Trig points and private property

A few weeks ago I was doing some work to confirm the name of a summit on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide.  The hill is recorded as ‘un-named’ VK5/ SE-016, on the Summits on the Air (SOTA) database.  As it turns out the summit is actually called Black Bullock Hill.  See my previous post…..

What I did find out when researching this summit, was that there was a virtual Geocache located at this summit.  What is Geoacaching?

Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, anywhere in the world.


For more information on Geocaching, please have a look at…..

There were references in the Geocaching Logs on the internet, for this summit, such as:

“This trig was just beyond the fence so Mr S decided to quickly climb over.  It was only then that he discovered the top strand was live.  Quickly took a photo and then Mrs S held the strand down with a stick whilst he made the return journey’.

And then last week I paid Noel and Anne a visit at Mount Gawler, where there is also a trig point, and where there is also a virtual geocache.  Again, on the Geocache Australia site, and under the Log notes, I read the following:

‘Arrived to find locked gate and no sign of life at house, so did the climb gate, take photo, high tail outa there trick’


‘Trig point is on a common access road although the gate may be locked at times this means the owner to the property ‘Noel’ isn’t home.  Access cannot be denied but it would be polite to ask, although the Trig point is befoe you reach the house……’

These comments by the Geocachers got me thinking again about the issue of Trespassing, and access to land where trig points exist.


I contacted Geocaching Management via email, and got a very prompt reply from them.  They advised that they had removed these 2 geocaches from the list.  They went on to say:

‘You are correct in that no unauthorised person is allowed to access an area without landholders consent.  The trigpoints were derived from Geoscience Australia and slowly we’ve been weeding out the legally and physically inaccessible ones. Any member has the ability to de-list a trig found to be on private property……….I’ll be posting on our forums to remind geocachers to respect private boundaries when out and about (something they should be doing anyway)’.

I also telephoned Steve, the Manager of Survey Operations and at the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.  I had previously corresponded with Steve, who had previously stated that the land owner:

‘has the right to deny entry to the said trig point to everyone except surveyors carrying out their work…….Land owners are within their rights to deny access to trig points on their land for any prupose other than surveying’.

Only a surveyor or a person authorised by a surveyor, may enter private property, under the authority of the Survey Act 1992.  There is no ‘freedom to roam’ or ‘everymans right’ as exists in the United Kingdom.

I have posted on this topic previously.  You can read those posts at…..

So PLEASE, ignore any RUMOURS you may have heard about being able to access private property.  They are just that, ill-based rumours, which may land you in hot water with the law, and spoil things for other SOTA activators.

DO NOT access private property, unless you have the expressed permission of the land owner.




Wikipedia, 2015, <;, viewed 19th January 2015


Mount Boothby Conservation Park

A week or so ago I received an email from Chris VK4FR who suggested we have a Friday evening twilight activation session.  So Friday the 16th January, 2015 was decided upon to be the inaugural activation afternoon/evening.

I headed to the Mount Boothby Conservation Park (CP) in South East South Australia.  I had often seen this park off in the distance as I was traversing the Dukes and Princes Highways (Hwy), and had seen it a number of times on maps.  But I had never visited the park, as access is via 4WD only.  So now that I have the Toyota Hi Lux, I thought why not pay the park a visit.

The park is located about 14 km west of the little town of Culburra, and about 180 km south east of Adelaide.  You can access the park either via the Dukes Hwy or the Princes Hwy.

Screenshot 2015-01-10 15.57.59

Map courtesy of

Mount Boothby CP comprises an area of about 4,045 hectares, and is the fourth largest area of remnant vegetation in the South East Region.  It contains a variety of habitats and supports at least two species of conservation significance, namely the metallic sun -orchid and MalleFowl (and I saw them  see below).   The park consists of undulating limestone ridges overlain with sand, with vary in height from 20 to 120 metres above sea level.  Granite outcrops occur on the dune sides, with the most prominent of these being Mount Boothby, which is 129 metres above sea level.  Sadly it falls short of qualifying for the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program.

Screenshot 2015-01-10 16.33.01

Image courtesy of

The park contains two major vegetation types: Open Woodland, containing Eucalyptus diversifolia and Eucalyptus leptophylla; and Open Heath containing Banksia ornata.  The scrub is certainly very thick.  It is a beautiful park.

The park is home to a large amount of native fauna including short-beaked echidnas, western grey kangaroos, and the vulnerable malle fowl which breeds in the park.  I only saw one kangaroo.  And that was on my way to the park.  He was sheltering from the afternoon heat underneath a gum tree.

For more information on the park, and also the area the park is located in, please have a look at…..

Screenshot 2015-01-10 15.57.41

Map courtesy of

I drove to the park via the Dukes Highway through the towns of Coomandook, Yumali, Ki Ki, and Coonalpyn.  Now there are some interesting names!  Once I reached the little town of Culburra, I stopped to stretch my legs.  It is worth a stop here to have a read of the history on what was once a thriving town.  There is a parking bay here with interpretive signs, detailing the history of the town.  Culburra is an aboriginal word meaning ‘lots of sand’. Culburra was once a thriving self supporting township with a community owned weighbridge, sheep and cattle yards, and a railway siding from where thousands of tons of handpicked stumps were hand loaded and trucked away.  Today, the railway station has gone (demolished) and only a handful of houses remain.

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After a short break, I turned right onto Boothby Road and travelled south west.  Interestingly, there is a sign on Boothby Road stating ‘Mt Boothby National Park’.  The park is a Conservation Park, not a National Park.

Boothby Road is bitumen for about 1 km and then turns to dirt just outside of Culburra.  But the road is in excellent condition, and there are absolutely no problems for conventional vehicles.  I continued along Boothby Road and actually passed the Conservation Park which was on my right.  I initially missed the entrance.  Don’t blink, because you will miss it!  The entrance is about 1 km south west of Lowe Road.  There is a gate which is hidden by the scrub and a well camoflauged Conservation Park sign on the roadway.  Once you enter the gate, there is another park sign which is a little easier to view.

On the way to the park I stopped off to have a look at the monument for the Gold Escort route.  It was along this track, that Commissioner Alexander Tolmer, lead the first of 18 Police escorts which under various Commanders, transported from Mount Alexander in Victoria, to Adelaide, about 328,509 ounces of gold, between March 1852 to December 1853.

When the Bullion Act of January 1852 was passed, Commissioner Tolmer suggested an overland gold escort service from Victoria to South Australia.  It was designed to reverse the drain of currency from the colony during the gold rush.  Tolmer left with the first escort on 10 February and returned a month later with gold worth £21,000. The service lasted until December 1853, a month after his supersession as Commissioner.

There is an interesting drive you can do through the gold escort area in South Australia.  For more information, have a look at the following…..

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image courtesy of

So after getting lost, I was running late for my activation.  And I got a little too excited as well, which placed me even further late.  By excited, I am referring to seeing about 6 or 7 endangered/vulnerable MalleFowl as I entered the park.  When I saw the first one, I had to look twice, to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was looking at.  Sure enough it was a MalleeFowl.  And then a bit further along the track, there were more.  They didn’t hang around long enough for me to get fantastic photographs, but I did manage a few through the windscreen.  You can see those below in the slideshow.

The MalleeFowl is a stocky bird, which is about the size of a domestic chicken.  They are a shy, wary, and solitary bird.  Although they are very active, they are seldom seen, as they freeze if they are disturbed, relying on their intricately patterned plumage to render themselves invisible.  Either that, or they silently and rapidly disapear into the scrub.

There is a MalleeFowl Preservation Group.  More information can be found at…..


image courtesy of

I drove about 3 km along the 4WD track into the park.  The track I took was the one which travels through the centre of the park.  There are two other tracks which travel along the eastern and southern coundaries.  I did not quite make the very top, as I was already running late.  So I turned the 4WD around facing back down the track, and I set up my gear on the southern side of the track, under the shade of a small native shrub.  It was a pretty warm day, so I was making as much noise as possible to scare off any snakes.

Prior to calling CQ, I tuned around the band hoping to find some of the other park activators.  And on 7.105 I found Arno VK5ZAR who was portable in the Angove Conservation Park, in the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide.  Arno was literally pounding in to the south east, with a 5/9 plus signal.  After speaking with Arno, I ventured down the band and found 7.088 clear.  I chose this rather strange frequency, as the Kandos Group was still running on 7.093, so I wanted to stay clear of them and avoid causing QRM.  My first contact after calling CQ was with Robin Vk5TN at Mount Gambier, followed by Barry VK5BW at Bridgewater, and then Peter VK3PF.  All with great signals.

My fifth contact was with Chris VK4FR/5 who was portable in the Ferguson Conservation Park in the Mount Lofty Ranges.  Chris had a beautiful 5/9 signal.  I was very happy, as this was my second Park to Park contact from Mount Boothby.

I went on to work a total of 34 stations in VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7, until a VK2 station came up on 7.090.  It was clear that he had a ‘sched’ with a VK4 friend, and they were not going to move for anyone.  The VK4 was very low down to me, but the VK2 station (I won’t mention his call here) was 5/9 plus, and was causing just too much bleedover for me to continue on 7.093.  Despite some prompting from some stations that I had worked, they did not move.  Anyway, it was a chance for me to stretch my legs, and enjoy the view.

It is worth mentioning that I had some excellent QRP contacts prior to going for a walk.  They included Nev VK5WG using his X1M on 5 watts, Amanda running just 1/2 watt (Amanda was 5/8-9 with QSB), and Roy VK5NRG running 5 watts.

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After a break of about 10 minutes, I returned to 40m and this time I called CQ on 7.095.  I worked a further 3 stations in VK3.  Sadly, despite the band being in good condition, there were not a lot of takers.  I then ventured over to 20m after lowering the squid pole and removing the links in the dipole.  On 20m I worked Mic FK8IK in New Caledonia, Dave G3MWV in England, and Lauro IK4GRO in Italy.  I then  heard my old mate Marnix OP7M calling CQ on 14.273.  I called Marnix about 4 or 5 times but could not make the contact.  In fact Marnix could not hear me at all.  On my 3rd call to him, another European station came up to tell Marnix that I was calling.  But, as I say, sadly we could not make it.  Next time perhaps.

I returned to 40m and started calling CQ a little higher up on the band, on 7.135.  My first taker to my great pleasure was Nigel VK5NIG who was portable in the Port Gawler Conservation Park, north of Adelaide.  Nigel had an excellent 5/9 signal.  I worked a further 22 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5.  This included Steve VK2FSLC.  I was very pleased to be Steve’s very first ever contact on amateur radio.  Initially it was a struggle with Steve, as the QSB and the static crashes were bad.  But as if magic occurred, his signal came up to a good readable 5/7 and we had a good QSO.  Welcome to amateur radio Steve.

I stayed for one round on the 7.130 DX Net as well, and managed to sneak in some 40m DX contacts.  This included William FO5JV in French Polynesia, Brian ZL2ASH in New Zealand, and Caleb ZL2ML in New Zealand.  On the DX Net I also spoke with keen park activators and hunters, Rob VK4FFAB and Doug VK2FMIA, which was good.

So after 3 hours in Mount Boothby CP, I had a total of 62 contacts in the log.  This was a very enjoyable activation.   It was a new park for me (a unique).  I had 3 Park to Park contacts in the log.  And a bit of DX.  I had given my 4WD a run.  And I had seen the vulnerable/endangered MalleFowl.  I would have liked to have stuck around a little longer, but I had to negotiate the 4WD track out of the park and then a 90 minute drive home, avoiding the kangaroos.

Thanks to Chris VK4FR/5 for suggesting such an evening.  The next Summer twilight activation afternoon/evening, will be held on Friday 30th January 2015, from around 4.30 p.,m. onwards.

The following stations were worked on 40m ssb:-

  1. Arno VK5ZAR/p (Angove CP)
  2. Robin VK5TN
  3. Barry VK5BW
  4. Peter VK3PF
  5. Chris VK4FR/5 (Ferguson CP)
  6. Nev VK5WG
  7. Amanda VK3FQSO
  8. Les VK5KLV
  9. Joe VK3YSP
  10. Tony VK3CAT
  11. Peter VK5KPR
  12. Adrian VK5FANA
  13. Fred VK3DAC
  14. Peter VK3NAD
  15. Ian VK3VIN
  16. Al VK7AN
  17. Julie VK3FOWL
  18. Ray VK3NBL/p
  19. Jeff VK5JK
  20. Nigel VK5NIG
  21. Alex VK7FALX
  22. Brian VK5FMID
  23. Keith VK5FEKH
  24. Roy VK5NRG
  25. Larry VK5LY
  26. Arno VK5ZAR/p (2nd contact)
  27. Peter VK3TKK/m
  28. Col VK5HCF
  29. Mark VK7MK
  30. Tom VK5FTRG/m
  31. John VK2AWJ
  32. Tony VK3KKP/m
  33. Don VK5NFB
  34. Kev VK3VEK
  35. Nick VK3FCCK
  36. Andrew VK3ARR
  37. Ray VK3FQ
  38. Nigel VK5NIG/p (Port Gawler CP)
  39. Peter VK7LCW
  40. Steve VK2FSLC
  41. George VK4GSF
  42. Peter VK3FSAN
  43. Andrew VK7AD
  44. Kevin VK3BPH
  45. Chris VK5FCHM
  46. Steve VK7FMTX
  47. Cliff VK2CCJ
  48. Richard VK2XRC/3
  49. Terry VK3FAIE
  50. Peter VK5JP
  51. Peter VK5FLEX
  52. Mal VK5MJ
  53. William FO5JV
  54. Rob VK4FFAB
  55. Doug VK2FMIA
  56. Paul VK7CC
  57. Mark VK1EM
  58. Caleb ZL2ML

The following stations were worked on 20m ssb:-

  1. Mic FK8IK
  2. Dave G3MWV
  3. Lauro IK4GRO



Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2015, <;, viewed 17th January 2015

Department for Environment, Heritage and Aboriginal Affairs, ‘Mount Boothyby Conservation Park Management Plan’, February 1999

Wikipedia, 2015, <,_South_Australia&gt;, viewed 17th January 2015


Mount Lofty VK5/ SE-005 and Cleland Conservation Park

Yesterday morning I activated Mount Lofty summit, VK5/ SE-005, which is located within the Cleland Conservation Park, in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  I have activated the summit and park many times, as it is just a short drive to my west towards Adelaide.  But this was a new calendar year so there were 4 new SOTA points & a VK5 park point up for grabs.  The night before I had seen a few ‘alerts’ on SOTAWatch for Activators, and that was my inspiration to head to Mount Lofty.

Screenshot 2015-01-16 09.04.01

map courtesy of mapcarta

I was at Mount Lofty by 8.00 a.m. (S.A. local time) and it was already very busy, with lots of tourists.  So I set up on the eastern side of the summit, with only a few competing bushwalkers and mountain bikers.  For this activation I ran my little Yaesu FT-817nd and 5 watts, into the 40m/20m linked dipole.  It was a chilly morning, with light misty drizzle in the air, and the occasional light passing shower from the west.

Screenshot 2015-01-16 09.03.26 Image courtesy of

My first taker for the morning was Col VK5HCF in Mount Gambier.  Col was not as strong as normal, although he was still a strong 5/8 signal to Mount Lofty from the South East of South Australia.  And Col reported the same with my signal, giving me a 5/4.  This was followed by Nev VK5WG at Crystal Brook who was his normal 5/9 signal.  Peter VK3TKK then called in, running QRP, just 5 watts.  Peter had a surprisingly, very good 5/8 signal.  And my fourth and qualifying contact was with Andrew VK2UH who was also 5/8 and gave me a 5/7 signal report from Yass.

My fifth contact was with Andrew VK1MBE/p.  I heard the ‘summit to summit’ call amongst the other callers, and picked up Andrew who was a good 5/4 signal.  The noise floor on the summit was negligible, so I was able to receive Andrew extremely well.  Andrew was on top of Tuggeranong Hill, VK1/ AC-038, in Canberra, at a height ASL of 855 metres.  Andrew was one of the SOTA activators who had ‘alerted’ the night before on SOTAWatch.  So I was very happy….one Summit to Summit down.  Two more to go.

It was pleasing to get Mike VK6MB in the log on 40m, a few contacts later.  Mike was only 5/3, but very readable.  And Mike gave me a 5/1 signal report back from Manjimup in Western Australia.  I went on to work a total of 21 stations on 40m ssb, until I had to QSY.  Unfortunately a VK6 mobile station came up on 7.093 and was ‘bleeding over’ onto my frequency.  It was making contacts very difficult.  So I lowered the squid pole and removed the links in the antenna and headed to 14.310.

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I managed just 2 contacts on 20m before the UTC rollover.  Those QSOs were with Peter VK4JD in Jimboomba in Queensland, who had an extremely strong signal.  And Paul VK2KTT in Bonville in New South Wales.  I put out numerous CQ calls, but despite conditions being apparently very good, I had no takers.  So I lowered the squid pole again, put back in the links, and headed back to 40m.

My first contact on returning to 40m was another Summit to Summit contact.  This time, with Russ VK2BJP/3 who was on Mount Benambra, VK3/ VE-041, north east of Bright.  Russ was very low down, but again, due to the non existent man made noise floor, I was able to work Russ very comfortably.

I returned to 7.095 and worked a few more stations in VK3 and VK5.  Whilst doing so, I received an SMS message from Andrew VK1NAM to advise that he and Al VK1RX, were on the ridge line of their summit, and they had a further 400 metres to go before reaching the summit.  So I patiently waited for them both to appear.  Fortunately the weather had cleared at Mount Lofty.  About 30 minutes later, I heard the ‘Summit to Summit’ call.  It was Al VK1RX.  They had reached the top of Wyanbene Caves, VK2/ ST-022.  Al and Andrew were only 5/1, but very readable.  I received a reciprocal 5/1 signal back from the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.

I was very pleased now.  I had worked the four stations Summit to Summit, that I was hoping to get in the log.  I worked another 2 stations on 40m, before the UTC rollover, and then got up for a stretch and a walk.  My operating spot was alive with birdlife.  Of the feathered variety!  There were dozens of Superb fairywrens.  Mostly females, and not the males.  Maybe the ‘blokes’ were having a sleep in.  The females are plain fawn colour.  Whereas the males have a brilliant iridescent blue contrasting with black and grey brown.  I also saw a number of Yellow tailed black cockatoos, and Adelaide Rosellas.  And there were some noisy Australian Ravens who decided to perch just above my operating spot.


image courtesy of wikipedia.

I returned to the radio, just after the UTC rollover and worked a total of 8 stations on 40m and 20m ssb.  Not the large number of stations I expected.  But I guess it was a workday.  For some anyway!  I am on 6 weeks holidays.

I worked a total of 40 stations in VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, & VK6 on 40m ssb and 20m ssb.

The following stations were worked:-

Screenshot 2015-01-16 08.46.34

“Out and about in VK5”

In November, 2014, I commenced a newsletter called ‘Out and about in VK5’.  The newsletter is released at the end of each month, and is related to amateur radio activity in South Australia (VK5), centred around the following:-

  • Summits on the Air (SOTA)
  • VK5 National and Conservation Parks Award
  • World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program
  • portable oepration
  • QRP
  • pedestrian mobile.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 22.35.58


I welcome any news and photographs relating to the subject material.  Without your constributions, the newsletter will not survive.

I have an email list and distribute the newsletter to those amateurs interested.  If you would like to go on the mailing list, please drop me an email at….

Or alternatively, I upload the newsletter to the Adelaide Hills Amateur Radio Scoiety (AHARS) website at….

And it can also be found on the VK5 Parks award website at…..

See below, the first 3 Issues…..

Out and About Issue 3 Out and About Issue 2 Out and about in VK5 Issue 1

Out and About Issue 2

Out and About Issue 3

Chasing European activators


I am on holidays at the moment, which means I can stay up a little bit later when I choose to.  And I did that over the weekend, working a few European SOTA activators on both the long path and the short path.

On Saturday evening (10th January 2015) I spoke with Pablo EA1QL, on 20m on the long path.  Pablo was on the top of SOTA summit, Monxagre, EA1/ AT-204.  Pablo was kind enough to send me an email with some photos from the activation (see below).

The Monxagre summit is 662 metres ASL and is worth 2 SOTA points.  It is located in the Spain (North West) Association, and the Asturias Region.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 21.59.20

Map courtesy of google maps.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 22.03.35

Image courtesy of

Pablo was running a Kenwood TS-840, about 50 watts, and a home brew monoband Delta loop antenna.  Pablo was powering the radio with a 12v 8 ah battery.

It was a challenge to get through to Pablo, as breaking through the European ‘wall’ of SOTA chasers was quite difficult.  But once I did, Pablo and I were able to hear each other ver well.  I know that Andrew VK1NAM has mentioned previously, the issue of many European SOTA activators not listening for further afield.  I have felt the same frustration, but I have found that perserverance generally pays off.  Not always though!

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