Mt Lofty, VK5-SE-005, a night time activation with VK5PAS/p, 6th November 2013

Paul suggested to me through the day that he was going to activate Mt Lofty at night. It was predicted to be a warm night and that is how it turned out. He invited me to come along. I could not resist. We shared his gear although I had three batteries in the car, two not used and antennas, squid pole and transceivers: all my gear from Port Gawler Conservation Park. I arrived at Mount Lofty at about 1900 hours local and Paul already had an impressive list of contacts in his log. He invited my to activate Mt Lofty, which is also in Cleland Conservation Park. I got to work and the following contacts were made on 7090 beginning at 08:52: VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5CZ, Ian; VK2JI, Ed; VK3YE/ pedestrian mobile, Peter; VK3OHM, Mark; VK3XL, Mike; VK2YK, Adam; VK3MRG/p, Marshall in his back yard; VK3FBCK, QRP, Nick; VK3ARR, Andrew; VK5MBD, Bill; VK3MRG, Marshall, QRO and VK2IWO, Romesh.  Later in the evening on the 7.130 net, I had contacts with VK5MJ, Mal; VK2HAA, Dennis; VK7DON, Don; VK4TH, Andy; ZL2ASH, Brian and VK7ROY, Roy. I did try to call FO5JV, William at Tahiti, but conditions had changed. Paul had a successful contact with William earlier in the evening: it was a highlight of a great evening. I enjoyed my 19 contacts and wish to thank all who gave me a call. I have now completed three SOTA activations.

Here is a link to Paul’s splendid video of the activation: http://youtu.be/nV6MNznDfYA

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Port Gawler Conservation Park, 6th November 2013

My radio day had a second beginning on Wednesday, (the first was at 08:00 local with the 7073 net) when I received a message on my phone from VK5PAS/p, Paul. The message arrived at 10:43 am local time and indicated that Paul was activating Black Hill Conservation Park. I raced into the shack and was able to work him on 7100. This inspired me into action! I was about to leave the house anyway because of the fire danger rating in the Adelaide Hills. I thought I should also activate a park. I chose Port Gawler Conservation Park because it is on the Adelaide Plains, about 32 kilometres North West of Adelaide, near the coast and away from the hills. In the rush I forgot my camera! So I took the coordinates of my operating position: S 04 39 155 and E 108 26 786. I chose this spot away from the end of Port Gawler road to avoid parking in the turning circle.  Port Gawler can be accessed from Highway One.

Port Gawler conserves coastal mangroves which in turn provide breeding habitat for local fish species so prized in South Australia. As I drove into the park down Port Gawler Road I kept seeing signs suggesting the park is patrolled frequently. As I was researching this park prior to my activation I came across a report of vandalism and use of the park for non-approved purposes http://www.plainsproducer.com.au/?p=513  Nevertheless all was quiet during my visit. A few cars were heard on Port Gawler Road but I was off on the northern side three or four hundred metres away.

I used a fence post to secure my squid pole and it was a pretty good spot: except for the flies. I had the following contacts beginning at 03:08: VK5PAS, Paul now back at his home; VK5YX, Hans; VK3BWZ/p, Bob at Merino; VK5AV, Tim; VK5KBJ, Barry; VK5MCB, Mike from Port Pirie who I had met at the SOTA lunch at Gawler; VK5FCLK, Chubba; VK5EE, Tom; VK5FMID, Brian; VK3BWZ/p, Bob for a second contact; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5DJ, John and VK5ATQ, Trevor. Thirteen contacts in what I thought were pretty reasonable conditions on 40m, given the propagation upheavals of recent days.