Monarto Woodlands and the 2017 VKFF Team Championship

Today (Sunday 22nd October 2017) was the 2017 VKFF Team Championship was held.  This is the second year that the event has been held.  The VKFF Team Championship is all about promoting the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program down here in Australia.  Over a 6 hour period (0000 UTC-0600 UTC) teams of amateurs compete against each other, with the goal of obtaining the most number of contacts, whilst operating from a qualifying VKFF park.  This year I was fortunate in receiving some cash donations towards trophies and I also secured some commercial sponsorship.  I would like to personally thank SOTABEAMS in the UK, and Pages of Cobram for their sponsorship of this year’s event.

The team name for Marija and I for the day was ‘The Walky Talkies’.

More information on the VKFF Team Championship can be found at……

http://www.wwffaustralia.com/vkff-team-championship.html

Marija and I had planned to activate the Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills, but sadly the weather was not what the forecast said it was going to be when we awoke this morning.  It was drizzling with rain, and as vehicular access was not possible in Scott Creek, we decided to head east to activate the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park 5CP-276 & VKF-1763.  Vehicular access is permissable in Monarto Woodlands, which meant we could extend out the annex/awning on the Toyota Hil Lux.

The park is located about 60 km east of Adelaide, and about 30 km east of our home QTH in the Adelaide Hills.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 7.51.00 pm.png

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

The Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park is about 426 hectares in size and extends about 15 km along the South Eastern Freeway from the edge of Murray Bridge, west to near Callington.  The park was proclaimed on the 22nd September 2016.

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.

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Above:- The rather flamboyant Don Dunstan.  Image courtesy of The Advertiser

Below is a short, very interesting video on Monarto dating back to 1975 which was produced by the South Australian Film Corporation.

The park provides important habitat for more than 60 bird species, five of which are of State Conservation significance.  During our visit we observed numerous White Winged Choughs and Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters.

We also had a few reptile friends, when the sun came out.  Fortunately no snakes!

DSC_8456.jpg

The little town of Monarto was just down the road from where we operated.  Don’t blink, you will miss Monarto.  The locality of Monarto was originally a private subdivision of section 210 of the Hundred of Monarto, from which it took its name, the hundred having been gazetted in 1847.  The township was laid out in 1908.  The name of the hundred was after an aboriginal woman, “Queen Monarto”, who lived in the area at the time of its proclamation.

Monarto is home to the 1,500-hectare (3,700-acre) Monarto Zoo, the world’s largest open range zoo.

We headed to Whites Road and accessed the park and set up in a clearing in amongst the scrub.

Screen Shot 2017-10-22 at 7.52.22 pm.png

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

As the weather was still very ordinary, with drizzling rain, we put up the annexe/awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  We decided to stick to 10 watts PEP, as it was just to hard to go in and out of the menu.  For any overseas readers of this post, Marija VK5FMAZ, as a Foundation operator is limited to 10 watts PEP.

Marija started off the activation, with two Park to Park contacts with Mike VK5FMWW/p and Larry VK5FLHR/p, ‘Team Onka”, who were in the Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402.  Although quite low, at both ends, the contacts were AOK due to the low noise floor experiences in the parks at both ends.  Marija racked up a total of 11 contacts, with conditions on 40m being very average.  The band conditions were well down compared to normal sadly.

I then took control of the mic and logged 4 stations, before Marija and I decided the best way to tackle the day was to work a station and then swap the mic to log the same caller.  This is what we did for the remainder of the activation.

Other Park to Park contacts we logged were with Rob VK4AAC/p and VK4FFAB/p in the Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555; Mark VK4SMA/p in Main Range National Park VKFF-0300; and Mick VK3PMG/p in the Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958.  We also spoke with Kerry VK7FKEK on Flinders Island and Ron VK3DX portable at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum in Warrnambool.

We logged around 40 stations each on 40m before giving the 80m band a go.  It was evident that close in propagation was just not working on 40, so we were hoping to get some South Australian contacts on 80.  Our first contact there was with Greg VK5GJ at Meadows, followed by John VK5BJE.  Les VK5KLV/p and Peter VK5KPR/p then gave us a shout from the Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757, about 400 kms to our north.  Marija and I logged a further 3 VK5’s: Tony VK5MRT at Strathalbyn, Hans VK5YX in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, and Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula.  But despite the 80m band being very good all across South Australia, they were our only stations logged on the 80m band.

We moved back to 40m and as the day progressed, the band conditions improved.  There were periods of no response to our CQ calls, but we have learnt from previous activations that persistence pays off, and we kept calling and calling.

Park to Park contacts logged during this stint on 40m included:-

  • VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  • VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  • VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  • VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  • VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  • VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  • VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  • VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  • VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)

We also logged Sam VK2GPL who was on SOTA peak, Mount Tassie, VK3. VT-046.

Marija and I stuck it out until 0600 hours.  In the end we logged a total of 197 QSOs, which included 32 Park to Park (P2P) contacts.  It was certainly terrific to get that many P2P contacts in the log.

DSC_8373.jpg

THANKYOU to the other 6 teams who ventured out today. We managed to log all of the other teams:-

  • ‘The Special K’s comprising Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR
  • The VK4WIPeouts‘ comprising Mark VK4SMA and Murray VK4MWB
  • ‘Team Kookaburra’ comprising Mick VK3GGG and Tony VK3XV
  • ‘Team Onka’ comprising Mike VK5FMWW and Larry VK5FHLR
  • ‘Penguin Pirates’ comprising Hans VK6XN and Phil VK6ADF
  • ‘The 2 Robbies’ comprising Rob VK4AAC and Rob VK4FFAB.

And THANKYOU to everyone who called us today, and special thanks to those who took the time to spot us.  As this was a competitive event, we made the decision not to self spot.

Marija and I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  2. VK5FLHR/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  3. CK3PWG
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK4HNS
  6. VK7DIK
  7. VK3OHM
  8. VK3JP
  9. VK7JON/m
  10. VK7FOLK/m
  11. VK2KYO
  12. VK2PKT
  13. VK4RF
  14. VK4HA
  15. VK4AAC/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  16. VK4FFAB/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  17. VK3ZZS/p
  18. VK4WIP/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  19. VK7VZ/2
  20. VK3PAT
  21. VK2PDW
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3MCO
  24. VK3FSPG
  25. VK3MPR
  26. VK7VKV/3
  27. VK7FRJG
  28. VK7FKEK
  29. VK3SQ
  30. VK3FCMC
  31. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  32. VK3FTOM
  33. VK3PF
  34. VK2JNG/m
  35. VK3BNJ
  36. VK2UH
  37. VK3KLB
  38. VK3NBL
  39. VK1LAJ
  40. VK3UH
  41. VK3VGB
  42. VK4FDJL
  43. VK3FAHS/p
  44. VK2YK
  45. VK7DW
  46. VK3TKK/m
  47. VK3ZVX
  48. VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  49. VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  50. VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  51. VK3WAC/m
  52. VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  53. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  54. VK3MRH
  55. VK2NP
  56. VK2LX
  57. VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  58. VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  59. VK7JON
  60. VK3KMH
  61. VK2FSAV
  62. VK3ARH
  63. VK3EF
  64. VK4TJ
  65. VK3NDJ
  66. VK3FLES
  67. VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  68. VK2FANT
  69. VK3PAt/p
  70. VK7FOLK
  71. VK7ABY
  72. VK7NWT
  73. VK2SLB
  74. VK2FOUZ
  75. VK3DRE
  76. VK3AUR
  77. VK3FMKE
  78. VK3YE/p
  79. VK2XXM
  80. VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)
  81. VK3PDG
  82. VK3IH
  83. VK2FKDM
  84. VK2YMU
  85. VK2GPL/3 (SOTA VK3/ VT-046)
  86. VK3RW
  87. VK7FGRA
  88. VK2SR
  89. VK3HJA/m
  90. VK3NLK
  91. VK3FMLB
  92. VK3FADM/1
  93. VK4DNA
  94. VK4PDX

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  5. VK5MRT
  6. VK5YX
  7. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3DX
  2. VK3VBI
  3. VK3PAH
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK4RF
  6. VK4HA
  7. VK4HNS
  8. VK2HHA
  9. VK4AAC/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  10. VK4FFAB/p (Hays Inlet Conservation Park VKFF-1555)
  11. VK3ZZS/7
  12. VK4WIP/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0300)
  13. VK5FMWW/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  14. VK5FLHR/p (Onkaparinga River National Park VKFF-0402)
  15. VK3FSPG
  16. VK3MPR
  17. VK3KMH
  18. VK2VW
  19. VK7VZ/2
  20. VK3PAT
  21. VK2PDW
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3MCO
  24. VK7VKV/3
  25. VK7FRJG
  26. VK7FKEK
  27. VK3SQ
  28. VK3FCMC
  29. VK3PMG/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  30. VK3FTOM
  31. VK3PF
  32. VK2JNG/m
  33. VK3BNJ
  34. VK2UH
  35. VK3KLB
  36. VK3NBL
  37. VK1LAJ
  38. VK3UH
  39. VK3VGB
  40. VK4FDJL
  41. VK3FAHS/p
  42. VK2YK
  43. VK7DW
  44. VK3TKK/m
  45. VK3ZVX
  46. VK2IG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  47. VK2FENG/p (Bango Nature Reserve VKFF-1884)
  48. VK1DI/p (Lower Molonglo River Corridor Nature Reserve VKFF-0990)
  49. VK3WAC/m
  50. VK2IO/p (Agnes Banks Nature Reserve VKFF-1881)
  51. VK3XV/p (Ararat Hills Regional Park VKFF-0958)
  52. VK2NP
  53. VK2LX
  54. VK6ADF/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  55. VK6XN/p (Penguin Island Conservation Park VKFF-1436)
  56. VK7JON
  57. VK2FSAV
  58. VK3ARH
  59. VK3EF
  60. VK4TJ
  61. VK3NDJ
  62. VK3FLES
  63. VK4HNS/2 (Maroomba State Conservation Area VKFF-1347)
  64. VK2FANT
  65. VK7ABY
  66. VK7NWT
  67. VK2SLB
  68. VK2FOUZ
  69. VK3DRE
  70. VK3AUR
  71. VK3FMKE
  72. VK3YE/p
  73. VK2XXM
  74. VK2IO/p (Wianamatta Nature Reserve VKFF-2018)
  75. VK3PDG
  76. VK3IH
  77. VK2FKDM
  78. VK2YMU
  79. VK2GPL/3 (SOTA VK3/ VT-046)
  80. VK3RW
  81. VK7FGRA
  82. VK2SR
  83. VK3HJA/m
  84. VK3NLK
  85. VK3FMLB
  86. VK3FADM/1
  87. VK4DNA
  88. VK4PDX

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK5KPR/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  5. VK5MRT
  6. VK5YX
  7. VK5FANA

References.

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, 2017, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Home/Full_newsevents_listing/News_Events_Listing/160922-new-conservation-parks&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarto_Woodlands_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarto,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 22nd October 2017

3 thoughts on “Monarto Woodlands and the 2017 VKFF Team Championship

  1. Hi Paul, I note a few more contacts on 80 metres. That is encouraging. I enjoyed the write up of your activation – very interesting.
    Thanks, John D. VK5BJE/VK5PF

  2. Hi John,

    Following the activation we had a bit of a drive through the park which has a series of tracks. This was also the first time that I had seen the Spiny Cheeked Honeyeaters, they were everywhere throughout the park.

    Its a great park for a hot day, as there is plenty of shade.

    Re 80m, it’s a shame that more VK5’s don’t call. Perhaps noise floor is an issue for some?

    73,

    Paul VK5PAS

  3. Excellent effort and excellent write up. I remember it from a previous activation. You have certainly increased my knowledge of VK5!
    Also good to note a park with vehicle access as I really need to deploy the hex beam again, if for no other reason than practice!

    Chris
    VK5FR/VK4FR

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