VK3/VN-017, VK3/VC-005 and VK3/VC-002
VK3/VN-017 (Mt Dom Dom) 18 May 2013.
Activated VK3/VC-005 (Mt Vinegar.) 19 May 2013.
Activated VK3/VC-002 (Donna Buang)19 May 2013
Dipole Yes. APRS Limited
It was shaping to be another big sunday and we weren’t disappointed,
Look at the activity now considered normal for a Sunday. There is even activity past the UTC rollover well into afternoon. Multiple activators making multi summit trips and still new activators polishing equipment and skills.
4:00am start. 2.5 hours to Healesville. This trip was postponed from previous weekend. Was not disappointed as a full day of walking, wet, tracks, mud and 16 points for my effort. It took me a night to write up the log. Think still have some incorrect data so will confirm during week as all the logs are posted. Need a better system of recording log entries on summit. My log book got wet and smudged. I have been wet before but this was silly. However need to improve as only more activations in the lush (compare with Grampians that is trying to eat you) vegetation planned. A electronic device (phone or pad) is not the answer (for me). Lets start by seeking a better pen that can handle wet cold conditions.
Seven S2S contacts.
Three chases whilst in car and a SANPCPA contact with VK5BJE John from Scott Creek CP.
The Garmin eTrex 30 was living up to the promise of providing better lock than the old device she replaced. Also the use of maps with navigation proved to be useful. The direction pointer is better as now has a magic compass to determine north instead of assuming forward and calibrating on GPS ordinates. Previously you could be 180 degrees out. Only corrected once moving. Despite the foliage and fog we able to use the mapping during the day and could turn around and watch the compass behave as expected. Yes I know could also use the magnetic compass in pack but having a map and rebut overlaid on device is a real step forward. Will still be taking map and compass incase or when the batteries run out.
GPS tracks overlaid on topo map.
APRS Packets were disappointing. Whilst the car worked find to and from the bush, once in the there is not enough coverage. The openly packet for the handheld was relayed buy my car whilst on Acheron Way. Use the APRS as insurance should I have issues out in the bush as activate alone. The coverage is poor this side of Melbourne compared with the reception had in grampians. Granted was able to position car to relay but usually had coverage on summit tops directly. Will be obtaining one of those ‘Spot’ devices.
Summits, VK3/VN-017 Mt Dom Dom.
Wet, foggy and lost the ‘track’.
Tree over road. Fortunately the car squeezed through as was able to park 100m further down road in an excellent spot out of the mud
Wet walk up as the fog had already drenched the vegetation and the raid was not giving up. Lost track. This is a straight forward walk but it appears the loggers decided to dump the stumps on the walking track. It was wet and slippery so I decided to go around some of the larger piles and ended up in the scrub. No issues just check gps and bush bash. Well very wet thick regrowth. Not as harsh as earlier trips but still a slog until found the path.
Got to top. Rain was starting to settle in now. No where to hide so setup. Dipole was returning high swr. I had gone over the connections weekend before last as she is 12+ months old and 50 odd activations so needed some maintenance. Believed it to be water in the connection as water was everywhere else. Not a big issue as have tools for repairs and a vertical in the car but they were in car. Was not walking down and back up in this weather. Decided to activate the summit but not push the contacts so no UTC double dip for chasers. Made several calls on 2m FM (146.500) with no gain. Did not want to destroy radio and could not resolve antenna issues. Discovered faulty coax connector later in the day. Was able to use a spare adaptor to eliminate but this involved removing FT817 from bag. Not an option in the wet but fine for the later summits.
Walked out with no issues. This is a nice summit and would be a pleasure to activate in dry conditions.
VK3/VC-005 Mt Vinegar.
This is a sweet summit despite the name. Good tracks and clear operating area. The lads tell me you can still gain access (the road I used was 2WD standard) from Road Eight which was the road used earlier to gain access to Mt Dom Dom. I decided to drive down Acheron Way and come up from the other side with a walk in. 8km return according to GPS. Took an hour up and less down so sounds right. My pants dried out from the walk up Mt Dom Dom on the walk into Mt Vinegar.
Gate locked from Acheron Way but a great track. This is 5 star hiking. The edges have been cleared and mowed. Was expecting a coffee bar around the corner for a quick latte.
Nice walk. Still foggy but clearing up. Clear area on top. Saw lyre birds, deer, wallabies and leaches.
Set up the vertical and made 18 contacts in 20 minutes. This is great spot. We should hold a SOTA gathering here as it access and space for all.
VK3/VC-002 Donna Buang
This was a pickup on the way home. Initially placed in the previous plan to ensure in a good spot to chase the VK9 activations from last weekend. Also went past the Mt Richie track to confirm access for later. The day was improving but still cold.
10 contacts in 15 minutes. Went over the equipment looking for the cause of the issues that gave me grief earlier. Identified a crook cable.
Interestingly the points were inversely proportional to the effort thus proving that SOTA is not a level playing field.
Thanks to the chasers for another great day.
VK3HRA now dry.