Day three of our trip was Thursday 13th October, 2016, and this involved a 265 km drive back to Adelaide from the Riverland. Andrew and I were very pleased with the way our talks on the WIA were received in Mount Gambier and the Riverland.
Above:- Map showing our route from Barmera in the Riverland, to Adelaide, and then back to Mount Barker for me. Map courtesy of plotaroute.com
Andrew and I had planned to activate the Moorok Game Reserve, but as we drove along the Sturt Highway we saw the sign for the Loch Luna Game Reserve, and decided that Loch Luna would be our park for the morning. Loch Luna Game Reserve VKFF-1723 is situated about 225 km north east of Adelaide and about 3 km west of Barmera.
Above:- Map showing the location of the Loch Luna Game Reserve in the Riverland region of S.A. Map courtesy of Protected Planet.
Loch Luna Game Reserve if about 2,059 hectares in size and comprises a range of water bodies including narrow creeks and shallow swamps. This habitat provides an important habitat for numerous aquatic birds and native mammals. The rare White Bellied Sea Eagle can be located in the park.
The park was proclaimed on the 7th November 1985 with exception to a parcel of land known as Sugarloaf Hill within the boundaries of the game reserve which has been excluded from protection for the purpose of mining activity.
The park is a game reserve and the hunting of waterfowl is allowed in the reserve, but only on declared days.
The main entrance to the reserve is near Nappers Bridge on the western side of Lake Bonney, about 10 kilometres from Barmera. But Andrew and I headed to an area of the park called the Kaiser Strip. It is a small section of the park, over the Kingston Bridge, opposite the town of Cobdogla. We found a small cleared area alongside the Murray River, and it was here that we established the station which consisted of the Yaesu FT857d, 40 watts and the 20/40/80m linked dipole.
Above:- Aerial shot of the park showing our operating spot. Image courtesy of Protected Planet.
I started off on 40m and started calling CQ on 7.144. It was incredibly slow going. Not surprising as we had not advertised on parksnpeaks our intentions. But eventually I had a responder to my CQ calls. My first contact was with Trent VK7HRS, followed by Kevin VK3CKL, and then Peter VK3PF. Once I had my 10 contacts in the log I handed the mic to Andrew.
Directly opposite us on the other side of the river was the nest of a Whistling Kite, high atop a dead gum tree on the edge of the river. Whistling Kites are a medium sized raptor bird of prey. During our activating we were rewarded with the call of the birds which is a clear descending whistle which is often followed by a rapid series of rising notes.
I took the opportunity of photographing some other birds I observed in the park, whislt Andrew was on air. They included Crimson Rosellas, WHite Plumed Honeyeaters, Pelicans, Spoonbills, and Cormorants.
Other than 40m, Andrew put out a number of calls on 80m but we had no takers. During our activation the local ranger arrived and we had a quick chat about amateur radio. He advised that he had found amateurs in parks previously in the Riverland region, and he was aware of the parks program.
It was time to pack up and get back into Adelaide, and drop Andrew off at the airport. I will go back to this park in the near future to pick up the remaining contacts to add towards the 44 required QSOs to qualify the park.
Thanks to Mick VK3GGG, Col VK5HCF, and Peter VK3PF for spotting us on parksnpeaks.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
Department for Environment and Heritage, 2009, ‘Parks of the Riverland’
Wikipedia, 2016, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Luna_Game_Reserve>, viewed 14th October 2016