Yesterday (Monday 10th June 2019) was quite a nice day with a little bit of sunshine. And with the next 7 days being predicted to be very wet, Marija VK5FMAZ and I decided to head out to do a park activation. We chose the Cudlee Creek Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2889. This would be a first-time activation of the park.
The park is located about 35 km northeast of the city of Adelaide and about 8km northwest of the town of Lobethal.
Marija and I drove out through the towns of Woodside and Lobethal and on to Post Office Road. We then headed north on Staffords Road and then west on Croft Road. We soon reached the Mount Crawford Forest Reserve and enjoyed some magnificent views. However, this is not the reserve.
We travelled passed the Anderson Hill winery and then turned right into Prankerd Road. This is a no through road and there is a locked gate (with about 10 padlocks) about 100 metres down the road. The park is about a 300-400 metre walk down the track to reach the park boundary. The track is part of the Mawson Trail which stretches for about 900 km, starting at Gorge Road in the Adelaide Hills and finishing at Blinman in the Flinders Ranges.
The Cudlee Creek Native Forest Reserve (NFR) is not to be confused with the Cudlee Creek Conservation Park which is located to the northeast of the reserve. The Cudlee Creek NFR is about 352 hectares in size and along with the nearby Coralinga NFR forms part of the Mount Crawford Forest Reserve in the Mount Lofty Ranges ‘Adelaide Hills’.
The reserve consists of various native vegetation including Messmate stringybark, SA Blue gum, Rough-barked manna gum, River red gum, and Candlebark gum. A number of plants considered to be rare and endangered can be found in the reserve. Mount Misery is the highest point in the reserve, rising to about 560 metres above sea level near the northern boundary of the reserve. The Cudlee Creek NFR is bounded to the west by the Montacute Conservation Park, and to the north, it adjoins the Kangaroo Creek Reservoir. Other boundaries adjoin private property.
Numerous native birds can be found in the reserve including the vulnerable Yellow-tailed black cockatoo and the White-naped honeyeater
Native mammals found in the reserve include Western grey kangaroo, Koala, Short-beaked echidna, Common ringtail possum, Chocolate wattled bat, and Large Forest bat.
After parking the 4WD at the gate on Prankerd Road we walked downhill to the reserve, making a few trips back to the vehicle for equipment. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation. Marija’s output power was 10 watts, while I ran 40 watts.
I kicked off the activation on 7.140 by asking if the frequency was in use. The nominal WWFF frequency of 7.144 was not available due to other amateurs having a QSO on 7.146. Peter VK3PF came back to advise the frequency was clear, and in turn, he became my first contact for the activation. Deryck VK4FDJL then called in, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Gerard VK2IO/5 who was activating the Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927. Marija also logged Gerard for a Park to Park contact.
Within 7 minutes I had contact number 10 in the log, with the park now qualified for VKFF. Contact number 10 was with John VK4/VE6XT. I continued to work a slow but steady flow of callers, but with 33 contacts in the log, callers dried up.
Marija had returned from a walk along the Mawson Trail, and it was her turn to jump into the operator’s chair whilst I went for a walk. First to call Marija was Peter VK3PF, followed by Lee VK2LEE, and then Deryck VK4FDJL. It didn’t take long and Marija had also qualified the park for VKFF with 10 QSOs. Contact number 10 was with Ray VK4NH.
I went for a walk along the Mawson Trail and enjoyed some of the views in between the trees of the valley on the northern side of the reserve. I also came across this old rusted frame below. Not sure exactly what it is from, but it has clearly been there for a long time, as a small gum tree was growing in amongst the frame.
Once I returned from my walk, I jumped back in to the ‘drivers seat and called CQ again on 7.140. To my surprise, I was called by Frederic F5USK in France. This was followed by Rob VK4HAT, Ken VK3ALA, and then Stu VK3STU. I logged a further 4 stations before heading to the 20m band.
I called CQ on 14.310 for a few minutes with no takers. This was not looking good. Ray VK4NH gave me a call, but his signal was very low and unfortunately Ray could not hear me. I had a quick tune across the 20m band and could only hear one station, ZS3Y on 14.165. I went back to 14.310 and called CQ again, this time resulting in me logging a total of 12 stations including Stuie VK8NSB in Darwin, and Bert VK6HDY/p activating the Karinji National Park VKFF-0257. This was Bert’s first park activation and I was Bert’s first ever Park to Park contact. Interestingly there was a little bit of close-in propagation on 20m with 5 South Australian stations featuring in the log.
It was time to try 80m. I called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Hans VK5YX in the southern suburbs of Adelaide with a big signal. This was followed by Phil VK5SRP and then John VK5BJE. I logged a total of 12 stations on 80m from VK2, VK3, and VK5.
To finish off the activation I went back to 40m for one final round of CQ calls. I logged a further 10 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5 and VK8. This included Stuie in Darwin for a second band, and Perrin VK3XPT using his Clansman military transceiver.
I now had 75 contacts in the log and the local time was just after 4.30 p.m. It was starting to get a bit chilly, so Marija and I packed up and headed home.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2IO/5 (Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927)
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK2IO/5 (Piccanninie Ponds Conservation Park VKFF-0927)
I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-
- VK6HDY/p (Karinji National Park VKFF-0257)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
It was a slow drive home with quite a few kangaroos out and about on the road.
THANKS to everyone who called and a BIG THANKS to those who took the time to spot us.
Forestry SA, Sept 2006, ‘Cudlee Creek & Coralinga Native Forest Reserves Management Plan’