Waitpinga Conservation Park 5CP-243 and VKFF-0940

Our first of two planned park activations for Sunday 3rd April 2016, was the Waitpinga Conservation Park 5CP-243 and VKFF-0940.  The park is situated about 120 km (by road) south of Adelaide on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and just south of Parawa.

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

The park is accessed via Illawong Road, which runs off Tunkalilla Road.  Upon arriving at the western end of Illawong Road there was a ‘Road Closed’ sign half lying on the ground.  Should we proceed?  Shouldn’t we?  Marija and I had activated the park some time ago (back in December 2013) and we were armed with the knowledge that there was quite a steep drop in the dirt track just before reaching the park, leading down to a creekline.  We suspected the sign may have been placed there some time ago when there had been rain and the creekline was impassable.  As the road was bone dry, we decided to travel through.

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When we got to a few hundred metres of the commencement of the park, the road drops away quite steeply down to the creek.  I was confident that the Toyota Hi Lux would easily get down there, but I thought with the road closed sign, I might be pushing my luck if something went wrong.  So we parked the Hi Lux and lugged the gear a short distance down the hill to our operating spot.

The Waitpinga Conservation Park is only a small park, and is about 3 hectares in size.  But it is quite spectacular.  The park is dedicated to the conservation of the rare Coral Fern.  The park consists of low open forest of stringy bark and Pink Gum, over an under storey of bracken, tea-tree, sedges and grasses.  The park backs on to the quite large Second Valley Forest Reserve.

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The area to the south of the park has been totally cleared for farming purposes.  It is a stark contrast to the Waitpinga Conservation Park, which is certainly one of my favourite parks.

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The park was alive with native flowers during our visit, including grevillias and correas.

There are not too many options when it comes to where to operate in the park.  The scrub is pretty thick, and there are no real clearings, so we operated from the south western corner near the creekline.  The only disadvantage here is that it is down in a bit of a gully.  Netherless, it was a beautiful spot to operate from.

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

Prior to calling CQ I had a tune around the 40m band in the hope of picking up some park activators.  My first contact was with Peter VK3PF who was activating the Coopracamba National Park, VKFF-0113.  Peter’s signal was not super strong, but there was absolutely no noise so he was very readable (5/5 both ways).  This was followed by a QSO with Rob VK4AAC/3 in the Cobram Regional Park, VKFF-0961 (5/9 both ways).

I then headed for 7.090 and started calling CQ.  I couldn’t get up to my normal operating frequency of 7.144 as it was Sunday morning, and most of the broadcasts for the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) occupy that part of the 40m band each Sunday morning.  My first contact after calling CQ was with my good mate Max VK3MCX in Melbourne, followed by Joe VK3YSP and his wife Julie VK3FOWL who were mobile on their way to the Churchill National Park.  The flurry of park activity had encouraged Joe and Julie to head out themselves.  A steady flow of callers followed from all across Australia: VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK6.  It was very pleasing to be able to work Mike VK6MB in Western Australia (both before and after the UTC rollover).  But there was one State that was noticeably missing…..South Australia (VK5).  It was apparent that the close in propagation was non existent.

It was approaching 10.30 a.m. local time and I was starting to experience QRM on 7.090 from 7.088 and the commencement of the Western Australia (VK6) WIA broadcast.  So I decided to QSY, but not before having a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2IO in the Belford National Park VKFF-0023.

I tuned across the 40m band and found Norm VK5GI and Greg VK5GJ on 7.115 operating from the Mantung Conservation Park, 5CP-269 and VKFF-1055 in the Murray Mallee region of South Australia.  But they were very very low down in signal strength and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to make it, yet alone break through their little pile up of callers.  But I did get through and we exchanged signal reports and park reference numbers, despite it being quite tough (a distance of around 250 km).

I then worked Tony VK3VTH in Big Heath Conservation Park VKFF-0792 in the South East of South Australia.  It was even harder going with Tony, at a distance of around 350 km.  I tuned across the 40m band and heard a number of stations from the eastern States on 7.110 working John VK5BJE in the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  But sadly, there was absolutely no sign of John.  Not a peep!

I then moved to 7.095 and called CQ and this was answered by Tony VK3AN, followed by Chris VK3AWG, and then Mike VK3GYH.  There was no problem at all in hearing the signals coming in from Victoria.  All signals from VK3 were very strong.  But it was incredibly frustrating not to be able to hear the VK5 park activators.  I really had my fingers crossed that conditions would improve.  I continued to work a number of VK3’s on 7.095 including Peter VKYE/p and Josh VK3VWS/p both pedestrian mobile at Chelsea Beach, until all of a sudden…BANG……Les VK5KLV from Port Augusta called in with  5/9 signal, and this was soon followed by Rob VK5TRM from the Riverland who was 5/8.  Perhaps the propagation gods had turned on the switch for VK5.  Following on from Rob, I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from John VK5BJE in the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, with a good 5/1 signal.  Although John was quite light in signal strength, he was very readable as there was no noise in the park.  John was hearing me much better and gave me a 5/7 signal report.

I decided to take a break from the radio and went for a walk through the park.  When I returned about 15 minutes later I headed for 20m where I called CQ on 14.310.  Mike VK6MB came back to my CQ call with a good 5/5 signal, followed by Tom VK2KF and Cliff VK2NP.  There was very severe QSB noted on the signals from Tom and Cliff.  Sadly, despite about two dozen CQ calls I had no further takers on 20m.

So I returned back to 40m and was very happy to hear the VK5’s now coming through very strong to Waitpinga.  I had a number of Park to Park contacts including Peter VK5FLEX in the Pike River Conservation Park, Tony VK3VTH/5 in the Big Heath Conservation Park, Greg VK5ZGY in the Billiatt Conservation Park, Adrian VK5FANA in the Carribie Conservation Park, and Tom VK5NFT in the Lake St Clair Conservation Park.

I then moved to 7.144 where I worked a total of 26 stations, including a number of Park to Park contacts: David VK5PL in the Marne Valley Conservation Park, Col VK5HCF in the Furner Conservation Park, David VK5AAH in the Fort Glanville Conservation Park, Stef VK5HSX in the Beachport Conservation Park, Peter VK3PF in the Mount Raymond Regional Park, Chris VK5FCHM in the Clements Gap Conservation Park (this was Chris’ very first park activation…CONGRATULATIONS), Joe VK3YSP and Julie VK3FOWL in the Churchill Conservation Park, Greg VK5GJ and Norm VK5GI in the Mantung Conservation Park.  I was also called by Stuart VK5STU and Nigel VK5NIG activating Mount Gawler summit VK5/ SE-013 and Gerard VK2IO activating SOTA peak VK2/ HU-079.

I then moved back to 20m where I worked 6 stations in VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and New Zealand.  This included Lawrence ZL1HZ/p operating with just 10 watts from Auckland (5/5 both ways).

I then tried 21.244 on 15m before packing up and was quite successful there, working a total of 13 stations in VK2, VK4, Japan, Indonesia, and New Zealand.  It was really pleasing to be able to work a number of VK4 Foundation stations.  Band conditions on 15m were excellent.

This was a very successful and enjoyable activation with a total of 113 QSOs in the log, including 21 Park to Park contacts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Coopracamba National Park VKFF-0113)
  2. VK4AAC/3 (Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961)
  3. VK3MCX
  4. VK3YSP/m
  5. VK3FOWL/m
  6. VK3AV
  7. VK3FQSO
  8. VK3NCR/m
  9. VK1MA
  10. VK4FW
  11. VK3OHM
  12. VK6MB
  13. VK4RF
  14. VK4HA
  15. VK3HSB
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK2NP
  18. VK3BBB
  19. VK3AFW
  20. VK2XXM
  21. VK2IO/p (Belford National Park)
  22. VK3NW
  23. VK3FMAA
  24. VK3TKK
  25. VK3PMG
  26. VK6MB
  27. VK5GI/p (Mantung Conservation Park)
  28. VK5GJ/p (Mantung Conservation Park)
  29. VK3ACT
  30. VK3MCD/p
  31. VK3MCK
  32. VK3VTH/5 (Big Heath Conservation Park)
  33. VK3AN
  34. VK3AWG
  35. VK3GYH
  36. VK3NBL
  37. VK3ZMD
  38. VK3PMG
  39. VK3DBP
  40. VK1AT/3
  41. VK3VWS/p (pedestrian mobile)
  42. VK3YE/p (pedestrian mobile)
  43. VK5KLV
  44. VK4HNS/p
  45. VK5ZAI/3
  46. VK3SIM
  47. VK5TRM
  48. VK5BJE/p (Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park)
  49. VK2YW
  50. VK3FAPH/p
  51. VK5FLEX/p (Pike River Conservation Park)
  52. VK3VTH/5 (Big Heath Conservation Park)
  53. VK5ZGY/p (Billiatt Conservation Park)
  54. VK5FANA/p (Carribie Conservation Park)
  55. VK5NFT/p (Lake St Clair Conservation Park)
  56. VK5PL/p (Marne Valley Conservation Park)
  57. VK7CW
  58. VK5AV
  59. VK5HCF/p (Furner Conservation Park)
  60. VK5AAH/p (Fort Glanville Conservation Park)
  61. VK5HSX/p (Beachport Conservation Park)
  62. VK3PF/p (Mount Raymond Regional Park)
  63. VK3ANL
  64. VK5LSB
  65. VK5FTVR
  66. VK3FIRM
  67. VK3FSPG
  68. VK5DF
  69. VK5FCHM/p (Clements Gap Conservation Park)
  70. VK2PKT
  71. VK3YSP/p (Churchill National Park)
  72. VK3FOWL/p (Churchill National Park)
  73. VK5GJ/p (Mantung Conservation Park)
  74. VK5GI/p (Mantung Conservation Park)
  75. VK3NBL
  76. VK5STU/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-013)
  77. VK5NIG/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-013)
  78. VK3ARH
  79. VK7LTD
  80. VK5FSPJ/m
  81. VK5FBBJ/m
  82. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ HU-079)

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB
  2. VK2KF
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK4FW
  5. VK2LEE
  6. ZL1HZ/p
  7. VK2XXM
  8. VK1DI
  9. VK3SQ

The following stations were worked on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK2LEE
  2. VK2FSAV
  3. VK4FFAO
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK1ZZ/4 (Forty Mile Scrub Conservation Park)
  7. VK4DD
  8. VK4FSCC
  9. VK4FTNA
  10. JH6RON
  11. YB7SKM
  12. JA8XOK
  13. ZL4CZ

 

4 thoughts on “Waitpinga Conservation Park 5CP-243 and VKFF-0940

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes this is a very picturesque little park. I suspect there are no walking tracks through it. It backs on to the pine forest and is pretty thick scrub.

      Cheers,

      Paul,
      VK5PAS.

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