Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve, VKFF-1701.

After getting home from Black Bullock Hill, Marija and I enjoyed some lunch, and as it was such a beautiful sunny day I decided to head out to activate a brand new park, the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve, VKFF-1701.  This reference is not to be confused with the nearby Cox Scrub Conservation Park!  The reserve was one of a number of recent additions to the VKFF list for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  This was to be the very first time it had been activated.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I drove down to Strathalbyn and along the way I worked John VK5BJE who was operating portable in the Bullock Hill Conservation Park, 5CP-265 and VKFF-0873.  Close in propagation has recently been very poor, so I was surprised to hear John coming in so well.  Although not strong, he was a perfect 5/2 into my mobile, about 35 km away.  I stopped briefly just outside of Strathalbyn to enjoy some views of the town and the surrounding countryside and down to Lake Alexandrina.

I then got mobile again and listened in to John working a  number of stations on 40m.  As I grew ever so closer to John his signal became stronger and stronger, until John was 5/9 plus.

DSC_1647

After leaving the Ashbourne Road West, I turned left to head south on Bull Creek Road, passing through the little town of Ashbourne and the Green Man Inn.  I continued south on Bull Creek Road, passing the Cox Scrub Conservation Park on my right.  As I reached the south eastern corner of the Conservation Park, the north western corner of the Conservation Reserve soon came into view on my left.

I entered the park via a dirt track on the eastern side of Bull Creek Road.  There are no signs for the park, so make sure you’ve done your homework on where the park is located prior to leaving home.  A few of the tracks in the park were not passable due to fallen trees and limbs, a result of the recent terrible weather that some parts of South Australia had experienced during July.

I set up in a clearing alongside one of the tracks.  I used the Yaesu FT-857d, set on 40 watts output and the 20m/40m/80m linked dipole sitting on the top of the 7m heavy duty squid pole.  I tied the ends of the dipole off to some of the gum trees so the legs were about 3 feet off the ground.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve showing my operating spot near the southern part of the park.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I have been unable to find much information on the Cox Scrub Conservation Reserve on the internet.  It is much smaller in size to its neighbouring Conservation Park brother which is about 544 hectares in size.  Many of the native plants in the park were in flower during my visit.

After setting up I quickly went to 7.110 and worked John VK5BJE in the Bullock Hill Conservation Park.  John was booming in.  Not unexpecting, considering he was just 3-4 km to my north east.

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Here is a link to John’s WordPress site and some info on his activation….

Bullock Hill Conservation Park, VKFF-0873 & 5CP-265, 7th August 2016

I then headed up the band to 7.144 where I commenced calling CQ, which was answered by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.  This was followed by Tony VK3CAT who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Dom Dom VK3/ VN-017 with a good 5/5 signal.  About 12 QSOs later I was called by Gerard VK2IO who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Palerang VK2/ ST-009 which was located within the Tallaganda State Conservation Reserve VKFF-1375.  A bonus, a SOTA contact and my second Park to Park from the Reserve.  Despite band conditions being quite good, callers were spasmodic, so after working a total of 18 stations on 40m, I headed off to 14.310 on 20m.

I commenced calling CQ and Peter VK6RZ came back to my call with a beautiful 5/8 signal.  This was followed by Rick VK4RF/VK4HA and then Jonathan VK6JON mobile 7.  I worked a further 7 stations on 20m, including another Park to Park, this time with Phil VK6ADF who was activating the Green Mount National Park VKFF-0218.  Despite the fact that Phil was running just 2.5 watts from a Yaesu FT-817nd I was able to hear him perfectly (5/3 sent and 5/5 received).

I then headed back to 7.144 and worked a total of 6 stations until I had to QSY.  I was being hammered by New Zealand and VK stations working Mark AF6TC who had come up on 7.145, just above me.  So it was down to 7.144 where I continued to work the mini pile up which had ensued.  But it wasn’t long and I was experiencing QRM again.  mark had followed me down the band and was just 1 kc above me again.  I QSY’d again but this wasn’t before I worked a total of 17 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7.  This included three further Park to Park contacts with Matt VK5ZM and Garry VK5FGRY who were both portable in the Morialta Conservation Park 5CP-142 and VKFF-1783, andd then Phil VK6ADF in the Green Mount National Park VKFF-0218.

I headed down to 7.120 and worked a further 7 stations from VK1, VK3, VK4 and New Zealand, before heading off to 80.  The sun was starting to set and it was getting quite cool in the park.  I headed to 3.610 but that was occupied by some very strong ZL’s so I headed up to 3.620 where I called CQ.  First station in the log on 80m was Mick VK3GGG, followed by Peter VK3HSB and Peter VK5PL.  I worked a total of 14 stations on 80m from VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK5.

It was time to head for home.  I had a total of 73 contacts in the log and a new park to add to my Activator list.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE/p (VKFF-0873)
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK3CAT/p (SOTA VK3/ VN-017)
  5. VK3FOTO/m
  6. VK4FAAS
  7. VK3MCX
  8. VK2SR
  9. VK2LEE
  10. VK3SQ
  11. VK3UH
  12. VK4HNS
  13. VK4FFAB
  14. VK3KR
  15. VK3FSPG
  16. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ ST-009 and VKFF-135)
  17. VK1ZZ/4
  18. VK3FJD
  19. VK3BBB
  20. VK3ELH
  21. VK3FOWL
  22. VK3FADM
  23. VK3FMAA
  24. VK3BL
  25. VK2HJW/p
  26. VK2PKT
  27. VK3PF
  28. VK5ZM/p (VKFF-0783)
  29. VK3GGG
  30. VK3PMG
  31. VK4ARW
  32. VK3NE
  33. VK3OY
  34. VK5FGRY/p (VKFF-0783)
  35. VK3SFG
  36. VK4JK
  37. VK3MCK
  38. VK3ANL
  39. VK6NI
  40. VK6JOn/7
  41. VK6ADF/p (VKFF-0218)
  42. VK1MA
  43. VK4ME
  44. VK4QQ
  45. ZL4KD
  46. VK3FDAP
  47. VK3HSB
  48. VK6NU

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6RZ
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK6JON/7
  5. VK7CW
  6. VK4DD
  7. VK6ADF/p (VKFF-0218)
  8. VK6MSC
  9. VK7BO
  10. VK4ETT
  11. VK4MON

The following stations were worked on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3GGG
  2. VK3PMG
  3. VK3HSB
  4. VK5PL
  5. VK1MA
  6. VK1HW
  7. VK5BJE
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK3TJS
  10. VK2LEE
  11. VK1DI
  12. VK3PAT
  13. VK2NED
  14. VK5RY

Black Bullock Hill, VK5/ SE-016

On Sunday 7th August 2016, the ACT Summits on the Air (SOTA) enthusiasts held their annual VK1 SOTA Winter QSO Party.  My wife Marija VK5FMAZ and I headed down the Fleurieu Peninsula to the little one point summit of Black Bullock Hill VK5/ SE-016 to take part in the event.  The summit is situated about 100 km south of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Black Bullock Hill.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The summit is around a 90 km drive from our home and took Marija and I through the little Adelaide Hills towns of Echunga and Meadows and then on to Willunga.  From there we travelled to Myponga and then Yankalilla and Normanville.  The impressive cliffs at Lady Bay soon came into view.  I must check the topography to see if any qualify for SOTA as they certainly do tower above the ocean.  Lady Bay is home to the Links Lady Bay Resort, and a gold course that was designed by golfing identifies, Jack Newton, Graeme Grant, and the late John Spencer.

We stopped briefly for a stretch of our legs and to view the HMAS Hobart (D 39) interpretive sign at Lady Bay.  The HMAS Hobart (D 39) was a Perth class guided missile destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy, built in the USA.  She was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1965.  She was gifted to the South Australian government in August 2000 and she was sunk as a dive wreck in November 2002.  The wreck site is officially known as the Fleurieu Artificial Reef.

We continued on through the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula to the little town of Delamere, where we turned on to Range Road, and travelled for a few km until turning onto Dog Trap Road.  Along the way we called the owner of the land just to confirm that we could access the property.  You can activate the summit from the roadway as you are well and truly within the activation zone, but I have previously operated from the trig point which is located just off the road on private property.  Peter, the land owner kindly allowed us access.

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Black Bullock Hill is a very easy summit to reach.  In fact it is a strange summit in that climbing is not required, and it is a summit for SOTA due to it being the highest point on this part of the Fleurieu Peninsula.  It is situated near the intersection of Dog Trap Road, Three Bridges Road and Tent Rock Road.  The summit is 365 metres above sea level and is worth 1 SOTA point.

Many years ago I suspected that the summit was probably named after a black bullock.  But I enquiried with the Yankalilla and District Historical Society and confirmed that the summit’s name actually comes from a plant, not an animal, as some of us presumed.  And that plant is ‘bull-oak’  Allocasuarina Luchnannii, which is part of the Casuarinaceae family.  The plant is also sometimes referred to as ‘buloke’.  It is reputed to the the hardest wood in the world, with a Janka Hardness of 5,060 lbf.  The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janka_hardness_test

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Above:- Aerial showing the location of the summit, just on the eastern side of Tent Rock Road.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The first thing that Marija and I noticed was that the trig point was lying on its side.  No doubt as a result of the terrible weather that many parts of South Australia had experienced during July.

DSC_1623 (1).jpg

We decided to set up from the side of the road, as the fence to Peter’s property is electrified and I wasn’t feeling in a particularly energetic mood to scale fences.  Marija also had a previous unpleasant experience with an electric fence, so we took the easier option.  The surrounding countryside was lush green and despite it not being a summit in the true sense of the word, there are some great views of the surrounding Fleurieu Peninsula.  The Fleurieu was named after Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu,  the French explorer and hydrographer, by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin, as he explored the south coast of Australia in 1802.

The views include some sensational views across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island which is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island.  I’ll be there in a few weeks time for the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).  The Backstairs Passage is the strait between the South Australian mainland and Kangaroo Island.  It was named by Matthew Flinders whilst he and his crew on HMS Investigator were exploring and mapping the South Australian coastline in 1802.

For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m/80m linked dipole supported by the 7 metre heavy duty squid pole.  There was a small wooden post near the fenceline which I used to secure the squid pole with the assistance of an octopus strap.

We were at Black Bullock Hill and all set up to go by around 2320 UTC (8.50 a.m. South Australian local time) so there was plenty of time to work some SOTA chasers on either side of the UTC rollover.  It was a pretty brosk morning, with the temperature being about 4 degrees C.  The wind was blowing in off the nearby South Ocean.  Prior to calling CQ I had a quick tune across the band and came across Paul VK3HN on SOTA peak Mount St Leonards VK3/ VC-006 working Paul VK2HV.  So Paul became my first contact for the morning with a nice 5/9 signal.

I then headed to 7.090 and commenced calling CQ and this was answered by Dave VK2JDS mobile, followed by two more S2S contacts with Tony VK7LTD and Angela VK7FAMP who were both portable on Mount Phipps, VK7/ SC-027 (5/5 both ways).  Marija also jumped on the mic at this stage and logged the two S2S contacts with Angela and Tony.

The band was completely devoid of man made noise at Black Bullock Hill, and there was only a slight frying pan noise on the band, along with a little bit of Indonesian or Malaysian QRM.  Signals were quite good into the eastern States but it was clear that close in propagation was no existant.

Marija and I had a slow but steady flow of callers from the eastern States including a number of S2S contacts.  We shared the mic until Marija had 9 contacts in the log and then started waving her arms at me when I tried to hand the mic to her.  She had qualified the summit and had endured the cold for long enough and was heading back to the vehicle.

I worked 25 stations on 40m before the UTC rollover from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK7 and VK8, including 15 S2S contacts.  And I worked a further 19 stations on 40m after the UTC rollover.  I then moved to 14.310 on 20m and worked 6 stations.  First taker there was Fred VK4FE.  What was really pleasing about 20m was I logged three New Zealand S2S contacts.  Two of those with Wynne ZL2ATH and Warren ZL2AJ were a bit of a struggle, with signals quite low.  But Kyle ZL2KGF was an excellent 5/5 signal.  This was Kyle’s first ever SOTA activation and he was also in ZLFF-0003 which was a bonus.  See the photos below to see the view that Kyle was enjoying.  My S2S contact with Wynne ZL2ATH over  a distance of 3227km made it Wynne’s longest S2S so far. Not bad considering that Wynne was running a Yaesu FT-817 and just 5 watts. 

Above:- ZL1/ TN-006.  Courtesy of ZL2KGF

I then  moved back to 40m and worked a further 10 stations, but callers were few and far between, so it was off to 80m.  I thought it might have been a little too late in the day, but I was surprised to log a total of 6 stations on 80m including a S2S contact with Ian VK5CZ on The Dutchmans Stern VK5/ NE-028, about 450 km to the north of my location.  I couldn’t believe it when Ian came back to me.  We both exchanged 4/1 signal reports.

I worked the following Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts prior to the UTC rollover……

40m

  1. Paul VK3HN/p VK3/ VC-006 (6 points)
  2. Tony VK7LTD, VK7/ SC-027 (2 points)
  3. Angela VK7FAMP/p, VK7/ SC-027
  4. Matt VK1MA, VK1/ AC-042 (1 point)
  5. Andrew VK1AD/p, VK1/ AC-032 (2 points)
  6. Peter VK3PF/p, VK3/ VT-040 (4 points)
  7. Gerard VK2IO/p, VK2/ ST-006 (8 points)
  8. Andrew VK1DA/p, VK1/ AC-040 (1 point)
  9. Andrew VK1MBE/2, VK2/ ST-001 (8 points)
  10. Paul VK1ATP/2, VK2/ ST-008 (8 points)
  11. Nick VK3ANL/p, VK3/ VC-030 (1 point)
  12. Tony VK3CAT/p, VK3/ VN-012 (6 points)
  13. Ron VK3AFW/p, VK3/ VN-027 (4 points)
  14. Ken VK3KIM/p, VK3/ VN-027
  15. Ian VK1DI/p, VK1/ AC-039 (1 point)

And the following Summit to Summit contacts after the UTC rollover…..

40m

  1. Andrew VK1MBE/2, VK2/ ST-001 8 points)
  2. Peter VK3PF/p VK3/ VT-040 (4 points)
  3. Paul VK1ATP/2,VK2/ ST-008 (8 points)
  4. Andrew VK1DA/p, VK1 AC-040 (1 point)
  5. Tony VK3CAT/p, VK3/ VN-012 (6 points)
  6. Nick VK3ANL/p, VK3/ VC-030 (1 point)
  7. Col VK3LED/p, VK3/ VN-024 (2 points)
  8. Gerard VK2IO/p, VK2/ ST-006 (8 points)
  9. Andrew VK1AD/p, VK1/ AC-032 (2 points)
  10. Tony VK1VIC/p, VK1/ AC-032
  11. Matt VK1MA/p, VK1/ AC-042 (1 point)
  12. Ron VK3AFW/p, VK3/ VN-027 (4 points)
  13. Ken VK3KIM/p, VK3/ VN-027
  14. Paul VK3HN/p, VK3/ VC-006 (6 points)
  15. Phil VK3BHR/p, VK3/ VU-007 (1 point)
  16. Bernard VK2IB/3, VK3/ VE-165 (4 points)

20m

  1. ZL1ATH/p, ZL1/ WL-153 (1 point)
  2. ZL2AJ/p, ZL1/ WK-153 (1 point)
  3. ZL2KGF/p, ZL1/ TN-006 (2 points) and ZLFF-0003

80m

  1. Ian VK5CZ/p, VK5/ NE-028 (6 points)

It was time to pack up, as it was approaching midday.  I had a total of 65 contacts in the log, including 35 Summit to Summit contacts (113 S2S points).  Marija had also qualified the summit with a total of 9 contacts and 8 Summit to Summit contacts (19 S2S points).  It had been a very enjoyable morning.  Thanks to Andrew VK1AD for organising the event.

I worked the following stations:-

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References.

Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleurieu_Peninsula&gt;, viewed 9th August 2016