I have written about the Park on previous occasions. Here is a link to my last activation on Australia Day 2015. https://vk5bje.com/category/sa-national-park/belair-national-park/
It is sufficient to repeat that this Park was South Australia’s first and, as you can see from the maps on my blog, it is not far from the Adelaide city business district. Belair is a gated park: it is open for vehicles from 08:00 to 19:00 hours local. You must pay a fee for you vehicle, but if you walk entry is free.
I decided I would activate the Park for Open Day as I thought this would be a great chance to profile our wonderful hobby. I spoke with the Ranger and she knew my plans. I kept away from the popular areas as the noise level was likely to be higher and I didn’t want my signal relayed over the public address systems.
I had contacts on 40 and 30 metres, I tried 17 and 10, and although I could hear signals, I didn’t think I could work them. Thirty metres was great with strong signals from interstate, including Mike, VK6MB, from Western Australia. Fifty-nine contacts were made over the activation and as well I conducted some antenna experiments. Contacts were had from VKs 1,2,3,5, 6, and 7.
I decided to return to Long Gully, my third visit at this picnic area within the Park. I set up in the usual fashion taking advantage of the Park picnic table and my 20 and 40 metre well-used linked dipole. I soon noticed I was getting poor reports and after three contacts decided to change antennas. I am not sure what the problem was. I changed the coaxial feeder to no avail and made sure all of the connectors were tight. I did notice that some connectors do not screw onto the FT897 SO239 socket as well as they should. Perhaps the SO239 is worn?
Here are my first three contacts for 40 metres beginning at 2306: VK5PAS/P, Paul 59s 58r from Murray Sunset National Park, VKFF- 373; VK5FANA, Adrian, 57s 56r; and finally, Fred, VK3DAC, s57 r41. I then changed antennas to my new home brew three band antenna for 30, 17 and 10 metres. I have operated before on 30m QRP with an end fed half wave length antenna and had success from Spring Gully Conservation Park, near Clare. I was really pleased with the 30m contacts:
00:09 VK3PF/QRP, s57 r 54
00:13 VK5EE s59 r57
00:14 VK7CC s59 r58
00:16 VK2IO s57 r54
00:22 VK1DA/P1, s59 r57, Andrew was on VK1/AC- 034. Andrew saw my spot on Parks and Peaks and made a special excursion to 30m to give me a call. This was greatly appreciated.
00:29 VK2YW 259 r59
00:31 VK6MB, s58 r46
00:34 VK3OF, s59 r59
I checked, in order, 17 metres and then 10 metres. I did hear signals but not strong on either band and I did call CQ on each band. I then decided to change antennas and I used my SOTA antenna (20 and 40m), which I have owned for two years, for the first time!
Beginning at 01:31, on 40m, VK5PAS/P, Murray Sunset National Park; VK5LY, Larry; VK5ZAR, Arno; VK5C/P on SOTA summit, VK5/SE-007; VK5PAS/M; VK5NAL; VK3FQSO; VK3OHM; VK5NQP; VK3HSR; VK5FLEX; VK5GT; VK5WG; VK5NAQ; VK5KLV; VK5FTRG/M; VK3TKK; VK100ANZAC from the Mentone RSL; VK5HSX/P5, Stef in Hallett Cove Conservation Park; VK5ZGY/M; VK5FCGM; VK3UP/P3; VK3PMG/P3, Mick in Kara Kara National Park, KFF-629; VK3ATC; VK3CRG; VK3YE/P, Peter at Chelsea Beach; VK5FTVR; VK3SFG/P; VK5KC; VK5VGC; VK5MJ; VK5PAS/P5, Paul in Murray River National Park, VKFF-372; VK5JK; VK5KFB; VK3BWZ; VK3YAR; VK3AWG; VK3MPM; VK5PAS/P5; and finally, to finish a great day, Larry, VK5LY/P in the Murray River National Park, VKFF-372. My original plan was to activate Mark Oliphant Conservation Park VKFF-782 to begin my campaign for 44 contacts. However, upon learning of the Open Day at Belair National Park, I changed my plans. I listened on the frequency I was using to work Larry and then suggested he should remain there. As soon as Larry called CQ he was greeted with a pile up. How great was that! My log has been uploaded to HRD.log and Log Book of the World. Thanks to all who gave me a call.
Hi John, great to get a park to park contact with you, and well done displaying our hobby for the Open Day. Was there much interest from the park visitors I wonder?
Hi Mick, One operator with whom I spoke suggested you need two or three people present at an activation if you wish to successfully engage the public. I agree with the comment. I had much more success when my wife arrived. We had a visit by a mother with two children, maybe ten and eight, and they were all interested in what I was doing. Jenny spent time speaking with the family and I demonstrated a signal from interstate by winding up the audio. Another group of five young men, year 12 students, were interested, especially one of them who was asking me questions about the ionosphere and propagation. I also received lots of waves from people out walking. But equally important is engaging with the Parks staff. Quite a few drove past and saw me in action. And after we packed up we visited the main area where the Friends of Parks were established and the other displays. Our local Ranger asked me how many contacts I made. She was impressed when I told her the number.Next year, with a bit more notice, I might be able to persuade out Club to become involved. I only found out about the Open Day on Friday.
Thanks for making a comment Mick. It is really appreciated.
Very pleased to have spoken with you when I was in the Murray Sunset NP in Victoria. You had a great signal up to there.
Great read as always and well done on getting out there promoting amateur radio.
Hi Paul, I was planning my campaign for Mark Oliphant CP, but when I learned about the Open Day I thought I would head for Belair NP. It was a great day and I was pleased to work you in Murray-Sunset and Murray River National Parks, as well as a few other operators in Parks and on Peaks.