Today (Monday 15th July 2019) I packed the 4WD and headed south to the Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752. I have activated Tolderol previously, so today’s activation would go towards the Boomerang Award.
Tolderol is located about 77 km south-east of Adelaide, and about 12 km south of Langhorne Creek.
After leaving home I headed south on Wellington Road, travelling through the town of Woodchester. I then took Meechi Road and soon reached the Langhorne Creek wine growing region and then the town of Langhorne Creek which takes its name from Alfred Langhorne, a cattle drover who brought cattle overland from New South Wales during the 1840s.
Langhorne stopped to rest and feed his stock on the fertile local pastures, then referred by ‘overlanders’ as Langhorne’s Station. The place where Langhorne traversed the Bremer River became known as Langhorne’s Crossing. The first bridge built over the Bremer River in 1847 and the town surveyed in 1849, becoming known as Langhorne’s Bridge.
Areas known as Bremerton (Bremer Town) and Kent Town were encompassed in the broader area that became Langhorne’s Creek and later renamed Langhorne Creek.
In 1850 Frank Potts settled on the rich ancient flood plain of the Bremer River and planted the first vineyards in the district in the early 1860s.
Today the Langhorne Creek wine region is well known for the production of outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz. These two red wine grape varieties constitute approximately 70% of the total vineyard plantings in the region.
I headed out of Langhorne Creek on the Langhorne Creek to Wellington Road and soon reached the turnoff to Tolderol. This is well signposted and is located at the junction with Dog Lake Road.
After a number of km I reached the intersection of Dog Lake Road, Mosquito Creek Road, and Marandoo Road. Tolderol is signposted at this location. I continued south on Dog Lake Road.
I soon reached the first of two gates. Today the gate was closed. Sometimes you will find it open. As the sign on the gate says, leave the gate as you find it.
I headed slowly along Dog Lake Road with a number of obstacles along the way in the form of cattle.
I then turned left at the dog leg in the road. There is another park sign here.
I then reached gate one of the park, the start of the Tolderol Game Reserve.
Tolderol Game Reserve is 428 hectares in size and was first proclaimed on the 8th day of January 1970. Initially, the reserve consisted of 226 hectares. On the 26th day of February 1970, the land was re-proclaimed as a fauna conservation reserve. Two years later on the 27th day of April 1972, it was reconstituted as a game reserve. An additional 202 hectares were added on the 10th day of January 1980.
The reserve consists of extensive areas of samphire, reed and sedges with large open areas of water. A series of seventeen ponds have been constructed which provide habitat for a wide variety of waterbirds. The park is located on the northwestern side of Lake Alexandrina.
Tolderol is a highly regarded bird watching location, The shallow basins, reed beds, lakeshore 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.
As I entered the park a large flock of waterbirds were disturbed. Initially, I thought it was me and the sound of the 4WD.
But I then noticed a bird of prey which was flying across the pond and it was the cause of the other birds to take to the sky.
About 182 species of bird have been recorded in the reserve by Birds SA. This includes Black Swan, Pacific Black Duck, Whiskered Tern, Straw-necked Ibis, Spur-winged Plover, Golden-headed Cisticola, Australia Reed Warbler, Latham’s Snipe, White-winged Tern, Spotless Crake, Baillon’s Crake, Ruff, and Long-toed Stint.
Below is a short documentary showing the wide variety of birds located in the park.
I took quite a few bird photos during my visit to Tolderol. Some of those appear below.
During my visit to the park, I also observed a number of kangaroos.
I travelled to the picnic area in the park. There are three tables and benches here and plenty of area to stretch out a dipole.
My operating spot was right alongside the northern shore of Lake Alexandrina which takes its name after Princess Alexandrina, the niece and successor of King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland.
For this activation, I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 30 watts output, and the 20/40/80m linked dipole which was supported by my 7-metre telescopic squid pole. I secured the legs of the antenna with some tent pegs.
After switching on the transceiver I tuned to 7.144 and asked if the frequency was in use. Ron VK3AHR came back to my call to advise that the frequency was clear. This happens quite often where I don’t even get the chance to call CQ. It appears that some of the park diehards sit on 7.144 waiting for activity.
After logging Ron I spoke with Brett VK2VW, Karl VK2GKA, and then Cliff VK2NP. This was followed by a Park to Park with Mike VK6MB/3 who was activating the Bolton Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2272.
Contact number ten was with Ray VK4NH, just 9 minutes into the activation. Although I had previously qualified the park it is always nice to get 10 and then 44 contacts in the log during an activation.
I logged a total of 24 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7. It appeared that close in propagation was non-existent again, with just the one South Australian station logged. That being Adrian VK5FANA on the Yorke Peninsula. Adrian was very low down, 4/1, but was readable due to the low noise floor in the park.
I moved down to the 80m band and stated calling CQ on 3.610 after placing a self spot on parksnpeaks. First in the log was Gerard VK2IO/5 who was mobile near Woomera in the north of South Australia. This was followed by John VK5BJE, Sue VK5AYL, and then Peter VK3PF. I logged a further 5 stations on 80m before callers on that band dried up.
With 33 contacts in the log, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links for the 20m band. I was about to start calling CQ on 20m when I saw a spot pop up on 40m for Mike VK6MB/3 who was now in a different park.
So it was back down with the squid pole and in with the 40m links. I headed for 7.135 and logged Mike who was in the Moss Tank Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2394.
After working Mike I moved back to 20m and called CQ on 14.310 for about 5 minutes with no callers. So I headed back to 40m for one final go on that band before packing up for the day. Ken VK2HBO was the first to come back to my call, followed by Compton VK2HRX/5 mobile near Maree in the Far North of South Australia.
I logged a further 13 stations from VK1, VK2, VK4, and VK7.
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
- VK6MB/3 (Bolton Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2272)
- VK6MB/3 (Moss Tank Flora & Fauna Reserve VKFF-2394)
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Birds SA, 2019, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/tolderol-game-reserve/>, viewed 15th July 2019.
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Alexandrina_(South_Australia)>, viewed 15th July 2019.
Wikipedia, 2019, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek,_South_Australia>, viewed 15th July 2019