Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, 3rd April 2016, VKFF-0781, 5CP-104

An Activation to commemorate the third anniversary of the South Australian National and Conservation Parks award program for radio amateurs.

Kenneth Stirling CP Wotton Scrub

I chose to activate the Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park in the Wottons Scrub section. The Park is in four sections: Filsell Hill, Wottons Scrub, White Scrub and Burdett Scrub. Filsell Hill is the largest of the four sections and some time ago I set to activate this section. The Park is only accessible though private property and as I had made no arrangements I abandoned my plans. However, Wottons Scrub is easy to find and is well sign-posted. My wife and I checked out access about a week ago and have resolved to return to Wottons Scrub for a walk. Much of the land for this Park has been acquired for the people of  South Australia and the nation by the generosity of benefactors. The park is named in memory of Kenneth Stirling, one such benefactor and so was Wottons Scrub (a Mr Wotton).

I chose to set up in the park on the track which leaves the gate where I parked. I took my gear about 100 metres into the park within a small cleared area and set up my station there. I was probably invisible to motorists driving the road, but I could see back to the car park from my spot and I made sure I did not impede bushwalkers. However, there were no walkers: I had the Park to myself.

The Shack


FT897, log and LiFePO4 battery

The photo shows the Yaesu 897, my LiFePo4 battery (8.4 amp hours), clock in UTC, and my log (with writing showing the end result of being a note taker for too long!).

My station & ten metre squid pole mounted on tripod

This photo shows another view of my station. The ten metre squid pole is mounted on my tripod and the ends of the linked dipole are in trees at about two metres from the ground. It is a splendid location.

Looking down the track

This photo shows the view looking down the track away from the gate.

Looking towards Gate from track

This photo is taken from the track looking back to the Gate. My operating position was on the right hand side of the track heading away from the gate.

My contacts

I was on the air at 23:45 UTC (2nd April 2016) and my first contact was with Peter, VK3PF/P in VKFF-0113, Coopracambra National Park, in East Gippsland. Signals were 5 and 7 both ways. A Park to Park contact over such a distance with two low power stations was a good omen. Thanks Peter for the excursion to East Gippsland.

23:17 VK4AAC/P3 Rob was in VKFF-0961 Cobram Regional Park. Signals were 5 and 9 both ways. A second Park to Park contact sequentially – this is really great. Thanks Rob, we appreciate your mammoth excursion. Then in succession I had contacts with: VK2BJP, VK3ZPF, VK3MCD, VK3FADM, VK4FW, VK2IO/p at 23:32. Gerard was in Belford National Park, VKFF-0023, 5 and 2 both ways. I had already worked Gerard in this park from home but it was great to have a Park to Park contact. Then followed VK3AFW, VK2XXM, VK3MRH and then VK6MB. I gave Mike 5 and 6 but he had noise and he gave me 3 and 2 However, it was great to have the contact on 40 metres. VK4RF and VK4HA were both 5 and 8 and I received 5 and 5. It was good to get Rick at such a good level.  Then followed VK1MA, VK3DPG, VK3VWS/P, VK2NP and on the 3rd of April just after UTC rollover, Peter, VK3TKK and  Tony, VK3AN, about to do a Foundation assessment for an aspiring amateur, Barry, with whom I had a discussion and wished him well and then VK7MBP near New Norfolk in Tasmania s5 and 8 and 4 and 5 received.  At 02:22 Mick, VK3PMG, 5 and 7 and 5 and 5. There were no South Australians in the log at this stage. Perhaps they were all worn out and were sleeping in? I knew they were out and about and had received reports from other stations commenting on the number of VK5s in the field. There was no short skip. I saw the contact with Mick, VK3PMG as a sign conditions were beginning to change. The came VK3MCK, VK3ZMD, VK3FQSO, VK3AWG, VK3FAHP/P and VK3AN a second time.

At 00:40 I had a slightly longer contact with Tony, VK5ZAI/P3 who was camped at Laanecoorie Weir, about 30 kilometres from Bendigo, Signals were 5 and 8 and 5 and 9 received.  At 00:50, VK3DBP, VK1AT/P3 at Raymond Island in Gippsland, VK5PAS/P, Paul, a Park to Park contact who was operating from VKFF-0940, Waitpinga Conservation Park. While we made a successful contact it was hard work for Paul, 5 and 7 and 5 and 1 received.

At 01:18  I had contacts with VK5GJ/P, Greg and VK5GI/P, Norm, who were operating from VKFF-0999, Bandon Conservation Park. At last a sure sign that propagation was beginning to open up locally. I then worked John, VK2YW, 5 and 9 both ways, VK3VTH/P5, Tony at VKFF-0792, Big Heath Conservation Park in the South East of South Australia and VK5ZGY/P, Greg in Billiatt Conservation Park, VKFF-0821. Then followed VK3EJS and VK5PL, David in the Marne Valley Conservation Park, VKFF-0906. Adrian, VK5FANA was in VKFF-0876,  Carribie Conservation Park. I then worked Peter, VK3PF/P at Mount Raymond, in Mount Raymond Regional Park, VKFF-0975.

Then followed VK3AIG, VK5HSX/P, Stef in Beachport Conservation Park, VKFF-0791, VK5TN, VK3SIM, VK5AAH, David in the Fort Glanville Conservation Park, VKFF-1031, VK5PAS/P, Paul in Waitpinga Conservation Park, VKFF-0940, VK7CW, Steve in Tasmania, VK3MEG, VK5AV and finally, VK1AD, Andrew. This was a rare contact for Andrew and I. He is either QRP and propagation is not working in our favour or noise is an issue at his end.

In summary, I enjoyed 51 contacts and thus qualified the Park, with contacts from VKs 1 through to 7. The highlight for me was working 14 other Park operators, or Park to Park contacts. Thanks to all of the operators: at home or in the field who helped make this morning activation so successful.


3 thoughts on “Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, 3rd April 2016, VKFF-0781, 5CP-104

  1. Hi John,

    The first time I worked you it was quite hard work. You were Q5, but very low down. I then went for a walk through the park, and came back 30 minutes later, and BAM, POW, BANG…the 40m band had come to life. You were 5/9.

    Kenneth Stirling is certainly a very interesting park, and Kenneth Stirling himself had an extremely interesting life.

    Thanks for taking part in the 3rd year anniversary.



  2. Hi John, curious to know the power output setting of the 879 and how long the 8.4 Ah battery lasts? Very pleased to have worked you, I had been listening for 20 to 30 minutes trying to pick a moment where your signal was readable, QSB was a real pain. Finally got there in the end. Great to catch up! I am still searching for the elusive VK5PF callsign. 🙂
    Andrew VK1AD

  3. Hi Andrew,
    I used two batteries on the day: an 8.4 and a 4.2 LiFePO4. I put a power meter in the circuit and monitor the voltage and when it drops to near 12 volts I take the battery out of service and replace with another. The 897 is set for ten watts (40m) and 40 watts (20m). Neither battery was depleted and I had 51 contacts all on 40 and I had quite a long yarn with Tony, VK5ZAI/P3.
    I am using VK5PF for CW chasing at the moment (mainly SOTA) and when I am a bit more confident I will try my hand at CW from a summit. I even have some eqsls! The pile ups are a bit frightening. When chasing I listen for a while and when the rush begins to ease I throw my call into the ring! Gerard, VK2IO/P, is the station I have had most contacts with. It is great fun. Our day will come!
    I enjoyed our contact. I always listen for you when you are on HF but progagation has generally been so poor that real QRP stations are often not workable.
    John D

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