After a good night sleep at the home of Chris VK3QB at Foster, I was spoilt by Chris cooking me breakfast on Saturday morning (8th April 2017). Although I did have to put up with his techicolour morning attire as you can see from the photo below.
We had decided the night before to activate the Shallow Inlet Marine Coastal Park VKFF-0749 that morning. Chris VK3PAT also organised to meet us out at the park. The Shallow Inlet Marine Park is located about 190 km south east of Melbourne, and about 22 km south of Foster.
We decided to take two vehicles out to the park so that Chris could leave at any time required to head to the Antennapalooza event. We drove south out of Foster along the Foster-Promontory Road and then took Soldiers Road and continued to the little town of Sandy Point. We soon reached the park at the end of Sandy Point Road and drove onto the beach.
The Shallow Inlet Marine Coastal Park which was established in April 1986 is 2,377 hectares in size. The park is nestled between Warratah Bay and the peaks of Wilson Promontory. Shallow Inlet is popular for a range of water based activities including fishing, swimming, boating and sail boating. And as it was a glorious day, there were numerous people on the beach, swimming, and riding horses.
The Brataualung Aboriginal clan once occupied the area of Wilsons Promontory and Waratah Bay. A large number of coastal middens containing charcoal, stones and the remains of shellfish are located along the coast and around Shallow Inlet and are up to 6000 years old. Earlier sites have been covered by rising sea levels. The Aboriginal population of the area declined from the 1850s after European occupation of their tribal territory, leading to disease, forced evictions and murders.
Settlers established pastoral runs around Shallow Inlet in the 1850s. Land in the catchment of Shallow Inlet was then extensively cleared and drained from the turn of the century. The Shallow Inlet Marine and Coastal Park was declared in 1986 in recognition of the area’s habitat values for migratory wading birds and shorebirds.
The park protects a diverse range of vegetation including foredunes of Spinifex, heathy woodlands of Messmate and Coastal Banksia, Paperbark swamps and saltmarsh communities. Extensive mudflats and intertidal areas are exposed at low tide. These areas provide important feeding grounds for a range of migratory wading birds. Below the waves are extensive seagrass meadows.
Shallow Inlet and the adjacent ocean beaches are significant areas for breeding shorebirds. Over 180 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Many wading birds make spectacular migrations, breeding in the arctic during the northern hemisphere summer and migrating southwards to arrive in Australia in late August and September. Pied Oystercatchers and Red Capped Plovers nest in the dunes and on the spit. A diverse range of mammals including the Koala, Common Ringtail Possum, Common Wombat, Swamp Wallaby and Echidna can be found in the woodlands and heathlands along the shoreline of Shallow Inlet.
Chris and I set up about 30 feet from the water’s edge and as it was quite a warm day we set up underneath the awning of my Toyota Hi Lux. For this activation we ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole.
Our first contact was with John VK2YW, followed by Cliff VK2NP, Bill VK4FW, and then Peter VK5PE. Chris and I swapped the mic to log the contacts. Contact number 17 in the log was Grant VK4JAZ who was activating the Denmark Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1529. Grant was a very difficult copy to us, but after a number of attempts, we were able to successfully exchange callsigns and signal reports. Thanks to the patience of Grant. For information on Grant’s activation, you can view his blog at….
Chris VK3PAT soon joined us and we continued our mic sharing experience, logging a total of 21 contacts on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5. We then headed to 3.610 on the 80m band where we logged 3 stations: Mike VK3NMK, Geoff VK3SQ, and Nick VK3ANL.
We then tried our luck on 14.310 on the 20m band, where our first caller was the ever reliable Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, followed by Neil VK4HNS, and then Rob VK4AAC.
With 28 stations in the log we headed back to 7.144 on the 40m band where our first contact was with Norm VK2FANT, followed by Owen VK2AEJ who was operating from the Cape Don lightship in Sydney. We also logged Peter VK3PF/p and Sergio VK3SFG/p who were activating SOTA peak Mount Square Top VK3/ VT-071. A number of the hams at Antennapalooza gave us a shout, including Joe VK3YSP/p, Julie VK3FOWL/p, Tony VK3XV/p, and Jamie VK3TZE/p. We also logged Ian VK1DI who was activating SOTA peak Mount Tumanang VK2/ SM-049 which is located within the Tallaganda National Park VKFF-0474.
Chris VK3PAT had headed off for lunch with his wife, and Chris VK3QB and I had 45 contacts in the log, and it was time to head off to Antennapalooza. I think I may have inspired Chris VK3QB into activating. He was very happy qualifying his first park with 44 contacts +. It was a beaut morning. Great weather, good propagation, and good company.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK4JAZ/p (Denmark Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1529)
- VK3PF/p (SOTAMount Square Top VK3/ VT-071)
- VK3SFG/p (Mount Square Top SOTA VK3/ VT-071)
- VK1DI/p (SOTA Mount Tumanang VK2/ SM-049 &Tallaganda National Park VKFF-0474)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
On the way back to Foster we came across a small tree which had fallen across the road. Fortunately Chris had a chainsaw in the back of his vehicle.
Once back at Antennapalooza I caught up with all those present. It was terrific to meet Tony VK3XV for the very first time. I had spoken with Tony many times previously both on air and on the telephone. But this was the first time we had met in person. The presentations commenced mid afternoon, with 3 presentations delivered by myself on 1. General tips whilst operating portable; 2. WWFF; and 3. the VK5 Parks Award. Tony VK3XV spoke about the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award, whilst Peter VK3PF spoke about the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program. We settled in for the night, enjoying a nice meal and a few reds, and plenty of chat around the campfire. A great night.
Parks Victoria, 2012, ‘Shallow Inlet Marine Coastal Park’.