Yesterday, 11th September 2016 the South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) held an Open Day at Belair National Park to celebrate 125 years since its proclamation as a Park. Belair National Park is the second oldest Park in the nation and was proclaimed in 1891. It is second to the Royal National Park in Sydney New South Wales (NSW). Royal National Park was the second such protected area in the world following the proclamation of Yellowstone National Park in the USA. NSW was established in 1788 and SA, a sister state of Texas in the USA, was proclaimed in 1836. So South Australia performed very well.
Below is the official invitation to the people of the State to attend the Open Day.
The Senior Ranger for the Mount Lofty Parklands was very keen that at amateur radio station was set up and operating in the Park as the SA Government wants people to get out into parks and enjoy them, especially for the health benefits. I agreed to do that and accordingly I invited VK5PAS, Paul, to join me. Paul also brought Marija, VK5FMAZ, to the Park as well, to a create a team of three. The Ranger suggested that we should set up near the Adventure Playground and my XYL, Jenny, and I took a trip to the park on Wednesday last week to check out the area. The photo below shows VK5FMAZ, Marija, at the microphone working many stations on 40 metres.
The suggested location looked really good and I resolved to arrive at the Park early on Sunday morning to stake our claim. I did arrive early, soon after 07:30 local time, and began to set up my station within a cleared area near the Gold Escort Well.
See previous posts with reference to the transport of gold from Victorian to South Australia both for export and to save the state from bankruptcy.
My station consisted of my Yaesu 857D, a linked dipole supported on a ten metre squid pole and a dual band two metre/70 centimetre antenna mounted on an aluminium mast attached to my tripod. I used a 33 amp hour battery to power the station and the sun kept the battery charged though the activation. As you can see the park looked magnificent and here are some pictures of the non-human visitors during the day.
This photo shows three sulphur-crested cockatoos perched on a branch in the centre of the Park. They made their presence known by speaking loudly in cockatoo language!
Paul and Marija arrived soon after and soon our stations were ready to perform. We were fortunate with the weather: there was no rain and the temperature was in the high teens with plenty of sun. I have activated Belair National Park many times and have well and truly qualified the Park for the WWFF award. Here is a link to my previous activations:
However, this was the first time I had set up in this part of the Park. Previously I have activated from a picnic area at Long Gully or near the Waverley Lodge pedestrian entry.
Not only did we have lots of contacts, but as well, we had lots of engagement with the public. Both Paul and I had youngsters on the radio speaking with other amateurs. Thanks to the operators for joining in the fun. We also met a group of Scouts (female) who were aware of the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Society and asked that we facilitate a JOTA opportunity for them. I am but an ordinary member of the Society but I committed it to JOTA! I had a chance to demonstrate morse code to the young women and they asked really excellent questions about the difference between broadcasting and communication and engagement with the public. Later, I had two young children visit my station and both spoke with Chris, VK5CP/5 (who was operating in the field with WICEN and had HF with him for some fun on the side), and later returned with the Grandfather, a lapsed amateur from the mid North of the State.
I operated on four bands (80, 40, 20 and 2 metres) and here is a list of my contacts:
10th September 2016
22:33 3.594 ssb VK5KAA
22:34 3.594 VK5TW Trevor later visited our stations in the afternoon. It was good to have a few visitors from the amateur fraternity.
146.5 fm VK5TW
22:34 7.090 VK3PF/P VK3/VU-011 Mount Major
11th September 2016
00:20 7.090 VK3PF/3 VK3/VU-011 Mount Major I was pleased to have qsos with Peter before and after UTC roll-over.
00:29 146.5 fm VK5LDM , Dennis at Christies Beach. Christies Beach is a beach-side suburb south of Adelaide. I was amazed my signal found a way to VK5LDM. This was the longest haul on 2 metres FM. I was using ten watts to a vertical dual band antenna about three metres above the ground and the location was not good for line of sight communications as we were in a gully near a small creek.
00:38 146.5 fm VK5ZBD, Greg
01:24 14.310 VK4RF and VK4HA good signals from Rick and these and one more qso were my only 20 metre contacts for the day. I called for about half an hour hoping for propagation to WA.
01:48 7.144 VK5FR (VK4FR) Chris with his new VK5 call sign was at Woomera in the far north of the State.
02:40 14.310 VK5YX, Hans good signals, probably ground wave but we couldn’t create a path on two metres. I could hear Hans on two metres.
02:53 146.5 VK5FBJD/M Brenton. It was good to meet Brenton who responded to my invitation to try two metres. Brenton came along to visit in the afternoon and showed me his set up in his car: a very neat installation! My first contact with Brenton was on Saturday as I was driving to Stirling for fuel. He was mobile and called on the VK5RAD two metre repeater and I had a qso with him.
03:07 7.144 VK5KC/M David near Beaufort in Victoria returning home.
Then followed a series of contacts on 7.144 beginning at 03:07
VK2LAD, Steve in Woomargama National Park, VKFF-0547
VK3HK, Steve with xyl Glenda in Bunyip State Park, VKFF-0753
VK7FRJG, Rod at New Norfolk in the Derwent Valley
VK5CP/P Chris WICEN exercise
VK7QP, Linda at New Norfolk in Derwent Valley
VK3GGG, Mick at Stawell
VK7DW, Andrew near Launceston
VK1DI/P, Ian VKFF-0852, Mugga Mugga Nature Reserve
VK5KLV, Les VKFF-0812 5CP-043 Clements Gap Conservation Park
VK3PF/3, Peter VKFF-0976, Shepparton Regional Park
VK4AAC/3, Rob at Lower Goulburn National Park, VKFF-0741. This was the contact I was aiming for during the activation. I now have all 45 Victorian National Parks confirmed and can apply for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks award. Thanks Rob for being there.
VK7LTD, Tony VKFF-1144 Lime Bay State Reserve
I had 42 contacts overall with a few duplicates. Thanks to all who gave me a call and an especial thanks to those who tried two metres FM (and to those who tried and I didn’t hear).
Here is a link to Paul’s blog (VK5PAS) and write up of the day:
Celebrating Belair National Park’s 125th birthday
Hi John, looks like a nice park, and a good day for portable ops, thanks for the contact.
Well done getting the 45th park for the Keith Roget award, great effort.
Belair is a fantastic place. It has something for everyone and is quite large with plenty of hills to try out while walking and lots of picnic spots well set up. The three of us had a great day yesterday and I am sure glad I made the effort to go.
I have most Victorian parks quite a few times, eg Grampians with seven or eight confirmed contacts. For some reason the Lower Goulburn NP has been a bit elusive although I have activated it a couple of years back. It was great to get you in the log: twice!
Thanks for the call. It is always appreciated.
Pingback: Celebrating Belair National Park’s 125th birthday | vk5pas
A few things. Firstly thanks for asking us along. It was a terrific day.
Secondly, congratulations on the 45th park for the KRMNPA.
Thanks for coming along with Marija and sharing in the day. It was really quite splendid and the best day I have ever had for engaging the public. I thought the activation spot was pretty good as well.