Butcher Gap Conservation Park, 5CP-027, VKFF-0793, 10th April 2016

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!

Shack at Butcher Gap Conservation Park

The photo shows me tucked away out of the wind in the typically coastal landscape preserved in this park.

Butcher Gap Conservation 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.


In Search of Gold?

Coorong National Park, 4th September 2013

On 3rd September we travelled to the South East to visit some parks, activate some, but not all and make our way to Victoria. On the way we stopped in the Coorong National Park and took the loop road leaving the highway at Salt Creek and found a spot overlooking a large basin and within hearing distance of the sea breaking on to the shore on the other side of the sand dunes.

The Coorong National Park protects a magnificent strip of coastal scenery, a large salt water lagoon, in two large basins and significant wildlife, including migratory birds. As well there are monuments to Chinese immigrants, an earlier wave of boat people, who landed in South Australia at Robe before making their way overland to the Victorian goldfields and avoid Melbourne and the authorities. The reason for this was the ineffective head tax imposed in Victoria to try and stop such immigration. The Victorian Government eventually repealed the tax. The Chinese men became a labour force in the Victorian gold ‘diggings’. The Victorian gold was largely exported through South Australia.

I set up my portable station and soon discovered a ‘technical problem’. One of my coaxial feeders had developed a fault. The wind had taken its toll on the connector at the end where the dipole centre is located. When I get home I will replace the soldered PL259 with a crimped one. I reckon that holding the coax against the squid pole with some Velcro might also be good preventive medicine! The 40 metre band was very quiet! I struggled to make a few contacts and decided to bring down the squid pole and replace the feeder.

The following contacts were made:VK5HCF, Col; VK5ZAI, Tony; VK5PAS, Paul; VK5LY, Larry; VK5UG, David; VK5CZ, Ian and Tony, VK5ZAI.

In the Coorong National Park

In the Coorong National Park

While in the park VK5ZAI, Tony called me on the local repeater, and my planned visit to Butcher Gap Conservation Park was replaced by afternoon tea and a relaxing hour or so. I did promise to activate it the next day so Col could add this park to his list and I was really pleased that this eventuated.

Butcher Gap Conservation Park, 5th September 2013

Tony inspecting my gear.

Tony, VK5ZAI, lives next door to Butcher Park Conservation Park. Only two contacts were had: VK5LY, Larry in Bakara Conservation Park and with VK5HCF, Col at Mount Gambier. Tony assisted my in sorting out a dry joint and I am greatly appreciative of his efforts. It was as a result of doing some tests and repairs that only two contacts were made. Tony has previously activated the park: it is a great park.

Mount Scott Conservation Park, 5th September 2013

Thirteen contacts were made: VK5PAS/p QRP, Paul in Messent Conservation Park; VK5KC, David; VK5ZAI, David; VK5DJ, John; VK5HCF, Col; VK5LY/m, Larry; VK3FTTK, Peter; VK3AFW, Ron; VK3JP, Ron; VK5FMID, Brian; VK3PF, QRP, Peter at home; VK3UBY, Col and VK5HCF, Col.

Mount Scott Conservation Park

Mount Scott Conservation Park

Fairview Conservation Park, 5th September 2013

Ten contacts were made: VK5LY/p QRP, Larry at Hogwash Bend Conservation Park; VK5PAS/p QRP, Paul at Reedy Creek Conservation Park; VK5HCF QRP, Col; VK3UBY, Col; VK5FBAC, Charles; VK3AFW, Ron; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5FMMC, Mick; VK5HOS, Owen and VK5PAS/p QRP, Paul at Reedy Creek advising me that he was setting off for Ferner Conservation Park.

Fairview CP boundary track and wild flowers.

Fairview CP boundary track and wild flowers.

Fairview CP wild flowers

Fairview CP wild flowers

Naracoorte Caves National Park, 5th September 2013

My last stop on the 5th was the Naracoorte Caves National Park, a World Heritage Area which contains a number of limestone caves, one of many such cave systems in the South East of the State. It was getting late and was my fourth activation of the day. There were plenty of chasers about: 07:08 VK5LY, Larry; VK5PAS/p, Paul at Furner CP; VK5FMMC, Mick; VK3UBY, Col; VK1MA, Matt; VK5KGP, Graham; VK5FMID, Brian; VK5ZAI, Tony; VK3MQ, Rob; VK3PF QRP, Peter; VK5NRG, Roy; VK5FBAC, Charles; VK5ZAI, Tony and VK3AFW, Ron.

AT Naracoorte Caves National Park

At Naracoorte Caves National Park