VI5MARCONI at Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788 & 5CP-207, 16th September 2018

VI5Marconi 20m

Special QSL card for VI5MARCONI 20 metres

VI5MARCONI is a special event station established to celebrate the direct radio telegraphy transmission between the United Kingdom and Australia. The actual day of the transmission was the 22nd September 1918. See the page for the special calls and more historical details.  One hundred years ago seems like a long time back in the past but really it is not. It depends upon you age, how you regard the past and how remote it seems. If you are in your 20s it would seem along time ago, but as you age and develop a broader perspective over a longer period of time it seems not that long ago. I was a boy in the 1950’s and I knew people who remembered and lived within the reign of Queen Victoria. My maternal Grand-mother was one such person as was my singing teacher and Church Choir-Mistress.

I have always been interested in the history of wireless and was pleased when, last evening, Paul, VK5PAS, contacted me and suggested we activate Scott Creek Conservation Park using the VI5MARCONI special event call-sign. We confirmed our arrangements and met at Gate 8 at about 09:45 local time. The Bureau of Meteorology suggested a cool day, temperature of about 13 degrees Celsius and moderate winds. As it turned out we had long sunny breaks and sitting in the sun we got quite warm.


John & Paul Scott Creek 2 918

This photo shows our station. The radio in front of my keying hand is my Ten Tec Model 539. JCD photo.

Knowing that the messages sent in 1918 were achieved using wireless telegraphy it was appropriate to try some CW from the Park. That was my task. I called CQ for quite a few times on 80 metres but did not get an answer. I was more successful on 40 metres. I used Paul’s Yaesu 857D and my Camelback hand key (K4VIZ). The Ten Tec Model 539 was a standby radio set up for CW.  See my post of 10th August for more details on my morse keys and photos.

John and Paul Scott Creek 918

VI5MARCONI at Scott Creek Conservation Park, JCD photo

In 2004, a book review by me, was published in Amateur Radio Magazine, of Weightman’s biography of Marconi (1).  Here is a reference to that book review. I thought I would re-read the book as part of the celebration this month of the first wireless telegraphy message from the UK to Australia. A quick skim read did not produce any references to the contacts between the UK and Australia. This is not surprising given Marconi’s efforts were largely centred on the UK and North America.

The Park

I have been to Scott Creek Conservation Park many times for both walking and radio. Here is a link to my last post about Scott Creek CP. As well Paul and I have also activated the Park on many occasions. It is a splendid park and will repay many visits.


We made 91 contacts from the Park. I left at about 12:45 local time to go home and have lunch and a rest before band practice later in the afternoon. Thanks to all of those operators who gave us a call.

The following stations were contacted:

7.144 Mhz



















7.032 CW



7.144 ssb












7.032 CW



7.130 ssb




VK3PF/P          VK3/VG-015
















VK4ALE/P         VKFF-1493

















VK3PF/P         VK3/VT-020





14.183 ssb






14.310 ssb












VK4VXX/6         VKFF-1236

Paul has been generous with this activation giving me equal status. He made 63 contacts as against my 28.


Special QSL card for VI5MARCONI 80 Metres

vk2marconi vk5pf version for wp

Special QSL card for wireless telegraphy (CW) contact with VI2MARCONI on the 40 metre band. The three QSL cards displayed in this post confirm private (not VI5MARCONI) contacts made be me.


Dawes, John, 2004, Book Review, Weightman, G., 2003, ‘Signor Marconi’s Magic Box: How an amateur inventor defied scientists and began the radio revolution’, Harper Collins, London, (in) Amateur Radio Magazine, 72, 3, March 2004, pp 24 & 41.

book review p1

book review p1a

book review MJD second page




Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788, 30th March 2018: walking for fitness and pleasure.

One day to go and the first month of Autumn will be in the past! I now have a medically supervised regime in place which requires me to walk with moments of additional load achieved by either walking more quickly or walking up a hill. Scott Creek Conservation Park provides many opportunities for walking up and down hills! The theory is that this will eventually strengthen the heart muscle and reduce episodes of Atrial Fibrillation (AF). AF occurs when the heart does not pump properly but rather flutters, resulting in poor circulation and efficiency. I am taking part in a trial, comparing an exercise group with a non-exercise group, and am in the experimental group. So I decided to go for a walk in Scott Creek Conservation Park departing from Gate 8 (my favourite radio activation spot). The weather was excellent for a walk: cool, mainly sunny but a handful of rain-drops as I started out. Others had a similar idea and I passed a large group of walkers as I was heading down the hill speaking into my hand held radio. They were on the way up the hill but offered a greeting and we spoke for a while. Yes I did take a radio: two in fact (IC-80AD and a Yaesu VX5) and a few spare batteries!

I also posted an alert on Parks and Peaks indicating I would be active at 00:30z on 146.5 FM. Next time I will self-spot and indicate a QRV time!  QRV means ‘are you ready?’ But it is also used to indicate a time when the operator will be ready.

As I left gate 8 I tuned to VK5RMB, the Murray Bridge Repeater and heard some activity. I recognised a voice I knew and arranged to try 146.5 FM with Tony, VK5MRT at Strathalbyn. There was no direct path. I was a bit surprised at this. So I kept walking and then tuned the radio to VK5RSV, the South Coast Amateur Radio Club’s two metre repeater. I was hoping to stir up some activity, as the area immediately south and south west of the Park, I suspected would provide some good contacts. All I heard was silence!

I kept on walking and tried VK5RSV again. This time VK5XD, Neville answered me. He offered to QSY (change frequency to 146.5 Mhz) and success followed. Neville’s signal was full scale on my Icom IC-80AD, I was amazed. Neville lives in the suburb of Warradale, near Glenelg, but further inland. I received a report of 5 and 5. I had a quarter wave length antenna on my radio and was using full power, five watts. Neville told me he was using 50 watts into a collinear antenna.  We should have experimented with lower power!


00:51z 146.500 FM VK5XD 59s 55r

VK5XD qsl

Here is Neville’s splendid eqsl.

So what was the cost? Well my GPS showed a total activity time of 53 minutes. But the moving time was just 25 minutes! So I spent nearly half my time playing radio rather than walking. Perhaps I had better leave the radios at home?

I have activated Scott Creek Conservation Park many times. Here is a link to my previous activation.

Scott Creek walk 30th March

The walk I took begins at Gate 8 and follows Cup Gum Track. I stopped just before the fairly steep descent to the junction of Gum Track Track with Currawong Ridge Track.

Currowang ridge traCK

The elevation gain was 35 metres. The plot is shown below. The times are clearly shown including radio time.

Scott Creekwalk 30th elevation

This walk is one of a number I have taken in the Park over the last few weeks. Most, but not all, of the walks have been on sections of the track I have previously described as a loop. See my earlier posts on this beautiful park.
Gate 4
Another walk began at Gate 4 taking the right hand side track down to the creek line.
 Gray fantail in flight
Grey Fantail in flight. This little bird did not take much notice of me but was busy catching insects.
Gray Fantail 2
Gray Fantail in motion.
Common brown
Common brown butterfly.
Stumpy tail lizard
Stumpy tale lizard. A pity about the stick over the end of his nose: but I did not want to disturb her sun-baking any more than necessary.

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788 & 5CP-207, 2nd November 2017

Paul at Scott Creek

VK5PAS/P at Scott Creek Conservation Park, near Gate 8

Around lunch time on Thursday the phone rang. Paul, VK5PAS, had taken delivery of two radios: a new Yaesu 857D and a pre-loved Yaesu 897D (purchased at our radio club’s silent auction) and he was keen to try them out given his forthcoming interstate visit to Victoria and New South Wales.  Paul and Marija have lots of portable activity proposed. Paul invited me to come with him to Scott Creek Conservation Park, very close to my home, to put the radios through their paces. I met Paul at the park about 25 minutes later. He had just arrived at Gate 8 when I arrived. Now I would like to correct the impression given by Paul on air that he had to twist my arm and almost wrestle me to come! Rather, I jumped at the chance! Some of you will know I have been out of action for the last three months and, other than one failed attempt to activate the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in late September and early October, I have not been active. I just didn’t have the energy. However, I am getting stronger every day and feel considerably more like getting back to my usual activities and the weather was good. It was lightly overcast and potentially warm and as the afternoon passed we moved into the shade and it was really very pleasant in the park. Paul and I have activated this park together on previous occasions and I took a group to the Park as part of  WIA AGM Radio is Magic events on the Sunday morning late May (see below).

Here is a link to my previous radio activations on this park:

The Park

Scott Creek Conservation Park is located in the Adelaide Hills and is one of the key metropolitan parks. It is close to Belair and Onkaparinga River National Parks and Cleland Conservation Park including Mount Lofty Summit. Scott Creek Conservation Park has an active Friends Group and here is a link to their web pages:

On Sunday morning 5th November I decided to pay a visit to the Friends Bird-banding Group. The first photo shows a Golden Whistler, the photo below on the left is of a Yellow Faced Honeyeater and on the right a Horsfield Cuckoo. These birds are caught in a net measured and released. The data is forwarded to Canberra where it is available to researchers.

Golden whistler


We commenced operations on 7.139 MHz after looking around the band a bit higher to see if we could hear any other stations nearby. VK2JNG/P, Gerard was on air but we could not hear him. We later worked him P2P on two bands.

  1. 0248 VK2HHA 7.135MHz
  2. 0249 VK2MRH
  3. 0252 VK3PF 7.155 MHz
  4. 0254 VK3GGG
  5. 0155 VK3PMG
  6. 0256 VK3SQ
  7. 0300 VK3ANL
  8. 0302 VK2NEO
  9. 0309 VK7MPR Mark with his new upgraded call-sign: the F has gone. Congratulations!
  10. 0314 VK1LAJ/P
  11. 0318 VK2IO/P 52 55 Gerard P2P VKFF-2012 Wallumatta Nature Reserve
  12. 0320 VK7JON
  13. 0325 VK5BW
  14. 0333 VK7FOLK
  15. 0336 VK3VGB/P
  16. 0343 VK2FANT
  17. 0348 VK5KBJ It was great to have a contact with Barry who has also been on the sick list
  18. 0351 VK5GJ
  19. 0355 VK3VIN
  20. 0400 VK3UP
  21. 0415 VK2JNG/P 7.170 MHz Gerard 53 54 P2P VKFF-0431 Richmond River Nature Reserve
  22. 0428 VK5BW 3.610 MHz 59 59 Barry at Bridgewater on 80 metres: less than 10 kilometres from us.
  23. 0433 VK5GJ
  24. 0446 VK5FANA  We were disappointed with just three contacts on 80 metres. We learned that the usual operators on this band were otherwise occupied during the afternoon.
  25. 0457 VK2NP 14.310 MHz
  26. 0501 VK4PDX
  27. 0503 VK2IO/P Gerard P2P VKFF-2012 Wallumatta Nature Reserve
  28. 0506 VK2JNG/P Gerard P2P VKFF-0431 Richmond River Nature Reserve
  29. 0508 VK4RF
  30. 0508 VK4HA
  31. 0509 VK2HOT
  32. 0512 VK4HNS We then moved to 14.183 and listened to the ANZA net and at the appropriate break in the proceedings Paul booked both of us into the net. The net controller was Col, VK4CC who, with his usual style, was a splendid net controller. As the afternoon moved on we were invited to make three calls each.
  33. 0533 FK8HZ Maurice in , Noumea, New Caledonia 59 58
  34. 0543 VK1TX Tex who called me from Canberra 59 59
  35. 0556 YJ0MB Mike Vanuatu
  36. 0602 VK4NH Ray
  37. 0607 E51JD Jim South Cook Islands
  38. 0617 VK4DXA Ray
  39. 0623 7.144 MHz VK3NBL
  40. 0626 VK2VW
  41. 0628 VK5NRG
  42. 0638 VK2SVN
  43. 0635 VK3NCC
  44. 0639 VK3KRH
  45. 0644 VK3BBB
  46. 0648 VK2ZK
  47. 0650 VK4NH
  48. 0651 VK4DXA
  49. 0652 VK3HSB/P 59 59 P2P VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park
  50. 0654 VK2LEE
  51. 0656 VK3FMKE

We had a most enjoyable day. Three contacts were made on 80 metres, 14 on 20 metres including three Pacific Island Nation DX stations and 34 on 40 metres. Five Park to Park contacts on a weekday were a bonus! The way we shared the station was that the person with the microphone called CQ, QRZ or answered a caller and then the second operator took over and followed the same procedure. Our logs are almost but not quite identical. The times and order of stations will differ because of our approach to sharing.

Scott Creek Conservation Park WIA AGM 21st May 2017

I did not complete an entry for this activation as I became unwell soon after the AGM. However, although not many contacts were made it was an important event because a number of local amateurs were hosts to visitors interested in learning more about portable operations and techniques. In my case, I had three amateurs who wanted to come to Scott Creek Conservation Park for the opportunity of learning and getting on air. We met at Gate 8 at about 0900 local time. Each of my visitors, all amateurs, made contacts on HF on the 40 metre band and on VHF on two metres with VK5PAS/P, Paul and his crew at Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, about five kilometres away. We each kept out own log of contacts. I made four contacts on HF.

It was a beautiful late Autumn day and my wife dropped off morning tea and some chairs and we socialised as well as discussing appropriate gear for portable operations. It was great!

0016 VK1AD/2 7.095 MHz Andrew was in the Kosciusko National Park, VKFF-0269 and on VK2/SM-027 Mt Nungar worth ten SOTA points to a chaser. I thought that this contact was a great start to the morning.

0019 7.095 VK3PAT Chris at Cape Conrad Coastal Park, VKFF-0744

0116 7.095 VK3ARW/5 Allan at VK5/SE-005 Mount Lofty and Cleland Conservation Park, VKFF-0778

0017 VK5FR/P Chris at VK5/SE-005 Mount Lofty and Cleland Conservation Park, VKFF-0778

Four contacts were made but all great and all Park to Park as well as SOTA in three instances.

This activation and the one described above (2nd November) make five WWFF activations by me at Scott Creek Conservation Park, the threshold number for the Boomerang Award.

Finally, I was pleased to see our South Australian AGM and Convention Organising Group was recognised by the WIA. Here is my certificate. Our group worked for 16 months to ensure a successful WIA and Convention. The Sunday afternoon Radio is Magic demonstrations and field day activities were very popular and lots of positive comments were received.

WIA Certificate of Appreciation

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-0788 & 5CP-207, 25th March 2016

A Good Friday activation

On Friday afternoon, Good Friday, VK5PAS, and I, visited Scott Creek Conservation Park for a joint activation. In addition to the usual HF station we wished to add to the number of bands used by adding some VHF and UHF capability. But more on that later.

I have activated this park many times and have qualified the park for the WWFF program. Here is a link to my last activation:

Our objectives were:

First, to field test a Spiderbeam asymmetrical dipole designed to work on five HF bands. This antenna is quite impressive and well-made, but like most, if not all, Off Centre Fed (OCF) antennas, presents a higher than desirable VSWR on some of the bands. Paul, who is the reviewer, will say more about this. If you use 100 watts and want an excellent antenna for camping, are prepared to use a coupler (antenna tuner) on occasions, this antenna is worthy of consideration.

Second, to conduct an HF activation. This task mainly fell to Paul (VK5PAS), who operated on the 40, 20 and 15 metre bands.

Finally, to try and sample antennas for six metres (a dipole), two metres, a Cushcraft three element beam and a six element log periodic style antenna (made by ATN antennas) for 70 centimetres.  I did not bring any 23 cm gear and nor did I operate on six metres and 70 centimetres. I will in the future. The beam antennas are supported by a three piece aluminium mast which is guyed. This mast can be erected by one person but it easier with two! Thanks to Paul for driving the tent pegs into the ground while I held the mast.  I use good quality semi-rigid coax fitted with N connectors for VHF and UHF. The antenna is rotated by the armstong method and an orienteering compass provides the bearings. My radio for this activation was a Yaesu 897 operating at 20 watts. Two LiFePO4 batteries were used: of 4.200 and 8.400 amp hours capacity.


This photo, courtesy of Paul, VK5PAS, shows my operating position, about 20 metres from where Paul’s station was located.

The weather was good, warm with the temperature in the low twenties, sunny and with just a gentle breeze.


This photo, also from Paul, VK5PAS, shows my two metre antenna, a simple three element beam fed with quality semi-rigid coaxial cable (unfortunately the identification markings have rubbed off with lots of use).


The final picture, also courtesy of Paul, is a close up of the beam showing the gamma match.


After field testing the OCF dipole I set up my two-metre station at 05:25z. I checked the Mount Gambier beacon, VK5RSE, on 144.550, at Mount Graham. This beacon is listed in the Wireless Institute of Australia call-book as having 25 watts transmit output. The beacon was showing 5 and 2 on my FT897 and climbed to 5 and 5 on the peak of the QSB cycle. The QSB cycles were even and thus predictable. At this point my confidence soared. The Mount Lofty beacon, VK5VF, 144.450, about ten kilometres from our operating location (as the wedge-tailed eagle flies) was really loud! I placed a post on Parksnpeaks and hoped for the best. I called on 144.110 for a few times without success, so I soon moved to the calling frequency of 144.100.

05:42 VK5KC, David, 5 and 9, both ways

05:44 VK5AKK, Phil, 5 and 9, both ways

05:54 VK5MC, Chris at Millicent in South Eastern South Australia 5 and 4 and 5 and 5

05:57 VK5GY, Gordon, operating at Bullock Hill Conservation Park, 5 and 5 both ways. Gordon was holding his beam in one hand! Gordon told me he is celebrating 40 years of being an amateur (in the UK and Australia) so I shared my 40 year story with Gordon and gave him a second call (06:01) as VK5PF, 5 and 5 both ways.

Paul told me there were operators on 40 metres who wished to contact me – so we swapped stations.

So on 7.150 I had the following contacts:

06:06 VK5FMID, Brian, 5 and 9 both ways

06:08 VK2IO, Gerard 5 and 7, 5 and 4

06:08 VK4AAC/P3, Rob 5 and 9 and 4 and 7. Rob was in a noisy caravan park.

06:11 VK5KHZ, Hans, 5 and 9 both ways

06:13 VK3ZMD, Mike 5 and 8, 5 and 7

06:17 VK5FANA, Adrian 5 and 9 both ways

06:18 VK4FW, Bill near Kingaroy, 5 and 9, 5 and 4

06:19 VK3CDR, Chris 5 and 9 both ways

06:22 VK4GSF, George, Toowoomba, 5 and 9 both ways

06:23 VK3GWS/P, Grant at Beechworth 5 and 9 both ways

While I was working away on 40 metres I could hear Paul on two metres. We decided to swap radios when it went a bit quiet on 40 metres. I called CQ on 144.100.

06:36 VK5DK, 144.100, Col at Mount Gambier, 5 and 9, 5 and 8. I was delighted: a good haul on two metres with a modest station – 20 watts and a three element beam! Col, of course, has a great set up on two metres and most other higher bands.

06:40 VK5NC, Trevor at Mount Gambier, 5 and 3, 5 and 4

06:46 VK3LY, Bill from Nhill, 5 and 3, 5 and 1

I called a few more times and then decided I should set up on 146.500 FM. VK5FANA, Adrian, advised he would travel to the top of a nearby hill and give me a call. Unfortunately we did not make a contact. I suspect we could have made it but our efforts did not correspond in time.

Later using Paul’s hand-held radio I had contacts with:

07:20 VK5PET, Peter, Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, 5 and 9 both ways

07:21 Rick, VK5FGFK (and a second contact from me, VK5PF), Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, 5 and 9 both ways

and later, 07:40, with David, VK5KC on 52.200 ssb, 5 and 3 both ways. Twenty two contacts on three bands: 10 on 40m; 11 on two metres and one on six metres was my total for the day and 11 contacts on two metres were very satisfying.

Here is a link to Paul’s, VK5PAS, YouTube channel which captures some of the fun and excitement of this style of portable activation. Thanks to all of the operators who gave us a call.






Scott Creek Conservation Park: follow-up activation 15th March 2015

I promised to return to Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-788 this morning but it was raining: the Bureau had predicted a 30% chance of showers. These slowly cleared through the morning and in anticipation I posted an alert on ParksnPeaks indicating that I would visit the park in the afternoon.

I returned to Gate 8 and set up in the usual spot. I was on the air at 04:11 and my first contact on 40 metres on 7.100 was with VK3MTB/P3, Tim who was in Mount Worth State Park, VKFF-771; 7.095, VK3FQSO/P3, Amanda, on VK3/VU-012; VK3FLAK/P3, Bob also on VK3/VU-012; VK5BW, Barry; VK5YX, Hans; VK3HRA, Allan; VK5XR, Allan at Tailem Bend; VK5WG, Nev; VK3PMG, Mick; VK5BW, Barry; VK3CRG, Craig in Brisbane Ranges National Park, VKFF-055;  VK5VL, 7.098, Frank; VK3YRA, Ray; VK3NSC, Steve; VK3FSTU, Stewart, VK3OHM, Marc; VK5TN, Robin; VK3EJ, Gordon on 7.135 and VK3MTB/P3, 7.095, Tim at 05:53 in Mount Worth State Park, VKFF-771, making 20 contacts in all. Taking account of duplicates, VK5BW and VK3MTB/P3 the number reduces to 18, which with 30 from the Friday afternoon/evening activation means I have qualified the park for the WWFF award. Thanks to all who gave me a call, and especially those who persevered with the less than ideal conditions during the afternoon.

Scott Creek Conservation Park, VKFF-788, 14th March 2015

The Park

This afternoon and early evening was my fifth activation of Scott Creek Conservation Park. You can read about the Park in earlier entries. It is a beautiful public space. I walk in the Park on a regular basis and here are some more pictures I took on my walk on Wednesday 11th March. I cannot explain the signal dropout on my Garmin 62S after I turned the corner and began a steep climb up Currawong Ridge Track. I have walked this track lots of times and all images have been intact. Perhaps as it is steep I held onto the backpack straps near the GPS62s in my left hand breast pocket on my shirt?

Scott Creek Walk 11th March 2015 showing photo locations

Scott Creek Walk 11th March 2015 showing photo locations

Mount Lofty from Scott Creek Conservation Park

Mount Lofty from Scott Creek Conservation Park

Approaching Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Approaching Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Closer to Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Closer to Gate 8 on Cup Gum Track

Gate 8 looking into the Park

Gate 8 looking into the Park

My operating position at Gate 8

My operating position at Gate 8

Turn right at Gate 9 onto Stringy Bark Track

Turn right at Gate 9 onto Stringybark Track

Walking sown Stringybark Track before it gets really steep!

Walking down Stringybark Track before it gets really steep!

Vandals at work: or your taxes being wasted: Almanda Mine Scott Creek CP

Vandals at work: or your taxes being wasted: Almanda Mine Scott Creek CP

New growth following an (un)controlled burn.

New growth following an (un)controlled burn: Currawong Ridge Track

Contacts I thought I should activate Scott Creek Conservation Park to celebrate the adding to the VKFF list of a number of South Australian Conservation Parks. The occasion was the usual Friday evening South Australian Parks activity: so I could call this entry another ‘Twilight Park’ activation. I was aiming for 44 contacts. In the end I achieved 30 contacts. I could have achieved my goal of 44 if I had been able to stay longer but I had to pack up at about 18:45 hours local. At pack up time 20 metres was really firing! I will return to Scott Creek in the future to qualify the park for the WWFF award. I arrived at the Park at about 16:00 local and spent the first 45 minutes doing a final tune on a new three-band linked dipole for 10 metres, 17 and 30 metres. A few more finishing touches will give me a second very rugged antenna for portable use. My first contact, on 7.098 MHz, was at 06:40 with VK3FQSO, Amanda then followed, VK5ZAR/P, Arno in Ferguson Conservation Park VK3PMG, Mick VK5HEL, Geoff at Ettrick Conservation Park VK5GJ, Greg VK3OHM, Marc VK3DAC, Fred VK5FLEX, Pike River Conservation Park VK5ZGY, Greg VK3DBP, Paul VK5FANA, Peter at Bird Island Conservation Park VK3PF, Peter VK5PAS, Paul at Charleston Conservation Park, VKFF-777 VK5KLV, Les at Mount Remarkable National Park (Mambray Creek) VKFF-360 VK5KPR, Peter VK5WG, Nev VK3TKK/M, Peter VK5PEP, Peter at Ferries McDonald Conservation Park VK3AV, Bernard VK5NQP, David at Cromer Conservation Park, VKFF-779 VK3FPSR, Peter VK3ANL, Nick VK2FMIA, Doug at Horton Falls National Park, VKFF-594 VK2KBC/M3, Sheepyard Flat, Mansfield VK5NAQ, Peter VK5GY/P, Gordon at Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park, VKFF-781 I thought 40 metres was getting a bit quiet and after having a look around the band I decided to migrate to 20 metres. However, when I checked the history page on ParksnPeaks I saw there were quite a few other stations active which I missed. My third last contact was on 14.275, 07:49z, VK4KUS, Steve, then VK2GJC. Greg from Ulladullah, whose excellent log-keeping enabled him to tell me we last had a qso on 80 metres in 1992 and finally on 14.205, EA8CCQ, Orlando in the Canary Islands. I gave Orlando 5 & 9 and I was 5 & 5.

VK2FMIA, Doug's splendid QSL card - proof beyond reasonable doubt!

VK2FMIA, Doug’s splendid QSL card – proof of a contact beyond reasonable doubt!

Another twilight activation at Scott Creek Conservation Park, 27th February 2015

The Park

I made my way to Scott Creek Conservation Park to my favourite activation spot at Gate 8. It was a warm afternoon with the peak temperature being 32 degrees but by the time I arrived at the Park, just before 1700 hours local it was in the high twenties, cloudy, humid and threatening to rain. A few spots occurred while I was operating and when packing up. This is my fourth activation at this Park but when the weather cools I will become more adventurous and travel further to some of the many other Parks in the Adelaide Hills. Oh, so many parks and so little time!


7.100 ssb

06:30 VK5GJ,  Greg, 59s, 59r

06:32 VK5ZAR, Arno, 59, 46

06:34 VK3DAC, Fred, 58, 55

06:35 VK3TKK/M, Peter, 58, 43

06:37 VK3PMG, Mick, 59 59

06:39 VK5KPR, Peter, 58, 57

06:42 VK5HCF/P5, Col, 59, 59, Gower Conservation Park

06:43 VK5EE/P5, Tom, 59, 59, Gower Conservation Park

06:44 VK5FAJS/P5, Alan, 59, 59, Gower Conservation Park

06:45 VK5PAS/P5, Paul, 59, 59, Paul, Onkaparinga National Park

06:48 VK3OHM, Marc, 59, 59, Marc

06:49 VK5TN/M5, Robin, 59, 59

06:51 VK3YDN, John, 58, 58

06:53 VK3BHR, Phil, 59, 59

06:56 VK3PF, Peter, 59, 47

06:57 VK5WG, Nev, 59, 58

06:58 VK5KLV/P5, Les, 59, 58, Les, Winninowie Conservation Park

07:01 VK5ZRY/P5, Richard, 58, 59, Ramsay Gate Conservation Park

07:05 VK4FR/P5, Chris, 59, 59, Morialta Conservation Park

07:07  VK5UV, Rod, 57, 57

07:11  VK5FANA, Adrian, 59, 59, Clinton Conservation Park

07:15  VK5NQP, David, 59, 55

07:17 VK5FMJC, John, 59, 57

07:20 VK3FQSO, Amanda, 59, 57


07:30 EA6ALW, Javia, 59, 57, Spain


07:39 EA3AKP, John, Catalonia, Spain


07:53 GW3UZS, Geoff, Cardiff, Wales, 58, 45

08:02 GW4XSX, Mike, West Coast Wales, 59, 54


08:09 VK5PAS/P5, Paul, 59, 59, Onkaparinga National Park 

I enjoyed a total of 29 contacts. On 7.100 I used the Yaesu 897 set for 10 watts with a linked dipole and my 4800 MAH LiFePO4 battery. On 20 metres I set the power to 20 watts for the contacts to Spain and 40 watts for the contacts to the UK. It was a great time and thanks to all who gave me a call. I always appreciate the chasers. I used my home made linked dipole. It performed well after a recent service. See my blog dated 1st February to read about the antenna failure on the last activation. Soldered joints, even though not load bearing seem to create the weak spots. All the links, made from 30 amp Anderson Power Poles, are crimped. I am unable to avoid soldered joints at the dipole centre. These are well covered by clear silicon which seems to help.  Portable antennas get quite a work out and I am surely impressed with the wire I purchased from Mark at Tet-Emtron.

A Twilight Activation at Scott Creek Conservation Park, 30th January 2015

On Friday afternoon at about 4.00pm local time I travelled to Scott Creek Conservation Park in the Mount Lofty Ranges to join with other park activators in a late afternoon/early evening activation. Scott Creek Conservation Park is ‘our’ Park.  We are members of the Friends Group for this Park. I also do quite a bit of walking in the park to try and enhance my general level of fitness, or more likely keep what I have already! It is about four kilometres from our place to the Park. It is not the closest park to us: that park is Mark Oliphant Conservation Park which I can see from our family room right now. But Scott Creek Conservation Park, is in my opinion, the more interesting location. I set up at my usual operating point near Gate 8. I managed to find a little shade and established my station there. I was pleased with the set up and took the extra precaution of guying my squid pole at 45 degrees to the linked dipole as there were a few gusts on wind, but nothing too severe. I have activated this park two times previously.

I also packed only lithium chemistry batteries. I decided to leave the ‘slabs’ at home. I switched on my radio and tuned across the middle portion of the 40 metre band. On 7.100 I heard VK5ZAR/P5, Arno, at 06:25z, in Black Hill Conservation Park working another station. Arno’s signal was quite strong, 5 and 7, but I did notice that the signal was fading. I called him a few times without success and then wondered about whether everything was working at me end.

My operating position: FT897, LiPo 4000 mah, diode voltage drop in Altoid tin

My operating position: FT897, LiPo 4000 mah, diode voltage drop in Altoid tin

I noticed the VSWR was reading high on my transceiver. I checked the antenna with my analyser and changed the coaxial feeder. I was still not satisfied with my setup. I persisted with the activation and worked the following stations:

0628 VK5PAS/P5, Paul at Monarto Conservation Park, S5 & 7, R5 & 7

0631 VK5HCF/P5, Col at Naracoorte Caves National Park, 5 & 7, 5 & 8

0634 VK5KLV/P5, Les at Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park, 5 & 8, 5 & 8

0638 VK5ZAR/P5, Arno at Black Hill Conservation Park, 5 & 7, 4 & 3


0640 VK5NQP/P5, David at Sandy Creek Conservation Park, 5 & 7, 5 & 5

It was the contact with VK5ZAR/P5, or rather the variation is signal strengths between us, which persuaded me to close down. I decided I would quit the 40 metre band and change antennas and go to 30 metres as VK5LY, Larry had posted that he would try this band. I posted my intention to QSY on ParksnPeaks. I have a home brew half-wave end fed antenna for this band. I had checked it out previously at Spring Gully Conservation Park near Clare and was pleased with its performance. Tuning across the band I noticed a fairly strong CW signal (too fast for me) and a RTTY signal which was very strong. I called on 10.130 MHz a few times without success.

I have subsequently checked my antenna at home for continuity (it is fine although it has been used over 120 times in the field) and when the weather improves will do some careful checks outside to try and establish the reason for the high VSWR.

It was a beautiful afternoon and I enjoyed my time in the park despite the equipment failure.

A view of the Mount Lofty Ranges looking North

A view of the Mount Lofty Ranges looking North

This photo shows Mount Lofty in the distance. Expand the photo and two peaks emerge. Mount Lofty is the second and smaller of the two in the centre of the picture.

Mum and teenager

Mum and teenager

My walking track in Scott Creek CP

My walking track in Scott Creek CP

Track profile: Scott Creek CP walk

Track profile: Scott Creek CP walk

Upgraded fire trail: on my walk

Upgraded fire trail: on my walk

The last image shows the walking track I use. The photo does not do justice to the steepness! The track here is between three and five kilometres from the start: see profile image above! The loop starts at the at the car park at gate three: in the picture just under the name of the park. Take the Bandicoot Track, then Currawong Ridge Track then Cup Gum Track to Gate 8. At this point take the Mount Bold Track (in the Park near the boundary), then Stringbark Track to Neville Road, turn North (right) and take the Currawong Ridge Track to Bandicoot Track and down the hill to the car-park. I take the clockwise walk of just six kilometres and it takes me about one hour 20 minutes to complete the loop. There are some very steep hills! Gate 8, my activation spot is on Mount Bold Road in the right hand corner of the image. I have completed this walk quite a few times now and will provide more information in due course. The track is taken from a Garmin Forerunner 910 XT. This GPS is designed for monitoring fitness programs and is worn on the wrist. Coordinates are only available after the data is transferred from the unit to Garmin Connect. I used the same unit for my walk in Scheyville National Park, VKFF-444, on 21st December 2014 and also at Mt Bryan, VK5/SE-001 on 29th September 2014.

I have also walked the track with my old Kenwood TH-D7 set at five watts with an extended antenna. The highest point on the track is approaching Mount Bold Road, over 400 metres, and my signal was received at the VK5RSC-1, the South Coast Amateur Radio Club’s digipeater on 145.175.  I could only access the digipeater at one spot. The upshot of this is that to have a APRS station at Gate 8 is feasible with a more powerful radio and a gain antenna on a mast. Something for the future with a more extended activation!

First year anniversary SANPCPA, 5th & 6th April 2014, Scott Creek Conservation Park

The 4th, 5th and 6th of April were set aside to celebrate the first anniversary of the SANPCPA award. It was a week end of exceptional activity especially on the 40 metre band. There were lots of activators, including some for the first time, and many chasers. My first contact was with VK5PAS/P5, Paul, who activated the Cox Scrub Conservation Park. I worked Paul from home. My last contact, from my home station, was on Sunday afternoon at 05:21 with VK5ARG/P5 (Amateur Radio Experimenters Group Inc.) Andrew at Belair National Park, 59 contacts later. These contacts included a number of new parks for me.

On Sunday morning local time, UTC 22:48 5th April 2014, I went back to Scott Creek Conservation Park, which I last activated on the 19th May 2013. I returned to Gate 8 on Mount Bold Road (See map on Friends of Scott Creek web page – link below). My equipment this time was a home made linked dipole for 20 and 40 metres and the Ten Tec Argonaut V1 (model 539).  Power was drawn from a 8.4 amp hour LIfePO4 battery, which was more than adequate for this activation. About one hundred metres inside the park there is a plateau which makes a fine activation spot. I enjoyed 52 contacts, including a number of new Parks and also with VK3PF/P3, Peter, on VK3 VC 001, Mount Matlock.

Here are my contacts: VK5NQP/P5, David at Cromer CP; VK5KET/P5, Andrew at Telford Scrub CP; VK5KC, David; VK5WG, Nev; VK3FQSO, Amanda; VK5GJ, Greg; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5LY/P5, Larry at Lowan CP; VK5PAS/P5, at Deep Creek CP; VK5AV, Tim; VK2AWJ, John; VK5IS, Ian; VK3AMB, Bernard; VK3UBY, Col; VK3CAT, Tony; VK3VIN, Ian; VK4FR/P5, Chris; VK5JP, Peter; VK5KRF/P5, Peter at Winninowie CP; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5KLV/P5, Winninowie CP; VK5DT, Darren;  and VK5FTRG/P5, Tom at Furner CP.  Then after UTC rollover, VK3VTH/P5, Tony at Carpenters Rocks CP; VK5FTRG/P5, Tom at Furner CP; VK5PAS/P5, Paul at Deep Creek CP; VK5ARG/P5, Andy at Horsenell Gully CP; VK5KLV/P5, Les at Winninowie CP; VK3CAT, Tony; VK5VCO/P5. Paul at Clinton CP; VK5KX/P5, Peter; VK5AV, Tom; VK5DJ, John; VK5LY/P5, Larry at Ridley CP; VK5TRM, Rob; VK2UH, Andy; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5NRG, Roy; VK5KET/P5, Andrew at Nene Valley CP; VK5LY/p5, Larry at Ridley CP; VK5NQP/P5, David at Charleston CP; VK5MJP, Patrick; VK5NE, Paul; VK5ZGY/P5, Greg at Naracoorte Caves NP; VK5ZAR/P5, Arno at Black Hill CP; VK3LY/M3, Bill at Yannack; VK3PF/P3, Peter at VK3 VC001, Mt Matlock; VK5MR/P5 Andrew at Tandappa CP; VK5HCF/P5, Col at Hacks Lagoon CP; VK5FTRG/P5, Tom at Reedy Creek CP; VK5PAS/P5, Paul at Eric Bonython CP and VK5STU/P5, Stu at Port Gawler CP.

Thanks to all those amateurs who gave me a call. It is greatly appreciated and I didn’t think Scott Creek Conservation Park would be so popular as the park has been activated three times: twice by me and once by VK5PAS, Paul.

Scott Creek History

Scott Creek History

Marie Steiner’s excellent book, published in 2000,  contains a wealth of research about the various sections of land which were incorporated into  Scott Creek Conservation Park, gazetted in 1985. ‘The Land Acquisition Act, passed in 1969′ (Steiner, 2000, p. 7), provided the basis for the State Government to pursue the long-term water needs of the community by purchasing the private land in the area now included in the Park. Not all of the land was in private hands but clearly the majority. Steiner’s (2000) book traces the challenges and hardships of trying to make a living on rocky, steep and, in places, infertile land.

The land was acquired to extend the catchment for the Mount Bold Reservoir, including the size of the dam. The plan was later modified because of unstable geological features which could lead to failure of a larger water holding.

The Crooked Chimney, Scott Creek CP

The Twisted Chimney, Scott Creek CP

The Twisted Chimney, for example, was on a holding of 17 and a quarter acres, Section 1190.  Steiner (2000, p. 53) sketches the history of the occupation of this section and others.  Such a long history, of 150 years of human occupation and endeavour, is reflected in the challenges of living in the area and the gaps in knowledge. She asks how could such a large parcel of land with this history, come to be created a conservation park (Steiner, 2000, p. 55)? Her answer is that ‘Scott Creek Conservation Park contains some of the most diverse and interesting areas of indigenous vegetation left within the Mount Lofty Ranges’ and that much of it ‘survived the impact of settlement’.

Remains of a tractor

Remains of a tractor

The picture shows the remains of a tractor, ‘discovered’ following a spraying of blackberries by the Friends of Scott Creek Conservation Park.

SA Water land (left) and Scott Creek CP (right)

SA Water land (left) and Scott Creek CP (right)

This picture shows the two fire breaks, one each side of the fence, separating the Park from SA Water land.