Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park 5CP-097 and VKFF-0897

After leaving Hale Conservation Park, I headed for the Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park 5CP-097 & VKFF-0897, which is located about 80 km north east of Adelaide and about 12 km south east of Tanunda.

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Map showing the location of the Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I stopped off briefly at the junction of Warren Road and Springton Road at Williamstown where there is a small display, including an old timber jinker.  The old horse drawn timber jinker was used in the Mount Crawford area during the early 1900’s to haul logs out of the forest to small ‘bush’ sawmills.

I then travelled north out of Williamstown on the Lyndoch Valley Road towards Lyndoch.  This is the southern area of the famous wine growing region, the Barossa Valley.   The Barossa is one of the world’s great wine regions and is certainly the most famous in Australia.

I stopped briefly at Mengler’s Hill which offers fantastic panoramic views of the Barossa.  Although it was generally a fine day, there were some very threatening dark clouds out to the west as can be seen in the photographs below.

I initially travelled out along Krondorf Road with access to the western side of the park showing on the GPS.  Sadly, this was not to be the case.  Although showing on the GPS and maps as a road, there is no access to the park along Little Kaiser Stuhl Road.  I had to detour around to Bethany and then up Mengler’s Hill Road.  At the junction with Tanunda Creek Road, there is a sign indicating the park.


The Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park is located about 12 km south east of the town of Tanunda and is nestled amonst the Barossa Ranges.  The park is 390 hectares in size and was dedicated in 1978 to protected one of the last remnants of native vegetation in the region, in particular the northern-most population of Brown Stringybark.  More than 360 species of native plant are found in the park, many of which are of conservation significance.

The park is named after the nearby 600 metre high Kaiserstuhl summit.  Kaiserstuhl means ’emperor’s chair’.  The summit was named by geologist Johann Menge (1788-1852) after the Kaiserstuhl mountain range near Freiburg in south western Germany, a famous winegrowing region.  The summit is known by the local aboriginals as Patpoori, meaning ‘big grass hill’.  During the First World War, the name of the summit was changed to Mount Kitchener, as part of the anti German sentiment.  It has since reverted back to Kaiserstuhl.

The park is home to a large amount of native wildlife including Western Grey Kangaroos, Euros, Short-beaker Echindas, Common Brushtail Possums, and Common Ringtail Possums.  More than 135 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Lauching Kookaburra, Superb Fairywren, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, New Holland Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater, Crescent Honeyeater, and Grey Shrikethrush.  Reptiles that call the park home include Eastern Bearded Dragons, Sleepy Lizards, Eastern Brown Snake, and Red-bellied Black Snake.


Kaisertuhl was first proclaimed on 3rd May 1979 with further areas of land being added on 5th June 1986 and again on the 3rd December 1987.

Between 1958-1962, the South Australian Field Naturalists Society recommended that an area of land near Kaiserstuhl, which was then known as Mount Kitchener, be acquired for conservation purposes.  In 1970, while surrounding bushland was still being cleared for agriculture, Mr C.W. Bonython made a submission to the National Parks Commission seeking the creation of a national park in the Mount Kitchener region, where an area of approximately 1,000 hectares was still available.  Both the Chairman of the Land Board, Mr C.E. Rix, and Director of National Parks, Mr R.G. Lyons inspected the land separately and reported favourably to the Commissioner in October 1971.  Following the Commissioner’s recommendations, in November 1971 an approach was made to the principal landowner without success.


In 1974, in a submission to the Commonwealth Government for a grant under the State Grants (Nature Conservation) Act, a report was included on the Kaiserstuhl proposed area.  However, because the assessor from the Federal Department of Environment did not inspect this locality, no further action was taken and no funds to purchase land in the Barossa Ranges were made available.

In March 1975, the Society for Growing Australian Plants wrote to the Premier of South Australia expressing concern that the (then) Woods and Forest Department had acquired land in the Kaiserstuhl region that they felt would be better suited for a national park. The Society had previously presented a submission, included in the Mount Lofty Ranges Study released by the State Planning Authority in August 1974, recommending that a new national park be established in the Barossa Ranges.  The Outer Metropolitan Planning Area Development Plan had also recommended investigations of areas around the Tanunda Creek headwaters for possible acquisition for open space purposes.

In February 1978, Mr M.A. Picard, Project Officer with the Nature Conservation Society of SA, presented a report to the Society on the conservation value of land known as the Pohlner Estate, situated in the vicinity of Kaiserstuhl.  When the area became available for sale, a portion was purchased at auction with funds provided by Mr Leo Wakem Nicholls (1894-1971), who left the sum of $30,000 to the Field Naturalists’ Society of SA Inc in a bequest.  There is a small plaque in the park which is dedicated to the memory of the late Mr Nicholls who was a keen bushwalker.

I set up just inside gate 1 on Wallowa Track.  As there were signs specifying that people should remain on the paths, I set up about 1 foot off the main walking trail.  As a result I had a lot of interaction with members of the public during the afternoon.  One couple in particular showed great interest and were amazed that I was talking to people all around Australia.

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Map showing my operating spon in Kaiserstuhl.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I was set up and ready to go by just before 3.30 p.m. South Australian local time.  As is the case each day at this time of the year, the 40m band was open to Europe, the USA and the Carribean.  It was hard to find a clear spot on the band. Pedro NP4A was operating on 7.143, so 7.144 was out of the question.  I headed up to 7.155 and started calling CQ.  Unfortunately there was no mobile phone coverage with Telstra in the park (amazing!), so I could not self spot.

I called CQ for a few minutes and finally David VK3UCD came back to my call, running his newly put together Bitx40 transceiver.  Andrew VK7DW was next, followed by Stef VK5HSX/2 and then Mike VK3ZMD.  After 14 minutes, I had contact number 10 in the log, a QSO with Darrin VK3ER.

Band conditions had picked up very well since my earlier activation, with excellent signals from the east coast.  Contact number 20 of the activation was a Park to Park QSO with Mark VK4SMA/p who was activating the Mount Perry Conservation Park VKFF-1609 in Queensland.

Just when I thought that local propagation was not working on 40m, I heard my wife Marija VK5FMAZ call in with an excellent 5/9 signal.  I also logged a few more VK5’s including Andrew VK5MR, Sue VK5AYL, Ivan VK5HS, and Trevor VK5TW, before the band fell out again for local contacts.  It was also nice to log my good mate Greg VK8GM in Alice Springs, who had a very strong 5/9 + signal.

I logged a total of 42 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK7, and VK8 before heading to the 20m band.

I headed to 14.310, the normal park & SOTA calling frequency on 20m, and asked if the frequency was in use.  Much to my surprise, Hans VK6XN/p came back, stating he had taken a break from his activation to take a few photographs.  I logged Hans who was in the Gooseberry Hill National Park VKFF-0201, with a strong 5/8 signal.  Hans kindly spotted me on 14.305 and that is where I headed.  Fred VK4FE was the first in the log on that frequency, followed by Daniel VK6WE, and then Tadashi JA1VRY in Japan.  But that was the limit of my callers, and about 5 minutes of CQ calls went unanswered.

I then moved to 3.610 on the 80m band and called CQ for around 5 minutes with no takers.  Unfortunately I was unable to self spot due to no phone coverage.  So I decided to head back to 40m and hopefully work someone who could spot me.  I was lucky, because I found Hans VK6XN had QSYd to 7.144 from 20m.  I logged Hans and then asked if Hans could spot me on 3.610, which he kindly did.

I headed back to 3.610 and it was clear that the spot had worked well, as there were a lot of stations who came back to my CQ call.  I logged a total of 18 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, VK4, and VK5.

It was now approaching 5.30 p.m. local time and the temperature had dropped very quickly to 6 deg C.  I had a total of 65 contacts in the log.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3UCD
  2. VK7DW
  3. VK5HSX/2
  4. VK3ZMD
  5. VK2FADV
  6. VK3ATC
  7. VK3ZPF
  8. VK3GGG
  9. VK3PMG
  10. VK3ER
  11. VK3FRAB
  12. VK3PF
  13. VK2BHO
  14. VK3VIN
  15. VK2HHA
  16. VK2GPT
  17. VK2VX
  18. VK4AAC/2
  19. VK3SFG
  20. VK4SMA/p (Mount Perry Conservation Park VKFF-1609)
  21. VK3UH
  22. VK3FSPG
  23. VK3MPR
  24. VK5FMAZ
  25. VK5MR/m
  26. VK3HBG
  27. VK3KAI
  28. VK5AYL
  29. VK5HS
  30. VK3SQ
  31. VK8GM
  32. VK5TW
  33. VK4PDX
  34. VK3KMH
  35. VK3BBB
  36. VK3FOTO/m
  37. VK4XAC
  38. VK3FPSR
  39. VK6AHR
  40. VK5PET
  41. VK3NXT
  42. VK2VE/p
  43. VK6XN/p (Gooseberry Hill National Park VKFF-0210)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK6XN/p (Gooseberry Hill National Park VKFF-0210)
  2. VK4FE
  3. VK6WE
  4. JA1VRY

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5MK
  2. VK3ZPF
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2JDR
  5. VK3PF
  6. VK5FMAZ
  7. VK2GPT
  8. VK2VX
  9. VK2EMU/p
  10. VK3VIN
  11. VK3MCK
  12. VK2FSAV
  13. VK4TJ
  14. VK5KLV
  15. VK2YX
  16. VK2IO
  17. VK3LPG
  18. VK5ARC




Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/kaiserstuhl-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 25th June 2017

Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, ‘Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park’.

Department for Environment and Heritage.  Kaiserstuhl Conservation Park Management Plan, 2006.

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiserstuhl_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 25th June 2017

Hale Conservation Park 5CP-086 and VKFF-0889

Yesterday morning (Saturday 24th June 2017) I enjoyed a bit of a sleep in on my weekend off.  I then ventured up to the shack where I booked in to the Riverland Radio Club Net on 40m, whist enjoying a cup of coffee and some toast.  At the end of the net I headed up to the study to check my emails and decided that heading out to a park or two was going to be a much more enjoyable option.

So I jumped on to Location SA Map Viewer to check out which parks I should head out to activate.  I have pretty much flogged to death all of the parks within a 300 km radius from home, but there was one park which I had not qualified for the global World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  That being the Hale Conservation Park 5CP-086 & VKFF-0889, which is located near the town of Williamstown, about 60 km north east of Adelaide.  The park is located on the southern boundary of the famous wine growing region, the Barossa Valley.

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Map showing the location of the Hale Conservation Park, north east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer. 

It is a beautiful drive out to the park from my home, through the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  I headed out through Woodside and then on towards Mount Torrens.  The GPS took me through some of the back roads and then north along Warren Road until I reached the park.

Hale Conservation Park was established in 1964 and was named after Herbert Mathew Hale, OBE (1895-1963), who was a Director of the South Australian Museum and Commissioner of National Parks and Wildlife until 1963.  The park is 189 hectares (470 acres)in size.

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Herbert Hale.  Image courtesy of Trove.

Hale is mostly Woodland comprised of Long-leaf Box, Pimk Gum, Messmate Stringybark, Golden Wattle and Yacca.  The park conserves the Oyster Bay Cypress Pine.  For a few weeks each year in winter, there are stunning blooms of Red Flame Heath, and during my visit I was lucky enough to witness this.  The landscape was alive with red flowers.

There are a number of challenging walking trails in the park which provide spectacular views of the South Para valley and reservoir.  Thanks to the Walking Trails Support Group, there are a number of signs and distance markers along the trail.

The park is home to a large amount of native wildlife including Western Grey Kangaroos, Echidnas, and the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot.  More than 85 species of bird have been recorded in the park including Superb Fairywren, Eastern Spinebill, New Holland Honeyeater, Crescent Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Australian Golden Whistler, and Black-winged Currawong.

Access to the park is on Warren Road, about 2 km out of Williamstown.  The park is well signposted from the road, and there is a small carparking area here.

I set up along Hale Track, using my normal portable equipment: Yaesu FT-857d, 40 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole, inverted vee @ 7 metres.  Whilst setting up I had a chat with a lady who was out bushwalking with her young daughter.  It turned out that she was aware of the hobby of amateur radio as she had been involved in the ARISS program as a school teacher.

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Map showing my operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

On my way to the park I had worked Gerard VK2JNG/p who was activating the Eurobodalla National Park VKFF-0164.  Gerard was one of 3 people I had taken out into the field on the Sunday of the recent WIA AGM & Convention at Hahndorf, and he has certainly been bitten by the portable bug.  So prior to calling CQ, I tuned across the 40m band hoping to get Gerard in the log, Park to Park.  I found Gerard calling CQ on 7.090 and logged Gerard, 5/9 both ways.  I had been doing a bit of work at home during the week erecting a 2m yagi, 70cm yagi, and a 6m yagi, and I realised after working Gerard that I still had the tx set on 5 watts.

I then moved up the band to 7.144 and started calling CQ.  First taker was Dennis VK2HHA in Albury with a nice 5/9 + signal, followed by Peter VK3PF and then Brett VK2VW.  It was slow and steady going, with contact number 10 in the log after 12 minutes, thus qualifying the park for me for VKFF.  Regular park hunter Sergio VK3SFG was contact number 10.

Fred VK4FE was contact number 11 in the log, and it was at this time that Mick VK3GGG sent me an SMS message to advise that Tony VK3XV wason 14.244 in a park in the USA.  I was fortunate in that callers were slow on 40m, so I quickly lowered the squid pole and removed the links for 20m, and headed to 14.244.  I could just barely hear Tony, certainly not strong enough for a QSO, but I could hear the USA park hunters giving Tony a shout for the Field Day.

I headed back to 7.144 and called CQ again, which was answered by John VK4TJ.  A few calls later, I had another Park to Park contact in the log.  This time with Bill VK3CWF/p who was activating Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750.  Despite it being a weekend, there was not the normal flurry of callers, but rather a steady flow.  It was clear that local propagation on 40m was not working, with my wife Marija VK5FMAZ texting me, advising that there was no copy back to our home QTH at Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills.

I logged a total of 46 stations on 40m, with contact number 44 being with Peter VK3FPHG in Ballarat.  The 44 QSOs had taken me 1 hour & 15 minutes.  Amongst these QSOs was another Park to Park contact, with Ian VK5MA/6 who was at Thomas River in the Cape Arid National Park VKFF-0076 near Esperance in Western Australia.  Ian had a beautiful strong 5/8 signal and reciprocated with a 5/5 for me.  I logged a few QRP stations including Glenn VK2GPT running 5 watts and a new loop antenna, and Jason VK2FAVL in Sydney Harbour who was running QRP 5 watts and a Buddipole.

I then headed over to 3.610 on the 80m band hoping to log a few of the VK5’s.  First in the log was Roy VK3FRC who had followed me down from 40m.  Next was Ivan VK5HS in the Riverland who was 5/9 +, Eric VK3BSG  125 km NW of Melbourne, and then Marija VK5FMAZ who was contact number 50.  I worked a further 6 stations from VK3 and VK5, before heading over to 14.310 on the 20m band.

Sadly, my only station logged there was Rob VK4AAC/2 who was struggling to hear me.  Not long after I had started calling CQ, a USA Field station had come up on frequency and started calling CQ.  After a few minutes I decided it just wasn’t worth trying to compete with her on the same frequency, so I pack up and headed off to my next park, the Kaiser Stuhl Conservation Park.  I had a total of 57 stations in the log, and a unique park qualified for WWFF.

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2JNG/p (Eurobodalla National Park VKFF-0164)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3PF
  4. VK2VW
  5. VK7PRN
  6. VK3GGG
  7. VK3PMG
  8. VK3ANL
  9. VK2IO
  10. VK3SFG
  11. VK4FE
  12. VK4TJ
  13. VK4/AC8WN
  14. VK4/VE6XT
  15. VK3SQ
  16. VK2ARL
  17. VK2FJNG
  18. VK3CWF/p (Arthurs Seat State Park VKFF-0750)
  19. VK3TKK/m
  20. VK7FPRN
  21. VK3VLA
  22. VK2EMU/p
  23. VK2FAVL
  24. VK3DBP
  25. VK3IRM
  26. VK2FADV
  27. VK5MR/m
  28. VK2KYO
  29. VK3FSPG
  30. VK3MPR
  31. VK5MA/6 (Cape Arid National Park VKFF-0076)
  32. VK3FLES
  33. VK4HNS
  34. VK3FRJD
  35. VK2UH
  36. VK2PDW
  37. VK3ELH
  38. VK3FFSB
  39. VK5FAKV
  40. VK3AJA
  41. VK2DNA
  42. VK3QB
  43. VK3FRC
  44. VK3FPHG
  45. VK2GPT
  46. VK2VX

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3FRC
  2. VK5HS
  3. VK3BSG
  4. VK5FMAZ
  5. VK3VEK
  6. VK5BJE
  7. VK3GGG
  8. VK3PMG
  9. VK5FANA
  10. VK5FAKV

I worked the following station on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4AAC/2




Birds SA, 2017, <http://www.birdssa.asn.au/location/hale-conservation-park/&gt;, viewed 25th June 2017

National Parks South Australia, 2017, <http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/parks/Find_a_Park/Browse_by_region/Barossa/hale-conservation-park&gt;, viewed 25th June 2017

Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hale_Conservation_Park&gt;, viewed 25th June 2017