Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2896

On Boxing Day (26th December 2020) I headed down to the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide to activate some parks. They were all to be parks that I had activated previously, but would go towards my 2020 VKFF Activator tally.

My first park was the Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve (NFR) VKFF-2896 which is located about 100 km south of Adelaide.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Springs Road Native Forest Reserve. Map courtesy of Google maps.

The Congeratinga, Kalmunda, and Springs Road Native Forest Reserves form part of the Second Valley Forest Reserve in the Southern Mount Lofty Ranges which are managed by Forestry SA. The Reserves, including Congeratinga are located on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide. In 1802 French explorer Nicolas Baudin named the peninsula after Charles Pierre Claret de Fleurieu who was a French explorer and hydrographer.

Above:- An aerial shot of the Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve, looking south towards Kangaroo Island. Image c/o Google maps.

The Congeratinga NFR is about 77.3 hectares in size and is located about 2km south-west of the Range
Road and Springs Road intersection. Commercial pine plantations can be located on the western boundary of the reserve. All other boundaries of the reserve are adjacent private property.

Congeratinga NFR conserves remnant native vegetation which was once found widely across the Fleurieu Peninsula. It is estimated that just 15% of the original vegetation remains today. The reserve also conserves areas of Fleurieu Peninsula Swamp which is a Threatened Ecological Community. It is also suspected that the nationally endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot can be found in the reserve. Also found in the reserve is the endangered Southern Emu-Wren.

The reserve is located at the headwaters of the Congeratinga River which flows to the north towards Gulf St Vincent. The mouth of the Congeratinga, known in the 19th century as ‘Cutter Flat’ is now the site of the Marina St Vincent.

Congeratinga comes from the aboriginal Kaurna language. It is believed to mean ‘place of human birthing blood’. The first European record of the word Congeratinga was the River Congeratinga marked on the first maps of the surveyors of the district. In June and August 1840 the first survey of the area was carried out under the leadership of Nathaniel Kentish, James Poole, and G. Bryan. The European surveyors used aboriginal guides who no doubt gave the name.

I travelled south from home along Bull Creek Road and then onto Deep Creek Road, then south on the Goolwa Road and onto Flagstaff Hill Road. I stopped briefly to enjoy the superb views of the Finniss River, Currency Creek, Goolwa, and down to the Coorong.

I continued on to the beautiful seaside town of Victor Harbor, stopping briefly at the George Fisher Lookout on Waitpinga Road to enjoy the view of Victor Harbor, Granite Island, and The Bluff.

I then headed west along Range Road where there are brilliant views of Back Valley, Torrens Vale, and the Southern Ocean. As I headed to the park I logged John VK5BJE/p who was activating the Mount Billy Conservation Park VKFF-0912. We were able to make contact despite my VSWR being high as I was unable to tune the Codan 9350 antenna due to an issue with the interface.

I soon reached the park which is well signposted. I have activated Congeratinga once before back in 2019. This time I parked my 4WD at the gate near the south-eastern corner of the reserve and walked a short distance along the fire track and set up my station.

I ran the Yaesu FT-857d and a 20/40/80m linked dipole, and a 15m dipole for this activation. Unfortunately I had forgotten by clock, so I made a phone call to my wife Marija VK5MAZ, who made the decision to come down and join me for the activations.

First in the log was John VK5BJE in Mount Billy VKFF-0912. John had a very nice 5/7 signal and was kind enough to hand over the frequency 7.150 to me. Next in the log was Adrian VK5FANA who was a strong 5/9, followed by Brian VK3BBB.

Contact number 6 was with Peter VK3PF/p who was activating SOTA summit VK3/ VE-097. Two QSOs later and I had another Park to Park contact in the log with a QSO with Gerard VK2IO/p who was activating the Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049. Contact number 10, qualifying the park for the VKFF program, was a QSO with Allen VK3ARH.

Band conditions on 40m were very poor and I struggled to get any further contacts with Allen, so I lowered down the squid pole and inserted the links on the dipole for the 80m band, hoping to get some contacts on that band. Sadly I was very disappointed, with just 2 contacts logged there with Adrian VK5FANA and Grant VK5GR. Both Adrian and Grant were struggling to hear me. This was not a good sign. I strongly suspected that I wouldn’t make the 44 QSO mark to qualify the park for the global WWFF program.

I then moved to the 20m band and started calling CQ on 14.310. First in the log on that band was Scott VK4CZ with a big 5/9 signal. He reciprocated with a 5/9 for me. This was followed by Hans VK6XN who was 5/8 (5/7 received). This was promising. The 20m band seemed to be in good shape.

I ended up logging a total of 21 stations on 20m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and New Zealand. This included another Park to Park with Gerard in the Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049 and a contact with Peter VK3PF/p on SOTA summit VK3/ VE-104.

I now had 33 contacts in the log and Marija had arrived at the park. Marija was keen to qualify the park for VKFF, so she jumped into the operators seat and started calling CQ on 7.144. First in the log was Ian VK5CZ from the Clare Valley with a big 5/9 signal. This was followed by David VK5PL in the southern Barossa Valley who was also 5/9, and then Allen VK3ARH.

Marija logged a total of 14 stations from VK1, VK3, and VK5. This included a Park to Park contact with Ian VK1DI/p who was activating the Undoo Nature Reserve VKFF-2751.

I had just 11 contacts to get to reach my target of 44. I also logged Ian VK1DI/p for a Park to Park contact and then called CQ on 7.144. Unfortunately there were no takers, so Marija and I took down the linked dipole and put up a 15m dipole. Marija spotted me on parksnpeaks and I called CQ on 21.244.

First in the log on 15m was Rod VK7RG, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Scott VK4CZ. Contact number 44 was a QSO with Grant VK2LX.

I logged a total of 15 stations on 15m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK7, and New Zealand.

It was time to pack up and head off to our next park, the Springs Road Native Forest Reserve.

I was really pleased to see the 15m band open again. I had used 15m with quite a bit of success during the 2020 VKFF Activation Weekend.

Above:- Graph showing my QSOs per band.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5CZ
  2. VK5PL
  3. VK3ARH
  4. VK5TR
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK5KKT
  7. VK3DAC
  8. VK3CU
  9. VK5YL
  10. VK1DI/p (Undoo Nature Reserve VKFF-2751)
  11. VK3ZPF
  12. VK5FANA
  13. VK5LB
  14. VK5NFT/m

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE/p (Mount Billy Conservation Park VKFF-0912)
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK3BBB
  4. VK2CCP
  5. VK5OHR
  6. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-097)
  7. VK5AYL
  8. VK2IO/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  9. VK5JOB
  10. VK3ARH
  11. VK1DI/p (Undoo Nature Reserve VKFF-2751)

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5FANA
  2. VK5GR

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK4CZ
  2. VK6XN
  3. VK3DAC
  4. VK4KC
  5. VK4HNS
  6. VK5AYL
  7. VK2MG
  8. VK3MCK
  9. VK3TKK
  10. VK4SMA
  11. VK4NH
  12. VK4DXA
  13. ZL4TY/VK4
  14. VK6GLX
  15. VK3CU
  16. VK5CZ
  17. VK2IO/p (Bouddi National Park VKFF-0049)
  18. VK3SQ
  19. VK2TER
  20. ZL1TM
  21. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VE-104)

I logged the following stations on 15m SSB:-

  1. VK7RG
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK4CZ
  4. VK3CWF
  5. VK7RV
  6. VK4NH
  7. VK4DXA
  8. ZL4TY/VK4
  9. VK4HNS
  10. VK2LX
  11. VK3DAC
  12. ZL1TM
  13. VK4KC
  14. VK4SMA
  15. VK3ARH


Foresty SA, 2016, ‘Second Valley Forest Reserve Management Plan’

The Southern Kaurna Place Names Project, 2019, <>

Wikipedia, 2020, <>, viewed 28th December 2020.

2 thoughts on “Congeratinga Native Forest Reserve VKFF-2896

  1. Hi Paul
    Glad to get one of your three parks while we were at Victor Harbor. Thanks for giving me a call at Mount Billy CP and a p2p qso.
    John D

    • Hi John,

      Not sure if you have visited Congeratinga, but it is a beautiful park. The spot where I set up is a nice shady spot to activate from and plenty of room to string out a dipole.

      Despite my antenna in the 4WD being unable to tune-up, I was able to copy you fine when you were in Mount Billy.

      Great to hear you out and about John.

      73 & HNY 2021.

      Paul VK5PAS.

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