Tom, VK5EE and I decided that as we had not been out since April it was long past time that we got off our fat backsides and ventured out into the great outdoors.
This weekend is always a good one to get the airwaves hopping.
We had decided to activate three parks for the Sunday and so, after Tom had finished his duties as broadcast officer for the South East Radio Group we headed North from Mount Gambier toward Penola.
PENOLA C.P. (VKFF-0803, 5CP-177)
Just before Penola we turned left on to the new heavy vehicle by-pass and skirted around Penola. (The by-pass stops at Clay Wells road, (which goes West toward Robe). We turned left onto Clay Wells Road and travelled for approx. 13 km to the Penola Conservation Park which is located on the right hand, or Northern side of Clay Wells road.
Just West of the start of the park is the Park sign on the main road frontage. We turned in there and drove in about half a km. Here the track opened out into a nice clear area with some signs about the park and a picnic table.
We threw a weighted line up into the gum just behind the picnic table and hauled the end fed half wave 40 metre antenna up so that the apex was at about 10-12 metres and we were good to go. (This was achieved after two or three massive tangles in the very light throw line that I use which was, of course, greeted with maximum laughter from Tom who sometimes is worse than no help at all)?
Apart from a large number of big Bull ant mounds this was a very nice spot to operate from. (Somewhat spoilt by the braindead idiots who had been there before us and pulled track marker posts out of the ground and left rubbish lying about). The Bull ants did not bother us by the way.
I managed to work nine stations and I thank all of those who called while I was on the mike.
I will return to this park again as it is a nice spot to operate from. Quiet too.
CALECTASIA C.P. (VKFF-1010, 5CP-028)
We turned right out of Penola C.P. and continued West on Clay Wells Road for approx. 15 kms. which bought us to Calectasia C.P. which is on the left hand, (Southern), side of the Clay Wells Road just before you get to Bakers Drain.
Unfortunately there are power lines running along the frontage of this park and they have provided us with shocking noise levels each time we have activated this park. It is hard to get the car off the road as well as the entrance is very soft sand and it is very easy to get bogged. (As I have managed to do three times now).
I am reluctant to bother with this park again as it is not pleasant at all with very limited options for antenna placement. We tied one part of the end fed to a tree 20 metres inside the park but the squid pole support and everything else was set up on the track leading to the gate. This is not strictly according to the rules but sometimes we just have to do the best we can.
My apologies for the photo as it was taken last year when I did this park but I did not take any new ones this time as I totally forgot to do so.
I managed 6 contacts during my turn operating from here and I thank those who called.
REEDY CREEK C.P. (VKFF-0931, 5CP-196).
Carrying on West from Calectasia we travelled just over 32 km until we reached Kangaroo Inn. Just as we reached the Western edge of this little settlement we turned right into Jorgensens Road, (Good white metal road),
We drove North for, (I am guessing this time) about 4-5 km, passing the bulk of the park on our right. At the Northern end of the park is a white metal intersection with the road to the right being a farm entrance driveway with a red mail box on a post, (I think it is an old milk churn painted red). We turned in and turned around and set up on the driveway as the park itself is really overgrown and it would be almost impossible to put up an antenna in there, let alone move around, without the risk of seeing a snake.
This park will be a huge fire risk when the reeds dry out.
Luckily for us the farmer had very thoughtfully mowed all the area along his driveway and we were able to set up on nice clean ground. Again we slung the antenna up into the massive gum tree that stands there, (only two attempts required and no tangles), and we were able to orient the end fed as an inverted V without blocking the track at all.
This is another very pleasant spot to operate from with no noise at all registering on the KX3 meter. Fantastic.
Tom did most of the operating from this one but the band had died a bit and I only managed 2 contacts from here. Many thanks Greg, VK5GJ and Norm, VK5GI who were portable in the Aldinga Scrub C.P. VKFF-0866.
I would like to again thank all those who gave Tom and I a call during the day and I offer a special thanks to Paul, VK5PAS for his untiring efforts in promoting Amateur Radio in general and portable activity from parks and peaks in particular.
I look forward to my/our next outing in a park and hope to work you then.
Thanks for reading this. I hope that you enjoy it.