Cancellation of the remainder of our trip

My Dad has been terminally ill for some time, and sadly, after a long battle, he passed away on Sunday morning.  As a result, Marija and I canceled the remainder of our park activations and our trip, and we headed back to Adelaide.

Dad served with the South Australia Police between 1955-1992, and attained the rank of Sergeant.  He also performed National Service with the Army and attained the rank of Sergeant.

Dad was awarded the National Medal, the Australian Police Medal, and the Australian Defence Medal for his service in both the Police and the Army.

Dad, you will be very sorely missed.  We all love you very much.

Beachport Conservation Park 5CP-014 and VKFF-0791

Our second park for Saturday 23rd March 2019 was the Beachport Conservation Park 5CP-014 & VKFF-0791.  The park is located about 383 km south-east of Adelaide, and immediately to the north of the town of Beachport.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 2.14.32 pm.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Beachport Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Beachport Conservation Park is 875 ha (2,160 acres) and was established on the 1st January 1959.  The park protects sand dunes and coastal vegetation between Lake George and the Southern Ocean.

Lake George is part of the Lake Hawdon System Important Bird Area. The wetland system was identified by BirdLife International as an IBA because it regularly supports over 1% of the world populations of red-necked stint, and often of sharp-tailed sandpipers, double-banded plovers and banded stilts. It also provides habitat for orange-bellied parrots, Australasian bitterns, rufous bristlebirds and striated fieldwrens.

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Above:- Aerial view of the Beachport Conservation Park.  Image courtesy of Google maps.

Marija and I entered the park via Lake George Road and headed to the 3 Mile Bend Campground area.  On our way in to the park, I spoke with Mike VK6MB/3 who was in the Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 2.14.18 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the Beachport Conservation Park, showing our operating spot on the southern shore of Lake George.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

We set up right on the edge of Lake George.  It was a magnificent outlook, looking across the lake, which was alive with birdlife.  Unfortunately, the sun had disappeared and during our activation, we had the occasional sprinkle of rain.

I started calling CQ on 7.144, with first in the log being Nick VK3ANL, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and then Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.  I logged a total of 21 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5, including the following Park to Park contacts:

  • Gerard VK2IO/p – Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784
  • Peter VK3PF/p – Ada Tall Trees Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2253
  • Mike VK6MB/3 – Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764
  • Adrian VK5FANA/p – Clinton Conservation Park 5CP-044 & VKFF-0813
  • Tony VK5MRT/p – Lawari Conservation Park 5CP-278 & VKFF-1767
  • Andrew VK5MR/p – Sheoak Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0935

DSC_6542

I had qualified the park for VKFF, so it was Marija’s turn to jump into the operators chair.  First in the log for Marija was Peter VK2UXO with a very big signal, followed by Wayne VK2DWP, and then Andrew VK5MR/p in the Sheoak Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0935.  Within 9 minutes, Marija had qualified the park for VKFF, with 10 QSOs.  Contact number 10 was with regular park hunter, John VK4TJ.

With 19 contacts in the log for Marija, I again called CQ on 7.144 and logged a further 24 stations.  I had now qualified the park for the global WWFF program.  Further Park to Park contacts were as follows:

  • Adam VK2YK/p – Port Stephens/Great Lakes Marine Park VKFF-1410
  • Perrin VK3XPT/p – Barmah National Park VKFF-0739
  • Jonathan VK7JON/p – St Helens Conservation Area VKFF-1152
  • Helen VK7FOLK/p – St Helens Conservation Area VKFF-1152

It was nice to log Perrin VK3XPT who was in the Barmah National Park, and was using a military manpack transceiver.

DSC_6544

Marija and I then moved to the 80m band, where I logged 8 stations, and Marija logged 5 stations.  This included the following Park to Park contacts:

  • VK5FANA/p – Clinton Conservation Park 5CP-044 & VKFF-0813
  • VK5FLEA/p – Talisker Conservation Park 5CP-223 & VKFF-0790
  • VK2IO/p – Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784
  • VK5YX/p – Hallet Cove Conservation Park VKFF-0890
  • VK5LOL/p – Hallet Cove Conservation Park VKFF-0890

To conclude the activation I went back to 40m to 7.144 and logged a further 6 stations before we called it a day.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2UXO
  2. VK2DWP
  3. VK5MR/p (Sheoak Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0935)
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK3CWF
  6. VK3NXT
  7. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  8. VK7FAMP/p (Scamander Conservation Area VKFF-1147)
  9. VK7LTD/p (Scamander Conservation Area VKFF-1147)
  10. VK4TJ
  11. VK4/AC8WN
  12. VK4/VE6XT
  13. VK3ZPF
  14. VK7KEV
  15. VK7ALH
  16. VK3UH
  17. VK2KNV
  18. VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park 5CP-044 & VKFF-0813)
  19. VK2EXA
  20. VK2YK/p (Port Stephens/Great Lakes Marine Park VKFF-1410)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park 5CP-044 & VKFF-0813)
  2. VK5FLEA/p (Talisker Conservation Park 5CP-223 & VKFF-0790)
  3. VK5YX/p (Hallet Cove Conservation Park VKFF-0890)
  4. VK5LOL/p (Hallet Cove Conservation Park VKFF-0890)
  5. VK7ALH

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ANL
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  4. VK5KLV
  5. VK4HNS
  6. VK4NH
  7. VK4DXA
  8. ZL4TY/VK4
  9. VK3MKE
  10. VK3CWF
  11. VK3LTL
  12. VK3UH
  13. VK3PF/p (Ada Tall Trees Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2253)
  14. VK2XSE/m
  15. VK2LEE
  16. VK6MB/3 (Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764)
  17. VK1DI
  18. VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park 5CP-044 & VKFF-0813)
  19. VK5MRT/p (Lawari Conservation Park 5CP-278 & VKFF-1767)
  20. VK3XM
  21. VK5MR/p (Sheoak Hill Conservation Park VKFF-0935)
  22. VK2EXA
  23. VK7KEV
  24. VK7ALH
  25. VK2HOT
  26. VK3SQ
  27. VK3BYD
  28. VK3ZPF
  29. VK2KYO
  30. VK2YK/p (Port Stephens/Great Lakes Marine Park VKFF-1410)
  31. VK2KNV/m
  32. VK2PKT
  33. VK3XPT/p (Barman National Park VKFF-0739)
  34. VK7JON/p (St Helens Conservation Area VKFF-1152)
  35. VK7FOLK/p (St Helens Conservation Area VKFF-1152)
  36. VK2UXO
  37. VK1MIC/p
  38. VK4FDJL
  39. VK3HQZ
  40. VK3MCK
  41. VK4CZ
  42. VK2IR
  43. VK7HCK
  44. VK7LH
  45. ZL1TM
  46. VK3PF/m
  47. VK4MWB
  48. VK3SX
  49. VK3MLU
  50. VK4PDX
  51. VK4FARR

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA/p (Clinton Conservation Park 5CP-044 & VKFF-0813)
  2. VK5FLEA/p (Talisker Conservation Park 5CP-223 & VKFF-0790)
  3. VK5LSB
  4. VK3UCD
  5. VK7ALH
  6. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  7. VK5YX/p (Hallet Cove Conservation Park VKFF-0890)
  8. VK5LOL/p (Hallet Cove Conservation Park VKFF-0890)

During the activation, Marija and I had both heard gunshots.  At first, I thought it may have been some sort of bird scarer at a nearby property.  But the shots became increasingly louder and appeared to be coming to the west – north west of our location, within the park.  It was quite off-putting, considering the way the world is nowadays.  But when we started hearing shots started coming just to our east, I decided to call the Police.

It was then that Marija saw a person about 300 metres to our east carrying a long object and occasionally walking out into the water.  With the aid of my camera’s telephoto lens, I was able to confirm that there was, in fact, a male with a shotgun.  This was our reason for going QRT quickly.

Once we packed up, Marija and I drove along Lake George Road, on the southwestern shoreline of Lake George.  Sadly, at a number of locations, we located numerous duck heads, duck wings, and gizzards.  The gunshots continued.

We googled duck shooting for Lake George, but could not find anything definitive.  We had not observed any signs to indicate that shooting was taking place, nor was there anything on the Department for Environment and Water website to advise that duck shooting was in progress.

The Department’s website states:

‘…..an array of birdlife……Bring your binoculars for the chance to spay a pied oystercatcher, small waders on the beach, a white faced heroin or pied coromorants….

It further states:

“enjoy a picnic at Lake George”

Considering we had people wandering around with firearms, and there were duck body parts all around the shoreline, we both believed this was totally unsatisfactory.  I have contacted the Department and was advised that there were campers at 3 Mile Bend that weekend who also heard the shots and left the park feeling very concerned.  I don’t blame them.  I am awaiting an official response from the Department.

We then drove towards the exit of the park, stopping briefly to take a few bird photos.

We stopped for 10 minutes or so to have a look at Wooley Waterhole, at the park entrance.  Native birds, including Superb Fairy-wrens, Red-browned Finches, and Yellow-rumped Thornbills, depend on this waterhole for fresh water.  During our visit we observed dozens of Silvereyes, Fantails, and Eastern Yellow Robins.

DSC_6606

Also near the entrance to the park is a moument to commemorate the old Robe to Beachport track, once used by mail coaches and travellers passing through the area.

We headed back into Beachport, and once again went out for tea at Bompas, enjoying another very nice meal.

 

References.

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1990, ‘Beachport Conservation Park Management Plan’

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beachport_Conservation_Park>, viewed 29th March 2019

Belt Hill Conservation Park 5CP-016 and VKFF-0870

It was now Saturday 23rd March 2019, and day one of the 6th anniversary activation weekend of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award.  Our first intended activation for day was the Belt Hill Conservation Park 5CP-016 & VKFF-0870.  The park is located about 379 km south east of Adelaide, and about 20 km east of the town of Beachport.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 9.52.57 am.png

Above:- Map showing the location of the Belt Hill Conservation Park in the South East of South Australia.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

Prior to heading to the park, Marija and I had breakfast at the Waterfront Cafe at Beachport, enjoying some poached eggs on toast and coffee.  We then headed out of Beachport and stopped briefly to have a look at the monument for the South East Drainage Scheme.  There is a cairn commemorating the commencement in 1863 of drainage construction in the Millicent district.

On our way to the park both Marija and I checked in to the 10AM Net on 7.097 run by Ron VK3AHR.

We drove north along Stuckey Lane and took a dirt track which followed the southern boundary of the park.  This led to another track which took us into the park.

DSC_6489

Above:- track inside the park.

Belt Hill Conservation Park is 10 hectares (25 acres) in size and was established on the 27th April 1972.  It is situated in the locality of Hatherleigh.  In 1971, the land was offered by its owner, A. McArthur of Rendelsham, to the “then National Parks Commission” for “dedication as a Reserve.”  The park consists of Banksia, Blackwood and Golden Wattle.

There are two aboriginal archaeological sites in the park, both located in the dune area.  It is believed that the area supported a substantial aboriginal population as it is elevated, well sheltered and watered, and would have offered many sources of food.

During our visit to the park, we spotted numerous native birds, including Silvereyes and Fantails.  Some of my snaps appear below.

There weren’t any cleared spots in the park, so we set up on the 4WD track in the southern section f the park.  We suspected it was highly unlikely that there would be other visitors to the park.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 9.52.31 am.png

Above:- An aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

After setting up I joined the 10am Net on 7.097 and there worked a total of 5 stations.  I then moved up the band to 7.139 and started calling CQ, whilst Marija placed a spot up on parksnpeaks.  John VK3HBG was the first to call in, followed by Geoff VK3SQ and then Peter VK3PF.  I worked a total of 30 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included a Park to Park contact with Greg VK5GJ/p who was activating the Thidna Conservation Park 5CP-281 & VKFF-2250.

DSC_6502

Marija then jumped on the mic and called CQ on 7.139.  Dennis VK2HHA was first in the log, followed by Tony VK3XV mobile in VK5, and then Dale VK1POP/2.  Marija worked a total of 17 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.  This included the following Park to Park contacts;

  • David VK5DG/p – Little Dip Conservation Park 5CP-120 & VKFF-0904
  • Mike VK6MB/3 – Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764

DSC_6497

Marija and I then tuned across the band and found Tom VK5EE/p on 7.130, activating the Big Heath Conservation Park 5CP-018 & VKFF-0792.  We also worked Adrian VK5FANA/p in the Wills Creek Conservation Park 5CP-254 & VKFF-0819.

It was then off to the 80m band, where Marija logged 8 stations, and I logged 13 stations, including the following Park to Park contacts:

  • Peter VK5PET/p – Lawari Conservation Park 5CP-278 & VKFF-1767
  • Adrian VK5FANA/p – Wills Creek Conservation Park 5CP-254 & VKFF-0819
  • Greg VK5GJ/p – Thidna Conservation Park 5CP-281 & VKFF-2250
  • Peter VK5PET – Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372
  • Ivan VK5HS/p -Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372
  • Danny VK5DW/p – Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372
  • Peter VK5PE/p – Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372
  • Rob VK5TRM/p – Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372
  • Dean VK5FDOG/p – Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372
  • Sandy VK5FSGP/p – Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372
  • David VK5FVIN/p – Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372

DSC_6486

I had now qualified the park for the global WWFF program, with 47 contacts in the log.  I moved to 14.310 on the 20m band and called CQ.  Dale VK1POP/2 was first in the log, followed by Dick VK4OP, and then Scott VK4CZ.  I logged 10 stations from VK1, VK2, and VK4.  This included a Park to Park contact with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784.  The Over the Horizon Radar was present on 20m once again, being strength 9 and blocking out some of the stations that I was talking with.

Marija and I moved back to the 40m band.  Marija had 26 contacts in the log, and we were hoping she might get close to the 44 required to qualify the park for WWFF.  Within half an hour, Marija had her 44th contact in the log, a QSO with Tom VK5AA/p.  Marija and I logged the following Park to Park contacts:

  • Gerard VK2IO/p –  Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784
  • Tom VK5EE – Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908
  • Col VK5HFC/p – Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908
  • Tom VK5TA/p – Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908
  • Tom VK5AA/p – Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908
  • David VK5PL/p – Marne Valley Conservation Park 5CP-128 & VKFF-0906

To complete the activation, Marija and I tuned across the band, and found Andrew VK5MR/p on 7.165, activating the Heggaton Conservation Park 5CP-089 & VKFF-1037.  It was a great way to complete the activation with a Park to Park contact.

DSC_6500

Marija logged a total of 48 contacts including 18 Park to Park QSOs.

I logged a total of 62 contacts including 21 Park to Park QSOs.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2HHA
  2. VK3XV/5
  3. VK1POP/2
  4. VK2PKT
  5. VK4NH
  6. VK4DXA
  7. ZL4TY/VK4
  8. VK3NXT
  9. VK5KLV
  10. VK5DG/p (Little Dip Conservation Park 5CP-120 & VKFF-0904)
  11. VK3MPR
  12. VK2LEE
  13. VK3ANL
  14. VK6MB/3 (Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764)
  15. VK3SQ
  16. VK3ZPF
  17. VK3AHR
  18. VK5FANA/p (Wills Creek Conservation Park 5CP-254 & VKFF-0819)
  19. VK3PF/m
  20. VK3MKE
  21. VK3IRM
  22. VK5CZ
  23. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  24. VK4CZ
  25. VK2FAAA
  26. VK4TJ
  27. VK4/AC8WN
  28. VK4/VE6XT
  29. VK2ND
  30. VK2KYO
  31. VK2EXA
  32. VK7EK
  33. VK5EE/p (Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908)
  34. VK5HCF/p (Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908)
  35. VK5TA/p (Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908)
  36. VK5AA (Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908)
  37. VK2UH
  38. VK5PL/p (Marne Valley Conservation Park 5CP-128 & VKFF-0906)
  39. VK5MR/p (Heggaton Conservation Park 5CP-089 & VKFF-1037)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PET/p (Lawari Conservation Park 5CP-278 & VKFF-1767)
  2. VK5HS/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  3. VK5DW/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  4. VK5PE/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  5. VK5TRM/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  6. VK5FDOG/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  7. VK5FSGP/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  8. VK5FVIN/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3AHR
  2. VK7EK
  3. VK3PTE
  4. VK3KHS
  5. VK2ASS
  6. VK3HBG
  7. VK3SQ
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK7EE
  10. VK4FDJL
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK3SQ
  15. VK4HNS
  16. VK4TJ
  17. VK4/AC8WN
  18. VK4/VE6XT
  19. VK5FLEA/p (SOTA VK5/ SE-016)
  20. VK5GJ/p (Thidna Conservation Park 5CP-281 & VKFF-2250)
  21. VK3PF
  22. VK2MTC
  23. VK2IO
  24. VK2EXA
  25. VK1POP/2
  26. VK3ZPF
  27. VK2KNV/m
  28. VK3XV/5
  29. VK3NXT
  30. VK2HHA
  31. VK5DG/p (Little Dip Conservation Park 5CP-120 & VKFF-0904)
  32. VK6MB/3 (Moondarra State Park VKFF-0764)
  33. VK5EE/p (Big Heath Conservation Park 5CP-018 & VKFF-0792)
  34. VK5FANA/p (Wills Creek Conservation Park 5CP-254 & VKFF-0819)
  35. VK5HCF/p (Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908)
  36. VK5EE/p (Mary Seymour Conservation Park 5CP-131 & VKFF-0908)
  37. VK5PL/p (Marne Valley Conservation Park 5CP-128 & VKFF-0906)
  38. VK3XPT/p (Barmah National Park VKFF-0739)
  39. VK5MR/p (Heggaton Conservation Park 5CP-089 & VKFF-1037)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5PET/p (Lawari Conservation Park 5CP-278 & VKFF-1767
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5FANA/p (Wills Creek Conservation Park 5CP-254 & VKFF-0819)
  4. VK5WU
  5. VK5HS/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  6. VK5DW/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  7. VK5PE/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  8. VK5GJ/p (Thidna Conservation Park 5CP-281 & VKFF-2250)
  9. VK5TRM/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  10. VK5FDOG/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  11. VK5AYL
  12. VK5FSGP/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)
  13. VK5FVIN/p (Murray River National Park 5NP-016 & VKFF-0372)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK1POP/2
  2. VK4OP
  3. VK4CZ
  4. VK2IO/p (Rouse Hill Regional Park VKFF-2784)
  5. VK2BY
  6. VK2NMC
  7. VK4NH
  8. VK4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK1DI

We then headed to the Beachport Conservation Park.  Just after leaving Belt Hill I logged Andrew VK5MR/p who was in the Heggaton Conservation Park VKFF-1037.

 

References.

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1990, ‘Small Parks of the Lower South East Management Plans’.

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belt_Hill_Conservation_Park>, viewed 29th March 2019