On the 16th April 2019 I left home soon after 0830 am to drive to Murray Bridge and Kinchina Conservation Park, VKFF-1764. I took the south eastern freeway and the 53 kilometres soon disappeared and I arrived at Murray Bridge and made my way along Maurice Road, past some homes, industrial sites and Mobilong Prison before arriving at the Park. I parked in the shade near the gate in quite a large parking area and set up my station and decided to get on the air milliseconds past the UTC rollover. I set up just inside the gate on a landscape which I told one of the operators reminded me of the surface of Mars: just red dirt and dust! At the time of setting up there was no wind and the temperature was in the twenties with a top predicted at 32 degrees for Murray Bridge. It was quite pleasant and it remained that way until just before noon. And then the wind started. Ivan, VK5HS, at Long Island Recreation Park was surprised about the wind. He said it was very still on the island and explained the calm by commenting on the lush and dense vegetation. Have a look at Paul’s excellent pictures on his blog, at https://vk5pas.org/ and you will see what I mean. It was only when they were back on the river did they experience the wind, which resulted in dust in the air, not as bad or as widespread as the one in March, but still a nuisance. I am beginning to wonder what has happened to the wonderfully calm, warm and sunny Autumn days of the past? I had a similar experience with the dust at Kyeema Conservation Park.
The reason for activating Kinchina Conservation Park was to provide some additional VHF/UHF experiences for Paul and his team. The two parks are just a few kilometres apart and at Kinchina CP I had the advantage of height. Unfortunately we were limited to just two metres FM. But I enabled Paul and his two colleagues, Ivan and Danny to enrich their logs with two metre FM Park to Park contacts.
My operating position was near the parking sign on the map, just up the hill from Mobilong Prison. The Park is 414 hectares and is the largest remnant of intact bush in the area known as the Monarto Crown Lands. The land for the prison was also obtained from the same Monarto Crown Lands. The land was originally set aside for urban development. It is on the outskirts of Murray Bridge.
My first contact was logged at 00:03 on 3.610 with VK5TW, Trevor, who had a great signal 5 and 9 and I received 5 and 5.
2. 00:06 VK5FANA, Adrian 59 both ways.
Despite calling CQ for a few minutes there were no more contacts on 80 metres. The band was also noisy, more so than at home, where 80m is invariably quiet.
So I migrated to 7.139 and enjoyed the following contacts:
3. VK3SQ 59 58
4. VK4FDJL 54 52
5. VK5PAS/M 59 59 Paul on his way to the boat ramp at Murray Bridge.
19. VK3ZNK/P Nick at VKFF-0745 Cape Liptrap Coastal Park
23. VK3ZNK/P Nick at VKFF-0745 suggesting we try 21.344 which we did unsuccessfully
24. 7.144 VK5PAS/P VKFF-1724, Long Island Recreation Park, VKFF-1724
26. 7.139 VK3SLB
28. VK5PAS/P VKFF-1724
29. VK5DW/P VKFF-1724
30. VK5HS/P 02:10 VKFF-1724
My log shows 30 contacts with some duplicates. Nevertheless it was an enjoyable activation and, as usual, special thanks to the chasers and spotters who assisted. I will return to the park to try and qualify for WWFF (44 contacts) and keep my promise of plugging in the key and giving the CW enthusiasts a chance to gain the park as well. I decided to have some lunch and just as I got comfortable in the car the wind came. I went back and packed up my station and then ate my lunch. I made a lunch at home of a slice of sour dough bread with cheddar cheese, dates, some grapes a mandarin and water. Sustaining yes, but not as interesting as the barbecue enjoyed by the threesome on Long Island Recreation Park!
Here is a video of me operating my FT857D from Kinchina Conservation Park. The video was made by Paul, VK5PAS from his vehicle, He is listening on his IC7000 and was not too far away from me. He was travelling from his home at Mount Barker to Murray Bridge in preparation for an activation of Long Island Conservation Park.