20022016 – Hotham Weekend
Hotham Weekend 2016
19022016 – VK3/VE-081 Ebenezer Range
Brian (VK3MCD) and Kathy organised accommodation and meals at Peninsula Ski Lodge. The attraction of Hotham is the proximity of high point summits so the opportunity to have central accommodation was jumped at.
Operators included Tony (VK3CAT), Glenn (VK3YY), Compton (VK2HRX), Ron (VK3AFW), Adan (VK1FJAW), Peter (VK3PF), Andrew (VK1AD), Andrew (VK1MBE), Alan (VK3FABT), Rob (VK2QR), Ken (VK3KIM), Adam (VK3AGD) and Brian (VK3MCD). Groups set off each morning to host simultaneous activations so as to maximise summit to summit contacts.
I went with VK3CAT Tony & Nan.
Tony, Nan and Allen on Blue Rag Range.
19022016 – VK3/VE-081 Ebenezer Range
First summits was Ebenezer Range. This was a drive up on the way to Hotham Friday afternoon. Turned off B500 into Shamrock then right along Albion track. This is a steep track. The water came out of the rear window washer of Subie during the climb. Whilst the track is in good condition I would not consider if it was wet. On on the tip the summit was just big enough for the track so parked and hopped out with HT to qualify.
Qualified on 2M with the HT. This was a trend that was to continue over the weekend. With the number of operators in the area you could qualify the summits comfortably with VHF. Once competed drove further don the track to a point to turn around then proceeded back along the track. Intention was to activate Albion Point by continuing along the Albion track however decided it was too steep. There was a weekend of activations coming up so no need to push it this early. VK3PF & VK2HRX activated Albion Point in Compton’s 4WD on Sunday so review their notes to confirm access.
Continued on B500 to Mt Hotham for the evening.
Set off the next day with VK3CAT,VK1AD,VK1FJAW. Support crew included Nan and Amanda to walk into Mt TableTop. This summit had been on my list for a while so jumped at the chance to activate it.
We actually followed Amanda and Nan into the site. Our antics with GPS’s and radios brought them endless fun.
The track is clear and easy to follow. Covered in fog and wet grass. 5km each way. I was the slowest but there were a few up sections !
Next was the Twins. I had previously activated with Warren (VK3BYD) weekend of 13th December 2014.
Back through Hotham and turn off at the Dargo Road but right drive down The Twins track. There is a point on the track where you can park your ca leaving enough room for others to pass. It is at the base of the ridge line and where the ‘jeep’ track starts.
Walked up the old jeep track. It is a brisk 2.3Km walk to arrive at the barren summit. Tony setup his doublet and KX3 on the trig point and worked CW whilst I again qualified the summit on 2M HT with eight S2S contacts across four summits.
Once the Twins it was time for VK3/VE-023. It is a 140m raise over 300m walk.This summit may be unnamed in the SOTA databse but I heard it called a couple names over the weekend of which I will not repeat here.
We travelled down to the point where the contors met the road seeking a longer but less intense walk but unable to park the car safely off track. Given the traffic in the area leaving exposed was not a option. We got back to the saddel between the summits, parked the car and setup up the hill.
There are markers at the base for the AAWT but realy a case of keep heading up.
Other activators (Andrew & Adan) approached differently by again parking at the saddle but walking down the road before tuning to climb up.
Once at the top and caught my breath and Tony, again qualified on 2M HT. We were already running late to join the crew on Mt Hotham so a qualify and move on process. The were campers in the summit and I dare say they had a laugh at the nutters climbing up the summit just to come down.
VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham – Champagne and Cheese Activation
Back to the Ski Lodge for a quick shower then off to Mt Hotham for evening activation.
As we were Departing off Hotham, the fog was quickly rolling in. A reminder why we take jackets and protection into the Apline on a summers day.
Back to the for a curry then bed as another day awaits.
Down Dargo High Plains road then turn right and up as access to Blue Rag is by following the ridge line track. This is steep 4WD territory.
Again Tony VK3CAT setup HF and worked CW whilst I qualified the summit on 2M with S2S contacts and took in the views,
Back down the track to Mt Blue Rag. Drive in with a short walk to the activation zone and to fine a clear spot.
Tony and Nan set off back to Melbourne as had commitments to meet leaving me at the base of Dargo High Plains road and one more summit to address. Back down the road and out for a walk behind Mt Freezout.
Getting to the end of the day and the other activators were (VK1AD & VK1FJAW walking out to Mt Murray) between summits so setup HF. Called on 7.032 for 15min and despite having Hotham in view was unable to get a spot out so relieved when one of the other teams (VK3AFW,VK2QR & VK3KIM) came up on VK3/VG-016. Eventually picked up VK1AD & VK1FJAW on VK3/VE015, VK3PF & VK2HRX on VK3/VE/080 to qualify the summit and add another complete to the tally.
Picked up Porepunkah on the way home. This is a summit I have driven past several times but didn’t had the time to activate. Drove up, jumped out of the car to qualif with activators heading back to the lodge for tea. Checked out the views to Mt Buffalo before heading home. Home 10ish.
9 SOTA activations over three days for 84 points.
A great big thanks to Brian and Kathy for organising the SOTA weekend at Mt. Hotham! It was a great success and looking foreward to next year.