Charleston Conservation Park 5CP-041 and VKFF-0777

I had a day off today (Saturday 29th July 2017) after a few afternoon shifts, and despite it being a rather unpleasant day outside, I decided late in the morning to head over to the Charleston Conservation Park 5CP-041 & VKFF-0777.  The park is just a short 23 km drive by road from my home, and about 46 km east of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Charleston Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I have activated the park many times previously, so today’s activation was mostly for the recently released Boomerang Award in the VKFF program, which encourages park activators to head back to the same park.

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Aerial shot showing the park, with my QTH to the left of the shot.  Adelaide is in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Charleston is 54 hectares in size and was first proclaimed on the 8th April 1976.  Most of the habitat within the park is Woodland with either Manna Gum or Rough-barked Manna Gum over Golden Wattle.

Over 100 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Adelaide Rosella, Striated Pardalote, Australian Golden Whistler, Grey Shrikethrush, Willie Wagtail, Australian Magpie, and Painted Buttonquail.

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The park is located about 8 km east of the little town of Charleston, which was laid out in 1857 by Charles Dunn (1796–1881), a brother of the prominent miller John Dunn.  It is believed the town was originally known as “Charlestown”, but the current spelling has always been more common in newspaper reports.

I travelled along some of the ‘back roads’ to get to the park.  As it is winter, the countryside was beautitful and green.

I soon reached the park on Bell Springs Road.  This is the only way to access the park.  There is a small car parking area at gate one.  As I was pulling up at the park I worked Gerard VK2JNG who was portable in the Kwiambal National Park VKFF-0274

I set up on the boundary track on the western side of the park.  My usual portable gear was used for this activation: Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked deipole, inverted vee @ 7 metres.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

It was incredibly windy with a very nasty storm front approaching from the west.  As a result it took me a little longer than normal to get set up, as I continually got the antenna caught up in the branches of the gum trees.  I headed to 7.144 hoping to get a Park to Park with Gerard VK2JNG, but there was silence.  I asked if the frequency was in use and I was very pleased to hear Gerard come back to me to advise that he was waiting for me.  I logged Gerard who was an excellent 5/9 signal.

I then headed down to 7.139 and asked if the frequency was in use, with Dennis VK2HHA coming back to advise that it was all clear.  I logged Dennis, followed by Peter VK3PF, Marija VK5FMAZ, and then Rick VK4RF/VK4HA.  Despite it being a weekend, there was not the normal flurry of callers.  More like a constant flow.  Contact number 10 was with Steve VK7CW after 10 minutes of being on air in the park.

I had 24 contacts in the log when I was approached by 2 bushwalkers and a young child.  They showed great interest in what I was doing.  Thanks to those who patiently waited whilst I was chatting and explaining the hobby to them.  They were extremely amazed hearing such strong signals coming in from interstate.

When things slowed down a little I took the opportunity of heading down to 7.090 where I had seen a spot on parksnpeaks for Matt VK1MA/2 on a SOTA peak.  When I first heard Matt he was a good 5/7, but within a minute I had almost lost him.  Sadly I wasn’t able to make contact with Matt.  So I headed back up to 7.139 where I logged a further 4 stations.

As I had very few callers I headed back to 7.090 where I managed to get through to Matt after a few goes.  I was hearing Matt okay at 5/3, but he was struggling with my signal, 3/3, at his end.  But we made it.

I then headed off to the 20m band where I called CQ after self spotting on parksnpeaks.  Unfortunately my only contact on 20m was with Anthony VK6MAC in Western Australia.

The weather was moving in fast, so I decided to try my luck on the 80m band.  I called CQ and received a call from Geoff VK3SQ at Beechworth.  I was able to hear Geoff quite well as there was no noise in the park, but sadly Geoff was unable to hear me.  First in the log on 80m was my wife Marija VK5FMAZ, followed by Tony VK5MRT, and finally David VK5PL.

I decided to have one last listen on 40m before calling it quits for the day.  Unfortunately I couldn’t get back onto 7.139 as there were some stations there already, and I had to go up to 7.150 as one of those stations was very wide.  I logged a further 4 stations including Owen VK2AEJ/p at the Cape Don lightship in Sydney.  The MV Cape Don is a former lighthosue tender, now a museum ship in Waverton in New South Wales.

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Above: the MV Cape Don.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

It was time to go QRT as I was just starting to experience some drops of rain.  I had a total of 44 contacts in the log.

After packing up I went for a walk along the boundary track on the western side of the park.  I highly recommend this, as the park becomes very picturesque as you get further into the park.  I came across a few fenced off areas in the park and some other marked out areas.  Not sure what they were for?

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Kwiambal National Park)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK5FMAZ
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK3NCR/m
  8. VK3FAHS/m
  9. VK2LEE
  10. VK7CW
  11. VK3TKK
  12. VK2YK
  13. VK3NLK
  14. VK2KYO
  15. VK3FCMC
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK6MAC
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK3ARH
  20. VK2NEO
  21. VK6BEC
  22. VK3SQ
  23. VK3TQ
  24. VK3VEF
  25. VK3ANL
  26. VK2JDR
  27. VK2NP
  28. VK3PAT
  29. VK3FDAP
  30. VK3RU
  31. VK4HNS
  32. VK4TJ
  33. VK2JNG/m
  34. VK7VZ
  35. VK3SIM
  36. VK1MA/2 (SOTA VK2/ ST-001)
  37. VK4AAC
  38. VK2EIR/m
  39. VK2SVM
  40. VK2AEJ/p (MV Cape Don lighthship)

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MAC

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK5MRT
  3. VK5PL

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/charleston-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 29th July 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 29th July 2017

Sturt Gorge Recreation Park VKFF-1750

Today (Sunday 23rd July 2017) Marija VK5FMAZ and I activated the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park VKFF-1750.  The park is located about 13 km south of Adelaide.

It was quite a miserable day compared to the day before which was bright and sunny.  But despite the rather gloomy weather, we decided to head out.  We had attended a friend’s house the night before for dinner for an event called ‘The Longest Table’, the Hospital Research Foundation’s annual cancer fundraiser.  I had indulged in more than a bit of red wine, so I figured some fresh air would be of benefit to me

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is 244 hectares (600 acres) in size and was established on the 4th October 1973.  The park lies between the suburbs of Bellevue Heights and Flagstaff Hill along the Sturt River.

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During the 1964, Mr. Robin Millhouse, the Member for Mitcham (later to become the Attorney General of SA) raised the issue in Parliament of acquiring Sturt Gorge for use as a National Park.  In a letter to the Minister of Lands dated 6th August 1964 Millhouse stated:

“The area I have in mind is that below the flood control dam site.  I am sure you would agree that it is most suitable for a National Park”.

Unfortunately no action was taken by the Government, and in January 1966, Millhouse again raised the question with the new Minister of Lands, Mr. J.D. Corcoran.  They both visited the area and later requested action be taken under the Town Planning Act to ensure that no subdividing for housing took place in the area.  Unfortunately no powers exited at the time for this, and several applications to subdivide were received in 1965-1966.

Millhouse then had discussions with the de Rose family who owned the land and found the property was available for sale at the price of 70,000 pounds.  Millhouse conveyed this information to the State Government who replied stating:

“The present Government is unable to contemplate the purchase of the area at this stage”.

In June 1966, Millhouse again raise the matter in Parliament, and in the following month, the de Rose family were approached by land developers and subsequently sold the land.  Millhouse continued to apply pressure, and was supported by a campaign by the Geological Monuments Subcommittee of the S.A. Division of the Geological Society of Australia.  Between 1969 and 1972, the applied pressure appears to have paid off, with the State Government purchasing in pieces the land from the two development companies.  In 1973 the Sturt Gorge was proclaimed as a Recreation Park.

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Above:- Robin Millhouse.  Image courtesy of http://www.adelaidenow.com.au

The park is internationally recognised as an area of conservation and geological significance.  Sturt Gorge conserves the nationally threatened greybox grassy woodland vegetation which was once abundant across southern Australia.  It is the second largest remnant area of grey box open woodland managed by the Department of Environment Water & Natural Resources.  Along the Sturt River there are numerous River Red Gums.  North of the river there are areas of drooping sheaoak woodland over twiggy daisy-bush and sticky hop-bush.  At the western end of the park the habitat is mostly exotic with some native grasses.

The park is also home to a rock formation, known as sturt tillite, that is believed to have been formed from glacial material dropped from ice floating in the ocean that covered South Australia 800 million years ago.

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Above:- Aerial view of the park, in close proximity to Adelaide.  Image courtesy of Google maps

The Sturt River, also known as Warri Parri, carves its way through the park.  The river rises in Upper Sturt and flows through Corromandel Valley, the Sturt Gorge Recereation Park, the southern suburbs of Marion and Morphettville, before meeting the Patawalonga River in Glenelg North, the end of its 27 km course.  It was named after the famous explorer, Captain Charles Sturt.

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Above:- Captain Charles Sturt.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

The Sturt River Flood Control Dam can be located in the park.  It is well worth a look, as there are some great views of the gorge from the 40 metre high dam wall.  But beware, the walk back up to the car park area is quite steep.

Over 115 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Crimson  Rosella, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Whiteplumed honeyeater, White-browed Babbler, Grey Shrikethrush, Peregrine Falcon, and Sacred Kingfisher.

The park is also home to a large amount of native wildlife including kangaroos and koalas.

For more information on the park, have a look at the Friends of Sturt Gorge website at…..

http://www.fosg.org.au/park.html

Marija and I operated from inside gate 20 at the end of Craigburn Road.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d (set at 10 watts PEP for Marija, and 40 watts for me), and the 80/40/20m linked dipole supported on the 7 m squid pole, inverted vee.

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Above:- Map of the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park showing our operating spot.  Map courtesy of National Parks South Australia.

This was to be a unique park for both Marija and I for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Marija started off the activation and was content in obtaining 10 QSOs, qualifying the park for the VKFF program.  We headed to our nominated operating frequency of 7.144 and found Gerard VK2JNG/p who was activating the Rocky Glen National Park VKFF-1179.  We both logged Gerard, Park to Park, and then headed down to 7.135 where Marija called CQ.  Marija’s second contact was another Park to Park, this time with Peter VK3PF/p in the Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877.

Marija had soon racked up 10 contacts, thus qualifying the park for VKFF.  Contact number 10 being with Adam VK2YK.  Shortly after we also worked Neil VK4HNS/p who was activating theSpringwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653.  Marija logged a total of 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4,, and VK7, before we swapped the mic.

I then called CQ on 7.135, with my first taker being Lee VK2LEE, followed by Ron VK3MRH, and then Dennis VK2HHA.  Contact number 10, with Steve VK7CW, soon followed.  Despite it being a Sunday, there was not the normal flurry of callers.  Band conditions also seemed to be down a little, with quite a bit of QSB on the signals.  But despite this, I logged my 44th contact, a little over an hour into the activation.  Contact number 44 was with Murray VK3MJT.

Whilst I was on air, Marija had a number of chats with interested onlookers, explaining what we were doing and all about the hobby of amateur radio.  Park activating is always a great way of promoting the hobby.

I logged a total of 46 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7, before we lowered the squid pole, and inserted the 80m links.  I called CQ on 80m with John VK5BJE coming back with a very solid 5/9 + signal.  But sadly John was my only caller on 80m.

The weather was becoming quite threatening, and it was a chilly 13 deg C, so I quickly tried my luck on 14.310 on the 20m band.  Anthony VK6MAC was my first caller there with a good strong 5/8 signal from Western Australia, followed by Fred VK4FE in far north Queensland, and then Hans VK6XN.  Sadly I had to go QRT very quickly with Hans as the heavens opened up.  It was mad dash to pack up the gear and head back to the vehicle.

It was time to head home.  We had both successfully qualified the park for VKFF and I had also achieved 44 QSOs, qualifying the park for the WWFF global program.  And a brand new park to add to our activator list.  Thanks to everyone who called.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Rocky Glen National Park VKFF-1179)
  2. VK3PF/p (Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877)
  3. VK3IRM
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK7NWT
  6. VK3FSPG
  7. VK3MPR
  8. VK3MRH
  9. VK2HH
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK2VW
  12. VK4HNS/p (Springwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653)
  13. VK3KMH

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Rocky Glen National Park VKFF-1179)
  2. VK3PF/p (Glenmaggie Regional Park VKFF-1877)
  3. VK2LEE
  4. VK3MRH
  5. VK2HHA
  6. VK2YK
  7. VK3FSPG
  8. VK3MPR
  9. VK3SS
  10. VK7CW
  11. VK3ANL
  12. VK3ANP
  13. VK4RZ
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK7JON
  16. VK3VIN
  17. VK4RF
  18. VK4HA
  19. VK2GZ
  20. VK2GKA/m
  21. VK2FOUZ
  22. VK3IRM
  23. VK2STO
  24. VK3FEVT
  25. VK6MAC
  26. VK2JAZ
  27. VK3CWF
  28. VK3ZPF
  29. VK5ZZ
  30. VK5TR
  31. VK3FRAB
  32. VK4SMA
  33. VK3UH
  34. VK4TJ
  35. VK4HNS/p (Springwood Conservation Park VKFF-1653)
  36. VK3KMH
  37. VK4FFAB
  38. VK5YL
  39. VK2VRC
  40. VK2JNG/m
  41. VK2HPN
  42. VK3HKK
  43. VK2NP
  44. VK3MJT
  45. VK6XN
  46. VK5BJE

I worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6MAC
  2. VK4FE
  3. VK6XN

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/sturt-gorge-recreation-park/&gt;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Friends of Sturt Gorge, 2017, <http://www.fosg.org.au/index.html&gt;, viewed 23rd July 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide/sturt-gorge-recreation-park&gt;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturt_Gorge_Recreation_Park&gt;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturt_River&gt;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Blackwood Forest Recreation Park VKFF-1686

Yesterday (Saturday 22nd July 2017) I activated the Blackwood Forest Recreation Park VKFF-1686 which is located about 13 km south of Adelaide, in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  The park is located at Hawthorndene in the Coromandel Valley.

This was to be a unique park for me as an activator for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and the very first time the park had been activated.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Blackwood Forest Recreation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Blackwood Forest Recreation Park was first acquired by the South Australian State Government in 1908 for use as an experimental orchard.  It continued to be used for horticultural research until the 1960s.  From the mid 1980’s there was sustained public concern over a period of more than 15 years, seeking to have the 21 hectares of land retained as open space.  This resulted in the Blackwood Forest Recreation Park being proclaimed a Recreation Park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act in November 2001.

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There is limited natural vegetation in the park.  Some native vegetation can be found on the eastern boundary of the park, while some old River Red Gums and Acacia species can be found along Minno Creek on the western boundary of the park.  About 8 hectares of the park is Monterey Pine, with the remainder of the park being open grassland.  A few of the original trees from the orchard remain today, including walnuts, pecans, loquats, mulberries, quinces, greenguage plums.  A row of 27 named varieties of olives can be located along the Turners Avenue boundary of the park. These olives are officially listed by The National Trust of South Australia as being locally historically important.

There are a number of walking tracks in the park, and as it was a beautiful sunny day there were a lot of bushwalkers, people out with their dogs, and mountain bikers in the park.  There are also a number of interpretive signs.

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In 1908, the land which is now the park, was purchased by George Quinn, Chief Horticultural Instructor with the then newly formed Department of Agriculture for £88 , for the purpose of establishing an experimental orchard to trial and experiment with a wide range of fruit trees.

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Above:- George Quinn demonstrating pruning techniques in 1918.  Courtesy of http://www.pir.sa.gov.au

Over 4,000 varieties of fruit trees were counted in a census in 1927.  The orchard was considered to be the largest collection of fruit varieties in one plantation anywhere in the world.   However, in the late 1930s, problems with soil erosion and fertility led to the orchard being mainly replanted with varieties more suited to the local climate.  Orcharding in the area declined in the 1960s and resources were progressively transferred to a new facility at Lenswood.   In 1968 the Blackwood orchard ceased.

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The former manager’s house dating back to c. 1909 can still be found in the western section of the park.

In 1985 and 1993, South Australian State government plans to rezone and sell off the land, resulted in community protest meetings and petitions demanding that the land be retained in perpetuity as public open space.  In 1993 the Save the Blackwood Forest Committee was formed and maintained consistent pressure on a succession of ministers over the following years.  There were a number of protest rallies and marches, public meetings, community tree plantings and tent embassies on the land.  In 2001, after a long and difficult struggle, the Blackwood Forest Reserve was declared permanent open space as part of the Greater Mount Lofty Parklands.

There is an active Friends of Blackwood Forest Recreation Park.  Their website can be located at…..

http://www.communitywebs.org/friendsofblackwoodforest/history.php

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the park, with Adelaide in the background.  Image courtesy of Google maps

Over 40 species of birds have been recorded in the park including Maned Duck, Adelaide Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Rainbow Lorikeet, New Holland Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, Eastern Spinebill, and Laughing Kookaburra.

Various native wildlife can be located in the park including koalas, Echidnas, Common Brushtail Possum, and Common Ringtail possum.  During my activation I had a koala in the gum tree above me, enjoying the afternoon sun.

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Above:- Koala having an afternoon sleep in the gum tree above my operating spot.

My initial operating spot in the park was alongside of the pines, at the northern end of Myrtle Road.  Sadly after setting up and switching on the transceiver I found that there was S9 plus noise.  It was impossible to operate from this position, so I pack up and headed off to find a quieter location.

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Above:- S9 plus noise at my first spot in the park.  Unworkable!!!!

I then travelled along Turners Avenue and parked in the carpark near the junction with Main Road.  I set up about 50 metres inside the park boundary in a nice cleared area.  As it was a warm sunny day, I set up the fold up table and deck chair under the shade of some nearby trees.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the park, showing my operating spot in the western section of the park.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Prior to calling CQ I tuned across the 40m band and found Gerard VK2JNG/p on 7.135.  Gerard was in the Cooleburba State Conservation Area VKFF-1307.  It was a nice way to start the activation with a Park to Park contact.  I then found Mark VK4SMA/p on 7.144, in the Denmark Hill Conservation Park.  Mark was quite low down, as I was to he, but as we both had zero man made noise, we were able to work each other comfortably.

I then headed to 7.130 and called CQ.  But not before sending my wife Marija VK5FMAZ a text message to let her know I was on 7.130.  Marija was at home patiently waiting for me to come up, before heading off to do the shopping.  I was pleased to be able to hear Marija back at Mount Barker on the other side of the hills, as close in propagation on 40m has been challenging to say the least, over the past few months.  Scott VK7NWT then called in with a nice 5/9 signal, followed by Peter Vk3PF, Don VK3MCK, and then Dennis VK2HHA.

Contact number 10, qualifying the park for me for the VKFF program, was Garry VK3VLA at Geelong.  I continued to work a steady flow of callers, with contact number 44 being reached whilst 1 hour & 15 minutes into the activation.  Lee VK2LEE was my 44th contact, qualifying the park for me for the global WWFF program.

With 44 contacts in the log I headed over to 3.610 on the 80m band, where I logged Geoff VK3SQ in Beechworth, Mike VK5FMWW in the southern suburbs of Adelaide, and finally John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills.  It was quite noisy on the 80m band from the park, with a noise floor of around strength 7.

I then tried my luck on 20m, but 5 minutes of CQ calls went unanswered, so I headed back to the 40m band.  My first contact on returning there, was another Park to Park, with Mark VK4SMA who was now in the Ipswich Pteropus Conservation Park VKFF-1562.  I then returned to 7.130 and called CQ and logged 5 stations, all from Victoria, before going QRT.

I had a total of 53 QSOs in the log and a new park activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna program.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Cooleburba State Conservation Area VKFF-1307)
  2. VK4SMA/p (Denmark Hill Conservation Park VKFF-1529)
  3. VK5FMAZ
  4. VK7NWT
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK3MCK
  7. VK2HHA
  8. VK3PAT
  9. VK2XXM
  10. VK3VLA
  11. VK6XN
  12. VK3AUR
  13. VK5MR/m
  14. VK4RF
  15. VK4HA
  16. VK2YW/m
  17. VK3UH
  18. VK3BBB
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK7CW
  21. VK6POP
  22. VK5FANA
  23. VK3CM
  24. VK4TJ
  25. VK2YK
  26. VK3ARH
  27. VK3KLB
  28. VK3MKM
  29. VK5BJE
  30. VK3FOGY/m
  31. VK3NLK/m
  32. VK3TKK
  33. VK2NP
  34. VK3HBG
  35. VK3EV
  36. VK7VZ
  37. VK7AN
  38. VK6MAC
  39. VK3NU
  40. VK3WWE
  41. VK2VW
  42. VK3ELH
  43. VK3ZPF
  44. VK2LEE
  45. VK4SMA/p (Ipswich Pteropus Conservation Park VKFF-1562)
  46. VK3RV
  47. VK3WQ
  48. VK3CWF
  49. VK3ZMD
  50. VK3ANL

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK5FMWW
  3. VK5BJE

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/blackwood-forest-recreation-park/&gt;, viewed 23rd July 2017

Department for Environment and Heritage, 2005, Management Plan Blackwood Forest Recreation Park.

Friends of Blackwood Forest Recreation Park, 2017, <http://www.communitywebs.org/friendsofblackwoodforest/&gt;, viewed 23rd July 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Adelaide_Hills/blackwood-forest-recreation-park&gt;, viewed 22nd July 2017

Totness Recreation Park and the 2017 Trans Tasman Contest

After activating the Finniss Conservation Park I headed to the Totness Recreation Park VKFF-1754, just 2.5 km from home.  I intended to take part in the 2017 Trans Taman Low Band Contest.  The aim of the contest is to encourage Low Band activity Trans-Tasman, that is between VK and ZL.

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Map showing the location of the Totness Recreation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer

I was all set up and ready to go by the commencement time of 0800 UTC, which is 5.30 p.m. South Australian local time.  I ran my normal portable station for the contest: Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole, inverted vee, on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.

The contest is divided into three 2 hour periods.  I remained out in the field until just after the commencement of the third period which was at 1200 UTC (9.30 p.m. local time).  The cold weather got the better of me (got down to 4 deg C) and I packed up and headed home with a total of 171 contacts in the log.  My claimed score was 2,347 points.

I made a total of 48 QSOs on the 40m band.  New Zealand stations worked on 40m were:- ZL1YE, ZL3VZ, ZL1PC, ZL2ATH/p, ZL2BH, and ZL1JV.

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I made a total of 123 QSOs on the 80m band.  New Zealand stations worked on 40m were:- ZL3VZ, ZL1PC, ZL2BH, ZL1JV, and ZL1XS.

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I enjoyed myself in the Trans Tasman, but there were long periods of calling CQ contest with no takers.

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Finniss Conservation Park 5CP-068 and VKFF-1030

I started a couple of days off yesterday (Saturday 15th July 2017) after a few afternoon shifts at work, and with a few days of wet weather coming, I decided to head out to activate the Finniss Conservation Park 5CP-068 & VKFF-1030.  The park is located about 70 km (by road) from Adelaide, and about 43 km south of my home.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Finniss Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Finniss Conservation Park is 123 hectares in size and was first proclaimed on 29th January 1976.  An additional 56 hectares was added between 1985 and 2005.  The park is undulating with Woodland consisting of Pink Gum and Golden Wattle, and Low woodland consisting of Cup Gum and Pink Gum over Tate’s Grass-tree.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the park with my home QTH in the background.  Image courtesy of Google Maps.

The park is located just 7 km (by road) to the north east of the settlement of Nangkita,  Interestingly it is located about 20 km to the north west of the settlement of Finniss which was originally known as Queen’s Own Town, after the Queen’s Own Regiment of Foot.  The name of the town was changed in 1940 to Finniss, in in honour of an early surveyor and the first Premier of South Australia, Colonel Boyle Travers Finniss.

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Above:- Colonel Boyle Travers Finniss.  Courtesy of wikipedia.

Over 62 species of native bird have been recored in the park including Laughing Kookaburra, Galah, Adelaide Rosella, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Eastern Spinebill, and Australian Golden Whistler.

The park is located in close proximity to a number of other conservation parks, including Cox Scrub, Mount Magnificent, Kyeema, and Bullock Hill.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the park, in close proximity to numerous other conservation parks.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I have activated the park once before, back in 2013, but this was prior to the park being added to the WWFF Directory.  My previous activation of the park was for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  For more information on my previous visit to the park, please check out my previous post at…..

https://vk5pas.org/2013/07/26/finniss-conservation-park/

Last time I activated the park I parked on Mount Magnificent Road and walked in to the park along the Heysen Trail from the northern side.  But this time I decided to have a look at accessing the park from the southern side.  I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to get in that way, but thought it was worth investigating.

I travelled along Bull Creek Road out of Ashbourne, passing the Cox Scrub Conservation Park.  I turned right onto the Nangkita Road and through the little settlement of Nangkita.  In the local aboriginal language Nagkita means ‘place of little frogs’.

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Typical countryside in the Nangkita district

I then turned right onto Stones Ford Road.  I soon reached the intersection with Ridge Road.  I veered to the left and continued along Stones Ford Road.

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This is beautiful country with rolling green hills at this time of the year.  I continued on, passing over the creek crossing on Stones Ford Road.

Much to my surprise, the road took me all the way to the park boundary.

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Above:- The southern boundary of the park.

I parked the vehicle and then commenced to set up my station, about 10-15m inside the park boundary.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d set at 40 watts, and the 80/40/20m linked dipole for this activation.  There was no sun on this occasion, so the solar panels remained in the vehicle.

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My operating spot was right alongside the Heysen Trail, a walking trail which is about 1,200 km long.

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Above:- My operating spot.  The Heysen Trail is marked in red.  Map courtesy of heysentrail.asn.au

Prior to calling CQ I logged Gerard VK2JNG who was activating the Marrangaroo National Park VKFF-0598.  There was a significant amount of QSB (fading) on Gerard’s signal, but as we both had low/non existant man made noise at our locations, we were able to comfortably log each other.

I then headed down to 7.139 and asked if the frequency was in use, with Peter VK3PF responding that it was all clear.  After working Peter I logged Nik VK3NLK/p who was in the Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978.  It was nice to have another Park to Park contact in the log.

Conditions were quite poor on the 40m band with lots of QSB, probably due to the Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun the day previous.  It took me 16 minutes to get contact number 10 in the log, qualifying the park for VKFF.  Unfortunately there was no close in propagation, with my wife Marija VK5FMAZ sending me an SMS, advising that she had no copy back in Mount Barker.

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With just 16 contacts in the log after 30 minutes, I decided to try my luck on the 80m band hoping that I would be able to log the VK5’s on that band.  But 5 minutes of CQ calls went unanswered, and another SMS from Marija advising there was no copy on 80m.  This was not looking good.  But I perservered on 80m and out of the blue I heard ‘VK5FMAZ’.  It was Marija with a good 5/8 signal.  The band had changed.  Next up was Les VK5KLV up at Port Augusta in the north of the State.  But sadly, they were my only 2 callers on 80m.

So it was back to 40m where the number of callers had picked up.  I soon had 34 stations in the log which is always a good sign for me.  I run a paper log out in the field, which has 34 lines on each page.  So once I am on page 2 I always know I am on the downward slide to the 44 QSOs required for the WWFF global award.

Nik VK3NLK called in again, this time in the Barmah National Park VKFF-0739.  I now had 39 contacts in the log and saw a spot on parksnpeaks for John VK1/VA7JBE.  So I headed down to 7.090 and logged John was on Black Mountain VK1/ AC-042 which is located in VKFF-0835.

I then headed back to 7.139 and called CQ again.  Contact number 44 was soon in the log, a QSO with Kerry VK4LKB.  I logged a further 16 stations, and with 60 contacts in the log, I headed over to 14.310 on the 20m band.  I self spotted on parksnpeaks and called CQ, and much to my surprise my first caller was Gerard F1BLL in France.  This was followed by Hans VK6XN who had a strong 5/8 signal.  But my excitement was shortlived, as I had no further callers.

I took the opportunity of stretching my legs and taking a few photographs.  When I returned to the radio, I head stations working John VK1/VA7JBE on the frequency.  Unfortunately  was unable to hear John.  I then moved down to 14.305 and called CQ which was answered by Guenter DL5WW in Germany.  I logged a further 15 stations including a little more DX from Europe.

With 78 contacts in the log, and a unique park for me as an activator achieved, I packed up and headed home.  Thanks to everyone who called and thanks to those who took the time ti spot me.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Marrangaroo National Park VKFF-0598)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK3NLK/p (Tocumwal Regional Park VKFF-0978)
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK4TMZ
  6. VK2YK
  7. VK2VW
  8. VK3ZPF
  9. VK3SFG
  10. VK1DI
  11. VK3ANL
  12. VK3NBL
  13. VK3TKK/m
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK3AO
  16. VK7VZ
  17. VK3MCX
  18. VK3ANP
  19. VK2PKT
  20. VK3MCK
  21. VK3BBB
  22. VK2NEO/m
  23. VK3DKE
  24. VK2NP
  25. VK3CWF
  26. VK3DJ
  27. VK4RF
  28. VK4HA
  29. VK2UH
  30. VK3DPG
  31. VK2KYO
  32. VK7FOLK/m
  33. VK3NLK/p (Barmah National Park VKFF-0739)
  34. VK3FLJD
  35. VK3HKK
  36. VK4TJ
  37. VK1/VA7JBE (SOTA VK1/ AC-042 & VKFF-0834)
  38. VK3GGG
  39. VK3PMG
  40. VK4FRSB
  41. VK4LKB
  42. VK3WAC/m
  43. VK3LAB
  44. VK5NAL/m
  45. VK3ARH
  46. VK2BOZ/m
  47. VK4PDX
  48. VK3NGD/m
  49. VK2KJJ
  50. VK3ZMD
  51. VK7FOLK/p
  52. VK7JON/p
  53. VK3TKK/p
  54. VK3BWZ
  55. VK3HKV
  56. VK3FSPG
  57. VK3MPR

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK5KLV

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. F1BLL
  2. VK6XN
  3. DL5WW
  4. VK4VXX/m
  5. VK7JON/p
  6. VK6MAC
  7. IK1GPG
  8. DL2NOM
  9. VK6VSB
  10. VK6AHR
  11. PI4DX
  12. VK6SN
  13. VK4NH
  14. VK4PDX
  15. VK4RF
  16. VK4HA
  17. VK4QQ
  18. VK6ALI

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/finniss-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 16th July 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finniss,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 16th July 2017

2017 VK Shires contest results in

The results are in for the 2017 VK Shires Contest.  Marija VK5FMAZ and I took part in the Rover category, activating parks in the South East of South Australia.

CONGRATULATIONS to Tony VK3XV who came in at number one in this category with 173 QSOs and 182 Shires and a score of 31,486 points.

I managed to get position number 2 with a total of 167 QSOs and 180 Shires and a score of 30,060 points.

And well done to Marija who came in at number 3, with 70 QSOs and and a score of 5,180 points.

Overall in the categories combined, I came in at number 3, and Marija was number 9.

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