I spent most of this morning (Tuesday 11th July 2017) adding new references to the WWFF Directory for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. By lunchtime I had endured enough time in front of the computer screen, and as it was such a beautiful sunny Winters day, I decided to head out to activate the Bullock Hill Conservation Park 5CP-265 & VKFF-0873. The park is located near the town of Ashbourne on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 60 km south of Adelaide.
The Bullock Hill Conservation Park was proclaimed on the 20th January 2014, so it is a very young park. It consists of 221 hectares of undulating countryside, mainly consisting of Pink Gum and Cup Gum, with a dense under storey of Acacias and mixed heath. Along the eastern boundary of the park there is scattered South Australian Blue Gum over native grassland.
Western Grey kangaroos can be found in abundance in the park. About 95 species of native bird have been located in the park including Common Bronzewing, Superb Fairywren, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Red Wattelbird, Brown Thornbill, Rainbow Bee-Eater, and Grey Shrikethrush.
I travelled to the park via Strathalbyn and then along the Ashbourne Road. As you leave Strathalbyn the countryside becomes quite hilly. I stopped briefly to enjoy the sensational views back to Strathalbyn and out to Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.
I have activated the park a number of times previously and I have always operated in the past from Wattle Flat Road and the eastern side of the park. But I had always been interested on whether the western side of the park could be approached. I travelled south on Signal Flat Road until I reached Haines Road where I turned left and travelled east. It has been quite wet here in recent days and as a result the track was very wet and boggy in parts. As it was today, I would probably not attempt passing Haines Road unless you were in a 4WD.
Google maps shows that Haines Road traverses the southern boundary of the park, and runs all the way from Signal Flat Road through to Wattle Flat Road.
In reality it doesn’t. As you travel along Haines Road you will pass a large amount of scrub on your left, but this is not the park. It is private property. You will then come to the south western corner of the park where there is a park sign. There is a small parking area here. I continued along Haines Road and soon reached a locked gate. There is no further access to the east. There is quite a nice parking area here and a recently graded fire track which runs north-south through the park.
I walked about 10 metres down the track and set up my fold up table and deck chair. Equipment used was my Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and 80/40/20m linked dipole, inverted vee, supported on a 7m telescopic squid pole.
There are some very nice views to be enjoyed here of Lake Alexandrina and down towards the Coorong.
On my way to the park I had spoken from the mobile with Gerard VK2JNG who was activating the Goodinan State Conservation Area VKFF-1320. So prior to calling CQ, I spoke with Gerard on 7.144 and logged the Park to Park contact. Gerard was an excellent 5/9 signal. I then headed down to 7.139 and asked if the frequency was in use, with Peter VK3PF coming back to let me know the frequency was clear. Peter was a strong 5/9 + signal. Next up was Ray VK3NBL, followed by Gerard VK2IO, and then Jonathan VK7JON.
Although it was a weekday, I was very pleased to have a steady flow of callers from Vk2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7. There was a small amount of QSB on some signals, but generally the band was in good condition. I noted that there were 2 other QSOs on the same frequency, one being a KP2, and the others European.
There was a small opening with close in propagation, with a number of VK5’s logged, including Ron VK5MRE in the Riverland, Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula, Les at Port Augusta in the north of the state, Adrian VK5AW in the Riverland, and Wolf VK5WF in Adelaide.
Contact number 34 was Russell VK5OB who was activating the Scott Creek Conservation Park 5CP-207 & VKFF-0788. This was Russell’s first solo park activation. Russell had been taken out into the field by John VK5BJE on the Sunday of the WIA AGM/Convention. Clearly John’s enthusiasm had rubbed off on Russell. I left the frequency with Russell and headed off to the 20m band.
As it was nearly 2.45 p.m. local time I decided to book into the ANZA DX Net on 14.183. There was no man made noise on the band at all from Bullock Hill, so I was hearing most stations on the net quite well, including the DX. I logged 3 stations: John VK7XX, Jack W1FDY in Virginia USA, and Dale VE7SV in Canada. I then moved up the band to 14.310 where I called CQ. Sadly only 2 stations were to be entered into the log: Bob VK6POP in Western Australia, and Jonathan VK7JON in Tasmania.
I headed back to the 40m band and found that it had become much busier. Marco CT1EHI from Portugal was on 7.143 with a strong 5/8 signal, but had quite a pile up from the USA and Australia, so I didn’t bother trying to call. I found 7.150 clear and self spotted on parksnpeaks. First in the log was John VK5BJE who was very low down, but workable with the low noise floor. Eight QSOs later I was very surprised to be called by Richard G0BLB who had a nice 5/7 signal. Richard was struggling with my signal a bit, but we eventually made it. I was very pleased to get Richard in the log from the UK with my 40 watts and little bit of wire. I logged a further 18 stations on 40m including Ken ZL4KD, the ZLFF co-ordinator.
I had checked the DX cluster whilst on 40m and saw a spot for M0YMA who was activating a park, on my operating frequency of 7.150. Unfortunately we could not hear each other.
To wrap up the activation I headed to 3.610 on the 80m band. John VK5BJE was there patiently waiting for me. And what a difference a band makes. John had gone from 5/1 on 40m to 5/9 + on 80m. Greg VK5GJ then called in and he was also 5/9. Greg lowered his power down to 1 watt and was still a good 5/8 signal.
My wife Marija VK5FMAZ sent me a text message to let me know she was just 15 minutes away from arriving home from work, and was keen to get me in the log. So I continued to call CQ and logged Adrian VK5FANA, Phil VK2HPN, Nick VK3ANL, and Cliff VK2NP. Marija then gave me a call and made it into my log. I logged 2 further stations, Des VK3PEF and finally Matt VK3FORD who was mobile.
It was now 5.00 p.m. local time and the sun had disappeared behind the trees and as a result the temperature had dropped dramatically down to 9 deg C. So I packed up the gear and headed home with a total of 75 contacts in the log.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2JNG/p (Goodinan State Conservation Area VKFF-1320)
- VK5OB/p (Scott Creek Conservation Park 5CP-207 & VKFF-0788)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/bullock-hill-conservation-park/>, viewed 11th July 2017