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11112017 – KRNMPA 2017 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.

 



08072017 – VK3/VT-010

08072017 –  VK3/VT-010 (Talbot Peak)
In KRMNPA – 3NP-004, WWFFID – VKFF-0020,  Baw Baw National Park.

This is one of the closest 10 Pointer SOTA summit to me. Taking advantage of the winter bounus period to gain another 3 points. 13 in total.

I was planning to go into the Alpine for a new site but the cold weather (well it is winter) put an end to those plans. Decided to take this site instead.

Glenn VK3YY was keen to also get out and we had both been chased off this hill three years ago due to bad weather so both keen to revisit.

20140712 131640

VK3ARH July 2014 in different conditions.

Drove down and picked up Glenn on the way through Melbourne. We took Glenn’s car as I had already done 2hrs driving so happy to rest. The drive up was cold but no snow. Previous attempt to activation of this site was aborted due to harsh weather whoever this was to be text book.

VT010VK3ARHVK3YY

Glenn VK3YY and myself on the way up July 2017, much better conditions.

Good access. You park at the Mt Erica car park then follow the AAWT. We hit snow half way up and whilst it was cold it was a pleasant walk as all geared up.

We are looking for Talbot Peak with is just off track and behind Mt Erica.

AntennaOnvt010

The summit was not as open as I remembered and had to weaved the dipole through the trees. I worked CW whilst Glenn worked SSB. 

3 S2S contacts, VK1RX on VK2/SM-052, VK2HRA on VK2/CT-019 and VK3OAK on VK2/ST-039. The rest of my contacts (9) were with the usual culprits on CW being VK3CAT,VK2IO, VK7CW,VK3BYD,VK2JDR,VK5CZ,VK2UH,ZL1BYZ and VK4FW. True to the weather predictions, the morning was great but then on 13:00 the grey clouds started to drop snow. Given previous experience and as we had both qualified comfortable we packed up and headed down the the car.

Nice acivation. Worth getting up early for. Will be back next year.

26042017 – VK3/VW-010

VK3/VW-010 (South Mt Difficult Range) in VKFF-0213 Grampians NP.

ViewFormVK3VW 010

Second summit that I had been waiting on access restrictions to be lifted. Had addressed Mt Difficult in January having decided not to include South Mt Difficult range at the time.

This was challenging but not Difficult. The weather provided more challenges. It was inclement on the drive up to a point where I nearly decided to abort but as I could see blue sky coming so pressed on. In the end there was rain and hail but no real wind son case of get on with it.

Drove around Mt Victory road to turn towards Wartook Reservoir to gain access to Mt Difficult road. This is a slow trip due to winding road and tourists. This was the point where previous plan to qualify this summit failed as the road had been closed due to fire damage. Not just the road but even walking down the road was off limits. However not the issue this time.

SubieVW010

Drove down Mt Difficult road and left Subie at the base of Carters track. This track has a reputation for being a challenge for 4WDers requiring rescue however it was closed this time of the year and will provide clear quick access to the ridge line. Chinamans Road was also closed due to the fire damage but would have been a longer walk so not considered.

Walked 1.2Km up the track with two active creeks to arrive on the ridge line. Only 1.4Km from the summit but no tracks so here the work started.

It hailed on the way up. I was proceeding along the ridge line and decide to take cover under a rocky outcrop.

ViewUpToVK3VW 010

From there  I could see a valley forming and hear water running. Decided to follow this creek up to the summit to avoid climbing over rocks. This proved to be a good decision as the ridge line are two parallel rocky out crops. The creek gave me clear access to the summit and also showed a cleared route back to the track.

Given the conditions I had no desire to reach e summit so once the GPS indicated I was in the zone I proceeded to setup and qualify the summit. Found a great spot with cover and enough trees to support the squid pole. Only used SSB as worked all chasers and was not prepared to stay for a long time.

Used the KX3 and short end fed. There were not a lot of options as to antenna length in this position and the propagation gods smilled on me with excellent signal reports.

A good summit that requires attention. Not to be done in extreme weather due to potential exposure but worth the walk.