Last night (Friday 24th March 2017) I activated the Kinchina Conservation Park 5CP-277 and VKFF-1764, for the final Friday event for the 2016/2017 Spring/Summer season for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.
The park is about 80 km east of Adelaide, and located a few km to the west of the town of Murray Bridge.
I have activated the park once previously, back in November 2016. For more information on that activation, please see my previous post at…..
Above:- Map showing the location of the Kinchina Conservation Park. Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
The park is just a short drive from home for me. I headed east along the South Eastern Freeway, until I reached the Callington interchange, and then travelled east long the old Princes Highway until I reached Maurice Road. I soon reached the park boundary on the western side of the park. The park, being very new, is well signposted. It is interesting to note that Location SA Map Viewer does not show the park on the southern side of the railway line. It only shows the park being on the northern side of the railway line.
Out of interest I crossed the railway line to see if I could access the park on the northern side of the line. The track ended within about 20 metres and there were some gates leading to private property, so access to that section of the park was not possible. If you choose to activate from the southern section of the line (which is where I have operated from previously), there is a small car parking area. The scrub here is quite heavy, but there is enough room to string out dipole.
Above:- The western side of the park, off Maurice Road.
I headed further east along Maurice Road for a few km, passing the quarry on the northern side of the road, until I reached the second entry point to the park from Maurice Road. There is a large car parking area here, with a small pedestrian gate leading into the park.
I decided to go for a walk through the park before setting up. Kinchina Conservation Park was gazetted in September 2016. It is 414 hectares in size and protects grassy woodland communities considered of high conservation significance. The park was named for the rail siding where local Monarto Granite was loaded to be sent to Adelaide by Jessie and Charles Duncan from 1879. This granite was used in many buildings including Colonel Light’s statue, St Peters Cathedral stepgs, Electra House on King William Street and for kerbing in Adelaide’s central business district.
The eastern section of the park is very close to the eastern side of the town of Murray Bridge. Glimpses of the town, including the prison, can be seen through the trees from Kinchina.
The ‘Getaway Car Loop’ is an easy 30-45 minute walk from the carpark. It is a little hilly, but is an easy walk. It took me passed an old well and stock drinking area.
There is also an old cottage and well which you pass on the walk.
Once back from the walk, I decided to set up at this spot. It was a warm afternoon, with the temperature being 31 deg C, so I set up the fold up table and deck chair under the shade of some trees. I ran my normal equipment for this activation, which consisted of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole, supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.
Above:- Map showing my operating spot in the western section of the park. Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.
Prior to calling CQ I had a tune around the band hoping to find some other park activators. It wasn’t long before I found Adrian VK5FANA calling CQ on 7.135 from the Bird Islands Conservation Park 5CP-021 and VKFF-0871 on the Yorke Peninsula. Adrian was romping in, 5/9 plus.
I then moved up to 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use, and this was answered by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG to advise that the frequency was clear. Mick was a strong 5/9 + from western Victoria. This was followed by Dennis VK2HHA who was very strong from Albury in New South Wales. It wasn’t long before a mini pile up ensued, with many of the regular park hunters featuring in my log. Contact number 15 for the activation was another Park to Park QSO, this time with Neil VK4HNS who was portable in the Plunkett Conservation Park VKFF-1631.
I was then called by Mark VK5QI to advise that T2AQ from Tuvalu was on 7.139 and listening on my frequency of 7.144. Although the frequency was totally quiet at my end, I decided to QSY up the band to 7.148. First caller there was Wade VK1FWBD, running QRP 5 watts. I went on to work a total of 32 stations on 7.148, from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand. This included Ken ZL4KD, who is the ZLFF co-ordinator in New Zealand, and my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ who had just arrived home from work.
It was getting quite late, 0820 UTC (6.50 p.m. South Australian local time) and I was a bit concerned that I may have left my run on 20m a little too late. I headed to 14.310, but found the normal net on 14.307, so I moved up a little and called CQ on 14.311. This was answered by Maurizio IU5HIV in Italy. This was followed by Ray VK4LN, Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs, and then Gerard F1BLL in France. I worked a total of 12 stations on 20m, with signals being quite low down from Europe on the long path. I’m pretty sure I had left it a little too late to work Europe.
I then saw a facebook post that Adrian VK5FANA was calling CQ on 3.610 on 80m and was desperate for contacts. So I lowered the squid pole and inserted the links in the dipole and headed off to 80m. When I got to 3.610 it was completely quiet, so I thought I may have missed Adrian. I listened for a few minutes but did’t hear a thing, so I decided to give Adrian a call, who responded with a 5/9 + signal. After speaking with Adrian I moved up the band to 3.615 where I worked a total of 8 stations from VK3, VK4, VK5 and New Zealand. It was nice to log Neil ZL4UC at Dunedin with a strong 5/9 signal.
Bill VK4FW called me to advise that there was an Italian station in a IFF reference area on 14.280. So down with the squid pole and out with the links. Sadly when I got to 14.280 I couldn’t hear a thing. I tuned across the band, and only heard a handful of European stations. It was now 0900 UTC (7.30 p.m. South Australian local time) and long path had almost closed. I did however, hear Take JA1RKL calling CQ on 14.265 with a strong signal. So I called Take and we had a short chat. My signal in Japan was 5/7.
I then headed back to 40m and called CQ on 7.135. It was now getting dark and was a beautiful 24 deg C. My CQ call was answered by Chris VK2SR, followed by John W2VP who was 5/9 +. John and I had a 20 minute chat and we were joined by Adrian VK5FANA who tried to get through to John, but was unfortunately just under John’s noise floor. John was using a 40m station I can only dream of: a 4 element beam at 150 feet and 1.2 kw. No wonder he was so loud.
I went on to work a further 15 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, and VK7. Unfortunately whilst I was in QSO with Kim VK3KIM, the squid pole came crashing down in the gully breezes and this resulted in the wire for the dipole snapping near the centre piece. So it was a mad rush back to the vehicle to get a replacement antenna. By the time I had got back on air Kim had moved on.
Time as marching on and I was hoping to book into the 7130 DX Net for a few rounds before going QRT. But before checking in to the net, I tuned across the 40m band and found Yves FK4RD calling CQ on 7.153 from New Caledonia. Yves had quite a pile up going, with stations calling from North America, VK & ZL. I remained patient, and got through after half a dozen calls.
I then moved down the band and found Pedro NP4A working VK’s on 7.140. Pedro was 5/9 +, and was with Guy FM5WE in Martinique. I was quite excited, as Martinique would be a new country for me whilst operating portable. I did manage to get through to Pedro, but sadly Guy had moved on.
I then booked in to the 7130 DX Net, where I worked Bill W1OW in Massachusetts. Bill is a keen park hunter and I was pleased to be able to give him a new park. I also spoke with Chuck K9RM in Indianna, Michael KA5PNX in Nebraska, and Brian ZL2ASH in Wellington New Zealand.
At the end of the net I called CQ on 7130 and this was answered by Robert VK7VZ, followed by Glyn VK5GP in Murray Bridge who was 5/9 ++++. I then had a chat with Greg VK8HLF in Darwin who reported that my signal was progressively getting stronger, 3000 km to the north. I then had a little run of calls from North American stations, thanks to being posted on the DX cluster. This included Mark K1RO in New Hampshire, Bill N3JDR in Pennsylvania, Rich KB2DMD in Pennsylvania, Gary K9RX in South Carolina, Luc VA2HP in Quebec Canada, Bryan WA7PRC in Washington, Pete N0FW in Ohio, Kay KA9CFD in Illinois, and Dick K5AND in Texas.
I had spent 5 hours in the park and had a total of 109 contacts in the log, including some terrific DX on 40m. I was really pleased.
Here is a short video of some of the DX I worked on 40m…..
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands Conservation Park 5CP-021 and VKFF-0871)
- VK4HNS/p (Plunkett Conservation Park VKFF-1631)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
- VK5FANA/p (Bird Islands Conservation Park 5CP-021 and VKFF-0871)
Government of South Australia, 2016, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Home/Full_newsevents_listing/News_Events_Listing/160922-new-conservation-parks>, viewed 25th March 2017