Encounter Marine Park VKFF-1707

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.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Encounter Marine Park. Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

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.  

Above:- The Encounter Marine Park (shaded in blue). Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

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.

Above:- An aerial view of Goolwa Beach showing our operating spot. Image courtesy of Google maps.

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
  • Brett VK3MCA – Crosbie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2073
  • Nick VK3ANL – St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2195
  • Tony VK3YV – Morwell National Park VKFF-0626
  • VK1DI/p – Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0839

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
  • Tony VK1VIC/ – Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920
  • Mark VK1EM – Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920
  • Tony VK3YV – Morwell National Park VKFF-0626
  • Brett VK3MCA – Crosbie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2073
  • Liz VK2XSE – Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve VKFF-3067
  • 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
  • Alan VK2MG – Pambalong Nature Reserve VKFF-2697
  • Brett VK3MCA – Runnymede Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2184

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:-

  1. VK3LOC/p (Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  2. VK3AP/p (Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  3. VK1VIC/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  4. VK1EM/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  5. VK2BYF/p (Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779)
  6. VK2PEZ/p (Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779)
  7. VK3MCA/p (Crosbie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2073)
  8. VK3YV/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  9. VK3ANL/p (St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2195)
  10. VK1DI/p (Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0839)

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK7FAMP/p (Surveyors Bay Conservation Area VKFF-2920)
  2. VK7LTD (Surveyors Bay Conservation Area VKFF-2920)
  3. VK5MRE
  4. VK5KLV
  5. VK2CCP
  6. VK2VH
  7. VK4AAC
  8. VK1VIC/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  9. VK1EM/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  10. VK3YV/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  11. VK3ARH/m
  12. VK3MCA/p (Crosbie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2073)
  13. VK7QP
  14. VK3BBB
  15. VK3PF
  16. VK3KAI
  17. VK3FIMD
  18. VK2XSE/p (Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve VKFF-3067)
  19. VK2KNV/p (Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve VKFF-3067)
  20. VK3CWF/p (Lerderderg State Park VKFF-0763)
  21. VK3MTV
  22. VK3ZPF
  23. VK3CTM
  24. VK3ANL/p (St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2195)
  25. VK6MB/p (Brookton Highway Nature Reserve VKFF-1846)
  26. VK3LF/p (Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965)
  27. VK5HS
  28. VK2DG
  29. VK3ARH/p (Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961)
  30. VK3TKK/p (Ben Major Flora Reserve VKFF-2266)
  31. VK2VW
  32. VK2HFI
  33. VK3SQ
  34. VK3IL/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-074)
  35. VK3JBL/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-074)
  36. VK3YY/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-074)
  37. VK2IO/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041 & SOTA VK2/ CT-032)
  38. VK2MG/p (Pambalong Nature Reserve VKFF-2697)
  39. VK3MCA/p (Runnymede Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2184)

Marija worked the following station on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB before the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK3AP/p (Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  2. VK3LOC/p (Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620)
  3. VK5IS
  4. VK3BBB
  5. VK2CCP
  6. VK2VH
  7. VK4AAC/2
  8. VK4NH
  9. VK4DXA
  10. ZL4TY/VK4
  11. VK3OF
  12. VK3PF
  13. VK1EM/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  14. VK1VIC/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  15. VK2PEZ/p (Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779)
  16. VK2BYF/p (Bomaderry Creek Regional Park VKFF-1779)
  17. VK5MJC
  18. VK5AYL
  19. VK3ARH/m
  20. VK3MCA/p (Crosbie Nature Conservation ReserveVKFF-2073)
  21. VK5KLV
  22. VK3ANL/p (St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2195)
  23. VK3YV/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  24. VK3UP
  25. VK5CZ
  26. VK1DI/p (Dunlop Grassland Nature Reserve VKFF-0839)
  27. VK3MPR
  28. VK5MRE

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB after the UTC rollover:-

  1. VK7LTD/p (Surveyors Bay Conservation Area VKFF-2920)
  2. VK7FAMP/p (Surveyors Bay Conservation Area VKFF-2920)
  3. VK3CU
  4. VK1VIC/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  5. VK1EM/p (Cuumbeun Nature Reserve VKFF-1920)
  6. VK3YV/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  7. VK3MCA/p (Crosbie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2073)
  8. VK2XSE/p (Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve VKFF-3067)
  9. VK2KNV/p (Micalong Swamp Flora Reserve VKFF-3067)
  10. VK3CWF/p (Lerederderg State Park VKFF-0763)
  11. VK3ANL/p (St Andrews Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2195)
  12. VK3CTM
  13. VK3KKP
  14. VK6MB/p (Brookton Highway Nature Reserve VKFF-1846)
  15. VK3LF/p (Crossover Regional Park VKFF-0965)
  16. VK3ARH/p (Cobram Regional Park VKFF-0961)
  17. VK3TKK/p (Ben Major Flora Reserve VKFF-2266)
  18. VK3IL/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-074)
  19. VK3JBL/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-074)
  20. VK3YY/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-074)
  21. VK5VCR
  22. VK4FDJL
  23. VK7QP
  24. VK2IO/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041 & SOTA VK2/ CT-032)
  25. VK3ZPF
  26. VK2MG/p (Pambalong Nature Reserve VKFF-2697)
  27. VK3MCA/p (Runnymede Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2184)
  28. VK5HAA
  29. VK3PF

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4SYD
  2. VK4KC/p (Fort Lytton National Park VKFF-0179)
  3. VK7RG
  4. VK5AYL
  5. VK2VH
  6. VK4AAC
  7. VK6MB/p (Brookton Highway Nature Reserve VKFF-1846)
  8. VK2UXO
  9. VK3DNH
  10. VK7VZ
  11. VK2ETA/p
  12. VK3YV/p (Morwell National Park VKFF-0626)
  13. VK2IO/p (Blue Mountains National Park VKFF-0041 & SOTA VK2/ CT-032)
  14. VK2PKT

References.

National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2020, <https://www.parks.sa.gov.au/find-a-park/Browse_by_region/Fleurieu_Peninsula/encounter-marine-park>, viewed 30th November 2020.

Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goolwa,_South_Australia>, viewed 30th November 2020.

Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleurieu_Peninsula>, viewed 30th November 2020.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s