On Sunday 4th November, 2018, I headed south with the intentions of activating the Mount Magnificent Conservation Park with the special call of VI5LWF. Sadly, these plans went ‘pear shaped’ as when I arrived at the access point to the park I found 2 cars blocking the entrance. One of those had become bogged and they were waiting for a tow truck. Looking at the track, I am not sure how they ever thought a little car was going to make it along a 4WD track with very big potholes. So it was time for plan B. I headed to the Finniss Conservation Park 5CP-068 & VKFF-1030.
The Finniss Conservation Park is about 68 km (by road), on the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula.
I travelled along Stones Ford Road, through beautiful countryside with rolling green hills. This is part of the Heysen Trail, one of the world’s great walking trails and the longest dedicated walking trail in Australia, with a total length of 1,200 km.
To get to the park from this direction, you pass over a little creek, a tributary of the Finniss River, which runs through the park.
I soon reached the park. There is a locked gate here, so vehicular access is not possible. However there is pedestrian access to the park, and plenty of room to park your vehicle.
The Finniss Conservation Park has a total area of 123 hectares and was first proclaimed on 29th January 1976. An additional 56 hectares were added between 1985 and 2005. The park consists of Woodland with Pink Gum and Golden Wattle, and Low Woodland with Cup Gum & Pink Gum over Tate’s Grass-tree. Birds Sa have recorded about 62 species of native bird in the park including Laughing Kookaburra, Galah, Adelaide Rosella, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Grey Fantail, Elegant Parrot, Eastern Spinebill, Brown Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, White-naped Honeyeater, and Australian Golden Whistler.
The park is named in honour of Boyle Travers Finniss (1807-1893), who came to South Australia as Assistant Surveyor to Colonel Light. He was Commissioner of Police from 1843-1847 and held many administrative and parliamentary positions from 1847 to 1862.
I set up about 20 metres inside the gate, and under the shade of some gum trees. Although it was overcast, it was a warm and humid day.
It is certainly a pretty spot here. The park is surrounded by rolling green hills and the occasional pocket of scrub.
Again for this activation, I commenced on 80m. First in the log was John VK5BJE, followed by Hans VK5YX, and then Adrian VK5FANA. All had excellent signals. I also spoke with Rick VK5VCR and his son VK5LEX who who were portable at Normanville, and Tony VK5MRT at Strathalbyn. But despite excellent conditions on 80m, I only managed 6 contacts on that band.
I then headed to 7.144 on 40m and called CQ. This was answered by Brett VK2VW, Andrew VK3LTL who has become a regular park hunter, and then John VK4TJ. But band conditions on 40m were poor to say the least. There was a huge amount of QSB (fading) on most signals, and signals strength was way down compared to usual. But I battled on, and ended up with 32 contacts in the log on 40m. This included a Park to Park with Ian VK1DI/2 in the Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1918, and then Mark VK4SMA/p in the Wararba Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1671.
I had a total of 38 contacts in the log, and wanted to get the 44 for VI5LWF. So it was off to 20m. I called CQ on 14.310 and this was answered by Aaron VK1LAJ, followed by Adam VK2YK, and then Hans VK6XN. My 44th contact came with a QSO with Hayden ZL2WD in New Zealand.
It had been a ‘hard slog’ in the park and had taken me nearly 2 hours to get to 44 QSOs, even with the special call sign. Band conditions were extremely challenging.
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK1DI/2 (Cullendulla Creek Nature Reserve VKFF-1918)
- VK4SMA/p (Wararba Creek Conservation Park VKFF-1671)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
Birds SA, 2018, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/finniss-conservation-park/>, viewed 7th November 2018
State Library SA, 2018, <http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/F.pdf>, viewed 7th November 2018