Tag Archive | VKFF-0556

2019 UTC Rollover

31122019 – VK3/VN-001 Mt Torbreck

01012020 – VK3/VC-006 Mt St Leonard in VKFF-0556 In – Yarra Ranges National Park

01012020 – VK3/VC-038 Archer Lookout in VKFF-0556 In – Yarra Ranges National Park

In VK, ZL and JA we have UTC rollover late morning (11am EAST). This means double activator points can be claimed for activation as the UTC rollover is for a new year.

Chasers can always claim double points for activations spanning UTC rollover but this annual event is a bonus for activators. This year not all chasers were in a position to participate. VK1 activation were off the table given the conditions and sites being closed.VK2 had limited access for similar reasons. VK3 was fast becoming limited with the fires to the east.  Here id a view of VK3 three days later. As you can see the east of VK3 is now off the table.

FireOverview

This map clearly show an inadequacy in the current system. I’m not going into the current politics as this is not the place (but it is the time to discuss the implications of climate change and the f#*% T!#*# we have ‘leading’ us) but the map is of VK3

VK2FireMap

and this is the view of VK2. You have to go to two separate sites for a view. I don’t think the fires will respect the state boundaries, just saying.

Update – 032020- Bushfire.io integrates information from:

Anyway, talking with Andrew before Xmas we decided on Mt Torbreck. Its a good summit. On the edge of reasonable day trip and neither of us had activated this year. We watched the conditions and after committing to cancelling should conditions dictate to our wives, took off nice and early for UTC fun. We were well clear of the fires and also not in a position to hinder access or require assistance.

Watching the spots on the drive up and saw ZL up and working. They are a head of us and working locals as we could not hear from the car.

31122019 – VK3/VN-001 Mt Torbreck

We went down the Hume and cut across through Alexandra to turn down Eildon-Jamieson road. Arrived at Barnwell Plains on time and with excellent conditions.

IMG 3109

View from VK3/VN-001 east

Its a clean 2km walk up to the summit from the car park. We arrived comfortably and setup the end fed across the cairn. On air by 10:30 and started working the S2S pre UTC.

The smoke haze was two ridge lines away. Did not want to be any closer. Ended up with 24 contacts from ZL, VK7, VK5, VK4, VK3 and VK2. Again nothing from VK1 as they were they were dealing with smoke and fires.

21 S2S contacts across 11 unique sites. The day was proceeding as per plan except for my lunch as still in the fridge at home. After eating half of Andrews lunch knocking over a bag of snakes we packed to collect more summits on the way home.

Typically in when in the area I would pickup VK3/VN-005,VK3/VN-002 and possibly VK3/VN-004 but that was not the plan as they are off Snobs creek road we came in down  Eildon-Jamieson road. Will come back during the year for these three but come down Snobs Creek road.

From here we were targeting Archer Lookout and Mt St Leonard as intended to head home via Healesville. The ‘plan’ was to turn into Monda Road (opposite Dom Dom Road) from the Maroondah Highway. This was not a good plan was we hit a locked gate 200M from highway. So instead decided to reverse the plan and come in St Leonards and again follow Monda Road to Archer Lookout.

01012020 – VK3/VC-006 Mt St Leonard in VKFF-0556 In – Yarra Ranges National Park

This summit has a reputation for RF noise and also attracting crowds. We decided to go for a HT VHF based activation of the summit. We could hear VK3ZPF on the drive up so made contact once in the carpark and so he would wait for a S2S. Still took HF station but the goal was a HT based quick operation. Once qualified (VHF S2S with VK3ZPF then 5 contacts from a UHF net) trekked back does the k or so to the car and headed up Monda Road to Archer Lookout. This is a AWD track. Its a great track for Subie given the tyres and suspension but I would not call it a 2WD track only due to the use of large course rocks for the road and a handful of ruts. 2WD in summer but you will need to consider the conditions as you may need to get out in a hurry.

IMG 3113

VK3ARR with 2M Jpole on VK3/VC-038

01012020 – VK3/VC-038 Archer Lookout in VKFF-0556 In – Yarra Ranges National Park

This is a new summit as added to VK3 November this year. It took an hour to get down and on site then was surprising hard work to qualify.

It was late. Well not that late but consider we all up early for UTC activations not surprised as to the quite bands. Andrew setup up 2M to secure a S2S with VKJ3ANL on VK3/VC-018 and we then turned to 20M to secure 3 more contacts with ZL, VK4 and VK5.

Once qualified we packed up and headed out as still had a couple of hours drive to be home late for tea.

A good day. Ended up with 4 summits qualified with for 24 S2S (13 unique).

IMG 3115

HF antenna on Archer Lookout.

08122019 – VK3/VN-029

VK3/VN-029 (Federation Range)

WWFF Yarra Ranges National Park (VKFF-0556) 

With VK3ARR.

IMG 3067

Rare photo of Andrew activating in VK.

We walked in the ‘WILD HORSES Festival’. Was not expected or a issue but did create a problem as access to the Lake Mountain site was restricted so we had to park 2kms down the road. The additional 2kms was on the road ,in the heat it was all up hill. Fornatually we didn’t have to walk as jumped on the hippy buss and was dropped off on the site. That was an experience in itself.

The walk to Federation Range is straight forward as long as you start on the correct track (Royston Trail) Its a clear walk with consistent climb following the ski tracks through the old site and Andrew didn’t get too far ahead of me. Got on site and setup in time to secure S2S with VK3BYD and VK3PF. Comfortably qualified on CW leaving the SSB contacts to Andrew. The end fed worked a treat. I had performed some much needed maintaince as the end connector was fraying (using Araldite to enclose it) and adding addition wire as had to cut down after a serious tangle incident on Mt William. Added a length of yellow wire to the end to also increase visibility. 

IMG 3068

With 40m of wire and the 49:1 matcher the tuner in the KX gives all band support. Setup high and clear 40m returned 1:1 swr without requiring tuning.  

We walked back to the carpark and kept going not waiting for the bus as down hill and had allready decided to drop the proposed second summit. Had to walk on the edge so as to avoid walking in the blistering road tar.

Good day in great conditions. Happy to grab this summit before the heat settles in as is not a spot you would want to be in should there be fires.

03082019 – VK3/VC-003

VK3/VC-003 – Mt Ritchie – WWFF ID – VKFF-0556 

ATSonVC003

Took the ATS out to Mt Ritchie. 

This is a great summit and one I do each year.

Mt Ritchie is a good winter summit as 8 points with seasonal bonus and can be completed in harsh weather. You can access the summit from the north in summer with a 4WD but I prefer to park off Acheron Way at the gate on Road 15 and follow Road 10 to the summit. Easy clear access but the roads were not open due to several trees down. Not a issue as walking. Ive been off track in this area and its slow and wet. No need and no intent.  Didn’t take the GPS. This is not a reckless choice as used hiker app on watch;

NewImage

Its a 7k walk and all uphill to the summit. The summit is clear and open with enough room for long wire antenna. Several trees to support as well as sign posts to secure squid poles to. 

OperatingVC003

This year it was time to take the ATS out. Keen on the ATS as it supports 80m. Setting up an antenna for 80M has challenges due to the space the wire requires. A shorter length (26.8m 88f) wire and L Match Tuner has been raised to address. Whilst this setup matched 80 to 15m, it was too touchy on 80m so took a trapped 20/30/40m end fed to be sure. Really didn’t want to blow out the transistors on the first activation. 

There was light rain and cold, no snow but it was still cold. I addressed this with the proved method of layers on and still had two layers backup in the pack.These small radios do not do rain but to be fair neither does the KX3. The FT817 in its bag is best for such conditions.  Ok but 817 requires external tuners and is heavy both itself and on the battery. The KX3 is brilliant with internal batteries and tuner and lighter than 817 but not as rugged. The KD1JV devices (MTR & ATS) are small, light and efficient but requires external tuners and batteries. 

Secured the summit on 40M and CW with a P2P with VK5FLEA in Nurragi Conservation Reserve (VKFF-2247) and the usual loyal chasers. 

Happy with the performance of the radio and antenna. Called on 30 and 20 with no takers regretted not taking 80. After an hour on the summit packed up and walked back down in the light rain.

The quest for the ideal SOTA radio is ongoing ….

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.