Horton Falls National Park VKFF-594
Horton Falls. The 83 meter singe drop is the last in a series of three waterfalls in the park at the headwaters of the Horton River.
Map source – Google Earth
The park is newly formed & covers only several hundred hectares. It was once private property, but is now looked after by National Parks. I spent a lot of time in my youth out there, fishing & swimming, it was the first National park i had ever visited. It lays in the foothills of Mt Kaputar, the river flows north though the Horton valley before joining the Gwydir River.
With the John Moyle Memorial Field Days fast approaching, I headed out to Horton Falls NP to field test some equipment for the contest. It was a spur of the moment trip, I did not put up an alert on ParksnPeaks, just thought I would see if I could make some contacts with the South Australia park activators that were out and about Friday afternoon.
The park is only 40 km from home & I arrived around 4:30pm. Setting up at my usual campsite next to the Horton River. As I was testing out a new 40 meter dipole antenna, I put a rope over a branch of a large gum tree at about 45 feet. The antenna was hung as an inverted V with the ends at 20 feet above the ground.
My setup at the campsite.
I had made a stand to hold the head unit from the Icom IC 7000, so I set this up on the portable table with an extension speaker. With the station ready to go I put the billy on and had a coffee, set up the rest of the camp.
I turned the radio on to the 40 meter band and found Andrew, VK1NAM portable on a summit. He was a good 59 signal, the first contact for the day. Had a scroll around and the SA guys had started to come through. the first contact was with Geoff, VK5HEL/p in Hendrick CP with a 59+ signal, followed by VK5PAS/p, Paul in Charleston NP, VKFF-777, a new National Park in the log with a 59 signal.
A Cicada husk & my camp set up for the night.
John, VK5BJE/p was next, I had been trying to get John in the log for a while now & it was good to hear him with a 58 signal coming from Scott Creek National Park, VKFF-788, another new park for me. Peter, VK5FLEX/p was next in Pike River NP, VKFF-531, good copy with a 58 & VK5FANA/p, Adrian with a 47 out of Bird Island CP & finally VK5NQP/p, David, in Cromer Conservation Park with a 58 signal.
It was great to have so many activators out in VK5, I worked 6 stations in 20 minutes, great effort guys, all were new parks for me. I did not put out any calls friday evening, deciding to have a quiet night, enjoying my surroundings by the campfire.
Entrance to the park & the gorge below the main falls.
Up early Saturday morning, the first contact was Al, VK4FALL in Rockhampton who was running the Coral Coast net, I usually check in on most mornings. Also had a contact with Ron (VK5MRE) who was running the Riverlands Radio Group on 7.085 MHz. I joined in the net for an hour or so before finding VK3ZPF/p, Peter in Bunyip State Park, VKFF-753 with a 56 signal.
I put out a few calls and had VK2ZZS/m, Zane, come back to me who was mobile in Bugong NP, VKFF- 063,near Sydney. Zane was out with the family & was not activating the park. The last contact for the day was VK1DA/p on summit AC-025 with a 57 signal.
For an unplanned trip all the equipment worked well. I made 16 contacts, 8 of which were new parks. The stations worked were:
VK1NAM/P – ANDREW, VK5HEL/P – GEOFF, VK5PAS/P – PAUL, VK5BJE/P – JOHN, VK5FLEX/P – PETER, VK5FANA/P – ADRIAN, VK5NQP/P – DAVID, VK4FALL – AL, VK5BRL – RON, VK3ZPF/P – PETER, VK2GJC – GREG, VK2NAI – MATT, VK2ZZS/M – ZANE, VK2LEE – LEE, VK2JH/4 – JOHN, VK1DA/P – ANDREW.
Apart from a few showers on Friday afternoon the weather was pretty good. I did try out a 15 meter inverted V for a while on Saturday afternoon but did not make any contacts. A solar flare on the previous day had made conditions bad for that band.
A baby Bearded Dragon, only a week or so old.
I visit this park often, the next time i will put up an alert on parksnpeaks. Thanks to all the park activators and those that called in.
73`s & 44`s