Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752 and the 2018 VKFF Team Championship

Yesterday (Saturday 27th October 2018) was the annual VKFF Team Championship.  The idea of the event is to form a team of 2-4 people and head out to a qualifying VKFF park or parks, and log as many stations as you can in a 6 hour period.  A number of amateurs have kindly donated money towards trophies for the winners.  Future Systems and Pages of Cobram kindly sponsor the event, and offer prizes.  Thankyou very much for your support.

Marija and I took part in the Championship, and activated the Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752, which is located about 77 km south east of Adelaide, and about 11 km south east of the town of Langhorne Creek in the Langhorne Creek wine region.

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 1.31.06 pm

Above:- Map showing the location of the Todlerol Game Reserve, south east of Adelaide.  Map courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Tolderol is about 428 hectares in size and is situated on the north-western side of Lake Alexandrina.  It was proclaimed in 1970 and consists of a series of man made open and shallow basins, with connecting channels and levee banks.

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 1.33.50 pm.png

Above:- Aerial shot of the Tolderol Game Reserve.  Image courtesy of google maps

Tolderol is a highly regarded bird watching location,  The shallow basisns, reed beds, lake shore and grassy banks, attract a wide range of birds.  Tolderol is part of the internationally significant RAMSAR wetlands.  Tolderol is open for hunting during gazetted dates, however it remains a critical habitat for protected birds.  About 180 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve.

The park is well signposted off the Langhorne Creek-Wellington Road.  Travel south along Dog Lake Road, and after crossing Mosquito Creek Road, you will come to a set of gates.  These are sometimes shut, but unlocked.  On our visit they were open.  Continue along Dog Lake Road and you will come to a second gate, which is normally shut, but unlocked.  There is a park sign at this location.


Above:- Marija at the park entrance.

We soon came across out first lot of feathered friends, some Australian White Ibis.  Whilst taking these photos, I heard a slight rustle in the reeds on the side of the road.  It was a large red-bellied black snake.  It was  reminder that this was a warm day, and we were in snake territory.  In fact the information board at the start of the park reminds visitors that Tolderol is home to many snakes, including the deadly Tiger Snake.  So if you head down this way, be vigilant and do not walk through long grass.

Ponds 7, 6 & 5 soon came into view and they were alive with birds including Black Swans and hundreds of Whiskered Terns.

I also spotted a number of other birds including Purple Swamphens, Sandpipers, Caspian Terns, and Ibis.

We continued on to the camp ground area in the reserve.  There are tables and chairs here, and importantly, a cleared grassed area, allowing the spotting of snakes more easy.  We had the campground all to ourselves.

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 1.28.33 pm.png

It was a beautiful sunny day with a stiff and refreshing breeze coming off the lake.  We set up underneath the awning of the Toyota Hi Lux.  We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.  Marija ran her allowed 10 watts PEP whilst on air, while I ran about 50 watts PEP.

Our operating spot was right on the banks of Lake Alexandrina, a large freshwater lake, which was named after Princess Alexandrina, niece and successor of King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland.  Lake Alexandrina adjoins the smaller Lake Albert, and together they are known as the Lower Lakes.

Marija and I had entered into the 40 & 80m/single transceiver/wire antenna/100 watts or less section of the Championship.  Our team name was ‘The Walky Talkies’.

Marija kicked off the activation first, with a Park to Park contact with Nick VK3ANL/p who was in the Gresswell Forest (part b) Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2103.  But it was a very slow start and in the early stages of the activation it did not look promising for the remainder of the day.  Fortunately propagation improved as the day went on.


Marija and I alternated operating on air, and tried our luck on both the 40m and 80m bands.  By around 4.00 p.m. local time, 40m was very difficult work due to the CQ World Wide DX Contest which also fell on this weekend.  But it did present some opportunities of working some DX on 40m.  However our ‘straight up and down’ antenna was not great for DX.  Despite hearing some excellent signals from Europe, the Carribean, and the USA, I was only able to log 5 USA stations and Chris YJ0CA in Vanuatu.


Despite operating conditions not being ideal, it was a magnificent location, with some sensational views.

Whilst Marija operated on air, I went off for walks, trying to snap some of the local birdlife.  It was the weekend of the National Twitchathon and National Bird Week, so it was appropriate to be in Tolderol.

Between the 2 of us, Marija and I managed a total of 122 x QSOs, which included 31 x Park to Park contacts.  We were really pleased to log 4 of the 5 other participating teams:

  • Mark VK4SMA and Murray VK4MWB, ‘The VK4WIPeouts’
  • Les VK5KLV and Steve VK5MSD, ‘Voices of the Gulf’.
  • Gerard VK2IO and Alan VK2MG, ‘Central Coast Lightning Bolts’
  • Peter VK3PF and Allen VK3ARH, ‘The BallaRats’.

Unfortunately we missed Hans VK6XN and Phil VK6ADF, ‘The Gooseberry Hillbillies’.  We saw a spot come up on 40m for Hans and Phil but with all the contest activity, it was a challenge to hear them.

All in all, Marija and I had a very enjoyable day.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3ANL/p (Gresswell Forest (part b) Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2013)
  2. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  3. VK5MSD/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK3NSC
  5. VK3AHR
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK3VAR
  8. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  9. VK2IO/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  10. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-019 &Warrenheip Flora Reserve VKFF-2402)
  11. VK7AN
  12. VK3FRC
  13. VK2BV
  14. VK3ALN/p
  15. VK3HN
  16. VK3NBL
  17. VK3NLK
  18. VK3LTL
  19. VK4SMA/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  20. VK4FDJL
  21. VK7DW
  22. VK3PF/p (Woowookarung Regional Park VKFF-1879)
  23. VK3ARH/p (Woowookarung Regional Park VKFF-1879)
  24. VK4MWB/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  25. VK3ANL
  26. VK2PEZ
  27. VK2ZEP
  28. VK4PDX
  29. VK3APP
  30. VK6IQ

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5AYL
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK3PF/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-019 & Warrenheip Flora Reserve VKFF-2402)
  4. VK3ARH/p (SOTA VK3/ VC-019 & Warrenheip Flora Reserve VKFF-2402)
  5. VK5KC
  6. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  7. VK5MSD/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  8. VK5NRG
  9. VK5FMWW
  10. VK5WU
  11. VK5VCR
  12. VK5LEX
  13. VK5YX
  14. VK2WG
  15. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  16. VK3FLCS/p (Langley Flora Reserve VKFF-2366)

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK2IO/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  2. VK2HHA
  3. VK3AHR
  4. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  5. VK5MSD/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK1DA/2 (SOTA VK2/ ST-005 & Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054)
  8. VK1MIC/2 (SOTA VK2/ ST-005 & Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054)
  9. VK3PAT
  10. VK5WG
  11. VK3LTL
  12. VK2RP/m
  13. VK2BDR/m
  14. VK3ALN/p
  15. VK3ANL/p (Gresswell Forest (part b) Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2103)
  16. VK1BL/2 (SOTA VK2/ ST-005 & Brindabella National Park VKFF-0054)
  17. VK3FLCS
  18. VK5AYD
  19. VK5AYL
  20. VK2PKT
  21. VK3VAR
  22. VK3NLK
  23. VK2UXO
  24. VK2MG/p (Wyrrabalong National Park VKFF-0550)
  25. VK3XPT/m
  26. VK4SMA/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  27. VK4FDJL
  28. VK2WWV
  29. VK3CRG
  30. VK3TKK/m
  31. VK7ZGK
  32. VK3PF/p (Woowookarung Regional Park VKFF-1879)
  33. VK3ARH/p (Woowookarung Regional Park VKFF-1879)
  34. VK3MAB
  35. VK3FSPG
  36. VK3MPR
  37. VK3ELH
  38. VK4TJ
  39. VK4/AC8WN
  40. VK4/VE6XT
  41. VK7DW
  42. VK3HBG
  43. VK3TP
  44. VK4MWB/p (Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427)
  45. VK7KR
  46. VK5MR
  47. VK2PEZ
  48. VK2ZEP
  49. ZL1TM
  50. VK2FHQQ
  51. ZL2AJ
  52. VK2MOR
  53. ZL1RQ
  54. K7RL
  55. N3AD
  56. YJ0CA
  57. K3LR
  58. K1TTT
  59. K9CT

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK5MRT
  2. VK5KLV/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  3. VK5MSD/p (Upper Spencer Gulf Marine Park VKFF-1757)
  4. VK5BJE
  5. VK5PL
  6. VK3SQ
  7. VK5FMWW
  8. VK5YX
  9. VK3FLCS/p (Langley Flora Reserve VKFF-2366)
  10. VK3DHW
  11. VK2WG
  12. VK2YW
  13. VK2KJJ
  14. VK2TH
  15. VK2FBKT
  16. VK2HMV
  17. ZL2AJ

At the end of the activation, Marija and I did some exploring of the park down its many tracks.  Access to the main section of the park can be made in a conventional vehicle, but if you are going to explore the less driven tracks, a 4WD is required.


We drove down to some of the other ponds and spotted more birds including Red-kneed Dotterel, & Black tailed native hens.

As we left the park we enjoyed a magnificent sunset. 




National Parks South Australia, 2018, <>, viewed 28th October 2018

Wikipedia, 2018, <>, viewed 28th October 2018


4 thoughts on “Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752 and the 2018 VKFF Team Championship

    • Hi John,

      This is a top spot, BUT the snakes are everywhere. You need to be very careful when walking around. Great place for bird photography (and radio of course).


      Paul VK5PAS

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