Yesterday (Saturday 20th April 2019) was a very blustery and hot day for this time of the year in South Australia. The fire danger threat was quite high, so I waited until late in the afternoon once the wind had dropped, to head out into the field.
I headed to the Giles Conservation Park 5CP-076 & VKFF-0884, which is located about 16 km east of the city of Adelaide.
I have activated the Giles Conservation Park on five prior occasions. My first activation was back in August 2013, and my latest activation at Giles was in September 2017.
The Giles Conservation Park is about 109 hectares (270 acres) in size and was established on the 30th day of September 2007. Previously, the land was the eastern portion of the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park which is located to the west of Giles.
The rugged slopes of this park are clothed with Brown Stringybark and Messmate Stringybark. The lower slopes are dominated by South Australian Blue Gum, Pink Gum, Manna Gum and River Red Gum. The understorey is made up of native cherry, golden wattle, native orchids, and dusty miller – a white flowering bush.
The park was named after the family of Charles Giles who is reported as being a pioneer in the fields of horticulture and floriculture in South Australia. Giles arrived in the Colony of South Australia in 1838 on board the Recovery. He had trained as a horticulturalist in Devon, England. He purchased land in the Adelaide Hills while living at another property at Black Forest in the city, and walked to the Summit every Monday morning with his week’s provisions, returning home on Saturdays. As there was no road leading to the valley back in the 1800s, Giles had to cross Third Creek a total of 21 times.
Giles established the Reedbeds Nursery in the valley on his Grove Hill property. The focus of the nursery was flowers and trees, with an orchard nearby. The men who worked at the nursery lived with their families in cottages built by Charles Giles along Third Creek. The three attached cottages were called ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’ and there was a free-standing cottage a little to the west. Giles built Grove Hill house, a substantial two storey residence.
Over 60 species of native birds have been recorded in the park including Adelaide Rosella, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Crescent Honeyeater, Black-winged Currawong, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Black-capped Sittella, and Rufous Whistler.
Native animals found in the park include Western Grey kangaroo, koala, brush-tailed possums, yellow-footed antechinus, and short-beaked echidnas.
I set up in my normal operating spot, just inside the park gate on Woods Hill Road.
After setting up I headed for 7.144 on the 40m band and found Simon VK3ELH/p calling CQ from the Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623. After logging Simon Park to Park I headed down the band to 7.139 and started calling CQ. Ulrich VK2UTL was the first to give me a call, followed by Brett VK2FSAV mobile, and then Rod VK7FRJG.
It was about 3.45 p.m. local time (0615) UTC and the band was open to Europe. It didn’t take long for me to start experiencing some QRM from 7.138 from a German station. It is very hard to find a clear spot on the 40m band at this time of the day.
Despite the interference, the band was in great shape, and it didn’t take long for a mini pile up to form. Alan VK2MG/p was ninth in the log, with another Park to Park. Alan was activating the Worimi National Park VKFF-0614. Contact number ten, qualifying the park for me for VKFF, was with regular park hunter John VK4TJ.
I continued to work a steady flow of callers, and about 12 calls later I had my third Park to Park for the activation in the log. Nik VK3ZNK/p was activating the North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2166. Eight QSOs later I was called by Peter VK3YE/p who was pedestrian mobile on Carrum Beach in Melbourne. Peter always puts out a nice signal, and today was no different, with Peter having a good strong 5/8 signal.
About 7 contacts later I worked Perrin VK3XPT who was using his military manpack transceiver with a 2.4-metre whip antenna. Perrin had a strong 5/8 signal. A few QSOs later I was called by Max IK1GPG in Italy. Max had a good 5/7 signal and gave me a 5/5 in Italy which I was very happy with. Just 2 QSOs later, contact number 44 was in the log, with a QSO with William VK2NWB.
Five QSOs later I had another Park to Park contact in the log. This time it was Ian VK1DI/2 who was activating the Budderoo National Park VKFF-0062. Seven contacts later I was called by Hans VK6XN/p in the Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789. Hans had a good 5/7 signal from some 2,000 km to my west.
I logged a total of 57 contacts on 7.139 before callers slowed down. I decided to tune across the band and I found Samuel EA1DLU in Spain calling CQ on 7.158. Samuel was a strong 5/9 signal, and I was fortunate to get through to Samuel on my first call. I then found Jeff F4GGQ in Spain, calling CQ on 7.153. He also had a 5/9 signal and was not busy, and I got through on my first call. Jeff gave me a 5/3 signal report.
I then lowered the squid pole and removed the links on the dipole for the 20m band. I called CQ on 14.310 and was soon called by Hans VK6XN in the Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789.
Hans and I decided to stay on the frequency together and call CQ. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long and we started to experience some QRM from a European station calling CQ on the frequency. I logged Warren ZL2JML in New Zealand who was running QRP. Sadly Hans was unable to hear Warren. Hans was called by a number of stations on the east coast of Australia in New South Wales and Queensland who I was unable to hear. Hans and I decided that we should split up considering the propagation conditions.
I tuned across the band and found Luciano EA8AM calling CQ on 14.287. Luciano was a strong 5/9 and gave me a 5/7 signal report from the Canary Islands. He was amazed that I was running just 40 watts and a piece of wire.
It was starting to get dark with the local time around 5.40 p.m., so I lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band. I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Clem VK3CYD, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and then Geoff VK3SQ. I ended up logging a total of 17 stations on 80m, including my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ.
I then moved back to the 40m band hoping to log some North American stations, although my antenna is less than an ideal performer for DX contacts. I logged 12 stations, including Chuck KO4SB who was mobile. Chuck was low down, just 5/3 and gave me a 3/3. Nonetheless, it was a USA DX contact which I was very happy with.
I then decided to have one last listen on the 80m band. I logged a further 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6 and VK8. Conditions were terrific, with very strong signals. Humming on the band was the Over the Horizon Radar. I even heard two American gentlemen speaking on the same frequency I was operating on, but sadly they were unable to hear my signal.
It was time for me to pack and head home for a bite to eat. It had been a great activation, with 105 contacts in the log. The 40m proved to be a great performer, with the vast majority of my contacts on that band, including some nice SSB DX.
The map below shows my contacts around the globe during the activation.
The map below shows my contacts around Australia and into New Zealand during the activation.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3ELH/p (Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623)
- VK2MG/p (Worimi National Park VKFF-0614)
- VK3ZNK/p (North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2166)
- VK3YE/p (pedestrian mobile)
- VK3XPT (military manpack tx)
- VK2PBC/p (QRP)
- VK1DI/2 (Budderoo National Park VKFF-0062)
- VK6XN/p (Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
- VK6XN/p (Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789)
- ZL2JML (QRP)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
- VK3AJA/p (Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291)
Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/giles-conservation-park/>, viewed 17th September 2017
Flinders University, 2017, <http://www.flinders.edu.au/ehl/fms/archaeology_files/research/HFZCHP/PDF/VoS%20Ch%2018%20Two%20Nurseries.pdf>, viewed 17th September 2017
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Conservation_Park>, viewed 21st April 2019