My final activation for Saturday and day one of the inaugural VKFF Activation Weekend was the Bullock Hill Conservation Park, VKFF-0873, which is situated near Ashbourne on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Bullock Hill Conservation Park on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
Bullock Hill was my third park of the day that I had activated previously as part of the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award, but not as part of the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. So this was going to be my third unique WWFF park for the day.
For more information on my previous activations at Bullock Hill, please see my previous posts at…..
Bullock Hill Conservation Park is quite a new park. It was only proclaimed on the 20th January 2014. It consists of 200 hectares of undulating countryside, mainly consisting of Pink and Cup gum, with a dense under storey of acacia and mixed heath. Most of the scrub is located in the upper section of the park on the western side.
I accessed the park via Wattle Flat Road. There is a small area where you can park your car. Be careful not to block the gate for the farmer who property is on the eastern side of the park. I unloaded the 4WD and then climbed through the fence to gain access to the park. I set up my little fold up table and deck chair under the shade of a small tree. Again, for this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20m/40m linked dipole. I secured the 7 m squid pole to the park sign, using some octopus straps.
Above:- Map showing my operating spot, in the park. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
Prior to calling CQ I tuned to 7.135 and worked Greg VK5GJ in the nearby Cox Scrub Conservation Park, VKFF-0824 (5/7 both ways). I then headed up to 7.144 and called CQ. My first responder was another park to park contact. It was Gerald VK2IO who was portable in the Botany Bay National Park, VKFF-0048. This was followed by Allen VK3HRA who was activating the Creswick Regional Park VKFF-0964. And then another park to park, this time with Marcus VK3TST/2 who was in the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park, VKFF-0554. All signals were very good, but there were quite severe static crashes present on the band.
A few calls later I spoke with Peter VK3YE who was operating a kite antenna on the beach. The antenna consisted of 30 metres of wire. Peter was a good strong 5/8 signal. Peter never ever ceases to amaze me with what he can do with QRP, and his home brew transceivers and antennas. A few QSOs later I spoke with Tim VK3MTB who was activating the Morwell National Park VKFF-0626, and this was followed by Ian VK5CZ who was in the Spring Gully Conservation Park, VKFF-0816, near Clare in the Mid North of South Australia.
I had a good steady flow of callers and all signals were exceptionally good. I also managed another two park to park contacts. They were with Peter VK3ZPF who was activating the Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-033, and Gary VK5FGRY who was in the Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-0783, in the Adelaide Hills.
I now had a total of 27 contacts in the log and then saw a spot on parksnpeaks for Greg VK8AR who was activating the West McDonnell National Park, VKFF-0532, near Alice Springs. So I quickly lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed off to 14.280 on 20m. I was pleasantly surprised to hear Greg coming in with a nice signal. He had quite a few callers, but I patiently waited and made contact with him in a short period of time.
I then went to 14.225 and started calling CQ and this was answered by Jess VK6JES in Geraldton in Western Australia with a strong 5/8 signal. About four contacts later I was called by Alex VK2HAS who was operating portable in an Armoured Personnel Carrier, with a 1/2 wave vertical. I have worked Alex from this situation before. It is certainly a very unique contact.
My first DX contact on 20m was with Max IK1GPG who had a good 5/7 signal on the long path. This was followed shortly afterwards by regular park hunters, Xaver DK4RM and Uwe DL2ND in Germany. Not long after I saw a 4WD pull up in the carpark area behind my 4WD. It had the obvious amateur antenna fitted to it, but I wasn’t entirely sure of who my unexpected visitor was. It turned out to be Greg VK5GJ, who had completed his activation at the nearby Cox Scub Conservation Park, and had called in to say hello. I took a break from the radio to say gday to Greg.
I returned to the radio about 15 minutes later, but unfortunately somebody else had jumped on to 14.225. So I headed to 14.210 and called CQ and this was answered by David ZL1UA in Auckland with a strong 5/8 signal. This was followed by Luc ON4BB and then Steve VK4QQ. But sadly, an Italian station, an IT9, came up on the frequency and started calling CQ. He was just too strong to compete with, so I decided to QSY.
Greg decided to head home at this point, so I headed up to 14.310 and started calling CQ again. This was responded to by Don VK3MCK and then my good friends Danny ON4VT and Swa ON5SWA in Belgium. Danny was 5/6 and Swa was a little weaker at 5/5. They were both hearing me around the 4/2-4/4 mark. I worked just 2 more European stations: Hinko S52KM in Slovenia, and Luciano I5FLN. The long path propagation seemed to just fall away at that point.
So I headed back to 40m and called CQ on 7.135. It was now around 5.15 p.m. My first taker was Peter VK3YE, who was still on the beach with his kite antenna, running just 1/2 watt. His signal had come up even stronger, as had mine at Peter’s end. My second contact was with Jonathan who was activating the Blackwood River National Park VKFF-0633. It was a little bit of a struggle with Jonathan due to the static crashes, but I missed very little of our QSO. This was followed by Rob VK4FFAB who was portable in the Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121. Rob was an excellent 5/9 signal. But Rob was struggling with even stronger static crashes than me, and gave me a 4/9 signal report.
I had a steady flow of callers from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK6, when I was rather unexpectedly called by Mark AF6TC in California with a very strong 5/9 plus signal. Mark reciprocated with a 5/9 for me. Not long after I was called by John ZL2TUD in Wellington, and then Neil K6KWI in Santa Ana in California. I was extremely pleased to work a second USA station on 40m.
I worked a further 27 stations on 40m, including VK3YSA running just 4 watts from Mount Disappointment, Mal VK5MJ who was maritime mobile on the Murray River, and Chris ZL2UKT in Auckland.
It was starting to get quite cool, and the local time was now just after 6.30 p.m. I was also getting hammered by some local VK3’s talking to the USA on 7.136, so I thought it was a good time to pull the plug on what had been a great day. I had a total of 102 contacts in the log from Bullock Hill, including a further 15 park to park contacts.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK5GJ/p (Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-0824)
- VK2IO/p (Botany Bay National Park VKFF-0048)
- VK3HRA/p (Creswick Regional Park VKFF-0964)
- VK3TST/2 (Murrumbidgee Valley National Park VKFF-0554)
- VK3MTB/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
- VK5CZ/p (Spring Gully Conservation Park, VKFF-0816)
- VK3ZPF/p (Mornington Peninsula National Park VKFF-0333)
- VK5FGRY/p (Morialta Conservation Park, VKFF-0783)
- VK5FO/p (Ramco Point Conservation Park VKFF-0930)
- VK3ZPF/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
- VK8AR/p (West Macdonnell National Park VKFF-0532)
- VK6JON/p (Blackwood River National Park VKFF-0633)
- VK4FFAB/p (Crows Nest National Park VKFF-0121)
- VK6NU/p (Wandoo National Park VKFF-0656)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
- VK8AR/p (West Macdonnell National Park, VKFF-0532)