Mount George Conservation Park 5CP-147 and VKFF-0784 as VI5WOW

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 17th May 2017) I finished work at 3.00 p.m. local time and headed the short distance back home to collect my radio gear.  It was a miserable afternoon, with shower activity all day.  I had planned to activate the Mount George Conservation Park 5CP-147 & VKFF-0784 as VK5WOW/p, and despite the poor weather, I decided to continue with the park activation.

Mount George CP is just a short distance from my home, about a 10 minute drive.  The park is situated about 21 km south east of the city of Adelaide.

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Map showing the location of the Mount George Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Mount George Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 7th November 1996 and conserves 85 hectares of important native vegetation in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  The park was originally 67 hectares in size before the boundaries were extended in 2003, adding a further 18 hectares.  The park is characterised by steep slopes adorned with Stringybark Open Forest.  The State endangerd Mountain Gum can be found in the park.  The park also contains creeks, wetlands, and freshwater bogs.  The Mount George summit, 520 metres, is located within the park.  Sadly it does not have the required prominence for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.

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Aerial shot showing the Mount George Conservation Park, with Adelaide in the background.  Image courtesy of Google Maps

I set up in my normal operating spot, the carpark at the end of Mount George Road, where there is a picnic ground.  With the help of my wife Marija, who had popped in on her way home from work, I set up the annexe of the Toyota Hi Lux.  As this was to be a VI5WOW activation, I needed to operate under the conditions of the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award, which does not allow me to operate from inside the vehicle.

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole for this activation.

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

I headed to my nominated operating frequency of 7.144 on the 40m band.  My first contact was with Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta with a good 5/8 signal.  This was a little down compared to normal.  I generally receive Les 5/9.  This was followed by Peter VK3TKK mobile, Rick VK4RF/VK4HA, and then Steve VK4QQ.  Band conditions seemed to be down compared to normal, and it was quite slow going.  I reached 10 QSOs, qualifying the park for VI5WOW for VKFF, in around 14 minutes.

The showers had not let up, but the annexe of the Hi Lux provided good cover.  Marija headed back home to collect the side awning, which we had left out of the vehicle.

I worked a total of 39 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7.  Local propagation was virtually non existant, with just 4 South Australian stations in the log.  Three of those were in close proximity to Mount George, so signals being via ground wave.  It was nice to make the trip all the way over to Western Australia, with Rich VK6HRC and Jarrad VK6FFAR logged.  I also spoke with Peter VK3PF/p who was activating SOTA peak Mount Dundas VK3/ VS-045.


My operating spot, sheltering from the rain.

Just before 5.30 p.m. local time I headed off to the 80m band.  I didn’t bother trying 20m as I had left my run a little too late.  I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Colin VK4PDX who had followed me down from 40m.  I was then called by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, Hans VK5YX and Mike VK5FMWW in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, and then Bill VK5MBD at Red Hill in the Mid North of the State.  I logged a total of 28 stations on 80m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.

I then headed back to 7.144 on 40m and worked Bruce VK2HOT who had followed me up from the 80m band, followed by Mark VK4SMA, and then Marija VK5FMAZ.  But it was very very slow going, with very few callers.

At 0930 UTC I booked in to the 7130 DX Net.  Sadly, band conditions were absolutely awful, and I could only hear a handful of stations.  I remained on the net, for just one round, logging Brian ZL2ASH and George VK4GSF.

At the request via Facebook of a few VK5’s, I then headed back to 80m.  It was still wet and cold, and I didn’t plan on hanging around for long.  I logged a further 9 stations from VK3, VK5, and VK6, before going QRT.

I had a total of 84 contacts in the log.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5KLV
  2. VK3TKK/m
  3. VK4RF
  4. VK4HA
  5. VK4QQ
  6. VK3WAR
  7. VK7DIK
  8. VK2GWK
  9. VK3OHM
  10. VK7JON
  11. VK7AN
  12. VK5GJ
  13. VK5BJE
  14. VK4JWT
  15. VK4RZ
  16. VK3IC/m
  17. VK3MAB
  18. VK3FRJD
  19. VK2FSAV
  20. VK3YB
  21. VK2IO
  22. VK6HRC
  23. VK2NEO
  24. VK4TJ
  25. VK2NP
  26. VK3FPHG
  27. VK1DI
  28. VK5KC/p
  29. VK4HNS/p
  30. VK2ND
  31. VK2NSS
  32. VK3UH
  33. VK3HJA
  34. VK2SK
  35. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VS-045 Mount Dundas)
  36. VK1HW/m
  37. VK4PDX
  38. VK6FFAR
  39. VK4SJD
  40. VK2HOT
  41. VK4SMA
  42. VK5FMAZ
  43. VK4AAT
  44. VK4LX
  45. VK7FRJG
  46. ZL2ASH
  47. VK4GSF

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK4PDX
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5YX
  4. VK5FMWW
  5. VK5MBD
  6. VK2NP
  7. VK5BJE
  8. VK5KLV
  9. VK4RF
  10. VK4HA
  11. VK5KPR
  12. VK5FRSM
  13. VK3ANL
  14. VK2IO
  15. VK3FCEV
  16. VK1DI
  17. VK3SQ
  18. VK5FMAZ
  19. VK4SMA
  20. VK5TRM
  21. VK5ZTS
  22. VK2GGA
  23. VK5HS/m
  24. VK3OHM
  25. VK3FSPG
  26. VK3MPR
  27. VK3LTA
  28. VK2HOT
  29. VK4GSF
  30. VK6HRC
  31. VK5NJ
  32. VK5ST
  33. VK3VC
  34. VK5FAKV
  35. VK3FPHG
  36. VK5VGC
  37. VK5FTCT


Department for Environment and Heritage, 2006, Mount George Conservation Park Management Plan.

Old Laucke Flour Mill at Strathalbyn for Mills on the Air

On Sunday morning (14th May 2017), Mother’s Day, my wife Marija, my mother in law, and my son and his girlfriend, and my daughter, all headed out for a late breakfast at the local cafe.  It was a great morning, celebrating Mother’s Day.  Marija and her mum had planned to go shopping that afternoon, so I decided to head down to Strathalbyn to activate the Old Laucke Flour Mill for the Mills on the Air Weekend.


Strathalbyn is located about 57 km south east of Adelaide, and is situated on the banks of the Angas River.

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Map showing the location of Strathalbyn, south east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Google Maps.

Strath Albyn is derived from two Gaelic words – ‘strath’ meaning ‘broad valley’ or a ‘valley with a river running through it’ and ‘Albion’ meaning ‘hilly land’.  The town has more than 40 heritage listed buildings, including St Andrews Church which overlooks the Soldiers Memorial Gardens and the river.

And another one of those historic buildings is the old flour mill which was built by Donald Gollan in 1849.  It located on the corner of Commercial Road and Hill Street in the centre of Strathalbyn.  It is a four storeyed rectangular building which was constructed of random rubble walls with dressed stone quoins at corners and openings.   The roof is corrugated iron hip and skillion design on timber framing.  Gollan sold the mill to William Coleman in 1850/1851.  Coleman was  aprominent figure in Strathalbyn’s municipal history, and he oversaw the mill as it received grain from the flourishing agricultural hinterland of Strathalbyn.

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The flour mill and grain store, c. 1840’s, with an aboriginal camp in the foreground.  Image courtesy of

The mill was subsequently run by the Johnston family from 1883 until 1928 when it was sold to the Laucke family.  The old mill was replaced in 1961 with a newly built mill just down the road at Strathalbyn.  Laucke is still a very well known name in the milling industry and are renowned internationally for the production of a wide range of high quality flours for the food industry and home bakers.

Above:- Eary images of Laucke Flour Mill.  Courtesy of

A very interesting video on Laucke Flour Mills can be found at the ABC’s Landline website.  Here is the link……

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Directly opposite the old mill is the former Coleman’s Grain Store which was built by William Coleman in 1869 as the store for the Angas Mill.   The building also served as a hall for dances and public meetings prior to the construction of the Institute (now Town Hall), and later as a site for agricultural shows when the land to the north was the showgrounds.  It is a simple rectangular building with one large room, gable ends, round headed windows and a door placed centrally in the main gable facade.  It is constructed of random rubble walls, without quoins, tuck pointed on two street facades.  A small tram line crossed the road to the mill.

Strathalbyn has been in the news a bit over recent years due to a huge problem with the Little Corella population.  They have destroyed significant vegetation within Strathalbyn including the pine trees around the Angas River.  And they, along with Sulphur Crested Cockatoos were quite active during my activation.

I set up right alongside the mill.  I ran my normal portable station for this activation, consisting of the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole supported on the 7 m telescopic squid pole, inverted vee configuration.

Much to my pleasure, when I turned the transceiver on, the noise floor was pretty good considering I was in the heart of town.  The noise was around strength 5.  I commenced the activation by calling CQ on 7.095.  Number one in the log was Sergio VK3SFG who has become a regular park hunter during my park activations.  This was followed by Brian VK3BBB and then my wife Marija, who not surprising was 5/9 ++ on ground wave.

Contact number 11 was with Mark VK4SMA who was portable in the Mogill Conservation Park VKFF-1594 in Queensland.  Nine QSOs later I was called by Jonathan VK7JON and his wife Helen VK7FOLK, who were activating the Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139 in Tasmania.  Next up was David VK3BI who was operating portable at Andersons Mill at Smeaton in Victoria.  It was nice to get a Mill to Mill contact.

I logged a total of 39 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK, before heading off to 14.310 on the 20m band.  Much to my surprise, Ivan UR9IDX in Ukraine came back to my call with a strong 5/8 signal.  I was quite excited, hoping that more Europeans would follow.  But sadly that was not to be the case.  Ivan was my only European caller.  And in fact he was my only caller full stop.  Five minutes of CQ calls yeilded no takers.  So I QSY’d down to the ANZA DX Net, where I booked in and logged 4 stations, including Jim WA4YBC in Georgia, USA, and Joe K5KT in California, USA.  When the net wrapped up I tuned across the 20m band and logged Mario 9A7C in Croatia.

I then headed to 3.610 on the 80m band, hoping to log some of the South Australian stations.  But unfortunately Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula was my only caller, despite Adrian spotting me on parksnpeaks and me placing my frequency on some of the Facebook sites.

I then put a phone call in to Tony VK5MRT, a local Strathalbyn resident, and mate of mine, and invited him down to pay me a visit and get on air.  Whilst waiting for Tony to arrive I headed back to 7.095 on the 40m band and called CQ.  I logged 4 further stations before Tony arrived, and we swapped the mic.  Tony had soon filled up 3/4’s of his log sheet which was great.

After spending about 45 minutes on air, Tony headed off, and I jumped back into the ‘driver’s seat’ and called CQ on 7.095.  I was very pleased, as there was no shortage of callers.  I had soon logged a further 33 stations, including Oliver ZL1XS in New Zealand.

It was now 5.40 p.m. and the sun was disappearing fast.  And with that, so did the temperature.  It had dropped down to 7 deg C.  I decided to give 80m one last quick go and I’m pleased I did, as I logged special event station VI5WOW, with Steve VK5SFA on the mic.  And also my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ.

I had enjoyed another great day out in the field with a total of 87 stations in the log on 20, 40 & 80m SSB.  It seems that Mills on the Air activity may be on the increase here in Australia, which is great news.  Any activity which creates more activity on the amateur bands is a good thing.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SFG
  2. VK3BBB
  3. VK5FMAZ
  4. VK4HNS/p
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK2NP
  7. VK3KMH
  8. VK3TL
  9. VK3FBNG
  10. VK3VBI
  11. VK4SMA/p (Mogill Conservation Park VKFF-1594)
  12. VK4XAC
  13. VK7MPR
  14. VK7QP
  15. VK3HDV
  16. VK3FOTO/m
  17. VK4RZ
  18. VK7ALH
  19. VK3ANL
  20. VK7JON/p (Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139)
  21. VK7FOLK/p (Hellyer Gorge State Reserve VKFF-1139)
  22. VK3BI/p (Andersons Mill, Smeaton, VIC)
  23. VK2YW
  24. VK3VIN
  25. VK2HHA
  26. VK7AN
  27. VK3AJW
  28. VK3FPHG
  29. VK4RF
  30. VK4HA
  31. VK7DW
  32. VK2NEO
  33. VK3TJK
  34. VK3SQ
  35. VK3FVKI/m
  36. VK2IO
  37. VK2KVH
  38. VK2NSS
  39. VK7HCK
  40. VK3XL
  41. VK5DX
  42. VK3ELH
  43. VK4GSF
  44. ZL1TM
  45. VK3CWM
  46. VK3LK
  47. VK4FARR
  48. VK3FVKI
  49. VK5MRT
  50. VK5FRSM
  51. VK3HJA
  52. VK3WAC/m
  53. VK3FPSR
  54. VK3CM
  55. VK3FAJH
  56. VK5PET
  57. VK2YE
  58. VK2JDR
  59. VK3NBL
  60. VK6NK/p
  61. VK2BY
  62. VK3AJA
  63. VK4FADW
  64. VK3FONZ
  65. VK4EU
  66. VK3MAB
  67. VK1TX
  68. VK6BSA
  69. VK4FE
  70. ZL1XS
  71. VK2MZZ
  72. VK2ICW
  73. VK4MRP
  74. VK4TSB
  75. VK2LMT
  76. VK2GCN
  77. VK2BET

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. UR9IDX
  2. VK4CC
  3. WA4YBC
  4. K5KT
  5. VK4XCS
  6. 9A7C

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK3TJS
  3. VI5WOW
  4. VK5FMAZ



Aussie Towns, 2017, <;, viewed 15th May 2017

District Council of Strathalbyn, 1985, ‘Heritage Survey of the Fleurieu Peninsula’

Laucke, 2017, <;, viewed 15th May 2017

VK5WOW at Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, 5CP-104 and VKFF-0781

After leaving Nixons Mill at Hahndorf, I made the short journey to the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 & VKFF-0781.  The park is situated about 17 km east of Adelaide, in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.

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Map showing the location of the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I have activated Kenneth Stirling under my own call, five times previously.  For more information on those activations, please see my previous posts…..

Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park is quite a unique park in that it consists of four autonomous sections:

  • Wotton Scrub
  • Filsell Hill
  • White Scrub
  • Burdett Scrub

The total size of Kenneth Stirling is 253 ha, comprising mostly stringybark forest with some gum woodland.  The park was established in 1985 with the purchase of two sections of land, Filsell Hill at Forest Range and Wotton’s Scrub at Carey Gully.  Further land adjoining Filsell Hill was subsequently purchased with a bequest from Miss Anne Steer.  In 1986 White’s Scrub was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Vern White, whilst in 1989 the Burdett family donated the northern most section.

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Aerial shot showing the 4 sections of the park in the Adelaide Hills, with the city of Adelaide in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The park is named in honour of Kenneth George Stirling.  Although I have spoken about Mr. Stirling in my previous posts, he is well worth highlighting again, as he was certainly an outstanding individual.  Some time ago when researching the park I spoke with Graham Churchett, who knew Kenneth Stirling.  This is what Graham had to say:

“The Environment Committee was a sub committee of the Town and Country Planning Association composed of the following:

Ron Caldicot, Dr John Coulter, David Strahle, Alwin Clements, Ray Holliday, Miss Erdley, Dr Peter Guldhurst, Ken Stirling, Ralph Middenway, Elise and Gordon Gardner and myself.

This committee was active across a broad spectrum of planning and environmental issues but it was not until money was given anonymously to the committee, and we employed Ron Caldicot as a Project Director, that some monumental changes occurred.

At the time the State Planning Authority was headed by Stewart Heart and sitting on the authority were developers and others who naturally pushed through every approval to further line their pockets at the expense of the environment and common good. The committee pressured the government and Ron was appointed to the Authority and in a short time the rules were changed to exclude those with vested interests. 

With the help of the Natural History Society we brought about the protection of the wedge tail eagle, and Improved planning laws.

In May 1980 tragedy occurred. David Strahle, a gentle, dedicated man and one who worked for a better world suddenly died due to a massive heart attack. We were all stunned, he was only in his 45th year.

In 1973 we were again shocked when Ken Stirling died from a heart attack when jogging by the uni bridge.  He was only 38.

Ken, and all of us for that matter, were appalled at the scarring taking place in the north Flinders by EX Oil and Ken knew more of what was going on as he was employed by two of Australia’s largest mining companies before joining Poseidon’s associate, Samin Ltd, in 1969.

 It was when Poseidon shares  went through the roof that Ken became a millionaire  and  in 1972 Ken resigned from the mining industry and sought a position in the Public Service with the Department for the Environment. A series of applications were rebuffed and some were not even answered and he was bitter at this.

While waiting for something to turn up he gave unpaid service to the Birdwood Mill Museum.

 His benefactions were not known to the Public service and his intense interest in conservation not realised.

 Those who examined his application may have noted with disapproval his association with the mining industry. The irony of it is that but for the mining boom, the entire conservation cause in South Australia would not have prospered without Ken’s personal service and financial help.

It was only after his death we found out that Ken had given money to a variety of organisations and in particular, for Ron’s full time employment as a director, $100.000 was given to set up Radio 5UV University radio employing Keith Conlon. $50,000 was given to State Archives, $200,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation for the acquisition and establishment of a national park. This park is now rightly known as the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.

 Through Ron we achieved so much and it was then that I came to the earnest belief that if the conservation movement was to make any meaningful headway in this cockeyed world, we had to employ key people full time.

I was privileged to have known Ron, David and Ken as friends, all be it that our time together with regard to David and Ken was short. I was saddened to hear the other day that Ron, a man I knew with a mind as sharp as a tack and a gentle manner but one who would stand his ground with great conviction, was now in a home suffering severe dementure.

What can I say other than they are fondly remembered.”


Below is part of what the Advertiser columnist, Stewart Cockburn said of Ken Stirling upon his death…..

“Ken Stirling was the son of a railway man. He wanted to be a boundary rider on an outback station and, for a while, he became a multimillionaire. He made his money in the mining boom, and gave most of it away.  Only since he died, have the benefactions of this humble, intensely private man become known outside his family and a small circle of friends and associates.”

The park has an active Friends of Kenneth Stirling group.  Their site can be located at…..

Friends of Kenneth Stirling Logo.jpg

On my way to the park I spoke with VK5ALM who were activating the Dunn Mill at Mount Barker.  They had a nice signal into the mobile.  Once arriving at the park I set up in my normal operating spot, in the Wotton Scrub section of the park, off Gum Flat Road.

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Map showing the 4 sections of the Kenneth Stirling CP, and my operating spot.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I headed for 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use.  Joe VK3YSP was waiting there for me and was number one in the log.  This was followed by Julie VK3FOWL, Geoff VK3SQ, and then Peter VK3HSB.  It didn’t take long for the pile up to ensue, with contact number 50 in the log after being on air for about 40 minutes.  All signals were very good.  I also had a European park activator on the frequency as well, who sadly could not hear me.

After logging a total of 56 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand, I headed to the 20m band.  I tuned to my normal operating frequency of 14.310 and heard Rick VK4RF working Mike 2E0YYY/p on a SOTA peak in the United Kingdom.  Unfortunately I could not hear Mike on this occasion.  I moved up to 14.315 and called CQ, and was soon called by Rick VK4RF who had tracked me down.

I logged a total of 8 stations on 20m.  This included VK5ALM at the Dunn Mill at Mount Barker.  Only one DX station was logged, that being Gerard F1BLL in France.  Sadly, the long path propagation to Europe was virtually non existant.

I then moved back to 7.144 where I logged a further 27 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, USA, and New Zealand.  I was very pleased to give Martin VK3FMJP and Chris VK5SA their 5th contact with VK5WOW, thus qualifying them for the special 2017 WIA AGM/Convention Award.  And I was extremely happy to log Mark AF6TC in the USA, who was booming in at 5/9 +.

To finish off the activation I headed off to 3.610 on the 80m band.  It was now 5.30 p.m. local time and starting to get dark.  It was also now getting very cold.  The temperature had dropped down to 7 deg C.  I logged a total of 16 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7.  And I made it three stations that had worked VK5WOW a total of 5 times, with Allen VK3ARH being logged.

I needed to head home as I had my mother in law and sister in law coming up for tea.   Otherwise I would have continued on logging a few more stations.  I had a total of 107 stations in the log.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3YSP
  2. VK3FOWL
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK3HSB
  5. VK5XY
  6. VK3SFG
  7. VK7DW
  8. VK2KTO
  9. VK4AAC/2
  10. VK3FRAB
  11. VK3OHM
  12. VK4FADW
  13. VK3ZZS/p
  14. VK2IO
  15. VK3DPG
  16. VK1DI
  17. VK7AN
  18. VK2FOUZ
  19. VK3PF
  20. VK2GAZ
  21. VK5ZA/m
  22. VK3FCMC
  23. VK2EJW
  24. VK5ZGY/m
  25. VK4HNS/p
  26. VK2JNG/3
  27. VK2GJL/5
  28. VK5GJ
  29. VK3PAT
  30. VK3ZMD
  31. VK3IRS
  32. VK4SC
  33. VK5GR
  34. ZL1TM
  35. VK4BR
  36. VK3LY
  37. VK7HCK
  38. VK4XAC
  39. VK7JON
  40. VK3FOTO/m
  41. VK4QQ
  42. VK4FE
  43. VK3RV
  44. VK3NLK
  45. VK2EIR
  46. VK5FMAZ
  47. VK4RF
  48. VK4HA
  49. VK3ELH
  50. VK6APZ
  51. VK3AXH
  52. VK3HK
  53. VK3CM
  54. VK3TKK/m
  55. VK1HW
  56. VK3MDB
  57. VK4PDX
  58. VK3YB
  59. VK2NEO
  60. VK3CWF
  61. AF6TC
  62. ZL3II
  63. VK2VW
  64. VK3PKY
  65. VK3AXF
  66. VK2MT
  67. VK3EF
  68. VK3FMJP
  69. VK5SA
  70. VK2ARA
  71. VK3UH
  72. VK6AY
  73. VK3BFR
  74. VK3SX
  75. VK3OY
  76. VK3FGMO
  77. VK7ROY
  78. VK3GYH
  79. VK7FRJG
  80. VK2AR
  81. VK2FMKA
  82. VK5FRSM
  83. VK4DI

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4RF
  2. VK4HA
  3. VK4AAC/2
  4. VK5ALM/p (Dunn Mill, Mount Barker, S.A.)
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4ABH
  7. F1BLL
  8. VK4SMA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3SX
  2. VK3YB
  3. VK2ARA
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5FMAZ
  6. VK7FRJG
  7. VK5FRSM
  8. VK2KJJ
  9. VK5AJR
  10. VK3KRH
  11. VK3ARH
  12. VK3FPHG
  13. VK3VEF
  14. VK3GGG
  15. VK3PMG
  16. VK5MBD



Friends of Parks, 2017, <;, viewed 15th May 2017

Nixons Mill and Mills on the Air

Yesterday morning (Saturday 13th May 2017) whilst enjoying my morning cup of coffee, I worked Mick VK3GGG who was operating under the club call sign of VK3BI at Anderson’s Mill at Smeaton in Victoria.  Mick’s activation was part of the Mills on the Air Weekend.

The Mills on the Air Weekend is held each year in May and is a great way to promote the hobby of amateur radio, whilst also highlighting the preservation of these very historic structures.  The Mills on the Air Weekend is timed to coincide with National Mills Weekend.  The event is organised in conjunction with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

The Mills on the Air Weekend commenced about 9 years ago when Jasmine G4KFP, a member of the Denby Dale Amateur Radio Society, submitted an item in the RSGB news asking if any amateur was willing to put on a station at a windmill or watermill.  Jasmine also contacted SPAB and initially agreed for 6 groups of amateurs to establish stations at 6 mills.  The word soon spread, and participants increased to 30.

The Mills on the Air Weekend is NOT a contest.  It is just a great opportunity of promoting the hobby of amateur radio and promoting heritage.


I decided as it was such a beautiful sunny day that I would head out to activate Nixon’s Mill at nearby Hahndorf, just a short drive from my home.  Nixon’s Mill is the oldest surviving windmill structure in South Australia and is listed in State Heritage Places.  I also thought it was a great opportunity of putting the special call of VK5WOW on air.  The 2017 Wireless Institute of Australia AGM & Convention is to be held in Hahndorf, from 19th – 21st May 2017.  VK5WOW is a special call allocated to help celebrate the event.  All contacts with VK5WOW qualify for the special award.  Details of the award can be found at…..


The Mount Barker district developed as a milling centre with the establishment of early flour mills during the 1840s.  This was just a few years after the proclamation of South Australia in December 1836.  In 1842, John Dunn constructed the first wind-powered mill for grinding wheat at Hay Valley near Nairne.  The first steam-powered flour mill outside Adelaide was established in 1844 at Mount Barker, also by John Dunn, which ceased operations in 1894.

Between 1841-1842, construction was undertaken of a wind powered mill at Hahndorf for Frederick Robert Nixon (1817-1860), who was part of Colonel WIlliam Light’s team or surveyors.  The mill was located on a small hill overlooking the road between Hahndorf and Mount Barker, referred to as West Hill, and subsequently known as “Windmill Hill”.  Nixon had purchased the land on the 6th May 1841.  Nixon’s mill opened up an important agricultural area of the State, grinding over half a million bushels of wheat in one season.  It was the second wind driven flour mill in the Mount Barker district.

The tower structure of the mill, which is 9.05 metres high,  is constructed of random coursed stone rubble and is about 75cm thick.  There were four working levels in the mill, with one window at the second level and two windows at the third level.  Two doors existed at ground level, with one of those having been bricked up.  A circular cap structure was located at the top of the tower which sat on a base of two large horizontal beams called sheer tress.  A movable boat shaped cap rested on a track that rotated around the top of the tower on a well greased metal curb.

The sail frames were constructed of hardwood and canvas sheets were furled like a curtain to cover different areas of the frames dependant on wind velocity.  The sails had a sweep of 17 metres in diameter.  The mill contained a large wooden brake wheel which was connected to the wind shaft that was driven by the wind in the sails.  A wallower was fixed to the main shaft and this was driven by wooden teeth on the brake wheel.  The mill stones were rotated as a result of the great spur gear which was connected to the lower end of the main shaft which drove the smaller wooden gears.


During 1844, Walter Paterson, a farmer from Mount Barker purchased the property.  Then in 1853, Johann Friedrich Wittwer purchased the windmill for £320.  He and his son Friedrich Wilhelm Wittwer operated the mill along with other mills in the area.

Milling at Nixon’s site ceased in 1864 as it was no longer able to compete with steam mills.  Friedrich Wittwer closed the mill following the death of his father and moved the millstones and machinery to a steam mill that he had built in Hahndorf.  The mill was subsequently purchased by the Braendler family in 1880.

Since this time the mill has been subjected to bushfires, storm damage and sadly vandalism and neglect.  Various attempts at repair and restoration have been carried out over the years.

During a large bushfire in 1912, the Sheaok timbers and working parts of the windmill were destroyed.  It remained in a derelict state until 1928, when the mill was converted into a lookout tower as a result of the efforts of a group of prominent business men, funded by public subscription.

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Article from The Mount Barker Courier, Fri 11 Jan 1929

At this time A.E. Braendler donated the windmill and some surrounding land to the Mount Barker District Council.   A bushfire destroyed the staircase and the upper portion of the windmill during 1939.


Nixon’s Mill, 1929, as a lookout.  Image courtesy of

Between 1961 and 1966, major restoration was carried out by the Mount Barker Apex Club, which included the installation of a dome roof and four dummy sail-spars.  The Honourable Steele Hall opened the restored windmill to the public on the 20th November 1966.

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Opening ceremony in 1966 of Nixon’s Windmill.

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Nixons Mill, c. 1960’s, prior to storm damage and vandalism attacks.  Image courtesy of

In 1975 a severe storm resulted in one of the sail arms being torn off.  This was followed by a number of vandalism attacks.   In 1980 an $80,000 appeal to restore the mill was officially launched at a fund raising dinner where Mr David Wotton, the Minister for Environment and Planning was guest speaker.  A Windmill Restoration Committee was established at this time, but unfortunately the required funds were not obtained.


The windmill in 1975 showing the sheared off sail arm.  Image courtesy of

During 1983 stabilisation of the windmill structure, masonry repair, water proofing and repairs to the doors and windows were carried out.  In 1988, requests for a grant of $100,000 from the South Australian State Government were sought.  The proposal included the replacement of the mill sails and restoration of the interior of the mill to working order.  Additionally it was suggested that a cottage, shop and historic display centre could be built.  Sadly, funding did not eventuate.

In 2016, painting, signage and major site upgrading was conducted by the Mount Barker District Council in collaboration with the Apex Club of Mount Barker.


Steam cleaning of the tower prior to repainting, 2016.  Image courtesy of

I parked my vehicle at the bottom of the set of stairs leading up to the windmill and commenced to cart the operating equipment up to the cleared area alongside of the windmill.  I made a few trips, taking up the fold up table and deck chair, and Yaesu FT-857d and 20/40/80m linked dipole and squid pole.  The Hahndorf Farm Barn abuts the windmill, and as it was a beautiful day, there were a lot of families at the Farm Barn.  Many of whom I am sure were wondering what I was doing sitting next to the windmill with a squid pole in the air.


It was an absolutely beautiful morning, with the temperature being around mid 20’s C and wall to wall sunshine.  I was set up and ready to go by just after 0125 UTC (10.55 a.m. South Australian local time).  I found 7.110 on 40m clear, and put out a CQ call which was answered by Vin VK3FMOL.  This was followed by QSOs with Gary VK2GAZ, Peter VK3PTE, John VK3HBG, and then Graeme VK3FFSB.  All had good signals, which was a good sign at the start of the activation.  Contact number 8 in the log was with VK5ALM, the Lower Murray Amateur Radio Club, who were activating Dunn Mill at nearby Mount Barker, my home town.  I had considered heading there myself but I thought the noise floor would be a little too high.

I logged a total of 18 stations from VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7, before my wife and my mother in law arrived to drop off some lunch for me.  This included Robert VK7VZ/p who was portable in the Bay of Fires Conservation Area VKFF-1133 and David VK2JDR/p activating the Royal National Park VKFF-0362.

After a short break I called CQ again on 7.110 and Bill VK5MBD from the Mid North of South Australia replied.  A few QSOs later I logged Ken VK2KYO/3 who was in the Broken-Boosey State Park VKFF-0752.  A good steady flow of callers followed including David VK3BI/p who was activating Anderson’s Mill at Smeaton in Victoria.  I was very pleased to get another Mill in the log.  Shortly afterwards I was called by Ray VK2HJW/p who was operating portable in the Wollemi National Park VKFF-0544.

I logged a total of 53 contacts on 40m and then headed off to 14.312 on the 20m band.  My first contact there was Ray ZL4HSV on the North Island of New Zealand.  This was followed by Mark VK4SMA, Greg VK5GJ, and Cliff VK2NP.  I logged a further 6 stations including Peter ZL1PWD at Whangarei on the North Island of New Zealand.

I then moved off to 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, followed by Greg VK5GJ and then Colin VK5XY.  Despite it being the middle of the day, the 80m band was working very well, with excellent signals.  I logged a total of 7 stations including my wife Marija VK5FMAZ.

I then headed back to 7.110 on 40m where I logged a further 19 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK7.

So with 89 contacts in the log it was time for me to pack up and head off to my next activation of the day, the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3FMOL
  2. VK2GAZ
  3. VK3PTE
  4. VK3HBG
  5. VK3FFSB
  6. VK7VZ/p (Bay of Fires Conservation Area VKFF-1133)
  7. VK5BJE
  8. VK5ALM/p (Dunn Mill, Mount Barker)
  9. VK3FOTO/m
  10. VK2JDR/p (Royal National Park VKFF-0362)
  11. VK2IO
  12. VK3TKQ
  13. VK3AMX
  14. VK5KLV
  15. VK7EE
  16. VK1DI
  17. VK3IRM
  18. VK5FANA
  19. VK5MBD
  20. VK2BJ
  21. VK2ZVG
  22. VK2KYO/3 (Broken-Boosey State Park VKFF-0752)
  23. VK3FQSO
  24. VK2PV/m
  25. VK3HJA
  26. VK3ARH
  27. VK2NP
  28. VK3SQ
  29. VK3MCK
  30. VK6FFAR
  31. VK4HNS/p
  32. VK5FMAZ
  33. VK5DX
  34. VK3ZL
  35. VK3VGB
  36. VK3BI/p (Andersons Mill, Smeaton, Victoria)
  37. VK7NWT
  38. VK2HJW/p (Wollemi National Park VKFF-0544)
  39. VK2FADV
  40. VK3FLES
  41. VK3SFG
  42. VK2EMI
  43. VK3KRH
  44. VK3YDN
  45. VK1CR
  46. VK3HKV
  47. VK7EK
  48. VK3FVIC
  49. VK7JON
  50. VK3ELH
  51. VK3NDX
  52. VK3MAB
  53. VK3FBNG
  54. VK3ZL/m
  55. VK1AT
  56. VK3AJA
  57. VK2STO
  58. VK7HCK
  59. VK3ANL
  60. VK7DW
  61. VK4AAC/2
  62. VK3CWF
  63. VK2AYM
  64. VK2KQB/p
  65. VK5XY
  66. VK3RV
  67. VK5FAKV
  68. VK3FRJD
  69. VK4NKL/3
  70. VK3OHM
  71. VK3FAJH
  72. VK2LAX

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL4HSV
  2. VK4SMA
  3. VK5GJ
  4. VK2NP
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK2IO
  7. VK4TJ
  8. VK5SA
  9. VK4FE
  10. ZL1PWD

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5GJ
  3. VK5XY
  4. VK3ARH
  5. VK5SA
  6. VK5HS
  7. VK5FMAZ



localwiki, 2017, <;, viewed 14th May 2017

South Bristol Amateur Radio Club, 2017, <;, viewed 14th May 2017

Ferries McDonald Conservation Park and the Harry Angel Memorial Sprint

On Saturday evening (6th May 2017) I headed to the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park 5CP-067 & VKFF-0881 to take part in the Harry Angel Memorial 80m Sprint.  Ferries McDonald is located about 38 km by road, south east of my home, and around 72 km south east of the city of Adelaide.

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Map showing the location of the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Viewer.

I have activated Ferries McDonald a number of times previously.  In fact a total of 5 times.  More information on those previous activations can be found on my previous posts at….

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 10.59.36 am

Aerial shot of the park, looking east.  The Murray River is visible in the background, and Lake Alexandrina is to the right of the picture.  Courtesy of google maps.

Ferries McDonald Conservation Park covers an area of about 880 hectares and contains one of the few pieces of remnant Mallee vegetation close to Adelaide.  It is important as it has never been cleared for farming, and is an example of the original vegetation of the area.  The dense mallee habitat provides a refuge for over 300 species of plants, including a number of rare and endangered species.

More than 90 species of birds have been recorded in the park including Superb Blue Wrens, Gold Whistlers, Rufous Whistlers, Yellow-rumped Thornbills, Mallee Ringneck Parrots, and White-browned Babblers.  Ferries McDonald is also home to the elusive and nationally endangered Malleefowl.  I have never seen Malleefowl in this park, and have only ever witnessed this rarely seen bird on one occasion during all of my park activations.  That was in Mount Boothby Conservation Park, further to the south east of Ferries McDonald.

Numerous native animals can be found in the park including echidnas, marsupial mouse, and Western Grey kangaroos.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 10.58.37 am

Aerial shot of the park looking west.  My QTH is indicated with the blue marker.  Courtesy of google maps.

The park was once part of a vast area of mallee bushland which was cleared for farming during the late 1800’s.  Fortunately a few rocky outcrops were unsuitable for farming, and were preserved in their original state.  In January 1938, an area of 1,600 acres was gazetted under the Animals and Birds Protection Act, as a closed area for birds and animals, thus creating the first reserve in South Australian specifically for mallee fauna.  A total of 233 acres were made available by Robert Sweet McDonald of ‘Preamimma’, Monarto, 583 acres made available by Mr. G Lemmey of Two Well, whilst a further 779 acres allocated by the State.  It was initially known as Chaunceys Line Scrub.

An addition to the park was made in 1953 from a bequest from James Ferries, thus creating the Ferries-McDonald Conservation Park.

To get to the park I drove south out of Mount Barker, along Wellington Road until I reached the little town of Woodchester.  I then drove north east along the Callington Road until I reached Chaunceys Line Road where I turned right and drove into the now ‘ghost town’ of Hartley which is located a few km away from the park.

Hartley is located close to the Bremer River, which was originally known as the Hindmarsh River, and later named after distinguished British Royal Navy officer James Bremer.   It is located between the fertile foothills of the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges and the dry mallee plains before the Murray River.  The Hartley district was first referred to as ‘The Bremer’ and was settled in the early 1850’s by Methodist and Lutheran pioneers.  One of those pioneers was William Jacob Cross who named the area ‘Hartley’ after his farm in Devonshire in the United Kingdom.

Little remains of what once a bustling community.  The Hartley Methodist Church lays in ruins at the junction of Callington Road and Chaunceys Line Road, referred to by locals as ‘Chapel Corner’.  The church which was built in 1865, sat on an acre of land which was originally purchased by 13 trustees of the Mount Barker Methodist congregation in 1857 for the sum of 5 pound.

A little further along the road is the old Hartley Creamery which was opened in 1894 as a branch of the Mount Barker Butter Factory.  It is now a private residence.  Continue along Chaunceys Line Road and you will reach the Corner Tree-The Duke’s Tree.  This large gum tree commemorates the visit of His Royal Highness Prince Alfred Ernest Albert, Duke of Edinburgh on 5th November 1867,  who was travelling from Wellington to Mount Barker.  The Hartley community welcomed the Duke and his entourage with a luncheon under the Blue Gum tree.

Chauncey’s Line Road was originally surveyed to link Adelaide with the eastern States.  The route and line was surveyed in 1851 by Mr. William Chauncey who was engaged to survey the ‘Great Eastern Road’ between Hahndorf and Wellington.  The plan was abandoned when it was found that there was no suitable foundation for a bridge at Wellington.  Instead the bridge was built at Murray Bridge further upstream.

It was a slow drive approaching the park, as it was dusk and there were a lot of kangaroos out on the road.

DSC_6832 (1)

Chaunceys Line Road

What about the Harry Angel Sprint?

The Harry Angel Sprint is an annual 80m contest which was first established in 1999 to commemorate the life of Harry Angel VK4HA, who, at the time of his death in 1998 at the age of 106, was the oldest licenced amateur in Australia.

Who was Harry Angel?

Henry Benjamin ‘Harry’ Angel was born on 14th December 1891 at Manor House, Essex, England.  His parents were Henry Samuel Martin Angel (1867-1911) and Elizabeth Jesse Angel nee Eyre (1871-1962).  In 1919 he married Rebecca Andrews (1891-1973).  They had 3 children: Lillian May Angel, Harold Vincent Angel, and Ronald Henry Angel.  Harry died in August 1998 at Brisbane, Queensland, aged 106 years.


Harry Angel.  Image courtesy of

The State Library of Queensland holds an extensive collection of QSL cards, previously belonging to Harry Angel.

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A selection of JA cards in the Harry Angel QSL card collection.  Image courtesy of State Library of QLD

I soon reached the park.  It was now almost completely dark.

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I operated from my normal operating spot at Ferries McDonald, which is the main car park area in the south eastern corner of the park.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 10.52.44 am.png

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

I was running a little late of my posted activation time of 0830 UTC, as I had stopped off at Hartley to get some photographs.  So I was set up and ready to go, 20 minutes late, just before 0850 UTC (6.20 p.m. South Australian local time).  I ran my normal portable station for this activation: Yaesu FT857d, 40 watts, 20/40/80m linked dipole-inverted vee supported on the 7m squid pole.

It was not a cold evening, not for me anyway, with the temperature being about 13 deg C, so I sat outside the vehicle on my deckchair with the gear on the fold up table.  I initially used a paper log, but later converted to VK Logger on the laptop for the Harry Angel Sprint.

My first contact was with my wife Marija VK5FMAZ.  I had dropped her a quick SMS message to let her know that I was set up and ready to go.  This was followed by Ray ZL4HSV on the North Island of New Zealand, Colin VK4PDX, and then Mick VK6AY.  Band conditions were quite poor, and I only logged 14 stations on 40m from VK2, VK4, VK5, VK6, and New Zealand.  There was lots of fading present on most signals from VK2 and VK4, and I also had to contend with some JA QRM on the frequency.  At around 0930 UTC some Indonesian and Malaysian stations came up on the frequency and totally took it over.  Their signals were S9 and it was just not viable to continue on 7.130.

I had about 25 minutes before the start of the Sprint, so I had a quick tune across the band but could not hear a lot of strong stations.  Even the normal USA stations were significantly lower in signal strength compared to normal.  So I set up the laptop and had one final read of the rules for the Sprint and had a tune across the 80m band.

The 80m band was very quiet leading up to the Sprint and then at 1000 UTC it came alive.  I was about to ask if the frequency was in use, when a VK2 started calling CQ Contest, so I moved up the band until I found a clear spot, and started calling CQ.  First in the log was Gerard VK6QM, followed by Tony VK3AN, and then Errol VK2EGC/4.

I worked a total of 63 stations during the Sprint from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and VK8.  No VK1’s were logged.  There were long periods of calling CQ with no takers.  However, considering I was operating portable I was happy with the results.

Screen Shot 2017-05-08 at 10.26.59 am

I remained on 80m for around 30 minutes after the Sprint and logged a further  14 stations including a number of regular park hunters.  I then decided to try one last time on 40m and called CQ on 7.155.  This was answered by Ted VK6NTE, followed by Les VK2CPC, and then Mark AF6TC in California, and Lawrence KN7D in Utah.

It was now 11 deg C, 10.15 p.m. local time, and time for me to pack and up and head home for some late dinner.  I had a total of 95 contacts in the log.

I worked the following stations on 40m before the contest:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. ZL4HSV
  3. VK4PDX
  4. VK6AY
  5. VK4FW
  6. VK2YES/p
  7. VK4TJ
  8. VK4DA
  9. VK2FOUZ
  10. ZL1TM
  11. VK6FSEA
  12. VK2WDD
  13. VK4FMAX
  14. VK6ATM
  15. VK6NTE
  16. VK2CPC
  17. AF6TC
  18. KN7D

I worked the following stations on 80m after the contest:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK4EKA
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK5SFA
  5. VK2NZ
  6. VK3UCD
  7. VK4HHA
  8. VK3ANL
  9. VK4FE
  10. VK3FSLG
  11. VK3FPSR
  12. VK2SR
  13. VK5GR
  14. VK3SFG

I worked the following stations on 80m during the contest:-

  1. VK6QM
  2. VK3AN
  3. VK2EGC/4
  4. VK3BSE
  5. VK4LAT
  6. VK5CP
  7. VK4PDX
  8. VK3PH
  9. VK3QD
  10. VK2VU
  11. VK2TTL
  12. VK3ZVX
  13. VK2CDS
  14. VK3JL
  15. VK2YW
  16. VK3LDB
  17. VK7JGD
  18. VK5FMAZ
  19. VK5KX
  20. VK3FVKI
  21. VK5KBJ
  22. VK5TE
  23. VK4FMAX
  24. VK5DT
  25. VK2AC
  26. VK5MU
  27. VK6NC
  28. VK2DEK
  29. VK5LJ
  30. VK2MT
  31. VK3PAT
  32. VK5FFAU
  33. VK8GM
  34. VK3XL
  35. VK2FOUZ
  36. VK2QN
  37. VK2NED/p
  38. VK5ST
  39. VK2MTM
  40. VK2AU
  41. VK6AY
  42. VK3FSPG
  43. VK3MPR
  44. VK3FCEV
  45. VK2VK
  46. VK2XIC
  47. VK2KQB
  48. VK3IO
  49. VK5WOW
  50. VK2HJ
  51. VK4ADC
  52. VK6AHR
  53. VK3GB
  54. VK4KET
  55. VK2YX
  56. VK4WJW
  57. VK4NA
  58. VK2TTP
  59. VK4SN
  60. VK2SR
  61. VK4YZ
  62. VK5FANA
  63. VK5BC


References., 2017, <;, viewed 7th May 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <;, viewed 7th May 2017

Redcliffe & Districts Radio Club, 2017, <;, viewed 8th May 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <;, viewed 7th May 2017

VK5WOW in Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754

Yesterday (Thursday 4th May 2017) I had a day off work and spent the vast majority of the day bogged down behind the computer in a sea of emails.  So around 3.00 p.m. I decided I had endured enough paperwork and decided to head out to the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754 and operate for a few hours using the special call of VK5WOW.  Totness is located about 35 km east of Adelaide in the ‘Adelaide Hills’ Mount Lofty Ranges.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 6.22.01 pm.png

Map showing the location of the Totness Recreation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

VK5WOW is one of the special calls being used to celebrate the upcoming Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) & Convention in Hahndorf in a few weeks time.  Contacts with VK5WOW count towards the AGM & Convention Award.  More details can be found at…..

Totness is just a short drive from my home QTH, around 2.5km.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 6.21.44 pm.png

Aerial shot showing the location of the park with respect to my home QTH.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park is also a short distance, ‘as far as the crow flies’ from Hahndorf, the venue for the 2017 WIA AGM & Convention.

As the park is close to my home, I have activated it many times previously.  It has a very interesting history which I have covered in previous posts which can be located at…..

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 6.25.22 pm.png

Aerial shot of Totness Recreation Park, with Hahndorf just a few km away.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

I headed to my normal operating position in the park, which is just off Haines Fire Track.  This is in the southern section of the park.

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 6.21.25 pm.png

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

I was all set up and ready to go by just after 0600 UTC (3.30 p.m. South Australian local time).  As it was a sunny day I walked a little further into the park from the gate, to an area which had sunshine, and set up the solar panels.  I ran my normal portable set up for this activation, comprising the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.

I headed to my nominating operating frequency of 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use, and this was answered by Bill VK4FW and John VK5BJE.  I didn’t even get the opportunity of calling CQ.  This is quite common nowadays when activating parks, with eager park hunters waiting for you when you’ve announced you are going to be in a park at a particular time on a particular frequency.  So of course, Bill and John become number 1 and number 2 in the log.

It didn’t take long for a mini pile up to ensure, even though it was a weekday afternoon.  Contact number 44 came in just 38 minutes and that was with regular park hunter VK4RF/VK4HA.  I worked a total of 55 stations on 40m from VK2, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.

I then moved over to the 20m band and called CQ on 14.310.  This was answered by Bill VK4FW, followed by Steve VK4QQ, Mark VK4SMA, and then Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.  Sadly there was very little long path propagation into Europe, with just one European station logged, Michael DL8DSL.  Michael had a good 5/7 signal into Totness, with my signal being 5/2 into Germany.  I heard my good friend Marnix OP7M calling from Belgium, along with F4GYG in France, but their signals were very very low.  And sadly they were unable to hear me.  My only other DX logged on 20m was with Kazu JL1ELQ in Japan.  Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs was the strongest station worked on 20m, being 5/9 +.

So with 11 stations logged on 20m from VK4, VK6, VK8, Germany, and Japan, I headed back to the 40m band.  The band had become very busy and I could not get back on to 7.144, so I called CQ on 7.142.  This was answered by my lovely wife Marija VK5FMAZ who was 5/9 +++, as you would expect, being just 2.5 km away.  This was followed by Greg VK4VXX/2 who was portable in the Welford National Park VKFF-0527.  This was to be my only Park to Park contact during this activation.


I logged a total of 21 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6 and New Zealand.  But unfortunately I started to experience strong QRM from some USA stations on 7.140, which was compounded by OZ8BV who came onto the frequency and started calling CQ.  So after working Gavin ZL1TBA in Taupo, I moved up to 7.144 which had become clear where I worked a further 7 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and New Zealand.  This included Alan ZL3II in Christchurch who had a strong 5/9 + signal.

It was now 6.00 p.m. local time and almost completely dark.  The temperature had dropped to just 7 deg C, and I had rugged up with my beanie and jacket, and donned the head torch.  I lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band and headed to 3.610 where I called CQ.  John VK5BJE was there waiting for me, with a lovely 5/9 + signal from Scott Creek in the Adelaide Hills.  This was followed by Ivan VK5HS in Renmark in the Riverland region of South Australia, with a huge signal.

I logged a total of 24 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  The band was in great shape, but sadly there were not a lot of callers, despite John VK5BJE doing his best to drum up business for me on parksnpeaks and Facebook.

I headed back to 40m hoping to get some North American stations in the log, but I was to be sadly disappointed. I only logged 2 stations, Glen VK4FARR in Ipswich Queensland, and Roy ZL4HSV at Wanganui on the North Island of New Zealand.  I now had 120 contacts in the log, and it had not got any warmer.  The temperature had now dropped to 5 deg C.

I moved back to 80m for one last crack before going QRT.  I logged an additional 10 stations from VK3, VK5, VK7, and VK8.  This included my wife Marija VK5FMAZ, and my good mate Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs.  My last contact for the activation was with John VK5NJ in Mount Gambier in the South East of South Australia.


With a total of 130 contacts in the log it was time to head home for some dinner.  Hopefully I helped a few hams in their endeavour to qualify for the WIA AGM & Convention Award.  I have now used the VK5WOW call more times than I have logged the call.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4FW
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK3OHM
  4. VK3VIN
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK2PDW/m
  7. VK2NEO
  8.  VK5AFZ
  9. VK5MBD
  10. VK3VEF
  11. VK2HOT
  12. VK4SMA
  13. VK3GGG
  14. VK3PMG
  15. VK2IO
  16. VK3MCD
  17. VK5WG
  18. VK2NP
  19. VK5FSPJ/m
  20. VK5MA
  21. VK3PF
  22. VK3VBI
  23. VK5FMLO
  24. VK3ZPF
  25. VK2VW
  26. VK5RM
  27. VK1JY
  28. VK2MOR
  29. VK2OD
  30. VK3FGMO
  31. VK5KLV
  32. VK3TKK/m
  33. VK4HNS
  34. VK4QQ
  35. VK5FMID
  36. VK2YES/p
  37. VK3HBG
  38. VK5JW
  39. VK7JON
  40. VK3ZMD
  41. VK3YUN
  42. VK5HDW
  43. VK1AT
  44. VK4RF
  45. VK4HA
  46. VK3STU
  47. VK3BNC
  48. VK5TW
  49. VK5ZGY
  50. VK3FRJD
  51. VK3FLCS
  52. VK3VKT/m
  53. VK6ATM
  54. VK2FDAV
  55. VK4MWB
  56. VK5FMAZ
  57. VK4VXX/2 (Welford National Park VKFF-0527)
  58. VK3FTRI/m
  59. VK3FSPG
  60. VK3MPR
  61. VK1DI
  62. VK2NSS
  63. VK3KRH
  64. VK3FLJD
  65. VK4OZI
  66. VK2ARA
  67. VK6XN
  68. VK2FBBB
  69. VK4FAAJ
  70. VK3FBIC
  71. VK2BHO
  72. VK6NU
  73. VK7NWT
  74. VK3LK
  75. VK2ND
  76. ZL1TBA
  77. VK2QK
  78. VK4BX
  79. VK6LGF
  80. ZL3II
  81. VK2FOUZ
  82. VK3UH
  83. VK5HS
  84. VK4FARR
  85. ZL4HSV

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4FW
  2. VK4QQ
  3. VK4SMA
  4. VK4RF
  5. VK4HA
  6. VK6XN
  7. VK5KX
  8. VK8GM
  9. DL8DSL
  10. JL1ELQ
  11. VK4ABH

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK3OHM
  5. VK3GGG
  6. VK3PMG
  7. VK3SFG
  8. VK4LAT
  9. VK6DEW/5
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK5FMWW
  12. VK3AJA
  13. VK5BRT
  14. VK5YX
  15. VK5MLB
  16. VK3SQ
  17. VK5FMLO
  18. VK3ZPF
  19. VK5PE
  20. VK4TJ
  21. VK3ARH
  22. VK4FW
  23. VK2LL
  24. VK3FPHG
  25. VK3VBI
  26. VK3HMV
  27. VK7CW
  28. VK3LDB
  29. VK5MRT
  30. VK5KC
  31. VK8GM
  32. VK5FMAZ
  33. VK5WG
  34. VK5NJ