Yesterday (25th September 2017) I started 2 days off after working 7 straight, so I decided to head out into the field to activate the Myponga Conservation Park 5CP-157 & VKFF-0921. I have activated and qualified this park previously back in April 2016, so this was another park to go towards the recently released Boomerang Award for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.
Myponga is about 56 km south west of my home, and about 68 km south of the city of Adelaide.
The Myponga Conservation Park is 167 hectares in size and was proclaimed on the 17th February 1997. It is a hilly park and has several rocky outcrops and waterfalls. Several habitats exist in the park including Open Forest Over Wet Heaths in the gullies – messmate stringybark and cup gum over prickly tea-tree and heath tea-tree. Also found is Low Very Open Woodland – cup gum and pink gum over cranberry heath and common fringe-myrtle.
More than 68 species of native bird have been recorded in the park including Crescent Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, Australian Golden Whistler, Scarlet Robin, Grey Shrikethrush, Red Wattlebird, Magpielark, Jacky Winter, and Hooded Robin.
The park is located about 9 km to the south of the little town of Myponga which is at the centre of rich grazing and dairy country. The name Myponga is derived from the Aboriginal word ‘maippunga‘ meaning locality of high cliffs. Myponga is a sleepy little town with a population of about 550 people. Many years ago, large gum trees were felled here and prepared for use in the Broken Hill mines. A cheese factory was also established and its produce was noted for its high quality, much of which was exported. This is now part of the Farmers Market. Another worthwhile place to visit is the Smiling Samoyd Brewery. In the early 1950s uranium was discovered and mining prospects investigated, however no mines were developed.
The nearby Myponga Reservoir is fed by the Myponga River and other rivers in the Myponga catchment area. The Reservoir provides about 5% of the water supply for Adelaide. Construction of the reservoir commenced in 1958 and was completed in 1962. The total capacity of the reservoir is 26 800 ML.
The park is about a 50 minute drive from home and took me through the beautiful Adelaide Hills. I travelled from Mount Barker in the Hills to Echunga and on to Meadows. I then took Brookman Road to Willunga and then Pages Flat Road. After reaching the town of Myponga I headed out along James Track towards the park, enjoying some of the sensational views.
I accessed the park via James Track which heads south out of the town of Myponga.
I travelled along James Track, passing Springmount Road and on to Martinga Park. There is no sign for the park, but keep an eye out for the old dairy.
Upon reaching Martina Park, I drove about 1 km along the 4WD track and soon reached the south eastern corner of the park. A park sign exists at this point.
I continued down the track until I reached the end of the track where there is a turn around area. I checked out the site to see if there was enough room to stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole, an decided the area was probably a little too small. There are some great views to be had along the track of the park and the adjacent cleared farming land, and out towards the ocean.
The track through the park is passable by conventional vehicle, to the south east corner of the park. But I doubt if a normal car would be able to reach the end of the track as it is quite steep and rocky in places. Certainly not in winter time.
As it was spring time, many of the native plants in the park were in flower.
I headed back down the track a short distance and set up on the edge of the track on the southern boundary of the park.
For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole, supported on the 7m heavy duty telescopic squid pole.
I commenced the activation by calling CQ on 7.144. It didn’t take long before my first caller was in the log, that being Les VK5KLV at Port Augusta who was 5/9. This was a good sign with at least some local propagation working. Port Augusta is about 365 km north of Port Augusta. Next was Geoff VK3SQ in Beechworth, followed by Mick VK3GGG/VK3PMG, and then Hans VK5YX. Hans was 5/9 from Hallett Cove, about 41 km to the north of Myponga.
Despite it being a weekday I was happy that there was a constant stream of callers. Generally conditions were quite good, with some of the Victoria (VK3) stations reporting that there was fading (QSB) on my signal. What was very pleasing was that the band was behaving for local contacts. Other than Les VK5KLV and Hans VK5YX, I logged a further : Tom VK5EE at Mount Gambier (about 450 km to the south east); Terry VK5ATN at Balaklava (about 150 km to the north); John VK5BJE in the Adelaide Hills (about 60 km to the north east); Roy VK5NRG in the Adelaide Hills (about 55 km to the north); Danny VK5DW at Loxton (about 280 km to the north east); Ian VK5IS at Beetaloo Valley (about 275 km to the north); Rob VK5TRM/m in the Riverland (about 320 km to the north east); Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula (about 150km as the crow flies-across the Gulf); and David VK5PL in the southern Barossa Valley (about 100 km to the north).
I logged a total of 44 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7, before heading to the 20m band. Unfortunately the Over the Horizon Radar was across the band and was strength 9 when it came on. Fortunately it didn’t last long. I self spotted on parksnpeaks and Facebook and started calling CQ on 14.310. This was answered by Anthony VK6MAC in Western Australia with a nice 5/7 signal, followed by Peter VK6YV who was 5/9 and then Jim ZL1BOS on the North Island of New Zealand. The 20m band appeared to be in good shape, with a steady flow of callers. Some of the Queensland (VK4) stations were S9 plus, whilst the Western Australian (VK6) stations some 2,600 km to the west were ranging between strength 7 to 8.
During the callers I was very surprised to get a call from Ed ZS6UT in Pretoria in South Africa. I initially thought Ed was a ZL, but when he called me a second time and I heard he was from Africa, I was very excited. Ed was a good 5/5 and was hearing me quite well across the Indian Ocean. It is not every day that I work Africa whilst out portable, so I was very pleased to receive the call from Ed.
I logged a total of 33 stations on 14.310 from VK2, VK4, VK5YX, VK6, New Zealand, South Africa, and Japan. It was nice to log Kio JA8RJE, who has become a regular park hunter. I then headed down the band and booked in to the ANZA DX Net. This was the busiest I had heard the net in some time. I was very pleased to work Grant (VK5GR) E6AG on Nieue in the Pacific Ocean. During the net I quickly slipped off to tune across the 20m band and I found A25BE in Botswana in Africa calling CQ on 14.207. I gave him a call and much to my surprise I got though. Now I was really excited.
I headed back to the ANZA DX Net and tried to make contact with V63YAH in Micronesia, but sadly just couldnt quite get through. I then headed back to 14.310 and called CQ, where I logged a further 3 stations from VK4 and VK6.
I then headed to 3.610 on the 80m band and asked if the frequency was in use. A familiar voice came back and said ‘No Paul, I’ve been waiting for you”. It was John VK5BJE with a good 5/9 signal. Hans VK5YX then called in, followed by Peter VK3PF and then Adrian VK5FANA. Despite conditions being good, they were the only stations logged on the 80m band.
I decided to head back to the 40m band for another round. I logged a total of 18 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7. To complete the activation I headed back to 80m where I logged my wife Marija VK5FMAZ who had arrived home from work.
It was time for me to pack up and head home. I had about a 50 minute drive home and it was off to the gym for me. This was a great activation, with a total of 104 contacts in the log, including some very memorable contacts into Africa.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Australia’s Guide, 2017, <http://www.australias.guide/sa/location/myponga/>, viewed 26th September 2017
Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/myponga-conservation-park/>, viewed 25th September 2017
Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, ‘Parks of the Fleurieu Peninsula’.
Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myponga,_South_Australia>, viewed 26th September 2017
Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myponga_Reservoir>, viewed 26th September 2017