On Thursday 26th April, the day after our ANZAC day activation of both the Chowilla Game and Regional Reserves, several members of the Riverland Radio Club had expressed a desire to come along on a park activation and “see what it was all about”, so I decided to activate another close by park in VKFF-1723, The Loch Luna Game Reserve.
I put out a notification on our Riverland Radio Club SMS group and Ron VK5MRE responded that he was keen to come along and give it a go.
The park is located just West and North of the town of Cobdogla, in the Riverland region of South Australia, about 250Km North East of Adelaide. It’s a beautiful area, very popular with campers, RVers and canoists. Superb creek and river scenery and an abundance of bird life. It’s also full of great fishing spots from both boat and bank and a popular area for those targeting Murray Cod and Callop (Yellow Belly) on lures amongs the hundreds of snags and deep holes in the river and creeks that form part of the Reserve.
It’s easily accessed vith a conventional vehicle, by travelling though the town of Cobdogla and driving out past the Caravan Park and Bruno Bay boat ramp, continuing along the bitumen road for about 1Km.
You will soon see the sign designating the Kaiser Strip section of the Game Reserve. Other access points to Loch Luna are from the Barmera-Morgan Road, near Nappers Bridge (6km from Sturt Highway) and also from the Sturt Highway causeway approximately 1.2km (1 min) from the Kingston Bridge.
There are several campsites and lovely canoe access area in which to operate for a park activation, and if you are camping overnight you must book a site.
National Parks South Australia has a good web presence for our parks and the following links are useful. If you are staying overnight you need to book a site from this page…
I arrived just after lunch and decided Campsite 6 in the Kaiser Strip looked as good as any, and easily accessible. Campsites 8-14 required a drive on the dirt, so I left that to more capable vehicles.
I parked the car in a cleared section of land between a Large Gum tree (that I planned on strapping the Squid Pole to) and the River Murray itself. It was a delightful location and perfect weather to be playing Radio!
I soon had my linked Dipole laid out after setting up the station on the portable table and the Squid Pole ready to be thrust skyward. Ron, VK5MRE arrived just as I was connecting the coax to the dipole centre and helped me hoist the antenna. We soon had the ends tied off to some other sturdy limbs and the apex of the dipole at about 7M high.
Ron and I made ourselves comfortable at the operating position and tuned to 7.144Mhz. After asking if the frequency was in use a couple of times and finding it vacant, I was soon under way…
the band seemed lively and it didn’t take too long to attract the attention of Brett VK2VW, for my first station in the log. It took a whole 9 minutes to get the first 10 contacts!
I then put Ron in the drivers seat and he was soon working stations like a pro! Ron has many years experience as a net control operator, and has a very good set of ears. He is an expert at running stations, and took to working the park pileup like it was nothing.
We had great conditions and most stations were easy copy, especially the VK2, 3 and 4’s The closer VK5 stations were ordinary earlier in the day, but soon conditions changed and Adrian VK5FANA was 59 instead of 31.
Later in the day we began to hear some Euro stations in the background, and were then surprised to be called by both a French and Italian Stations.
All in all a great afternoon introducing Ron to the wonderful world VKFF. I’m sure it will be the first of many for station VK5MRE
Video thanks to Paul VK5PAS
Stations worked by VK5LA on 40M