South Australia has two towns with the name of Kingston. There is Kingston on Murray and Kingston SE. Both are named after a late Victorian politician who became a Founding Father of Federation. Sir Charles Kingston was that man, a prominent South Australian politician of liberal persuasion with a commitment to protectionism.
Why is this relevant to this activation? Well the Butcher Gap Conservation Park is located in Kingston SE, a small, but very attractive town on the South East Coast of South Australia. Kingston SE is about two thirds of the way between Adelaide and Mount Gambier. It relies on the fishing industry and tourism. One land mark, in need of repair, is the large red cray fish on the outskirts on the town. It is surrounded by a safety fence and appears in a sorry state. The lobster dates from the days when small country towns had to have a large structure to differentiate them and highlight local attractions: so we have the big orange, big banana and big ram. I am sure there many are more!
The photo shows me tucked away out of the wind in the typically coastal landscape preserved in this park.
Map: Courtesy of Mapcarta
Here is a photo/map showing Butcher Gap conservation Park. I accessed the Park north of the lake and behind the houses. I carried my gear into the Park for about 100 metres to avoid the wind. The photo of my operating position shows that I had to guy the squid pole against the wind from the sea.
I have previously activated this Park for the South Australian National Parks and Conservation Parks award. Here is a link to that activation:
But this activation was for the VKFF program. It was my intention to activate the Coorong National Park on the way to Naracoorte but when we arrived at the park it was raining. Heavy showers were passing through the area. When we arrived at Kingston SE, the sun was shining, just a light breeze was blowing and it was quite warm: shirt weather and no jacket!
I was on the air at 04:55 and completed my activation at 06:46, just under two hours. I was able to gain 47 contacts and thus succeed in activating this Park for the WWFF program.
I decided to check around the band and to try and have contacts with the current activators before settling down on one frequency. My first contact was with Rob, VK4AAC/P3 (7.144) who was activating Wodonga Regional Park, VKFF-0980. Signals were 5 and 9 both ways.
Then on 7.130 I found VK5FMAZ, Marija, who was activating Kenneth Stirling Conservation Park with her husband Paul, (VK5PAS). I was delighted to have this contact with Marija and signals were 5 and 9 both ways. I listened a bit more and checked from about 7.085 up to 7.150 and I believed I had worked all the portable stations on the air at that time. I then checked 7.120 and set up on this frequency as it was clear at that time.
I called on 7.120 and worked the following stations: VK5PMG, Mick; VK5FANA, Adrian; VK5KC, David; VK4RF and VK4HA, Rick s5 6 and r5 3; VK3BBB, Brian; VK3DAC, Fred; VK5ANL/P3, Nick on VK3/VC-019, Mount Warrenheip; VK3UCD, David; VK2KF, Tom; VK3AWG, Chris; VK7NWT, Scott; VK3ZMD, Mike; VK5FAKV, Shawn; VK6MB, Mike, s5 3 r3 5; VK7LTD, Tony; VK5LSB, David; VK3NCR, Craig; VK3TKK, Peter at the Organ Pipes National Park, VKFF-0627; VK5JK, Jeff; VK5AV, Tim; VK3LIP, Edward; VK5KBJ, Barry; VK5WG, Nev; VK1DI, Ian; VK2NP, Cliff and VK5FMLO, Michael. Due to changing conditions it became apparent that interstate stations (VK4) were not hearing me and the QRM became too distracting! I decided to QSY to another frequency and found 7.144 to be vacant. I then had contacts with Glenn, VK2FGOE/QRP at Bathurst; VK3YSP, Joe; VK5ZEA, Michael at Port Lincoln; VK3FAPH, Aaron; VK2YW, John; VK5SFA, Steve; VK3FOWL, Julie; VK5ZGG, Ian; VK4FW, Bill at Toowoomba 5 and 8 both ways; VK3MC, Murray; VK3DBP, Paul; VK3PAT, Chris; VK2HOC/M, Paul, VK2LEE, Lee, VK3FTAD, Fred and finally, at 06:46, VK3MCK, Don. It was time to pack up and head for Naracoorte where we had arranged accommodation overnight before travelling to the Grampians National Park in Victoria.
I was very pleased with the activation, signals generally were excellent. I used my Yaesu 897 set for 10 watts, a linked dipole for 20 and 40 metres and, to cap it off, I had contacts with some amateurs who were new to me. Thanks to all who gave me a call.