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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

WWFF Hunter – 396 References

Received WWFF Hunter certificate for working 396+ unique references for 126 total but 78 unique local activators.

H 396 2017 VK3ARH 286

13082017 – VK3/VC-003 & VK3/VN-030

13082017 – VK3/VC-003 Mt Ritchie in (VKFF-0556) Yarra Ranges National Park

Parked at the gate of Road Fifteen off Acheron Road. Got out, grated up and got on with the walk,

Mt Ritchie is a great walk. Your are walking down a maintained road that is seasonally shut. No issues with navigation or rough areas just a case of keep going up until you reach the summit.

WalkUpRitchie

Using a Garmin VirbX and still getting use to it. The mountain is square just my mount is not aligned.

MtRitchie 13082017

Not as much snow this year as previous. The summit is a clear open space with signs to use as squidpole mount and enough room for a long antenna. I took 41m end fed as expecting the use of 80M given recent conditions.

ViewDownAntenna

Looking down the antenna here to the operating position. 41m end fed. The KX3 tunes it to everything. 9 contacts. All CW. Two S2s. First for the day with VK5CZ on VK5/NE-082  and after a lot of work with VK4JAZ on VK4/SE-117. This contact demonstrated the value of CW. It was marginal at best but we managed to get through.  Two 80m contacts to work the local CW enthusiasts. Despite being 10℃ and being a ‘sunny’ day the wind was chilling and kept rugged up. Spent an hour on the summit and decided it was time to head home picking up another summit on the way.

VK3/VN-030 Mt Strickland

After reading Paul VK3HN blog I added Mt Strickland to the list for the day. Had been up  and yes it was was a clean run. 

 

RouteToStrickland

Headed back down Acheron Road to turn right into Feiglins road to Mt Strickland. 

DipoleonStrickland

Operating position on Mt Strickland. This is a open summit with enough room for the biggest antenna. I ran up the 20/40 dipole as was intending to qualify and keep heading home.

Park contact with VK4SMA in Mount Perry Conservation park and two ZL contacts. Headed back down to Acheron Road then into Healesville and home. Back in  time for tea.

2 Summits, 2 S2S and 22K steps for the day. 

23072017 – VKFF-1879 Woowookarung Regional Park

VKFF-1879 Woowookarung Regional Park

Woowookarung Regional Park is a brand new 641 hectare park in Ballarat.Previously called Canadian renamed to Woowookarung this week. So between the time Paul listed to it to when I updated the ParksnPeaks database it allready needed an update.

Spent the week adding new parks and updating site data with CAPAD data so keen to get out and play radio.

I was not quicked enough for first activations beaten by Peter VK3FPHG who got out Friday to claim the new park.

This site is 10 minutes up the road. Between SOTA peaks Mt Bunnyiong and Mt Warrienheap.

Subie VKFF1879

Recently added a HF radio to Subie. Had a bracket welded to the bullbar so now suporting a Terlin Outbacker vertical.
These parks activation are looking good. The day was gray so operated from the car with HF, VHF and computer at hand.

InSubie VKFF1879

22 contacts including 5 P2P contacts with VK2JNG at VKFF-0588, VK3PF at VKFF-1877, VK5NIG & VK5STU at VKFF-0017 and VK2HAX in VKFF-0017.

Went ot 20M to see if any VK6’s around. Poor conditiond so back to 40M to finish up and head home as still tasks to complete.

Qualified for VKFF but short of the 44 required for WWFF. No issues as will be back soon enough.