Our second activation of the day was New Campbell Hill, VK5/ SE-007. Ian had already activated this hill, but that was last year in 2012, so it was some more Activator points for him as well. We had about a 60 km drive to the north west to get to New Campbell Hill from Hallett Hill. We cut across to the west to Spalding and then travelled north up the RM Williams Way.
RM Williams Way is named after Reginald Murray Williams, AO, CMG (born in 1908 – died in 2003), who was an Australian bushman and entrepreneur who rose from a swagman to a millionaire. He was widely known as just ‘R.M.’, and was born at Belalie North near Jamestown. He became known for creating an Australian style of bushwear recognised world wide.
New Campbell Hill is situated close to the Bundaleer Forrest Reserve in South Australia’s mid-north, to the south of the township of Jamestown. It is about 220 kms north of Adelaide. The hill is 714 metres above sea level and is worth 4 points.
Bundaleer Forest was Australia’s first plantation forest. The forest is the birthplace of the Australian forest industry. It is just 10 kilometres south of Jamestown, and offers magnificent scenery and walks. The Heysen trail (for hikers) and Mawson trail (for mountain bikers) take in the Bundaleer Forest. The Arboretum on Georgetown Road contains a range of native and exotic tree species. The Conservator’s Hut – formerly the exclusive residence of the Conservator of Forests – is on the Conservator’s Trail. Picnics can be enjoyed in the picnic grounds all year round, except for days of extreme fire danger.
By the 1870’s, much of South Australia’s native trees had been wiped out by eager pioneers in their rush to find materials for buildings, railway sleepers, jetty pylons and supports for mining shafts and tunnels. The need to find a suitable forestry timber species was crucial. By 1876, Bundaleer had been chosen as the site for the first trial plantings of commercial forestry trees from Europe, North America and all over Australia.
It was soon discovered the Californian radiata pine was the best species suited to forestry in Australia and this species went on to become the mainstay of not only Australian forestry, but also forestry in Chile, New Zealand and South Africa. The Woods and Forests Department (now Forestry SA) was formed in 1882 and the Bundaleer Forest Reserve was established with the planting of 400 ha (1000 acres) of forest.
Bundaleer’s timber became known for its high grade, a result of its slow growth (radiata plantations in SA’s South-East grow three times as fast). Throughout its history, Bundaleer timbers has been used for housing and structural timbers, furniture, packaging and shipping, ply-board manufacture, and for the pallet market. Milling of much of the timber occurs locally and is a vital industry to the town and region today.
Today, Bundaleer is the state’s smallest forest with about 1,500 hectares of plantations.
Ian and I travelled north on RM Williams Way and then turned left onto Bundaleer Gardens Road. We parked the car at the locked gate on Neindorf Road. The gate has a sign on it “Gate: BG 5″. There is also a sign saying ‘Bore Track”.
We then commenced our 4km walk from there to the summit. The first section of the walk is along a nicely graded dirt access road to the forest (called Bore Track). There is virtually no incline on the road, but there is worse to come. As Ian and I strolled along the road, we saw a few wild deer and a large number of kangaroos and euros. We even saw a cheeky fox which bounded off in a hurry when he heard our approaching voices.
The track takes you passed a few small pine plantations and some native scrub, with some great views back to the east of the Hallett wind farms. You then enter the mature pine forest. We took a track through the forest up towards the summit. It was certainly very wet underfoot as we had received plenty of rain the previous weekend. In fact this area was covered in snow last weekend.
I enjoyed a beautiful walk through the forest, but Ian had warned me that the hard part of the walk was about to start. We exited the forest and could see a cleared area and the summit with the tower on the top. This part of the walk rises over vertical 150 metres in under 500 metres. So we commenced the walk which is a real calf burner, with a few rests along the way. The area is very rocky so you need to be a bit careful underfoot. But the climb is well worth it, as the views become increasingly more spectaular as you rise in elevation. Mount Remarkable and Mount Brown in the Flinders Ranges were visible to the north west.
Once we reached the top I was a bit surprised to see that the wind was coming in from the north east, and not from the west. The wind was quite strong, so we set up behind a dry stone wall which runs north-south at the top. Local legend has it that these stone walls were made by Italian inturnees during World War Two. We attached the squid pole to a wire fenceline which runs parallel to the wall, using a couple of octopus straps. And then ran the coax through a gap in the rocks to the western side of the wall. The area is heavily covered in moss rocks.
There is a trig point at the summit, just to the south of the tower. The actual trig station has collapsed and has lies on its side, slowly rusting away, about 5 metres away from the trig point which is a concrete column with a plaque on the top. The plaque on the trig point shows that it was erected by the Royal Australian Survey Corps, and there is the warning of a twenty pound fine for interference with the trig.
There is also a 4 stage guyed tower at the summit which doesn’t look to be in terrific condition. The top sections have a bit of a lean. There appears to be some sort of small VHF/UHF antenna on the top of the tower. In any event it caused no interference and the noise floor was virtually non existant.
The views from the summit are quite spectacular in all directions. This includes great view of the Bundaleer Forest that was unfortunately devasted by a large bushfire in January 2013.
My first contact of the morning was with Col VK5HCF who was QRP with just 5 watts. Larry VK5LY then called in and this was followed by an interesting contact with Marshall VK3MRG who was bicycle mobile in Kew. My fourth contact was with Peter VK3FPSR. This was followed by many of the regular Chasers.
My last contact before stretching the legs and Ian taking over, was with Peter VK3ZPF who was portable on Sugerload Peak, VK3/ VN-011. So I was very happy to put another Summit to Summit in the log. I then took a walk through the forest and up along the stone wall, while Ian jumped onto the radio.
After about a half hour walk I came back and worked a few more stations on 40m including Brooke VK4RZ and also John VK5BJE who was portable in the Danggali Conservation Park, as part of the VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award. Ian and I decided to have a quick listen on 20m. I had a good QSO with my mate Jesse VK6JES on 20m SSB and this was followed by a contact with Jordi, EA3PT.
Ian and I then packed up and took a different route back to the car.
The hill was full of Kangaroos and Euros who were quite inquisitive.
All in all, another very enjoyable afternoon on a summit.
I managed a total of 27 QSO’s on 40m SSB, and 2 QSO’s on 20m SSB.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:- Col VK5HCF/qrp; Larry VK5LY’ Marshall VK3MRG/bicycle mobile; Peter VK3FPSR; Nev VK5WG; Ian VK3TB/p; Ian VK3OHM; Warren VK3BYD; Brian VK5FMID; Rhett VK3GHZ; Allen VK3HRA; Nick VK3ANL; Matt VK1MA; Ian VK3TCX; Ernie VK3DET; Peter Vk5NAQ; Peter VK3ZPF/p (SOTA); Mal VK3AZZ; Ron VK3JP; Andrew VK2ONZ/qrp; Terry VK5ATN; Paul VK5FUZZ; Brooke VK4RZ; Bill VK3LY; Graham VK5KGP; and John VK5BJE/p.
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:- Jesse VK6JES; and Jordi EA3PT.
I have posted a video of the activation on You Tube.