On Friday morning (10th June 2016) I made an early start from home, heading to Mount Gambier for the South East Radio Group’s Annual convention/hamfest and the National Fox Hunting Championships. I was on the road a little after 6.30 a.m. local time.
My first planned park activation of the trip was the Kelvin Powrie Conservation Park VKFF-0899 and 5CP-103. I activated Kelvin Powrie back in March this year but hadn’t quite reached the 44 required QSOs for the global World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, so I had planned a quick stop there to pick up some more contacts to go towards the 44 tally.
The Kelvin Powrie CP is located about 217 km south east of Adelaide, and approximately 8 km north west of the town of Keith.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Kelvin Powrie Conservation Park in the South East of South Australia. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
Along the way I had a listen on 40m and booked in to the Mid South Coast Amateur Radio Club Met and spoke with John VK2NJP and Adrian VK4FBMW. Both had excellent signals into the mobile, and I hoped that this was a sign of things to come with propagation for the remainder of the day.
I continued along the Dukes Highway, passing through the little towns of Cooke Plains, Coomandook, Yumali, Coonalpyn, Culburra, and then Tintinara. I then reached the park. Kelvin Powrie CP was named in honour of James Kelvin Powrie, an agricultural scientist. For more information on Mr Powrie and the park, please have a look at my post from March 2016…..
I pulled in to the carpark off the Dukes Highway and found that there were 2 caravaners in there already so I pulled up on the south eastern side of the carpark and started setting up my station. Whilst I was doing so, one of the gentlemen came over to ask what I was doing. I took some time out to explain the hobby of amateur radio and also explain about the World Wide Flora Fauna program and the VK5 Parks Award.
Above:- Aerial image of the Kelvin Powrie Conservation Park, showing my operating spot in the south eastern corner of the park. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
Kelvin Powrie CP is a relatively small park, comprising some 17.66 hectares. It is bordered by the very busy Dukes Highway (the main Adelaide-Melbourne road) on one side, and the Adelaide-Melbourne railway line on the other.
I was up on air by just before 9.00 a.m. local time (2330 UTC) and headed to 7.144 where I came up to ask if the frequency was in use. Before I even got the chance to call CQ, a number of voices came back to advise the frequency was clear and they were waiting for me. My first contact for this activation was with Dennis VK2HHA in Albury, followed by Rob VK4AAC/3, and then Rick VK4RF/VK4HA. All had 5/9 signals and all gave me 5/9 in return. But it was clear that the close in propagation (within about 300 km) was not working well. Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG forwarded me an SMS to advise that I was not readable at Stawell in western Victoria. And Tony VK5FTVR from Strathalbyn tried calling me on a number of occasions but we were sadly unable to make a contact. As there was no noise in the park I was able to hear Tony perfectly, but that was not the case at Tony’s end.
However, conditions to other parts of Australia were very good. This included Western Australia. I worked Mike VK6MB who was an excellent 5/8 (5/7 received), and Jonathan VK6JON mobile 7 near Launceston (5/9 both ways).
I was also very pleased to get a Park to Park contact with Neil VK4HNS who was portable in the Moogerah Peaks National Park VKFF-0326, in the Fassifern Valley of South East Queensland (5/7 sent and 5/6 received).
Whilst activating, one of the caravaners came over to have a listen, and seemed very interested to hear such strong signals coming in from all across Australia. During my activation, I had another onlooker. But this was of the feathered variety. A Sulphur Crested Cockatoo flew in to a gum tree just above my operating spot and created one hell of a racket for a while as the ‘second operator’.
The serenity of the park was also disturbed at one stage by a passing goods train on the Adelaide-Melbourne rail line.
I worked 16 stations on 40m prior to the UTC roll over, and then a further 13 stations following rollover. The VK6 stations (VK6MB and VK6IA) were incredibly strong on 40m considering the time of the day. I then lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the dipole and started calling CQ on 20m. The ever reliable Rick VK4RF/VK4HA was my first taker there. This was followed by Mike VK6MB, then VK3VPG (who was struggling to hear me), and lastly a Park to Park contact on 20m with Neil VK4HNS in VKFF-0326.
It was time to pack up and head off to my 2nd planned park activation of the day, Christmas Rocks Conservation Park. I was very happy with 34 contacts in the log, and together with my previous activation, I had qualified the park for WWFF.
Thanks to Mike VK6MB for posting me on Facebook. And thanks to Rick VK4RF, Adrian VK5FANA for spotting me on the DX Cluster.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
- VK4HNS/p (VKFF-0326)
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
- VK4HNS/p (VKFF00326)