Black Bullock Hill, VK5/ SE-016

On Sunday 7th August 2016, the ACT Summits on the Air (SOTA) enthusiasts held their annual VK1 SOTA Winter QSO Party.  My wife Marija VK5FMAZ and I headed down the Fleurieu Peninsula to the little one point summit of Black Bullock Hill VK5/ SE-016 to take part in the event.  The summit is situated about 100 km south of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Black Bullock Hill.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The summit is around a 90 km drive from our home and took Marija and I through the little Adelaide Hills towns of Echunga and Meadows and then on to Willunga.  From there we travelled to Myponga and then Yankalilla and Normanville.  The impressive cliffs at Lady Bay soon came into view.  I must check the topography to see if any qualify for SOTA as they certainly do tower above the ocean.  Lady Bay is home to the Links Lady Bay Resort, and a gold course that was designed by golfing identifies, Jack Newton, Graeme Grant, and the late John Spencer.

We stopped briefly for a stretch of our legs and to view the HMAS Hobart (D 39) interpretive sign at Lady Bay.  The HMAS Hobart (D 39) was a Perth class guided missile destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy, built in the USA.  She was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1965.  She was gifted to the South Australian government in August 2000 and she was sunk as a dive wreck in November 2002.  The wreck site is officially known as the Fleurieu Artificial Reef.

We continued on through the beautiful Fleurieu Peninsula to the little town of Delamere, where we turned on to Range Road, and travelled for a few km until turning onto Dog Trap Road.  Along the way we called the owner of the land just to confirm that we could access the property.  You can activate the summit from the roadway as you are well and truly within the activation zone, but I have previously operated from the trig point which is located just off the road on private property.  Peter, the land owner kindly allowed us access.

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Black Bullock Hill is a very easy summit to reach.  In fact it is a strange summit in that climbing is not required, and it is a summit for SOTA due to it being the highest point on this part of the Fleurieu Peninsula.  It is situated near the intersection of Dog Trap Road, Three Bridges Road and Tent Rock Road.  The summit is 365 metres above sea level and is worth 1 SOTA point.

Many years ago I suspected that the summit was probably named after a black bullock.  But I enquiried with the Yankalilla and District Historical Society and confirmed that the summit’s name actually comes from a plant, not an animal, as some of us presumed.  And that plant is ‘bull-oak’  Allocasuarina Luchnannii, which is part of the Casuarinaceae family.  The plant is also sometimes referred to as ‘buloke’.  It is reputed to the the hardest wood in the world, with a Janka Hardness of 5,060 lbf.  The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear.

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Above:- Aerial showing the location of the summit, just on the eastern side of Tent Rock Road.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

The first thing that Marija and I noticed was that the trig point was lying on its side.  No doubt as a result of the terrible weather that many parts of South Australia had experienced during July.

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We decided to set up from the side of the road, as the fence to Peter’s property is electrified and I wasn’t feeling in a particularly energetic mood to scale fences.  Marija also had a previous unpleasant experience with an electric fence, so we took the easier option.  The surrounding countryside was lush green and despite it not being a summit in the true sense of the word, there are some great views of the surrounding Fleurieu Peninsula.  The Fleurieu was named after Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu,  the French explorer and hydrographer, by the French explorer Nicolas Baudin, as he explored the south coast of Australia in 1802.

The views include some sensational views across Backstairs Passage to Kangaroo Island which is Australia’s third largest island after Tasmania and Melville Island.  I’ll be there in a few weeks time for the International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend (ILLW).  The Backstairs Passage is the strait between the South Australian mainland and Kangaroo Island.  It was named by Matthew Flinders whilst he and his crew on HMS Investigator were exploring and mapping the South Australian coastline in 1802.

For this activation I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts and the 40m/20m/80m linked dipole supported by the 7 metre heavy duty squid pole.  There was a small wooden post near the fenceline which I used to secure the squid pole with the assistance of an octopus strap.

We were at Black Bullock Hill and all set up to go by around 2320 UTC (8.50 a.m. South Australian local time) so there was plenty of time to work some SOTA chasers on either side of the UTC rollover.  It was a pretty brosk morning, with the temperature being about 4 degrees C.  The wind was blowing in off the nearby South Ocean.  Prior to calling CQ I had a quick tune across the band and came across Paul VK3HN on SOTA peak Mount St Leonards VK3/ VC-006 working Paul VK2HV.  So Paul became my first contact for the morning with a nice 5/9 signal.

I then headed to 7.090 and commenced calling CQ and this was answered by Dave VK2JDS mobile, followed by two more S2S contacts with Tony VK7LTD and Angela VK7FAMP who were both portable on Mount Phipps, VK7/ SC-027 (5/5 both ways).  Marija also jumped on the mic at this stage and logged the two S2S contacts with Angela and Tony.

The band was completely devoid of man made noise at Black Bullock Hill, and there was only a slight frying pan noise on the band, along with a little bit of Indonesian or Malaysian QRM.  Signals were quite good into the eastern States but it was clear that close in propagation was no existant.

Marija and I had a slow but steady flow of callers from the eastern States including a number of S2S contacts.  We shared the mic until Marija had 9 contacts in the log and then started waving her arms at me when I tried to hand the mic to her.  She had qualified the summit and had endured the cold for long enough and was heading back to the vehicle.

I worked 25 stations on 40m before the UTC rollover from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK7 and VK8, including 15 S2S contacts.  And I worked a further 19 stations on 40m after the UTC rollover.  I then moved to 14.310 on 20m and worked 6 stations.  First taker there was Fred VK4FE.  What was really pleasing about 20m was I logged three New Zealand S2S contacts.  Two of those with Wynne ZL2ATH and Warren ZL2AJ were a bit of a struggle, with signals quite low.  But Kyle ZL2KGF was an excellent 5/5 signal.  This was Kyle’s first ever SOTA activation and he was also in ZLFF-0003 which was a bonus.  See the photos below to see the view that Kyle was enjoying.  My S2S contact with Wynne ZL2ATH over  a distance of 3227km made it Wynne’s longest S2S so far. Not bad considering that Wynne was running a Yaesu FT-817 and just 5 watts. 

Above:- ZL1/ TN-006.  Courtesy of ZL2KGF

I then  moved back to 40m and worked a further 10 stations, but callers were few and far between, so it was off to 80m.  I thought it might have been a little too late in the day, but I was surprised to log a total of 6 stations on 80m including a S2S contact with Ian VK5CZ on The Dutchmans Stern VK5/ NE-028, about 450 km to the north of my location.  I couldn’t believe it when Ian came back to me.  We both exchanged 4/1 signal reports.

I worked the following Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts prior to the UTC rollover……


  1. Paul VK3HN/p VK3/ VC-006 (6 points)
  2. Tony VK7LTD, VK7/ SC-027 (2 points)
  3. Angela VK7FAMP/p, VK7/ SC-027
  4. Matt VK1MA, VK1/ AC-042 (1 point)
  5. Andrew VK1AD/p, VK1/ AC-032 (2 points)
  6. Peter VK3PF/p, VK3/ VT-040 (4 points)
  7. Gerard VK2IO/p, VK2/ ST-006 (8 points)
  8. Andrew VK1DA/p, VK1/ AC-040 (1 point)
  9. Andrew VK1MBE/2, VK2/ ST-001 (8 points)
  10. Paul VK1ATP/2, VK2/ ST-008 (8 points)
  11. Nick VK3ANL/p, VK3/ VC-030 (1 point)
  12. Tony VK3CAT/p, VK3/ VN-012 (6 points)
  13. Ron VK3AFW/p, VK3/ VN-027 (4 points)
  14. Ken VK3KIM/p, VK3/ VN-027
  15. Ian VK1DI/p, VK1/ AC-039 (1 point)

And the following Summit to Summit contacts after the UTC rollover…..


  1. Andrew VK1MBE/2, VK2/ ST-001 8 points)
  2. Peter VK3PF/p VK3/ VT-040 (4 points)
  3. Paul VK1ATP/2,VK2/ ST-008 (8 points)
  4. Andrew VK1DA/p, VK1 AC-040 (1 point)
  5. Tony VK3CAT/p, VK3/ VN-012 (6 points)
  6. Nick VK3ANL/p, VK3/ VC-030 (1 point)
  7. Col VK3LED/p, VK3/ VN-024 (2 points)
  8. Gerard VK2IO/p, VK2/ ST-006 (8 points)
  9. Andrew VK1AD/p, VK1/ AC-032 (2 points)
  10. Tony VK1VIC/p, VK1/ AC-032
  11. Matt VK1MA/p, VK1/ AC-042 (1 point)
  12. Ron VK3AFW/p, VK3/ VN-027 (4 points)
  13. Ken VK3KIM/p, VK3/ VN-027
  14. Paul VK3HN/p, VK3/ VC-006 (6 points)
  15. Phil VK3BHR/p, VK3/ VU-007 (1 point)
  16. Bernard VK2IB/3, VK3/ VE-165 (4 points)


  1. ZL1ATH/p, ZL1/ WL-153 (1 point)
  2. ZL2AJ/p, ZL1/ WK-153 (1 point)
  3. ZL2KGF/p, ZL1/ TN-006 (2 points) and ZLFF-0003


  1. Ian VK5CZ/p, VK5/ NE-028 (6 points)

It was time to pack up, as it was approaching midday.  I had a total of 65 contacts in the log, including 35 Summit to Summit contacts (113 S2S points).  Marija had also qualified the summit with a total of 9 contacts and 8 Summit to Summit contacts (19 S2S points).  It had been a very enjoyable morning.  Thanks to Andrew VK1AD for organising the event.

I worked the following stations:-

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Wikipedia, 2016, <;, viewed 9th August 2016

4 thoughts on “Black Bullock Hill, VK5/ SE-016

  1. Hi Paul,

    I really like Australian history and researching a bit of the history of the summits and parks. I’ve done all of my family tree with thousands of names in the database.

    Many thanks for the S2S contact, and thanks for reading the post.

    Best 73,


    • Hi Chris,

      You can operate from the trig point if you want to. Just have to make contact with the owner first. He is a nice bloke. But the roadway is well and truly inside the activation zone. Its a nice little one pointer.



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