Loch Luna Game Reserve VKFF-1723 and World Amateur Radio Day.

Today (Sunday 18th April 2021) was World Amateur Radio Day. Marija and I planned on activating a park on the way home, but we hadn’t decided which one.

To kick off the day we headed around to the home of Ivan VK5HS and Sheryl who made a beautiful cooked brekfast for us. We then hit the road and decided to activate the Loch Luna Game Reserve VKFF-1723. Loch Luna is about 10 km north-west of Barmera.

Above:- Map showing the location of the Loch Luna Game Reserve. Map c/o Protected Planet.

Prior to activating the park we had a look at the old Loveday World War Two (Camp 9) internment camp. It was also known as the Italian Internment Camp. It was one of three main prisoner or war and internee camps located at Loveday in the Riverland. The camp commenced operations in August 1940 and could hold up to 1,000 people, including Italian civillan internees, and Italian prisoners of war.

We then headed to Loch Luna Game Reserve. The reserve is about 20.63 km2 in size and was proclaimed on the 7th day of November 1985. As you can see in the aerial shot below there is a parcel of land within the reserve which is not gazetted. It is known as Sugarloaf Hill and has been excluded from protection for the purpose of mining activity. 

The Moorok Game Reserve can be located adjacent to Loch Luna.

Above:- An aerial view of the Loch Luna Game Reserve. Image c/o Protected Planet.

We activated the Kaiser strip in the southern section of the Reserve. This narrow section of the reserve was created when the Kingston-on-Murray to Cobdogla causeway was built in 1973, diverting the Sturt Highway from the low lying flood plain to above the 1956 flood level.

The bridge and causeway replaced two ferries that transported the traffic across the river at the western end of the park. Frequent flooding would render the Old Sturt Highway impassable and traffic had to be diverted through the township of Morgan. The concrete ramps and anchor blocks used by the ferries are still visible today.

The culvert at the eastern end of the park, nearest of Cobdogla, allows water to enter Lake Bonney from the river, through a maze of creeks and lagoons. Near the culvert is a small stone monument commemorating the life of Mrs. Napper, the first European woman to come to this area in the 1850s.

Before European settlement the area was used for camping, hunting and meeting places by the Ngawait and Erawirung peoples.

After setting up I called CQ on 7.144 and within 6 minutes I had contact number ten in the log, a QSO with Adam VK2YK. Band conditions on 40m were very good and a mini pile up soon developed. I logged 55 contacts on 40m from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, and VK7. This included three Park to Park contacts with Peter VK5PET/p in the Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-1701, James VK2TER/p in the Cockle Bay Nature Reserve VKFF-1908, and Peter VK3TKK/p in the Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333. We also logged Gerard VK2IO who was on SOTA summit VK2/ HU-093.

Marija then jumped into the operator’s chair and logged 22 stations on 40m from VK2, VK3, and VK5.

I then took charge of the mic again and logged a further 12 stations on 40m. To conclude the activation I moved to the 20m band where I logged 3 stations from VK3, VK4, and New Zealand.

During the activation we were visited by Dan VK5FDMG from Loxton.

Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK5PET/p (Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-1701)
  2. VK3TKK/p (Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333)
  3. VK5NJ
  4. VK5JN
  5. VK5MRE
  6. VK3FIMD
  7. Vk3FQSO
  8. VK5DW
  9. VK2HHA
  10. VK3CRG
  11. VK5FANA
  12. VK5YX
  13. VK3UH
  14. VK3SMW
  15. VK3DJC
  16. VK2LEE
  17. VK3MCK
  18. VK5PL
  19. VK3PF
  20. VK3SQ
  21. VK5LA
  22. VK2YK
  23. VK5GA

I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3PF
  2. VK5LA
  3. VK3UCD
  4. VK3VDX
  5. VK4BXX
  6. VK4/NN3Z
  7. VK2PET/3
  8. VK3AHR
  9. VK5KLV
  10. VK2YK
  11. VK5GA
  12. VK3TKK/m
  13. VK2LIL/3
  14. VK2TER/p (Cockle Bay Nature Reserve VKFF-1908)
  15. VK3DJC
  16. VK3SWV
  17. VK3FQSO
  18. VK2PKT
  19. VK3AWA
  20. VK3XCI
  21. VK3CWF
  22. VK5FANA
  23. VK3DBP
  24. VK3MPR
  25. VK5PET/p (Cox Scrub Conservation Park VKFF-1701)
  26. VK2LEE
  27. VK5WG
  28. VK3FIMD
  29. VK3MTV
  30. VK2VH
  31. VK4AAC/2
  32. VK5NM
  33. VK5TQ
  34. VK5HS
  35. VK5WU
  36. VK2DG
  37. VK5NIG
  38. VK3SQ
  39. VK2IO/p (SOTA VK2/ HU-093)
  40. VK4SMA
  41. VK3MKE
  42. VK2VW
  43. VK2HFI
  44. VK3TKK/p (Holden Flora Reserve VKFF-2333)
  45. VK7ME
  46. VK3HOT
  47. VK4CX
  48. VK4FDJL
  49. VK2HHA
  50. VK5GY
  51. VK7DIK
  52. VK3CU
  53. VK3PI
  54. VK5MRE
  55. VK3ZPF
  56. VK5NJ
  57. VK5YX
  58. VK2KMI
  59. VK5EE
  60. VK3CRG
  61. VK3DQW
  62. VK5DW
  63. VK3ALA/m
  64. VK3UH
  65. VK3OF
  66. VK5FIVE
  67. VK3NBL
  68. VK2YW
  69. VK5AR/m

I worked the following stations on 20m SSB:-

  1. VK3MPR
  2. VK4HNS
  3. ZL1TM

After packing up we continued west on the Sturt Highway and stopped to have a look at the Police Heritage site. The memorial cairn commemorates police officers, Corporal William Murray Wickham and Mounted Constable John Dunning Carter, who drowned on the 7th day of May 1847.  They were enroute from Mourundee, near Blanchetown, to Overland Corner for police duty in response to disturbances in the area.  They were the first police to die in the line of duty in South Australia.

We then stopped at Waikerie to have a look at the Waikerie Cliff Top Walk.

Also the Waikerie silos which are now part of Australia’s very popular silo art project. The non working Viterra Australia grain silos were painted by artists Garry Duncan and Jimmy Dvate in 2018. They were the 25th silo to be included in the Australian Silo Art Trail Collection.

Featured on the silos is a giant Yabby, the endangered Regent Parrot, Murray Hardyhead and the Spiny Daisy.

We then had a look at a historic old stone chimney at Waikerie overlooking the Murray River. The chimney was erected in late 1894 by the Waikerie village settlement to extend the fluming laid up the cliff from the boiler which drove the first irrigation pumps for Waikerie. It was used until Autumn 1909.

There is an excellent viewing platform at this spot where you can enjoy magnificent views of the Murray River and Jaeschke Lagoon.

We left Waikerie and continued west on the Sturt Highway, passing over the Murray River at Blanchetown and travelling passed the Brookfield Conservation Park.

Our final quick stop before reaching home was the site of the olf Annandale Hotel and Cafe at the intersection of the Sturt Highway, Halfway House Road, and Bower Boundary Road. The Annandale Hotel operated between 1876 to 1957.


Australian Silo Art Trail, 2021, <https://www.australiansiloarttrail.com/waikerie>, viewed 14th May 2021.

Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loveday_Camp_9>, viewed 14th May 2021.

Wikipedia, 2021, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Luna_Game_Reserve>, viewed 14th May 2021.

2 thoughts on “Loch Luna Game Reserve VKFF-1723 and World Amateur Radio Day.

    • G’day Chris

      There is a lot to see and do out there. I tend to jump on the internet prior to the trip and google the area we will be travelling in to see what there is to see.


      Paul VK5PAS.

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