Newland Head Conservation Park

My last activation of the weekend was the Newland Head Conservation Park, which is situated about 91 km south of Adelaide, and about 10 km south west of the seaside tourist town of Victor Harbor (where I once lived many years ago).


The approach to the park as you travel south along Dennis Road, is quite impressive.  There are very good views of beautiful Waitpinga Beach and the roaring waves of the Southern Ocean.  You also get a very good view of the Waitpinga Creek which flows out to the ocean.


Marija and I unpacked the gear from the car and walked down to the beach.  There is a boardwalk and stairs leading down to the beach.  I had activated Newland Head CP last year, but the weather was too unkind to head down onto the beach.  But today was a beautiful sunny day with a fairly calm breeze, so I decided to head down to the beach itself.  I set up the fold up table and deck chair facing the crashing waves of the Southern Ocean.  I initially felt a bit silly as I was the only person on the beach with a squid / fishing pole, that wasn’t trying to catch fish.


Prior to calling CQ, I wanted to try to get a few of the other park activators in the log, so I went for a bit of a hunt across the 40m band.  My first contact was with Col VK5HCF who was portable in the Big Heath Conservation Park, down in the south east of South Australia.  I then worked David VK5NQP who was portable in the Porter Scrub Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills, and then Andy VK5LA who was portable in the Murray River National Park.

I then found Peter VK3PF who was portable on SOTA peak Mount Lookout, VK3/ VT-030.  And before propping on a frequency, I spoke with Richard VK5ZRY who was portable in the Leven Beach Conservation Park on the Yorke Peninsula.

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I found 7.110 clear, so I put out a CQ call, and was called by Arno VK5ZAR who was portable in the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  A steady flow of Park Hunters followed including a number of park activators and Peter VK3ZPF who was portable on SOTA peak, VK3/ VC-037.  Park to Park contacts included ANdy VK5ARG in The Knoll Conservation Park, Steve VK5AIM at Martindale Hall Conservation Park, Andrew VK5MR in Mokota Conservation Park, Gary VK5FTRG in Moritalta Conservation Park, Larry VK5LY in Bakara Conservation Park, Andrew VK5KET in Ewens Ponds Conservation Park, Andy VK5ARG in Belair National Park, Col VK5HCF in the Glenroy Conservation Park, Richard VK5ZRY in Carribee Conservation Park, and Andy VK5ARG in Marino Conservation Park.


After operating on 40m for about 90 minutes, I decided to go and have a listen on 20m.  But I was sadly disappointed when I got there, to find the band very busy with eastern European contesters.  It didn’t sound like a great afternoon to be operating 40 watts on 20m.  However I found a clear frequency and put out a CQ call, and was immediately called by Grom VK6NUT.  But I hadn’t even been there for 1 minute, when UT7E from the Ukraine came on the frequency and started calling CQ Contest.  His signal was so strong that it tidally drowned out From.  I QSYd down about 10kc hoping that Grom would find me and sure enough he did, and we could complete our QSO.


The frequency remained clear and I managed to work Colin VK2CSW, Bernard VK2IB/3, Kevin M0DAD pedestrian mobile, Zenik SP5INQ, Phil 2E0EDX mobile, Alex R1NA, and VK4GCQ.

It was starting to get a bit late in the afternoon, and we still had an hour’s drive back home, with the prospect of work in the morning.  So sadly, I packed up the gear, and we made our way back home to Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.  I ended up with 62 contacts.

After a very enjoyable 2 hours of operating on the beach, I had a total of 61 contacts on 40m ssb and 20m ssb.

The following stations were worked:-

Col VK5HCF/p; David VK5NQP/p; Andy VK5LA/p; Peter VK3PF/p; Richard VK5ZRY/p; Arno VK5ZAR/p; Tim VK5AV; Peter VK3ZPF/p; John VK5BJE; Andy VK5ARG/p; Steve VK5AIM/p; Greg VK5ZGY/p; Andrew VK5MR/p; Tom VK5FTRG; Amanda VK3FQSO; Gary VK5FGRY/p; Brian VK5FMID; Rod VK5VRB; John VK2AWJ; Larry VK5LY/p; Shaun VK5FAKV; Wolf VK5WF; Andrew VK5KET/p; Steve VK5AIM/p; Bernard VK3AMB; Adam VK2YK; Dave VK3VCE; Nick VK3ANL; Keith VK5FEKH; Ted VK3HHK; Chris VK4FR/5; Keith VK3FT; Patrick VK5MPJ; Ben VK5BB; Paul VK5NE; Alan VK3OA; Glen VK3GMC; Ray VK3NBL; Andy VK5ARG/p; Peter VK5KX; Les VK5KLD; Colin VK3UBY; Tony VK3CAT; Michael VK5ZEA; Greg VK5GJ; Ian VK3VIN; Sandy VK3LSB; Clive VK3FCMR; Peter VK7LCW; Tom VK5FTRG/m; Col VK5HCF/p; Richard VK5ZRY/p; Andy VK5ARG/p; Grom VK6NUT; Colin VK23CSW; Bernard VK2IB/p; Kevin M0DAD/pm; Zenek SP5INQ; Phil 2E0EDD/pm; Alex R1NA; VK4GCQ.

More photos of this activation can be found in the Photos section of the VK5 Parks Award Yahoo group at…..

Eric Bonython Conservation Park

After leaving the Deep Creek Conservation Park, Marija and I headed towards the Waitpina Conservation Park, which was our next intended activation, but could not get access due to road closures.  So we chose an alternate activation at the Eric Bonython Conservation Park, which is located at Tunkalilla, about 100 km south of Adelaide, on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  I had activated Eric Bonython CP last year in December, so this was going to be another new activation for the new calendar year and another point to add to my activator tally.


We travelled from Deep Creek, along Range Road, and then south along Tunkalilla Road towards the Southern Ocean.  We then turned left onto Rymill Road.  The park commences on your left, just 100 metres down the road.  It is a very thick but narrow strip of native vegetation which is only 6 hectares in size.  The Tunkalilla Creek flows on the northern edge of the park.  There are some excellent views of the nearby Pages Islands and Kangaroo Island from the park.

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I am not 100 % sure of the origins of the name of the park, as there is very little on the internet.  But I understand it was named after Eric Glenie Bonython (1910-1971) who was an author, explorer, and conservationist.

The morning had warmed up and the sun had a bit of bite, so I set up in amongst the scrub on the northern side of Rymill Road, which afforded some shade.   We stretched putt the legs of the dipole so they ran parallel to the roadway, and drove the squid pole holder into the ground to support the squid pole.  The fold up table and deck chair were placed in position, and for this activation I used the Yaesu FT-450 on 40 watts.

Again prior to calling CQ on a particular frequency, I decided to have a ‘hunt’ around the band to see if I could get some more park activators in the log.  The band was extremely busy again with park activators and hunters.  This was really exciting to hear.  My first contact was with Greg VK5ZGY who was in the Narracoorte Caves National Park, and this was followed by Andrew VK5KET who was portable in the Nene Valley Conservation Park.  I kept tuning around the band and my next contact was with Andrew VK5MR, activating the Pandappa Conservation Park.  This was Andrew’s first weekend of park activating.  This was followed by contacts with Col VK5HCF portable in the Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park, and Tom VK5FTRG portable in the Reedy Creek Conservation Park.


I then found a clear frequency on 7.120 and put out a CQ call, to be called immediately by John VK5BJE who was portable in the Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Andy (VK5AKH) VK5ARG then called in from the Mount George Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Andy and Mark VK5QI were using the club call of the Amateur Radio Experimenters Group, and were on their way to activate a total of 20 parks.

I had some more Park to Park contacts, which included Arno VK5ZAR in the Black Hill Conservation Park, Stuart VK5STU in the Port Gawler Conservation Park, Les VK5KLV in the Winninowie Conservation Park near Port Augusta, and David VK5NQP in the Porter Scrub Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Peter VK3PF also called in from the top of SOTA summit, Mount Matlock, VK3/ VC-001.

Whilst I was operating I had the pleasure to watch a Wedge Tailed eagle soaring above the cliffs.  He/she slowly glided closer and closer towards me.  They are an amazing bird with a wingspan of up to 2.27 metres (7 feet 5 in).


Callers had started to slow down a bit on 7.120 and it was getting time to pack up and head off to Newland Head Conservation Park.  But I decided to have a last look around the band and I managed to sneak in a few more Park to park contacts.  This included Tony VK3VTH/5 in the Piccaninnie Ponds Conservation Park, Andy VK5ARG portable in the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, Col VK5HCF in the Mary Seymour Conservation Park, Larry VK5LY in the Swan Reach Conservation Park, and Andrew VK5MR in the Caroona Creek Conservation Park.  I also had a QSO with Peter VK3ZPF who was portable on SOTA peak VK3/ VC-037.

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After about 90 minutes of activating, I had a total of 45 contacts on 40m in the log, including 17 Park to Park contacts.

The following stations were worked:-

Greg VK5ZGY/p; Andrew VK5KET/p; Andrew VK5MR/p; Col VK5HCF/p; Tom VK5FTRG/p; John VK5BJE/p; Andy VK5ARG/p; Tim VK5AV; Tony VK3CAT; Phil VK3BHR; Greg VK5GJ; Amanda VK3FQSO; Peter VK3PF/p; Bernard VK3AMB; Peter VK3SOL/p; Arno VK5ZAR/p; Les VK5KLD; Patrick VK5MPJ; Stuart VK5STU/p; Bob VK5FBAA/p; Rod VK5VRB; Colin VK3UBY; Terry VK3UP/m; Allen VK3HRA; Les VK5KLV/p; Chris VK4FR/5; Rick VK5FGSK; Peter VK3TKK/m; Wolf VK5WF; Keith VK5FEKH; Eric VK7EK; David VK5NQP/p; Paul VK5NE; Colin VK5DK; Charles VK5FBAC; Joe VK3YSP; Julie VK3FOWL; Tony VK3VTH/5; Andy VK5FTRG/p; Peter VK3ZPF/p (SOTA); Col VK5HCF/p; Brian VK5FMID; John VK2AWJ; Larry VK5LY/p; and Andrew VK5MR/p.

More photos of this activation can be found in the Photos section of the VK5 Parks Award Yahoo group at…..

Talisker Conservation Park

On Saturday afternoon, Marija and I headed to Talisker Conservation Park, which is just a  short distance away from where we were staying at Deep Creek.  On the way there, we drove passed SOTA peak VK5/ SE-016 and I was very tempted to stop off and do a quick SOTA activation.  But I thought better of it.  I was already pushing my luck with Marija and wanted to be fed that night.

Talisker Conservation Park was established in 1976 and consists of 211 hectares of native scrub.  It includes some very steep areas.  We accessed the park via Range Road West, and then Talisker Road.  There is a large parking area on Talisker Road, with an information sign.


The park incorporates the old Talisker silver-lead mine, which was discovered by John McLeod in 1862.  It was named after a locality on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.  Talisker employed Cornish miners and supported a nearby township called Silverton.  The population of Silverton grew to 3000 at its peak in 1870.  The Talisker Mining Company worked the mine until falling ore grades and a lack of finance, forced the mine’s closure in 1872.  Between 1917 to 1920, the mine was worked again, mainly for arsenic.

A view of the mine, c. 1875

A view of the mine, c. 1875

Prior to setting up we went for a walk through the park.  I highly recommend that you do this if you visit Talisker.  The history here is amazing and there is an excellent marked trailed with interpretive signs indicating all the historic ruins.  The trail is a bit steep in parts but is worth the effort.  There are also open mine shafts but these are fenced off.

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During our walk we spotted a few Western grey kangaroos trying to avoid the afternoon sun, and some beautiful butterflies.  Everywhere you looked, there was bird life.  Of the feathered variety !  Superb Blue wrens and Yellow tailed black cockatoos were in abundance.


As mentioned the trail is quite steep, but the views are well worth it.  If you venture to the lookout, you can be rewarded with some spectacular views of nearby Kangaroo Island. The lookout is well signposted and can be accessed from the carpark on Talsiker Road.


Marija and I walked back to the car and got out all the gear and set up in the car park itself.  There werent too many other options due to the very thick scrub and the steep terrain.  It wasn’t all that busy, so I had a bit of room to play with, and stretched out the legs of the dipole.  The ground was physically too hard to drive any stakes in, so I improvised and used a permapine post and a couple of octopus straps.


Prior to propping on a frequency and calling CQ, I decided to tune around the band and hopefully find some of the park activators.  Although it was pretty quiet, I did find Paul VK5VCO who was portable in the Clinton Conservation Park.  Paul had an extremely strong signal.

I then chose 7.120 and put out a CQ call, and was called by Greg VK5ZGY who was portable in the Pine Hill Soak Conservation Park in the south east of South Australia.  This was followed by Tony VK3VTH/5 who was operating from the Canunda National Park, also in the south east.  Some VK3 and VK5 Park Hunters followed, and soon afterwards Arno VK5ZAR called in, who was portable in the Angove Conservation Park in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide.


The quiet seclusion of the park did not last long.  We were soon joined in the carpark by three car loads of children who were obviously part of a group.  I certainly had some very strange looks, but none were game enough to come over and ask what I was doing.  However, about ten minutes later, 2 gentlemen arrived with their wives, who did come over and I had a chat to them about the hobby and why this strange man was sitting in a car park with a squid pole, gibbering into a microphone.

I also spoke with Gordon VK5GY who was portable in the Cox Scrub Conservation Park.  This was Gordon’s first activation as part of the VK5 Parks Award. Welcome aboard Gordon.  Gordon was just one of many to activate the first park for the anniversary weekend, which was really pleasing to see.

The activity on 7.120 had started to slow down, and this was good timing, because the goat bleated from the SOTA Goat application on my mobile.  I tuned up the band as a result, and spoke with David VK3IL who was portable on SOTA peak VK3/ VE-024.

I then found Greg VK5ZGY who had moved to the Custon Conservation Park.  I headed back to 7.120 and put out a few more CQ calls, and it wasn’t long before the Park Hunters returned.  A surprise call came from Andrew VK5MR who was portable in the Hopkins Creek Conservation Park.  This was Andrew’s first ever park activation.  Andrew told me that he had been motivated by all the park activity, and had headed out with a motorcycle battery as his power source.  Peter VK5KPR also called in from the Winninowie Conservation Park near port Augusta.  One of my last contacts on 40 metres was with Matt VK1MA on Yellow Rabbit Hill VK1/ AC-039.

I decided to swap over to 20m and try my hand at a little bit of DX.  It was 3.30 p.m. and about that time of the day that long path to Europe opens up.  My first contact was with Ian 2E0UDX in, who had a beautiful 5/9 signal.  After my chat with Ian I tuned around the band and worked into Italy, Belgium, England, and Sweden, before deciding to find a frequency and start calling CQ.  The 20m band was very busy and it was quite difficult to find a clear frequency.  But eventually I did, and put out a call, only to be called by my mate, Jess VK6JES in Western Australia.  His was followed by Mark VK4MON who was also running 40 watts and a dipole, and then Peter VK2NEO with his normal ‘thumping’ signal.

I then headed down to 14.156 and booked into the afternoon net run by John EA7BA in Almeria in Spain.  I made contact with John EA7BA, Ted G4TLY, Charlie VK6ACF, Brian ZL2ASH, and F4GHB.

It was getting a bit late with the sun starting to set in the west, and both our stomachs were rumbling, so we packed up the gear and headed back to Glenburn cottage in the Deep Creek Conservation Park.

I worked a total of 52 stations on 40m ssb and 20m ssb including 7 Park to Park contacts and 2 SOTA contacts.

The following stations were worked:-

Paul VK5VCO/p; Greg VK5ZGY/p; Toy VK3VTH/5; Ian VK3VIN; Tim VK5AV; John VK5BJE; Tony VK3CAT; Peter VK3PF; Arno VK5ZAR/p; Amanda VK3FQSO; Patrick VK5MPJ; Brian VK5FMID; Gordon VK5GY/p; Peter VK3TKK; Greg VK5GJ; Bernard VK3AMB; Rod VK5VRB; David VK5LSB; John VK2AWJ; Keith VK5FEKH; Allen VK3HRA; Michael VK5ZEA/m; David VK3IL/p (SOTA); Greg VK5ZGY/p; Ben VK5BB; Colin VK3UBY; Nev VK5WG; Erwin VK3ERW/p; Graham VK5KGP; Col VK5FCDL; Andrew VK5MR/p; Darren VK5DT; Steve VK5AIM; Stuart VK5STU; Eric VK5ZAG; Peter VK5KPR/p; Matt VK1MA/p; Ivan Vk5HS; VK2PHP/p; Ian 2E0UDX; IZ7NLJ; ON7AB; G4RIQ; SM1ALH; Jess VK6JES; Mark VK4MON; Peter VK2NEO; John EA7BA; Ted G4TLY; Charlie VK6ACF; Brian ZL2ASH; F4GHB

More photos of this activation can be found in the Photos section of the VK5 Parks Award Yahoo group at…..



Department o Environment and Natural Resources, ‘Deep Creek and Talisker Conservation Parks’.

Deep Creek Conservation Park

Marija and I arrived at ‘Glenburn’ cottage, mid Friday afternoon, 4th April, 2014, for a 2 night stay.  This was after an enjoyable lunch at the Mount Compass Tavern.  The cottage is located within the Deep Creek Conservation Park, which is about 108 km south of Adelaide.  The drive there from Mount Compass was via Victor Harbour and then along Range Road, where there are spectacular views of the Fleurieu Peninsula.


The Deep Creek Conservation Park is the largest remaining block of wildlife habitat on the Fleurieu Peninsula and is about 4,452 hectares in size.  It is home to an array of native wildlife including western grey kangaroos, and short-beaked echidnas.  Over 100 bird species can be found in the park. There are a number of walking trails within the park which provide spectacular scenery of the Backstairs Passage, Kangaroo Island and the rugged Deep Creek valley.


The area around Deep Creek was settled from around the late 1850’s when various farms were established.  Prior to this the Ramindjeri and Kaurna aboriginal people inhabited the area.  During the mid 1880’s land grants were issued.  Apart from traditional farming, other activities included wattle bark stripping and collection of Yacca gum.  Some timber felling also occurred as stringy bark was used for building material and fence posts.  Further settlement of the area occurred from the 1920’s onwards, and this included a concentrated effort to clear the land for farming.  Fortunately in 1965, the environmental significance of the Deep Creek area was recognised, and the South Australian State Government commenced purchasing land to eventually form what is now known as the Deep Creek Conservation Park.


The Glenburn cottage is highly recommended by Marija and I for anyone who wants a peaceful and comfortable stay within the Deep Creek Conservation Park.  It has four bedrooms, a lounge with an enticing wood fire, a fully self-contained kitchen with stove, oven, microwave, & fridge, polished baltic pine floors, a b.b.q, and a sunroom leading to a return elevated decking area.  The cottage sleeps up to 10 people.

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The Glenburn cottage and the surrounding land has an interesting history.  During the early 1930’s Mr. Tom Backhouse opened up the land and used it for stripping wattle bark from Golden Wattle for the Glenburn Wattle Company.  The wattle bark which was in high demand at the time, was used for leather tanning.  It was transported to Leonards Mill at Second Valley where it was processed.

During the mid 1940’s the titles of land that Glenburn stands on were purchased by Mr. T. Haines.  Shortly after, between 1945 to 1950, the first serious attempt to clear the land commenced.  It was during this time that Mr Haines constructed a two roomed shack for him to live in.  This was the framework of the current Glendale cottage.  Up until late 1950, the land was sparsely cleared and using for grazing.

In late 1950 Mr Jim Long purchased the land and named it ‘Angulong’.  This was a derivative of his surname and the Angus cattle that he grazed on the land.  It was during this time that the land was extensively cleared and used for pasture.  Two additional rooms were added to the cottage and a large shed was built adjacent to the cottage.  The shed was converted into living accommodation by an employee, Mr Tom Christie, who was employed by Mr. Long to clear the land and develop the property.


In 1960, the main house was built on the property.  This is now the Deep Creek Conservation Park Ranger headquarters.  mr. Long moved into this house while Mr Christie moved from the shed into the cottage.

Mr. M Smith and Mr A. Shepherd subsequently purchased the property in 1972, and they renamed the land ‘Glenburn’.  The cottage was was rented out during this time to private tenants, whilst the land was still used for grazing.

In 1976 the National Parks and Wildlife Service purchased the Glenburn property and it was included as part of the Deep Creek Conservation Park.  However the land was leased back to Mr. Smith up until 1980, when the cottage was rented out to private tenants.  This remained the case until 1982, when the National Parks and Wildlife Service Social Club took over the running of the cottage as holiday accommodation for staff and other visitors.

Since 1994, Southern Ocean Retreats has managed Glenburn Cottage.  Extensive renovations also commenced which were completed in 1995.

After unpacking the car, making ourselves comfortable in the cottage, and making a nice cup of coffee, I headed outside, and started setting up my radio equipment.  I initially set up on the back verandah, however there were overhead power lines, and when I turned on the radio, the noise floor was about S4.  The static was intolerable, so I placed the fold up table and deck chair, about 20 feet from the back porch, and then erected the 20m/40m linked dipole, supported by a 7 metre squid pole.  I had both the Yaesu FT-817nd and the Yaesu FT-450 at my disposal, and improvised with the use of a piece of red gum to prop up the FT450 so I could see the screen.


I started off on 7.098 on 40 metres, with the FT-450 set on 40 watts.  I had to go up a little higher from my planned operating frequency of 7.095, as the Kandos Group were operating on 7.093 as they do on a daily basis in the afternoons.  The noise floor was now S1 at worst.  Much quieter than under the power lines.


I put out a CQ call, and Phil VK3BHR responded straight away.  Phil had a good solid 5/9 signal, and this was followed by Colin VK3NCC/5 who was mobile in the Barossa Valley at Nuriootpa.  Les VK5KLV then called in, and this was followed by Don VK7DON.  All four stations had very good signals, but things went very quiet after that.  I put out numerous CQ calls but sadly there were no takers.  I figured it was a Friday afternoon, and that most people would still be slaving away at work.  So I decided to head over to 20m to see what that band was like.  It was about that time of the day that long path to Europe was opening up so some European DX would be nice to get in the log.


After switching to 20m, I called in to a regular net held on 20m daily on 14.156, and said hello to John EA7BA, Brian ZL2ASH, Allan G0CRJ, and Brian VK2JE.  I was being heard 5/9 in Almeria Spain by EA7BA and 5/7 into the UK by G0CRJ, with my 40 watts.  I then tuned across the band and worked into Italy and then had a chat with my good mate Peter VK4AAV in Caloundra who I found calling CQ a little higher up the band.  I then found Dave G4AKC calling CQ with Ian 2E0EDX.  Dave was pedestrian mobile at Blackpool, and Ian was mobile.  Dave was an excellent 5/9 signal, while Ian was 5/7.  I received 5/9 and 5/5 respectively from Dave and Ian.  Dave and Ian are regular pedestrian mobile and mobile operators on 20 metres and always have very good signals.

I then worked Alberto P29LL in Papua New Guinea and Marc F8DRA at Normandy in France.  I had a good chat to Marc, as I will be visiting Normandy during my holiday to Europe in July.  I then put a few CQ calls out on 14.258 and was called by Bernard VK7BD, and then John VK4GCQ.  Sadly some German operators came up on frequency, speaking German.  And that was the end of that.  Their signals were just too strong to compete with and continue on that frequency.

So I QSYd and I then spoke with Peter VK2BPB who was running QRP with just 3 watts.  Peter had a terrific 5/9 signal with very little QSB.  Lastly, I spoke with Barry G4TML who was on holidays in Australia, and was using the call VK6ANC at the Northern Corridor Radio club shack.  It was starting to approach dusk and the kangaroos were out in force, feeding in the open areas around the cottage.  I was starting to get hungry too, and headed off for tea.  If only those kangaroos knew that I had been feasting of kangaroo fillets at lunch time !


After tea, I booked in to the 7.130 DX on 40m, and worked a large number of stations around Australia, and also a little bit of DX, including William FO5JV in French Polynesia, BrianZL2ASH, and Caleb ZL2ML.  Unfortunately there were no USA stations on the 7.130 DX Net this evening.

When the 7.130 DX Net concluded at about 9.30 p.m. I headed up to 20m and booked in to the Southern Cross DX Net on 14.2385, which is controlled by Jack W1FDY.  I worked a total of 9 stations in the USA in Virginia, Oklahoma, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Texas.

It was starting to get a bit cool outside and it was approaching 11.00 p.m.  I had a planned early start in the morning, and I had my fill of DX, so it was time to head off to bed.  But not before a few glasses of Cab Sav in front of the roaring fire.


On Saturday morning I got up at about 7.30 a.m.  It was quite a chilly morning outside with some fog rolling in across the hills, and a less than impressive sunrise.  I headed outside after breakfast and a nice hot coffee at about 8.30 a.m., and started off using my Yaesu FT-817nd running just 5 watts.  I commenced calling CQ on 7.090 and my first contact was with Larry VK5LY who was portable in the Peebinga Conservation Park in the Mallee region near the South Australian/Victorian border.  Larry was running just 5 watts and had a beautiful strong 5/8 signal.  After speaking with Larry, I remained on 7.090 and worked stations in VK2, VK3, and VK5.  This included Tony VK3VTH who was using just 10 watts from Canunda National Park in the south east of South Australia.

When things got a little quiet, I tuned across the band and worked some more VK’s in VK2, VK3, and VK5 including David VK5NQP in the Hale Conservation Park, Col VK5HCF in the Penambol Conservation Park, Tom VK5FTRG in the Beachport Conservation Park running just 5 watts, David VK5KC in Belair National Park, Bill VK5MBD and John VK5FMJC both in the Clements Gap Conservation park, and Greg VK5ZGY in the Mullinger Swamp Conservation Park.  It was really pleasing to hear so much park activity so early in the morning, with lots of park hunters eagerly calling the activators.

After operating for an hour at QRP power levels on the 817nd, I decided to fire up the bigger Yaesu, the FT-450 which I and on 40 watts.  My power source was a 44 amp hour power pack, which Marija kindly bought for me as a Christmas present.  I managed to find a clear frequency amongst all the park activity and put out a CQ call to be greeted by Andy VK5AKH.  I worked some more VK2, VK3, & VK5 stations, including David VK5AAH who was portable at The Knoll Conservation Park.

I then decided to go on a bit of a park hunt around the band and worked Larry VK5LY in Karte Conservation Park before the UTC rollover.  After the UTC rollover I spoke with Tom VK5FTRG in Beachport CP, Larry VK5LY in Karte CP, Bill VK5MBD in Clements Gap CP, Nigel VK5NIG in Sandy Creek CP, and Stuart VK5STU in Black Hill CP.

It was about this time that David VK5KC who due to be on his first ever SOTA activation at Mount Lofty summit, which is also within the Cleland Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Fortunately I found David on 7.085 and was really pleased to get David in the log.  After speaking with David I came across Col again, VK5HCF in Gower CP, Tony VK3VTH in Canunda NP, and Greg VK5ZGY in the Geegeela CP.

I then switched back to the little FT-817nd, and made contact with Matt VK1MA who was portable on Mount Coree, VK1/ AC-023, and then David VK5NQP in Warren CP running just 5 watts.  I also spoke with David VK3IL who was portable on SOTA peak, Blue Rag Range, VK3/ VE-015.  I finished off the morning and early afternoon with some further park contacts with Greg VK5ZGY in Bangham CP, Tom VK5FTRG in Lake St Clair CP, Col VK5HCF in Tantanoola Caves CP, Larry VK5LY in Ngarkat CP, and David VK5AAH in the Belair National Park.

I called it quits at about 1.30 p.m. with a total of 71 stations in the log and 26 Park to Park contacts.

I had the following park to park contacts…..

  • Larry VK5LY/p, Peebinga CP
  • Tony VK3VTH/5, Caunda NP (before & after the UTC rollover)
  • David VK5NQP, Hale CP
  • Col VK5HCF/p, Penambol CP
  • Tom VK5FTRG/p, Beachport CP (before & after the UTC rollover)
  • David VK5KC/p, Belair NP
  • Bill VK5MBD/p, Clements Cap CP (before & after the UTC rollover)
  • John VK5FMJC, Clements Gap CP
  • Greg VK5ZGY/p, Mullinger Swamp CP
  • David VK5AAH/p, The Knoll CP
  • Larry VK5LY/p, Karte CP (before and after the UTC rollover)
  • Nigel VK5NIG/p, Sandy Creek CP
  • Stuart VK5STU/p, Black Hill CP
  • David VK5KC/p, Cleland CP
  • Col VK5HCF/p, Gower CP
  • Greg VK5ZGY/p, Geegeela CP
  • David VK5NQP/p, Warren CP
  • Greg VK5ZGY/p, Bangham CP
  • Tom VK5FTRG/p, Lake St Clair CP
  • Col VK5HCF/p, Tantanoola Caves CP
  • David VK5AAH/p, Belair NP

IMGA0022_2     IMGA0028_2

After lunch, Marija and I then went for a walk up to Ranger Headquarters and through the nearby beautiful Stringybark Forest.  We then headed over to nearby Talisker Conservation Park (see the next post for more information on that activation).


After our evening meal on Saturday, I had a little bit of a play on the radio.  My first contact was with Michael VI2ATZ50/p.  Michael was using the special call to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club.  I then spoke with Erwin VK3ERW who was portable in Wilsons Promontory National Park.  However, it was starting to get really cold, and I was feeling a bit weary, so I packed up the radio, and ventured inside to the comfort of the fire and a nice bottle of Cab Sav.

On Sunday morning I woke up again at about 7.30 a.m. and had a nice breakfast prepared by Marija, and headed outside again to ‘the shack’.  After all the activity from yesterday, it was quite exciting and I was looking forward to getting on air.  My first contact was with Gary VK5ZK after I had put out a CQ call on 7.085.  Paul VK5VCO & Peter VK5KX, then called in, who were portable in the Clinton Conservation Park, competing with the field mice.  After this I made contacts with VK stations in VK2, VK3, and VK5, before Larry VK5LY cllaed in from the Lowan Conservation Park.

Other park contacts were with Peter VK5KET in the Telford Scrub Conservation Park, David VK5NQP in the Hale Conservation Park, and John VK5BJE in the Scott Creek Conservation Park.

I also made contact with Al VK1RX on SOTA peak VK1/ AC

This was followed by some more park to park contacts with Tony VK3VTH/5 in the Carpenter Rocks Conservation Park, Tom VK5FTRG in the Furner Conservation Park, Les VK5KLV and Peter VK5KPR in the Winninowie Conservation Park

Peter VK3PF on SOTA peak VK3/

My last contact was with Larry VK5LY who was portable in the Ridley Conservation Park.

I had the following park to park contacts…..

  • Paul VK5VCO/p Clinton CP
  • Larry VK5LY/p, Lowan CP
  • Col VK5HCF/p, Telford Scrub CP
  • David VK5NQP/p, Hale CP
  • John VK5BJE/p, Scott Creek CP
  • Tony VK3VTH/5, Carpenter Rocks CP
  • Tom VK5FTRG/p, Furner CP
  • Les VK5KLV, WInninowie CP
  • Peter VK5KPR/p, WInninowie CP
  • Larry VK5LY/p, Ridley CP

IMGA0013_3 - Version 2

I stayed until 40 minutes after the UTC rollover, and then packed up the gear and headed off to Eric Bonython Conservation Park.  This was a really enjoyable 2 night stay at Glenburn cottage in the Deep Creek Conservation Park.  We will be coming back for sure.

During my stay I worked a total of 162 stations on 40m ssb and 20m ssb.

The following stations were worked:-

Phil VK3BHR; Colin VK3NCC/5; Les VK5KLV; Don VK7DON; John EA7BA; Brian ZL2ASH; Allan G0CRJ; Brian VK2JE; Mario IK2VFR; Peter VK4AAV; Dave G4AKC/pm; Ian 2E0EDX/m; P29LL; Marc F8DRA; Bernard VK7BD; John VK4GCQ; Peter VK2BPB; Barry VK6ANC; William FO5JV; Brian VK5FMID; Daniel VK6LCK; Dennis VK2HHA; Brian ZL2ASH; Caleb ZL2ML; Richard VK2XRC/5; Paul VK7CC; Don VK7DON; Andy VK5AKH; Andy VK4TH; Rod VK5VRB; Des VK5LEA/p; Jack W1FDY; Larry W4VES; Warren K5UTG; Richard KK4HBQ; Bob W2OSR; Will W4FZ; Bill W1OW; Nancy K9DIG; K5WDW; Larry VK5LY/p; Andrew VK2UH; Brian VK5FMID; John VK5BJE; Richard VK2XRC/5; Tim VK5AV; Tony VK3VTH/5; Amanda VK3FQSO; Peter VK3PF; John VK2AWJ; Shaun VK5FAKV; Arno VK5ZAR; Fred VK3JM; Warren VK3BYD; David VK5NQP/p; Col VK5HCF/p; Graham VK5KGP; Tom VK5FTRG/p; David VK5KC/p; Bill VK5MBD/p; John VK5FMJC/p; Chris VK4FR/5; Bernard VK3AMB; Larry VK5LY/m; Greeg VK5ZGY/p; Andy VK5AKH; Rod VK5VRB; Max VK3MCX; Ian VK3FIAN; John VK2FALL; Peter VK3TKK/m; Jim VK3KA; Greg VK5LG; John VK5NJ; David VK5AAAH/p; Larry VK5LY/p; Tom VK5FTRG/p; Larry VK5LY/p; Bill VK5MBD/; Roger VK5NWE; Rob VK5TS/m; John VK2AWJ; Peter VK3PF; John VK5BJE; Tom VK5FTRG/p; Tim VK5AV; Colin VK3UBY; Amanda VK3FQSO; Rob VK5TRM; Keith VK5ND; Tony VK3CAT; Ian VK3VIN; Nigel VK5NIG/p; Stuart VK5STU/p; David VK5KC/p; Col VK5HCF/p; John VK2FALL; Tony VK3VTH/5; John VK5DJ; Greg VK5ZGY/p; Ian VK5IS; Andy VK5LA; Rob VK5TRM; Matt VK1MA/p; David VK5NQP/p; David VK3IL/p; Greg VK5ZGY/p; Tom VK5FTRG/p; Col VK5HCF/p; Larry VK5LY/p; David VK5AAH/p; VI2ATZ50; Erwin VK3ERW; Paul VK3TGX/p; Bob VK5FBAA; Craig VK3NCR; Gary VK5ZK; Paul VK5VCO/p; Peter VK5KX/p; Frank VK3GFS; Peter VK5NAQ; John VK2AWJ; Adam VK2YK; Michael VK2CCW; Brian VK5FMID; Larry VK5LY/p; Peter VK3PF/m; Kas VK5ZKT; Colin VK3UBY; Peter VK5KET/p; David VK5NQP/p; John VK5BJE/p; Terry VK3UP/m; Matt VK1MA; Rod VK2TWR; Steve VK5ST; Shaun VK5FAKV; Kevin VK3SOL/p; Andrew VK2UH; Alex VK3AMX; Bernard VK3AMB; Ian VK3VIN; Max VK3MCX; Al VK1RX/p (SOTA); Allen VK3HRA/p; Tony VK3VTH/5; Tom VK5FTRG/p; Brian VK5FMID; Tim VK5AV; Les VK5KLV/p; John VK5NJ; Tony VK3CAT; Peter VK5KPR/p; Amanda VK3FQSO; Kaz VK5ZKT; John VK5BJE/p; John VK2AWJ; John VK5DJ; Marshall VK3MRG; Mark VK7FMPR; Rony VK5ZAI; Peter VK3PF/p (SOTA); and Larry VK5LY/p.


Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Parks of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

National Parks South Australia,

Southern Ocean Retreats,

VK5 Parks award anniversary activation weekend

On Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th April, 2014, the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award celebrated its first birthday.  That weekend saw a special anniversary activation weekend take place, which involved a number of keen operators, who operated portable from National & Conservation Parks all around South Australia.

In fact a total of 29 hams participated in a total of 98 park activations.  Of those, 84 were unique parks.  Over 2,300 QSO’s were made, and this included over 750 park to park contacts.

The following activators took part…..

  • Tony VK3VTH/5
  • David VK5AAH
  • Steve VK5AIM
  • Andy (VK5AKH) & Mark (VK5QI) – VK5ARG
  • John VK5BJE
  • Ian VK5CZ
  • Gary VK5FGRY
  • John VK5FMJC
  • Tom VK5FTRG
  • Gordon VK5GY
  • Col VK5HCF
  • David VK5KC
  • Andrew VK5KET
  • Les VK5KLV
  • Peter VK5KPR
  • Peter VK5KX
  • Andy VK5LA
  • Larry VK5LY
  • Bill VK5MBD
  • Andrew VK5MR
  • Nigel VK5NIG
  • David VK5NQP
  • Paul VK5PAS
  • Stuart VK5STU
  • Paul VK5VCO
  • Arno VK5ZAR
  • Greg VK5ZGY
  • Richard VK5ZRY

Below is a map showing where the activations took place, all around the State…..



I myself, headed down to the Fleurieu Peninsula and activated the following parks…..

  • Bullock Hill Conservation Park
  • Cox Scrub Conservation Park
  • Deep Creek Conservation Park
  • Talisker Conservation Park
  • Eric Bonython Conservation Park
  • Newland Head Conservation Park.

I would like to say thank you to all the operators who took the time to operate portable from a park.  And also thank you to the numerous park hunters who called in to the many activators.  Without hunters, there would be no VK5 Parks program.  The 40m band was extremely busy on both days, and was in exceptional condition.  I heard many of the park activators working ‘pile ups’.

Special thanks to Tony VK3VTH/5, who travelled from Victoria, and activated three parks in the south east of South Australia.  This included Canunda National Park, where Tony made a total of 300 QSO’s, including 232 DX contacts.  Tony was even involved in the rescue of a bogged 4WD enthusiast, who decided to venture a little too close to the ocean.

There were a number of first time park operators which was extremely pleasing to see.  Congratulations to David VK5AAH, Gary VK5FGRY, John VK5FMJC, Bill VK5MBD, Gordon VK5GY, Andrew VK5KET, Les VK5KLV, Peter VK5KPR, Andrew VK5MR, and Arno VK5ZAR.  From all accounts they have been bitten by the ‘portable bug’ and have said they will be heading out again.


The herculean effort of the Sunday was that of Andy VK5AKH and Mark VK5QI who using the club call of VK5ARG, activated 20 parks in the one day.  The parks were in the Adelaide Hills and the southern suburbs of Adelaide.  Great effort fellas !


Above:- VK5ARG (VK5QI) operating at Moana Sands Conservation Park

David VK5KC also activated his first every Summits on the Air (SOTA) peak on Mount Lofty VK5/ SE-005, which is located in the Cleland Conservation Park.

The guys from the South East Radio Group were out in force.  This included Col VK5HCF who activated 8 parks, Greg VK5ZGY and trusty wife Gabby who activated 7 parks, Tom VK5FTRG who activated 5 parks, and Andrew VK5KET who activated 4 parks.


Above:- Greg VK5ZGY, operating at Wolseley Common Conservation Park

Whilst operating in the Angove CP Arno VK5ZAR reported that a lady from across the road thought he was set up to record the calls of endangered bird in the park.  And whilst operating in the Horsnell Gully CP,  he had a “tourist” bush waking couple approach him who were to ally lost.  They had been walking for many hours trying to get back to their car.  After explaining what he was there for and giving them instructions to the nearest road exit and checking they had plenty of water still they left Arno, heading back to their car..

Arno at Angove CP

Above:- Arno VK5ZAR operating at Angove Conservation Park

There were also a number of interesting locations activated.  This included Steve VK5AIM who operated portable from Martindale Hall Conservation Park.  The park incorporates the Martindale Hall mansion which was constructed in 1877.


Above:- Steve VK5AIM at Martindale Hall Conservation Park 

Peter VK5KX and Paul VK5VCO, and their wives, travelled to the Clinton Conservation Park.  From all accounts this was a very enjoyable 2 days, except for the field mice who invaded Peter’s camper van.

Below is a map showing the travel route of Larry VK5LY who activated 4 parks on Saturday, and another 4 parks on Sunday, with his wife Di.


This was a terrific weekend.  The weather was magnificent, and the band conditions were extremely good.  I myself am eagerly awaiting for next year’s 2nd birthday celebrations.