Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park

My second activation for Sunday 8th June 2014 was the Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park, which is located about 29 km north east of Mount Gambier, and about 425 km south east of Adelaide.  Sadly I do not have any photographs of this activation, because in my haste to leave the motel room I left behind the video camera battery, and my i-phone went flat on the top of Mount Burr.

The Tantanoola Cave is set into a cliff face, and is believed to have been exposed by the constant pounding of the ocean.  Over a period of time, the ocean has retreated, leaving behind a cavern of interesting shells, pebbles, and seal bones.  The cave itself is a comfortable 17 degrees all year round.  The same cannot be said for outside.  It was another freezing cold morning in the South East.

Tantanoola is derived from the aboriginal word tentunola, meaning boxwood / brushwood hill or camp.

The town of Tantanoola which is nearby, is famous for the mystery of the Tantanoola Tiger, a phantom cat which supposedly stalked the area during the late nineteenth century.   In August 1895 Thomas John Donovan, shot an animal which was believed to have been the mysterious predator.   The shot animal was determined to be an Arabian wolf, although how it arrived in South Australia has been the subject of a number of theories.  It is currently preserved and on display at the Tantanoola Hotel.


Image courtesy of http://www.news.com.au

For more information on the Tantanoola Tiger, please click on the link below…..


Below is an article from the Adelaide Observer, dated 24 August 1895.

Screenshot 2014-06-13 16.36.35

Article courtesy of http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au

I set up on a grassed area just down from the visitor centre, where there was enough room to string out the legs of the dipole.  There had been quite a bit of rain overnight, and it wasn’t long before my sandshoes & socks were drenched.  Not the best combination with a cold/chest infection.  My apologies to all of the callers, as I was starting to loose my voice.  This spot was also very close to the Princes Highway, which was very busy, so I had to endure the traffic noise.  This location was virtually noise free on the radio however.

Screenshot 2014-06-12 13.51.13

I had set up in the park by 10.50 p.m. local S.A. time.  My first contact was with Peter VK3PF with a solid 5/9 signal, and this was followed by Nick VK3ANL on SOTA summit Mt Yaranula/Lang, VK3/ VS-007, which is also located in the Grampians National Park, VKFF-213.  That was a bonus.  A SOTA contact and a WWFF park.

I managed two more SOTA contacts from Tantanoola and that was with Ian VK1DI/2 who was on Rock Hill VK2/ RI-026, near Wagga, with a cracking 5/9 signal.  And then Andrew VK1NAM/2 who was portable on SOTA peak Big Badja Hill VK2/ SM-059, which is also located within the Deua National Park, VKFF-138.  Another SOTA & WWFF contact.  Gotta be happy with that.  It is really pleasing to see SOTA activators calling park activators.

Here is a link to Ian VK1DI’s site re his activation of Rock Hill….


And here is a link to Andrew VK1NAM’s blog re his activation of Big Badja Hill…..


I also spoke with some of the guys from the Whyalla Amateur Radio Club who were out activating the Whyalla Conservation Park.  They were Les VK5KLV/p; Peter VK5KPR/p; and Pat VK5HAE/p.  All with beautiful 5/9 signals coming in from the Eyre Peninsula.  In February I had delivered a presentation to the Whyalla Amateur Radio Club in, so it appears that a few of the hams up there have become interested in park activity.

And I also made contact with Tony VK3VTH/5 who was operating from the Coorong National Park, VKFF-173.  Tony’s signal was much stronger than on Saturday.  This was my third WWFF/VKFF contact whilst at Tantanoola Caves.  Thanks to Scott VK7NWT who kindly told me that Tony was operating on 7.144.

The 40m band was very busy with contesters for the VK Shires Contest.  Some with very wide signals.  I see that I am not the only one to experience this.  Marshall VK3MRG has included this observation in his most recent blog…..


And despite the fact that I was not calling CQ contest, but rather calling ‘CQ VK5 Parks award’ I was still called by a handful of stations wanting my designator for the Shires contest.  I had no idea and made it quite clear I was not participating in the contest.  But this didn’t stop one or two operators kindly telling me what locator I was in and giving me their designator, despite the fact that I intimated I was not interested.  Oh well.

I only managed the 1 QRP contact from Tantanoola Caves, and that was with Andrew VK3ARR who had a solid 5/9 signal.

After operating for about 40 minutes, my voice had totally given up and it was time to head back to Mount Gambier and to the South East Radio Group 50 year convention.  I had 25 contacts in the log with some very nice SOTA, VKFF, and VK5 park to park contacts.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:

Peter VK3PF; Nick VK3ANL/p; Steve VK3MEG; Arno VK5ZAR; John VK5PO; Barry VK5BW; Nigel VK5NIG’ Phil VK3BHR; Dennis VK5HH; Ian VK1DI/2; David VK5NQP; Greg VK5ZGY/m; VK5MU; Les VK5KLV/p; Andrew VK3ARR; Peter VK5NAQ; Peter VK5KPR/p; Ian VK3VIN; John VK5FTCT; Scott VK7NWT; Pat VK5HAE/p; Tony VK3VTH/5; Andrew VK1NAM/p; Alan VK5AR/m; and Ron VK3AFW.



Wikipedia, Tantanoola South Australia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tantanoola,_South_Australia


3 thoughts on “Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park

  1. Pingback: SOTA Activation Big Badja Hill and Bald Mountain | VK1NAM Summits on the Air (SOTA)

  2. Pingback: Tantanoola Caves Conservation Park VKFF-804 | vk5pas

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