Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752 and the 2020 VKFF Team Championship

Last weekend (Saturday 24th October 2020) was the annual VKFF Team Championship.

Marija and I were planning to do a beach activation at the Encounter Marine Park, but we had a large amount of rain overnight on Friday night, and when we got up on Saturday morning it was still raining and was very windy. We decided that sitting on the beach was not a good option.

So we changed our plans and headed to the Tolderol Game Reserve VKFF-1752, as we knew this was a park we could drive into and roll out the awning on the 4WD if the rain continued.

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

After a coffee and some breakfast and packing the 4WD we headed off towards the park. We drove into the nearby town of Strathalbyn and then took the Langhorne Creek Road. It wasn’t long before we were driving through the Langhorne Creek wine region which is located between the Adelaide Hills and Lake Alexandrina.

Langhorne Creek takes its name from Alfred ‘The Liar’ Langhorne who was a cattle drover who was renowned for his dishonest dealings.

The Langhorne Creek area has a cool maritime climate which is attributed to what the locals call ‘the Lake Doctor’. This is the wind which comes off Lake Alexandrina, which is a 600 sq km body of freshwater which is located at the end of the Murray Darling River system.

Langhorne Creek has fertile soil which is predominantly deep, alluvial sandy loams. Langhorne Creek is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, however, the region also produces Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Merlot.

The town of Langhorne Creek is a quaint little place with a population of about 427 (206 Census). It contains a number of historic buildings which date back to 1850, including the Methodist church, the hotel, and the general store.

We continued along the Langhorne Creek Road and then turned right onto Dog Lake Road and headed south. The park is signposted on Langhorne Creek Road.

There is normally a closed gate towards the end of Dog Lake Road. This gate is kept unlocked. This time we found the gate open. We continued south on Dog Lake Road and took the sharp left hand turn and soon reached the second gate which was closed but unlocked. This is where the Tolderol Game Reserve commences. Just after driving into the park you will find an information board.

The Tolderol Game Reserve is located about 85 km south-east of Adelaide, and is located on the edge of Lake Alexandrina. It is about 428 hectares in size.

Above:- An aerial view of Tolderol Game Reserve on the edge of Lake Alexandrina. Image courtesy of Google maps.

The reserve was proclaimed on 26th February 1970, with further land added on 10th January 1980. It has been modified into a series of 17 ponds or bays of water.

The reserve is located on the edge of Lake Alexandrina which the English settlers named the lake after Princess Alexandrina, the niece, and successor of King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland.

Birds SA have recorded a total of 164 species of bird in the reserve including Golden-headed Cisticola, Pacific Black Duck, Straw-necked Ibis, Spur-winged Plover, Black Swan, Whiskered Tern, Australian Reed Warbler, Baillon’s Crake, Spotless Crake, Ruff, Latham’s Snipe, Long-toed Stint, and White-winged Tern.

Below are some photographs of birds I sighted during our visit to the reserve.

Marija and I set up in the picnic/camping area where there are three concrete tables and benches. We ran the Yaesu FT-857d and the 20/40/80m linked dipole for this activation.

Above:- An aerial shot of Tolderol Game Reserve showing our operating spot. Image courtesy of Protected Planet.

Our operating spot was right alongside of Lake Alexandrina, and it was very windy with the squid pole flexing violently in the wind.

Our first contacts in the log were Mark VK4SMA/p and Murray VK4MWB/p who were taking part in the Team Championship as the ‘ VK4WIPeouts’. Mark and Murray were activating the Main Range National Park VKFF-0300.

Marija and I then moved to 7.139 and started calling CQ. We decided to occasionally swap the mic for contacts during this activation, so we operated with 10 watts PEP as per Marija’s Foundation licence. This made contacts a little more difficult and we found band conditions to be very challenging at times with lots of fading. Signals in and out of Victoria (VK3) were well down compared to usual.

There was no local propagation around South Australia (VK5) on the 40m band, with just John VK5HAA in the Adelaide Hills logged on that band.

As always the 80m band proved reliable for VK5 contacts. We also made contact with Bob VK3SX at Gunbower on 80m, and Rob VK2VH/VK4AAC/2 at Mulwala.

Other than Mark and Murray we also logged the following participants in the VKFF Team Championship:-

  1. Linda VK7QP ‘Tigers’ in the South Arm Nature Recreation Area VKFF-2929
  2. Gerard VK2IO/p and Alan VK2MG/p ‘QRParktivators’ in the Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361
  3. Rob VK4SYD/p and Scott VK4CZ/p ‘The VK4midables”, in the (\D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)

We also logged Deryck VK4FDJL/p who was activating the Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315, and Brian VK3BCM who was activating SOTA peak VK3/ VG-157.

We were also very happy to log two special event callsigns. The first being VI110WIA celebrating 110 years of the Wireless Institute of Australia, and then VK65PFA to celebrate the eradication of the Polio Virus in Africa.

After 3 hours in the park we packed up and headed to our second park for the day, the Ferries McDonald Conservation Park. We had a total of 99 contacts in the log at Tolderol, including 16 Park to Park contacts. Marija had made 50 contacts and I had logged 49.

We had made a total of 82 contacts on the 40m band and a total of 17 contacts on the 80m band.

Above:- Graph showing our contacts at the Tolderol Game Reserve.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4MWB/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  2. VK4SMA/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  3. VK2XSE/m
  4. VK2KNV/m
  5. VK3ANL
  6. VK3BCM
  7. VK2KYO
  8. VK7FAMP
  9. VK3PF
  10. VK7LTD
  11. VK3MPR
  12. VK4SYD/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  13. VK4CZ/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  14. VK3MAB
  15. VK2LHC
  16. VK3FMDC
  17. VK3LBW
  18. VK4FDJL/p (Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315)
  19. VK3SQ
  20. VK2LX
  21. VK2VH
  22. VK4AAC/2
  23. VK3MJ
  24. VK2DWP
  25. VK3SX
  26. VK7ME
  27. VK5AYL
  28. VK2WWV
  29. VK7QP/p (South Arm Nature Recreation Area VKFF-2929)
  30. VK5HAA
  31. VK3BCM/p (SOTA VK3/ VG-157)
  32. VK3PIH
  33. VK2ADB
  34. VK3PEF
  35. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  36. VK3HBG
  37. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  38. VK2PEZ
  39. VI110WIA
  40. VK2HBG
  41. VK3NDG
  42. VK65PFA

Marija worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3SX
  2. VK5FANA
  3. VK2VH
  4. VK4AAC/2
  5. VK5PL
  6. VK5AYL
  7. VK5IS
  8. VK5HAA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK4SMA/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  2. VK4MWB/p (Main Range National Park VKFF-0600)
  3. VK2KNV/m
  4. VK2XSE/m
  5. VK4CZ/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  6. VK4SYD/p (D’Aguillar National Park VKFF-0129)
  7. VK3FLJD
  8. VK3MAB
  9. VK4FDJL/p (Millstream Falls National Park VKFF-0315)
  10. VK3MPR
  11. VK2DWP
  12. VK2VH
  13. VK4AAC/2
  14. VK2KYO
  15. VK5AYL
  16. VK3SX
  17. VK3PT
  18. VK3ARH
  19. VK3ANL
  20. VK3PF
  21. VK3SQ
  22. VK2PWG/m
  23. VK7ME
  24. VK7QP/p (South Arm Nature Recreation Area VKFF-2929)
  25. VK3PIH
  26. VK5HAA
  27. VK2ABS
  28. VK3ZH
  29. VK2ADB
  30. VK3BCM (SOTA VK3/ VG-157)
  31. VK2IO/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  32. VK3HBG
  33. VK2MG/p (Munmorah State Conservation Area VKFF-1361)
  34. VK7LTD
  35. VK2PEZ
  36. VI110WIA
  37. VK2HBG
  38. VK3NDG
  39. VK7FAMP
  40. VK65PFA

I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-

  1. VK3SX
  2. VK5CZ
  3. VK5FANA
  4. VK2VH
  5. VK4AAC/2
  6. VK5PL
  7. VK5AYL
  8. VK5IS
  9. VK5HAA

THANK YOU to everyone who called us.

References.

  1. Birds SA, 2020, <https://birdssa.asn.au/location/tolderol-game-reserve/>, viewed 28th October 2020.
  2. Langhorne Creek Wine, 2020, <https://www.langhornecreek.com/about-langhorne-creek>, viewed 28th October 2020
  3. Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langhorne_Creek_wine_region>, viewed 28th October 2020
  4. Wikipedia, 2020, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Alexandrina_(South_Australia)>, viewed 28th October 2020

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