Baudin Conservation Park, 15th May 2014

Baudin Conservation Park, like Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Adelaide Hills, had an earlier life. It was a farm from 1861 to 2001. The farming family was called Bates and there are some preserved areas in the Park that commemorate their lives. The Ironstone Hill hike takes walkers past the various relics of the past related to the family.

We wanted to visit this park because it is a home to the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo, called the Glossies, but we did not see any! There are estimated to be about 300 birds left on the Island.  The land was created a Park to give the Glossies a greater chance of survival as their Sheoak trees grow there. They must have been visiting elsewhere! The Park is just two kilometres from Penneshaw. For an amateur who wants to visit the Island and activate the park there is a market day on the first Sunday of the month (from 0900 to 1300 hours). You leave your car on the mainland and catch the ferry to Penneshaw. Just a two kilometre (hilly) walk and you can be on the air! The cost is just $40. What a great training ground for a potential SOTA activation!

The Park is named after Nicolas Baudin (17th February 1754 to 16th September 1803). He died in 1803, at 49 years of age,  of tuberculosis, often referred to in literature by its older name of consumption. In 1802 Matthew Flinders met Nicolas Baudin at Encounter Bay near the modern day Victor Harbor. Many French names are used on Kangaroo Island because of Baudin’s exploration of that area.

Eight contacts were enjoyed: VK5GJ, Greg; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5GI, Norm; VK3UT, Greg; VK3BHR, Phil; VK3PF, Peter and, finally, VK5ZGY, Greg.

Today I finished digitising my log and uploading 119 contacts from Kangaroo Island to Logbook of the World. Thanks to all those amateurs who shared something of this wonderful island with me as we travelled around the various parks.

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Dudley Conservation Park, 15th May 2014

Dudley Conservation Park

Dudley Conservation Park

Dudley Conservation Park is on the Dudley Peninsula. The Park was created by notice in 1970 and it conserves the Kangaroo Island Narrow Leaf Mallee. The Parks brochure indicates that there is a track around the park which can be used by walkers. We took the main East – West Road which passes through the Park and found a track to an old road which makes up part of the walking trail. It was not far off the main road and was a great place to set up.

Sixteen contacts were made from Dudley Conservation Park: at 03:01 VK5ZAR, Arno; VK5GJ, Greg; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5FPAC, Bob at 03:25 5 and 7 and 3 and 4; and at 03:25 VK5FPAC, Bob with 5 and 7 both ways, a much better result; VK5LG, Greg; VK5GJ, Greg; VK3PF, Peter; VK3BHR, Phil; VK5NFB, Don at Williamstown; VK5HCF, Col; VK5HS, Ivan; VK3LY, Bill; VK5HCF, Col now at the SERG club-rooms with less noise at his end; VK5XGY, Greg and VK5DJ, John.

Pelican Lagoon Conservation Park, 15th May 2014

Pelican Lagoon Conservation Park

Greg's signal (VK5ZGY) at Pelican Point Conservation Park

Greg’s signal (VK5ZGY) at Pelican Point Conservation Park

We visited this Park as a field trip on Sunday and enjoyed a wonderful presentation on research involving Echidnas, Rosenberg’s Goannas and Tiger Snakes: all species studied at a nearby research centre. It has been a conservation park since 1967.

Eleven contacts were made from Pelican Lagoon. Beginning at 00:28 UTC, VK3UP, Terry; VK5GJ, Greg; VK5LY/P3, Larry in Hattah-Kulkyne National Park; VK5WG, Nev; VK5HS, Ivan; VK3FQSO, Amanda; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5ZGY, Greg; VK5ZAR, Arno; VK5HS/M5, Ivan and VK7VDL, Ron near Dodge’s Ferry. After working 11 stations on 40 metres I changed over to 20m and heard a number of loud stations. I gave a few calls but it was probably too late in the morning, especially for five watts!

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park, 14th May 2014

The Parks brochure we had, from an earlier visit to Kangaroo Island, describes Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park as containing ‘vast areas of wilderness, a fresh water lagoon and Seal Bay, the home of the Australian Sea Lion’. However, if you look at a more recent map you will see that the Park is now in two sections, but by far the largest part of the land has been re-gazetted as the Cape Gantheaume Wilderness Protection Area. I was unable to find on the Department’s web site a definition of the various types of protected areas, but a Departmental Officer has promised to send the relevant definitions to me. On the face of it, it appears that a Wilderness Protection Area must contain substantial areas of pristine country. Similar processes have occurred elsewhere on the Island.

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park - Murray Lagoon

Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park – Murray Lagoon

I was able to have seven contacts from this Park before making the trip back to American River, our base for the last four days of our visit to Kangaroo Island. Beginning at 06:12 UTC, contacts were with VK3BHR, Phil; VK5GI, Norm; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5ZAR, Arno; VK5KLV, Les; VK5GJ, Greg and VK5HS, Ivan.

Nepean Bay Conservation Park, 14th May 2014

While at the Friends of Parks Inc. Forum I heard Parks staff refer to small Parks as ‘Pocket Parks’. Nepean Bay Conservation Park is clearly a pocket park: it is a mere 30 hectares and conserves typical Kangaroo Island coastal sand plains habitat. It was gazetted in 1974. We had a challenge in locating this park. We could not find any signs. But, we did find the boundary fence. I am a devotee of good maps and GPS technology! We travelled down a long, winding track, running parallel to the shore-line until we could go no further. There were too many trees were across the track as a result of strong winds and storms.

Pied Oyster Catchers at Nepean Bay CP: JCD photo

Pied Oyster Catchers at Nepean Bay CP: JCD photo

Eleven contacts were enjoyed from this Park beginning at 04:01 UTC. They were: VK5LY/M, Larry; VK5KGP, Graham; VK3PF, Peter; VK2JDS, Dave; VK5FD, Allan; VK3XNH, Neil; VK5ZAR, Arno; VK5AN, Graham; VK3AFW, Ron; VK5ZGY, Greg and VK5NFB, Don. My operating position was just a few metres away from the beach and partially shaded by coastal scrub. One could describe such a spot as idyllic!

Kelly Hill Conservation Park, 13th May 2014

Kelly Hill Conservation Park, of 21,254 hectares, is known for its ‘extensive cave system, wilderness areas and beautiful coastal scenery’. We found a spot near Gate 1, no where near the main entrance to the caves, and were thus undisturbed except for some contractors leaving the Park in a minibus.

Kelly Hill Conservation Park

Kelly Hill Conservation Park – Grassdale

In the bush at Kelly Hill CP

In the bush at Kelly Hill CP

I had contacts beginning at 06:08 UTC beginning with: VK5KGP, Graham; VK5GJ, Greg; VK5WG, Nev; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5TW, Trevor; VK5KLV, Les; VK5ZGY, Greg; VK5ZQP, David; VK5LY/P3, Larry in Murray-Sunset National Park; VK5ADL, David; VK3LY, Bill; VK5GI, Norm; VK5NAQ, Peter; VK5ZAR, Arno; VK3PF, Peter; VK5FO/M, Bob; VK3BHR, Phil; VK2NEO, Peter and VK5LY, Larry making 19 contacts in all.

SOTA summit VK5-SE-018, un-named summit, 13th May 2014

The highest point on Kangaroo Island - 307 metres asl - just in the bush behind the car

The highest point on Kangaroo Island – 307 metres asl – just in the bush behind the car

If you have a look at a reasonable map of Kangaroo Island there is a dot indicating the highest point on the Island. The dot is on the corner of Playford Highway and Snug Cove Road. The summit is un-named. VK5PAS, Paul and VK5AKH, Andy activated this summit in August 2013 in weather which even the ducks would complain about! We were more fortunate with the weather. It was a warm day and a shirt without jacket was fine.

I was able to enjoy twelve contacts on 7.090 beginning at 04:22: VK5TW, Trevor; VK5ZGY, Greg; VK5GJ, Greg; VK5LI, Craig; VK5FD, Allan; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK5WG, Nev; VK5BC/M5, Brian; VK5KLV, Les; VK3BHR, Phil; VK5FAKV, Shawn and VK5PI, Mark. This is an easy summit, with the high point being just off the road, behind our vehicle, in the trees.

Flinders Chase National Park, 13th May 2014, VKFF – 173

Flinders Chase National Park - Gosselands

Flinders Chase National Park – Gosselands

Flinders Chase National Park is the iconic Park on Kangaroo Island.  The Park contains the Remarkable Rocks, Admirals Arch vast areas of wilderness and Kangaroos who know how to raid your tent, well at least that was the case on our first visit there many years ago. It is probably not like this now: the Parks authorities actively discourage the feeding of native animals and there have been a number of significant fires through the Park.

Nicholas and I befriended 1990 Flinders Chase NP

Nicholas and I befriended!
1990 Flinders Chase NP JCD photo

An Australian Sea lion & look a the size of the Ranger's radio JCD photo

An Australian Sea lion & look a the size of the Ranger’s radio! JCD photo

You can also sharpen up your surfing skills by watching the seals at play. They are fantastic.  To give you an idea of the size of Kangaroo Island Flinders Chase National Park is 110 kilometres west of Kingscote. The brochures advising of the attractions of Kangaroo Island mentions its size, by stating it is the third largest island in Australia. Well can you work it out? I couldn’t at first. Here is the answer. While the Australian mainland is an island it is also a continent. So take that out of the equation.  Tasmania is the largest island, then  Melville Island in the Northern Territory then Kangaroo Island. We did not go to the main part of the Park on this occasion. We chose to keep the trip west as short as we could and thus activated from the eastern end of the Park.

Flinders Chase National Park - Gosselands - my spot

Flinders Chase National Park – Gosselands – my spot

I found a great spot in this Park just off the Playford Highway. We carefully negotiated a rather damp track watching for any signs of softness in the gravel. I set up in the usual way and always wondering how it will all turn out on the day. It was great.  Fourteen contacts kept me busy: VK5ZAR, Arno; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5KLV, Les from Port Augusta; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK3FQSO, Amanda; VK5TW, Trevor; VK5AV/M5, Tim near Lamaroo; VK5ZGY/M5, Greg; VK3UP/P3, Terry at Ballarat; VK3NFC, Steve; VK5NAQ, Peter; VK3LY, Bill; VK5BC/M5, Brian and VK3FJAE, Doug from Maryborough.

Beyeria Conservation Park, Kangaroo Island, 12 May 2014

The Friends of the Parks Inc. Forum concluded today after lunch. After getting a few supplies in Kingscote we travelled to Beyeria Conservation Park. Beyeria Conservation Park was established to preserve 184 hectares of remnant endemic vegetation on the Eastern end of Kangaroo Island. There is a walking trail of about 1.5 kilometres through the Park with interpretative signs.

Beyeria Conservation Park

Beyeria Conservation Park

I set up my station near the Park entrance, thus not walking off track onto newly planted areas. After checking 7.100 I gave a CQ call at 05:57 and was answered by VK5ZAR, Arno. Arno was at home in Adelaide and signals were 5 and 9 both ways. Then followed VK5GW, Graham using his KX3 in Norwood; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK3KLB, Albert at Hastings; VK5ZLT, Alan; VK5KGP, Graham; VK3LY, Bill; VK5LI, Craig; VK3FXUK, Alan at Ararat and, finally, VK5TW, Trevor.

A local at Beyeria CP: JCD phot

A local at Beyeria CP: JCD photo

The Friends of Parks Inc. is the peak body in South Australia which represents the interests of volunteers in SA Parks, in the wider community and with the SA Government Department responsible for Parks, the Department of the Environment, Water and Natural Resources. The forum is held on an annual basis. My wife and I are Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park and we were the only members of our Group who attended. Attendees meet all of their own costs. We have been to a number of Forums over the years and have enjoyed the experiences immensely. The program is constructed of lectures with high profile speakers and topics. Here are a few highlights: Citizen Science (using community members in the collection of data); the concept of ‘aquapelago’ which emphasises the integration of island and coastal communities, resources, histories and imaginations (such as songs); A study of Echidnas and Goannas on the Island, their behaviours and natural history and field trips to Parks, to name just a few. While I was unable to formally present on amateur radio and parks, I was able to share my enthusiasm for portable operation and the science and art of radio communications with many delegates. Radio is used in the scientific community for tracking animals and some of the participants had knowledge of frequency and propagation characteristics and the behaviour of radio waves in various natural environments, such as animal burrows, for example. Fairy penguins have been fitted with GPS trackers and their sea voyages mapped. Quite a few were interested in what I do and I was ‘caught’ in action at Beyeria CP this afternoon by two delegates. ‘Fox-hunting’ is work for many of these scientists! Kangaroo Island, fortunately, does not have foxes. Radio tracking has been used in the programs to eradicate fallow deer and goats. The ‘Judas’ goat is fitted with a radio transmitter and released and spends its time finding its ‘friends’. This process works most of the time because goats are sociable animals and live in communities. The friends are then dispensed with by shooters. The trouble is that the goats must have reflected on this and they have less and less to do with ‘Judas’ goats. Perhaps they recognise the collared goat? Or perhaps the goats have become more suspicious of outsiders? We were told that there is a small population of six goats remaining and they are proving elusive! This is a very sketchy summary of one of the papers.

Kangaroo Island November 2011

In November 2011, VK5KC, David and I and our spouses travelled to Kangaroo Island for the Spring VHF UHF Field Day. We had a reasonably modest station and here are two pictures from that trip. We established our station (s) near Emu Bay on the Northern coast of Kangaroo Island looking North over Backstairs Passage towards the mainland.

Kangaroo Island Spring Field Day 2011: our station

Kangaroo Island Spring Field Day 2011: our station

David, VK5KC, at work, November 2011

David, VK5KC, at work, November 2011