13072015 – VK3/VC-027 & VK3/VC-035
VK3/VC-035(Smith’s Hill) Non-Activation.
Smith’s Hill was the intended target. This summit is located in Yarra Ranges National Park and bordered by catchment areas. Its position has made it a summit of great interest.
I expected to to find a gate on Road 14. This road runs through the Cement Creek Catchment zone and is the shortest to the summit. Went and checked and sure enough it was locked and clearly stating that entry was prohibited. Ok worth verifying as only 1.5Km walk. Moved down Acheron Way to Road 15.
The weather was predicting snow and its snowed. First snow for the season. Not a issue as came prepared for wet conditions. Put on the plastic pants, zipped up the jacket and headed off down Road 15.
Road 15 is a good clear track. I have used this previously to access VK3/VC-003 Mt Ritchie via Road 10
I was execting to hit a gate on Road 10 as it joined Road 14 and that was restricted.I was not expecting a gate just past the intersection with Road 15. The gate was open I went looking for a access sign and found a sigh same as that on Road 14. Access Prohibited. This was not expected. The top of this summit is quite large. I had planned to walk down Road 10 to access a point on the road within the activation zone. As the activation zone extends 840m down the road this was not going to be a issue and given the terrain setting up on the road was desirable.
The summit is broad and the activation zone is in a part of the Yarra Ranges National Park defined as ‘Conversation and Recreation’. (Page 66, Figure 3 in Yarra Ranges National Park Management Plan
Road 10 weaves through the ‘O’Shannassy River Natural Catchment Area’. The gate is enforcing the status of the catchment area. You can’t walk down this road.
So the activation zone is in public area but the road to it is not. I had used the Garmin maps for planning access and they do not show the Catchment Area.
I was showing ‘Cement River’ but not ‘O’Shannassy River Natural Catchment Area. The Forest Explorer maps show the access issues here.
Either way the gate Road Ten brought the activation to a full stop. Open or closed you can’t proceed past the gate.
Time to switch to plan B.
Plan B became Plan C (VK3/VC-027 Mt Little Joe) real quick.VK3/VC-002 Mt Donna Buang was my plan B. The snow had brought every day tripper around to the Donna Buang. The traffic was contested at the bottom car park just off Acheron Way. Too many people for my liking so move on to plan C and kept moved on the Mt Little Joe. Either way I wanted to be on air to catch Ron VK3AFW for a MTR S2S.
Mt Little Joe was more mess then it was worth. Mud, mud and more mud. It looked like motor bikes had been down the track. Once got to the summit didn’t have to share so setup the dipole and got out the boothy bag. Qualified the summit with 817. Great signal reports despite the noise and conditions.
Once the chasers dried up went to the MTR and called CQ on CW. Made two contacts and kept listening. Ron was late but given I was already wet and muddy decided to stay for a hour. There was a lot of activity on the bands and whilst the MTR is not good for scanning its tuning is good for walking the band. As you find a so you can click up and down until the tone is right. Finally came across Ron down 7.030 and worked S2S.
Peter VK3ZPF questioned my sanity being out in the weather so I felt good to work Julie VK3FOWL on VK3/VT-066 and Ron VK3AFW on VK3/VT-046. I might be crazy but least I’m not alone.
I’ve spent a bit moref time talking to Melb Water both via email and on the phone seeking permission to access summits in the area and clarifying access to others. I’ve written up the notes from this dialog.