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.

Screenshot 2015-12-14 08.41.21

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.

Screenshot 2015-12-14 08.40.22

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.

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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

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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…..

https://vk5pas.org/2013/10/14/nixon-skinner-conservation-park/

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

 

Stipiturus Conservation Park, VKFF-0936

I had planned for two parks to be activated for day two of the 2015 VKFF Activation Weekend, Sunday 29th November, 2015.  My first activation was the Stipiturus Conservation Park, VKFF-0936, which is located about 6 km south west of the nearest town, Mount Compass, and about 50 km south of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the park on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Again, this was a South Australian Conservation Park that I had operated portable from previously, but only as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award, prior to Stipiturus being added to the VKFF list for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. I had activated the park in October 2013 and October 2014.  For more information on the park and my previous two activations, please see my previous posts at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2013/10/13/stipiturus-conservation-park/

https://vk5pas.org/2014/10/27/stipiturus-conservation-park-2/

Stipiturus Conservation Park is around 68 hectares in size and protects a high conservation value wet heath and sedgeland peat bog system, known as Glenshera Swamp.  The park is home to one of the largest known swamp-based population of the nationally endangered Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus intermedius), after which the park was named.
Screenshot 2015-12-13 09.14.12

Above:- Southern Emu Wren.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

To access the park I travelled from home through the little town of Echunga, and along the Brookman Road from Meadows to Willunga.  Along the way I spoke with Peter VK3PF who was operating portable in the Yaringa Marine National Park, VKFF-0957.

I then drove south along the Victor Harbor Road before turning onto Pages Flat Road.  This is prime dairy country on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  I then turned right into Dodds Road until I reached the intersection of Dodds Road and Blockers Road.  I continued south for a very short distance until reaching Saffrons Road where I turned right.  There is no signage leading to the park.  There are some nice views of the park in the distance as you travel along Saffrons Road.

DSC_0475

Above:- View of the park from Saffrons Road.

At the end of Saffrons Road I turned left into Beare Lane.  The park is just up on the left from here and is signposted.  Beare Lane is a dirt road but is in excellent condition and is easily passable in a conventional vehicle.

DSC_0476

Above:- Beare Lane, looking east.

Beare Lane is the only access to this park.  It is located on the southern side of Stipiturus.  The western, northern and eastern sides of the park and landlocked by private property.

DSC_0493

This is another one of those South Australian Conservation Parks that sadly the Department Environment Water Natural Resources (DEWNR) lock up like Fort Knox.  I understand their thinking that locking these parks up keeps the bad people out.  But when there is no way of getting into a park except for scrambling over a barbed wire fence, I think this is very poor.  Thats okay if you are young and nimble, but in my opinion it excludes elderly people or people with a disabilty.  I have notified DEWNR of this in the past, but unfortunately it has fallen on deaf ears.

There is a little bit of scrub just off Beare Lane on the southern side of the park.  It contains gum trees and an understorey of ferns.  There is another patch of scrub a little further to the north, and if you follow the track from the gate, this will take you to the swamp area.

I collected all my equipment from the 4WD and lined it up at the gate.  I scrambled over the fence, trying not to get caught up in the barbed wire.  I then reached over and collected all my gear including the transceiver, power supply, antenna, fold up table, and deck chair.  I then walked a short distance up the track and set up.  It was already quite a warm morning, so I set up the table and chair in the shade of one of the gum trees.

Screenshot 2015-12-13 00.10.04

I was ready to go by 2245 UTC (7.15 a.m. South Australian local time).  Prior to calling CQ I spoke with Tony VK1VIC who was activating the Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve VKFF-0865 (5/8 both ways).  I then headed to 7.110 and commenced calling CQ.  This was answered by Adam VK7VAZ in Tasmania, followed by Ron VK3MRH and then Matt VK1MA.  My fifth contact of the morning was with Peter VK3PF who was operating portable from the Yaringa Marine National Park, VKFF-0957.  Peter had an excellent 5/9 signal.

I worked a further 9 stations in VK2, VK3, and VK5, before being called by another park activator, Mick VK3PMG who was activating the Leaghur State Park, VKFF-0762.  Mick was romping in to Stipiturus with a beautiful 5/9 signal.  And then just 2 QSOs later I was called by Peter VK5KPR who was operating portable from the Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, VKFF-0817, in the north of South Australia.  Another 2 QSOs passed and I was called by Adrian VK5FANA who was activating the Clinton Conservation Park, VKFF-0813, on the Yorke Peninsula.

A number of the regular park hunters then called in, and this was soon followed by another park to park QSO, with Ian VK1DI who was activating the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve, VKFF-0847.  Ian’s signal was quite weak but we had a successful contact (5/1 sent and 5/2 received).  Some of the regular hunters followed, but calls soon slowed down.  So it was off on my quest to find some more park activators on the 40m band.

I soon found Tony VK1VIC on 7.090 who was operating from the Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve, VKFF-0840.  Tony’s signal was also quite low down but we were able to hear each other perfectly due to the low noise floor in both our parks (5/3 both ways).  But Tony was the only new activator I heard on the band.  All of the others that were calling CQ, had already called me.  So I then moved up to 7.110 and called CQ.  Ivan VK5HS from Renmark in the Riverland responded with a very strong 5/9 signal, and this was followed by Mal VK5MH who was maritime mobile on the Murray River.  Next up was another park to park contact.  This time it was Jim VK1AT/3 who was operating portable from The Lakes National Park, VKFF-0484.  Jim’s signal was very low but we successfully exchanged park details and signal reports (5/1 both ways).

Things slowed down quite quickly again, so I again ventured across the 40m band and soon found Tony VK3VTH on 7.120 in the Shepparton Regional Park, VKFF-0976, with a good 5/7 signal.  But Tony was the only new park activator, so I decided to have a listen on 20m.  The 7 metre squid pole was lowered and the links removed in the dipole, and I commenced calling CQ on 14.310.  My first responder was Keith VK2PKT from Parkes.  A few QSOs later, the park to park action continued.  I spoke wth Gerard VK2IO portable in the Cattai National Park, VKFF-0092 running just 12 watts with a nice 5/5 signal.  And this was followed by a call from Greg (VK8GM) operating the Alice Springs Amateur Radio Club call of VK8AR, from the West McDonnell Ranges National Park, VKFF-0532.  And shortly afterwards my third park to park on 20m, this time with Ian VK1DI activating Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve, VKFF-0847.

I worked a handful of other stations on 20m before callers slowed right down.  It was an ideal time to try out 15 metres.  So down came the squid pole and I laid the 20m/40m linked dipole on the ground, whilst erecting the 15m dipole.  Prior to calling CQ on 15m I had a tune around the band to gauge propagation.  I soon found Adam VK2YK on 21.275 calling CQ from SOTA summit Castle Hill, VK4/ NH-136, overlooking Townsville in Far North Queensland.  Adam’s signal was quite low down but we successfully completed our QSO (5/1 sent and 4/1 received).

I then started calling CQ on 21.244 and it wasn’t long before Cliff VK2NP called in from his mobile with a good 5/7 signal.  This was followed by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA who was 5/8, and then Michael VK4FBBA mobile.  I worked a further 12 stations on 15m from New Zealand, Japan, VK1, VK2, VK5, and VK6.

I decided to head back to 40m for one last listen before going QRT and heading off to the Nixon Skinner Conservation Park.  After returning to 40m I worked Greg VK5ZGY in the Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803, followed by Col VK5HCF & Tom VK5EE both in the Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927, Tony VK1VIC portable in Mount Taylor Nature Reserve VKFF-0854, and a handful of the regular park hunters.

After 3 hours in the park I had a total of 78 contacts in the log on 40m, 20m, and 15m, including an additional 16 x park to park contacts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1VIC/p (Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve VKFF-0865)
  2. VK7VAZ
  3. VK3MRH
  4. VK1MA
  5. VK3PF/p (Yaringa Marine National Park VKFF-0957)
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK3TKK
  8. VK3ZZS
  9. VK7CW
  10. VK3UH
  11. VK5JK
  12. VK5NJ
  13. VK2SR
  14. VK3AFW
  15. VK3PMG/p (Leaghur State Park VKFF-0762)
  16. VK3FIRM
  17. VK5KPR/p (The Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park VKFF-0817)
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park VKFF-0813)
  20. VK4RF
  21. VK4HA
  22. VK7NWT
  23. VK3FQSO
  24. VK3HRA
  25. VK2YW
  26. VK1DI/p (Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847)
  27. VK5FMID
  28. VK5NFT
  29. VK2AWJ
  30. VK3OF
  31. VK7WN
  32. VK3VBI
  33. VK1VIC/p (Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve VKFF-0840)
  34. VK5HS
  35. VK5MJ/mm
  36. VK1AT/3 (The Lakes National Park VKFF-0484)
  37. VK3NBL
  38. VK5KBJ
  39. VK5MBD
  40. VK5WG
  41. VK3VTH/p (Shepparton Regional Park VKFF-0976)
  42. VK5ZGY/p (Penola Conservation Park VKFF-0803)
  43. VK5HCF/p (Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927
  44. Tom VK5EE/p (Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927)
  45. VK5AV
  46. VK1AT/3
  47. VK5NIG
  48. VK5PL
  49. VK1VIC/p (Mount Taylor Nature Reserve VKFF-0854)
  50. VK5FTVR
  51. VK5GJ
  52. VK5FPAC

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK2PKT
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK2XXM
  5. VK2IO/p (Cattai National Park VKFF-0092)
  6. VK8AR/p (West McDonnell National Park VKFF-0535)
  7. VK5YX
  8. VK1DI/p (Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve VKFF-0847)
  9. VK3SQ

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2YK/4 (SOTA VK4/ NH-136)
  2. VK2NP/m
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK4FBBA/m
  6. ZL3CHE
  7. VK2MGA
  8. JA8RJE
  9. VK2LEE
  10. VK6GLX
  11. VK2FLRW
  12. VK4GSW
  13. VK1NS
  14. VK2XXM
  15. VK2FGOE
  16. VK1MA
  17. VK5GJ