Bool Lagoon Game Reserve VKFF-1687

It was now Monday 11th June 2018, and time for Marija and I to head back home after 3 very enjoyable nights in Mount Gambier.  We had hoped to activate a park or two on the way home, but hadn’t really decided on which one, as the weather was looking quite threatening.  So after another stop at Subway for breakfast we hit the road and headed north along the Riddoch Highway out of Mount Gambier.

As we approached Penola we decided upon turning off at Narracoorte and activating some parks between there and Bordertown, on the South Australian/Victorian border.  But as we continued northwards, the weather became more threatening and we decided to activate a closer park, the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve VKFF-1687.

Bool Lagoon is located about 26 km (by road) south of Narracoorte and about 359 km south east of Adelaide.

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Above:- Map showing the location of the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

This was to be another unique park for both Marija and I in the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.

The Bool Lagoon Game Reserve is about 3,103 hectares in size and was established on 8th June 1967.  It is one of the largest and most diverse freshwater lagoon systems in southern Australia.  In 1985, the area covered by both the game reserve and the Hacks Lagoon Conservation Park was added under the name “Bool and Hacks Lagoons” to the List of Wetlands of International Importance maintained by the Ramsar Convention.

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Above:- Aerial view of the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve.  Image courtesy of google maps 

Prior to its proclamation, Bool and Hacks Lagoons were subject to private pastoral leases.  In 1940 the Flora and Fauna Committee and the South Australian Ornithological Association (now Birds SA) proposed that all or part of the wetland be declared a Bird Sanctuary.    On the 8th June 1967, Sections 223 and 224 were proclaimed as a Game Reserve.  On Section 323 was added on the 29th August 1974, with Section 380 being added on 27th August 1992.  Section 330 and other land was added on 4th November 1993.

At certain times of the year there is no water at Bool Lagoon.  The park contains various habitat types including Tall Shrubland, Sedgeland, Grassland, Floating waterplants Herbland, and Open Water.

Bool Lagoon provides critical habitat for the nationally vulnerable Southern Bell Frog. Several hundred, perhaps thousands of these frogs live at Bool Lagoon.  The endangered Striped Legless Lizard also calls the park home.

Birds SA have recorded 183 native species of bird at Bool Lagoon.  This includes Black Swan, Australian Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australian White Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Eastern Great Egret, Swamp Harrier, Plumed Whistling Duck, Glossy Ibis, Black-backed Bittern, Cattle Egret, Spotted Harrier, Australian Pratincole, and Sacred Kingfisher.

Below are some photos of some of the birds we observed during our visit to Bool Lagoon.

We entered the park via the main entrance which runs off Bool Lagoon Road.  The reserve is well signposted.


There is an information board as you enter the park, with lots of interesting information about the reserve and its inhabitants.

We followed the track on the southern side of the lagoon and travelled to an area which is called Big Hill.  It was slow going along the track as there was lots of birdlife.


We set up in a clearing near Big Hill.  There was plenty of room to stretch out the dipole and not interfere with other users of the reserve.  We initially set up outside of the vehicle, but the rain struck during our activation so we retreated inside the vehicle for the remainder of the activation.

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Above:- Our operating spot in the Bool Lagoon Game Reserve.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I kicked off the activation, using the special call of VI50IARU3.  I had been allocated the call for a week, to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Amateur Radio Union in Region 3.

So what is the call about?

On the 12th April 1968, 50 years ago, a regional arm of the International Amateur Radio Union, IARU Region 3, was established in Sydney.  The IARU had been established a number of years earlier, in Paris, in 1925.  is an international confederation of national amateur radio organisations that allows a forum for common matters of concern and collectively represents matters to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).


First in the log from Bool Lagoon was Rob VK4AAC/5 at the Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025, followed by Andrew VK7DW, and then Gerard VK2JNG.  Despite this being a rarely activated park and a special call, the number of callers was far less than expected.  And after 15 minutes, callers had completely dried up on 40m.  I had 17 QSOs in the log, including another Park to Park contact, with Gerard VK2IO/p in the Macquarie Nature Reserve VKFF-1958.

I headed off to the 80m band where I called CQ on 3.610.  This was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Geoff VK3SQ, and then Peter VK3ZPF.  I logged a further 5 stations, including another Park to Park, with Rob VK4AAC/5 at Dingley Dell.


Marija then called CQ on 80m and logged 5 contacts from VK3 and VK5.  This included a Park to Park with Rob VK4AAC/5 at Dingley Dell.  Despite band conditions being quite good on the 80m band, callers soon stalled, so we headed back to 40m.  We put a call out on 7.144 to see if the frequency was in use and didn’t hear anything.  Ivan VK5HS/m then responded to our CQ call with a strong 5/9 signal.  But we then heard people tell us that the frequency was in use by a QRP station.  Rob VK4AAC then came up to let us know he was on the frequency but had been stomped on by VK5HS.  So after logging Rob, we moved down the band to 7.139.


I logged a total of 20 stations on 7.139, swapping the mic every now and again with Marija so she could log particular stations.  Marija’s 10th contact, qualifying the park for VKFF, was a QSO with Rob VK4AAC/5 at Dingley Dell.  Contact number 44 for me was with Kevin VK7KEV in Tasmania.  We also logged some more Park to Park contacts, with Alan VK2MG/p in the Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550, and Gerard VK2IO/p in the Lake Innes Nature Reserve VKFF-1955.  Other good contacts were with Bob VK6POP over in Western Australia, Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand, and Ivan VK5HS maritime mobile on the Cadell ferry.

To complete the activation I called CQ on 14.310 on the 20m where I logged 3 stations; Andrei ZL1TM in New Zealand, Cliff VK2NP in Sydney, and Alan VK2MG/p in the Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550 VKFF-0550.


Marija and I packed up, with another park under our belt, and took a walk along the boardwalk in the park.  Whilst doing so Marija put a call into Bournes Birds, a nearby tourist attracation, which we hoped to visit.  Unfortunately we reached their answering machine.  But 15 minutes later we received a call to advise they would open up for us, so it was off to Bournes Birds for us.  Just a short drive from the park.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5HS/m
  2. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK5UV
  5. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)
  6. VK2IO/p (Lake Innes Nature Reserve VKFF-1955)

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5BJE
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK5UV
  4. VK3ZPF
  5. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)
  2. VK7DW
  3. VK2JNG
  4. VK2AB
  5. VK5KLV
  6. VK4TJ
  7. VK2VW
  8. VK3PF
  9. VK1MIC
  10. VK2NP
  11. VK4YLU
  12. VK3UH
  13. VK7JOn/m
  14. VK2AMF
  15. VK7FOLK/m
  16. VK2YK
  17. VK2IO/p (Macquarie Nature Reserve VKFF-1958)
  18. VK5HS/m
  19. VK4FFAB
  20. VK3SQ
  21. VK7DW/p
  22. VK2NEO
  23. VK5UV
  24. VK2MG/p (VKFF-0550)
  25. VK7GN
  26. VK4PDX
  27. ZL1TM
  28. VK7QP
  29. VK5HS/mm
  30. VK2MCG
  31. VK5LG
  32. VK5FANA
  33. VK6POP
  34. VK2IO/p (Lake Innes Nature Reserve VKFF-1955 VKFF-1955)
  35. VK2PKT
  36. VK7KEV
  37. VK2CPC
  38. VK2MT/p
  39. VK3ZZS/7

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK3SQ
  3. VK3ZPF
  4. VK3ANL
  5. VK5BJE
  6. VK4AAC/5 (Dingley Dell Conservation Park VKFF-1025)
  7. VK5FANA
  8. VK5UV

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. ZL1TM
  2. VK2NP
  3. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550 VKFF-0550)




Birds SA, 2018, <>, viewed 18th June 2018

Wireless Instittue of Australia, 2018, <>, viewed 19th June 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <>, viewed 18th June 2018

2 thoughts on “Bool Lagoon Game Reserve VKFF-1687

  1. Hi Chris,

    This was my first use of the call. It wasn’t ideal weather conditions, but it was still a lot of fun using the call from the park.


    Paul VK5PAS.

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