Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-0971 9th August 2022

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On Monday evening I checked the weather forecast and the Bureau of Meteorology suggested a fine and sunny day for Adelaide.I decided that I would activate Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park at the Wottons Scrub Block. This park has four sections and a fuller description can be found at my earlier post on this park dating from April 2016.

On that occasion I made 51 contacts thus activating the park for the WWFF award. Here is a link to that activation – https://vk5bje.com/category/amateur-radio/sa-conservation-parks/kenneth-stirling-conservation-park/

I set up my station in the same location. But just about everything had changed – previously I used a second hand Yaesu 897D and a Sota beams linked dipole antenna. I no longer own the 897D – it was a good radio but a bit too big and I mainly used 10, sometimes 20 watts, so I purchased a Yaesu 857D, the same radio apparently in a smaller package. I had it with me yesterday but did not use it. My set up is now an IC705 and the matching AH5 tuner, a 12 amp hour LiFePO4 battery and two home made antennas. One is a linked dipole for 40 and 20 metres and the other is a linked dipole for 15, 17 and 10 metres.

I set up for 15 metres and did not get a contact. I did not try 17 but moved to 40 metres after changing the antenna. Propagation was strange. Signals came and went in seconds I could get a word, for example, a callsign and not hear the rest of the transmission. This happened with VK2IO on 20 metres. There was also echo on some signals. I was told by others who were activating parks on the east coast that they had similar experiences. At least it wasn’t a total black-out. I was told what we experienced was the end of solar storms and ejections and that conditions will probably stabilise in a day or two! A check of some of the sun weather internet sites confirmed what I was told and what I had suspected, that the earth was in a direct path from a storm on the sun; a second wave, on Monday.

I enjoyed the following contacts on 40 metres before transferring to 20 metres.

01:44 Z VK3BEZ/P in VKFF-0753 Brian

VK2RK Robert

VK2ACR Robert

VK5IS, 59 56 There was an interesting echo on Ian’s voice.

VK5GY Gordon

VK5LA Andy

VK3PF Peter

VK3MTT Therese

VK2IO Gerard

VK4JT John

VK5KAA Gordon

VK3BWS/P in VKFF-0747 Barry

20 metres 02:37 Z

ZL1BQD 51 52 Roly

VK3BWS/P in VKFF-0747 Barry

VK5HAA John

VK4EMP Mark Brisbane

VK4TJ John

ZL1TM 52 57Andrei

Thank you to the successful callers and to those who tried to make a two way contact.

Mylor Conservation Park, VK5BJE, Pedestrian Mobile, Sunday 24th July 2022

Mylor Conservation Park – Pedestrian Mobile

One of my regular activities is walking and on Sunday last, I walked my usual trail in Mylor Conservation Park. I listen to the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) broadcast on the VK5RDF, two metre C4FM repeater. The signal is good for the whole walk, although it weakens towards the northerly end of the park because of a rise on the westerly side. I always call in on the callback and announce that I am pedestrian mobile. Now I know that this is not HF, no WWFF, but it is still fun. I have taken this walk for a number of years and never mentioned that this is how I usually listen to the broadcast. Of course the regular listeners know! I use a Yaesu FT-70D set for 0.5 watts, that is, half a watt. I have no trouble accessing the two metre and 70 centimetre repeaters (VK5RDF) with such such low power.

You can see from the walk profile that the total ascent is just 42 metres and most of that is from the entry to the park to the north-south track – the hard part of the walk (about 500 metres) is over at the beginning!

And the listening is great, the WIA national news, VK5 club news and then the call back. We have a group from Detroit, Michigan, which is expanding in numbers and who call in, a Californian and one or two from the East plus some interstate amateurs. VK5RDF is linked to all of the C4FM repeaters in the state and the 10G backbone as well as being accessible through Wires x.

Thanks go to Pete, VK5JP and friends.

Mylor Conservation Park, VKFF-0785, 21 July 2022

Thursday was a magic Winter’s Day. While the temperature was in the low teens the sun shone in a cloudless sky and there was no wind. I thought I would make it a radio day and try out my new Icom 705 in the field. My last activation was on the 18th April and I sustained an injury which kept me at home following hospital treatment.

I went to my usual activation spot about 100 metres into the Park on Whitehead Track. I tried out the radio as a QRP rig, running five watts, using the supplied battery and later supported by a Lithium Iron battery (LiFePO4) I ran 10 watts. I used a home made dipole and the Icom AH5 coupler. What I am attempting to do is make my footprint and load smaller, without going overboard! I have even tried out my Palm Iambic paddle matched to the keyer in the radio. It works well. I have had it for some years but did not use it, preferring a hand key. But I have made this move to reduce weight as I want to walk to more activation spots.

Secondly, I am chasing the first level WWFF Boomerang Award, that is, five activations on separate days with at least 10 contacts at each activation. I will check this out over the next few weeks.

Here is a link to my last activation at Mylor Conservation Park.

https://wordpress.com/post/vk5bje.com/8094

Contacts

7.144 Mhz 0136 VK3BEZ/P Park to Park VKFF-2094

7.150 VK5PAS Paul

VK3PF Peter

VK2YK/5 Adam

VK5GA/P Adam

VK5BJF Geoff

VK5LA Andy

VK3SQ Geoff

All the contracts listed above were completed using the internal battery on the IC 705, that is, five watts. I then changed to an external battery and worked the following stations:

VK5KAA Gordon

VK5NFT Tom

VK3ZFC Graham

0226 VK3BEL/P Ross Park to Park VKFF-2021

Thanks to all who gave me a call and to Paul, VK5PAS, who spotted me on ParksnPeaks. Unfortunately, my Night Hawk modem has died!

Today the weather was not as good and I was going to add a few more contacts using a vertical antenna – but I changed my mind and walked the Park instead.

Map of Mylor Conservation Park

I entered the Park at the Whitehead Road entrance and walked up the hill on Whitehead track to the junction and turned left and walked to the end of the park at Hooper Road. I then re-traced my steps to the southern end of the Park near the entrance to the Thai Forest Monastery. The walk is about three and a half kilometres and took me about 47 minutes, including time out to speak with another walker.

I have described this park in previous posts and I have enjoyed my many visits. However, I will now shift most of my walking to Mark Oliphant and Scott Creek Conservation Parks where the walks are more challenging. Mylor Conservation Park is one of a number of parks make up the Greater Mount Lofty Parks.

I am interested in the Park tracks, which includes a section of the iconic Heysen Trail. Are these tracks built on earlier walking paths established by the local First Nations People? I cannot answer this definitely. It is unlikely as the Park contains re-growth forest and there is a sign near the main gate which suggests the Park was once a farm.

Here is some photographic evidence I have collected on my camera as I have gone about my walks.

Heysen Trail marker

Stringy Bark – stump shows saw marks.
Stringy Bark stump – over one metre in diameter and showing saw cuts.

I have found about five of these stumps and they are all located on the Eastern side of the Whitehead track and all are on the shoulder of the road. These were big trees and my guess is that they were removed when the road was made. Much of the forest re-growth is made up of trees with smaller diameters.

Once again I thank all of the radio amateurs who gave me a call and got me over the Boomerang Award threshold.

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World Amateur Radio Day, 18th April 2022

Re-opening of Scott Creek Conservation Park, April 2022, 23rd April 2022, VKFF-0788

World Amateur Radio Day

I can do no better than to start this post with a direct quotation from the IARU. Each year for World Amateur Radio Day a different theme is chosen and this year the flavour is one of history and gaining access to radio frequency spectrum.

‘Every April 18, radio amateurs worldwide take to the airwaves in celebration of World Amateur Radio Day. It was on this day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union was formed in Paris.

Amateur Radio experimenters were the first to discover that the short wave spectrum — far from being a wasteland — could support worldwide propagation. In the rush to use these shorter wavelengths, Amateur Radio was “in grave danger of being pushed aside,” the IARU’s history has noted. Amateur Radio pioneers met in Paris in 1925 and created the IARU to support Amateur Radio worldwide.

Just two years later, at the International Radiotelegraph Conference, Amateur Radio gained the allocations still recognized today — 160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 meters. Since its founding, the IARU has worked tirelessly to defend and expand the frequency allocations for Amateur Radio. Thanks to the support of enlightened administrations in every part of the globe, radio amateurs are now able to experiment and communicate in frequency bands strategically located throughout the radio spectrum. From the 25 countries that formed the IARU in 1925, the IARU has grown to include 160 member-societies in three regions. IARU Region 1 includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Asia. Region 2 covers the Americas, and Region 3 is comprised of Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific island nations, and most of Asia. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has recognized the IARU as representing the interests of Amateur Radio.

Today, Amateur Radio is more popular than ever, with more than 3,000,000 licensed operators!’

Scott Creek Conservation Park fire January 2021

Scott Creek Conservation Park was badly damaged by a fire on January 24th 2021. The Park was immediately closed to the general public and has only just re-opened after a break of 14 months. During the time the park was closed work began to make the park safe again. There are a number of matters that needed attention: tracks repaired; fences replaced; fallen trees cleared; trees with obvious damage needed attention, pruning or removal and holes and hazards on the ground repaired. As well a thorough inspection of the park was undertaken. I used to walk in the park almost every day and had my favourite tracks, high and with views. I was often pedestrian mobile in the park with a hand held vhf/uhf amateur transceiver. I did drive around the perimeter on public roads but then put the park out of my mind for the time being. I began walking more regularly in Mark Oliphant Conservation Park. However, that had to cease when the Government decided to increase the amount of parking at the main gate. I called by the park yesterday 22nd April 2022 and had a look at the completed work. It is excellent and my wife and I spent some time speaking with a couple of contractors and they were pleased we had noticed their work. It is good to see the plaque honouring Sir Mark Oliphant clearly visible again. I have done most of my walking in Mylor Conservation Park over the last eight months or so and enjoy that park.

So my contribution to world amateur radio day was to set up my station just inside Gate 9 and hope that the weather would remain fine. I worked (had contacts or qsos) with 16 stations in the VK call areas of 2, 3 and 5, that is, 2 in NSW, 3 in Victoria and 5 in South Australia. Conditions on the air were really good and signals were strong. I used to activate from Gate 8 (see earlier posts for the park) but the new fence is on a different alignment and there is just parking for one car at Gate 8. The Senior Ranger is keen to get the fence shifted to increase parking places.

Here is a link to my last Scott Creek Conservation Park radio activation.

https://vk5bje.com/category/amateur-radio/scott-creek-conservation-park/

Contacts (qsos)

I was on the air at 04:45 UTC and worked the following stations:

VK3FKL/P

04:49 VK5BJF

04:53 VK5PX

04:58 VK5KKT

05:04 VK5PL

05:08 VK5FANA

05:14 VK5BBB

05:15 VK2CCP/3

05:17 VK5ZPF

05:20 VK2YK/5

05:23 VK3PF

05:26 VK5WWW

0530 VK5KLV

05:33 VK5HAA

05:34 VK2VW

05:36 VK2HFI

Sixteen stations in just over 45 minutes is not difficult to achieve and during that time I was visited by the Senior Ranger and we talked about radio and other things for a few minutes. He knew who I was and I know about him – probably because my wife is very active with the Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park!

I swapped to the 20m antenna and the band was alive. I listened to SP4LVG, from Poland, whose signal was over strength nine. I was competing with some Australian amateurs running a lot more power and I could not break through. As the rain was now making its presence felt I packed up my gear, but tripped!

I managed drive home and then the Emergency Department at a city hospital became my QTH (home) until Friday evening. I will be a home station for Anzac Day.

Typically destroyed section: JCD photo
Earth has been burnt bare: JCD photo
More destruction: JCD photo
Growth at Last: JCD photo

Operating Conditions

I used my Yaesu 857D transceiver set for 10 watts, powered by a seven amp hour LiFePO4 battery, a linked dipole, a log book and clock set for UTC time. A squid pole completed the set up and I went to Gate 9 for the activation. I do not recommend Gate 9 as an activation spot: there is not enough space without going off track. Gate 8 is now unsatisfactory as the new park fence is is on a different alignment and there is space for only one vehicle. The Senior Ranger for the park is going to get the fence re-established on its earlier alignment. I enjoyed the activation and thanks to all of the operators who gave me a call. I was pleased to work Adam VK2YK/5 who was in Porter Scrub, VKFF-0787, making one park to park contact on the day.

Mylor Conservation Park, VKFF-0785, Sunday 28th November 2021

Excellent weather greeted me on day two of the special WWFF Activation Weekend. My chosen park was the Mylor Conservation Park near home. This is also quite a small attractive park which I have been walking in (along with the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park) while Scott Creek Conservation Park remains closed due to the fire about 12 months ago. I was hoping the Scott Creek Conservation Park might have been opened in time for this weekend. It was not to be. I have activated Mylor Conservation Park on three previous occasions and I will return for a fifth to make up for the lack of contacts over the weekend due to antenna faults.

I arrived at the Park about 8.30 on Sunday morning and carried my gear into the park: about four trips. I have got to reduce the amount of clutter I carry. Take antennas for example. I carry about five antennas for all bands but only one of my antennas is designed for 80 metres. I have resolved to build another antenna which will cover 80 metres. There are lots of antenna designs for 80 metres but by the time you filter out verticals, loops and doublets you are left with just dipoles. I use a centre fed resonant linked dipole for 80 metres. Mine is from SotaBeams. I laid it out on the ground, an old sealed road, Whitehead Track, and armed with my MFJ analyser and my eyes I set out to find the fault in what has been an excellent antenna. Now I am gentle with my gear and look after it carefully but the antenna is long and it is easy to snag on a bush or a stick on the ground while laying it out or packing it up. The antenna works 80, 40, 30, 20 and 15 metres and a check with my analyser confirmed it was not working on any of the bands. With a linked dipole set for 80 metres all of the links need to be closed. I checked mine and found that to be correct. At the Knoll on Saturday I confirmed my radio was working by changing to a home brew antenna for 40 and 20 metres. So I started at one end and began a check by examining every soldered joint. I eventually found the fault: the wire had broken at the point where is attaches to the crocodile clip at the 15m metre links just on one side. It was hanging together by the insulation on the wire!

The Link – ready for repair
An earlier injury – centre insulator split and then glued following collapse of squid pole. The lump of material in the foreground out of focus is original glue. My repair is visible on left hand side of photo.

So I packed the antenna away and substituted another and proceeded to work 17 stations on 40 metres. I missed the 80m band. I enjoy this band for close-in contacts in South Australia and Victoria. I only worked one VK5 station at home (John VK5HAA).

The Park

I have visited Mylor Conservation Park on three occasions and here is a link to my last visit:

https://vk5bje.com/category/amateur-radio/sa-conservation-parks/mylor-conservation-park/

This Park has been described in detail with photos in my previous posts.

Contacts

2234 7.150 VK7DW/P 53 41 VKFF-1818 Drew

2236 7.155 VK3PF/P 57 57 VKFF-2329 Peter

2240 7.160 VK3VIN 59 57 Ian, Bendigo

2250 7.160 VK4AAC/3 59 53 VKFF-2189 Rob also spotted me on 7.160 Thanks Rob

2253 7.160 VK2VH/3 59 54 VKFF-2189

2253 7.160 VK3SQ 59 55 Geoff Beechworth

2255 7.160 VK3YE/P 53 54 Peter portable at Seaford Beach

2257 7.160 VK2VW 57 55 Brett

2258 7.160 VK2HFI 57 55

2252 7.160 VK5HAA 59 39 John at home in noisy environment

2301 7.160 VK3IH 59 54 Paul at Walkerville

2318 7.113 VK5MAZ/P 51 52 Marija VKFF-1078

2319 7.113 VK5PAS/P 51 52 Paul VKFF-1078

2321 7.120 VK3PF/P 59 59 Peter VKFF-2431

2326 7.160 VK3AWA/P 59 57 Darryl VKFF-2141

2328 7.160 VK3TV 59 57 Mal 2141

2352 7.140 VK2IO/P 51 44 Gerard VKFF-0473

I enjoyed the morning in the park and spent some time speaking with visitors about amateur radio. And a special thank you to all who gave me a contact.

World Ranger Day 31st July 2019, Mylor Conservation Park, VKFF-0785.

World Ranger Certificate 31st July 2019
Dame Jane Goodall

Dr Dame Jane Goodall

”World Ranger Day both commemorates Rangers killed or injured in the line of duty and celebrates the critical work Rangers do to protect the world’s natural and cultural treasures.

World Ranger Day is observed annually on the 31st of July and is celebrated by the International Ranger Federation’s (IRF’s) member Associations, The Thin Green Line Foundation, and by organisations, schools and individuals who support the work of Rangers and the IRF worldwide.

The first World Ranger Day was observed in 2007 on the 15th anniversary of the founding of the IRF.

Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on the sacrifice that these Rangers make; to honour the fallen Rangers and their colleagues who still bravely undertake their role in the field.”

The Photo and article comes from the This Green Line Organisation.

I chose to spend some of a bleak and cold winter’s day in Adelaide in the Mylor Conservation Park. This park is close to home: about six kilometers and is one of a number of the Greater Mount Lofty Parks nearby. I have activated the park a number of times and here is a link to my most recent activation:

https://vk5bje.com/category/amateur-radio/sa-conservation-parks/mylor-conservation-park/

My operating position is on the extension of Whitehead Road after it enters the Park. I setup about 100 metres inside the park. My XYL helped carry my gear.

Contacts

I worked Peter, VK3PF/P, at 02:59 from The Tara Bulga National Park (VKFF-0480). I had just set up and the antenna was set for 40 metres. However, I knew I had locals waiting for me on 80 metres and the following stations were worked:

VK5ZK

VK5KKT

VK3TKK/p VKFF-2452 The Spit Wildlife Reserve

VK5WG

VK2IO/5 Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs National Park VKFF-1114

VK3LY

VK6MB/3 Wychitella Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2236

40 Meters

VK4SOE/P Sundown National Park VKFF-0471

VK5OQ/3 Alpine National Park VKFF-0619

VK6MB/3 Wychitella Nature Conservation Park VKFF-2236

VK4TJ

VK4/AC8WN

VK4/VE6XT

VK2IO/5 Wabma Kadarbu Mound Springs National Park VKFF-1114

VK3PI/P Kinglake National Park VKFF-0264 and VK3/VU-009

VK3SQ

VK4HAT

VK4HNS/P Tamborine National Park VKFF-0475

VK4RF

VK4HA

VK3PF/P Traralgon South Nature Reserve VKFF-2465

I made 21 contacts which included 11 park to park qsos. Soon after 04:12 I indicated that I would go QRT. It was cold!

I thank all of the chasers who gave me a contact and was delighted with my 80 metre results of seven stations which included two from VK3 and Gerard, VK2IO/5 at the Mound Springs in outback South Australia. I was pleased to participate in World Ranger Day from Mylor Conservation Park. I enjoyed the time out in the park especially the friendly, familiar voices and the chasing of other park operators.

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.

 

Mylor Conservation Park, VKFF-0785, 26th February 2016

Moss 1

Moss glistening in the sun: Mylor Conservation Park

 

On Friday morning we, myself and xyl, Jenny, decided to go for a walk in the Mylor Conservation Park, VKFF-0785 and  5CP-156. Mylor Conservation Park is 49 hectares and preserves remnant bushland in the Adelaide Hills. The walk though the Park is not strenuous and the bush is magnificent. The Park is near Mylor and is just over seven kilometres from my house. I previously activated this Park for the WWFF program two Friday afternoons previously, that is on the 12th February. On that occasion I brought the activation to an end as a result of being bitten by ants. I was aiming for 44 contacts. I did not reach that goal.

So we thought we would explore the Park thoroughly and we did. I was hoping to find an activation spot away from power lines, nearby houses and on gravel or some other hard surface to minimise the risk of ants. We entered the Park at the main gate and followed the sealed track to the end of the Park. Here we saw a wooden building which can be hired for camping.

 

Gate 2 sign and camp

 

There were also open areas nearby, which, if not for the high tension lines on Whitehead Road, would provide great activation spots. The Park is on the left hand side of the picture opposite Gate 2.

 

IMG_0613

Private Road to Thai Monastery.

 

I explored another side track which took me to Gate 5 and we returned to the car park on the track which is also part of the famous Heysen Trail. The picture below shows that the unnumbered Gate was on the Hooper Road boundary. I did consider this previously (12th February) as an activation spot but thought the bundled power lines overhead would cause too much noise.

 

Park sign

Entry point for Heysen Trail

Entry into the Park Heysen Trail

Heysen Trail Marker

 

We also took coordinates where we found a very small patch of couch grass on the track in a low spot which was still damp. These coordinates will be sent to the Friends of Mylor Conservation Park.  About half way along the sealed track (an old road) there is a cross road: this is roughly in the centre of the Park and there are posts in place for mounting squid poles. This would make a great QRP location away from the noise, reasonable elevation, probably 330 metres above sea level, but the only access is by hiking. You would have to be prepared to take a ground sheet and sit on the ground. This is not much fun for a Park activation!

Mylor Conservation Park v1

Map of Mylor Conservation Park

The map was taken from http://www.walkingsa.org.au

My operating point was half way between 1 and 8 on the Centre Track.

I decided to compromise. I would walk into the Park carrying my gear. In preparation for the late afternoon activation, I loaded the large ruck sack with my Ipad and modem, three LiFePO4 batteries, two antennas, log book, water and jacket. The exercise required two trips to carry my gear. On the first I carried my tripod, squid pole, table and chair. The walk was about 300 metres uphill. On the second trip I carried the back pack and my FT897 in its black plastic case. I have learned the hard way: the gear is heavy but I have an FT857D on order which will help! All together with the walk in the morning and the afternoon return visit my pedometer reported I had walked 15,146 steps (my goal is 10,000 per day) or 12.25 kilometres and that I had burned 2990 calories. I have to report that on Thursday afternoon, VK5PAS, Paul, VK5KC, David and I had indulged in coffee, cake and cream! So I had extra motivation for the walk!

Contacts

I set up my gear and was on the air at 05:52. I found 7.120 to be clear and called CQ. I was answered by VK5HDW, David in Ferner Conservation Park.  I gave David 5 and 8 and received 5 and 9. I thought that 40 metres looked pretty good for a change! I saw that Rob, VK4AAC/P5 was operating on 7.100 from Danggali Conservation Park and secured a contact before going back to 7.120: 5 and 9 each way. VK3PMG/M, Mick, was driving west near Ararat and we had a contact 5 and 6 each way. Then I was called by VK3PF, Peter who gave me 5 and 8 and I gave him 5 and 6. Then Brian, VK5FMID, from Mount Gambier called: he was 5 and 8 and he gave me 5 and 7. At 06:03 Rick, VK4RF/VK4HA called: signals were 5 and 6 each way. Thus with six contacts around South Eastern Australia, I was able to determine that propagation on the 40 metre band was really quite good and it should be a fun activation.

Then in quick succession followed VK5NRG, Roy; VK5FANA, Adrian on Yorke Penninsular; VK5PAS/M, Paul on his way to Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park; VK5GJ, Greg; VK5YX, Hans; VK3TKK/M3, Peter 5 and 9 both ways; VK3DBP, Paul; VK5NFT/M, Tom; VK3FJBA, Joe near Melbourne;  VK5PL, David; VK5AV, Tim; VK2HHA, Dennis from Albury 5 and 8 both ways; VK3FIRM, Mike; VK5EE, Tom; VK5ZGY, Greg from Mount Gambier. I them moved to 7.144 and listened before callling VK5HSX/P, Stef in Deep Creek Conservation Park. I decided to chase Stef, VK5HSX/ because DX stations, although weak, were on 7.110 and making the going a bit hard. I decided to stay on 7.110 for just a little longer to and worked VK5KLV/P, Les in Winninowie Conservation Park.  At 06:45 I worked a succession of stations: VK5FPAC, Bob; VK3JK, Craig; VK5KKS, Kevin; VK3BNC, Bob; VK5KPR, Peter; and at 07:08, VK5PAS/P, Paul, at Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park, and on 7.085, VK1DI/P1, Ian in Pinnacle Nature Reserve, VKFF-0862, 5 and 7 and 5 and 8.

I thought I would try for some VK6s. I posted my intention to migrate to 14.312 which I found clear. I called CQ a few times to allow chasers to see my post on Parks and Peaks and was soon answered at 07:33 by VK4RF/VK4HA, Rick 5 and 9 each way: F1BBL, 5 and 5 and 5 and 3 received and finally, JA1QVR, Sam 5 and 8 both ways. I was using 40 watts and a linked dipole and Sam was transmitting with a kilowatt and a four element beam. He was chuffed and so was I.

I enjoyed myself making 36 contacts with one duplicate. Thanks to all of the chasers and, of course, the activators. I made five park to park contacts.

 

 

 

Mylor Conservation Park, VKFF-0785, 12th February 2016

Mylor CP

 

Today was a Parks and radio day. In the morning my wife Jenny and I went for a walk in the Scott Creek Conservation Park. This was my first walk in the Park for some months due to health issues. It was great. The day was warm and sunny, the kangaroos were out and about watching us and the birds were singing. I was living for the day! Jenny was identifying a weed for the authorities: an Ivy plant that grows on the indigenous eucalypts, the brown stringy bark trees. She found at least three examples. We also saw a mob of dorper sheep. When they spotted us they ran towards SA water land which adjoins the conservation park. They owe their freedom to private gates nearby which were left undone during the motor car rally held in November. The Ranger will be advised.

When we concluded our activities at Scott Creek Conservation Park we drove to Mylor Conservation Park which is also nearby in the Adelaide Hills. (I measured the distance in the car last evening when leaving Mylor Conservation Park and driving home the most direct way at 7.1 kilometres: thus I am in the fortunate position of having three parks within ten kilometres of my house). The purpose of the visit to Mylor was to check out possible operating locations. In the end I finished up going to the main gate off Whithead Road. This is not far from houses and a Buddhist Monastery and the noise was about S7. It was hard to tell how much of the background noise was simply that and how much was power-line noise. But at the end of the activation the noise had dropped to about S3. We also explored Hooper Road which runs along the Park boundary. We drove to the end of the road and the beginning of the fire trail. At this point the road branches into two private driveways. There is a Park gate about half way along this road but a glance over head showed bundled power lines. I did not even bother to try from that location! I decided I would return to the location of my first activation near the main gate off Whitehead Road.

operating position

This photo shows my operating position with the FT897 on the left hand side of the table and 8.4 amp hour LiFePO4 battery. Even after 30 contacts the battery voltage was 12.9 volts.

9m squid pole attached to tripod

This photo shows a ten metre squid pole attached to my tripod. For this activation I did not guy the squid pole or use ten pegs to hold the tripod legs in place on the ground. There was only a light breeze.

The Park

Mylor Conservation Park is a small park in the Adelaide Hills. It conserves remnant bushland in an area largely cleared for agriculture and residential development on small holdings (four hectares mostly) except in townships. There is a Friends Group and flora and fauna lists are available on the State Government parks web site.

Contacts

I began on 40 metres and after 17 contacts I decided to try 20 metres. I made five contacts on 20 including three DX qsos before moving back to 40 metres where a further ten contacts were made. Thanks to all who gave me a call, who posted my activation on Parks and Peaks as well as the DX cluster. I decided to end the activation because of the impact of my trespassing. While I gave my operating position a pretty good check for local inhabitants I decided to end the affair when I was bitten twice, simultaneously on the right hand pointer finger and left arm just above the wrist. The attackers were ants. I am not sure what species they were but they surely packed a punch. My arm is still swollen as I write this blog entry on Saturday morning. While ants have been attackers in the past on many occasions, these guys had the most impact on me. When I return to the park to try and secure 44 contacts I will set up in another location. The ants that can cause the most problems are hopper ants.

THIS is the angry little ant that’s putting up to two South Australians a week into hospital emergency rooms, some with potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.

The native hopper ant (Myrmecia pilosula), also known as the jack jumper, packs a painful sting from its tail — but for a significant proportion of people the consequences can be much greater.

Last Sunday a 71-year-old Stirling man was taken to hospital by ambulance after being stung, a situation that has become common during summer, according to Professor Bob Heddle, SA Pathology’s chief pathologist and head of Clinical Immunology at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Prof Heddle said the aggressive ant, which moves with a distinctive hopping motion, has been responsible — along with its cousin, the inch ant — for a least six deaths in Tasmania and Victoria in recent years, although he believes deaths caused by the insects are probably under-reported.

Sunday Mail, January 14th 2015

So I cannot tell what bit me, except that the impact of bites from hopper ants are cumulative. So I will be careful in the future.

I was on the air at 0552 after checking that 7.105 was clear:

VK5PAS 58 58 Paul

VK3FORD 55 55 Matt

VK3PF 58 55 Peter

VK3PMG 58 44 Mick

VK2HAJ 59 57 Dennis

VK3FLCS 56 57 Brett

VK3DBP 57 57 Paul

VK3FQSO 57 56 Amanda

VK3MCK 59 55 Don

VK3NBL/P 57 55 Ray

VK3TKK/M 57 55 Peter

VK2YK 57 56 Adam

VK3PAT 59 59 Cliff

VK5FRCP 58 59 Rex at Piccadilly. There had been no propagation locally through the afternoon until VK5FRCP called. Rex is located in the Adelaide Hills, a kilometre or two from Mylor Conservation Park.

VK3EMI/P 56 55 Gerry

VK3ZPF 59 55 Peter

VK2NEO 59 59 Peter

I decided to try 20 metres, but not before trying to contact VK5FANA, Adrian on the Yorke Peninsular. I called VK5PAS after he worked VK5FANA at 0552. I also listened for VK5FANA, operating just higher in frequency that me a few times while I was having a quiet moment between calls. I could not contact him.

At 0700 I checked 14.310. It was clear and I spotted myself.

9A3NM 57 55 Sasa in Croatia

VK4RF 59 59 Rick

VK4HA 59 59 Rick

I5FLN 57 55 Luciano

IW2NXI 57 58

eqsl IW2NXI 2

Twenty metres then went quiet so I migrated back to 40 metres:

VK5PAS/P 56 55 Paul at VKFF-077

VK4RF 59 59 Rick

VK4HA 59 59  Rick

VK4GFS 59 57 George

VK3KRH 59 59 Roscoe

VK5NRG 55 43 Roy

VK5KC 56 45 David

VK2NP Cliff 57 53

I then listened for VK5FANA, who briefly popped up out of the noise and was not heard again by me. I could hear stations contacting Adrian and giving him great reports.  Sorry Adrian, may be next time!

VK7LTD  55 43 Tony

VK3ALA 59 59 Ken

Then the ants struck!

 

 

 

 

A souvenier from Cromer Conservation Park VKFF-779, from VK5PAS

VK5BJE Cromer CP QSL cardI was pleased to have a contact with Paul, VK5PAS, who was activating Cromer Conservation Park, VKFF-779, on the 31st July 2015. It was a real Winter’s Day activation and only one month of Winter remaining. Roll on Spring!  It was also World International Ranger Day.  The shooting of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe is a reminder that in some countries the work of Rangers has added dangers.