Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2893

Yesterday (Sunday 21st April 2019) Marija VK5FMAZ and I headed to the Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2893, one of the newly added parks in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

Thirteen Native Forest Reserves located in the Adelaide Hills and on the Fleurieu Peninsula have been added to the program in the last 48 hours.  This is together with new parks added earlier in the year in VK6 and VK8, and also a number of parks in VK4.  Nearly 200 are to appear soon from VK3.

The Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve is located in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’, and is about 8 km southwest of the town of Meadows and about 45 km south-east of the city of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve.  Map courtesy of Protected Planet.

The park is just a short drive from our home.  We travelled to Meadows and then south-west on Brookman Road towards Willunga.  We travelled passed the historic woodcutters cottage on Brookman Road which now offers accommodation, and then passed the Kuitpo Hall built of stone in 1926.  The pickers were out in force in the nearby Kuitpo Forest strawberry farm.

We then turned in to Brookman-Connor Road which took us through the pine forest towards the park.  It was an overcast day but quite mild, following a 32 deg C day on Saturday.

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Above:- Brookman-Connor Road

There are some great views to be had of the surrounding countryside along the way.

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Above:- a view of the surrounding countryside

The Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve is 309.9 hectares in size and is one of three Native Forest Reserves located in the Kuitpo Forest Reserve in the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.  Nearby Native Forest Reserves are Mount Panorama and Knott Hill.  These reserves are of high conservation value and contain a rich variety of trees, shrubs and ground cover species which provide significant habitat for native birds, reptiles and mammals.

The Kuitpo Forest Reserve was established in 1989.  It was the first of a number of forest plantations in the Mount Lofty Ranges, established to ensure a sustainable timber resource for South Australia.  The reserve is managed by Forestry SA.

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The Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserve is an IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 2005) Category IV reserve. These category of park are habitat or species management areas, protected and managed mainly for conservation through management intervention to ensure the maintenance of habitats and/or to meet the requirements of species.

The name Christmas Hill is derived from the peak of the same name on the north-eastern boundary of the reserve.  The reserve contains 400 identified native plant species, including 63 with conservation significance.  The entire Christmas Hill area was devastated by the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.

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The Reserve is integrated with various pine plantations managed by Forestry SA.  The reserve’s southern boundary borders the Kyeema Conservation Park.

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A large number of native bird species call the park home.  This includes Yellow-tailed black cockatoos, who were in abundance during our visit.

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We set up just inside gate CH18 on Christmas Hill Road.

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Above:- Map showing our operating spot in the park.  Map courtesy of Forestry SA

There was plenty of room here to stretch out the 20/40/80m linked dipole, and we were away from other users in the park.

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The 40m band was alive with activity and it was quite difficult to find a clear spot.  I found 7.134 clear and started calling CQ whilst Marija placed a spot on parksnpeaks for me.  First in the log was Peter VK3PF with an excellent 5/9 signal, followed by Lee VK3HOT, and then John VK4TJ.

As this was a new park it did not take long for a small pile up to develop.  Within an hour I worked a total of 65 stations from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.  This included the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Mark VK4SMA/p – Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651
  • Jonathan VK7JON/p – Eugenana State Reserve VKFF-1800
  • Helen VK7FOLK/p – Eugenana State Reserve VKFF-1800

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I had qualified the park for both VKFF and WWFF, and now it was Marija’s turn to get onto the microphone.  Mike VK5FMWW was first in Marija’s log, followed by Danny VK5DW, Mike VK6MB/3, and then Ivan VK3OHM.  It took Marija just 8 minutes to get her 10 contacts.  QSO number ten was with Brian VK5TBC.

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It took Marija just 45 minutes to qualify the park for WWFF.  The 40m band was in great shape.  Marija’s contacts were from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7.  This included the following Park to Park contact:-

  • Mark VK4SMA/p – Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651

Marija was extremely happy to have qualified the park for the global WWFF program, and it was my turn now to ramp up the power and make a few more contacts.  David VK3UCD came back to my CQ call, followed by Greg VK4VXX/6, and then Rick VK4RF.  I worked a further 9 stations, taking my total contacts for the activation to 77 QSOs.

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Marija and I then lowered the squid pole and we removed the links for the 20m band.  I called CQ on 14.310 and it wasn’t long before John VK4TJ came back to my call.  This was followed by another regular park hunter Ray VK4NH.  I logged a total of 17 stations on 20m SSB which included Greg VK4VXX/6 who suggested we also try AM which we did.  It was my first ever AM contact on 20m.

The real highlight of 20m was a Park to Park contact with Kent K7CAR/p in the Dixie National Forest KFF-4395 in the USA.  The photographs below are courtesy of Kent.

Marija and I then returned to 40m logging the following Park to Park contacts:-

  • Adam VK2YK/p – Hat Head National Park VKFF-0230
  • Andy VK5LA/p – Jallumba Marsh Flora Reserve VKFF-2338
  • Ian VK1DI/2 – Barren Grounds Nature Reserve VKFF-1885

I then moved down to the 80m band and called CQ on 3.610.  Mike VK5FMWW was my first taker, followed by Danny VK5DW, and then Linda VK7QP.  Band conditions were excellent on 80m.   But sadly I only logged 6 stations.

I then moved back to 40m where I logged a further 24 stations on 7.158, including Max IK1GPG in Italy.  Unfortunately, DC5ZVU came up on the frequency and started calling CQ, which made it impossible to copy any callers, as he was a 5/8 signal.  So I moved down to 7.156 where I made a further 4 stations.

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To complete the activation I had a tune across the band and found Manuel EA1DLU/p in Spain on 7.175 calling CQ with a strong 5/9 signal.  I was very lucky to have Manuel come back to my first call.  Manuel gave me a 5/7 signal report into Spain with my 40 watts and small wire antenna.

Below is a short video of part of my QSO with Manuel.

I then found Craig VK3CRG/p on 7.170.  Craig was portable at Little River and had a friend Debbie with him, who was a budding ham.  Marija had a chat with Debbie and explained to her where we were operating from, and a little bit about Marija’s history in the hobby.  Sadly the rain started tumbling down at Craig’s location which resulted in Craig having to go clear.

David VK5LSB then called me to say hi, followed by Perrin VK3XPT/p who was operating portable on the beach at Sandy Point using his military transceiver.  Marija was keen to pack up and head home, so I apologise to anybody else who may have wanted to call into this new park.  We will be back.

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Above:- Perrin VK3XPT’s operating spot at Sandy Point.  Image courtesy of VK3XPT.

Below is a short video taken by Perrin of our contact.

Below is a video I took on the iphone showing some of Marija’s contacts during the activation.

This had been an amazing activation.  Marija had qualified the park for VKFF and WWFF, and had 49 contacts in the log.  I had also qualified the park for VKFF and WWFF, and had a total of 136 contacts in the log.  This included ten Park to Park contacts between the two of us, including the Park to Park into the USA.

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Above:- Map showing my contacts during the activation.  Map courtesy of QSOmap.org

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Above:- Map showing my QSOs in Australia and New Zealand, during my activation.  Map courtesy of QSOmap.org

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW
  2. VK5DW
  3. VK6MB/3
  4. VK5HS
  5. VK3OHM
  6. VK3PF
  7. VK7ALH
  8. VK3SH
  9. VK5KLV
  10. VK5TBC
  11. VK7QP
  12. VK3SQ
  13. VK2PKT
  14. VK4CZ
  15. VK5WU
  16. VK3FDZE
  17. VK3MPR
  18. VK4SMA/p (Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651)
  19. VK4HNS
  20. VK2KJJ
  21. VK3BYD
  22. VK3XPT
  23. VK2HHA
  24. VK5PE
  25. VK3AB/p
  26. VK2YMU
  27. VK4FARR
  28. VK3FAMPT
  29. VK2UTL
  30. VK3BNC
  31. VK4VXX/6
  32. VK2WQ
  33. VK3NCR/p
  34. VK3YBP
  35. VK3BSG
  36. VK3IL/p
  37. VK4RF
  38. VK4HA
  39. VK4TJ
  40. VK4/AC8WN
  41. VK4/VE6XT
  42. VK1MCW
  43. VK5IS
  44. VK3KAI
  45. VK3GV
  46. VK5MK/m
  47. VK5LA/p (Jallumba Marsh Flora Reserve VKFF-2338)
  48. VK1DI/2 (Barren Grounds Nature Reserve VKFF-1885)
  49. VK3CRG/p

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3HOT
  3. VK4TJ
  4. VK4/AC8WN
  5. VK4/VE6XT
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK3DAC
  8. VK2MY/3
  9. VK4AAC/3
  10. VK2VH/3
  11. VK5KLV
  12. VK4HNS
  13. VK4SMA/p (Spicers Gap Road Conservation Park VKFF-1651)
  14. VK5FANA
  15. VK3ANL
  16. VK3FPSR
  17. VK2YMU
  18. VK4CZ
  19. VK4NH
  20. VK4DXA
  21. ZL4TY/VK4
  22. VK3DBP
  23. VK7JON/p (Eugenia State Reserve VKFF-1800)
  24. VK7FOLK/ (Eugenia State Reserve VKFF-1800)
  25. VK3TKK/m
  26. VK3MPR
  27. VK2FAAA/3
  28. VK7ALH
  29. VK2VW
  30. VK3ARH
  31. VK3NDX
  32. VK2IO/m
  33. VK3WAR
  34. VK3EAC
  35. VK2AB
  36. VK7EE
  37. VK2JDS
  38. VK3MCK
  39. VK4NKL/p
  40. VK4FARR
  41. VK5FMWW
  42. VK4FDJL
  43. VK3VBC
  44. VK2FHIT
  45. VK7EK
  46. VK1TX
  47. VK5MK/m
  48. VK5WU
  49. VK5DW
  50. VK3FDZE
  51. VK5VGC
  52. VK3TNL
  53. VK3STU
  54. VK3ZNK
  55. VK5AUS
  56. VK5TBC/m
  57. VK5HS
  58. VK7QP
  59. VK6CP
  60. VK5PE
  61. VK6MB/3
  62. VK2OD
  63. VK5FBUD
  64. VK5GP
  65. VK2EMI
  66. VK3UCD
  67. VK4VXX/6
  68. VK4RF
  69. VK4HA
  70. VK7LH
  71. VK2GAZ
  72. VK5FLKJ
  73. VK3NBL
  74. VK1MCW
  75. VK5MAS
  76. VK5PW
  77. VK5WF
  78. VK2YK/p (Hat Head National Park VKFF-0230)
  79. VK5LA/p (Jallumba Marsh Flora Reserve VKFF-2338 )
  80. VK1DI/2 (Barren Grounds Nature Reserve VKFF-1885)
  81. VK3AHR
  82. VK3CWF
  83. ZL1TM
  84. VK3KMH
  85. VK2HHA
  86. VK3SX
  87. VK3IRM
  88. VK3MLU
  89. VK3MKE
  90. VK2HBO
  91. IK1GPG
  92. VK3CGB
  93. VK3IL/p
  94. VK7KT
  95. VK2PKT
  96. VK2GJC
  97. VK2CAF
  98. VK7FRJG
  99. VK2HRX/3
  100. VK2PBC/p (QRP)
  101. VK4RG
  102. VK2XXM
  103. VK6LG
  104. VK1JP/2
  105. VK7HAM
  106. VK7PAK
  107. VK6SKY
  108. VK3VGB
  109. EA1DLU
  110. VK3CRG/p
  111. VK5LSB
  112. VK3XPT/p (military tx)

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4TJ
  2. VK4/AC8WN
  3. VK4/VE6XT
  4. VK4NH
  5. VK4DXA
  6. ZL4TY/VK4
  7. VK2GZ
  8. VK6MAC
  9. VK4CZ
  10. VK4PDX
  11. VK4VXX/6
  12. VK2HDX
  13. VK4TMZ
  14. K7CAR/p (Dixie National Forest KFF-4395)
  15. VK4AS
  16. VK2JON
  17. VK4HNS

I worked the following station on 20m AM:-

  1. VK4VXX/6

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FMWW
  2. VK5DW
  3. VK7QP
  4. VK5HS/m
  5. VK5YX
  6. VK3AHR

 

 

References.

Forestry SA, 2016, Mount Panorama, Knott Hill & Christmas Hill Native Forest Reserves Management Plan.

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