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21012018 – VK3/VT-062

21012018 – VK3/VT-062

I had previously attempted this summit last November.

Not a big walk but lack of attention to what was going on resulted in me taking the wrong track and wasting time and energy. Was not going to happen this time.

ViewTrack

After a couple of ruling K’s on a open track you arrive at the point where the track heads down to the river. We want to follow the old track. This is the track header. It is a typical case of the original track being closed and  The Forests Department (what ever they call themselves today) is trying to regenerate so you have to stay sharp. Still easier that raw bush bashing.

I have seen this hexagonal / beehive formation in rocks previously the way to Mt Erica and in the Grampians National Park.

Honeycomb

A google search attributes larger formations of this shape to giants fighting. Scientists have a different take and they say that these shapes are a result of a cooling lava. Volcanic eruptions causeing lava to ooze out of the earth slowly then the cooling and contracting of the lava formed this shape, either way cool rocks.

The final push through scrub to the AZ to setup across ‘track’.  Setup dipole NS as per normal to maximise VK1,2 & 5 contacts. Conditions were not in my favour as took half an hour to secure the summit. I was happy to receive the contacts I did. In this case the NULL was pointing to Peter VK3PF and we failed to secure contact despite the short distance. 

Results

 Here I am heading back on the relaimed track. Summit qualified and weather holding. 

ViewBack

 Anyway another complete secured. This one is a lot of effort for the points. The track is heavy rise and fall. Navigation off track is clear enough but will only decline as the forest reclaims its own.  

01012018 – VK3/VE-020

31122017 / 01012018 – VK3/VE-020 Mt Lovick in VKFF-0619 – Alpine National Park

ViewVE020

New Years Day is a unique day for SOTA as activators can claim points for an activation either side of the ‘UTC rollover’. Whilst a chaser can claim the same summit multiple times a year (unique days) the activator can only claim a summit one a year. Given AEST and daylight savings, UTC is 11:00 am in VK3 and on the last day of the year, in a new calendar year.

This is not to be missed The plan is to be on a site that requires more that normal effort to access then activate. You will gain double points for your trouble.

Ok so given the weather was not indicating the possibility of being in a National Park during severe fire alert, off to a high point remote summit.

Mt Lovick has been on my list for a while. Not too remote but at the end of a 4WD track in the Alpine NP.  I’ve been late for NYE before. Still worth the trouble but a bit like arriving late for a shark feeding frenzy, just with polite sharks…  there were bodies everywhere and you missed it all. Access is from a 4WD track s 6hrs from home so left the day before to camp at the Bluff Hut so as close as possible for the 1st.

Access is clear. Through Mansfield to Howqua Hills then 30Ks down Brocks Road then Bluff Link road into the Alpine National Park. This area is under access restirctions – Alpine National Park map 35B It is the gates that are of interest. Taking advice from those who travel before (and reading blogs) the intention was to park at the gates and walk in.

OverView

Parked subie at the gate and marked on GPS. (Not spending 5 days 1k from the car). Good spot which allowd the car to repeat my APRS packets from the HT. Only a 1.5km walk up to the hut along open track any way. Arrived at the hut with time to setup tent in light and walk up the ridge like to watch sunset.

SunsetVE020

Was not alone. My neighbours were whip cracking country music fans.  Whatever I was tucked up in my sleeping bag by dark so as to have a early start on the next day. CampBluff

Nearly full moon so the difference between night and morning was the number of birds. Got up and after brekky and a cup of tea headed up Bluff Link Road to Mt Lovick. This is 4WD track. Several came through and they were slow. Easy 3.5K walk across the track. There is a sign and a track that goes to the summit. I found the track coming back. The summit is to the right. Nice and big, can’t miss it. Saw a big fat fox in the activation zone. Chucked a rock at it and it left the scene very quickly. Few march flies but the big dopey ones you can flick away.

OperatingPosition

Close to perfect operating conditions, low 20’s with light wind and clear sky. Setup under tree with shade. Using trapped 20/40m dipole at 7m clear NS. So here I was perfect conditions and on time, so off I went looking for contacts. Checked out the spots on PnP and went to 20M to secure two CW S2S then on to qualified the summit on CW. Spotted and sat on 20m for a while before going to 40.  20m confusing as secured ZL but not VK6 whilst 40m was alive which was welcome. Had a go at 80m as the KX3 will tune a wish but no contacts (heard VK3GGG) so back to 40 to play SOTA. Sat on 40 SSB and worked all comers. Jumped across to work new spots as they came. Even calling S2S caused a pile up. 7.032 was empty so decided to work CW up to UTC. Stayed for over an hour post UTC working SSB and chasing S2S. 27 SOTA S2S from VK3/VE-020;

  • VK2WP on VK2/CT-006
  • ZL1BYZ on ZL1/WK-035
  • VK7FAMP on VK7/CH-057
  • VK1AD on VK2/ST-006
  • VK1FWBD on VK1/AC-043
  • VK3GGG on VK3/VS-015
  • VK3ANL on VK3/VC-002
  • VK2HRX on VK3/VS-001
  • VK3PF on VK3/VE-126
  • VK2IO on VK2/HU-093
  • VK1FWBD on VK1/AC-002
  • VK3CAT on VK3/VT-010
  • ZL2KGF on ZL1/WK-142
  • VK5CZ on VK5/SE-016
  • VK2QR on VK2/SW-021
  • VK2HRX on VK3/VS-001
  • VK2WP on VK2/CT-006
  • VK3AFW on VK3/VE-031
  • VK3ARR on VK3/VC-019
  • VK3ANL on VK3/VC-002
  • VK2IO on VK2/HU-093
  • VK1AD on VK2/ST-006
  • VK1ATP on VK1/AC-043
  • VK3OAK on VK3/VC-024
  • VK2CDS on VK2/HU-013
  • VK5PAS on VK5/SE-013
  • VK3PF on VK3/VE-014

& 11 WWFF P2P contacts from VKFF-0619;

  • VK3CAT in VKFF-002
  • VK2HRX in VKFF-0213
  • VK3ANL in VKFF-0556
  • VK1AD in VKFF-0474
  • VK2CDS in VKFF-0017
  • VK3PF in VKFF-0339
  • VK1AD in VKFF-0474
  • VK3GGG in VKFF-2129
  • VK3ANL in VKFF-0556
  • VK2HRX in VKFF-0213
  • VK1FWBD in VKFF-0377

From here its was walk back to the tent. Left her up to dry. Packed up as a BMW X5 turned up. There were also 4 Land cruisers already there. Busy place. Subie would have made it to the hut in low but agree it would get real challenging should the weather turn. Once packed headed down to car to start the journy home.

Considered Rocky Ridge on the way back but decided to decline as already worked and had a long drive ahead.

Overall a great trip. Its 4WD past the gates however a clean walk from the gates with great facilities and views worth the trip alone.

27122017 – VK3VC-019

27122017 – VK3/VC-019

Coming to the end of year and realised I had not activated VK3/VC-019 Mt Warrenheip nor VK3/VC-032. 

VK3/VC-019 Mt Warrenheip is 10 minutes down the road with excellent access. Its not a favourite site as weedy and rubbish on the site. VK3/VC-032 is a great site but 30min drive so will address it soon enough.

HB9DQM was planning to activate VK2/SM-0012 so decided to pop out to gain a 10 point S2S.

VK3VC019

Setup to the right as there is a stump there that allows a 40M dipole to be strung up. Despite being close to the comms towers this is a better position then heading along the ridge as you avoid the power lines. Worked the other activators out before turning to CW;

  • VK/HB9DQM/P on VK2/SM-001
  • VK2IO in VKFF-0269
  • VK3PF on VK3/VE-097
A Black wallaby can out to say g’day on the way home

BlackWallaby

we have a lot of Roos in the area so this was a novelty for me.

Ok off to plan for VK3/VC-032, tomorrow ? Will be tight as daughters birthday, lets see …..

Update:30122017.

There was more fencing to be done at brother in-laws farm so no more SOTA for me despite being within stones throw of summits and parks;

MtLeuranIMG 2046

11112017 – 2017 KRNMPA Weekend

Keith Roget Memorial National Park Award activation Weekend 2017

11112017 – VK3/VE-093 Black Mountain in (VKFF-0069) Burrowa-Pine Mountain National park
11112017 – Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park (VKFF-0620)
12112017 – Brisbane Ranges National Park (VKFF-0055)

The annual KRMNPA activation weekend is designed to encourage portable activities in Victoria’s 45 National Parks. Tony VK3VX maintains this award and this year had 37 parks activationed out of 45 potential sites. 

I have 14 (now 12) outstanding parks to address. Decided to group these two together. Given the distance its a overnight trip. I pack the car and catch the train on the edge of Melbourne then go to work. 

Drove up the highway, refuelled in Wodonga and proceeded to drive out to Burrowa-Pine Mountain National park  to camp in Hinces Creek camp ground.,

DSCN9132

Setup on dark and called it a night. Up early the next day, had breakfast and coffee and proceeded to travel back to the road and around to access Jephcott and Jewell Rd.

11112017 – VK3/VE-093 Black Mountain in (VKFF-0069) Burrowa-Pine Mountain National park.

VKFF 0069

There are several summits in this park for SOTA. The intention was to activate the park for KRMNPA so SOTA summit was a bonus. Chose Black Mountain as previous activators described a open summit with good access. 

Access was good, turn into Jephcott and Jewell Rd and follow Black Mountain Track. The track turns into Black Mountain Walking track and is signed as 4WD only. No issues with continuing in Subie as the track is still open and good. Parked short of the summit at a defined parking area. The track continued over the summit but was getting rough and for the extra 400m not worth passing a good parking spot.

VK3VE 093

Only need a single contact to qualify for KRMNPA , 4 for SOTA and 10 to claim VKFF. 

It was slow because early but I had time to wait for the other activators to wake up.

Qualified the Summit on CW then proceeded to chase parks contacts.

  • Peter VK3ZPF in Lake Eildon National Park (VKFF-0625) on 10,12,20 and 40M
  • Simon VK3/G7WKX in Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)
  • Mal VK3OAK in Lower Glenelg National Park (VKFF-0296)
  • Sam Vk2GPL in Royal National Park (VKFF-0435)
  • Tony VK3XV in Kara Kara (St Arnaud Range) National Park (VKFF-0629)
  • Mick VK3PMG in Budj Bim (formerly Mount Eccles) National Park (VKFF-0345)
  • Chris VK3FHCI in Budj Bim (formerly Mount Eccles) National Park (VKFF-0345)

Highlight was the S2S and P2P with Simon VK3/G7WKX who was up on Mt Mt Bogong with a 2M handheld. Initial contact was marginal so ran a 2M ribbon antenna up the squid pole and secured the contact.

11112017 – Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park (VKFF-0620)

Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park is a short deviation from the freeway on the way home. I had driven past this site several times in the past on the way back from family events in Albury. 

Setup in Honeysuckle Picnic ground. Turn left off the highway and follow the signs to the park. Open clear area that I had to myself so setup dipole and proceeded to call for contacts. 

VKFF 0620

Picked up P2P with;

  • Gerard VK2IO in Prospect Nature Reserve (VKFF-1986)
  • Peter VK3ZPF in Yarra Ranges National Park (VKFF-0556)
  • Peter VK3PF in Tarra-Bulga National Park (VKFF-0480)
  • Paul VK5PAS and Marija VK5FMAZ in  Croajingolong National Park (VKFF-0119)
  • Mal VK3OAK in Mount Richmond National Park (VKFF-0361)

Warren VK3BYD came in for a visit. Had a nice chat about radios, antenna and failing code whilst out in the park, where such conversations should take place.

Contacts then slowed as it appears the other activators were travelling between parks. Still had 4hrs drive ahead of me so packed up and headed home.

12112017 – Brisbane Ranges National Park (VKFF-0055)

There was no-one planning to activate the Brisbane Ranges National Park over the weekend so given its proximity to home I decided to take a couple of hours on Sunday and activate.  

Came in along Meredith-Steiglitz Road. There were controlled burns in progress so the intended access roads were closed. Ended up  driving into Steigilitz to turn into the park. Once in the park it was a case of finding a suitably open area as intended to deploy the dipole as HF was continuing the marginal conditions we are  was not on the getting use to. Setup clear of the roads as a steady stream of Parks vehicles went through dare say involved with the burns.

VKFF 0055

Not clouds but smoke from fuel reduction fires. Reminder summer and fire season in coming. 

Was not pushing hard for contacts, more a case of available if anyone looking for the site. P2P with Niel VK4HNS in Knapp Creek Conservation Park (VKFF-1574)

Thanks to Tony VK3XV for organising another excellent KRMNPA weekend.

06112017 – VK3/VT-034

06112017 – VK3/VT-034

Intention was to activate two summits. VK3/VT-062 and VK3/VT-034 however this was not to be.

The original plan was for VK3/VT-034 and VK3/VE-016 Mt Useful. Mt Baw Baw area is on the edge of reasonable driving for a day activation (Mt Erica with VK3YY).Was going over the maps and noticed VK3/VT-062. I am allways looking for new summits to activate.  This summit has only been activated once by Peter VK3PF and I had a contact from his activation. Good access and as always keen to secure a complete saw Mt Useful dropped and replaced with VK3/VE-062.

VK3/VT-062

Parked at WalhallaRd and Low Saddle Road just before the bridge over Aberfeldy River. Good area off road.

The track is open and clear. Given the weather was degrading such a track is welcome. The walk is steep as up hill right from the work go;

 

TrackVK3VE062

So off I went following the track on a grey day. up up up.. rain .. down .. up down then a river came into  view.  This did not feel right. The GPS confirmed I was off the proposed route.  Pulled out the map from pack and had a look to discover the track as planned did not match the track on the ground. It had been re defined. It is not unusual to find tracks such as this in the bush. The original went along the ridge line. Have come across several instances where a new track was cut (Mt Emu) to give better fire access.  The new track will follow the existing one then cut around the summits avoiding the tops to rejoin on the other side. Once done the previous track is covered up to discourage use. Normally you will walk on the new part as it avoids a steep climd. The Garmoin maps that my GPS and printed maps are based on do not show such changes. 

This track was not heading up to the summit and I was facing a water crossing. This was not what I was expecting.

There is a creek marked on the map marked as ‘intermittent’. I saw campers on the other side on the way down also two 4WDs were coming down behind me. There was nothing to indicate a 4WD had crossed the river here recently. The water was moving and deep, this was not an intermittent creek. The 4WDs decided not to proceed and to turn back.

Simple country lad and does not cross rivers when he doesn’t have to. Anyway this was not relvent as I had strayed off the track.  Looking at the ridges on the map I did not believe this track was heading back to the summit. Ok head back up and find the old track.

The 4WDers offered me a lift back to my car but I declined and headed back up to the top looking for the original track. Once back up to the original track I went bush along the ridge line. There were trees and other obstacles across the old route but still clear as to direction. It was another 1.5K or so to go to the summit equivalent to what I had just covered to look at a river. Given the rain was back I decided to abandon the walk out to VK3/VT-062 then back so headed back to the car and proceed to VK3/VT-034. VK3/VT-062 will be addressed at a later time.

VK3VE062

Peter VK3PF has more information as to desirable access – https://vk3pf.wordpress.com/page/6/

06112017 – VK3/VT-034

Access to VK3/VT-034 is via good 2WD roads. Down Springs Road then turn into Williamson Spur. There is a track heading up to the summit from intersection of Army Track and Williamson Spur trk. It was raining and the track wet so did not push my luck by driving into the summit so parked and headed up to the summit. Walked in circles for a while before setting up the dipole as trying to avoid the burnt timber. Again wet. Seems to be only able to activate in the wet these days. Qualified on CW then worked Paul and Marija in VKFF-0758 

Allen

VK3ARH

 

20102017 – VK3/VE-106 & VK3/VE-108 & VK3/VE-116

20102017 – VK3/VE-106  in (VKFF-0619) Alpine National Park

VK3/VE-108 & VK3/VE-116

These summits run along a ridge line near Jamison. There are four summits of interest , one had not been previously activated and the other three has only been activated by Wayne VK3WAM 4 years ago. Whilst Wayne camped at Grannies Flat and walked up Mitchell track, I was going to camp at the mine and walk down Mitchell’s track.  

Overview

Headed up Friday afternoon to camp in the area and have a early start. The trip had interesting start, I could smell then see smoke inside the car. It was coming from the passenger side. This was the Friday before a long weekend so very heavy traffic.Whilst negotiating heavy traffic to pull off the road, turned the interior fan off hoping that was the source.Then the HF antenna on my car came off and was last seen going under a truck on the highway. Ended up in the service centre on the outskirts of Melbourne. Closer inspection revealed the power connector to the interior fan was damaged and was shorting. Easy fix. Having accounted for the smoke I decided to proceed as planned. Disappointed to loose the antenna. It was a Outbacker I sourced from a Ham fest. I put in on before leaving the train station and must not have done so tight enough. It will be a loss.

Proceeded down the highway to Mansfield. Out of Mansfield turned towards Jamison looking for Steiners Road. Navigating Steiners Road in daylight was the goal of leaving early. This 2WD road will take me to the end of the ridge line for easy access to the summits. Arrived at the mine at the end of Steiner Road and Mitchell’s Track in time to to setup tent, eat and watch the sun go down.  

VK3VE108

Sunset VIew of VK3/VE-108  

It was a windy and wet night and a old slate quarry provided a protected spot to camp.

20102017 – VK3/VE-106  in (VKFF-619) Alpine National Park

The first summit VK3/VE-106 was a quick trip back down Steiner Road then a short but trackless walk through the bush. Well ferned and treed but no issues with access as basically following the ridge line. 

VK3VE106

Despite being early on a Saturday morning qualified the summit with the usual CW culprits, VK3CAT Tony, VK7CW Steve, VK2IO Gerard, VK3BYD Warren  and VK3PF Peter. Having qualified and after calls on SSB I was happy to pack up and head back as not expecting the remainding summits to give their points easly.

VK3/VE-108

Back down Steiners to Mitchells track. Up Mitchells track to access this summit. Parked Subie off track allowing room for others to pass (no others seen) and walked the short distance to the summit to setup in a messy activation zone. 

VK3VE108Operating

Qualified CW again with the same chasers. Using a trapped 20/30/40 end fed half wave. This antenna is compact and easy to deploy in tight conditions. Signal reports were low except for VK2 & VK7. The KX3 tuned the antena to alow local contacts on 80M. 

Mitchells track is 4WD. Whilst I was up on the track, saw no reason to proceed any further down the track with Subie. There were no access issues so far but it was obvious that should the weather turn this would make the steep climbs into a slippery nightmare and not the place to be driving Subie. Anyway here for a walk and this only involves following the track. The track is open and clear but takes a lot of work as basically up then down. 

VK3/VE-116

Walked the 3Km from VK3/VE-108 to VK3/VE-116 along the track only going bush to gain access to the summit. 

First contact was with VK2JNG Gerard in WWFF Mallanganee National Park (VKFF-0301) then the rest were CW contacts.

At this point Tony VK3CAT who was out but not on a summit messaged me with a weather warning. I looked across to see a small strom heading straight for me. No more radio. Packed as quick as I could up as having all this wire in the sky during a storm was not appealing. Also decided to drop the final summit (VK3/VE-152) as the additional 3+hours to walk down, activate and walk back was not appealing in these conditions. Only 4Km but heavy ascent and descents. The goal now was to get back to solid roads assuming the wind and rain was going to continue.

Negotiated the short bush bash back to the track from the summit before the rain came, then it came down, hail wind and more hail. Agree thats there is no such thing as bad weather, just under prepared walkers, so I got the wet weather gear on and after hiding from the hail and wind walked back to the car.

StormComing

The track turned into a water way. Had trouble walking up in spots due to slipping. I still had to negotiate this track to get back to Steiners Rd. At this point despite being wet I was happy that I didn’t push it and drive down. Once back at the car continued down Mitchells track where I meet a branch (small tree size!) across the track. Quickly negotiated this obstacle and continued across the ridge line. Happy to get back on Steiners Road as felt safer on this road and proceeded to drive out back to sealed roads. 

Once back on sealed roads still had 4hrs to travel to arrive home late after an uneventful trip.

This is an excellent spot to pick up remote summits. You could spend a day working the summits on Mitchell track, camp the night then spend the next day heading out along the ridge lines to The Govenor (VK3/VE-046) via VK3/VE106 which whilst only trip 6.5km would be slow given the undergrowth.

Allen

VK3ARH

20092017 – VK3/VC-017 & 08102017 – VK3/VC-013

Three Private Summits VK3/VC-017, VK3/VC-012 and VK3/VC-013

Not having enough time to travel across the the Alpine for a end of bonus period jaunt and keen to get out to play radio, I decided to tidy up some local summits.

These are on private land and each only activated a single time. 

20092017 – VK3/VC-017 – The Jim Jim

The Jim Jim is on private land behind Mt Macadon.

My method of finding owners for private summits is to start as close to the summit as I can and start asking. It does not take long to find who to ask. 

A review of maps show that the ‘Hanging Rock Winery’ is the closest buildings to the site. So in this case started with phone calls to the winery.

TheJImJIm

Contacted the Winery and hit pay-dirt first go. After a brief chat with the owners access was secured. Had to go into the cellar and let Andrew the manager know but no issues.

Looking for ward to testing a 20/30/40 trapped end fed halfwave that I had just made. The summit is nIce and clear and flat so setup. However, the battery was flat and the KX3 shut down. This was surprising as had charged two nights earlier and normally get a couple of activations out of the internal Eneloop batteries. I had not brought a spare up. There was spare gear in the car but decided to try with the 2M handie as it was a nice day and I had time.

Qualified on 2M, picked up a Merlot and Shiraz Mourvedre Grenache and made it back to the train station to pick up my daughter and head home.

08102017 – VK3/VC-012 Black Range.

Drove across and started the tried and proved plan of starting as close to the summits as I can. Approached a farmer at the base of the summit. He was not the owner but knew who is. The owners live in Melbourne. He would pass my details on and I will receive a phone call.  More to do here to secure access. Expect to have to chase access as not all people take the SOTA summit access quest as seriously as it should be treated. Current plan is to return in two weeks and go back to the initial contact seeking further information. May activate  Organ Pipes for KRMNPA & WWFF whilst in the area.

08102017 – VK3/VC-013 – Mt William

With access for Black Range off the cards for today proceeded to drive to Mt William. Applied the same rules and headed for the closest building according to Google maps. Drove up Staffords Lane as maps indicated it was a through road. It is but not the main access road as turned into a red steep track quickly and has gates across the top. It did look like an easement but decided not to go through the gates as it is not a good position to be negoating access from. Quite steep and great views,

MtWilliam

Obvious could not access summit without crossing private land and that this was no the road to the building I had initially targeted so returned back to the main road and drove down and turned into the first farm off Pyalong Road. There was a new house which was avoided and proceeded up to a farm house.

Bingo. Meet Noel. Hppy to chat and so it appears there are three owners of the summit. One who owns the top which holds a coms tower, another that owns the part coming from the east and Noel who has the land from the north. Noel had no issues with allowing access across his land so decided to go from his side  

Noel recommended that I avoid Staffords Rd due to it being steap (yes confirmed that!) instead to head back down Pyalong Road, into West Goldie, across Red Gat to turn into William road and eventiually Hockings Rd. Proceeded as instructed and parked the car at the other end of the easement as saw no reason to push through the gates. Walked across then up towards the summit staying on Noels side. Setup in once in the zone but off the top. Nice clear spot but compromise so not expecting brilliant results. 

Setup the EFHW 20/30/40 .  Quite activation and had to go to 80m to secure local contacts. The internal tuner in the KX3 tuned the end fed to secure 80m contacts. The intent of the antenna is for use with MTR where weight is going to be an issue. Picked up a a S2S with VK3CAT Tony on VK3/VC-002 Mt Donna Buang again on 80m. Spent an hour calling on each band and packed up and back at car well before the rain came down.

Have not heard back from the owners of VK3/VC-012 Black Range so will plan a trip to activate WWFF Organ Pipes National Park (VKFF-0627) and VK3/VC-007 Mt Macedon and go back to request additional contact information.

Allen