11102015 – VK3/VE-026 Non Activation

11102015 – VK3/VE-026 Non Activation

Setoff Saturday evening following the plan to drive up the day before and camp for a early start into the Alpine. Made it to Davons Flat campground in time for the hail storms. Just got my tent up when the sky opened. 

Slept well and woke up on daybreak to head down Brocks Rd to access Low Saddle Rd. 


Could not find the track that was coming from Jamison River Hut. Did find the track head for my proposed route. VK3CAT Tony advised I consider going deeper and coming up using the AAWT. This was the route Wayne VK3WAM used. I was happy to try from the front as have had great success in the Grampians by accessing the summit head on. You are looking for a gully then ridge to follow and are only slowed by the terrain. 

Terrian here was thick and heavy. Not as harsh as some of the Grampians as the Apline was still green. In the Grampians the plants have hard edges. Did have a run in with a vine and punctured my neck. Found a ‘Buck’ hunting knife and ammo sleeve for a rifle so in Deer hunting area.

The track was next to non-existent. There would be patches where it was visible but had not see any maintaince for a long time. I had a route marked on GPS so followed where the track should have been. This way I was able to cross the gullies and head up the hill in what were the best access points. Just had to bush bash the way through.


It was 13:00+ and I still had 900m of what appeared to be straight up ahead of me. Sat down and had lunch and measured the situation. I decided to turn back as was not convinced I would be able to make it to the top, activate then return to car before dark. Given the poor propagation (solar flares) we are currently seeing, I was assume an 1hr to qualify. Only carrying CW rig and FM hand to reduce weight. Being out in the dark is not a problem. Being out in weather is not a problem. Relying on GPS due to thick terrain and no tracks is also not a problem. All three and you only need a minor issue to be in the poo. I do carry a torch, spare batteries and clothing so can sleep on the hill but don’t want to.  You have to look at this with a view as to ‘how will this look when filling out the paper work?’. The SPOT device is designed to assist when you have issues. Keep ambulance cover for the same reason. However sure these people have better things to do then come and recover me should I slip off the rocks and hurt myself. They will have to send the search and rescue in as not track work.


Still was a great walk in real Alpine bush. GPS track shows the heavy going;

Actual 11102015

Comforted as received two calls (VK3CAT & VK3PF) who both watch APRS and noticed I had turned back and the fact car was not moving. Mobile service is good in this area as Buller is close. Able to reassure both parties I was fine and safe. Thanks for noticing.

APRS. Limited success this time.

The SPOT device worked fine. Saw no packets from the handheld. My Garmin nuvi350 device in the car failed. It went off and would not turn on. This device serves as the GPS for for the APRS radio in the car. Whilst this is a old device (10y) is has the ability to receive points from the radio. A feature not found on todays devices except for the high end aviation units.  Once home I decided to look at the GPS. It would not power on nor respond when connected to computer. Found a reset button on the back, pushed and held and the device sprang back into life. Good as don’t want to replace yet.

VK3HRA 12 10102015

Overall a big and full day. Not making itto the summit whilst disapointing did not detract from the experience. This was heavy scrub and quite a nice place to spend a stormy afternoon.



2 responses to “11102015 – VK3/VE-026 Non Activation”

  1. VK3IL says :


    I know exactly how you feel! I had a similar problem on Saturday, but in my case, no propagation and S9 thunderstorm QRN.

    Better luck next time.



  2. vk3cat says :

    Allen. you will conquer Mt. McDonald another time and wiser from this experience. Even the AAWT in this area is indistinct at times. Propagation on the Saturday was the worst I have experienced to date on a summit. Cheers Tony

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