Messent Conservation Park 5CP-133 and VKFF-0799

My second planned activation for Saturday 3rd June 2017 was the Messent Conservation Park 5CP-133 & VKFF-0799.  This was a short 5 minute drive for me from Martin Washpool Conservation Park.   I drove out of the gate and followed a dirt track for about 1 km until I reached the south western corner of Messent.

The track leading to the park is tricky in parts and has become a lot boggier since I was last there.  I probably wouldn’t try traversing it in a conventional vehicle.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 4.25.48 pm.png

Map showing the location of the Messent Conservation Park south east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Messent Conservation Park is about 1,250 hectares in size and is one of the most significant areas of natural vegetation left in the Upper South East of South Australia.  The park has great plant diversity, including brown stringy barks, white and ridge-fruited mallee, desert banksias, fringed myrtle and yacca which grow in the sandy flats.  A number of wild orchids are also found in the park.  Over 300 plant species have been recorded in the park.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 4.33.15 pm.png

Aerial shot showing the Messent Conservation Park, with Martin Washpool CP to the left, and Mount Boothby CP in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

A large amount of native wildlife can be found in the park including Western Grey kangaroos, Common Wombats, echidnas, and the Silky Mouse.  Over 130 species of bird have been recorded in the park including the Emu and the endangered Malle Fowl.

I set up at the south western corner of the park.  There is a sandy 4WD track that branches off from here which follows the southern boundary of the park, and another 4WD track which heads north following the western side of the park.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 4.25.38 pm.png

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

After setting up I called CQ on 7.144 on the 40m band and this was answered by Chris VK3PAT, followed by my wife Marija VK5FMAZ, and then Les VK5KLV.  Contact number 10, qualifying the park for VKFF, was reached in 12 minutes, with a Park to Park QSO with Michael VK3FMPP/p who was in the Grampians National Park VKFF-0213.  This was followed by Mark VK3KMF/8 who was in the Iytwelepenty/Davenport Ranges National Park in the Northern Territory.

The 40m band had certainly improved since my first activation at Martin Washpool.  Signals from the eastern States were much stronger.  As a result I had a lot more callers, and it wasn’t long for the mini pile up to commence.  Thanks to everyone for being patient.  For those that called and gave up, please be patient and persistent.  I will get you eventually.

Contact number 22 was with Peter VK3YE who was portable at Chelsea Beach for Melbourne QRP by the Bay.  Shortly afterwards I had another Park to Park, this time with Rob VK4AAC who was in the Solitary Islands Marine Park VKFF-1411.   About 12 QSOs later I spoke with Ben VK3FBIC who was also portable at Chelsea Beach, running just 5 watts.  Ben was a strong 5/8 signal.

I reached contact number 44 in around 47 minutes, and that was with John VK4IAA/2.  A few QSOs later I started to experience a lot of bleedover from 7.146.  A station from Puerto Rico had moved in and was working into Europe.  I remained on 7.144 for another 5 minutes and decided the QRM was just too great to continue.  I know there were some weak stations calling me, including a station from France, but I was just unable to pull them through due to the QRM.

I decided it was time to try 20m.  I called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Hans VK6XN who had followed me up from 40m.  I then worked Mick VK6AY, Gerard VK2IO, and then John VK4TJ.  I was running short of time and decided after a few minutes of calling CQ with no further callers, that I would head to 80m.

I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Greg VK5GJ, followed by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, Chris VK3SOT, and finally Marija VK5FMAZ.  Marija advised that Jonathan VK7JON and Helen VK7FOLK were on 7.095 in a park, so I quickly took out the 80m links and headed to 7.095.  I logged both Jonathan and Helen who were in the Mount William National Park VKFF-0366.


Mallee ringneck parrot

My next park activation was to be Bunbury Conservation Park.  The maps had shown that there was a road heading east-west from Messent out towards the northern side of Bunbury.  But that road was in fact a track behind a gate leading into private property near the north eastern corner of Martin Washpool CP.  The only other way I could see to get through was to follow the sandy 4WD boundary track on the southern side of Messent.  The GPS was showing a different route, with a distance of around 100 km and it was now after 4.00 p.m. local time.  So I decided to cancel the activation of Bunbury, and head to the Mount Boothby Conservation Park instead.


The 4WD track on the southern side of the park.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PAT
  2. VK5FMAZ
  3. VK5KLV
  4. VK2KDP
  5. VK2KYO
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK3KPS
  8. VK3EF
  9. VK7KJL
  10. VK3FMPP/p (Grampians National Park VKFF-0213)
  11. VK3KMF/8 (Iytwelepenty/Davenport Ranges National Park VKFF-0133)
  12. VK5MRE
  13. VK2JNG/3
  14. VK2HHA
  15. VK3FPHG/p
  16. VK3SQ
  17. VK5EE/m
  18. VK3TKK/m
  19. VK3VIN
  20. VK3FCEV
  21. VK3MLU
  22. VK3YE/p
  23. VK4BX
  24. VK3KMH
  25. VK3FRC
  26. VK3GGG
  27. VK3PMG
  28. VK2IO
  29. VK4AAC/ (Solitary Islands Marine Park VKFF-1411)
  30. VK5ATN
  31. VK3RU
  32. VK5PET
  33. VK4RZ
  34. VK5FANA/m
  35. VK3CWF
  36. VK2NP
  37. VK3UT
  38. VK3FSPG
  39. VK3MPR
  40. VK3FBIC/p
  41. VK5CJC
  42. VK3STU
  43. VK3XPT
  44. VK4IAA/2
  45. VK4PDX
  46. VK3FRAB
  47. VK7DIK
  48. VK3ELH
  49. VK4SMA
  50. VK3MCK
  51. VK3ZMD
  52. VK3YSP
  53. VK3WAR
  54. VK3FOWL
  55. VK3SOT
  56. VK6XN
  57. VK6AY
  58. VK7JON/p (Mount William National Park VKFF-0366)
  59. VK7FOLK/p (Mount William National Park VKFF-0366)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6XN
  2. VK6AY
  3. VK2IO
  4. VK4TJ

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK3SOT
  5. VK5FMAZ


Owens H.M; Robinson AC; Lang P.J.; 1994, ‘A biological survey of Messent Conservation Park’.

2 thoughts on “Messent Conservation Park 5CP-133 and VKFF-0799

  1. Hi Paul,
    You made an interesting comment about the track deteriorating. We have been to Messent CP and I thought I wouldn’t try the track: it looked a bit soft. Great picture of the ring-neck!
    John D

  2. Hi John,

    I want to get back there soon with my lad and do a bit of 4WDing. The same at Mount Boothby. And explore the parks a bit. Messent was alive with Ringnecks which was great to see.


    Paul VK5PAS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s