01102016 – Snowy Mountains SOTA weekend

SpotThe Activator

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-059 (Big Badja Hill) in VKFF-0138  (Deua National Park)

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-052 (Bald Mountain) in VKFF-0212 (Gourock National Park)

01/Oct/2016 VK2/ST-013 (Middle Mountain) in VKFF-0138  (Deua National Park)

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-036 (VK2/SM-036) in VKFF-0269 (Kosciuszko National Park)

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-021 (Pilot Reef Mountain)

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-015 (Granite Mountain)

Snowy Mountains SOTA weekend was a event planned to present the opportunity for new and experienced activators to activate summits in the Snowy mountain area.

This is a popular area due to the abundance of high scoring summits with good access.  Rob VK2QR was key to this event as he lives amd works in the area. Rob did the ground work and arranged for accommodation at the Snowy Mountains Resort and Function Centre in Adaminaby as well as recommending summits to consider.

I’m a fan of such events and jumped at the opportunity to activate in a region so far from home in the seasonal bonus period and add to my S2S tally.  It also allows you to see how other activators are approaching the game.

Victoria had a public holiday so I travelled up Friday afternoon. It was wet the entire run up. All the rivers were full. Creeks were full and there were sheets of water in the paddocks. I travel nearly the length of Victoria have not seen this much water covering shuch a large distance before.

Did have plans to activate VK2/RI-016 and  VK2/RI-051 on the way up. The rain and snow put those plans to rest. Talking to Warren VK3BYD who was 2hrs ahead of me indicated the trip across the Snowies was not improving. I was meet with more rain and snow as I got higher. Fornatulatly the snow ploughs were out so access was assured in AWD Subaru and an exciting start for the trip.

Made it to Snowy Mountains Resort and Function Centre in the dark and on time for tea, review of plans and time to sleep as big drive.

Woke and had breakfast. Rob was called to work at short notice so after confirming directions and targets we formed two groups and head off.

VK2HRX Cromption, VK3BYD Warren and myself went off in Compton’s Troop carrier whilst  Ken VK3KIM, Ron VK3AFW and Phil VK3BHR went in in Kens Land Rover .

Meet Rod VK2TWR and Peter VK3PF out in the field.

Day One:

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-059 (Big Badja Hill) VKFF-0138

ViewfromVK2 SM 059

Drove through Cooma to get coffee and salad rolls for lunch and headed off to Big Badja Hill. This site offered views to the ocean. HF was providing challenges to Warren to qualify on CW. Straight forward activation with FMas the second team were on Bald Mountain. Gained my first 1.2G contact with Ron VK3AFW on VK2/SM-052.

Qualified and proceed to travel to the other summit crossing paths with the other group and meet up Rob Vk2TWR and Peter VK3PF between summits.

VK3ARH 01102016

Warren VK3BYD,Allen VK3ARH, Ken VK3KIM, Rod VK2TWR ,Peter VK3PF,Ron VK3AFW, Crompton VK2HRX, Phil & Cathy VK3BHR.

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-052 (Bald Mountain) VKFF-0212

This summit proved to be the hardest to activate over the weekend.

Whilst access was straight forward as the road runs along the ridge line. The site has a comms site which was not providing QRM. 40M was not behaving and 2M was at the edge of range. Whilst we can secure a summit by having members of the group walk out of the AZ but it is desirable to gain contacts.  Warren VK3BYD worked to qualifying the summit on 40M CW whilst I secured a S2S with Peter VK3PF on VK2/ST-007 before contacting the other group qualified the summit. Moved on to the final for the day.

01/Oct/2016 VK2/ST-013 (Middle Mountain)

After Bald Mountain we regrouped and proceded to drive into the  Deua National Park for the fial summit. The main reason was to verify access as there were creek (river?) crossing and given the recent rain decided best to approach with backup Fears were unflunded as the crossing point whilst full and active, solid and not a issie for the 4WDs.

ViewfromVK2 ST013

Decided to go up Middle Mountain whilst the group headed to VK2/ST-007, Dampier.

This was to improve S2S contacts and could not pass the oppurtunity to scratch the shit out of myself. The rest of the team chucked me out on the side of the road and I proceeded up the 800m to the summit.  Typically you would see vines for a short distance near roads in the bush but this scrub was lush, thick and full of vines. Whilst I did not loose any equipment, did tear pockets on pants, gain cuts to lower legs and back of neck from. The thickness of the ferns and dept of the undergrowth made for slower than expected going. Intention was to setup 40M and work CW. BY the time I got to the activation zone it was clear there was to be no extended setup. Climbed onto a rocky point and proceeded to qualify on 2M. Worked Peter VK3PF on VK2/ST-007 and our groups on VK2/SM-052. Headed back down through the thichk scrub to Curranbene Creek track to await the convoy. Whilst a short walk and easy navigation (stright up) this was heavy going and not the best opportunity in the area.

Ken misplaced the top portion of the HF antenna on his 4WD so headed back to find it whilst we repacked cars and headed back. Made it back on dark in time for tea.

Day Two:

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-036 (VK2/SM-036)

WalkuptoVK2 SM 036

Crew walking up to the summit of VK2/SM-036

This summit deserves a name.

Access was good. heading along the Snowy Mounatins Highway you turn off onto Tantangara Road. About 5 Km along the good dirt road the right on an unnamed dirt track. We drove to 900m of the summit weaving through the scrub following a ‘track’ to leave the 4WDs in a position avoiding heading up into the snow. Followed the track walking to the summit. The summit is lightly treed and was in full sun with the snow still present providing a perfect operating position.

VK2/SM-033 from VK2/SM-036

Views of VK2/SM-033 which Cromption was activating. Other contacts included VK3ZPF and VK1DI.

This is a great summit with cover and open area with good access. Worth the trip if your going down Snowy Mounatins Highway.

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-015 (Granite Mountain)

Access is straight forward as described by John VK2YW. There was some concern as to access due to the recent rain and wind but the roads had been magically cleared of trees and the 4WD ’s took the boggy sections in their strides. We had 5 HF stations setup. More radios than chasers. ZL1BYZ & VK1DI helped  but the propagation was not helping us. Things got desperate so took a KX2 and whip antenna out of the AZ to give the final CW contact needed to qualify.

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-021 (Pilot Reef Mountain

GrpupOnVK2 SW 015

Group on final summit (VK2/SW-015) VK3KIM,VK3BYD,VK3BHR,VK2HRX,Vk2QR,VV3ARH & VK3AFW.


Given a quick tour Tumut #3 Power station of a ‘Minor’ hydro electric generation plant.  There were 6 turbines that could generate 1500MW. There with only one operating as the photo shows, keeping the phase apparently. This was the last of the power stations built in the area but still before computers and pre formed concrete. It was impressive to see the scale of engineering achieved.

We arrived back at the accommodation quite late and had to enlist the assistance of Ruth to act as barkeeper to secure a well earned ale or two.

There were summits on offer for Monday to activate. Rob VK2QR meet Crompton VK2HRA & Warren Vk3BYD to activate VK2/SW-073 (Talbingo Mountain) on the way home

Thanks to Rob for earlier in the day clearing some trees across the best road out from our last summit. All the sites activated had good access. However there were a couple of creek crossings, boggy patches and the odd gate. We had gained permission to venture past gates before heading off. After seeing experienced 4WD’ers and she state of the creek beds I would negotiate them in AWD Subie however there is no guarantee that you can. Access anywhere in the aussie bush has to be verified at the time and conditions at hand. No assumptions.

Thanks to Rob VK2QR for coming up with the idea and then finding accommodation in a central location on a long weekend. His  advice in planning which summits to attempt was invaluable.Gate closures and weather reduced the possibilities but in the end we had more than we could fit in.

Will be looking forward to such an event in the same area again.


2 responses to “01102016 – Snowy Mountains SOTA weekend”

  1. Andrew VK1AD says :

    Hi Allen, great post. SM-036 is known by VK1 activators as ‘March-fly’ Mountain. Seriously, try activating the peak in summer!!

    There was a discussion between Ian VK1DI and I to name the peak Gang Gang Mountain. Not sure where the conclusion came to? Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH is the VK2 AM. He may have similar or different thoughts on the naming of this terrific easy access peak.

    73 Andrew VK1AD

  2. Andrew VK1AD says :

    Hi Allen, great post. SM-036 is known by VK1 activators as ‘March-fly’ Mountain. Seriously, try activating the peak in summer!!

    There was a discussion between Ian VK1DI and I to name the peak Gang Gang Mountain. Not sure where the conclusion came to? Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH is the VK2 AM. He may have similar or different thoughts on the naming of this terrific easy access peak.

    73 Andrew VK1AD

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