This year, I have had very little time to get out into the fresh air and operate portable. Sadly, that dreaded place called work has demanded a huge chunk of my time. But yesterday, with Marija away on a ‘girls weekend’, I packed the 4WD and headed to the Coorong National Park 5NP-005 & VKFF-0115, to take part in the 2019 John Moyle Memorial Field Day.
My intended destination was Parnka Point, which is located about 172 km (by road) southeast of the city of Adelaide, and about 139 km (by road) southeast from my home.
The Coorong National Park is a 130 km stretch of saltwater lagoons protected from the South Ocean by the sweeping sand dunes of Younghusband Peninsula. The park takes its name from the Ngarrindjeri aboriginal word ‘Kurangk’ meaning ‘long narrow neck’.
This is the home of the iconic novel ‘Storm Boy’, which was made into a movie in 1976. More recently a 2019 version of the movie was released.
The National Park was established in November 1967 as a sanctuary for the many species of birds, animals, and fish that call the park home. The park has been recognised by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.
The video below should give you an idea of the beauty of this area.
The John Moyle Memorial Field Day (JMMFD) is held annually in March in memory of the late John Moyle, VK2JU. The aim of the JMMFD is…..
“The aim is to encourage and provide familiarisation with portable and field operation, and provide training for emergency situations. The rules are therefore specifically designed and focussed to encourage field operations.”
For more detailed information on John Moyle, please see my previous post at…..
I set up at Parnka Point, which was a significant meeting site for the five aboriginal tribes that formed the Ngarrindjeri clan. Parnka is a Ngarrindjeri word meaning ‘sandy beach’. As you look out across the lagoon, you can see wooden poles in the seater. These are the remains of a ferry built last century to access the Younghusband Peninsula.
Parnka Point is the narrowest part of The Coorong as the water is less than 100 metres wide. Parnka Point is where the northern and southern lagoons of The Coorong meet each other. The water at this point is often referred to as Hells Gate.
It was a beautiful sunny day, with the temperature around 28 deg C. Other than some campers, and some fishermen, Parnka Point was fairly quiet. The waters and sky were alive with birdlife, as it always is, during my visits. I had encountered a 6-foot long Brown snake on the road, on the way into the park. Fortunately, that was the only snake I saw during the afternoon.
I ran the Yaesu FT-897 for this activation, with the power output being 40 watts. My antenna was a 20/40/80m linked dipole, sitting up on the top of a 7-metre telescopic squid pole. As it was a nice sunny day, I had the solar panels out to top up the battery, a 44 amp hour power pack. The ‘shack’ was a little shelter shed which overlooked the lagoon.
I was situated on a small peninsula with water either side of me, and the Southern Ocean to my west.
I ran VK Contest Logger on my laptop. Much easier than paper.
I was set up and ready to go by just after 2.30 p.m. local time (0400 UTC). First in the log was John VK1JP/2 on 40m SSB.
I made the following Park to Park contacts during the activation:-
- Gerard VK2IO/p – Popran National Park VKFF-0417
- Tony VK3XV/5 – Lake Newland Conservation Park VKFF-1046
- Peter VK3ZPF/p – Grantville Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2101
- Alan VK2MG/p – Brisbane Water National Park VKFF-0056
- Alan VK5AR – Deep Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0780 (40m)
- VK6AHR – Helena National Park VKFF-0645 (40m)
- Hans VK6XN – Matilda Bay Reserve VKFF-2825 (20m)
- VK6AHR – Helena National Park VKFF-0645 (40m)
- Hans VK6XN – Matilda Bay Reserve VKFF-2825 (40m)
- Mike VK6MB/3 – Gippsland Lakes Coastal Park VKFF-0747
- Nick VK6NDX/p – Morangerel Nature Reserve VKFF-2832
- Alan VK5AR/p – Deep Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0780 (80m)
Some of the highlights of the activation were:-
- Perrin VK3XPT using a military manpack.
- VK3FOXR – QRP running just 2.5 watts
- Ken ZL1KEN – maritime mobile
- Joseph F6CTT on 40m
- Jemma VK3SCM – a young scout who sounded like she had been an op for 10 years
- Gary ZL4U with a massive signal on 40m
My 6 hour period concluded at around 8.30 p.m. (1000 UTC). The sun had just set. My final contact was with VK3ER on 80m.
In my 6 hour block I ended up making a total of 187 QSOs on 20, 40 & 80m SSB, with a claimed score of 374 points. This was down a bit on previous years. This year I found long periods of calling CQ field day, with no takers. As this is a ‘contest’ self-spotting is not allowed. So the usual spots on parksnpeaks did not occur. There is absolutely no doubt that parksnpeaks increases the number of QSOs in our log.
One of the big problems this year was the static crashes. They were strength 9 plus at times, and made it extremely difficult picking out the weaker stations that were calling me. I’m sorry to those who called, who I wasn’t able to pull through. And I’m sure there were many stations on the east coast who were simply unable to hear my signal.
The graph below shows my activity during the Field Day.
The map below shows my QSOs during the Field Day. I worked one French station on 40m SSB, and one Italian station on 20m SSB. Sadly, I didn’t really find a DX opening on 20m, but that may have been as a result of my timing in using that band.
The map below shows my contacts around Australia, and into New Zealand.
The graph below shows my QSOs during the Field Day. The majority of contacts, a total of 57, came from Victoria (VK3), followed by New South Wales (VK2) with 47.
The majority of my contacts were made on the 40m band (124 QSOs), followed by 80m (38 QSOs), and then 20m (25 QSOs).
THANKYOU to everyone who called, and I wish everyone who took part in the Field Day, good luck.
Parks SA, 2019, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Limestone_Coast/coorong-national-park>, viewed 17th March 2019
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coorong_National_Park>, viewed 17th March 2019
It was great to get you in the log.I have been a bit slow this year with chasing, but hopefully band conditions might improve (less noise) even if progagation remains like it has been. You were fortunate with the weather.
I’ve hardly been out this year. I’ve been so busy at work, and a few other issues that you know about. It was really good to get out, and you’re right, the weather was spectacular. Callers were down a bit this year, but conditions were really challenging.