VI5MARCONI at Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 and VKFF-0781

On Sunday 2nd September 2018 I activated the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park 5CP-104 & VKFF-0781, using the special call of VI5MARCONI.  For full details on the VI5MARCONI call, please have a look at my previous post, re my activation at Monarto.  I’m sure you will find the history behind this call very interesting.

It was Fathers Day and I had enjoyed a great lunch of my wife Marija’s home made lasagne, shared with my Dad and stepmum, my son Jake and his girlfriend, and my daughter Olivia and her boyfriend.  It wasn’t until they left at about 3.30 p.m. that I decided to head out to activate the park.

I have activated and qualified the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park  many times over.  It is just a short 15 minute drive from home in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.

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

The park is unique in that it comprises four separate pieces of scrub, all a few km apart from each other, and totalling about 253 hectares.  The section I headed to is known as Wottons Scrub.  Other sections are known as Filsell Hill, Whites Scrub and Burdetts Scrub.  The names Burdett, White and Wotton refer to previous owners of the land while Filsell Hill denotes the location of the largest reserve which is close to the Filsell Hill Trig Point.

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I have talked about the origins of this park in previous posts, but believe they are so interesting, they are worth mentioning again.  The park

It is named after Kenneth George Stirling, who was an accountant and benefactor.   Sadly he died suddenly in 1973, of heart disease, aged just 38.  Mr. Stirling earnt considerable wealth due to shareholding in mining interests, and apparently this paper value embarrassed him.  According to his wife, ‘he believed he hadn’t earned the money the mining boom brought him’ and ‘his main concern was to use it for the good of the community’.

He was a member of the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia and other organisations and over the years made several  anonymous gifts including $200,000 to the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) to establish national parks in South Australia, and $100,000 to the University of Adelaide. The money he gave to the A.C.F. helped to establish national parks at Montacute and Mount Scott, both near Adelaide, and in the extension of existing reserves at Scott Creek, in the Mount Lofty Ranges, and Warrenben, on Yorke Peninsula.  In 1990 the State government acquired land in the Adelaide Hills for the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park.

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Above:- Kenneth George Stirling.

I was set up and ready to go just after 4.00 p.m. local time.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

Before calling CQ I found Gerard VK2IO/p on 7.095, activating Joadja Nature Reserve VKFF-1944.  It was a nice way to start the activation with a Park to Park contact.  I then logged Jonathan VK4ALE/p who was also activating a park, the D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129.  I then moved to 7.135 and started calling CQ.  This was answered by Peter VK1XP/m, followed by Nick Vk3ANL, and then Scott VK4CZ.

The 40m band was in pretty good shape.  But it was busy.  There appeared to be a European Field Day in progress, and it was hard to find a clear frequency.  In the end I logged a total of 49 stations on 40m, including one big surprise.  That being a QSO with Deme EA5IPC in Spain.  Not bad, considering I was running 40 watts and a little bit of wire, 7 metres at the apex.  I also logged Rob VK4SYD/p in the D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129, and John VK5FLEA/p in the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park VKFF-0894.  It was terrific to hear John out and about giving portable operation a go.


Above:- ‘The Shack’ at Kenneth Stirling.

I then moved to 3.610 on the 80m band and logged a total of 27 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, and New Zealand.  It was really pleasing to get so many calls on 80m.  This included a Park to Park with Gerard VK2IO/p who was in the Nattai National Park VKFF-0383.  And it was pleasing to log Andrei ZL1TM for a second band.  I had worked him earlier on 40m.

With the temperature dropping to 4 deg C, I then tried my luck on 20m, calling CQ on 14.310 for around 10 minutes with no success.  Some of the USA guys who follow the WWFF Australia Facebook page were keen to work me, but sadly there was no propagation to North America.  It was a little too late for 20m with the time being 0845 UTC (6.15 p.m. local time).  But I did log Andrew VK6AS, all the way over in Western Australia.

I moved back to the 40m band and found that it was really hard to find a clear frequency.  Sadly the Over the Horizon Radar was across most of the band.  But I eventually found 7.155 clear and called CQ there, logging 5 stations.  It was now dark, and the band had fallen out to Victoria (VK3).


To finish the activation I went back to 80m where I logged 5 more stations from VK2, VK3, and VK7.

The temperature had now dropped down to 2 deg C and I was getting extremely cold.  It was time to pack up and head home to the warmth.  I had 87 more contacts in the log for VI5MARCONI.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Joadja Nature Reserve VKFF-1944)
  2. VK4ALE/p (D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129)
  3. VK1XP/m
  4. VK3ANL
  5. VK4CZ
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK3PWG
  8. VK2NP
  9. VK4FE
  11. VK3FT
  12. VK5FMAZ
  13. VK2VW
  14. VK12MA
  15. VK4SYD/p (D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129)
  16. VK3FSPG
  17. VK3MPR
  18. VK3LTL
  19. ZL1TM
  20. VK3ZPF
  21. VK3SQ
  22. VK3UH
  23. VK4FDJL
  24. VK7DW
  25. VK3STU
  26. VK6BMM/2
  27. VK2RP
  28. VK2BDR
  29. VK2YK
  30. VK2PKT
  31. VK3JAP/m
  32. VK2VK
  33. VK4SMA
  34. VK2ZVG
  35. VK4PDX
  36. VK2AR
  37. VK4FARR
  38. VK2KJJ
  39. VK3BY
  40. VK3KHZ
  41. VK2BY
  42. EA5IPC
  43. VK4VCE
  44. VK5FLEA/p (Horsnell Gully Conservation Park VKFF-0894)
  45. VK2BHO
  46. VK2KDP
  47. VK7FMAC
  48. VK2CPR/m
  49. VK7AIR/4
  50. VK4FOMP
  51. VK2BAI
  52. VK1UU
  53. VK2SK
  54. VK2FSAV

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF
  2. VK3ANL
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2NP
  5. VK2YK
  6. VK5FMAZ
  7. VK5YX
  8. VK5HS
  9. VK2MWK
  10. VK2BNX
  11. VK1HW
  12. VK1DI
  13. VK2IO/p (Nattai National Park VKFF-0383)
  14. VK5ZLT
  15. VK1MA
  16. VK4HNS
  17. VK3PF
  18. VK5JN
  19. VK2HHA
  20. VK5LA
  21. VK2VIN
  22. VK3LTL
  23. VK5SFA
  24. VK5ATN
  25. VK2SR
  26. ZL1TM
  27. VK2BY
  28. VK3UFO
  29. VK7FCIA
  30. VK2KV
  31. VK7RN
  32. VK3BMT

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6AS



Friends of Parks South Australia, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

VI5MARCONI and the Monarto Conservation Park VKFF-0828

On Saturday morning (1st September 2018) I headed out to the Monarto Conservation Park VKFF-0828 to activate the park using the special call of VI5MARCONI.  I have been allocated use of this call for the next week, and as the noise floor at home seems to be ever increasing, I decided to go portable.

I have activated Monarto many times in the past and have qualified it over and over, but it is a nice handy park just 30 km down the road from home.  And importantly it is a park which I can drive into, which I needed to take into account this particular morning, as the weather was very average, with regular shower activity.

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

VI5MARCONI is a special call to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first direct wireless messages from the United Kingdom which were received in Australia, and broadcast on 22nd September 1918.  The messages were transmitted from Wales in the UK, and were received at the home of Ernest Fisk, the Managing Director of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited (A.W.A.) in Sydney, New South Wales.

VI-MARCONI calls in all States/Territories will be active during September 2018.  On 22nd September 2018, the call of VK100MARCONI will be operational by members of the Hornsby and Districts Amateur Radio Club.

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Above:- News article from The North Western Courier, NSW, 23rd Sept 1918.  Image courtesy of Trove.

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Above:- News article from The Sun, Sydney, Sat 8th Nov 1919.  Courtesy of Trove.

Sir Ernest Fisk was born on 8th August 1886 at Sunbury, Middlesex, England.  In July 1913 he founded Amalgamated Wireless Australasia (AWA) Limited, with exclusive rights throughout Australasia to the patents, ‘present and future’, of both Marconi and Telefunken.  He became the Director of this organisation in 1916 and the Chairman in 1932.  He was knighted on 11th May 1937.


Above:- Sir Ernest Fisk.  c/o

The messages sent in 1918 originated from the Marconi station at Waunfawr, near Caernarfon in Wales.  The station was in use between 1912 and 1938 and was for many years the most important long wave station in Britain, handling imperial and international communications.


Above:- the Marconi station at Waunfawr.  Image courtesy of

Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi, was born on 25th April 1874 at Palazzo Marescalchi, Bologna, Italy.  He is credited as the inventor of radio, and shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”.


Above:- Guglielmo Giovanni Maria Marconi.  Image courtesy of Wikipeida.

The transmissions to Australia required a 400 kilowatt long wave transmitter which Marconi claimed at the time was the biggest in the world.  Powered from a nearby hydroelectric power station, the Waunfawr transmitter was located on the top of the Cefn-du Mountain in Snowdonia and coupled to ten 400 foot masts. Locals remarked that snow never settled near the site due to the heat from the power and transmission lines, a snowless Snowdonia.


Above:- Marconi’s transmitting station at Waunfawr.  Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Two messages were sent in the early hours of 22nd September 1918, one from the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. W.M. “Billy” Hughes, and a second from the Minister for the Navy, Sir Joseph Cook, who had accompanied Hughes.

Prime Minister Hughes had been in the UK reviewing the Australian Armed Forces in Amiens, France.  This was a politically sensitive visit due to the horrific losses suffered by both Australians and other Commonwealth and allied forces, largely felt due to poor British leadership and decision making.

It should be noted that neither Prime Minister Hughes or Minister Cook were present during those wee hours.  Their messages had been sent the previous day by wireless and cable from London.

The first message, sent at 0315 UTC or 1.15 p.m. Sydney time, from Prime Minister Hughes read as follows:-

“I have just returned from a visit to the battlefields where the glorious valour and dash of the Australian troops saved Amiens and forced back the legions of the enemy, filled with greater admiration than ever for these glorious men and more convinced than ever that it is the duty of their fellow-citizens to keep these magnificent battalions up to their full strength. W.M. Hughes, Prime Minister.”


Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes

The second message was sent at 0325 UTC or 1.25pm Sydney time from the Minister for the Navy, Sir Joseph Cook, read as follows:-

“Royal Australian Navy is magnificently bearing its part in the great struggle. Spirit of sailors and soldiers alike is beyond praise. Recent hard fighting brilliantly successful but makes reinforcements imperative. Australia hardly realises the wonderful reputation which our men have won. Every effort being constantly made here to dispose of Australia’s surplus products. Joseph Cook, Minister for Navy.”


Sir Joseph Cook

The messages were received by Fisk at his Experimental Wireless Station at ‘Logan Brae’, Pymble, an adjacent suburb to Wahroonga, New South Wales, with apparatus designed and manufactured in Sydney by himself and the Staff of Amalgamated Wireless (Australasia) Limited.


Above:- Sir Ernest Fisk’s home and antenna tower at Wahroonga.  Image c/o

Ernest Fisk’s home was located on the corner of Stuart and Cleveland Streets.  The eqipment in the photo below was assembled for the reception of the radio messages.  Ernest Fisk can be seen in the centre of the photograph demonstrating the equipment.


Above:- Receiving equipment for the first radio message from England to Australia.  Image courtesy of National Archives of Australia

A monument was erected to mark the occasion and was unveiled by Fisk in 1938.  The pictures below were taken by Jo Harris on the occasion of the 75th anniversary.  An interesting feature of the celebration was a speech by Marconi, delivered in Paris, and transmitted through London to Australia, by wireless telephone.

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Above:- The Monument in Sydney.  Courtesy of

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Above:- Inscription on the monument.  Courtesy of

At a time when the fastest form of communication was a relay of telegraph messages, instantaneous wireless communications from the UK to Australia was a major technological achievement.

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As the weather was a little inclement, I operated from the vehicle for this activation, which meant that the activation only counted for VKFF/WWFF, and not the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award.  I used the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.

I kicked off the activation by calling CQ on 7.144 on the 40m band.  First in the log was Graeme VK3PGK/m, followed by Grant VK2LX, Peter VK3PF, and then Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating SOTA peak Mount Macedon VK3/ VC-007 located in the Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972.  But it was really slow going on the band, so with just 11 contacts in the log I headed to the 80m band.

I self spotted on parksnpeaks and called CQ on 3.610.  This was answered by David VK5PL, followed by John VK5BJE, Barry VK5BW, and Adrian VK5FANA.  John and Barry were kind enough to place a call out on the Crafers repeater to advise people that I was on air.  Adrian also put a call out on the local Yorke Peninsula/Mid North repeater VK5RLH.

I ended up logging 13 stations on 80m including a Park to Park with Nick VK3ANL/p in the Mount Ridley Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2156.  Twelve of the thirteen contacts on 80m were with VK5 stations.


I then moved back to 40m and found Nick VK3ANL/p on 7.144.  I logged Nick Park to Park and then moved down the band to 7.135 where I called CQ.  Peter VK3TKK/m gave me a shout, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating a SOTA peak VK2/ IL-006.  A call or so later I was called by Mark VK4SMA/p who was activating Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493.  This was followed by Wade VK1MIC/ and Matthew VK1FVOL/2 who were activating SOTA peak VK2/SM-052 in the Gourock National Park VKFF-0212.

Three calls later I was called by Tex VK1TX who was using the special VI1MARCONI call.  Tex had a booming 5/9 plus signal.  Five QSOs later I had another Park to Park contact in the log, this time with Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Macedon Flora Reserve VKFF-2374.

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Above:- The Monarto Conservation Park, looking south.

I logged a further 5 stations before callers dried up.  I then headed to 14.310 on the 20m band and called CQ for around 5 minutes, but those calls went unanswered.  So I headed back to 40m where I logged 11 stations on 7.144, including my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ.  To complete the activation I logged Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating SOTA peak Mount Wanganderry VK2/ IL-003.

I had a total of 56 contacts in the log and it was time to head home.  Thankyou to everyone who called, and many thanks to those who took the time to spot me.  Thanks also to VK5BJE, VK5BW, and VK5FANA who put out calls on the local VK5 repeaters.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PGK/m
  2. VK2LX
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK3ZPF/p (SOTA Mount Macedon VK3/ VC-007 & Macedon Regional Park VKFF-0972)
  5. VK5AYL
  6. VK2HHA
  7. VK2EXA
  8. VK7CC
  9. VK3FSPG
  10. VK3MPR
  11. VK3UH
  12. VK2MTC
  13. VK3ANL/p (Mount Ridley Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2156)
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK3SQ
  16. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ IL-006)
  17. VK2IG
  18. VK4SMA/p (Bunyaville Conservation Park VKFF-1493)
  19. VK1MIC/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-052 &Gourock National Park VKFF-0212)
  20. VK1FVOL/2 (SOTA VK2/ SM-052 &Gourock National Park VKFF-0212)
  21. VK3VBI
  22. VK3AAT/p
  24. VK3OB
  25. VK2HMV
  26. VK7ME
  27. VK3VGB
  28. VK3ZPF/p (Macedon Flora Reserve  VKFF-2374)
  29. VK3MNZ
  30. VK3HOT
  31. VK2MOP
  32. VK3NXT
  33. VK3KMB
  34. VK3HJ
  35. VK2MNR
  36. VK2FENG
  37. VK3FMKE
  38. VK3PWG
  39. VK5FMAZ
  40. VK3FBOM
  41. VK4FDJL
  42. VK3ARF
  43. VK3FRAB
  44. VK3FLJD
  45. VK2IO/p (SOTA Mount Wanganderry VK2/ IL-003)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PL
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5BW
  4. VK5FANA
  5. VK5ET
  6. VK3ANL/p (Mount Ridley Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2156)
  7. VK5MRT
  8. VK5GJ
  9. VK5LD
  10. VK5KHZ
  11. VK5NJ
  12. VK5ADQ



Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018, <>, viewed 1st September 2018

VK2DYM, <>, viewed 1st September 2018

<>, viewed 1st September 2018

Trove, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018

Wireless Heritage Special Interest Group, <>, viewed 3rd September 2018