VK5WOW at Monarto Conservation Park 5CP-138 and VKFF-0828

Yesterday afternoon/evening (Friday 28th April 2017) I ventured out to the Monarto Conservation Park 5CP-138 & VKFF-0828, using the special call of VK5WOW.

All contacts with VK5WOW count towards the 2017 WIA AGM & Convention Award.  More details can be found at…..

http://www.wia.org.au/members/wiaawards/agm2017/

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This was the third time I have used VK5WOW.  More times as an activator than I have logged the station unfortunately, due to close in propagation being non existant when others have used the call.

Monarto Conservation Park is just a short 20 minute drive down the South Eastern Freeway for me.  The park is situated about 62 km east of Adelaide, and 30 km east of my home.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 1.29.51 pm.png

Map showing the location of the Monarto Conservation Park, east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I have activated Monarto Conservation Park many times in the past.  For information on those activations and more information on the park, please see my previous posts at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2016/10/16/2016-vkff-team-championship-and-monarto-cp-vkff-0828/

https://vk5pas.org/2015/04/27/monarto-conservation-park-vkff-828/

https://vk5pas.org/2015/01/31/monarto-cp-and-the-2nd-activation-afternoon/

https://vk5pas.org/2014/12/04/monarto-conservation-park-3/

https://vk5pas.org/2014/05/18/monarto-conservation-park-2/

https://vk5pas.org/2013/06/01/monarto-conservation-park/

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 1.31.17 pm.png

Aerial shot showing the park with reference to my home QTH, 20 minutes down the road.  Image courtesy of Google maps

I activated the park from my normal spot, the carpark in the north western corner of the park.  I ran my normal portable station for this activation, consisting of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 80/40/20 m linked dipole, inverted vee, supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.

It was a dull and overcast afternoon with the temperature being 19 deg C.  There were some dark clouds in the sky but no forecast of rain.

Screen Shot 2017-04-29 at 1.29.36 pm

Aerial shot of the park, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I started off on 7.134 on the 40m band.  I could not get onto my nominated operating frequency of 7.144 as there was an EA5 operating there.  Although he was a good strong 5/8 signal, sadly he was unable to hear me.   My first contact was a Park to Park contact with Greg VK4VXX/2 in the Sturt National Park VKFF-0470.  You can always count on some amateurs giving you a shout during an activation, and Rick VK4RF/VK4HA is one of those.  Rick was next in my log with his normal strong 5/9 signal.  I worked 11 contacts into VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, and was then asked to QSY as I was causing interference to a European net on 7.137.

I QSYd up the band to 7.170.  It was very hard to find a clear frequency on 40m, with good signals from VK and Europe.  The first station logged on 7.170 was Brett VK2VW.  This was followed by Danny ON4VT in Belgium who was calling in amongst the VK’s.  Danny had a good 5/5 signal and gave me a 4/4 into Belgium.  I went on to work a total of 26 stations on 7.170 from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7 and Belgium.  This included Gerard VK2IO/p, Park to Park, who was in Karuah National Park VKFF-0596.  I was pleased that a handful of VK5’s appeared in the log, with close in propagation (within 50 km) possible.

I then headed off to 14.310 on the 20m band where I logged 14 stations including a little bit of DX from France, Czech Republic, Italy, and England.  Long path conditions into Europe were less than ideal.  I also had three Park to Park contacts: Gerard VK2IP/p in the Karuah National Park VKFF-0596; Neil VK4HNS/p in the Connondale National Park VKFF-0109; and Simon VK6MSC who was on SOTA peak VK6/ SW-036 in the Helena National Park VKFF-0645.

I then headed back to 7.170 on 40m where I logged a further 22 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, VK8, and the USA.  This included my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ who had just arrived home from work, and Mark AF6TC in California USA.  Mark was to be my only North American contact for the activation.

I was also called by Simon VK6MSC, for a second band, on SOTA peak VK6/ SW-036 in the Helena National Park VKFF-0645.  It’s always nice to log Western Australian stations.  Here in Australia we take these sort of contacts for granted as local contacts.  Although for me this is a distance of around 2,500 km.

It was now approaching 6.00 p.m. local time and it was almost dark, so I decided to try 80m again.  This time I logged 22 stations on 80m, from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK8.  I was pleased to log my mate Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs who was a strong 5/9.  I also made contact with Gerard VK2IO, for a third band, who was in Karuah National Park VKFF-0596.

As it was nearly 7.00 p.m. local time, I headed back to 40m for the commencement of the 7130 DX Net.  Sadly, band conditions on 40m were less than ideal, and Roy VK7ROY the net control was struggling to hear me.  I made just 6 contacts on the net into VK2, VK6, New Zealand and French Polynesia.

I decided to give 80m one last go before packing up and heading home for dinner.  I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Bill VK4FW, followed by Danny VK4SD/2, and then Zorro VK3ZIP.  Next up was John VK3TCT who was in London in the UK, and was operating remote from his home station in Mildura Victoria.  I logged a further 7 stations, and despite numerous CQ calls I had no further takers.  The temperature was now down to 10 deg C and it was well and truly time to pack up and head home for something to eat.

I had a total of 113 contacts in the log and another successful park activation using VK5WOW, considering pretty average band conditions.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4VXX/2 (Sturt National Park VKFF-0470)
  2. VK4RF
  3. VK4HA
  4. VK2NEO
  5. VK3GGG
  6. VK3PMG
  7. VK5FAKV
  8. VK5ST
  9. VK7VDL
  10. VK2QR
  11. VK2SWL
  12. VK2BN
  13. ON4VT
  14. VK5GI
  15. VK4PDX
  16. VK5KLD
  17. VK5PET
  18. VK3PAT
  19. VK5KLV
  20. VK3ARH
  21. VK2NP
  22. VK7CW
  23. VK3FORD
  24. VK5FMLO
  25. VK3MCK
  26. VK3VKT/m
  27. VK3GMC
  28. VK4TJ
  29. VK2IO/p (Karuah National Park VKFF-0596)
  30. VK4ARW
  31. VK3FOWL
  32. VK3SRC
  33. VK3ZMD
  34. VK5HS
  35. VK5FANA
  36. VK4FW
  37. VK3VEF
  38. VK3YSP
  39. VK5FMAZ
  40. VK4FMAX
  41. VK7ZGK
  42. VK7JON
  43. VK2ZH
  44. VK7VZ/p
  45. VK1AD
  46. VK3FRAB
  47. VK4KUS
  48. VK7DW
  49. VK6MSC/p (SOTA VK6/ SW-036 & Helena National Park VKFF-0645)
  50. VK6QM
  51. AF6TC
  52. VK7FOLK
  53. VK3ZD
  54. VK3NCC/8
  55. VK4FAAJ
  56. VK3HKK
  57. VK7VDS
  58. VK4FAID
  59. VK4GMH
  60. ZL2ASH
  61. VK7ROY
  62. VK6VZZ/m
  63. FO5JV
  64. VK6WB
  65. VK2NED

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5YX
  2. F4FEP
  3. VK6MAC/p
  4. OK2TS
  5. IK2ZJN
  6. IK8FIQ
  7. IU3FBL
  8. VK2IO/p (Karuah National Park VKFF-0596)
  9. VK4RZ
  10. VK4HNS/p (Connondale National Park VKFF-0109)
  11. VK6MSC/p (SOTA VK6/ SW-036 & Helena National Park VKFF-0645)
  12. VK2ZH
  13. F1BLL
  14. M5JON

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3FQ
  2. VK5FMLO
  3. VK4ZD
  4. VK3ANL
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK5ST
  7. VK4MAX
  8. VK4DI
  9. VK8GM
  10. VK5FANA
  11. VK5FMWW
  12. VK2NED
  13. VK3PKY
  14. VK5FWMT
  15. VK3FLAK
  16. VK4RZ
  17. VK3FPHG
  18. VK2IO/p (Karuah National Park VKFF-0596)
  19. VK3ERW
  20. VK3LDB
  21. VK5ALR
  22. VK1DI
  23. VK3PAT
  24. VK4FW
  25. VK4SD/2
  26. VK3ZIP
  27. VK3TCT
  28. VK5FRSM
  29. VK6VCK/p
  30. VK4QS
  31. VK6VET
  32. VK6VNZ
  33. VK2NCS
  34. VK2NEO

Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752

On Tuesday 25th April 2017, Marija VK5FMAZ and I headed down to the Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752, which is located about 77 km south east of Adelaide, and about 11 km south east of  Langhorne Creek.  It was ANZAC Day and we had the opportunity of working with the special AX prefix.  Each year, on just 3 occasions, Australian amateurs can replace the VK prefix with AX.  And ANZAC Day is one of those.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 8.36.37 am.png

Map showing the location of the Tolderol Game Reserve.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I have activated Tolderol once before, back in August 2016, and qualified the park on that occasion for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  But this was to be a unique park for Marija as an activator.  For more information on my previous activation, please see my previous post at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2016/08/06/tolderol-game-reserve-vkff-1752/

Tolderol Game Reserve is 428 hectares (4.28 km2 ) in size. and is located on the north eastern side of Lake Alexandrina.  It was established on the 1st January 1970 as an experimental area for growing of variety of waterfowl food crops, in particular three-cornered bulrush, with duck shooting permitted during open seasons.  It consists of a series of man made open and shallow basins with connecting channels and levee banks.

Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 2.02.51 pm.png

Aerial shot showing the park in relation to my home QTH and the city of Adelaide.  Image courtesy of Google maps

Tolderol is a well regarded bird watching location, although on our visit this time we did not see a lot of birds.  The weather was quite poor at times, with very heavy showers, and I suspect this contributed to the lack of birds.  It was also the wrong time of the year.  The best time to make the most of bird watching opportunities is to visit the park in late spring and summer.

There is an excellent Tolderol Game Reserve Community Facebook page, which can be located at…..

https://www.facebook.com/tolderolgamereserve/

One of the down sides of visiting the park is that this is Tiger snake territory.  Tiger snakes have an aggressive nature and toxic venom.  The snake’s large size, often aggressive defence and toxic venom make it extremely dangerous to humans.

Fortunately, the only reptile we encountered during our visit, was the little fella below, a Shingleback lizard.

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The park is well sign posted from the Langhorne Creek Road.  Follow Dog Lake Road, down through a few gates until you reach the park.  Please ensure that you leave gates as you find them.  So if they are closed, please close them behind you.  We soon reached the western side of the reserve.

We followed the track down to the northern banks of Lake Alexandrina.  There was a nice cleared area here, giving us plenty of room of vision if there were any snakes approaching us.  And there was a concrete table and benches here.

We ran the usual equipment for this activation comprising the Yaesu FT-857d, 10 watts (for Marija) and 40 watts (for me), and the 80/40/20m linked dipole supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.

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Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Prior to calling CQ both Marija and I logged Nick VK3ANL on 7.150, who was activating Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773.  I then moved down to 7.140 and called CQ which was answered by Greg VK2EXA, followed by Bill VK4FW and then VK6MB/4 who was in Bill’s shack.  A mini pile up then ensued with a total of 24 stations logged from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7, before Marija and I swapped operator spots.  Included in these contacts was a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO who was mobile in Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park VKFF-0196.

Marija then called CQ which was answered by Ian VK3VIN, followed by Ken VK2KYO and then Adrian VK5FANA.  All with good 5/9 signals.  The 40m band appeared to be in very good condition.  Contact number 10, qualifying the park for Marija for VKFF, was with Peter VK3ZPF.

It only took Marija 30 minutes to qualify the park for the global WWFF program, with contact number 44 being Allan VK3BF.  It was great to see so many stations calling in, and many thanks to those that did.  A number of those logged were using the AX prefix to help commemorate ANZAC Day.  Included in the callers were a number of Park to Park contacts: Peter VK3PF/2 in the Pilliger West State Conservation Area VKFF-1373; Gerard VK2IO on SOTA peak VK2/ MN-047 in the Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park  VKFF-0196; and Dave VK2ZK in the Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041.  Marija and I swapped the mic to log the P2P callers.

Marija logged a total of 51 stations before I again jumped onto the mic, calling CQ on 7.140.  I logged 20 further contacts from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6 before heading up to 14.310 on the 20m band.  First taker there was Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, followed by Mick AX6AY and then Hans VK6XN.  I logged a further 5 stations from VK4 and VK6.  Sadly no DX.  Signals from Western Australia were generally strong.

I then headed to 21.244 where I called CQ for around 5 minutes, with sadly, no takers.  The weather was starting to cloud over and the temperature had dropped significantly, with some strong winds off the lake.  We could see the shower activity to the south of us, and I expected I may have had a 5 minute window before the rain hit us.  So it was back to 40m where I worked Steve VK4QQ on 7.144.  I was just in the middle of a QSO telling Steve that the weather was closing in, when it hit very quickly.  We were caught in the rain and made a mad dash to pack up the gear and head to the comfort of the vehicle.  I had a total of 57 contacts in the log.

Marija and I then went for a drive through the park whilst the rain cleared.  There are a series of tracks through the reeds and along the levee banks.  I was hoping to get some bird photos, but the weather was lousy, and activity was minimal.

DSC_6785

As we drove down some of the tracks, we encountered some of the locals.

The rain had cleared and we decided to set up again.  It was now  just before 5.00 p.m. local time and I was hoping to log a little bit of North American DX on 40m.  This time we set up at the information board and used one of the permapine posts as an anchor point for the squid pole, with the help of some trusty octopus straps.  It was now very cool, and there was still the threat of some rain, so rather than setting up the table and deck chair again, I operated from the comfort of the driver’s seat of the Hi Lux.  Although I have the Icom IC-7000 in the vehicle, I ran the Yaesu FT-857, propped up against the steering wheel and the dashboard.

I called CQ on 7.135 and this was answered by Paul AX3KHZ, followed by Rob VK2MZ and then Stephen VK3DQL.  A few QSOs later I was called by Peter AX3HSB/p who advised he was bogged in the Alpine National Park VKFF-0619.  I offered Peter whatever help I could, but he assured me that he had help on the way and would be ok.

I was pleased that we had set up again, as I had a very steady flow of callers from all across Australia and New Zealand.  Kiwi callers included John ZL1API, Oliver ZL1XS, Gavin ZL1TBA, and James ZL3FV.  The band was also wide open to the other side of the country, with a number of Western Australian stations logged includingRich AX6BEC, John VK6NU, Bert VK6/PA3EPA, and Daniel VK6WE.  I also logged Peter VK3PF/2 who was portable in the Timallallie National Park VKFF-0609.  Marija also logged Peter.

I then headed to the 80m band where I made a Park to Park contact with Peter VK3PF/2 in the Timallallie National Park VKFF-0609 on a second band.  I moved up to 3.615 where I called CQ and logged 27 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7 and New Zealand.  I was pleased to speak with Andrei ZL1TM in Auckland in the North Island of NZ.

I had a total of 121 contacts in the log and it was time to head home.  Marija had also succesfully qualified the park, with a total of 55 contacts.  Thankyou to everyone who called.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. AX3ANL/p (Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773)
  2. VK3VIN
  3. VK2KYO
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK7PRN
  6. VK2STO
  7. VK3ZMD
  8. VK3VEF
  9. VK3FLCS
  10. VK3ZPF
  11. VK2LX
  12. VK5KX
  13. VK5FFAU
  14. VK3UH
  15. VK3FRJD
  16. VK5JK
  17. VK1AT/3
  18. VK3GGG
  19. VK3PMG
  20. VK2NP
  21. VK3IRS
  22. VK2YW
  23. VK5QI
  24. VK7FOLK
  25. VK7DW
  26. AX5KC
  27. VK5KLV
  28. VK3FSPG
  29. VK3MPR
  30. AX7QP
  31. VK3SX
  32. VK4RF
  33. VK4HA
  34. VK5MAP
  35. VK5NAW
  36. VK7EV
  37. AX2LX
  38. VK3ELH
  39. AX5MAP
  40. VK3PF/2 (Pilliger West State Conservation Area VKFF-1373)
  41. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-047 &Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park VKFF-0196)
  42. VK2ZK/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  43. VK2JDC/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  44. VK3BF
  45. VK3AWT
  46. AX2HOT
  47. VK1RZ
  48. AX2LEE
  49. VK2LAD
  50. VK3ZD
  51. VK7VDL
  52. VK4FW
  53. VK3PF/2 (Timallallie National Park VKFF-0609)
  54. AX4DXA

Marija worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (VKFF-0609)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. AX3ANL/p (Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773)
  2. VK2EXA
  3. VK4FW
  4. VK6MB/4
  5. VK3SIM
  6. VK5KLV
  7. VK3GGG
  8. VK3PMG
  9. VK3CWF
  10. VK3VIN
  11. VK3ARH
  12. VK2NP
  13. VK2YW
  14. VK3FOGY
  15. VK3KIM
  16. VK2KYO
  17. VK2QK
  18. VK2GAZ
  19. VK7DW
  20. VK5FANA
  21. VK2IO/m (Ghin-Doo-Ee National Park VKFF-0196)
  22. VK5JW
  23. VK3FLCS
  24. VK7PRN
  25. VK3PF/2 (Pilliger West State Conservation Area VKFF-1373)
  26. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-047 & VKFF-0196)
  27. VK2ZK/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  28. VK2JDC/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041)
  29. VK1RZ
  30. VK1MTS
  31. VK3TKK/m
  32. VK3ZPF
  33. VK4PDX
  34. VK3PAT
  35. VK7DIK
  36. VK4FFAB
  37. VK3YX
  38. VK3YE
  39. VK3FSPG
  40. VK3MPR
  41. VK4TJ
  42. AX2HOT
  43. VK3FORD
  44. VK3UH
  45. VK4RF
  46. VK4HA
  47. VK7KW
  48. VK3HQZ
  49. VK4QQ
  50. AX3KHZ
  51. VK2MZ
  52. VK3DQL
  53. VK3KMH
  54. AX3HSB/p (Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
  55. AX3HN
  56. VK3MCK
  57. AX3FRAB
  58. AX1FWBD
  59. AX2JDR
  60. VK4SMA
  61. VK3SOT
  62. VK3HK
  63. AX4DXA
  64. VK4NH
  65. VK2FJ/m
  66. VK5FRSM
  67. AX2LEE
  68. AX7ZGK
  69. AX6BEC
  70. VK5FAKV
  71. AX2LX
  72. VK6NU
  73. ZL1API
  74. VK7JON/m
  75. VK3PF/2 (Timallallie National Park VKFF-0609)
  76. VK7FOLK
  77. VK4CG
  78. VK7VZ/p
  79. ZL1XS
  80. VK6/PA3EPA
  81. VK2UMA
  82. ZL1TBA
  83. ZL3FV
  84. VK6WE

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF/p (Timallallie National Park VKFF-0609)
  2. VK7VZ/p
  3. VK3GGG
  4. VK3PMG
  5. VK7ALB
  6. AX7ALB
  7. VK5SFA
  8. VK5HS
  9. VK3FQSO
  10. VK4SMA
  11. VK5QI/m
  12. VK5KLV
  13. VK1DI
  14. VK2SR
  15. VK3YUN/m
  16. VK5FANA
  17. VK5FMWW
  18. VK5FAAT
  19. VK3HSB
  20. VK3FSLG
  21. VK3GK
  22. VK7JON
  23. VK3LBW
  24. VK2NP
  25. AX4ITT
  26. ZL1TM
  27. VK7MPR
  28. VK2PH

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. AX6AY
  4. VK6XN
  5. VK6NU
  6. VK4ARW
  7. AX6RC/m
  8. AX4QQ
  9. AX4DXA

 

 

References

Australian Museum, 2017, <https://australianmuseum.net.au/tiger-snake&gt;, viewed 28th April 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find-a-Park/Browse-by-region/Limestone-Coast/tolderol-game-reserve&gt;, viewed 28th April 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <>, viewed 28th April 2017