Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park 5CP-276 and VKFF-1763

Over the weekend just gone I spent most of my weekend off in front of the computer, comparing CAPAD data with existing parks for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  By Sunday (9th July 2017) luncthime I had became totally annoyed with being glued to the computer, so I decided to brave the cold weather and head out to activate a park.  That day I had officially released the VKFF Boomerang Award for the WWFF program, rewarding activators who activate the same park on multiple occasions.  So I decided to head just up the road and activate the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park 5CP-276 & VKFF-1763.  The park is located about 60 km east of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park, east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park is a new park and was only gazetted on the 22nd September 2016.  It was previously set aside as Crown land.  The park extends about 15 km along the South Eastern Freeway from near Callington to Murray Bridge.  The park is 426 hectares in size, and provides important habitat for more than 60 bird species, five of which are of State conservation significance.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the park in relation to my home QTH.  The city of Adelaide and the Gulf ST Vincent and the Yorke Peninsula can be seen in the background.  Image courtesy of Google Maps

The scrub located within the park is a mixture of plant species from across Australia.  This is due to the extensive planting in the area due to the proposed satellite city of Monarto back in the 1970’s.  The then South Australian Premier, Don Dunstan had proposed that Monarto, or ‘New Murray Town’ would become the site of a satellite city of Adelaide.  However this concept was eventually abandoned.  Today, Monarto is little more than a railway siding.  The Monarto open plains zoo is also located nearby.


I headed to my normal operating spot in the park.  Access is via White Road.

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

There is a track which leads into the park.  I found a nice cleared area in amongst the scrub,and set up my station comprising the Yaesu FT-857d and the 80/40/20m linked dipole.  It was initially not a very pleasant day, very overcast and quite cold, with the occasional sprinkle of rain.  But as this was a Conservation Park I wanted to operate independent of the vehicle as is required in the rules for the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  So I put the bothy bag to good use during this activation, with periods of operation from underneath it when it started to rain.

After setting up I headed to 7.144 and heard Neil VK4HNS working Rob VK4AAC who was activating a park.  But sadly, Rob’s signal was so low that I decided it just wasn’t worth calling him.  Feeling rather dejected because I had missed out on the Park to Park contact, I headed down the band to 7.139 and started calling CQ.  Kev VK3VEK from western Victoria was number one in the log.  This was followed by regular park hunters Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, Peter VK3PF, Ken VK2KYO, and then my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ.

Much to my surprise, contact number 9 was with Rob VK4AAC/p whose signal had come up to a very readable 5/3.  From my home QTH I would not have been able to work Rob, but as there was no man made noise on the band due to my location, I was able to hear Rob very well from the Freshwater National Park VKFF-0187.

Contact number 21 was another Park to Park, this time with Mark VK4SMA/p who was in the Dwyers Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-1534.  This was a first time activation of the park, so it was a pleasure to be able to log Mark.  Mike VK5MCB then called in from Farina, a ghost town in the Far North of South Australia.  I visited Farina a few years ago with Marija and a few other amateurs, and operated as VK100ANZAC.

The 40m band was in average-good condition, with quite a bit of QSB on the signals.  However I was very happy to have a constant stream of callers.  Contact number 39 was another Park to Park, with Gerard VK2JNG/p who was activating the Durridgere Coordinated Conservation Area.  I logged a total of 46 stations before callers ceased.  I took the opportunity of heading down the band to 7.087.  Marija had sent me a text to advise that Ian VK5MA/6 was in a park in Western Australia.  I logged Ian who was in the Stirling Range National Park VKFF-0467, with a good 5/7 signal.

As it was the weekend for the IARU HF championships, I heard quite a few good signals coming in on 40m from Europe.  But sadly the few stations I called were unable to hear my 40w signal.  So I decided to try my luck on 20m.

Prior to calling CQ I had a tune around the band to see what conditions were like.  I heard a few European stations but they were not very strong.  But the North American stations were strong.  I logged Greg NR6Q in California USA, and then 9A0HQ in Croatia.  I then propped on 14.310 and prior to calling CQ I decided to place a post on the KFF Facebook page stating I was portable and looking for North American contacts.  Soon after I had my first USA station in the log, Jeremy in Colorado.  Hans VK6XN/p then called in, maritime mobile off the coast of Freemantle, running a Buddipole.  Hans had a good 5/7 signal.  My first maritime mobile contact whilst mobile…thanks Hans.

I was then called by Conny N5HC, Lee VK2LEE, and then Rob VK4AAC/p in VKFF-0187.  I was pleasantly surprised to then get a string of DX callers from USA, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and Alaska.  Amongst the DX I also logged a few more VK’s including Stuie VK8NSB in Darwin.  Unfortunately the DX dried up quite quickly, so I tuned across the 20m band and logged a further 10 stations from USA, Czech Republic, Mexico, Germany, and the Canary Islands.

I then headed back to 40m where I logged a further 17 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6 and New Zealand.  This included Jim VK5JW who was operating portable from a sheep station near Lake Eyre in the Far North of VK5.  The band was becoming very busy and I was competing with a YV5 station ont he frequency from Venezuela, so I QSY’d to 7.152 where I logged another 3 VK’s, before heading off to the 80m band.

I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Adam VK2YK, followed by Lou VK3ALB, and then Joe VK3MAB.  Conditions on 80m were excellent, with a total of 14 stations logged from VK1, VK2, VK3, and VK5.

I had now surpassed 100 contacts for the activation.  I decided to have one last quick listen on 40m hoping to log some North American stations.  However, the few that I did call, could not hear me.  I did however, log ZL6HQ and Warren ZL2AJ in New Zealand.

The temperature had dropped down to a very chilly 8 deg and it was about 5.30 p.m. local time, and time for me to pack up and head home.  I was very happy, with a total of 114 QSO’s in the log, with some nice DX contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3VEK
  2. VK3GGG
  3. VK3PMG
  4. VK3PF
  5. VK2KYO
  6. VK5FMAZ
  7. VK3ARH
  8. VK3KMH
  9. VK4AAC/p (Freshwater National Park VKFF-0187)
  10. VK3OHM
  11. VK2YK
  12. VK3ANL
  13. VK3NXT
  14. VK5NFT
  15. VK7QP
  16. VK3JP
  17. VK2PKT
  18. VK3PAT
  19. VK3BHR
  20. VK5KLV
  21. VK4SMA/p (Dwyers Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-1534)
  22. VK5MCB/p
  23. VK3QB
  24. VK3SQ
  25. VK3WAR
  26. VK1VIC/m
  27. VK7FGRA
  28. VK2HHA
  29. VK3VIN
  30. VK2LEE
  31. VK3GQ
  32. VK2NP
  33. VK3VLA
  34. VK2QK
  35. VK1AT
  36. VK3FTRI
  37. VK7FRJG
  38. VK5PET
  39. VK2JNG/p (Durridgere Co-ordinated Conservation Area VKFF-1314)
  40. VK3NBL
  41. VK4SOE/p
  42. VK2GKA
  43. VK3DBP
  44. VK4FW
  45. VK7AN
  46. VK2IO
  47. VK5MA/6 (Stirling Range National Park VKFF-0467)
  48. VK7DW
  49. VK3ZPF
  50. VK4FARR
  51. VK4KUS
  52. VK2VRC
  53. ZL1TM
  54. VK3AJA
  55. VK3BSG
  56. ZL2ASH
  57. VK3KTO
  58. VK2OA
  59. VK5JW/p
  60. VK3BBB
  61. VK6WC
  62. VK3CWF
  63. VK3MAB
  64. VK4QQ
  65. VK3ZVX
  66. VK3SX
  67. VK7JON
  68. ZL6HQ
  69. ZL2AJ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. NR6Q
  2. 9A0HQ
  3. KE0HQO
  4. VK6XN/mm
  5. N5HC
  6. VK2LEE
  7. VK4AAC/p (Freshwater National Park VKFF-0187)
  8. AB5NX
  9. TI1K
  10. W6TXK
  11. N7VF
  12. ZL4KD
  13. VK8NSB
  14. K0BBC
  15. VE7CV
  16. JA8RJE
  17. N7GCO
  18. AL7KC
  19. VK4FW
  20. VK4FE
  21. VK2ZH
  22. K7GDL
  23. OL7HQ
  24. K4AB
  25. K3ZJ
  26. W5FMH
  27. KU2M
  28. AB4EJ
  29. XE1LM
  30. DA0HQ
  31. EF8R

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK2YK
  2. VK3ALB
  3. VK3MAB
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK3ZPF
  6. VK3ZVX
  7. VK5FMAZ
  8. VK5YX
  9. VK1AT
  10. VK2NP
  11. VK5ATN
  12. VK5FMWW
  13. VK2VRC
  14. VK5FPAC



4 thoughts on “Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park 5CP-276 and VKFF-1763

    • Hi Andrew,

      It’s amazing when a contest is on. There is that much activity on the bands. I suspect most of those that called me were the big gun DX stations. My linked dipole is a real sky warmer, so I must do something about a better DX antenna.


      Paul VK5PAS

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