Antonio EC2AG

Back in late November I spoke with Antonio EC2AG who was activating a mountain in Spain as part of the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.  Antonio was a very readable 5/3 signal coming in from Longitas EA2/ BI-046.

I was very pleased a few weeks ago to receive some QSL cards from Antonio.


Longitas is 590 metres above sea level and is situated to the west of Bilbao, and north of Madrid, in northern Spain near the Bay of Biscay.


Antonio became a Mountain Goat on 5th September and is a very keen SOTA activator and also park activator as part of the World Wide Flora Fauna program (WWFF).

More information can be found on Antonio’s page at…..

Sandy Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0933

Yesterday afternoon (Sunday 27th December 2015) I headed out to the Sandy Creek Conservation Park (CP), VKFF-0933.  This was an unplanned activation and was only decided upon after lunch, as it was such a lovely afternoon weatherwise.  Although I had been to Sandy Creek CP before, this was to be a unique VKFF activation for me.

Sandy Creek CP is situated about 60 km north of Adelaide on the northern edge of the southern Mount Lofty Ranges and lies between the townships of Gawler and Lyndoch in the Barossa Valley.  It is one of the few remaining tracts of undisturbed and undeveloped native bushland in the Barossa Valley.  The park is 142 hectares in size and is surrounded by several sand quarries, farmland and vineyards.

Screenshot 2015-12-27 13.54.30

Above:- Map showing the location of the Sandy Creek CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The park consists of low fertile and deep sandy soil and is the home to strands of Southern Cypress-Pine and Pink Gum.  Both of these are now deemed to be rare in South Australia.  Numerous wildflowers can be found in the park during spring, along with wattles, daisies, heaths, lillies, gums, banksias, grevilleas and orchids.

The Barossa Valley was formed around 35 million years ago and was formed as a river cut its way through the surrounding land.  The sand from which Sandy Creek gets its name, was laid down as the ancient river system deposited sediment in the Barossa Valley lowlands.

During the first half of the twentieth century, much of the present day Sandy Creek Conservation Park was cleared and planted with vines.  However, low soil fertility saw the vineyards abandonded.  In 1965, the park was dedicated as a Conservation Park.  Sections of the park were named after life long ornithologists and conservationists, Cecil RIX and Mark BONNIN.  They both identified numerous native bird species in the area.  The Wilson family and the Nature Foundation of South Australia Inc, donated the Sir Keith Wilson section of the park.

Screenshot 2015-12-27 13.53.52

Above:- Map showing the location of the Sandy Creek CP surrounded by vineyards and farms.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Prior to European settlement , this area was the boundary between three aboriginal groups; the Kaurna (pronounced ‘gowna’) of the plains, the Peramangk of the hills and the Ngayawung of the Murray.

There are a number of walks within the park which allow you to explore the various sections of the park.  Within the park you can find the ruins of a small hut which was built in 1918 from locally quarried stone and native pine.  An abandoned vineyard in the southern section of the park contains grasses that provide important habitat for birds including the grass-dwelling Stubble Quail.

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Above:- Stubble Quail.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

A total of 130 species of birds have been found in the park including Diamond Firetail finches, which move around the park in pairs or in flocks of up to 30.  Diamond Firetails mate for life.

Other animals that can be found in the park include Western Grey kangaroos and echidnas.  You may also hear the occasional ‘plonking’ sounds of the Bull frog.  Various reptiles including the Eastern Beardeed Dragon and the Marbled Gecko call the park home.

For more information on the park, please have a look at the website of the Friends of Sandy Creek Conservation Park…….

To get to the park I drove out through Mount Torrens and Birdwood and then north on Warren Road and into Williamstown.  I then continued on to Lyndoch along the Lyndoch Valley Highway, passing many of the vineyards here in the southern part of the Barossa Valley.

After reaching Lyndoch I then travelled west along the Barossa Valley Way until I reached Conservation Park Road.  About 100 metres along Conservation Park Road, you will travel over the old railway line.  Continue on and this takes you to the northern section of the park.


There is a good carparking area here, with plenty of operating position options.

Prior to commencing the activation I took a walk through the park along the Firetail Link.  This commences at the carpark at the end of Conservation Park Road.  The carpark area is quite well wooded with lots of trees.  But as you walk along the Firetail Link, it soon opens up to an open grassland area.  Directly in front is the thick forest area of the park.  I continued along the track until I reached the Honey Eater Link which leads to the southern boundary of the park at Pimpala Road.

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It wasn’t long before I was encountering some of the locals in the form of Western Grey Kangaroos.  They were everywhere.  Sadly I did not spot any Diamond Firetails, but I did see some Superb Blue Wrens and Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos.

I then turned around and walked back to the carpark and set up my station just inside Gate 6.  My equipment consisted of the Yaesu FT-857d set at 40 watts.  For this activation I had brought along a Spiderbeam asymmetrical dipole which had been kindly sent to me by Spiderbeam in Germany for free, to field test.

Screenshot 2015-12-28 13.00.07

Above:- My operating spot in the northern section of the park

I used my 7 metre telescopic squid pole to support the antenna and had a quick tune around 40m prior to calling CQ.  There didn’t seem to be a lot of activity on 40m, so I headed to 7.144 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Gary VK5FGRY who was portable in the Morialta Conservation Park.  Gary was a nice 5/9 signal, but sadly it wasn’t reciprocal.  Gary reported that there was a lot of distortion on my signal.  And it wasn’t long before I started receiving a few text messages as well, advising that my audio was patchy and was cutting in and out.

The VSWR appeared to be ok on 40m, but certainly not as flat as my 20m/40m linked dipole.  So I lowered the squid pole and replaced the Spiderbeam antenna with my linked dipole.  I decided to have a good look at the Spiderbeam antenna on another occasion with my Antenna analyser.

I called back Gary after re-erecting the squid pole and I was very pleased to get a good strong 5/9 signal report back from Gary, along with good comments about the audio.  Next up was Les VK5KLV in Port Augusta and then Ivan VK5HS in Renmark in the Riverland, both of whom stated that my audio was terrible when using the Spiderbeam antenna.

About 7 QSOs into the activation and I had my first park to park contact in the log.  It was courtesy of Stef VK5HSX who was operating portable in the Coorong National Park, VKFF-0115.  Stef was operating from Parnka Point and had a nice 5/8 signal to Sandy Creek.  And next was Andy VK5AKH who was with Gary in the Morialta Conservation Park.  Andy and Gary and Matt VK5ZM were activating the park and enjoying a BBQ and a few cold beverages.  Andy SMS’d me a photo just to rub it in!

Screenshot 2015-12-28 12.22.38

About half a dozen calls later I had another park to park contact in the log.  This time is was Nick VK3ANL/4 who was activating the Mooloolah Rver National Park VKFF-0327.  Nick had a good 5/6 signal and gave me a 5/9 to the Sunshine Coast.

I then called for any QRP stations, and worked five QRP ops: Mick VK3PMG in western Victoria on 2 watts (5/9 both ways); Tom VK5EE in Mount Gambier on 5 watts (5/9 both ways); Peter VK3ZPF on 5 watts (5/7 sent and 5/9 received); Erik VK3BSG running just 3 watts (5/7 sent and 5/8 received); and Ian VK5CZ in the Clare Valley running 3 watts from the backyard (5/5 both ways).  Half a dozen calls later I again called for QRP and this time I was called by Ray VK3YAR on 5 watts (5/8 sent and 5/9 received); and Brenton VK3YB running just 1 watt (5/5 sent and 5/9 received).

The 40m band was in very good shape and all signals coming in to Sandy Creek were very strong.  I had a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5.  I then worked Matt VK1MA/3 who was portable on SOTA peak, Mount Donna Buang VK3/ VC-002, with a nice strong 5/8 signal.

A few QSOs later I was called by Greg VK5GJ, at Meadows, running his normal 4 watts from home, with a good 5/7 signal.  There was no man made noise at all in the park, so it was very easy to work the QRP stations.  It wasn’t long after that I had my first VK6 in the log, courtesy of Mike VK6MB.  Although Mike was struggling with noise at his end (I was 3/5), I could hear Mike perfectly, with a good 5/7 signal.  Next up was Richard VK6HRC with a 5/5 signal.  Matt VK5ZM then called in from the Morialta Conservation Park.

About half a dozen calls later I was called by Peter VK5FLEX who was operating portable in the Danggali Conservation Park.  Peter had just set up and was using Larry VK5LY’s (now silent key) Yaesu FT-817 for the very first time.  I was Peter’s first ever contact whilst using Larry’s gear, which I was very pleased with.  Peter was belting in to Sandy Creek with a 5/9 signal on his 5 watts.

Not long after I had quite a unique contact: Sandy Creek to Sandy Creek.  It was with Rob VK3FENV who was in Sandy Creek in Victoria.  What’s the chances of that?

I worked a total of 59 stations on 40m, before heading over to 20m for a bit of a listen.  Band conditions were average on 20m with no long path propagation to Europe.  I worked the ever reliable Rick VK4RF/VK4HA and two x VK2’s and two x VK6’s, and that was the end of my run on 20m.

I then lowered the squid pole and replaced the link dipole with my 15m dipole, and headed to 15m where I called CQ on 21.244.  And guess who was waiting there for me?  Yes, Mr. Keen…Rick VK4RF with a very strong 5/9 signal.  Rick was kind enough to spot me and this I am sure resulted in a steady flow of called from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  The Europeans were just starting to come in on 15m and I was experiencing some QRM on 21.244.  Their signals got stronger and stronger, resulting in me QSYing to 21.240.  Thanks for the spot,  Rob VK4FFAB.  Unfortunately I only worked one more station and that was Compton VK2HRX.  M0HKB started calling CQ on the frequency and was quite strong.  Sadly he could not hear me.

So I headed back to 40m for one last call, before packing up.  I worked a further 20 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  I had to compete with the Indonesian QRM and the Over the Horizon Radar (OTHR) which was very strong.

One of the callers was David VK5AAB who lived just down the road in the little town of Sandy Creek.  He offered me a coffee on the way home.  After packing up I kindly took him up on the offer.

So after about 3 hours in the park I had a total of 96 contacts in the log on 20, 40, & 15m SSB.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FGRY/p (Morialta Conservation Park)
  2. VK5KLV
  3. VK5HS
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK5HSX/p (Coorong National Park)
  8. VK5AKH/p (Morialta Conservation Park)
  9. VK5FANA
  10. VK3DAC
  11. VK3FQSO
  12. VK2YK/m
  13. VK3ANL/p (Mooloolah Rver National Park VKFF-0327)
  14. VK3PMG
  15. VK5EE
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK3BSG
  18. VK5CZ
  19. VK5QI
  20. VK5FAKV
  21. VK5PL
  22. VK2VW
  23. VK3YAR
  24. VK3YB
  25. VK4GY/3
  26. VK2PKT
  27. VK3FAPH
  28. VK5PET
  29. VK3PI
  30. VK7ROY
  31. VK1MA/3 (SOTA Mount Donna Buang)
  32. VK1VIC
  33. VK5ZRY
  34. VK3FADM
  35. VK3NBL
  36. VK5WG
  37. VK5GJ
  38. VK3TJK
  39. VK6MB
  40. VK6HRC
  41. VK5ZM/p (Morialta Conservation Park)
  42. VK3OY
  43. VK2QK
  44. VK3MEG
  45. VK3CM
  46. VK5FLEX/p (Danggali Conservation Park)
  47. VK5FDEC
  48. VK3VKT
  49. VK5NM
  50. VK5VRB
  51. VK2MOR
  52. VK3FLY
  53. VK5NRG
  54. VK2SK
  55. VK7CW
  56. VK3FENV
  57. VK5FKYM/m
  58. VK3FLCS
  59. VK7LCW
  60. VK2QK
  61. VK4FFAB
  62. VK5ST
  63. VK2QR
  64. VK3YW
  65. VK4FTAD
  66. VK5NFT
  67. VK5HW/m
  68. VK5AAB
  69. VK3PAT
  70. VK3XPT/7
  71. VK4MNM
  72. VK1FCAA/p
  73. VK3GTS/p
  74. VK3HRA
  75. VK2LAD
  76. VK2PHA
  77. VK4MWG
  78. VK5MAS
  79. VK5NS

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK2DON
  4. VK2IO
  5. VK6XL
  6. VK6NTE

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK3FPSR
  4. VK3OF
  5. VK4FFAB
  6. VK3BSG
  7. VK3HMV
  8. VK5AV
  9. VK2SK
  10. VK2YK/p
  11. VK2HRX



Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, Sandy Creek Conservation Park.

Sandy Creek Friends, 2015, <;, viewed 27th December 2015

Weekend Notes, 2015, <;, viewed 27th December 2015


KRMNPA Activator certificate

I received my Activator participation certificate the other week for the 2015 Activation Weekend for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA).

My wife Marija and I travelled down the Great Ocean Road and activated the Cape Otway National Park and the Port Campbell National Park.

This is a great annual event, which we always enjoy participating in.

Many thanks to Tony VK3VTH for the certificate, and for running such a great program in the KRMNPA.

KRMNPA 2015162.jpg

Mount George Conservation Park, VKFF-0784

Friday 11th December 2015 saw the recommencement of a very popular event, the Friday afternoon/evening activation sessions for the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Last Spring/Summer we held these events which encouraged amateurs to get out in the field and activate a park for the VK5 Parks Award.  They proved to be very popular and in recent times I had received a number of emails and queries wanting to know if we run something similar this Summer.  So after popular demand, they were commenced on Friday 11th.

Unfortunately I had worked on Friday so I chose a park close to home.  I can’t wait for retirement!  My park of choice was the Mount George Conservation Park, VKFF-0784, which is located near Bridgewater in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  The park is about 25 km south eeast of Adelaide.  It is just a 10 minute drive from my home.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Mount George conserves 85 hectares of native vegetation and is one of a number of small Conservation Parks scattered throughout the Mount Lofty Ranges.  It was proclaimed on 7th November 1996.  The park was originally 67 hecatres in size, but in 2003 the boundaries were extended to incorporate adjacent land of high conservation value.  The park has steep slopes which are lined with Stringybark Open Forest, a number of creeks, wetlands, and freshwater bogs.  State endangered Mountain Gum Open Forest is also found in the vicinity of the damper areas of the park.

The park incorporates the Mount George summit which rises to 520 metres, but sadly does not qualify for the Summits on the Air (SOTA_ program.  It is situated very close to the busy South Eastern Freeway.

The park provides refuge for numerous native animals including the Southern Brown Bandicoot, Common Ring-tail possum, Yellow-footed Antechinus, Western Grey Kangaroo, and Koalas.  Numerous birds can be found in the park.  In fact a total of 66 species have been recorded in the park, including the State vulnerable Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, of which there were a number flying overhead and in the trees during my activation.

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Above:- Map showing the Mt George CP, in close proximity to the busy South Eastern Freeway.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I have operated from this park many times before, and always from the picnic ground at the end of Mount George Road.  This is a great spot, but this time I thought I would try somewhere different within the park.  After leaving the South Eastern Freeway I drove along the Bridgewater-Carey Gully Road until I reached Worden Road.  I then turned left onto Muller and travelled south until I reached the intersection with Mount George Road.  Instead of turning left onto Mount George Road which takes you down to the picnic ground, I turned right onto Mount George Road, heading for the northern side of the park.  After viewing the GPS I saw a road that appeared to access the northern side of the park from Rangeviw Road.  But the road I was aiming to travel along to access the park, turned out to be a locked gate at the Mount Lofty Golf Club.

So I turned around and travelled back along the Mount George Road until I reached the turnoff for the picnic grounds.

It wasn’t long before I reached the park and the beautiful picnic ground area.  This certainly a pretty spot, and contains some shelters, a wooden table and benches, and plenty of opportunities ofor activating.

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I parked the 4WD and set up my folding table and deck chair not far away.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the linked dipole for 20m/40m.

Screenshot 2015-12-14 08.44.37

I was set up and ready to go by 0625 UTC (4.55 p.m. South Australian local time).  I immediately headed for my nominated operating frequency of 7.144.  I had placed an earlier alert on parksnpeaks.   I commenced calling CQ and this was answered by Dennis VK2HHA in Albury with a very strong 5/9 signal.  My signal report from Dennis was down a little from usual, but I was Q5 and that is all that mattered.  Next up was Brett VK2VW, Ron VK3MRH, and then Peter VK3PF.

Sadly it wasn’t long before I was experiencing some QRM from 7.146.  Some VK’2 came up and started talking to VK9LH.  Clearly this was a sched/net.  A ZL then came up on 7.145 working into Europe.  It just wasn’t worth persevering on 7.144.  After working a total of 13 stations from VK1, VK3, VK3, VK4, and VK5, I QSYd to 7.150 and called CQ again.  Paul VK3DBP came back to my CQ call, but when I called him back in, there was no response.  I presumed that either Paul was experiencing problems, or the propagation conditions had changed dramatically.

Peter VK5PET sent me an SMS message at this point, to advise that he was in the Monarto Conservation Park and was operating on 7.090.  I headed down there and had a listen.  Although I knew Peter was there, he was just way too low for me to work.  So I returned to 7.150 and called CQ again, and this was answered by Les VK5KLV who had a good strong 5/9 signal from Port Augusta.  Paul VK3DBP then called in, this time with an excellent 5/9 signal.  I asked Paul what had happened previously and he advised that I had totally disappeared earlier after he had called me.  It appeared the 40m band was up to its old tricks.  I was certainly not hearing the VK’5.

Screenshot 2015-12-14 09.18.54

I was talking with Paul about propagation and advising him of the lack of VK5’s.  But my next QSO proved that to be incorrect.  Out of the blue, with a thumping signal, was John VK5BJE at Scott Creek.  And shortly afterwards I was called by Peter VK5PET/p.  Peter was very low down (3/3) but at least I was hearing him.  Peter was hearing me much better and gave me a 5/7.  But then during our QSO, Peter came up to a 5/7 and Peter reported that my signal had increased to a 5/9.

It was at this point that a gentleman who had been walking his dogs in the park, returned back to his car, which was parked alongside of mine.  He stood there and stared for a while, whilst I gave him the occasional wave.  He eventually came over and I explained to him what I was doing.  This turned into quite a lengthy chat, with the gentleman telling me that he was a Country Fire Service (CFS) volunteer and then commencing to highly criticise the Government Radio Network (GRN) system.

So after 20 minutes of quietly sitting back and listening, he decided to head off.  I apologise to those that were waiting on the frequency.

I called CQ again on 7.150 and this was answered by Mark VK5QI who was operating from the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, with Gary VK5FGRY.  Mark and Gary had the strongest signal/s of the afternoon.

After working 23 stations on 40m I headed off to 20m and called CQ on 14.310.  I can almost always guarantee that Rick VK4RF/VK4HA is waiting for me on 20m, and this activation was no different.  After working Rick I was very surprised to be called by Thanie ZS4AZ in South Africa.  Thanie was 5/5 and was receiving me at just 2/2.  But despite that we managed a contact.  I was extremely excited as this was my first ever contact into South Africa whilst I was portable.

I then worked a handful of Western Australian stations including my good mate Ted VK6NTE, and Ray VK4NH/6 who was staying with Ted.  Next up was John VK6NU, and then Peter VK6RZ.  I was then surprised once more.  This time I was called by Doug VK9LA on Lord Howe Island with a very strong 5/9 signal.  Doug and I had quite a chat, until I started experiencing QRM from a German net on 14.307.

I then lowered the squid pole and removed the 20m/40m linked dipole and replaced it with the 15m antenna.  I headed to 21.244 and called CQ, but my only taker there was Rick VK4RF/VK4HA who had a 5/5 signal.

I returned back to 7.144 and worked some more of the regular park hunters, from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7.  But things slowed down very rapidly and I had no more callers.  I was toying with the idea to stay around for the 7130 DX Net, but I sill had a few hours before the net commenced.  I tuned across the band and heard very little activity.  Except for VK2CCW and the Slow Morse Net, which I sat back and listened to for around 30 minutes, and put my CQ to the test.

The sun was going down and it was now approaching 8.00 p.m. local time.  I spoke briefly with Peter VK3CFA, Roscoe VK3KRH and Kevin VK3CKL who were working John KA3IZE.  Unfortunately I wasn’t quite making it with John.

I then joined the 7130 DX Net where I worked a total of 12 stations including William FO5JV in French Polynesia, Brian ZL2ASH and Caleb ZL2ML in New Zealand, and Pedro NP4A in Puerto Rico.

At the end of the net I packed up and headed home, with a total of 52 contacts in the log.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2HHA
  2. VK2VW
  3. VK3MRH
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK3TKK/m
  8. VK1AT
  9. VK3FQSO
  10. VK3AV
  11. VK5GJ
  12. VK5FMID
  13. VK3PMG
  14. VK5KLV
  15. VK3DBP
  16. VK5BJE
  17. VK3UH
  18. VK2FROD
  19. VK5PET/p (Monarto Conservation Park)
  20. VK5QI/p (Horsnelly Gully Conservation Park)
  21. VK5FGRY/p (Horsnell Gully Conservation Park)
  22. VK5AV
  23. VK2DX
  24. VK3OF
  25. VK5ZGY/m
  26. VK7LCW
  27. VK3GQ
  28. VK3CFA
  29. VK3KRH
  30. VK3CKL
  31. VK7ROY
  32. FO5JV
  33. ZL2ASH
  34. ZL2ML
  35. VK4MON
  36. NP4A
  37. VK4FAAS
  38. VK6XL
  39. VK3FADM
  40. VK6WE
  41. VK4CC
  42. VK7FGGT

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. ZS4AZ
  4. VK6NTE
  5. VK4NH/6
  6. VK6NU
  7. VK6RZ
  8. VK9LA

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA

Nixon Skinner Conservation Park, VKFF-0923

My second park activation for Sunday 30th November 2015, and my final activation for the inaugural 2015 VKFF Activation Weekend, was the Nixon Skinner Conservation Park, VKFF-0923.  The park is located on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 5 km south of Myponga, and about 60 km south of Adelaide

Screenshot 2015-12-13 17.19.13

Above:- Map showing the location of the Nixon Skinner Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I had activated Nixon Skinner Conservation Park previously, back in October, 2013, but as per all of my activations for the VKFF weekend, this activation was prior to the park being added to the VKFF list for the World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) program.

For more information on my previous activation, please see…..

After leaving Stipiturus Conservation Park, I travelled west along Pages Flat Road, until I reached the little town of Myponga which is the hub of lush grazing and dairy country.  The name derived from the Aboriginal word ‘maippunga’ meaning locality of high cliffs.  Myponga was the venue for the first Australian performance by leading British heavy rock group Black Sabbath during the Myponga Music festival in 1971.  Prior to this festival the town’s leading claim to fame was the 1953 discovery of a uranium ore deposit at Wild Dog Hill.  Myponga is also the home of the Smiling Samoyed Brewery which is a small unique brewery and the Myponga market which is located in the old cheese factory.

I then travelled south west along Main South Road for around 5 kms.  I knew where I was heading as I had activated the park before.  But if you haven’t been to Nixon Skinner previously, then don’t blink.  You will probably miss it.   Just as you pass Causeway Road and travel over a part of the Myponga Reservoir, you will see a small track off to your right.  This is where you access the park.

There is a locked gate at this location.  Sadly, this is another locked Conservation Park.  But there is a gap in between the fence and the gate, allowing pedestrians into the park.  There is a bitumen road here and some old fire ban signs, so clearly at one stage, you could drive a vehicle down to the waterfront of the Myponga Reservoir.  If you have time I would highly recommend the walk down to the water.  It is a scenic walk and you will be rewarded with some great views of the reservoir.  And depending upon what time of the day you are here, the area is alive with kangaroos.

Nixon Skinner is only a small park.  It comprises 8 hectares of native vegetation, and backs on to the south western side of the Myponga Reservoir which provides about 5% of the drinking water for Adelaide.  It is the main source of filtered water for southern metropolitan Adelaide and the southern coast area.

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In 1956 Mrs. Lucy Eleanor Page, a long standing and active member of the Field Naturalists Society of South Australia, donated the land.  The park was named in honour of her grandfathers and was the first privately donated reserve to be established in South Australia for the preservation in perpetuity of native plants and animals and for the enjoyment of nature lovers.  There is a memorial plaque for Mrs. Page, but keep your eye out for it.  I doubt that a DEWNR official has been in the park for a long time, as the plaque is underneath a tree and severely overgrown.

I set up in the same spot I had set up previously, just along the road inside the gate.  For this activation I used the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre squid pole.  I supported the squid pole with the squid pole holder and an octopus strap.  It was hard going driving the holder into the ground, as it was very very dry.  Next time I think I will walk a lot further down the track, as Main South Road which passed by the park was extremely noisy and busy with tourist traffic travelling to and from the seaside tourist towns on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the south western corner of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The start of this activation was a park to park fest.  I decided to have a tune around the 40m band before calling CQ.  And as a result I worked 7 park activators to start off the activation.

  • VK3TST/2 (Livingstone National Park VKFF-0292)
  • VK5EE/p (Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796)
  • VK3TKK/p (Lerderberg State Park VKFF-0763)
  • VK4AAC/5 (Beachport Conservation Park VKFF-0791)
  • VK1DI/p (Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve VKFF-0901)
  • VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-0813)
  • VK5HSX/2 (Murrumbidgee Valley National Park VKFF-0554)

I then headed for 7.155 and started calling CQ.  It wasn’t long before I had a mini pile up going, with the first caller being Allen VK3HRA, followed by Fred VK3DAC and then Tony VK5FTVR.  Soon after I had a call from Peter VK3PF who was portable in the Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954.  This was a brand new park for me as a Hunter.  Next up was Andrew VK1DA/2 who was activating SOTA peak, Mount Bowning, VK2/ ST-042., north west of Yass.  And soon after Gary VK5FGRY called in again from the Morialta Conservation Park, along with Gerard VK2IO who was activating the Cattai National Park VKFF-0092.

When things slowed down a little, I had a glance around the 40m band again with the hope of picking up some more park activators, and that I did:

  • VK1VIC/p (Colleman Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0837)
  • VK5ZGY/p (Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803)
  • VK5FFCC/p (Deep Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0780)
  • VK3YY/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-031 and VKFF-0750)
  • VK3VTH/p (Bendigo Regional Park VKFF-0960)

I then started calling CQ on 7.144 and worked a number of the regular park hunters, from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7, all of whom had good signals.  The band was working well.  The kookaburra sounded on my i-phone to alert me of Col VK5HCF and Tom VK5EE on 7.130 from the Douglas Point Conservation Park, VKFF-0795, so that’s where I headed for another park to park contact.

I then tried 20m briefly, but there were not a lot of takers there, with just 4 stations logged from VK2 and VK4.  So it was off to 15m where I enjoyed a little more success.  I worked a total of 10 stations on 15m from VK3, VK4, and Japan.

I then returned to 40m and worked Peter VK3PF who was now activating the Point Nepean National Park, VKFF-0628, before I propped on 7.120 and called CQ.  I worked a number of the regular park hunters and also picked up another park to park contact.  This time with David VK5PL who was activating the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park, VKFF-0897 in the Barrossa Valley.

I again tuned around the band and picked up some more park to park contacts:

  • VK5LOL/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  • VK5PET/p (Coorong National Park VKFF-0115)
  • VK5AKH/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)

I then commenced calling CQ on 7.115 and worked into VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK6.  This included a park to park contact with Lewis VK6FLEW who was operating portable from the Yanchep National Park, VKFF-0553.  The static crashes had really picked up and it was a very difficult contact.  But due to the perseverance of us both, we eventually made it, exchanging signal reports and park numbers (3/3 sent and 3/1 received).  Well done Lewis, it was great to get you in the log.

I tried 20m and 15m one last time each.  On 20m I worked into Italy, VK5 and VK6.  But it was so noisy on 20m with extremely loud static crashes, that I decided it just wasn’t worth continuing, and trying to get Europe on the long path.  On 15m I worked just 3 stations in Japan and VK3.

This was a great afternoon in the park with a total of 102 contacts on 40m, 20m, and 15m.  This included a total of 24 park to park QSOs.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3TST/2 (Livingstone National Park VKFF-0292)
  2. VK5EE/p (Ewens Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0796)
  3. VK3TKK/p (Lerderberg State Park VKFF-0763)
  4. VK4AAC/5 (Beachport Conservation Park VKFF-0791)
  5. VK1DI/p (Molonglo Gorge Nature Reserve VKFF-0901)
  6. VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-0813)
  7. VK5HSX/2 (Murrumbidgee Valley National Park VKFF-0554)
  8. VK3HRA
  9. VK3DAC
  10. VK5FTVR
  11. VK3OHM
  12. VK5FMID
  13. VK3PF/p (Port Phillip Heads Marine National Park VKFF-0954)
  14. VK1DA/p (SOTA VK2/ ST-042)
  15. VK3PMG
  16. VK3YAR
  17. VK5JK
  18. VK5FGRY/p (Morialta Conservation Park VKFF-0783)
  19. VK1MA
  20. VK5HS
  21. VK5FLEX
  22. VK2IO/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
  23. VK1VIC/p (Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0837)
  24. VK5ZGY/p (Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803)
  25. VK5FFCC/p (Deep Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0780)
  26. VK5TR
  27. VK3YY/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-031 and VKFF-0750)
  28. VK3VTH/p (Bendigo Regional Park VKFF-0960)
  29. VK5DJ
  30. VK5PL
  31. VK2AWJ
  32. VK2VW
  33. VK7CW
  34. VK2NEO
  35. VK2QR
  36. VK2HEW
  37. VK5GJ
  38. VK3FLCS
  39. VK3TKK/m
  40. VK5WG
  41. VK5KLV
  42. VK5AV
  43. VK5EE/p (Douglas Point Conservation Park VKFF-0795)
  44. VK5HCF/p (Douglas Point Conservation Park VKFF-0795)
  45. VK3PF/p (Point Nepean National Park VKFF-0628)
  46. VK5NFT
  47. VK5FD
  48. VK5MBD
  49. VK3FPAR
  50. VK5HYZ
  51. VK3BSG
  52. VK5NRG
  53. VK3DBP
  54. VK5PL/p (Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park VKFF-0897)
  55. VK3ANL
  56. VK3ZD
  57. VK7FRKL
  58. VK3OF
  59. VK5LOL/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  60. VK5PET/p (Coorong National Park VKFF-0115)
  61. VK5AKH/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  62. VK5NIG
  63. VK3FIRM
  64. VK3UH
  65. VK3FPBI
  66. VK5AW/m
  67. VK5VBR
  68. VK5FANA
  69. VK2PKT
  70. VK3UT
  71. VK6FLEW/p (Yanchep National Park VKFF-0553)
  72. VK3BQ
  73. VK5FDEC
  74. VK3ETC
  75. VK3VEF
  76. VK5HEL
  77. VK5NJ
  78. VK5MCB

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2YW
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK2HOT
  5. VK6NU/p (Wandoo National Park VKFF-0656)
  6. VK5KBJ
  7. VK6DW
  8. VK4QQ
  9. IK1GPG
  10. VK6XL
  11. VK6HAO

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. JA8RJE
  4. VK4FFAB
  5. VK3FAPH
  6. JK1THF
  7. VK3PMM
  8. VK3MEG
  9. JE1GWO
  10. JA1SMM
  11. JA4SCQ
  12. VK3FIRM
  13. VK3FONZ