Some 20m short path DX as AX5PAS on Anzac Day

Last night (Thursday 25th April 2019) I was about to head off to bed when I decided to go up into the shack and have a listen on the 20m band.

Almost immediately after turning on the transceiver I heard R4FBH in Russia calling CQ with a big signal and I gave him a shout and got through on the first go.

I then decided to head up the band and put out a few CQ calls using the AX prefix.  What followed was a mad rush of contacts using AX5PAS before midnight.  I made a total of 65 contacts on the short path into Europe in a bit over an hour.

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Above:- Map showing my 20m short path contacts.  Map courtesy of QSOmaps

My equipment was a Yaesu FT-2000, 100 watts, and a 5 element triband yagi at about 16 metres off the ground.

One of my contacts was with Marc ON5FP in Flanders Fields which was a major battle site between 1914-1918.

If anyone is seeking a special ANZAC Day AX5PAS QSL card, please QSL via my QSL Manager Charles M0OXO.

AX5PAS (Anzac Day)

Above:- My AX5PAS QSL card

Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886

Today (Thursday 25th April 2019) is an extremely important day on the Australian calendar.  It is ANZAC Day, a National day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand.  It commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.  It is also just one of three days during the year that Australian amateur radio operators can replace the normal VK prefix with AX.

AX5PAS (Anzac Day).jpg

Above:- My special ANZAC Day QSL card.

I decided to head out and have some fun with the special prefix and activate another one of the newly added parks here in South Australia.  My choice was the Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2886, which is located between Gummeracha in the Adelaide Hills and Williamstown in the southern part of the Barossa Valley.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I headed from home to Woodside and on to the town of Gummeracha.  I then travelled north on the Forreston Road and into the little town of Forreston which is named after Alexander Forrest.  He was a blacksmith by trade and had arrived in South Australia in 1848.  He settled in the Forreston area in 1850 and in 1858 laid out the village of Forreston.  At its peak, the town had a post office, store, wine shop, wheelwright, blacksmith, butcher, and school.  A number of the historic buildings remain, and a plaque indicating the location of many of the buildings can be located outside of the Forreston Hall.

I continued along the Foreston Road until I reached Watts Gull Road.  At this location, you can find a monument for the historic site of the Robert Burns Inn which was licenced between March 1851 to December 1857.  It was located in the settlement of Kirkwood which was established in c. 1850, and was later known as North Gummeracha.  The settlement once boasted a midwife, wheelwright, carpenter, blacksmith, store, legal practitioner, and sawmill.

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Above:- Monument for the Robert Burns Inn.

This is truly beautiful country, with rolling hills and numerous vineyard and orchards.  Albeit very dry, as we have had very little rain here this year.

I soon reached the Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve, which is part of the Mount Crawford Forest.  The park is well signposted.

The Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve is 342 hectares in size and comes under the control of Foresty SA.  It was dedicated as Forest Reserve in 1918.  The reserve is recognised as a significant remnant of the original vegetation in the area.  It is estimated that less than 15% of the original vegetation remains in the area.  Much of the vegetation was previously disturbed in the past by activities including mining and timber cutting.

The area surrounding the park includes a number of farms and pine plantations under the management of Forestry SA.  The park is dissected by Watts Gully Road.  There is no vehicular access into the park.

The reserve consists of Messmate stringybark and Long-leaved box Woodland.  It contains plant species with high conservation significance, including the Nationally vulnerable species, Clover glycine.

The are was used for grazing and cultivation purposes up to 1918.  Timber cutting in the reserve continued up until the 1950s.

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Above:- An aerial shot looking west, of the Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve.  Image courtesy of google maps

The Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve is part of the Mount Crawford Forest which is named after the nearby hill of the same name, Mount Crawford which is 526 metres above sea level.  Apparently, it does not qualify for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program as it does not have the necessary prominence.  The mountain was named in 1839 by explorer Charles Sturt after James Coutts Crawford (1817–1889).  Coutts and his drovers arrived overland from New South Wales in April 1839 with 700 cattle, setting up a hut and cattle run at the base of Mount Crawford.  Crawford soon moved on to be a pioneer of Wellington, New Zealand.

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Above:- James Coutts Crawford.  Image courtesy of wikipedia

The reserve is home to a number of native mammals including Western Grey kangaroo, Koala, Short-beaked echidna, Brushtail possum, and Common ringtail possum.  Sadly a number of introduced pests can be found in the park including Red fox, Fallow deer and European rabbit.

Birds SA have identified a total of 69 native bird species in the reserve.  This includes Adelaide Rosella, Superb Fairywren, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Crescent Honeyeater, Striated Thornbill, Grey Shrike-thrush, Common Bronzewing, Brown Thornbill, White-browed Scrubwomen, Rufous Whistler, White-browed Babbler.

Below are some of the birds I observed during my visit.

The area is historically significant due to its mining heritage.  The reserve takes its name from James Watts who discovered gold in the area during 1884.  Watts was a Norwegian sailor who settled near Forreston in the 1850s.  At its peak, the goldfields had more than 200 men mining in the area, two stores and three blacksmiths.

The Evening Journal, dated 20th June 1885 reported…..

“Whatever the ultimate success of the Watts Gully Goldfield may be there can be no doubt that it has been exceedingly useful in providing employment for a large number of men during a dull period of the year.”

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Above:- News article from The Evening Journal, Adelaide, Tuesday 28th July 1885.  Courtesy of Trove.

Watts was described as a first-class practical miner who had an almost intuitive knowledge of where to sink for gold.  Unfortunately, he met with an accident and had to have one of his legs amputated.  Watts lived with his wife and five children in a tent on the goldfields.  Mrs Watts subsequently built a hut and walked the seven miles into Gummeracha for work as a washer, receiving four shillings for 27 dozen washed items.  To supplement her income she cut down gum trees and split them into posts.  She received one pound for 150 posts.  What a lady.

In 1931/32 another gold rush occurred in the area when a 20-ounce gold nugget and other smaller pieces were found in the area.

The northeastern section of the reserve is currently part of the Mount Crawford fossicking area.  Permits are required prior to any fossicking and are available from the Mount Crawford Forest Information Centre.

I parked at the gate for Fire Track WG12.  The gate was locked and there was no vehicular access.

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However, it appeared that at one time there was vehicular access into the reserve as at the end of the fire track there were a number of wooden tables and benches.

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I set up about 100 metres down the track.  I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve, showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

I put out a CQ call on 7.144 and this was answered by Mike VK6MB/3 with a strong 58 signal.  Mike kindly spotted me on parksnpeaks, which soon resulted in a mini pile up, as you would expect considering this was a unique park.  David VK5PL was second in the log, followed by Paul VK3DBP, and then John VK4TJ.

Within 8 minutes I had qualified the park for VKFF with 10 contacts.  QSO number ten was with Andy VK5LA.  Within 45 minutes I had contact number 44 in the log, and the park was qualified for the global WWFF program.  QSO number 44 was with Kevin VK2HLK.

I logged a total of 69 contacts on 7.144 from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, and VK7.  This included the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Allen VK3ARH/p – Alpine National Park VKFF-0619
  • Peter VK3TKK/p – Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333
  • Peter AX3TKK/p – Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333
  • Alan AX2MG/p – Brisbane Water National Park VKFF-0056
  • Ian VK1DI/2 – Queanbeyan Nature Reserve VKFF-1988
  • Peter AX3ZPF/p – Warramate Hills Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2886
  • AX1DA/p – Bullen Range Nature Reserve VKFF-0984

It was also great to speak with Amanda VK3FQSO after such a long time, and her hubby Bob VK3FLAK.  Great to hear you guys on the air.  Another nice contact was with Perrin VK3XPT using his Clansman military transceiver.  Very appropriate considering it was ANZAC day.

I then headed off to 20m where I called CQ on 14.310.  First in the log was Greg VK4VXX/p who was activating the Fitzgerald River National Park VKFF-0171.  It was a nice way to start off on 20m.  I then logged Andrei ZL1TM who is a very big VKFF hunter.  I logged a further 4 stations on 20m, one from VK2, and three from VK4.

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Above:- the shack for the afternoon

It was then off to the 80m band.  I called CQ on 3.610 after placing a spot on parksnpeaks.  My good wife Marija VK5FMAZ came back to my call.  I worked a total of 12 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, and VK5.  This included three Park to Park contacts:-

  • Peter VK3TKK/p – Gisborne Flora Reserve VKFF-2322
  • Liz VK2XSE/p – Murrumbidgee Valley Regional Park VKFF-1786
  • Peter AX3ZPF/p – SOTA VK3/ VC-029 & Warramate Hills Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2224

When things slowed down I tuned around the band and found Ian VK1DI/2 on 3.620 in the Queanbeyan Nature Reserve VKFF-1988.  Although both of our signals were low, we were able to comfortably have a contact.

I then headed back to 40m and spoke with Tony VK3WI (VK3XV) activating the HMAS Castlemaine, a Bathurst-class corvette which was constructed during World War II.   She is just one of two surviving examples of the Bathurst class, and is now a museum ship at Williamstown.  What a great contact on ANZAC Day.

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Above:- HMAS Castlemaine.  Image courtesy of Wikipedia. 

I then moved up the band to 7.144 where I put out another CQ call.  Peter VK2FPAR came back to my call, followed by Ross AX7LH, and then Rod VK7FRJG.  I logged a further 20 stations which included Max IK1GPG in Italy.  Max has called me a few times now during my recent park activations and had a nice 5/7 signal.

It was that time of the day that the band was opening to Europe, and I soon had GW4UXS calling CQ on the frequency competing with me.  Sadly he couldn’t hear my little signal.

I moved back to 20m hoping for some long path Europe DX, but was sadly disappointed.  There appeared to be no DX opening.  I did, however, log Ray VK4NH up in Queensland who was a big 5/9 signal.

It was then back to 40m for a final CQ call before going QRT for the day.  I ended up being there for a little longer than expected, with a further 25 stations logged on 7.144 from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK7, New Zealand, and Belgium.  The big surprise was to be called by Danny ON4VT in Belgium who had a nice 5/7 signal.

To complete the activation I had a tune across the band and worked Gerard VK2IO/p who was on 7.155 activating the Solitary Islands Marine Park VKFF-1411.  It was a nice way to end the activation with a Park to Park contacts.

It had been another terrific activation, with my past 4 park activations, exceeding 100 QSOs each activation.  This time I had a total of 144 contacts in the log, including 14 Park to Park contacts.  Thank you to everyone who called, and a big thanks to those who took the time to spot me: VK6MB/3, VK3PF, VK5FANA, VK3SQ, ZL1TM, VK3ZPF, VK5FMAZ, VK5VC, VK5DW, & VK3ANL.  It is greatly appreciated.

LEST WE FORGET.

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I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK6MB/3
  2. VK5PL
  3. VK3DBP
  4. VK4TJ
  5. VK4/AC8WN
  6. VK4/VE6XT
  7. VK3MDH/p
  8. AX3PF
  9. VK3MCK
  10. VK5LA
  11. AX3DAC
  12. VK3MPR
  13. VK3ARH/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-046 & Alpine National Park VKFF-0619)
  14. VK3AHR
  15. AX3AFW (AM)
  16. AX2PKT
  17. VK3UH
  18. AX2HHA
  19. VK2KYO
  20. VK2NP
  21. VK3TKK/p (Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333)
  22. AX3TKK/p (Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333)
  23. AX4HNS
  24. VK4HNS
  25. VK3PI
  26. VK3FRAB
  27. VK4CZ
  28. VK2FJGO
  29. VK5WU
  30. VK7QP
  31. AX3KZ
  32. AX3VBC
  33. VK3GMO
  34. VK3MB
  35. VK4FDJL
  36. VK5KLV
  37. VK5GY/p
  38. VK3FPSR
  39. VK1VIC
  40. VK2VIC
  41. VK3AQZ
  42. VK3VLA
  43. VK4SYD
  44. VK2HLK
  45. AX2FSAV
  46. AX2MG/p (Brisbane Water National Park VKFF-0056)
  47. VK2ADB
  48. AX2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ NR-0239)
  49. VK2BXT
  50. VK2VW
  51. VK1DI/2 (Queanbeyan Nature Reserve VKFF-1988)
  52. AX3UKW
  53. AX2YW
  54. AX3KTO
  55. VK3FLAK
  56. VK3FQSO
  57. VK3OHM
  58. VK5FANA
  59. VK2ARJ/m
  60. VK3XPT
  61. VK3SQ
  62. AX4NH
  63. AX4DXA
  64. ZL4TY/VK4
  65. VK4NH
  66. VK4DXA
  67. AX3ZPF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-029 & Warramate Hills Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2224)
  68. AX1DA/p (SOTA VK1/ AC-033 & Bullen Range Nature Reserve VKFF-0984)
  69. VK6KJ
  70. VK3WI (HMAS Castlemaine)
  71. VK3XV (HMAS Castlemaine)
  72. VK2FPAR
  73. AX7LH
  74. VK7FRJG
  75. AX3TNL
  76. VK3PWG
  77. AX2XSE/p (Murrumbidgee Valley Regional Park VKFF-1786)
  78. VK5VCR
  79. VK2YK
  80. VK3KTT/m
  81. VK3CWF
  82. AX3ASU
  83. VK4SMA
  84. VK3BHR
  85. IK1GPG
  86. AX3MKE
  87. AX2WQ
  88. VK3ANL
  89. AX3ANL
  90. VK7AN
  91. AX3MH
  92. VK4GSF
  93. VK4MWB
  94. VK4FARR
  95. VK7JON/p
  96. AX7FOLK/p
  97. VK7MD/p
  98. ON4VT
  99. VK1AT
  100. VK3OY
  101. VK2MJW
  102. VK3ZSG
  103. VK3MXT
  104. VK4OZI
  105. VK3NL
  106. VK2MOR
  107. AX3BY
  108. VK3BSG
  109. VK3JK
  110. VK2HMV
  111. VK2BXE
  112. VK3UP
  113. VK3FCMC
  114. ZL1TM
  115. VK2UXO
  116. VK4RF
  117. VK4HA
  118. VK4PDX
  119. VK3FGSL
  120. AX2IO/p (Solitary Islands Marine Park VKFF-1411)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4VXX/6 (Fitzgerald River National Park VKFF-0171)
  2. ZL1TM
  3. VK2NP
  4. VK4MWB
  5. VK4TJ
  6. VK4VSM
  7. AX4NH
  8. AX4DXA
  9. ZL4TY/VK4
  10. VK4NH
  11. VK4DXA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMAZ
  2. VK5VC
  3. VK5DW
  4. VK3TKK/p  (Gisborne Flora Reserve VKFF-2322)
  5. VK5FANA
  6. VK2XSE/p (Murrumbidgee Valley Regional Park VKFF-1786)
  7. AX3ZPF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-029 & Warramate Hills Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2224)
  8. VK5LA
  9. AX5LA
  10. VK6MB/3
  11. VK5PL
  12. VK5BJE
  13. VK1DI/2 (Queanbeyan Nature Reserve VKFF-1988)

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/watts-gully-native-forest-reserve/>, viewed 25th April 2019

Forestry SA, 2016, Watts Gully Native Forest Reserve Management Plan.

State Library SA, 2019, <http://www.slsa.ha.sa.gov.au/digitalpubs/placenamesofsouthaustralia/W.pdf>, viewed 25th April 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day>, viewed 25th April 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forreston,_South_Australia>, viewed 25th April 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Castlemaine>, viewed 25th April 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Crawford_(South_Australia)>, viewed 25th April 2019

Knott Hill Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2892

This afternoon (Monday 22nd April 2019) Marija and I decided to do another park activation and chose another one of the newly added South Australian parks to the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  This time we headed to the Knott Hill Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2892.

The reserve is located about 6 km west of the town of Meadows, and about 50 km south-east of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Knott Hill Forest Reserve VKFF-2892.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Knott Hill Native Forest Reserve is located in the Kuitpo Forest Reserve in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  It is 82.3 hectares in size and consists of native vegetation.  The primary management objective for the area is to conserve and enhance native flora and fauna and preserve biodiversity for the long-term benefit of the South Australian community.  The reserve conserves remnant native vegetation characteristic of the Mount Lofty Ranges.  It is estimated that less than 15% of the original vegetation remains.

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Above:- An aerial view of the reserve, looking west, showing the adjacent pine plantations.  Image courtesy of google maps.

Over 400 native plant species can be found in the reserve, with 63 of those being of conservation significance.  The Reserve provides a unique habitat for over 50 species of native orchid, including the Dark-tipped sun-orchid which is rates Critically Endangered Nationally.

The reserve takes its name from the area dedicated to Dr John Knott, an early settler in the Kangarilla District.  Mr Knott is credited with pioneering the road over Mount Panorama to ‘the Meadows’.  This road is now known as Stagecoach Lane.

The reserve is integrated with an area of pine plantation which is managed by Forestry SA.  These pine plantations are located to the north, south and west of the reserve, with privately owned land adjoining the eastern section of the reserve.

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I travelled along Peters Creek Road which runs off Brookman Road, until I reached Knotts Hill Road.  I turned right and parked in the carpark.  Although google maps show that Knotts Hill Road continues to the east, this is not the case.  There are locked gates at this location.

It would appear from what I saw, there is no vehicular access to the reserve via Kingfisher Road.  This is a narrow dirt track which takes you passed a number of farming properties and then a sign which states ‘authorised vehicles only’.  You could park there and walk up the track to access the reserve.

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I collected up all of my gear and then took the 500-metre walk to reach the western boundary of the park.  It took me about 3 trips back to get all my gear, including the fold up table and deck chair.

I set up on the side of a fire access track which dissected the reserve.

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First in the log was a Park to Park contact with Ian VK1DI/p who was activated the Macquarie Pass National Park VKFF-0298.  Ian had a beautiful bit 5/9 signal from New South Wales.  The 40m band had certainly been in very good shape over the Easter Break, and today appeared to be no different.

After logging Ian on 7.144 I moved down the band to 7.139 and asked if the frequency was in use, only to get 3 or 4 voices coming back to me to say it was clear.  I picked out Peter VK3PF who was very strong, and then logged Wayne VK2DWP and then Cliff VK2NP.

As this was a brand new park it did not take long for a mini pile up to ensue.  Within 4 minutes I had contact number 10 in the bag and had qualified the park for VKFF.  QSO number ten was with John VK4/VE6XT.

I logged a total of 68 contacts on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, New Zealand, and Italy.  This included a Park to Park with Peter VK3ZPF/p who was activating the Traralgon South Flora Reserve VKFF-2465.  And a contact with Max IK1GPG who I have made contact with a few times now on 40m during my recent activations.

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I then put out some calls on 14.310 on the 20m band and logged 8 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK6 and New Zealand.  This included Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating SOTA peak VK2/ MN-098 in the Ulidarra National Park VKFF-0504.

It was then off to 80m.  Our first contact there was with Peter VK3ZPF/p in the Traralgon South Flora Reserve VKFF-2465.  We then moved up to 3.615 and started calling CQ.  Stuart VK5STU was first to call back.  It was a pleasure to log Stuey as he had posted on Facebook that he had been listening on 40m but could not hear us.  On 80m he was 5/9 and gave me a 5/5 signal report.

Next was Adrian VK5FANA who is a regular park hunter, followed by Charlie VK5VC.  As I had well and truly qualified the park, it was time for Marija to jump into the operator’s chair.  Marija logged 7 stations, all South Australian stations.

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Marija now had 9 contacts in the log, and with no further callers on 80m, we headed back to 40m.  Marija started calling CQ on 7.130 whilst I placed a spot for her on parksnpeaks and on Facebook.  Perrin VK3XPT was first in the log on 40m for Marija, using his Clansman military transceiver.  Perrin had qualified the park for Marija.

Marija soon attracted her own little pile-up, with a steady flow of callers.  Within 35 minutes Marija had qualified the park for the global WWFF program, with 44 contacts in the log.  This included the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Mike VK6MB/3 – Wabba Wilderness Park VKFF-0944
  • Mark VK3FAMP/p – Wabba Wilderness Park VKFF-0944
  • Gerard VK2IO/p – SOTA VK2/ MN-098 & Ulidarra National Park VKFF-0504

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I also logged Mike VK6MB/3 and Mark VK3FAMP in the Wabba Wilderness Park VKFF-0944, and also Gerard VK2IO on SOTA peak VK2/ MN-098 & Ulidarra National Park VKFF-0504.

I then tuned across the band and heard Samuel EA1DLU calling CQ on 7.155 with his normal big signal.  As he was not busy I gave him a call and had a successful QSO.  I had spoken with Samuel yesterday.  Today my signal report was 2 S points lower.

Marija and I had seen a post on Facebook from David VK5PL stating that he was only hearing the park hunters and not us, so we finished off the activation by putting out some CQ calls on 3.610 on the 80m band, hoping to log David.  Alas, it was not to be.  We did not hear from David, but I did log VK3PF, VK5AYL, VK5WU, and VK3FDZE.

It was now freezing cold and time for us to pack up and head back to the vehicle.  It had been another successful activation, with both Marija and I qualifying the park for both VKFF and WWFF.  We made a total of 134 QSOs including 12 Park to Park contacts.

THANKYOU to everyone who called us, and a big thanks to those who took the time to spot us.

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Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Traralgon South Flora Reserve VKFF-2465)
  2. VK3XPT/p (military tx)
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK4AAC/3
  5. VK2VH/3
  6. VK4SMA
  7. VK3OHM
  8. VK3PI
  9. VK6MB/3 (Wabba Wilderness Park VKFF-0944)
  10. VK3FAMP/p (Wabba Wilderness Park VKFF-0944)
  11. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-098 & Ulidarra National Park VKFF-0504)
  12. VK4RF
  13. VK4HA
  14. VK2UH
  15. VK7FJFD
  16. VK2HHA
  17. VK3ARH
  18. VK3FORD
  19. VK5PET
  20. VK3MPR
  21. VK3FRAB
  22. VK4NH
  23. VK4DXA
  24. ZL4TY/VK4
  25. VK5ZEA
  26. VK3FSPN
  27. VK2NP
  28. VK4MWB
  29. VK3VKT
  30. VK3MAB
  31. VK4TJ
  32. VK4/AC8WN
  33. VK4/VE6XT
  34. VK3TKK/p
  35. VK5FLEA
  36. VK3PF
  37. VK4FDJL

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3ZPF/p (Traralgon South Flora Reserve VKFF-2465)
  2. VK5VC
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5DW
  5. VK5WU
  6. VK5KDK
  7. VK5BJE
  8. VK5FLEA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK1DI/p (Macquarie Pass National Park VKFF-0298)
  2. VK3PF
  3. VK2DWP
  4. VK2NP
  5. VK3SQ
  6. VK4RF
  7. VK4HA
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK4/AC8WN
  10. VK4/VE6XT
  11. VK3PI
  12. VK3AHR
  13. VK3MDH
  14. VK2HHA
  15. VK4SMA
  16. VK2VW
  17. VK3TKK/m
  18. VK3MKE
  19. VK2JAZ
  20. VK4CZ
  21. VK3BSG
  22. VK3BYD
  23. VK2PKT
  24. VK2CEC/m
  25. VK5KLV
  26. VK4FARR
  27. VK3ARH
  28. VK4FDJL
  29. VK2EXA
  30. ZL1TM
  31. VK4HNS
  32. VK3OHM
  33. VK2ADB
  34. VK4NH
  35. VK4DXA
  36. ZL4TY/VK4
  37. VK2HOT
  38. VK3PAT
  39. VK3XL
  40. VK5VCR
  41. VK4VXX/6
  42. VK3DBP
  43. VK3DOU
  44. VK3FPSR
  45. VK2MOP
  46. VK3NLK
  47. VK5FLEA
  48. VK3CM
  49. VK3BMT
  50. VK7KT/m
  51. VK3ZPF/p (Traralgon South Flora Reserve VKFF-2465)
  52. IK1GPG
  53. VK3MLU
  54. VK3FLES/2
  55. VK2KEV/m
  56. VK7ZGK
  57. VK2BLP
  58. VK3FRNS/p (military manpack)
  59. VK6XC
  60. VK5KBJ
  61. VK7KR
  62. VK7DW
  63. VK2FPAR
  64. VK3FN
  65. VK3DJY
  66. VK7HRS
  67. VK3JMA/m
  68. VK4HAT
  69. VK6MB/3 (Wabba Wilderness Park VKFF-0944)
  70. VK3FAMP/p (Wabba Wilderness Park VKFF-0944)
  71. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-098 & Ulidarra National Park VKFF-0504)
  72. VK3MCK
  73. EA1DLU

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4HAT
  2. ZL1BYZ
  3. VK3XL
  4. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ MN-098 & Ulidarra National Park VKFF-0504)
  5. VK6XC
  6. VK4SMA
  7. VK2ARL
  8. VK6NDX

I worked the following stations on 80m SB:-

  1.  VK3ZPF/p (Traralgon South Flora Reserve VKFF-2465)
  2. VK5STU
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5VC
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK5AYL
  7. VK5WU
  8. VK3FDZE

 

References.

Forestry SA, 2016, Mount Panorama, Knott Hill & Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserves Management Plan.

Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2893

Yesterday (Sunday 21st April 2019) Marija VK5FMAZ and I headed to the Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2893, one of the newly added parks in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Thirteen Native Forest Reserves located in the Adelaide Hills and on the Fleurieu Peninsula have been added to the program in the last 48 hours.  This is together with new parks added earlier in the year in VK6 and VK8, and also a number of parks in VK4.  Nearly 200 are to appear soon from VK3.

The Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’, and is about 8 km southwest of the town of Meadows and about 45 km south-east of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park is just a short drive from our home.  We travelled to Meadows and then south-west on Brookman Road towards Willunga.  We travelled passed the historic woodcutters cottage on Brookman Road which now offers accommodation, and then passed the Kuitpo Hall built of stone in 1926.  The pickers were out in force in the nearby Kuitpo Forest strawberry farm.

We then turned in to Brookman-Connor Road which took us through the pine forest towards the park.  It was an overcast day but quite mild, following a 32 deg C day on Saturday.

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Above:- Brookman-Connor Road

There are some great views to be had of the surrounding countryside along the way.

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Above:- a view of the surrounding countryside

The Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve is 309.9 hectares in size and is one of three Native Forest Reserves located in the Kuitpo Forest Reserve in the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  Nearby Native Forest Reserves are Mount Panorama and Knott Hill.  These reserves are of high conservation value and contain a rich variety of trees, shrubs and ground cover species which provide significant habitat for native birds, reptiles and mammals.

The Kuitpo Forest Reserve was established in 1989.  It was the first of a number of forest plantations in the Mount Lofty Ranges, established to ensure a sustainable timber resource for South Australia.  The reserve is managed by Forestry SA.

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The Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve is an IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 2005) Category IV reserve. These category of park are habitat or species management areas, protected and managed mainly for conservation through management intervention to ensure the maintenance of habitats and/or to meet the requirements of species.

The name Christmas Hill is derived from the peak of the same name on the north-eastern boundary of the reserve.  The reserve contains 400 identified native plant species, including 63 with conservation significance.  The entire Christmas Hill area was devastated by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.

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The Reserve is integrated with various pine plantations managed by Forestry SA.  The reserve’s southern boundary borders the Kyeema Conservation Park.

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A large number of native bird species call the park home.  This includes Yellow-tailed black cockatoos, who were in abundance during our visit.

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We set up just inside gate CH18 on Christmas Hill Road.

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Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Forestry SA

There was plenty of room here to stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole, and we were away from other users in the park.

DSC_7136

The 40m band was alive with activity and it was quite difficult to find a clear spot.  I found 7.134 clear and started calling CQ whilst Marija placed a spot on parksnpeaks for me.  First in the log was Peter VK3PF with an excellent 5/9 signal, followed by Lee VK3HOT, and then John VK4TJ.

As this was a new park it did not take long for a small pile up to develop.  Within an hour I worked a total of 65 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.  This included the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Mark VK4SMA/p – Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651
  • Jonathan VK7JON/p – Eugenana State Reserve VKFF-1800
  • Helen VK7FOLK/p – Eugenana State Reserve VKFF-1800

DSC_7133

I had qualified the park for both VKFF and WWFF, and now it was Marija’s turn to get onto the microphone.  Mike VK5FMWW was first in Marija’s log, followed by Danny VK5DW, Mike VK6MB/3, and then Ivan VK3OHM.  It took Marija just 8 minutes to get her 10 contacts.  QSO number ten was with Brian VK5TBC.

DSC_7139

It took Marija just 45 minutes to qualify the park for WWFF.  The 40m band was in great shape.  Marija’s contacts were from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included the following Park to Park contact:-

  • Mark VK4SMA/p – Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651

Marija was extremely happy to have qualified the park for the global WWFF program, and it was my turn now to ramp up the power and make a few more contacts.  David VK3UCD came back to my CQ call, followed by Greg VK4VXX/6, and then Rick VK4RF.  I worked a further 9 stations, taking my total contacts for the activation to 77 QSOs.

DSC_7146

Marija and I then lowered the squid pole and we removed the links for the 20m band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and it wasn’t long before John VK4TJ came back to my call.  This was followed by another regular park hunter Ray VK4NH.  I logged a total of 17 stations on 20m SSB which included Greg VK4VXX/6 who suggested we also try AM which we did.  It was my first ever AM contact on 20m.

The real highlight of 20m was a Park to Park contact with Kent K7CAR/p in the Dixie National Forest KFF-4395 in the USA.  The photographs below are courtesy of Kent.

Marija and I then returned to 40m logging the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Adam VK2YK/p – Hat Head National Park VKFF-0230
  • Andy VK5LA/p – Jallumba Marsh Flora Reserve VKFF-2338
  • Ian VK1DI/2 – Barren Grounds Nature Reserve VKFF-1885

I then moved down to the 80m band and called CQ on 3.610.  Mike VK5FMWW was my first taker, followed by Danny VK5DW, and then Linda VK7QP.  Band conditions were excellent on 80m.   But sadly I only logged 6 stations.

I then moved back to 40m where I logged a further 24 stations on 7.158, including Max IK1GPG in Italy.  Unfortunately, DC5ZVU came up on the frequency and started calling CQ, which made it impossible to copy any callers, as he was a 5/8 signal.  So I moved down to 7.156 where I made a further 4 stations.

DSC_7134

To complete the activation I had a tune across the band and found Manuel EA1DLU/p in Spain on 7.175 calling CQ with a strong 5/9 signal.  I was very lucky to have Manuel come back to my first call.  Manuel gave me a 5/7 signal report into Spain with my 40 watts and small wire antenna.

Below is a short video of part of my QSO with Manuel.

I then found Craig VK3CRG/p on 7.170.  Craig was portable at Little River and had a friend Debbie with him, who was a budding ham.  Marija had a chat with Debbie and explained to her where we were operating from, and a little bit about Marija’s history in the hobby.  Sadly the rain started tumbling down at Craig’s location which resulted in Craig having to go clear.

David VK5LSB then called me to say hi, followed by Perrin VK3XPT/p who was operating portable on the beach at Sandy Point using his military transceiver.  Marija was keen to pack up and head home, so I apologise to anybody else who may have wanted to call into this new park.  We will be back.

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Above:- Perrin VK3XPT’s operating spot at Sandy Point.  Image courtesy of VK3XPT.

Below is a short video taken by Perrin of our contact.

Below is a video I took on the iphone showing some of Marija’s contacts during the activation.

This had been an amazing activation.  Marija had qualified the park for VKFF and WWFF, and had 49 contacts in the log.  I had also qualified the park for VKFF and WWFF, and had a total of 136 contacts in the log.  This included ten Park to Park contacts between the two of us, including the Park to Park into the USA.

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Above:- Map showing my contacts during the activation.  Map courtesy of QSOmap.org

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Above:- Map showing my QSOs in Australia and New Zealand, during my activation.  Map courtesy of QSOmap.org

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW
  2. VK5DW
  3. VK6MB/3
  4. VK5HS
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK7ALH
  8. VK3SH
  9. VK5KLV
  10. VK5TBC
  11. VK7QP
  12. VK3SQ
  13. VK2PKT
  14. VK4CZ
  15. VK5WU
  16. VK3FDZE
  17. VK3MPR
  18. VK4SMA/p (Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651)
  19. VK4HNS
  20. VK2KJJ
  21. VK3BYD
  22. VK3XPT
  23. VK2HHA
  24. VK5PE
  25. VK3AB/p
  26. VK2YMU
  27. VK4FARR
  28. VK3FAMPT
  29. VK2UTL
  30. VK3BNC
  31. VK4VXX/6
  32. VK2WQ
  33. VK3NCR/p
  34. VK3YBP
  35. VK3BSG
  36. VK3IL/p
  37. VK4RF
  38. VK4HA
  39. VK4TJ
  40. VK4/AC8WN
  41. VK4/VE6XT
  42. VK1MCW
  43. VK5IS
  44. VK3KAI
  45. VK3GV
  46. VK5MK/m
  47. VK5LA/p (Jallumba Marsh Flora Reserve VKFF-2338)
  48. VK1DI/2 (Barren Grounds Nature Reserve VKFF-1885)
  49. VK3CRG/p

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3HOT
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/AC8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK3DAC
  8. VK2MY/3
  9. VK4AAC/3
  10. VK2VH/3
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK4HNS
  13. VK4SMA/p (Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651)
  14. VK5FANA
  15. VK3ANL
  16. VK3FPSR
  17. VK2YMU
  18. VK4CZ
  19. VK4NH
  20. VK4DXA
  21. ZL4TY/VK4
  22. VK3DBP
  23. VK7JON/p (Eugenia State Reserve VKFF-1800)
  24. VK7FOLK/ (Eugenia State Reserve VKFF-1800)
  25. VK3TKK/m
  26. VK3MPR
  27. VK2FAAA/3
  28. VK7ALH
  29. VK2VW
  30. VK3ARH
  31. VK3NDX
  32. VK2IO/m
  33. VK3WAR
  34. VK3EAC
  35. VK2AB
  36. VK7EE
  37. VK2JDS
  38. VK3MCK
  39. VK4NKL/p
  40. VK4FARR
  41. VK5FMWW
  42. VK4FDJL
  43. VK3VBC
  44. VK2FHIT
  45. VK7EK
  46. VK1TX
  47. VK5MK/m
  48. VK5WU
  49. VK5DW
  50. VK3FDZE
  51. VK5VGC
  52. VK3TNL
  53. VK3STU
  54. VK3ZNK
  55. VK5AUS
  56. VK5TBC/m
  57. VK5HS
  58. VK7QP
  59. VK6CP
  60. VK5PE
  61. VK6MB/3
  62. VK2OD
  63. VK5FBUD
  64. VK5GP
  65. VK2EMI
  66. VK3UCD
  67. VK4VXX/6
  68. VK4RF
  69. VK4HA
  70. VK7LH
  71. VK2GAZ
  72. VK5FLKJ
  73. VK3NBL
  74. VK1MCW
  75. VK5MAS
  76. VK5PW
  77. VK5WF
  78. VK2YK/p (Hat Head National Park VKFF-0230)
  79. VK5LA/p (Jallumba Marsh Flora Reserve VKFF-2338 )
  80. VK1DI/2 (Barren Grounds Nature Reserve VKFF-1885)
  81. VK3AHR
  82. VK3CWF
  83. ZL1TM
  84. VK3KMH
  85. VK2HHA
  86. VK3SX
  87. VK3IRM
  88. VK3MLU
  89. VK3MKE
  90. VK2HBO
  91. IK1GPG
  92. VK3CGB
  93. VK3IL/p
  94. VK7KT
  95. VK2PKT
  96. VK2GJC
  97. VK2CAF
  98. VK7FRJG
  99. VK2HRX/3
  100. VK2PBC/p (QRP)
  101. VK4RG
  102. VK2XXM
  103. VK6LG
  104. VK1JP/2
  105. VK7HAM
  106. VK7PAK
  107. VK6SKY
  108. VK3VGB
  109. EA1DLU
  110. VK3CRG/p
  111. VK5LSB
  112. VK3XPT/p (military tx)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/AC8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK2GZ
  8. VK6MAC
  9. VK4CZ
  10. VK4PDX
  11. VK4VXX/6
  12. VK2HDX
  13. VK4TMZ
  14. K7CAR/p (Dixie National Forest KFF-4395)
  15. VK4AS
  16. VK2JON
  17. VK4HNS

I worked the following station on 20m AM:-

  1. VK4VXX/6

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW
  2. VK5DW
  3. VK7QP
  4. VK5HS/m
  5. VK5YX
  6. VK3AHR

 

 

References.

Forestry SA, 2016, Mount Panorama, Knott Hill & Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserves Management Plan.

Giles Conservation Park 5CP-076 and VKFF-0884

Yesterday (Saturday 20th April 2019) was a very blustery and hot day for this time of the year in South Australia.  The fire danger threat was quite high, so I waited until late in the afternoon once the wind had dropped, to head out into the field.

I headed to the Giles Conservation Park 5CP-076 & VKFF-0884, which is located about 16 km east of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Giles Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

I have activated the Giles Conservation Park on five prior occasions.  My first activation was back in August 2013, and my latest activation at Giles was in September 2017.

The Giles Conservation Park is about 109 hectares (270 acres) in size and was established on the 30th day of September 2007.  Previously, the land was the eastern portion of the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park which is located to the west of Giles.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Giles Conservation Park, looking west towards the city of Adelaide.  Image courtesy of google maps

The rugged slopes of this park are clothed with Brown Stringybark and Messmate Stringybark.  The lower slopes are dominated by South Australian Blue Gum, Pink Gum, Manna Gum and River Red Gum.  The understorey is made up of native cherry, golden wattle, native orchids, and dusty miller – a white flowering bush.

IMG_1857

The park was named after the family of Charles Giles who is reported as being a pioneer in the fields of horticulture and floriculture in South Australia.  Giles arrived in the Colony of South Australia in 1838 on board the Recovery.  He had trained as a horticulturalist in Devon, England.  He purchased land in the Adelaide Hills while living at another property at Black Forest in the city, and walked to the Summit every Monday morning with his week’s provisions, returning home on Saturdays.  As there was no road leading to the valley back in the 1800s, Giles had to cross Third Creek a total of 21 times.

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Above:- Charles GILES.  Courtesy of State Library SA

Giles established the Reedbeds Nursery in the valley on his Grove Hill property.  The focus of the nursery was flowers and trees, with an orchard nearby.  The men who worked at the nursery lived with their families in cottages built by Charles Giles along Third Creek.  The three attached cottages were called ‘Faith’, ‘Hope’ and ‘Charity’ and there was a free-standing cottage a little to the west.  Giles built Grove Hill house, a substantial two storey residence.

Over 60 species of native birds have been recorded in the park including Adelaide Rosella, White-throated Treecreeper, Superb Fairywren, New Holland Honeyeater, Crescent Honeyeater, Black-winged Currawong, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Black-capped Sittella, and Rufous Whistler.

Native animals found in the park include Western Grey kangaroo, koala, brush-tailed possums, yellow-footed antechinus, and short-beaked echidnas.

I set up in my normal operating spot, just inside the park gate on Woods Hill Road.

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Above:- An aerial view of the Giles Conservation Park showing my operating spot.  Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

After setting up I headed for 7.144 on the 40m band and found Simon VK3ELH/p calling CQ from the Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623.  After logging Simon Park to Park I headed down the band to 7.139 and started calling CQ.  Ulrich VK2UTL was the first to give me a call, followed by Brett VK2FSAV mobile, and then Rod VK7FRJG.

It was about 3.45 p.m. local time (0615) UTC and the band was open to Europe.  It didn’t take long for me to start experiencing some QRM from 7.138 from a German station.  It is very hard to find a clear spot on the 40m band at this time of the day.

Despite the interference, the band was in great shape, and it didn’t take long for a mini pile up to form.  Alan VK2MG/p was ninth in the log, with another Park to Park.  Alan was activating the Worimi National Park VKFF-0614.  Contact number ten, qualifying the park for me for VKFF, was with regular park hunter John VK4TJ.

I continued to work a steady flow of callers, and about 12 calls later I had my third Park to Park for the activation in the log.  Nik VK3ZNK/p was activating the North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2166.  Eight QSOs later I was called by Peter VK3YE/p who was pedestrian mobile on Carrum Beach in Melbourne.  Peter always puts out a nice signal, and today was no different, with Peter having a good strong 5/8 signal.

About 7 contacts later I worked Perrin VK3XPT who was using his military manpack transceiver with a 2.4-metre whip antenna.  Perrin had a strong 5/8 signal.  A few QSOs later I was called by Max IK1GPG in Italy.  Max had a good 5/7 signal and gave me a 5/5 in Italy which I was very happy with.  Just 2 QSOs later, contact number 44 was in the log, with a QSO with William VK2NWB.

Five QSOs later I had another Park to Park contact in the log.  This time it was Ian VK1DI/2 who was activating the Budderoo National Park VKFF-0062.  Seven contacts later I was called by Hans VK6XN/p in the Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789.  Hans had a good 5/7 signal from some 2,000 km to my west.

I logged a total of 57 contacts on 7.139 before callers slowed down.  I decided to tune across the band and I found Samuel EA1DLU in Spain calling CQ on 7.158.  Samuel was a strong 5/9 signal, and I was fortunate to get through to Samuel on my first call.  I then found Jeff F4GGQ in Spain, calling CQ on 7.153.  He also had a 5/9 signal and was not busy, and I got through on my first call.  Jeff gave me a 5/3 signal report.

I then lowered the squid pole and removed the links on the dipole for the 20m band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and was soon called by Hans VK6XN in the Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789.

Hans and I decided to stay on the frequency together and call CQ.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t long and we started to experience some QRM from a European station calling CQ on the frequency.  I logged Warren ZL2JML in New Zealand who was running QRP.  Sadly Hans was unable to hear Warren.  Hans was called by a number of stations on the east coast of Australia in New South Wales and Queensland who I was unable to hear.  Hans and I decided that we should split up considering the propagation conditions.

I tuned across the band and found Luciano EA8AM calling CQ on 14.287.  Luciano was a strong 5/9 and gave me a 5/7 signal report from the Canary Islands.  He was amazed that I was running just 40 watts and a piece of wire.

IMG_1860

It was starting to get dark with the local time around 5.40 p.m., so I lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for the 80m band.  I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Clem VK3CYD, followed by Dennis VK2HHA, and then Geoff VK3SQ.  I ended up logging a total of 17 stations on 80m, including my good wife Marija VK5FMAZ.

I then moved back to the 40m band hoping to log some North American stations, although my antenna is less than an ideal performer for DX contacts.  I logged 12 stations, including Chuck KO4SB who was mobile.  Chuck was low down, just 5/3 and gave me a 3/3.  Nonetheless, it was a USA DX contact which I was very happy with.

I then decided to have one last listen on the 80m band.  I logged a further 13 stations from VK2, VK3, VK5, VK6 and VK8.  Conditions were terrific, with very strong signals.  Humming on the band was the Over the Horizon Radar.  I even heard two American gentlemen speaking on the same frequency I was operating on, but sadly they were unable to hear my signal.

IMG_1862

It was time for me to pack and head home for a bite to eat.  It had been a great activation, with 105 contacts in the log.  The 40m proved to be a great performer, with the vast majority of my contacts on that band, including some nice SSB DX.

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The map below shows my contacts around the globe during the activation.

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Above:- My QSOs during the activation.  Map courtesy of QSOmap.org

The map below shows my contacts around Australia and into New Zealand during the activation.

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Above:- My QSOs around Australia and into New Zealand during the activation.  Map courtesy of QSOmap.org

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ELH/p (Greater Bendigo National Park VKFF-0623)
  2. VK2UTL
  3. VK2FSAV/m
  4. VK7FRJG
  5. VK3LTL
  6. VK2FPAR
  7. VK3DBP
  8. VK7DW/m
  9. VK2MG/p (Worimi National Park VKFF-0614)
  10. VK4TJ
  11. VK3MWB
  12. VK4SMA
  13. ZL1TM
  14. VK3FRAB
  15. VK3ARH
  16. VK3PF
  17. VK4CZ
  18. VK3NXT
  19. VK3MDH
  20. VK3MKE
  21. VK2IO/m
  22. VK3ZNK/p (North Western Port Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2166)
  23. VK3OAK
  24. VK3UCD
  25. VK3ANL
  26. VK4FDJL
  27. VK3TNL
  28. VK3MPR
  29. VK2HHS
  30. VK3YE/p (pedestrian mobile)
  31. VK4NH
  32. VK4DXA
  33. ZL4TY/VK4
  34. VK4HBT
  35. VK4PDX
  36. VK4HNS
  37. VK3XPT (military manpack tx)
  38. VK3FPSR
  39. VK3ANP
  40. VK3HY
  41. VK3UH
  42. IK1GPG
  43. VK2WQ
  44. VK2NWB
  45. VK3YSA
  46. VK2PBC/p (QRP)
  47. VK2EXA
  48. VK2HMV
  49. VK1DI/2 (Budderoo National Park VKFF-0062)
  50. VK3CGB
  51. VK3DFZE
  52. VK3FLCS
  53. VK3MCK
  54. VK3IH/m
  55. VK2PKT
  56. VK6XN/p (Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789)
  57. VK4WH
  58. VK3ALB
  59. EA1DLU
  60. F4GGW
  61. VK5WU
  62. VK6MB/3
  63. VK2APA
  64. VK6FRDZ/m
  65. KO4SB/m
  66. VK4VXX/6
  67. VK4FPZD/2
  68. VK2FPAR
  69. VK5FMAZ
  70. VK4FNTH
  71. VK4FARR
  72. VK2AHZ

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6XN/p (Beechina Nature Reserve VKFF-2789)
  2. ZL2JML (QRP)
  3. EA8AM

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3CYD
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK5KLV
  5. VK5VCR
  6. VK3AJA/p (Little Desert National Park VKFF-0291)
  7. VK2YMU
  8. VK5FANA
  9. VK4HNS
  10. VK5HS
  11. VK5FMAZ
  12. VK3MDH
  13. VK3FBKS
  14. VK3MAB
  15. VK3FDAA
  16. VK2SS/p
  17. VK5AAR
  18. VK5FPAC
  19. VK3PF
  20. VK3ALB
  21. VK3ZD
  22. VK3PKY
  23. VK5DW
  24. VK6MB/3
  25. VK2OP
  26. VK3ANL
  27. VK2NN
  28. VK6LD
  29. VK6JES
  30. VK8GM

 

 

References.

Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/giles-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 17th September 2017

Flinders University, 2017, <http://www.flinders.edu.au/ehl/fms/archaeology_files/research/HFZCHP/PDF/VoS%20Ch%2018%20Two%20Nurseries.pdf&gt;, viewed 17th September 2017

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Conservation_Park>, viewed 21st April 2019

Long Island Recreation Park VKFF-1724

Today (Tuesday 16th April 2019), me, Ivan VK5HS and Danny VK5DW, activated the Long Island Recreation Park VKFF-1724 on the mighty Murray River, at Murray Bridge.  This was the first time that the park had been activated for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  The park is located about 80 km east of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Long Island Recreation Park VKFF-1724.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The Long Island Recreation Park is 8 hectares (20 acres) in size and encompasses the full extent of Long Island in the Murray River, immediately east of the city of Murray Bridge.  According to the Ngarrindjeri aboriginal people, the island represents a lentlin (spear) thrown by Ngurunderi at Ponde (the fish) as it made it’s way to Wellington creating the river.

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Above:- Aerial shot of the Long Island Recreation Park, looking south east.  Image courtesy of google maps

The island first received protected area status on 9th October 1958 as a recreation reserve proclaimed under Crown Lands Act 1929 and to be managed by the Corporate Town of Murray Bridge.  On the 1st day of September 1966, it was proclaimed as a fauna sanctuary under the Fauna Conservation Act, 1964-1965.  On the 8th day of July 1976, the recreation reserve was resumed under Crown Lands Act 1929 and then proclaimed as the Long Island Recreation Park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.

Screen Shot 2019-04-10 at 11.22.27 pm.png

Above:- The South Australian Government Gazette, September 1, 1966

After breakfast, I drove up to Murray Bridge and met up with Ivan VK5HS and Danny VK5DW who had driven down from the Riverland.  On the way, I chatted to John VK5BJE/p who was activating the Kinchina Conservation Park 5CP-277 & VKFF-1764 near Murray Bridge.  John had headed out hoping to get a Park to Park with us on 2m.  John was booming into the mobile.

We launched the boat at the end of Long Island Road and headed the short distance to the island.

Unfortunately, we found it incredibly difficult to find any spots to moor on the island.  The vegetation was very thick and there were no obvious banks that we could land on.  We travelled the majority of the western side of the island and just couldn’t find a suitable spot.

We then travelled around to the eastern side of the island, and our situation did not improve.  There just didn’t appear to be any suitable spots to moor the boat and get onto Long Island.

We travelled around the northwestern tip of the island and then back down the Murray Bridge side of the island until we finally found a spot where we could pull in and jump ashore.

But we didn’t have much room to move.  We were confronted with very thick vegetation and reeds that were 6-7 feet tall.  As it was a hot 32-33 deg C day, we were less than keen walking through the dense vegetation, due to our fear of snakes.  It really was something like out of a Tarzan jungle movie.

Unfortunately, during this activation, we were unable to operate on the 80m band due to the vegetation.  As a result, we probably missed out on a lot of local VK5 contacts, but we just didn’t want to end up being the victim of a snake bite.

Also, a hindrance to our signal was our VSWR on 40m which was very high, which I suspect impacted on our signal strength.  I presume the VSWR was due to the amount of vegetation near the antenna and its close proximity to the ground.  We couldn’t even get the 7-metre squid pole up to its full height.

DSC_7120

Above:- The 7m telescopic squid pole supporting the linked dipole, showing the very cramped conditions.

As I mentioned earlier, John VK5BJE had headed to nearby Kinchina Conservation Park hoping for a 2m Park to Park contact.  So we had a 2m antenna with us mounted on a tripod.

DSC_7114

Above:- Our 2m antenna

I kicked off the activation on 7.144 on the 40m band, with first in the log being Peter VK3PF with a strong 5/9 signal.  This was followed by John VK5BJE/p at Kinchina Conservation Park who was 5/9 plus.  Next was Geoff VK3SQ, Dennis VK2HHA, and then Nick VK3ZNK/p who was in the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745.

Sadly band conditions appeared to be quite poor, and our high VSWR didn’t help.  But I soon had 10 contacts in the log, qualifying the park for VKFF, the Australian arm of the WWFF program.

I logged 15 stations on 40m before swapping the mic with Danny VK5DW who also soon had his 10 required QSOs in the log.

Next up was Ivan VK5HS, who also qualified the park for VKFF on 40m.

While Ivan was on air, Danny and I made contact with John VK5BJE/p on 20m.  It was great to get a Park to Park on that band.  But sadly that was our only contact on 2m.

The boys then fired up the BBQ, whilst I tried to get to my 44 contacts for the global WWFF program.  I logged a further 20 stations on 40m including Tony VK7LTD/p and Angela VK7FAMP/p on SOTA peak VK7/ EC-006.

I now had 36 stations in the log and decided to try 20m before we stopped for lunch.  I logged 4 stations on 20m and was now just 4 short of my 44.  We took a lunch break, enjoying some snags, patties, tomatoes, potatoes and onions in bread.

After lunch I put out a few more calls on 40m and soon had 44 contacts in the log, qualifying the park for WWFF.  Contact number 44 was with Ray VK3ECK.

As this was a rare park, Danny and Ivan decided to jump in the boat and head downstream for a contact with me on 2m.  After doing so, I jumped into the boat and made contact with Danny.

DSC_7126

Above:- ‘the shack’ on Long Island.

It was time for us to pack up and head back across the river to Murray Bridge.  All three of us had qualified the park for VKFF, and I was very lucky to qualify the park for WWFF.

DSC_7130

Above:- The Captain Proud paddleboat on the Murray River.

As I mentioned a little earlier in the post, we were unable to try 80m during this activation.  The dense scrub on the island prevented us from stretching out the 80m legs of the linked dipole.  We apologise to anyone who was looking for an 80m contact, but the risk of a snake bite outweighed our chance to operate on that band.  The two photographs below show just how dense the scrub and reeds were at our operating spot.

It is interesting to note that the park is designated as a recreation park.  After our visit, the three of us wondered if it should be a conservation park, as there are certainly no recreational facilities on the island, and it is very difficult to access.

THANKYOU to Ivan VK5HS for the use of his boat.  And thanks to both Ivan and Danny for making the 2-hour drive down from the Riverland.  It was a great day.  We will go back to the park after doing a bit more homework on a possible better operating site.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK5BJE/p (Kinchina Conservation Park VKFF-1764)
  3. VK3SQ
  4. VK2HHA
  5. VK3ZNK/p (Cape Liptrap Coastal Park VKFF-0745)
  6. VK5KLV
  7. VK1POP/2
  8. VK4TJ
  9. VK7JON
  10. VK2KNV/m
  11. VK2SLB
  12. VK3AHR
  13. VK2MOR
  14. VK3TKK/m
  15. VK5FANA
  16. VK2KYO
  17. VK3UH
  18. VK7LTD/p (SOTA VK7/ EC-006)
  19. VK5LA
  20. VK5BMC
  21. VK2XSE/m
  22. VK2IO
  23. VK7FAMP/p (SOTA VK7/ EC-006)
  24. VK3WAR
  25. VK4AAC/3
  26. VK2VH/3
  27. VK2VK
  28. VK4/AC8WN
  29. VK4/VE6XT
  30. VK1XP
  31. VK2ADB
  32. VK3KAI
  33. VK3GV
  34. VK2APA
  35. VK2VW
  36. VK3VCR
  37. VK3HP
  38. VK2YK
  39. VK3ECK
  40. VK2PBC/p
  41. VK4FDJL

I worked the following stations on 2m:-

  1. VK5BJE/p (Kinchina Conservation Park VKFF-1764)
  2. VK5DW/mm
  3. VK5HS/mm

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/AC8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT
  4. ZL1TM

 

 

References.

The Rural City of Murray Bridge, 2019, <https://www.murraybridge.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=860>, viewed 16th April 2019

Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Island_Recreation_Park>, viewed 16th April 2019