A saxophonist friend of mine, to be married on Saturday afternoon 4th March 2017, provided an excuse for an extended long weekend on the South Coast of South Australia. We stayed in a cabin at Port Elliot where the ceremony was held. We travelled from Scott Creek to Port Elliot via Echunga, Meadows, Bullock Hill Conservation Park, Goolwa and then on to Port Elliot. We enjoyed our lunch at Goolwa before checking into our accommodation at Port Elliot. After settling in to our accommodation we set out for Hindmarsh Island with the intention of an activation from the Coorong National Park at its most Westerly end. It wasn’t to be. I will explain more later in a new post. Scott Conservation Park, about eight kilometres from Goolwa, provided an easily accessible alternative. This Park has been activated previously by Paul, VK5PAS. You should check out his excellent blog at https://vk5pas.org/
I have now activated all three South Australian Conservation Parks with Scott in their names: Scott Creek Conservation Park, Mount Scott Conservation Park and finally, Scott Conservation Park. If you would like to read about these activations then please click on the name of the Park on the index, which is just below the calendar on the front page.
Scott Conservation Park, comprising 210 hectares of land on the southern edge of the Mount Lofty Ranges is quite spectacular with magnificent trees (see below), deep creek lines and a walking trail of 2.7 kilometres which takes you through the park.
This photo shows the depth of the creek: the walking track crosses the creek bed at two locations (JCD photo)
We walked the trail plus another fire track for about an hour after my Sunday activation and enjoyed the scenery.
A magnificent eucalypt at Scott Conservation Park, Friday 3rd March 2017, JCD photo
Scott Conservation Park, Sunday 5th March 2017, operating location. JCD photo
My Sunday afternoon operating location on a fire trail. JCD photo
Saturday afternoon 3rd March 2017 – sunny warm day
On Saturday we found a clearing that had been used by campers. They had left rubbish behind. My wife cleared the rubbish, which we returned to Port Elliot and soon the spot was pristine. This location is about half way between the two car parks and is visible from the gravel road.
I found 7.150 Mhz to be clear and I called CQ at 06:05 UTC and was answered by Peter, VK3PF. His signal was 5 and 9 and mine was 4 and 4, noise was obviously a factor at Peter’s home. Then followed VK3GGG, VK4FW, VK3PMG, VK4AAC/4 (park to park contact with Rob who was in VKFF-1219, Tuchekoi National Park, Queensland) VK3FSPG, VK3MRP, VK3MQ, VK3YSP/M, VK3FOWL/M, VK3ZPQ, VK7JON, VK3TKK/M, VK3SS, VK3ELH, VK3OW, VK2HHA, VK3VIN and VK1DI. Conditions on 40 metres were quite good although I was unable to work any South Australian signals. The closest station to me was probably Mick in Stawell, VK3GGG/VK3PMG. The band went quiet despite many CQ calls. I then moved to the 80 metre band and enjoyed contacts with the following stations on 3.610 Mhz: 07:28 VK5YX, VK5MRT, VK5FMWW, VK5FVSV, and at 07:18 VK5PAS/M, Paul, who was driving to Spring Mount Conservation Park for a Friday evening activation. At 07:38 I enjoyed my final contact for the afternoon, with Paul, VK5PAS/P, operating from Spring Mount Conservation Park, VKFF-0739, making my second Park to Park contact for the day. We had to leave to go and buy some food for our evening meal.
Sunday afternoon 5th March 2017 – warm overcast day
I planned to become a digital station on Sunday afternoon using my VK5PF call sign and set up on 15 metres hoping to work some Asian stations using JT-65. What I had left out of the equation, however, is how do you see a computer screen in the great outdoors even on an overcast day? Oh well I will try again. So I decided to set up again for 4o metres ssb on 7.135 Mhz, which was clear. At 04:20 my first contact was with Allen, VK3ARH, s 56 r 53 and then in quick succession, VK3PF, VK3FPSR, VK3YXC, VK3QA, VK3BBB, VK3LX, VK3GGG, VK3PMG, VK3SQ, 04:39 VK3DAC/3, Fred was in VKFF-0762, Leaghur State Park, my first Park to Park contact for the day, VK1DI, VK3FEVT, VK1AT, at 04:49,VK3CWF, Bill at the Organ Pipes National Park, VKFF-0627 and at 04:55, VK3PAT/3, Chris at Alpine National Park, VKFF-0619, my third Park to Park contact for the day. Still on 40m I worked VK4HNS/4 and VK5KAI before migrating to 80 metres where I enjoyed contacts with VK5TW, VK5YX, VK5BB, and VK3GGG/VK3PMG. A big thank you to all of the operators who gave me a call at Scott Conservation Park. I made 48 contacts. I thought band conditions were reasonable and as usual there was no short skip into South Australia, at least not for stations within about 200 kilometres from Adelaide. However, tuning across the 40 metre band I thought activity was down for a Sunday afternoon. All contacts have been up-loaded to Log Book of the World and eqsls are available from VK5BJE/P.
There is a lot to see and do around Goolwa (and I have not mentioned the wineries!). This photo shows the Cockle Train entering Goolwa Station on return from Victor Harbor.
The Oscar W in her home Port of Goolwa.
Port Elliot from the headland.
An Indigenous perspective on the coming of the Europeans and a creation myth.
A terrific write up of your adventures. Really pleased to get the contact from the mobile and the subsequent Park to Park contact.
I found the snake sign interesting. That’s the first time I’ve seen a snake sign in a park. But probably a worthy sign. And I’m sorry to hear about the litter. That seems to be a bit of a common theme in a lot of parks, which is a real pity.
Thanks for the generous comments. We had a great time mixing sight-seeing, bird-watching, a wedding and, of course, some radio. I also found the snake sign in a council park at Port Elliot, in the Basham Recreation Park, which is well worth a visit. Of course there could be snakes around! I didn’t see any.
Hi John, I am sorry to say I haven’t heard VK5 or VK3 Parks and SOTA stations on 40m and very few on 20m for the last six weeks. I am curious to know what the battery arrangement is at the base of the tripod? Any chance of a close up picture?
Agree with Paul, great write up John very interesting thanks for sharing. 🙂
73, Andrew VK1AD
I will take a picture and send you a copy and tell you a little about the battery. Conditions have been patchy to say the least. I have had contacts into VK4 and northern VK2 on 40 metres which have been good but closer in, and especially locally, have been poor. Park activations have been hard work unless you stay well into the evening.
John D, VK5BJE/VK5PF
Photos and description of my battery have now been added. However, it is too heavy for carrying long distances with SOTA activations, but could be useful in drive-up summits.
Thanks for asking the question about the battery.
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