20072014 – VK3/VC-003 & VK3/VN-027

VK3/VC-003 – Mt Ritchie

  • KRMNPA in Yarra Ranges
  • WWFF ID – VKFF-556

VK3/VN-027 – Mt Gordon

Great day out SOTAing. Two summits, 2 S2S, 2 NP, 3 CW and 2 2M contacts.

Was concerned as the weather reports during the previous week were for for more of the same harsh condition experience previously but it ended up with 5% chance of 1mm rain and as Michele was working, I charged the batteries and made plans to head out Sunday. I keep a list of proposed activations so dusted off Mt Ritchie and Mt Gordon.

VK3/VC-003 – Mt Ritchie

GPS View

Previous activation of Mt Ritchie was with VK3ZPF Peter and it was cold. Mt Gordon was new for me. These two make a good pair due to being close. Didn’t think Mt Vinegar was going to happen so left it to do with Mt Dom Dom in summer. View of Mt Ritchie with fog on the way up,

MtRitchie Bottom

Foggy and patchy snow on the way. I hired a set of yowies again and put them on as the snow was now full cover. The snow was 10cm on the summit. The real issue was the water from melting. It was easier to walking in the snow as the lower regions were just slush and mud. View from top in full sunlight,

MtRitchie top

VK3IL David was on Mt Buller and we have several contacts on the way up to Mt Ritchie. I called again once in the zone to start the activation with a S2S. David was using 2M only so taking a while to qualify.VK2YK Adam spotted David which gave him the response needed. I could hear the increased activity on 2M and picked up a contact with VK3PI.

MtRitchie log

CW was the highlight. Took the MTR as had programmed CQ call into memory. Ran a could of times with no response. Not the first trip into the field but yet to make a contact. First trip she was covered with snow. Palm Paddle worked in the cold. Little bit stiff on one side so may need a review.

VK3/VN-027 – Mt Gordon

Operating position on Mt Gordon,


 Mt Gordon does not have a lot of places for an antenna as there was constant mountain bike activity so setup off to the side and out of the way. 

MtGordon log

Had another go on Mt Gordon with MTR again with no response. Not convinced I have aligned it correctly. Followed the instructions with no issues bout will be seeking assistance with a good CRO and frequency counter. 

MTR MtGordon

It was nice to have time and conditions so could have a play instead of activating then getting out of the weather.

Now lets get into Navigation. GPS tracks where Red is Proposed and Blue is actual,


There is always a slight deviation between what is on the maps and reality. You have to expect that and act accordingly. You can’t expect the GPS to give you a step by step view. 

Not getting along with my GPS’s at the moment. The device in the car sent me to Mt Gordon via Marysville. Took 30m to get there. I over-rid its authority on the way back and only took 10min. 

The handheld has been been sending tracks without way points. This started after updating FW to 3.7. Revealed itself on Talbot Peak walk. The Alpine track is clearly marked and we were able to navigate even where the snow had covered the track. Current tracks still worked so able to backtrack but the new track only start and finish points. Recreated tracks at home with the same issue. Had a google and there were several pointers to ‘update FW and Basecamp’ as a solution. Not happy with the ‘update software’ solution to problems. I keep both current but do not auto-update. Sent a email to Garmin with details and whilst receiving a acknowledgement of the email, yet to receive a response from Garmin Support. 

Updating the FW and Basecamp addressed this issue. There is a issue with the earlier Basecamp / and 3.7 FW releases.  

Currently eTrex 30 FW is at version 3.90 and BaseCamp for Mac at version 4.3.4. This is working. 

Check your tracks before going out.

Spot Device. Disappointed that it only got 5 packets out over the day.  This is a satellite based device that requires subscription. Consider it my backup device or where to start looking for the body. Worked fine in Nepal.  

Spot 20072014

The APRS also only got packets from Mt Gordon. The radio (VX-8G) was taking its time to locate satellites and I did head off instead of waiting. The cover of Mt Ritche must have prevented the car receiving the packets as I could hear it sending on the way up and whilst on the summit. The only packets that made it out were from Mt Gordon and repeated from the car.  Here you can see me driving up to Mt Gordon then out of the zone to walk in. Glad I parked off the road as it was busy with mountain bikers driving up to go down the track. 

APRS MtGordon

Overall a great day in the bush with all my toys.