 amp hour power pack charged up.
Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the park, south of Adelaide. Map courtesy of SA Maps Viewer.
Prior to calling CQ I headed for 7.144 and worked Rob VK4AAC who was operating portable from Karte Conservation Park. Rob had a nice 5/9 signal coming in from the South Australian/Victorian border area. I then moved down to 7.135 and asked if the frequency was in use and this was immediately answered by John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills. Next up with Terry VK3UP, followed by Mick VK3PMG who was portable in the Creswick Regional Park, VKFF-0964, north of Ballarat.
Band conditions on 40m appeared to be very good and I had a nice steady flow of callers from VK5 and the eastern States of Australia. It wasn’t long before I had another VKFF park in the log. This time it was Dave VK2JDC who was operating portable from the Cattai National Park, VKFF-0092, in the Hawkesbury region of Sydney. Dave had a good strong 5/8 signal coming in to Waitpinga Beach.
A number of contacts later I spoke with Richard VK5ZRY who was activating the Clinton Conservation Park, VKFF-0813, on the Yorke Peninsula. Richard had his normal 5/9 plus signal.
I went on to work a total of 64 stations on 40m in VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5. This included four parks, and a nice contact with Amanda VK3FQSO who was running just 1 watt and was a very respectable 5/7.
I then QSYd to 20m where I worked a total of 49 stations in VK6, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, France, Croatia, Spain, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Belgium, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Czech Repiublic, and Switzerland. The only VK caller was John VK6NU (5/5 both ways). My first taker on 20m was Xaver DK4RM. Prior to going QRT I worked special event call, VK2015TDF being operated by Chris VK3FY.
I was very happy as I had a total of 113 stations in the log, including some nice contacts into Europe on the long path on 20m.
After packing up we headed down Waitpinga Road and to the Parsons Beach carpark, where you can enjoy the excellent views of both Parsons Beach and Waitpinga Beach. There is a small plaque here commemorating Andrew ELLIS who drowned here back in 1986. In fact a number of people have drowned here at Waitpinga and Parsons. You would never catch me swimming here.
The sun was just starting to go down in the west. The photos below are looking west along the coast towards Cape Jervis, where you catch the ferry from the South Australian mainland over to Kangaroo Island.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK4AAC/5 (Karte Conservation Park VKFF-0898)
- VK3PMG/p (Creswick Regional Park VKFF-0964)
- VK2JDC/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
- VK5ZRY/p (Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-0813)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-