Ferries McDonald Conservation Park 5CP-067 and VKFF-0881

Last night (Tuesday 26th June 2018) I decided at the last minute to head out to active the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park 5CP-067 & VKFF-0881 using the special call of VI70MI.  This was my last night using the call, and as I currently have no dedicated 80m antenna at home, I headed out for an evening park activation, particularly focussing on the 80m band.

The Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is about 70 km east of Adelaide and about 25 km south west (by road) from Murray Bridge.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

To get to the park I travelled east along the South Eastern Freeway until I got to the Monarto turnoff.  I then travelled along Ferries McDonald Road at a slow pace, as there were lots of kangaroos on the road.  The area is also known to be the home of the endangered Mallee Fowl and there are signs in place reminding you to drive with care with respect to the local wildlife.

The Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is quite a large park, comprising 842 hectares of dense mallee scrub.  Much of the land surrounding the current park was cleared years ago for agriculture, but a few rocky outcrops, not suitable for farming practices, preserved fragments of the original vegetation.  The park is home to a variety of rare and endangered plant species.  Resin Wattle (Acacia rhetinocarpa) is a compact, resinous spreading shrub that grows up to 2 metres in height with bright yellow flowers.  It is endemic to South Australia and is only found in a few locations across the state including three populations in Ferries McDonald CP.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park, looking south out towards the Coorong and the Southern Ocean.  Image courtesy of google maps

On 28th July 1938 the area was gazetted as a Closed Area for Birds and Animals, creating the first reserve specifically for mallee fauna. The area was named after Robert Sweet McDonald, the donor of much of the land.   In 1953 an addition to the park was made with monies from a bequest from James Ferries, thus creating the Ferries-McDonald Reserve.  The area was previously known as Chauncey’s Line Scrub.


A number of native animals call the park home including the Red, Western Grey and Euro Kangaroos.

A focus within the park has been the protection of the Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata), a native bird species that originally inhabited much of the natural mallee environment.  Malleefowl are listed as vulnerable nationally but are critically endangered in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.


Above:- Malleefowl.  Image courtesy of wikipedia.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 89 native birds in the park including Galah, Variegated Fairywren, Weebill, Southern Scrub Robin, Australian Magpie, Australian Golden Whistler, Grey Shrikethrush, Spotted Nightjar, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Hornbill, White-browed Scrubwren, and White-winged Triller.

I set up in my normal operating spot, in the carpark in the south eastern corner of the park.  I braved the cold during this activation, with the temperature dropping down to 4 degree C during my time in the park.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, set at 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

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

First in the log on 3.603 on 80m was John VK5NJ at Mount Gambier with a strong t/9 plus signal.  This was followed by Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula who was equally as strong.  Adrian gave me a 40/9 signal report.  Conditions on the band were great, with no man made noise of course in the park, but also limited static crashes.

I logged 29 stations on 80m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7 and New Zealand.  This included a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Eusdale Nature Reserve VKFF-1929.

I then moved to 40m as Les Vk5KLV up at Port Augusta was hoping to log me and did not have a dedicated antenna for 80m.  Sadly Les was unable to hear me on 40m.  But I did log 10 stations including Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs.

I moved back to 80m before packing up.  I logged a further 13 stations, including Les VK5KLV who was able to make it with his compromise 80m antenna.  I was pleased to get Les in the log.

I was now freezing and it was time to pack up and head home to the warmth.  I had a total of 52 contacts in the log which I was very happy with.

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5NJ
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK2IO/p (Eusdale Nature Reserve VKFF-1929)
  5. VK5PL
  6. ZL1TM
  7. VK3VKT/m
  8. VK3BBB
  9. VK4SMA
  10. VK4FW
  11. VK2NP
  12. VK5YX
  13. VK5FMAZ
  14. VK3ACT
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK1DI
  17. VK2KTG
  18. VK3IRS
  19. VK3MAB
  20. VK2PMG
  21. VK3MEG
  22. VK3ARH
  23. VK3NLK
  24. ZL2OPB/VK5
  25. VK5LA
  26. VK3UH
  27. VK6GLX
  28. VK7NWT
  29. VK5GJ
  30. VK4DX
  31. VK5KLV
  32. VK2IK
  33. VK3HJ
  34. VK2FAJM
  35. VK3KG
  36. VK3SOT
  37. VK7FCIA
  38. VK3BMT
  39. VK5MR
  40. VK5UK/3
  41. VK5BC
  42. VK5TW

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4FARR
  2. VK4LOT
  3. VK5FMAZ
  4. VK4ATM
  5. VK8GM
  6. VK4RJ
  7. VK4GJW
  8. VK2MG
  9. VK4SYD
  10. VK4DX




Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/ferries-mcdonald-conservation-park/>, viewed 27th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferries_McDonald_Conservation_Park>, viewed 27th June 2018

Scott Conservation Park 5CP-206 and VKFF-0934

On Monday 25th June 2018 I headed to the Scott Conservation Park 5CP- & VKFF-0934 to activate the park using the special call sign of VI70MI.  The special call issued to Commemorate 70 years of ANARE (Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions) for Macquarie Island, which since 1947 have served Australia in the south polar regions.

Scott Conservation Park is about 75 km south of Adelaide and about 7 km north west of Currency Creek.

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

The Scott Conservation Park is 210 hectares in size.  The park was first proclaimed in 1969 and re-proclaimed as Scott Conservation Park on 27th April 1972.  The park is relatively flat and is situated east of the Mount Lofty Ranges.  The park consists of Blue and Pink gum woodlands

The park is a terrific piece of native scrub which is generally surrounded by cleared farming land.  The next largest piece of scrub near Scott is the Cox Scrub Conservation Park.

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Above:- Aerial shot showing the location of the park on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  Image courtesy of google maps

Birds SA have recorded a total of 148 native bird species at Scott.  This includes Common Bronzewing, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Grey Shrikethrush, Cockatiel, Eastern Rosella, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater,  Restless Flycatcher, Hooded Robin, and Eastern Shriketit.

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

Unfortunately I did not plan this activation very well, and left home without the camera, and secondly with an almost flat mobile phone.  So I was only able to take 3 photos during this trip to Scott.  And I wasn’t able to self post on parksnpeaks and facebook, so I was relying upon the good will of park hunters.

I kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144 which was answered by Geoff VK3SQ, followed by Lee VK3FLJD, and then Nick VK3ANL.  Although it was a weekday I was pleased to have a good flow of callers eager to get the VI70MI callsign in their log.

I managed to log 31 contacts on 40m including two Park to Park contacts, with Bill VK4FW/p in the Sheep Island Conservation Park VKFF-1642, and Allan VK2MG/p in the Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049.  I then lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m section of the dipole.  I called CQ on 3.610 and thus was answered by Greg VK5GJ with a big 5/9 signal, followed by Hans who was also 5/9 plus.  I was really pleased to log a total of 9 stations on 80m from VK3, VK5 and VK7.


Above:- My shack for the morning.  A nice setting.

I then headed to 20m and called CQ on 14.310.  First in the log was Greg VK5GJ who had followed me from 80m.  Next was regular park hunter John VK4TJ, who become contact number 44 in the log.  This was followed by Bill VK4FW/p for another Park to Park contact from the Sheep Island Conservation Park.

With 11 stations in the log on 20m, I headed back to 7.144 on 40m where I logged 10 stations.  This included Gerard VK2IO/p on  SOTA peak Mount Walker VK2/ CT-019 and Peter VK3TKK/p in the Conglomerate Gully NCR VKFF-2297.

To complete the activation I headed down to 3.610 and logged Gerard VK2IO/p on his SOTA summit, and then Peter VK3TKK/p for another Park to Park.  Last in the log was Peter VK3PF.

It had been a fun 90 minutes in the park and I had 64 contacts in the log, including five Park to Park contacts.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3SQ
  2. VK3FLJD
  3. VK3ANL
  4. VK3UH
  5. VK5LA
  6. VK4SOE/p
  7. VK4TJ
  8. VK4/AC8WN
  9. VK4/VE6XT
  10. VK3PF
  11. VK5GJ
  12. VK4FW/m
  13. VK2UH
  14. VK7RN
  15. VK2HHA
  16. VK2MOP
  17. VK5MR
  18. VK5BJE
  19. VK4NH
  20. VK4DXA
  21. ZL4TY/VK4
  22. VK3DHW/p
  23. VK3MCM
  24. VK3GGG/p
  25. VK3PMG/p
  26. VK4FW/p (Sheep Island Conservation Park VKFF-1642)
  27. VK2MG/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  28. VK4COA/p
  29. VK1AT
  30. VK2DLR
  31. VK2PKT
  32. VK1MA
  33. VK2IO/p (Mount Walker VK2/ CT-019)
  34. VK2SB
  35. VK3AHR
  36. VK3WAR
  37. VK3TKK/p (Conglomerate Gully NCR VKFF-2297)
  38. ZL1TM
  39. VK2ESG
  40. VK3GMC
  41. VK2XXM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK5YX
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK3GGG/p
  6. VK3PMG/p
  7. VK5VC
  8. VK7RN
  9. VK5NBQ
  10. VK2IO/p (Mount Walker VK2/ CT-019)
  11. VK3TKK/p (Conglomerate Gully NCR VKFF-2297)
  12. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK5GJ
  2. VK4TJ
  3. VK4/AC8WN
  4. VK4/VE6XT
  5. VK4FW/p (Sheep Island Conservation Park VKFF-1642)
  6. VK1MA
  7. VK2NP
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK3SQ




Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/scott-conservation-park/>, viewed 25th June 2018

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2011, ‘Parks of the Fleurieu Peninsula’.