This afternoon (Tuesday 2nd July 2019) I headed out to the Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park 5CP-276 & VKFF-1763. I have activated and qualified this park previously, so today’s activation was to go towards the VKFF Boomerang Award. Another reason for heading out into the field today was to film a short introduction to another video for the VKFF YouTube channel. I also intended taking a few photos to enter into the Birdlife Australia photographic competition.
I headed out to Callington and headed up the hill out of Callington on the old Princes Highway. There are some great views to be had here of the Bremer Valley.
During the 1970s, plans were implemented by the Labor State Government under the leadership of Don Dunstan to establish a satellite city at Monarto, about 70 km east of Adelaide. Concerns were held that the city of Adelaide would become overpopulated following rapid population growth. Originally named ‘Murray New Town’, the proposed city was subsequently known as the ‘City of Monarto’. Dunstan’s vision did not succeed. In 1975 the Australian Federal Whitlam government was controversially dismissed which resulted in the “new cities programme” programme being shut down.
The video below was produced by the South Australian Film Corporation in 1975. It gives an interesting insight into the farmers of the area at the time, many of whom sold their land believing that the satellite city would go ahead.
As part of the Monarto development, substantial areas of cleared farming land were revegetated. This was in an effort to beautify the environment, reduce dust and make the area more attractive for human habitation. This has been the largest revegetation program conducted in South Australia, with some 600,000 plants established on 1850 ha of land. A total of 250 species of trees and large shrubs were planted.
The Monarto Woodlands Conservation Park is a relatively new park. It was gazetted on the 22nd day of September 2016 and is 426 hectares in size. Monarto takes its name from the Hundred of Monarto which was gazetted in 1847. It was named after ‘Queen Monarto’ an aboriginal woman who lived in the area at the time. In 1908 the town of Monarto was laid out.
During my visit to the park, I saw numerous Western Grey kangaroos, a number of whom had joeys in their pouches.
About 92 species of native birds have been recorded in the Monarto area including 40 species which are considered to be declining. During my visit, I was hoping to spot a Diamond Firetail finch, but I wasn’t that lucky. But I did spot many other birds, some of which feature in my photos below.
I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. The dipole is supported on a 7-metre telescopic squid pole and is inverted vee configuration.
After turning the transceiver on, I asked if the frequency was in use on 7.144. Geoff VK3SQ and Peter VK3PF both came back to let me know it was clear. Amazing how popular the WWFF program has become in Australia in recent years. This happens regularly, in that, I don’t even need to call CQ.
After logging Geoff and Peter, Dennis VK2HHA then called, followed by Brett VK2VW, Peter VK2KNV mobile, and then Glenn VK4FARR. Brett and Glenn kindly spotted me on parksnpeaks which resulted in a mini pile up, despite it being a weekday.
I logged 44 contacts in around 60 minutes with contacts into VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6, VK7 and New Zealand. This included a Park to Park with Peter VK3TKK/p who was activating the Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0473. I was also called by Tony VK7LTD/p and Angela VK7FAMP/p who were operating from SOTA summit VK7/ NE-034.
I then headed to 14.310 on the 20m band and started calling CQ after putting up a self spot on parksnpeaks. Rick VK4RF was first in the log on 20m, followed by Cliff VK2NP and then Ray VK4NH. I logged a total of 9 stations on 20m including another Park to Park with Peter VK3TKK/2 on a second band from Sydney Harbour.
When callers slowed down I tuned across the band and heard a few North American stations at around strength 7-8. The ANZA DX Net was running on 14.183 and was about to close, so I quickly booked in and was lucky enough to work Stan KE5EE with a strong 5/8 signal. He gave me a 5/7 signal report.
I then moved down to 80m where I was hoping to log some of the local South Australian stations, as I had not logged a single VK5 on 40m. I logged a total of 6 stations on 3.610. Four of those were from VK5, while two were from VK3.
To conclude the activation I had one last go on 40m calling CQ on 7.144. I logged a further 9 stations.
It was now just before 4.30 p.m. local time and it was time for me to pack up and go for a walk through the park. I had a total of 69 stations in the log.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK3TKK/2 (Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0472)
- VK7LTD/p (SOTA VK7/ NE-034)
- VK7FAMP/p (SOTA VK7/ NE-034)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
- VK3TKK/2 (Sydney Harbour National Park VKFF-0472)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Birds Australia, 2019, ‘The State of Australia’s Birds 2019’
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarto,_South_Australia>, viewed 2nd July 2019