On Monday 24th May 2021 I activated the Stipiturus Conservation Park 5CP-220 & VKFF-0936, using the special event callsign of VI1100AF.
VI100AF is one of two special event callsigns on air to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Prior to activating Stipiturus, I checked out Mount Observation which is just a short distance from my home. The HuMPS Excluding Marilyns (HEMA) program has just kicked off in Australia, and Mount Observation qualifies for HUMPS. Its designator is VK5/ HSE-027. What is HEMA?
A HuMP is a summit that has 100 metres of prominence. A Marilyn is a summit which has 150 metres of prominence. The HEMA program is designed for HuMPs with a prominence of less than 150m but at least 100 metres of prominence. Marilyns have their own award scheme through the Summits On The Air (SOTA) program.
John VK5HAA is the VK5 HEMA Manager and recently mapped some South Australian HEMA summits.
Unfortunately I found a locked gate on the dirt road which on maps, appeared to lead to the top of Mount Observation. I will need to do a bit more homework to see whether access might be granted. I phoned John and filled him in on my find.
I then headed for another HEMA summit, Mount Cone VK5/ HSE-020 which is located to the south-west of the town of Mount Compass. I headed along Lanacoona Road out of Mount Compass and then onto Saffrons Road, a short distance from the Stipiturus Conservation Park. I then travelled south-east of Mount Cone Road which according to the maps would take me to the summit.
Unfortunately I soon encountered a locked gate which had a ‘Private Road’ sign on the gate and a number of warnings that the Mount Cone campsite was now closed and this was a Farm Biosecurity area. Again I telephoned John and told him about the locked gate.
From this location as I look to the south-west I could see Trig Point VK5/ HSE-042 which was another HEMA summit I had hoped to activate. John and I discussed access to this particular HEMA summit and John was confident that access could be gained right to the top via Trig Point Road.
I then drove back down Mount Cone Road and decided to activate the nearby Stipiturus Conservation Park.
I have previously activated the Stipiturus Conservation Park and qualified the park for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) and the VK5 National & Conservation Parks Award. But that was many years ago. My last activation at Stipiturus was back in 2015 and then in 2014.
Stipiturus Conservation Park is about 166 acres in size. It was established in 2006. The park can be accessed via Beare Lane which runs off Saffrons Road at Mount Compass.
Stipiturus Conservation Park takes its name from the Southern Emu-Wren Stipiturus malachurus, which is a Nationally endangered native bird which can be found in the park.
Also found in the park is the Southern Brown Bandicoot, a small marsupial. They were once common throughout most parts of coastal Australia.
The park contains Glenshera Swamp, one of the last remaining swamps on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide. It is listed nationally as a critically endangered ecological community.
A large amount of hydrological restoration work has been conducted here over the years which has resulted in weed reduction and the re-emergence of native plants. ‘SwampFest’ is an annual planting event which has been held at Stipiturus. More than 3,500 seedlings have been planted in Stipiturus.
If you do activate Stipiturus, be prepared to climb a fence. Unfortunately this is another park which is ‘locked up’. There is no pedestrian access to the park. You will need to climb over the barbed wire fence.
There is a little bit of scrub just off Beare Lane on the southern side of the park. It contains gum trees and an under-storey of ferns. There is another patch of scrub a little further to the north, and if you follow the track from the gate, this will take you to the swamp area.
I placed all my gear over the fence and then carefully negotiated the barbed wire fence. I operated a short distance in from the fence-line, running the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.
Prior to calling CQ I found Bob VK2BYF/p on 7.144 calling CQ from the Morton National Park VKFF-0334.
I then headed down the band a little and called CQ on 7.139. Craig VK3NCR was the first to come back to my CQ call, followed by Marija VK5MAZ, and then Ken VK3UH.
As it was a weekday, I did not develop a ile-up, but had a slow and steady flow of callers. Rob VK1NV mobile was my tenth contact, qualifying the park for VI100AF for VKFF.
I logged a total of 34 stations on 40m before callers dried up. Contacts on 40m were made into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7.
I then moved to 20m where I logged 7 stations from VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6, and New Zealand.
To complete the activation I moved to 3.610 on the 80m band where I logged 5 stations, all from VK5. Contact number 44 was with Marija VK5MAZ.
With 46 contacts in the log, it was time to pack up and head to VK5/ HSE-042.
During my activation I had two Wedge-Tailed Eagles soaring above the adjacent scrub and then the park. They are an amazing bird to watch soaring in the thermals.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2BYF/p (Morton National Park VKFF-0334).
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Nature Glenelg Trust, 2021, <https://natureglenelg.org.au/stipiturus-conservation-park-two-years-on-winter-rains-transform-an-ecosystem/>, viewed 26th May 2021.
Protected Planet, 2021, <https://www.protectedplanet.net/357246>, viewed 26th May 2021.
Victor Harbor Times, 2021, <https://www.victorharbortimes.com.au/story/4656013/conservation-fun-at-stipiturus-park/>, viewed 26th May 2021.
Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_emu-wren>, viewed 26th May 2021.
Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_brown_bandicoot>, viewed 26th May 2021.