Today (Tuesday 17th April 2018) I headed down south to activate a brand new park for me, the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park 5CP-003 & VKFF-0866. The park is located about 48 km south of Adelaide, and about 60 km south west of my home.
The Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park is 266 hectares in size and was proclaimed on the 7th November 1985. It is home to a diverse range of rare plants and is recognised as a significant area for the conservation and protection of the region’s flora and fauna. The park represents one of the last remnant patches of native coastal scrubland along the Adelaide coastline.
The area which is now the Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park was part of the territory of the Kaurna aboriginal people. The scrub and adjacent coastline yielded a rich and bountiful supply of food and materials used for utensils. Shellfish, fish, marsupials, reptiles, birds and plant foods such as nardoo, muntries, yams and quandongs were abundant in the area. It is believed that Aldinga is a corruption of the aborignal word ‘Nal-dinga’ meaning ‘open wide’. However there are other suggestions that it means ‘much water’, while other sources suggest it means ‘good place for meat’, ‘open, wide plain’ or ‘tree district’.
The nearby town of Aldinga was laid out by Lewis Fidge (1827-1895), farmer of Aldinga, circa 1857, who had arrived in the colony of South Australia aboard the Duchess of Northumberland in 1839.
In the 1960s the Willunga Council became concerned that subdivision of the area would cause erosion of the important sand dunes in the area. Between 1965 and 1982, 300 hectares were purchased at Aldinga to be managed by the State Planning Authority as an Open Space Reserve. In 1985 the reserve was declared Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park.
The park contains sand dunes, sand blows which are mobile dunes, mallee box woodland, remnant river red gum forests and closed heaths. There are areas of bracken and tall shrubland dominated by Golden Wattle. There are several rare species found in the park including the unique Lacy coral lichen, Aldinga dampiera and numerous native orchids.
Numerous native animals call the park home including Western Grey kangaroos and Short-beaked echidnas. Various reptiles can also be found in the park including the Common Brown snake, Lined Worm Lizard, Marbled Gecko, and the Bearded Dragon.
Numerous native birds can be found in the park. Birds SA have recorded a total of 133 species including Crested Pigeon, New Holland Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Striated Thornbill, Dusky Woodswallow, Australian Golden Whistler, Painted Buttonquail, Peaceful Dove, Tawny Frogmouth, White-winged Triller, and the Red-browed Finch. Some of the birds I spotted and photographed are shown below.
I travelled to the park from home via Echunga, Meadows and then Willunga. I travelled to the end of Hart Road and soon reached the north eastern corner of the park. There were some terrific views here of the Southern Vales wine region, one of the most famous wine growing areas in Australia.
I parked the Toyota Hil Lux alongside the gate at the end of Hart Road. There is a carpark here. I was surprised to find the gate open, with the padlock not having been cut. I started unloading the vehicle and found a nice shady spot about 30 metres from the gate. As I was carting gear from the vehicle to my operating spot a National Parks truck and trailer arrived and I had a chat with the 3 park rangers who were very friendly. One of them remembered me from a recent activation on the Fleurieu Peninusla. They advised that there was a working bee at the park involving The Friends of Aldinga Scrub Group. They have an excellent website with lots of information on the park.
I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, set at 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. The dipole was supported on the top of a 7m telescopic squid pole.
To kick off the activation I had a tune across the 40m band and found Gerard VK2JNG/p in the Livingstone State Conservation Area VKFF-1343. Gerard was 5/9 plus. After working Gerard I moved up the band and called CQ on 7.150. This was answered by Mark VK3UA, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and then Peter VK5ZPG. There was a slow and steady mini pile up and within 13 minutes into the activation I had ten contacts in the log, thus qualifying the park for the VKFF program.
It was a weekday and activity on the band was much slower than a weekend. I logged a total of 21 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4 and VK5, before callers dried up. I took the opportunity of tuning across the band and logged Jeff VK3HJA/p in the Alpine National Park VKFF-0619.
I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band and headed to 3.610. Sadly there was a strength 7 noise floor on 80m and the Over the Horizon radar. My CQ call was answered by John VK5BJE, then Tony VK5MRE, John VK5NJ, and finally Adrian VK5FANA. There were others calling but sadly I wasn’t able to pull them through due to the noise floor.
I then headed back to 40m and put out a few CQ calls on 7.144. John VK5NJ at Mount Gambier was first in the log. This was followed by Mark VK3MDH mobile and then John VK2YW. It was really slow going and I logged a further 8 stations including Horst VK2HL/p who was in the Coolah Tops National Park VKFF-0111.
I now had 38 contacts in the log and required another 6 to qualify the park for the global WWFF program. The squid pole was lowered again and I removed the links for the 20m band. I put out a CQ call on 14.310 and this was answered by John VK4TJ, followed by Colin VK4PDX. Sadly they were my only callers, so I headed down the band and booked in to the ANZA DX Net. I logged a total of 9 stations on the net including Peter ZL2BAQ in New Zealand. I also spoke to my good mate Ted VK6NTE who was 5/9 +++.
I checked the various Facebook pages on my phone and saw that David VK5PL had listened out for me on 80m but had missed me. So I sent a message back to David and headed to 3.610. I logged David who was 5/9, but despite spotting on parksnpeaks, David was my only caller.
I headed back to the 40m band and found Bill VK4FW/p on 7.141 who was activating the Tarong National Park VKFF-0479. I called Bill and at the same time Bill received a phone call, and whilst he was on the phone, Rob VK4AAC/2 snuck in to log me.
I then moved down the band and called CQ on 7.130. Peter VK2NEO called in with his normal booming signal. This was followed by Gerard VK2JNG mobile and then Keith VK2PKT. I logged a further 21 stations, including some interesting contacts. One of those was Joe VK3YSP who was portable at the Moorabin & Districts Radio Club with some students from he and Julie’s School Amateur Radio Club Network. I had a quick chat with some of Joe and Julie’s students: Henry, Stefano, and Hannah.
I also logged Andrei ZL1TM in Auckland, New Zealand and Owen ZL4CY in New Zealand. And I was very pleased to have been called by Grant (VK5GR) YJ0AG in Vanuatu. Grant is holidaying on Efate Vanuatu, and I was Grant’s first SSB contact.
So after a very slow start to this activation I now had 78 contacts in the log, including 4 Park to Park QSOs. It was 4.30 p.m. and time to pack up and head home.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2JNG/p (Livingstone State Conservation Area VKFF-1343)
- VK3HJA/p (Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
- VK2HL/p (Coolah Tops National Park VKFF-0111)
- VK4FW/p (Tarong National Park VKFF-0479)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
A Compendium of the Place Names of South Australia, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/>, viewed 17th April 2018
Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/aldinga-scrub-conservation-park/>, viewed 17th April 2018
National Parks South Australia, 2018, <https://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Fleurieu_Peninsula/aldinga-scrub-conservation-park>, viewed 17th April 2018
Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldinga_Scrub_Conservation_Park>, viewed 17th April 2018