Yesterday afternoon (Saturday 11th February 2017), my wife VK5FMAZ and I headed up to the northern suburbs of Adelaide to pay my Dad and stepmum a visit who are in their 80’s. We spent an enjoyable few hours with them, including discussing their next cruise to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. I only hope I’m that active when I (if) am their age. On the way home Marija and I detoured into the Angove Conservation Park 5CP-005 and VKFF-0867 for a park activation. This was to be a unique park for both of us, for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.
Angove Conservation Park is located about 16 km north east of Adelaide, situated in the foothills between the Adelaide Plains and the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Angove Conservation Park in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide. Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
Angove Conservation Park is about 5 hectares (12 acres) in size and conserves one of the last remaining stands of remnant drooping sheoak and southern cypress pine open woodlands within the Adelaide foothills. The park which was proclaimed on the 23rd June 1994 contains 142 native plant species and provides specialised habitat for a small number of animals that require dense vegetation to survive. Several species of reptiles can also be found, along with mammals such as ringtail and brush-tailed possums, bats and 75 species of birds. The most commonly observed birds in the park include Rainbow lorikeet, Spotted turtle-dove Crester Pigeon, Musk lorikeet, Adelaide Rosella, Red Wattlebird, and Laughing Kookaburra. The park is bordered by residential housing and features a number of walking trails.
Above:- Aerial shot showing the location of the park, surrounded by housing. Image courtesy of google maps.
The park has a fortunate history. In 1993 there was an attempt to purchase the land for subdivision. In response to this, the local community and other groups lobbied the South Australian State Government and the Federal Government, the City of Tea Tree Gully Council and the then Department for Environment and Natural Resources. As a result, the park was proclaimed as a Conservation Park. Power of the people!
The park was named after the Angove family, pioneering winemakers. Angove Family Winemakers was founded in 1886 by Dr. WIlliam Thomas Angove 1854-1912). His grandson, Thomas William Carlyon Angove AM (1918-2010) is credited with the invention of the wine cask.
Above:- Dr. William Thomas Angove (Left) and Wthomas William Carlyon Angove. Images courtesy of http://www.angove.com
The Angove family winemaking history began in 1886 when Dr William Angove emigrated to Australia from Cornwall. He established a medical practice at Tea Tree Gully, and along with other Doctors at the time, including Dr Lindeman and Dr Penfold, began cultivating vines and making wine.
Dr. William Angove had a keen interest in nature and he kept this small area in a relatively natural state. He named Butterfly Ridge, located in the centre of Angove Conservation Park at the site of the old vineyard, after the numerous butterflies to be found there. If it were not for Dr. Angove’s interest and dedication to nature, houses would probably cover Angove Conservation Park today.
Prior to heading out to the park I checked the Hourly Area Prediction (HAP) chart for Adelaide which showed that close in propagation on 40m was to be highly unlikely on the 40m band.
We accessed the park via Bowen Road. We had intially tried Tree Martin Court, a no through road which borders the eastern side of the park. But parking options there were limited, so we headed for Bowen Road which borders the southern section of the park. There were plenty of parking options here and we walked a few hundred metres down one of the walking trails and started to set up.
There weren’t too many operating options as the scrub is very thick and I didn’t want to set up on the walking trails. We found a small clearing in amongst the scrub and managed to stretch out the 80/40/20m linked dipole. But only just! We ran the Yaesu FT-857d for this activation, initially set at 40 watts output for me, and then lowered down to 10 watts for Marija (her Foundation licence stipulates 10 watts PEP).
Above:- Aerial shot showing our operating spot in the southern section of the park. Image courtesy of Google Earth.
We had alerted on parksnpeaks and Facebook that we were to be on air at 0700 UTC, and we were a little late. We were all set to go by 0737 UTC, so I hoped that some of the park die hards would be patiently waiting for us. Marija and I started off on 7.144 on 40m and it took about 3 minutes of CQ calls before we had our first park hunter in the log. It was Gerard VK2IO who had a very nice 5/9 signal into Angove. I was pleasantly surprised that the noise floor was relatively low considering we were completely surrounded by housing.
Next up was John VK5EMI in the Adelaide Hills. This was a pleasant surprise as the HAP charts suggested I would not be able to work VK5 on the 40m band. John was not overly strong (5/7), but was perfectly readable, and responded with a 5/5 signal report for me. I then worked Peter VK3FPHG who I had recently met during my visit to Swan Hill, and then Hans VK5YX at Hallett Cove in the southern suburbs of Adelaide (5/8 sent and 5/7 received). Next was Allen VK3ARH who commented that my signal was the lowest he had ever heard me. This was not a good sign with regards to me getting 44 contacts to qualify the park for WWFF.
But amateur radio is just like that box of chocolates that Forrest Gump talks about. As Forrest says, ‘You never know what you are going to get’. My seventh caller was Danny ON4VT in Belgium with a nice 5/5 signal. Danny and I exchanged signal reports (3/3 for me). I was quite excited to work Danny on 40m with just 40 watts and a little bit of wire. Great ears Danny!
I went on to work a total of 31 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, New Zealand, and Belgium. It was quite hard going with conditions well down into Victoria. The highlight on 40m was the contact into Belgium. But it was also nice to get Ken ZL4KD, the NZFF co-ordinator in the log. Conditions into Western Australia were quite good as well, with Andrew VK6AS and Hans VK6XN logged.
We then lowered the squid pole and changed the links and headed off to 14.310 on the 20m band. My first caller there was Andrew VK2UH who had followed me up from 40m. Andrew’s signal was down a little which was a sign of things to come, with very poor propagation into the eastern States of Australia. Hans VK6XN then called from Western Australia with a good 5/6 signal, followed by Adam VK2YK who was well down in signal strength compared to normal. Next up was Peter VK4AAV with a good 5/8 signal, followed by Frank VK7BC and finally Mark VK8MS in Darwin with a beautiful 5/9 signal some 3,000 km to my north.
We then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links and headed to 3.610 on the 80m band. I knew that I would get at least one contact there, as Adrian VK5FANA had sent me an SMS text advising he would be waiting there, as he was unable to hear me on 40m. Sure enough, I asked if the frequency was in use, and Adrian responded ‘No Paul, it’s been clear for the past 10 minutes. I’ve been patiently waiting’. Adrian had a beautiful 5/9 signal coming in from the Yorke Peninusla, and he reciprocated with a 5/9 for me. I then worked Peter VK3PF/VK3KAI, and then John VK5BJE/VK5PF. But despite numerous CQ calls, they were my only callers on 80m.
I had convinced Marija to pick up the mic and qualify the park for VKFF, and she logged Adrian VK5FANA, Peter VK3PF/VK3KAI, and John VK5BJE/VK5PF on 80m. We returned to 40m and I quickly picked up my 2 remaining contacts to qualify the park for WWFF. Marija then took over the ‘driver’s seat’ and logged a total of 13 stations, thus qualifying the park for VKFF. Marija’s contacts were into VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK6. Andrew VK6AS on 40m was a good contact from one side of Australia to another.
We then packed up, as the sun was setting and we were getting a little hungry. I had a total of 44 contacts in the log, whilst Marija had 13. Unfortunately we did not get the change to try the 15m band.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
After packing up we headed to North East Road and stopped off to have a look at the old Angove winery. There is not much left anymore, with most of the land now under construction as a housing estate.
We then called in to the Plaza Pizza bar and had a few refreshments and a beautiful pizza. Back in the 1990’s I worked at nearby Holden Hill, and the Plaza pizza bar was a regular haunt of ours when the original owners ran the shop. And the quality of the pizza didn’t disappoint this time around. It was ‘belissimo’.
Department for Environment and Heritage, 2005, Management Plan Angove Conservation Park
National Parks SA, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/angove-conservation-park>, viewed 11th February 2017
Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angove_Conservation_Park>, viewed 11th February 2017
Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Angove>, viewed 11th February 2017