Marija and I made quite an early start on Saturday (2nd April 2016) morning, after enjoying a nice breakfast and coffee. Our plans for the day were to activate the Talisker Conservation Park, 5CP-223 and VKFF-0790, and then head back to the cottage in Deep Creek. The Talisker Conservation is about 104 km south of Adelaide, and is just a short 6 km drive (by road) from the cottage.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Talisker Conservation Park, on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
We travelled along Blowhole Creek Road and then on to Three Bridges Road. It wasn’t long before we reached the little area of Silverton. We turned left on to Rarkang Road and it wasn’t long before we had reached the park. On the way I had a chat on 40m with Dennis VK2HHA, Tony VK5ZAI mobile in St Arnaud in Victoria, Cliff VK2NP, and Mick VK3PMG.
Talisker Conservation Park was established in 1976 and consists of 211 hectares of native scrub set in very hilly terrain. The park incorporates the old Talisker silver-lead mine, which was discovered by John McLeod in 1862. It was named after a locality on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Talisker employed Cornish miners and supported a nearby township called Silverton. The population of Silverton grew to 3000 at its peak in 1870. The Talisker Mining Company worked the mine until falling ore grades and a lack of finance, forced the mine’s closure in 1872. Between 1917 to 1920, the mine was worked again, mainly for arsenic.
Prior to activating the park, we continued south through the park along Talisker Road, enjoying the spectacular views across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island. The road does not take you down to the beach, but I recommend travelling as far south west as you can along Talisker Road, as the views are terrific. 4WD is recommended.
Marija and I then returned back to the trig point in the highest point of the park. This is called Tree Hill and is around 350 metres ASL. There is a nice clearing here where you can park your vehicle and set up a dipole.
Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the north western section of the park, right alongside of the trig point. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
In fact, if you walk a short distance along the trail, you will reach an old camping area, some toilets and a wooden table and benches. I suspect that in years gone by you could drive your car into the camping area, but there is now a locked gate preventing access.
Prior to calling CQ I had a look around the 40m band and found Peter VK3PF on 7.090 calling CQ from Point Hicks Marine National Park VKFF-0953, which was a unique park for me. Peter had a nice 5/7 signal, and it was a nice start to the activation to get a “Park to Park” contact with a brand new park.
I then headed to 7.144 and started calling CQ. This was answered by Mick VK3PMG, followed by Tony VK3VTH mobile (on his way to the Narracoorte Caves National Park), and then Steve VK7CW. A short time into the activation, I had another two Park to Park contacts in the log. This time it was with Greg VK5GJ and Norm VK5GI who were activating the Mowantjie Willauwar Conservation Park 5CP-152 and VKFF -0919 in the Murray Mallee. Greg and Norm were a very strong 5/9. Soon after, Adrian VK5FANA/p called in from the Warrenben Conservation Park 5CP-248 and VKFF-0818 on the Yorke Peninsula. Adrian was a very strong 5/9 plus.
It was very pleasing to see the 40m band in great condition and even more pleasing to see a lot of park hunters. Many of the normal suspects called in, but a few new calls also appeared in the log. I worked a total of 41 stations in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6 and VK7, before things started to slow down a little. This included a QSO “Park to Park’ with Rob VK4AAC/3 who was portable in the Barmah National Park VKFF-0739. A number of QRP callers gave me a shout, including Amanda VK3FQSO running just 1 watt (5/7 received), Brian VK5FMID running 5 watts from Mount Gambier (5/9 sent), Ron VK3HAK running 5 watts (5/7 sent), and Nev VK5WG running 5 watts from the Mid North (5/7 sent).
When the callers slowed down I took the opportunity of having a look around the band and worked Russ VK2BJP/3 activating SOTA peak The Horn, VK3/ VE-014 which was within the Mount Buffalo National Park VKFF-0339. I then briefly booked in to the Riverland Radion Group Net on 7.115 to say hi to the Net Control Ron VK5MRE, before heading back to 7.144 where a small pile up commenced shortly thereafter. My first contact after returning to 7.144 was with Peter VK3YE who was pedestrian mobile, with his normal beautiful signal. Soon after I worked Greg VK5LG who was portable in the Cudlee Creek Conservation Park 5CP-050 and VKFF-1023. Gerard VK2IO also gave me a shout from SOTA peak VK2/ HU-056 located in the Yengo National Park VKFF-0559. Soon after I also spoke with Greg VK5GJ and Norm VK5GI who had now moved to the Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park 5CP-187 and VKFF-1082.
Again when callers slowed down, I tuned across the band and worked Keith VK5OQ operating portable from the Sandy Creek Conservation Park 5CP-204 and VKFF-0933. I then headed up to 20m and commenced calling CQ on 14.310. Band conditions on 20m were average with a lot of QSB (fading) on signals. I only managed 3 contacts and they were with Ciff VK2NP, Mike VK6MB and Marc VK3OHM.
During the activation, we experienced some light drizzle coming in off the ocean, so the bothy bag was deployed for around 10 minutes, to shelter me and the equipment from the rain.
Upon returning to 40m I again spoke with Russ VK2BJP/3 on SOTA peak VK3/ VE-019, as it was a new UTC day and I could get some extra SOTA points. The band was quite busy with a lot of park activators, but I eventually found 7.130 and started calling CQ again. David VK5PL was the first to call in, followed by David VK5LSB, and then Gary VK5PCM. I worked a further 15 stations here from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, including two more Park to Park contacts. They were with Peter VK5PET in the Kyeema Conservation Park 5CP-107 and VKFF-0826 and Tony VK5FTVR who was activating the Bullock Hill Conservation Park 5CP-173 and VKFF-0792. This was Tony’s first ever park activation, so it was an absolute pleasure to get Tony in the log.
I then hunted around the band to find some more park activators and it didn’t take long for me to find Stef VK5HSX on 7.135, activating the Beachport Conservation Park 5CP-014 and VKFF-0791. And then Greg VK5ZGY on 7.150 activating the Peebinga Conservation Park 5CP-173 and VKFF-0830. I headed back to 7144 and started calling CQ again and this was answered by Peter VK5FLEX. I worked a further 13 stations including a Park to Park contact with Peter VK3TKK in the Organ Pipes Conservation Park VKFF-0627.
I again went on my mission of seeking out some more park activators and worked Steve VK5SFA in the Morialta Conservation Park 5CP-142 and VKFF-0783, then Keith VK5OQ in the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park 5CP-097 and VKFF-0897, Greg VK5GJ and Norm VK5GI both in the Ettrick Conservation Park 5CP-267 and VKFF-1029, and Andrew VK5MR operating portable in the Pualco Range Conservation Park 5CP-190 and VKFF-1083.
I decided to try 20m again, but conditions were no better there than earlier, with just three stations logged: Cliff VK2NP, John VK1JP, and Robert VK2XXM. I then lowered the squid pole and replaced the linked dipole with my 15m 1/2 wave dipole, and started calling CQ on 21.244. This was answered by Cliff VK2NP who had followed me up from 20m. John VK1JP also called, but sadly he was struggling with my signal and we were unable to make a successful contact. I decided to have a listen to the 15m ANZA DX Net on 21.205 and I am very glad I did, as I worked a total of 5 stations on the net: Tony VK2RI, Jim E51JD in the South Cook Islands, Colin VK4FAAS, Maurice ZL1ANF, and John VK7XX.
Time was marching on, but I decided to have one last listen on the 40m band before going QRT. I bagged a few more Park to Park contacts: Tony VK3VTH in the Narracoorte Caves National Park 5NP-017 and VKFF-0380, Grant VK3VIM in the Great Otway National Park VKFF-0405, Peter VK3PF in the Croajingolong National Park VKFF-0119, Greg VK5ZGY in the Karte Conservation Park 5CP-099 and VKFF-0898, and finally Neil VK4HNS portable in the Bendidee National Park VKFF-0030. This was Neil’s first ever park activation, so it was great to get a Park to Park contact with Neil.
It was time to pack up and head back to the Goondooloo cottage in the Deep Creek Conservation Park. This had been a great activation, with a total of 121 contacts in the log. This included 27 Park to Park contacts.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK3PF/p (Point Hicks Marine National Park)
- VK5GJ/p (Mowantijie Willauwar Conservation Park)
- VK5GI/p (Mowantijie Willauwar Conservation Park)
- VK5FANA/p (Warrenben Conservation Park)
- VK4AAC/3 (Barmah National Park)
- VK2BJP/3 (SOTA VK3/ VE-014 and Mount Buffalo National Park)
- VK5LG/p (Cudlee Creek Conservation Park)
- VK5GJ/p (Poonthie Ruwe Conservation Park)
- VK5GI/p (Poonthie Ruwwe Conservation Park)
- VK5OQ/p (Sandy Creek Conservation Park)
- VK2BJP/3 (SOTA VK3/ VE-019)
- VK5PET/p (Kyeema Conservation Park)
- VK5FTVR/p (Bullock Hill Conservation Park)
- VK5HSX/p (Beachport Conservation Park)
- VK5ZGY/p (Peebinga Conservation Park)
- VK3TKK/p (Organ Pipes National Park)
- VK5SFA/p (Morialta Conservation Park)
- VK5OQ/p (Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park)
- VK5GJ/p (Ettrick Conservation Park)
- VK5GI/p (Ettrick Conservation Park)
- VK5MR/p (Pualco Range Conservation Park)
- VK3VTH/p (Narracoorte Caves National Park)
- VK3VIM/p (Great Otway National Park)
- VK3PF/p (Croajingolong National Park)
- VK5ZGY/p (Karte Conservation Park)
- VK4HNS/p (Bendidee National Park).
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-
After packing up Marija and I headed down to the old mine area for a walk. Although we have been down here before, the interpretative walk through the old mining area and ruins is extremely interesting.
On the way back to the cottage from Talisker I spoke in the mobile with Stef VK5HSX in the Beachport Conservation Park, then Greg VK5ZGY activating the Karte Conservation Park, and then Adrian VK5FANA operating from the Innes National Park.