After packing up at the Encounter Marine Park, Marija and I headed to the Scott Conservation Park 5CP-206 & VKFF-0934. The park is located about 80 km south of Adelaide.
This park is not to be confused with the Scott Creek Conservation Park which is located in the Adelaide Hills, or the Mount Scott Conservation Park which is located in the South East region of South Australia.
We drove north out of Goolwa on Alexandrina Road and then turned left onto Gould Road. It wasn’t long until we reached the northern boundary of the park which is well sign posted.
The Scott Conservation Park is about 210 hectares in size and is a small piece of native scrub located on the Fleurieu Peninsula, about 13 km by road, north of Goolwa.
The park was first proclaimed as a National Park on the 20th day of March 1969 and was re-proclaimed as the Scott Conservation Park on the 27th day of April 1972.
As you travel west on Gould Road you will see some thick scrub. This is not the park. These are a number of private properties. You need to continue west to reach the park.
There is also a small piece of scrub in the north western corner of the park. This is a Heritage Agreement. Don’t get this confused for the park. There is also another Heritage Agreement to the south of the park.
Scott Conservation is a beautiful park. It contains Low Woodland comprising Brown Stringybark, Cup Gum, Peppermint Box, Heat Tea-tree and Tate’s Grass-tree. The park also contains Mallee consisting of Pink Gum and Peppermint Box.
Birds SA have recorded a total of 148 birds in the park including Common Bronzewing, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Grey Shrikethrush, Cockatiel, Eastern Rosella, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Restless Flycatcher, Hooded Robin, and Eastern Shriketit.
Various native mammals call the park home including Western Grey Kangaroos, Ringtail Possums and Western Pygmy Possums
There are 2 walks which can be undertaken in the park, the Watercourse Hike and the Orchid Hike. Details of those walks can be found on the Walking SA website at…..
We parked the vehicle in the small carpark near the gate and then walked a short distance down the walking trail. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.
First in the log was Peter VK3PF whose signal was well down compared to usual. Marija and I went on to work a total of 54 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7. This included the following Park to Park contacts…..
Gerard VK2IO – Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041 & VK2/ CT-032
Nick VK3ANL/p – St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2195
Tony VK3YV/p – Tarra Bulga National Park VKFF-0480
The weekend of Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November 2020, was the annual VKFF Activation Weekend for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program. The VKFF Activation Weekend is all about promoting the WWFF program here in Australia, and is an incredibly popular event for Australian park activators and hunters.
Marija VK5MAZ and I had planned to travel to the West Coast of South Australia, but unfortunately some restrictions were implemented by the Government re COVID-19 the day before we were planned to leave. As it turned out those restrictions were lifted about 24 hours later, but we had already cancelled our trip.
As a result we had to reconsider our plans for the 2020 VKFF Activation Weekend. The weather was forecast to be 40 deg C on Friday leading up to the weekend, and then 38 deg C on Saturday. This weather was going to present a significant fire danger risk so we decided against an inland activation. As a result of the weather and bushfire risk we decided to do a beach activation at the Encounter Marine Park VKFF-1707.
We left home at around 8.30 a.m. local time and made the short 26 km drive south to the seaside town of Goolwa. Goolwa is a beautiful little town and is a historic river port on the Murray River. I worked at Goolwa back in the mid 1980s. The name “Goolwa” means “elbow” in Ngarrindjeri, the local Aboriginal language.
We drove to the end of Beach Road where there is a large carpark, a cafe, and surf life saving tower. Despite it being quite early in the morning the carpark was a hive of activity. Marija and I deflated the tyres on our Toyota Hi Lux 4WD and we then drove onto the beach at Goolwa. We didn’t even reach the beach proper, before encountering one poor sole who had bogged his 4WD in the sand on the track leading to the beach.
The Encounter Marine Park stretches from Port Noarlunga in the southern suburbs of Adelaide down along the western coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula and across to the eastern part of Kangaroo Island. It continues down along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula, passing the mouth of the Murray River and includes part of the Coorong National Park.
The park includes spectacular snorkelling and diving locations, top fishing spots and has excellent whale watching areas. The park includes the majority of the shoreline of the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula which is a very popular tourist destination. The Fleurieu Peninsula was named by French explorer Nicolas Baudin duing his exploration of the south coast of Australia in 1802, in honour of Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu who was also a French explorer and hydrographer.
The park takes its name from Encounter Bay which in turn was named by explorer Matthew Flinders after his encounter on the 8th April 1802 with French explorer Nicolas Baudin (photos below are courtesy of Wikipedia).
The two videos below will give you a great feel for the Encounter Marine Park.
It was a warm morning with an expected cool changed in the afternoon including some predicted rain. Although the clouds looked threatening, there was no rain during our activation.
The Goolwa beach is separated by sand dunes with the Coorong and Hindmash Island on the other side of the dunes.
We drove about 1 km along the beach and then backed the vehicle up to the dunes and rolled out the awning of the 4WD. We were on the beach and set up by around 9.50 a.m. Although it was still relatively early in the morning, the beach was very busy with 4WDers, swimmers, people searching for the famous Goolwa cockles, and others just enjoying the sunshine. We were lucky though to find a relatively clear spot with plenty of room to string out the 20/40/80m linked dipole which sat up on the top of our 7 metre telescopic squid pole. We pegged off the ends of the legs of the dipole in the sand.
We ran the Yaesu FT-857d for this activation. For a good portion of the activation we ran just 10 watts PEP to comply with Marija’s Foundation licence. Other times I cranked the power up to about 40 watts to work on 20m.
First in the log were Theo VK3AP and Haydon VK3LOC, who were both in the Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620. It was a nice way to start the activation with a Park to Park contact.
Marija and I logged a total of 18 stations on the 40m band before the UTC rollover. This included numerous Park to Park contacts as follows…..
Theo VK3AP – Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620
Haydon VK3LOC – Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620
Mark VK1EM – Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920
Tony VK1VIC – Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920
Andrew VK2PEZ – Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779
Bob VK2BYF – Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779
For the VK5’s propagation on 40m seemed to be out to around the 200km + distance. We were able to log Ian VK5IS in the Beetaloo Valley (5/9 both ways) and John VK5MJC in Crystal Brook (5/9 both ways), both who live in the Mid North of South Australia about 280 km north of Goolwa. We also logged Les VK5KLV in Port Augusta 5/9 both ways) about 380 km north of Goolwa. We also logged Ian VK5CZ in the Clare Valley (5/5 sent & 4/3 received) about 225 km north of Goolwa. Ron VK5MRE at Barmera in the Riverland also featured in our log (5/9 both ways), about 275 km north east of Goolwa. But the winner of the strongest VK5 signal was Sue VK5AYL at nearby Hindmarsh Island who was 5/9 plus.
After the UTC rollover Marija and I logged a further 38 QSOs on 40m. This included the following Park to Park contacts……
Tony VK7LTD – Surveyors Bay Conservation Area VKFF-2920
Angela VK7FAMP – Surveyors Bay Conservation Area VKFF-2920
Peter VK2KNV – Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve VKFF-3067
Bill VK3CWF – Lerederderg State Park VKFF-0763
Nik VK3ANL – St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2195
Mike VK6MB – Brookton Highway Nature Reserve VKFF-1846
We were very surprised by the strength of Mike VK6MB’s signal all the way over in his park in Western Australia.
When callers slowed down, we lowered the squid pole and removed the links for the 20m section of the antenna and headed to the 20m band. I logged a total of 14 stations on that band including the following Park to Park contacts…..
Marty VK4KC/p – Fort Lytton National Park VKFF-0179
Mike VK6MB – Brookton Highway Nature Reserve VKFF-1846
Tony VK3YV – Morwell National Park VKFF-0626
Gerard VK2IO – Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041 & SOTA VK2/ CT-032
We then decided to try our luck on the 80m band as we had not logged many VK5 contacts. Sadly our only contact on 80m was with Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula who had an excellent 5/9 signal.
We then moved back to the 40m band where we logged a further 29 QSOs, including the following Park to Park contacts…..
Allen VK3ARH – Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961
Peter VK3TKK – Ben Major Flora Reserve VKFF-2266
Gerard VK2IO – Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041 & SOTA VK2/ CT-032
We also logged David VK3IL, Andrew VK3JBL, and Glenn VK3YY who were activating SOTA summit VK3/ VE-074.
Our only local contacts this time around on 40m were with Rick VK3VCR and John VK5HAA both in the Adelaide Hills, both of whom had low down signals. But it was still working well into the Riverland with Ivan VK5HS being 5/9 plus.
The weather started to cool down and towards the end of the activation the weather had dropped to about 21 deg C. We made some enquiries and found that inland from the beach, the temperature had also dropped. Based on this we decided to pack up and head for the Scott Conservation Park which was just a short drive away.
Between the two of us we had logged a total of 121 QSOs. This included 58 Park to Park contacts. We were incredibly happy with the activation.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-
VK3LOC/p (Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
VK3AP/p (Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
VK1VIC/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
VK1EM/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
VK2BYF/p (Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779)
VK2PEZ/p (Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779)
Marija VK5MAZ and I had a terrific time over the weekend (Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th November 2020) for the 2020 VKFF Activation Weekend. The weekend is all about promoting the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program here in Australia.
Marija and I activated the following parks over the weekend…..
Encounter Marine Park VKFF-1707
Scott Conservation Park VKFF-0934
Myponga Conservation Park VKFF-0921
Nixon Skinner Conservation Park 0923
We made a total of 435 QSOs on 15, 20, 40, & 80m SSB into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, VK8, and New Zealand.
This included 173 Park to Park contacts.
Thank you to all of the park activators and park hunters.
Tonight (Friday 13th November 2020) I attended a virtual presentation via Zoom, which was conducted by Steve VK5SFA on Transmitting Magnetic Loop Antennas. The presentation was courtesy of the Melbourne Electronics and Radio Club (MERC).
Steve is well known for his work with Magnetic Loop Antennas and is the winner of the 2018 QST Antenna Design Competition.
Steve spoke about various aspects including design criteria, the design and construction phase, and the testing phase.
He then showed a number of slides showing the proof in the pudding, with numerous DXCC entities worked on 80m and 160m using the TMLA.
Thanks Steve for a very interesting presentation, and thanks to MERC for the invitation.
On Saturday 24th October 2020, Marija VK5FMAZ and I activated two parks: Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752 and the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VKFF-0881. This coincided with 2020 National Bird Week.
This year National Bird Week was held between 19th to 25th October 2020. The event is hosted by Birdlife Australia and it is a chance to celebrate Australia’s diverse and unique bird species. We are privileged in Australia to be home to more than 800 bird species, with 45% of these found nowhere else in the world.
National Bird Week can trace its origins back to the early 1900s when the 28th October was designated by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union as the first ‘Bird Day’.
As was the case in previous years, the VKFF program had a special certificate on offer to any VKFF activator who headed out into the field that week to activate a VKFF reference.
This year’s certificate features a Striated Pardalote which I photographed in the Bullock Hill Conservation Park. The smaller photos which I took in the Bullock Hill Conservation Park and the Cox Scrub Conservation Park show a Silvereye, a Golden Whistler, a Striated Thornbill, and a New Holland Honeyeater.
Thank you to all the VKFF activators who took part in this special week. I have started emailing out your certificate. I hope you like it.
Our second park on Saturday 24th October 2020, for the 2020 VKFF Team Championship was the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VKFF-0881.
The park is located about 75 km south-east of Adelaide, and about 20 km south-west of the town of Murray Bridge.
The Ferries McDonald Conservation Park is about 880 hectares in size and is dense mallee scrub.
On the 28th day of July 1938 the area was gazetted as a Closed Area for Birds and Animals, creating the first reserve specifically for mallee fauna. The area was named after Robert Sweet McDonald, the donor of much of the land. In 1953 there was an addition to the park with monies from a bequest from James Ferries, thus creating the Ferries-McDonald Reserve.
The area was previously known as Chauncey’s Line Scrub, named after William Snell Chauncey, an English civil engineer responsible for a number of important engineering works including the first steam railway opened in Australia.
The park can be accessed either be Ferries McDonald Road (which dissects the park) or Chaunceys Line Road. There is a carpark in the south-eastern corner of the park on Chaunceys Line Road.
There is a walking trail in the park. It is a 2.4 km loop which takes about 45 minutes. More information can be found on the Walking SA website at….
The park preserves an important piece of mallee and is surrounded by cleared farming land.
Birds SA have recorded a total of 89 different bird species in the park including Galah, Variegated Fairywren, Weebill, Southern Scrub Robin, Australian Magpie, Australian Golden Whistler, Grey Shrikethrush, Spotted Nightjar, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Hornbill, White-browed Scrubwren, and White-winged Triller.
The endangered Malleefowl can also be found in the park. The Malleefowl is a stocky ground-dwelling Australian bird about the size of a domestic chicken.
Zoos South Australia have previously been given permission to collect Malleefowl eggs from the park, with a view to producing a breeding population of Malleefowl which can be released to mallee area within the local region.
We parked our vehicle in the carpark in the south-eastern section of the park and set up in a clearing in amongst the scrub. We ran the Yaesu FT-857nd and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.
Marija and I were saddened to hear strength 9 static crashes when we turned on the radio. They had really picked up from the morning. Our first station in the log was Rob VK2VH – VK4AAC/2, followed by a couple of Park to Park contacts with Ash VK3FASH/p and Peter VK3ZPF/p who were in the Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187 as the team ‘Father and Son’.
Marija and I swapped the mic during this activation, so we decided to stick to the 10 watts PEP due to Marija’s Foundation licence. This made it a little more difficult, with some stations struggling to hear us through the very loud static crashes.
We ended up logging 41 stations on 40m before heading to the 80m band. That included a few more Park to Park contacts:
Tony VK3YV/p in the Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020 – ‘Masked Activators’
Bryan VK3LF/p in the Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020 – ‘Masked Activators’
Alan VK2MG/p in the Munmorah State Conservation Area – ‘QRParktivators’
Gerard VK2IO/p in the Munmorah State Conservation Area – ‘QRParktivators’
We also logged special event station VI110WIA being run by Gerald VK2HBG.
We were very pleased to hear very little noise on 80m when we moved to that band. First in the log on 80m was Jim VK3UFO, followed by Ian VK5CZ, and then Sue VK5AYL.
Between us, Marija and I logged a total of 48 stations on 80m from VK3 and VK5. This included a Park to Park contact each with Adam VK2YK/5 who was activating the Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886.
To conclude the activation, we moved back to the 40m band, but sadly the static crashes had become even louder and we logged just 2 stations: Peter VK3ZPF and Nick VK3ANL.
We were about to pack up when I saw a spot on parksnpeaks for Hans VK6XN who was activating a park in Western Australia. We lowered the squid pole and headed to 14.310 where we found Hans calling CQ with a great signal from Kings Park Botanical Gardens VKFF-2980.
Marija and I ended up logging a total of 91 stations on 40m SSB and 80m SSB. This included a total of 43 contacts on 40m and a total of 48 contacts on 80m. In amongst this we logged 14 Park to Park contacts.
I made 1 Park to Park contact on 20, but this did not count towards our tally as it was on 20m and we had entered into the 40 & 80m category of the Team Championship.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
VK3FASH/p (Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187)
VK3ZPF/p (Sassafras Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2187)
VK3YV/p (Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020)
VK3LF/p (Baw Baw National Park VKFF-0020)
VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
At the end of the activation we headed back home through the historic area of Hartley which was settled from about 1853. The town was named after Reverend Hartley Williams and once boasted a Methodist church, a post office, a school, and a creamery. Very little now remains, however there is a very interesting information board on Chaunceys Line Road.