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24042018 – VK3/VE-001

 VK3/VE-001 Mt Bogong in VKFF-0619 – Alpine National Park

VK3ARH VE001

I’ve had my eye on Mt Bogong for a while now. My previous SOTA visit to Mt Bogong only secured a single contact so wanted to revisit and qualify. Also Mt Bogong is the highest peak in Victoria. Given the warmer and drier weather that normal recently (Its incredible that are still some denying Climate Change. grrr) decided this was the time to go.

Drove up Monday night and camped at Mountain Creek camping ground. This is about 15 km east of Tawonga, which is down the road from Mt Beauty 10 km down Mountain Creek Rd or where the Alpine NP starts. Even during the week there was several other campers already present. Decided not to head up to Mt Emu but to secure a spot and prepare for a early start.

Up at 6:30, fed and watered so headed down  Mountain Creek Rd to the start of Staircase Spur.


StravaView

This was very much a autumn activation. Smoke in the air, sunny and 26.8. Gain 1291m in height over 7Km. The view from the summit was spectacular,

ViewFrom Bogong

 

Since then my hiking and radio equipment has been slowly upgraded. I repacked my gear with a view of reducing weight, given its a long uphill walk and to ensure I had the minimum amount of gear needed to be safe. Despite the weather I still carried a storm jacket, emergency shelter, first aid (sprains a real risk here) 3.5L water, food  and had new mid weight Alpine hiking pants. Love a Katmandu sale. Also carried spare antenna, battery and MTR. The equipment has improved.  All this came in at 7Kg including pack.

For this activation the antenna was selected to have no moving parts. >The intention was to support 40M and to be able to tune 80M. >Used 20m of wire into a 9:1 UNUN. Not perfect but the tuner in the KX3 would compensate and 80M was to support local chasers so 1/4 wave should suffice. The summit is open with no trees to use but does have snow poles running across the top. This would support the 7m squid pole which was strapped to the pack. No issues with the length of the pole on the the walk as clear with no bush and definitely no off track excursions.

ViewAntennaBogong

The antenna and tuner worked treat however the KX3 would not transmit at 15w with the 4S Lifo battery (another 425g carried up). At the time I assumed the antenna match was not good enough or that the UNUN was having trouble with 80M. After the activation I tested the setup at home to reveal one of the spades in the power pole connectors had slipped in and was not making contact. Not the antenna, bad connection. 

Qualified on 40M CW and secured an 80M contact with VK3PF. Called on 2M and APRS worked all through via VK2CPR-1 but no contacts. 

Meet a couple on the summit who informed me the Eskdale Spur Track  was open. This leaves you with 4Km walk from higher starting point. I can’t comment of AWD access but can confirm there is enough space at the start of the Staircase to park a car off road, if your early enough.

Overall a great day and possibly the best time of year to be up on Mt Bogong.

31032018 – Easter Weekend

VK3/VG-002 – Mt Cobberas Number 1

VK3/VG-010 – Blue Hill

VK3/VG-007 – Rams Head Range

VK3/VG-012 – Brumby Hill

all in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)

Running out of local summits so setting my eyes on VG (Gippsland). The plan is to camp at Native Dogs Flat off Limestone Road. Straight forward access and a good site to base from to activate the surrounding summits.

Had been in the area November 2014 with VK2TWR Rod and in parallel ridge lines (Davis Plain) during the recent Hotham weekend. 

NativeDogFlat

Left mid Friday to avoid the Easter traffic. Headed through Melbourne to Bairnsdale and then to Buchan to turn into Limestone Road. Return trip was through Omeo to Bairnsdale and back down the A1 through Melbourne and then home. Popped in on Peter VK3PF on the way back. Needed a break from driving and the coffee was welcome.

OverViewAPRS

It is a long trip. APRS coverage was the usual poor once away from repeaters. Phone coverage in this area is limited to 3G once on the summit , if lucky.

Saw Wallabies, snakes, deer, brumbies and a Owl. There were the expected nutters on the road and surprisingly no booze busses.

VK3/VG-002 – Mt Cobberas Number 1

Drove down Limestone Track turning into Cobberas Track to the defined walking track to the Cobberas. Followed the waking track (orange triangles) as bit over 6K. Clear walk but easy to wander off track due to the brumby tracks in the area.

ViewFromCobberas
Heard VK1AD Andrew on 2M once on the summit. Gave him a call and the battery went flat. Ahh yes I did take the HT out the other day listening to the CFA and no did not charge. Did want 2M to keep an ear out for Wade VK1MIC but he lack of battery put an end of 2M for the weekend. 

Stayed on summit for an hour. Picked up S2S with VK1AD on VK1/AC-008 and a P2P with VK3ZPF Peter from WWFF Yarringa Marine Marine National Park (VKFF-0957).
Did get off track on the way back but not enough to cause grief.  Great site worth the walk.

VK3/VG-010 – Blue Hill

BrumbiesBlueHill

Headed back down Limestone Rd and parked Subie near Boughyard Creek bridge. Not a lot of spots out of the way and there was road work at the time. My route was based on David VK3IL activation notes. The scrub was right forward with fallen trees, soft under growth however a lot of Brumby poo around. Being aware that will be coming back in dark tried to avoid the rocks and tracked from clearing to clearing.  Took a bit over an hour to reach the zone.

Once in the zone I weaved 42m of lightweight wire through the tree limbs and a 5m travel pole as support. This is a EFHW using a 1:49 matching transformer based on information in facebook. The KX3 smooths it out and away you go. I was ready by 18:30 but lacking the ability to spot and wanted to qualify on 160 CW so put out a few calls but waited on 1.832 for the others to come up. Keen to qualify and get off the summit. It was a good night to be out. Full moon, no rain just great piles of Brumby poo to deal with. Just after 19:00 contact was made. Bernard VK2IB/3 and Warren VK3BYD how were on VK3/VE-006 (Mt Hotham) with a kite antenna. David VK3IL portable from Philip Island up next giving him a complete. Then Peter VK3PF on VK3/VT-049 and final contact with John VK2YW. As soon as qualified I packed up and headed back down to the car in dark.  Came prepared with LED spot and head torches. Uneventful (thanks) trip back to car not face planting into the Brumby poo or taking a knee out in the rocks to get back to camp after 21:00 for tea and some Stones Mac.

VK3/VG-007 – Rams Head Range

ViewRamsHead

Came up Rams Horn Track off Limestone Road. This is a 4WD track that Subie handled in low range. The ruts were the only issue. Parked with a clear km or so to the summit through clear scrub. Couple of rocks to go around but no issues. The summit is a rocky out crop. Went with 20m end fed between my rock and a tree on another. Qualified on 80m in 15 minutes so packed up and headed back. Still had a big drive ahead of me.  

VK3/VG-012 – Brumby Hill

ParkingBrumbyHill

Nunniong road was the worst in the area. Whilst Rams Horn Track and Cobberas Track had ruts big enough to eat Subie the corrugations and rocks on this road were a joke. I develop a horrible noise in the frount. 

Access to Brumby Hill is easy. Nunniong Road brings you to the zone. I walked down Forlorn Hope Track a 100m or so  as wanted to be in the Buchan Wilderness Zone. Setup on a nice bit tree with 20/40m dipole. 12 contacts in 15 minutes all on 40m. 40m was alibi and a great day to be put.

Went back down Nunniong road cursing the corrugations heading to Omeo. Still working out the area so keen to secure petrol and get a better look under the car. Found the plastic trim was loose so a couple of zip ties and a meter of go fast tape later started the trip back home.

Dropped in on Peter VK3PF on the way back. I had time and needed a coffee. Peter had a great brew and once caffeinated up headed home to arrive 20:00.

Great weekend. Perfect weather. Will be back for more summits in the area. 

 

03022018 – 3rd Annual Mt Hotham SOTA Summit

3rd Annual Mt Hotham SOTA Summit

VK3/VE-014 The Horn in WWFF Mount Buffalo National Park (VKFF-0339)

VK3/VT-023

VK3/VE-032 Mt Sarah in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)

VK3/VE-049 Mt Selwyn in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)

VK3/VE-064 in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)

VK3/VE-025 Mt Murray in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)

VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham

VK3/VG-008 Mt Misery Range

VK3/VG-009

VK3/VE-010 Davies Plain

This is the third year Brian VK3MCD has hosted the now  annual VK Mt Hotham SOTA summit.

I’m keen on this weekend for several reasons. The first is you get to spend a weekend with like minded SOTA folk. Second is staying in Hotham during summer allows for clear access to remote mountains too far for a day trips from home. After three years we are starting to go further afield to activate new summits however have a broad pool of experience to draw from to select and gain access to summits. This event has become a highlight on the VK SOTA calendar and the increase in attendance and the enthusiasm expressed by the participates evidences how much we all enjoyed it

VieToHotham

VK3/VE-014 The Horn in WWFF Mount Buffalo National Park (VKFF-0339)

I took the opportunity to activate The Horn in WWFF Mount Buffalo National Park on Friday. I have never been to this site in good weather and wanted to enjoy the view as apposed to hiding from it.Previous attempts include a successful activation in July 2013 during snow and a failed attempt in July 2014. These conditions are a lot easier. Drove down to the end of Mt Buffalo Road and climbed the 800 odd meters to the summit. Took 7m squid pole as had planned to cast the long wire over the edge. Didn’t quite work that way so ran the wire from the fence line across the top.  Took a lot of photos of the summits in the distance due to the excellent conditions.  Also took advantage of the signage there taking references photos to align the pictures later.

FaintersFeathertopRazorbackLockHotham

Worked VK3YY Glen & VK3IL David returning from their Razor-Viking Wilderness adventure as well as Ron VK3AFW mobile. After qualifying the summit and taking enough photos I decided not to activate the other summits in the park but to head up to Hotham so as not to have a late night. Meet up with VK3HN Paul on the way up. I stopped to take photos and he picked the car with antenna was heading the same way. This was good as whilst I had the details of accommodation (This year we were based at the Anton Huette ski lodge) will admit apart from charging batteries the week before, booking and paying the deposit I did not spend a lot of time preparing so was not exactly sure where it was. One of the advantages is the ability to book leave early.

Friday night consisted of fine tuning plans and catching up with friends that whilst I talk to most weekends, only meet annually at such events. 

My agenda was to prioritise the activation of new summits to gain completes.  Peter has acquired a nice Ford Ranger 4WD and was happy to get out into the tracks so we teamed up. 

VK3/VT-023VK3/VE-032 Mt Sarah in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619) & VK3/VE-049 Mt Selwyn in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)

The first group consisting of VK3PF,VK3HN,VK3ARH and VK3YY were up and headed off to activate VK3/VT-023 (VK3/VT-023),VK3/VE-032 (Mt Sarah), VK3/VE-049 (Mt Selwyn), VK3/VE-066 (VK3/VE-066) and VK3/VE-025 (Mt Murray). The plan was to drive down to Mt Sarah however changed on route as we laised with the other groups and confirmed times. In the end is was a case of driving past Mt Sarah  to start from VK3/VT-023.

So off we went, back down to the intersection of Dargo High Plains Road and then onto Twins Road. This track is generally rough and narrow. We drove past the The Twins and VK3/VE-023 then around the side of VK3/VE-064 via Twins Jeep Track finally onto Selwyn Creek Road. from there is was sourh down Selwyn Logging Road turning into Tea Tree Range Road to arrive at VK3/VT-023 in time for S2S fun.

There were other explorers out in the bush so when we arrived on site there were still parking and antenna placement considerations. You can’t setup the dipole across the road.  You can’t park on the road.

Peters new 4WD addressed the terrian with full comfort. 

VK3YYworkingZL

VK3YY Glenn & VK3PF Peter working ZL on VK3/VE-049 Mt Selwyn from Glenn’s cute antenna whilst I was still getting the dipole up. The antenna is directly connected th the KX2 with a counterpoise and operated ‘Walki Talkie’ style.

VK3/VE-064 in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619) & VK3/VE-025 Mt Murray in WWFF Alpine National Park (VKFF-0619)

The car left on the track whilst we climbed up to the activation zone. One stayed behind out of the zone and we used 2M to activate. After q quick operator shuffle, we had all qualifed the summit and were back in the car to continue on to Mt Murray.

YYNHPF0nHotham

VK3YY Glenn, VK3PF Peter and VK3HN Paul on Mt Murray. My squid pole behind for HF. Great views to the south across the Wongungurra River valley.

VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham

One feature of the Annual Hotham SOTA Summit is that Brian organises vehicle access to Hotham, making it a breeze to activate and  socialise. However drinks was not my priority, I  set up the HF with KX3 and linked dipole and started calling, VK3HN Paul setup his linked dipole and Summit Prowler-IV looking for 80m contacts whilst Glenn started calling on the KX2 with whip.

Warren VK3BYD/p was still on Mt Stanley with 23 cm so Andrew and Compton deployed 23cm gear. Using the handheld and 4-element Yagi resulted in very good signals both ways allowing Warren to log 8 S2S Hotham to Stanley contacts on 23 cm FM!

We eventually packed up and headed down to The General Store for dinner before a early night as adventures to be had on Sunday.

Day Two – 04022018

VK3/VG-008 Mt Misery Range, VK3/VG-009 & VK3/VE-010 Davies Plain

On Sunday VK3PF, VK2HRX, VK3HN and myself travelled in a convoy to activate three 10-point summits to the east of Mt Hotham. First was Mt Misery Range (VK3/VG-008) where we secured an unexpected S2S with Andrew VK3ARR/p on VK3/VN-016 (Mt Alexander). On arriving at VK3/VG-008 – Mt Misery Range I  pull out the GPS to discover the batteries are flat. Not an issue as have spares. However as there were four in the party and at least two other GPS devices, I decided to leave the GPS and use the Hike2 app on my Garmin vívoactive.

VioactiveMap

The device tracked and displayed our route with no issues. Given the short distances involved, it displayed on the small screen well enough to show and giving distances back to the start point. The map above downloaded from Strava shows us navigating (following brumby tracks) around the boggy area on the return trip.  Whilst the screen is small and does not have a map, the track back was easy as showed distance and direction to start point.  Ok this device is not a replacement for a GPS and map but did track and record the walk out and back and allowed me to be comfortable in the bush without a map and compass.

Once back at the cars we headed down Mt Misery Track then across to VK3/VG-009 in time for a S2S contact with Glenn VK3YY and Andrew VK3JBL on Mt Loch VK3/VE-005 and Leigh VK3SG on Blue Rag Range VK3/VE-015. Final summit was Davies Plain (VK3/VE-010).  Davies Plain in Kosciuszko National Park is the furthest we got, just 10km from the NSW border, and only activated once before (by Compton in 2013).  The 4WDs came into their own this deep into the bush. There is no way I would have gotten Subie this deep so appreciated the comfort that Peters 4WD provided. 

VK3PFVK3HNVK2HRSVK3VE010

It was 2+ hours of dirt road driving each way including some rugged 4wd tracks but a real experience. Here we are on Davies Plain 10k from NSW.  I had to force the group to turn and head back so as to start my trip home that night and suspect had I not they would still be out there chasing summits on 4WD tracks.

In memory of Subies passed, this year Ron VK3AFW hosted the ‘Bust a Gasket Award

Thanks to Brian VK3MCD for offering, arranging and hosting the 3rd Annual Mt Hotham SOTA weekend, thanks also to all the participants – the camaraderie was terrific and it was great to have like-minded company to discuss a variety of topics and finally thanks to the chasers who patiently waited for us to arrive and then who tolerated us activators passing the microphones around to ensure all qualified the summits. An event like this only works because of the efforts of ALL who participate activator and chaser alike. 

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.

26112017 – 2017 VKFF Activation Weekend

2017 VKFF Activation Weekend

This is a annual event organised by VK5PAS Paul framed to promote WWFF. This year there was activator representation from all States and Territories around Australia. There were alerts for 60 VKFF sites posted on ParksnPeaks across 89 activations for 42 activators. Weather and conditions resulted in a couple of cancellations and with these type of events, there are always a group of activators who decide to go on short notice which resulted in this case with at least 75 unique sites activated over the weekend. It is a great weekend to gain P2P contacts.

WWFF activations can be made from a mobile setup. This allows the activators to deploy tarps, tables, more elaborate antenna and higher power radios as the associated with your car is not an issue. I had been acquiring components to complete a HF radio in Subie this year. The final piece was a Outbacker Stealth vertical to replace the unit lost on recent SOTA activations. So this gives me 80 to 6m with the FT891. Can still deploy a independent portable setup or external antenna but have a loaded 1/4 wave vertical with 100w ready to go.  

I stayed close to home activating sites that were added to the VKFF list August this year. Whilst the Enfield State Park had been previously activated, this will be the first for both Corindhap and Mount Mercer Nature Conservation Reserves.

Corindhap VKFF 2070

WWFF Corindhap Nature Conservation Reserve (VKFF-2070) 

Situated on the edge of the town of Corindhap on the Colac-Ballarat Road. Open clear access but no facilities. I had Telstra phone coverage so able to spot and watch ParksnPeaks.org on the iPad.

Secured 24 contacts including 8 P2P contacts; 

  • VK3FLCS Brett in Mount Sugarloaf Nature Conservation Reserve (VKFF-2158)
  • VK5FMAZ Marija in Morgan Conservation Park (VKFF-0911)
  • VK5PAS Paul in Morgan Conservation Park (VKFF-0911)
  • VK1DI Ian in Mount Pleasant Nature Reserve (VKFF-1775)
  • VK3PF Peter in Swallow Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve (VKFF-2199)
  • VK7JON John in Ferndene State Reserve (VKFF-1802)
  • VK7FLOK Helen in Ferndene State Reserve (VKFF-1802)
  • VK2IO Gerard in Blue Mountains National Park (VKFF-0041)

 WWFF Enfield State Park (VKFF-0757) 

Enfield State Park was a quick stop on the way to Mt Mercer to gain Park to Park contacts;

  • VK2XSE Liz in Balowra State Conservation Area (VKFF-1269)
  • VK3ZPF Peter in Main Ridge Nature Conservation Reserve (VKFF-2135)
  • VK1DI Ian in Mount Pleasant Nature Reserve (VKFF-1775)
as the road goes through the park. Pull over and secure SSB contacts then off to Mount Mercer Nature Conservation Reserve… too easy.

Mount Mercer VKFF 2154Mount Mercer Nature Conservation Reserve (VKFF-2154) 

I had a bit of trouble finding the site. Not because it is hard to find, quite the contrary,  the site is on a major road between Bunninyong and Geelong but because it does not have any trees.Driving along the road and looking at the tree’d areas did not work. The GPS was correct as found the sign so after running out of park before trees I realised the intend was to operate from the grassed land. Ok got it.  In the 6 years I have been activating SOTA and Parks this i the first grass land, no treed site. There are a few Alpine summits (Mt Feathertop, Mt Marjorie, Mt Hotham) that are as barren but this was a Park.hmmm. Ended up at Gundies Road without finding any clear access so decided to turn back towards Bunnyiong and headed for the start of the park as the sign was down from the CFA shed. 

Left the car at the CFA shed and jumped the fence to operate from a chair using the KX3 and dipole off 7M squid pole stopped to the fence. Nice comfy operating position. No need to go too far in. Snakes one reason…

I could hear a lot of static crashes and there was thunder and lightening (to the east) visible so this was not going to be a long activation.

Nothing from the Mt Mercer Wind Farm. This is consistence with an activation of VK3/VS-024 (Mt Misery) near Waubra wind farm on HF and VHF where again no interference could be noted from the wind turbines.

Again the weather was not brilliant and so only operated for half a hour as not keen on the thunder storm activity. Secured 3 P2P contacts;

  • VK2IO Gerard in Pitt Town Nature Reserve (VKFF-1984)
  • VK5FMAZ Marija in Ridley Conservation Park (VKFF-0932)
  • VK5PAS Paul in Ridley Conservation Park (VKFF-0932)

and headed home. 

Update: 23122017. Received a ‘Participation certificate’ from Paul. Nice work Paul, thanks

VK3ARH

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.

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