Sandy Creek Conservation Park 22/02/2014

This was my 2nd activation of this park for the SA Parks Award, last year I entered from the South side & found it quite noisy as there was a house & powerlines only 200m away. This time I chose to try the northern entrance as there seemed less buildings & they were further from the park. I parked in the shade outside the park loaded my pack on my back & with the squid pole over my shoulder & carrying my little home made table & camping stool, I squeezed through the entry stile. There are some trees near the entrance & then a large open area almost like a park or oval, but I wanted to get further in to the middle of the park where there is a low ridge. I walked across the open area following the marked track & then turned onto another track that made it’s way up the ridge. I found a spot about 10-15min stroll into the park atop the ridge that had a slight clearing but with some tall native pines east to block some of the sun. I set the squid pole up with the linked dipole antenna & strapped it to a small shrub & connected up the X1M radio, just a minute or two before the time I had posted on the parks n peaks site.

I put out a couple of calls & 2 VK3s boomed in, 1 with 100w & the other with just 5w. I continued putting out a few calls & also listened a while to the WIA broadcast. The conditions seemed to be declining & it was getting harder to hear stations & for them to hear me. By the time UTC midnite had ticked over, I had worked 13 stations including 2 SOTA summits & 2 VK3 Parks. I then tried 20m but nobody was hearing me, but I heard lots of DX stations from North America & Europe in a few big pile ups. The call that intrigued me the most, was hearing VK6LC beaming over Africa to the USA & making contact with an ex VK now living in Florida & realising I was probably picking him up via the long path right around the world as he was beaming away from me & he was very strong.

I then started to pack up, trying to wind up the dipole ends the correct way so they unwind easier, but still managing to do one the wrong way. I went back down the ridge & then realised I had taken the wrong track so had to cut cross country to get to the right track.

It was a beautiful morning, no wind, no flies (just a few ants) & so peaceful. I really enjoyed being out in a delightful place. Having my little table & the stool to sit on made the operating more enjoyable than just having everything on the ground & propping the radio up on a log like I had done previously. Not lugging the FT707 around & carrying the tiny little X1M instead made the backpack so much lighter & more pleasant to hike along.

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