Over the last two years VK5PAS, Paul, the originator of the SANCPA award program, has established a tradition of Friday late afternoon or early evening activations of South Australian National and Conservation Parks for the award. This award encourages portable amateur radio operations from South Australian Parks. It has become quite popular and a number of portable operators in the state make the effort to set up in a Park and lots of South Australian chasers and even more from interstate reward the activators with contacts. From the point of view of the portable operators, the activity develops planning skills, navigation techniques, introduces them to SA’s great parks as well as developing amateur radio skills associated with setting up a satisfactory low-power station and using battery power. Of course the activity develops operating skills, on-going learning of communication techniques, which not only benefit the individual, but perhaps may be useful to community organisations or help with developing a career.
For me, it is just fun. I have always enjoyed portable operations. So I decided to return to the Mark Oliphant Conservation Park, VKFF-0782, for the fifth time. I was keen not only to assist chasers obtain this park but also to gain a score of 44 contacts to qualify this Park for the WWFF award. I always enjoy hearing from the operator at the other end say ‘this is a new Park for me’. On Friday evening I secured 38 contacts, including three duplicates, my overall cumulative score more than reaching the required 44. Here is a link to my previous activation:
I was pleased to be able to briefly discuss the symbolism of operating from this Park, with one of my contacts. The Park is named after a very prominent Australian scientist, who was also a conservationist and a past Governor of South Australia. Of course Sir Mark was interested in radiation, from nuclear energy, slightly different to the electro-magnetic radiation we play with! He also invented the Magnetron.
In my post of 11th December 2015 I included a photo of the plaque with the citation to Sir Mark. The operator told me he had read my earlier post and had noted the detail about Sir Mark.
This map, taken from a Park Guide shows the location of the Park in relation to Belair National Park, Cleland Conservation Park and Scott Creek Conservation Park. The brochure indicates that the ‘main function is to conserve an important example of the Adelaide Hills Forest Environment’. Messmate and Brown Stingybark trees dominate the forest canopy.
On this occasion I chose as my operating location an area just inside the Park near the point marked 6 on the map. Travel down Evans Drive (from the Heathfield end), a gravel track, until you reach the park boundary on your right hand side and you will come to a gate. When turning from Scott Creek Road into Evans Drive the Park begins on the corner and is thus on your left hand side at the turn. Near point 6 is a better location for the amateur radio operator than just inside the main gate (where the dedication plaque can be found). Maps courtesy of the SA Government.
I operated on 40 metres. I did briefly listen on 20m and decided not to stay! I was on the air at 05:25 and enjoyed the following contacts:
05:31 VK2GAZ/P, Garry in VKFF-0544 (Park to Park contact) Woolemi National Park
05:43 VK5PET/P Peter in VKFF-0784 Mount George Conservation Park
06:04 VK5PET/P Peter in VKFF-0784 (P2P) Mount George Conservation Park
07:16 VK5AW/P5 Adrian in VKFF-0372 Murray River National Park
VK5PAS/P5 Paul in VKFF-1029, Ettrick Conservation Park
Thanks to the operators in VK2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 who gave me a call. And a special thanks to those who spotted me: it makes a great difference to the activity!