Horsnell Gully Conservation Park VKFF-894

After packing up at the Giles Conservation Park, I headed to the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, VKFF-894, for my second park activation of the day.  Mark VK5QI had recommended to activate from the picnic ground at the bottom of the park, but this meant a longer drive for me down into the foothills and the suburb of Skye.  So I headed south along Woods Hill Road, and onto the Ashton -Mt Lofty summit Road.  I then turned right into Coach Road, and travelled to the end of the road where there is a small carpark.

Screenshot 2015-09-07 12.03.42

Above:- Map showing the location of Horsnelly Gully CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

Horsnell Gully Conservation Park is an adjacent park to the Giles Conservation Park.  Both the Heysen Trail and the Yurrebilla Trail wind their way through both parks.  Horsnell Gully Conservation is located about 10 km east of Adelaide and was set aside in 1964 as a Conservation Park to conserve native vegetation in the Adelaide Hills Face Zone.  The park contains a number of rare and endangered plant species.  The park was named after the State Governor’s coachman, John Horsnell.  Coach Road was once the principal road into Adelaide from the east during the 1870s and 1880s.  There was a coach gate located on the highest point of ‘Coach Hill’, which is known today as the suburb of Skye.  The driver blew a trumpet to let the settlers know that he had been through the gate and that they had to climb up to close the gate.

Screenshot 2015-09-05 11.58.44

Above:- The location of Giles and Horsnell Gully Conservation Parks.  Image courtesy of Google Earth.

I set up at the end of Coach Road.  There is no through road from here down to Skye.  But there is a nice parking spot and a clearing amongst the scrub making it an ideal location to activate from the park.  Don’t be put off by the nearby power lines.  I have operated from here previously and did not experience any issues.  Nor did I on this occasion.

Screenshot 2015-09-05 11.59.30

Above:- Image showing my operating spot in the south eastern corner of the park off Coach Road.  

Image courtesy of Google Earth.

I headed for my nominating operating frequency of 7.144, but 7.145 was occupied by some European DX.  In fact the 40m band was very active with lots of good signals coming in from Europe.  I found 7.135 clear and asked if the frequency was in use.  Steve VK3HK mobile  came back to my call, advising that he had been calling CQ there but did not have any takers.  Steve kindly allowed me to use the frequency and I called CQ and this was responded to by John VK5BJE, followed by Col VK5HCF in the South East, and then Roy VK5NRG.

The band was in very good shape, with strong signals from all around Australia and New Zealand.  I worked a total of 57 stations from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5, VK6, VK7, and New Zealand.  Regular park hunter, Ken ZL4KD called in to say hi, along with his wife Margaret ZL3YF.

Unfortunately I did not get time to try 20m.  I was kept very busy on 40m, and by the time callers slowed down, it was getting dark and very cold.  So it was time to pack up and head home.

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The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  1. VK3HK
  2. VK5BJE
  3. VK5HCF
  4. VK5NRG
  5. VK5FEKH
  6. VK5EE
  7. VK5KAT
  8. VK3AV
  9. VK5TN
  10. VK4RF
  11. VK4HA
  12. VK1NAM
  13. VK5NJ
  14. VK3PF
  15. VK3FQSO
  16. VK5FMJC
  17. VK5FFAA
  18. VK4FFAB
  19. VK5ZAR
  20. ZL4KD
  21. VK3PMG
  22. VK5KDK
  23. VK5MRE
  24. VK3HK
  25. VK1DI
  26. VK5FMMC
  27. VK5MCB
  28. VK2IO
  29. VK4AAC/5
  30. VK3HRA
  31. ZL3YF
  32. VK4KUS
  33. VK6MB
  34. VK2XAB
  35. VK3IL
  36. VK5FANA
  37. VK3FPSR
  38. VK4MON
  39. VK4FTWO
  40. VK4QQ
  41. VK7MK
  42. VK3BSG
  43. VK2BOB
  44. VK3ZIB
  45. VK5DF
  46. VK3FKSA
  47. VK5KX
  48. VK4MWG
  49. VK2NEO
  50. VK3SOT
  51. VK2MRX
  52. VK3FSPG
  53. VK2WLS
  54. VK2FMJW
  55. VK6NU
  56. VK6APZ
  57. VK3TKK


Department of Environment and Natural Resources, 2010, ‘Horsnell Gully Conservation park and Giles Conservation Park’.

Giles Conservation Park, VKFF-884

On Saturday 5th September 2015 I activated the Giles Conservation Park, VKFF-884.  This was my second attempt at Giles.  I operated from the park on 27th August, but the weather and band conditions conspired against me, and I fell short of my required 44 contacts for the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program.  Unlike last time, the weather on this occasion was beautiful with long periods of sunshine.

For info on my previous activation, please see…..


On my way to the park I had the IC7000 going in the Toyota Hi Lux and I was lucky enough to get three park activators in the log.  The first was Mick VK3PMG (5/7 sent and 5/9 received) who was activating the Ararat Hills State Park, VKFF-958, followed by Tony VK3VTH (5/9 both ways) who was in the Broken Boosey State Park VKFF-752, and then Rob VK4AAC/5 (5/7 both ways) who was activating the Hale Conservation Park, VKFF-889.

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Above:- Map showing the location of Giles CP.  Image courtesy of Location SA Map Viewer.

I set up on the eastern side of the park, at gate 4 off Woods Hill Road.  There was lots of activity in the park with many bushwalkers and joggers travelling passed me whilst I was setting up.  Unfortunately this is not the quietest location as Woods Hill Road is quite a busy road between Norton Summit and Ashton.  This includes the ‘weekend warriors’ on their high powered Japanese motorcycles, who roar passed the park on the windy stretch of road.  There is a sharp right and then left hand bend just above the location where I set up, which then opens up into a short straight stretch, so the motorcyclists really accelerate hard out of those corners.  I was waiting for one of them to come off and come sliding through the park fence.

And I didn’t get off to a great start.  As I removed the squid pole from the car, with the linked dipole attached to it, both legs of the dipole snapped off due to the weight.  So out came the leatherman and with some improvisation, I was very pleased to get the antenna working with a very flat VSWR.

Screenshot 2015-08-28 16.57.07

I headed to 7.144 on 40m, my nominated operating frequency and asked if the frequency was in use.  Tony VK3VTH came back to me from Broken Boosey State Park, to advise the frequency was all clear, and Tony became my first contact in Giles.  This was followed by Mark VK5QI mobile and Gary VK5FGRY mobile, who gave me some directions on how to get to the picnic ground at Horsnell Gully Conservation Park, my next planned activation.

It wasn’t long before a little pile up ensued, with callers from VK2, VK3, VK4, VK5 and VK7.  I was very pleased to hear the VK5’s coming though.  This was certainly not the case last time I was here in Giles with local propagation being very poor.  Eleven QSOs into the activation, and I was called by another park activator, Mick VK3PMG who was portable in VKFF-958.  It was nice to speak to Mick from both the mobile and whilst I was in the park.

A handful of QRP stations called in again.  They included John VK3FCAN running 5 watts from his Yaesu FT-817 (5/8 sent and 5/9 received); Peter VK3PF running 5 watts from his new Zeus ZS-1 software defined radio (5/3 sent and 5/7 received); Amanda VK3FQO running just 1 watt (5/4 sent and 5/6 received); and David VK3UCD running 5 watts from his little FT-817.

After working a total of 34 stations on 40m, I lowered the squid pole and removed the links and headed to 14.310 on 20m.  I could just barely hear Tony VK3VTH calling CQ on that frequency, so I headed up to 14.315 and called CQ.  This was immediately answered by Albert S58AL in Slovenia.  Sadly, 20m did not appear to be in great shape.  Albert did not have his normal strong 5/9 signal but was still a respectable 5/7 signal, with a 5/5 report being returned to me.  Not bad, considering I was just running 40 watts and the little dipole.  This was followed by S52KM and then John VK5BJE.

I worked a total of 17 stations on 20m from Slovenia, Russia, New Zealand, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, VK4, VK5, and VK6.  Things were very slow and this was not such a bad thing.  I was running a bit late to get to the next park, and I was also being splattered by VK5HX who lives just down the road at Norton Summit.

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After about 90 minutes in the park, I had a total of 51 contacts in the log.  Combined with my 14 contacts from the August activation, I had well and truly qualified the park for WWFF.  So I packed up the gear and headed to my next activation, the Horsnell Gully Conservation Park.

The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-

  • VK3VTH/p (VKFF-572)
  • VK5QI/m
  • VK5FGRY/m
  • VK5SFA
  • VK5JK
  • VK5KDK
  • VK5PL
  • VK3TKK
  • VK3PMG/p (VKFF-958)
  • VK3PF
  • VK5HCF
  • VK5EE
  • VK2NEO
  • VK3BSG
  • VK3JP
  • VK7VDL
  • VK4RF
  • VK4HA
  • VK3ANL
  • VK2IO
  • VK3ZPF
  • VK5BXN
  • VK4AAC/5
  • VK3AUQ
  • VK3SIG
  • VK5WG
  • VK5ZAR
  • VK3UCD
  • VK3SOT

The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-

  • S58AL
  • S52KM
  • VK5BJE
  • VK4MWG
  • RA3PCI
  • ZL4KD
  • VK6RZ
  • IZ8EFD
  • VK6MB
  • OK7WA
  • IK1GPG
  • VK4RF
  • VK4HA
  • IZ8DFO
  • VK6NU
  • OM7OM
  • VK4PHD