With the lure of bonus points and the expected great weather it was off to Mt McLeod (vk3/ve-034) and Ulrich Peak (vk3/ve-038).
I had notice that a number of summits sat on or near the Australian Alpine Walking Track.
In particular, Mt Speculation, Mt Despair, The Razor, and The Viking. Also nearby were Mt Cobbler and the un-named summit VK3/VE-103.
After talking with Allen VK3HRA we hatched a plan to visit these summits. This would require 4 nights camping. Initially I thought we would need to spend three nights away from the car but as it turned out the access to Camp Creek was easy four wheel drive leaving just the night out at Viking Saddle.
This area is changeling country and one should not go unprepared. Wayne VK3WAM joined us at short notice and his “local” knowledge made navigating easier.
Having three operators on one summit can make things interesting, particular when chasing summit to summit contacts.
This is a beautiful area of the Victorian Alps and I would recommend anyone who has the legs for to visit these summits.
Lake Cobbler would make and excellent base camp for a number of day trips which would easily pick up, VE-103, Mt Cobbler, Mt Speculation, and Mt Despair.
I had the opportunity to slip in a SOTA activation on a trip to Wagga Wagga, after seeking some local knowledge I selected Galore Hill.
This is a lovely spot and I would recommend it for a Winter / Spring activation, when the wild flowers are also out.
Ian VK1DI has a great post on the site discussing access. here.
I have used a few different configurations for packing and operating with the MTR rig.
Generally they revolved around a plastic storage box and either holding the key and note book or using a variation of the Sota Beams Flight Deck to support them. Continue reading
For a long time I had been considering a trip out to Mt Murray (VE-025) which would include activating The Twins (VE-017) and an un-named summit (VE-023).
After much consideration a plan was formed which included the nearby summits of Mt Selwyn (VE-049) and two un-named summit (VE-064 & 066). Continue reading
The release of a new Mountain Topper Radio (MTR) by Steve KD1JV had resulted in a number of local amateur picking up there first mini CW transceiver. Once the owners had built their radios interested then tuned to compact accessory in particular small Morse paddles. Interestingly it seemed across the owners that at least one of each compact paddle was already owned. The obvious idea was to then arrange for a catch up to compare both the paddles and other SOTA gear, so the VK3 Show and Tell day was organised.
A suitable venue was selected this would allow attendees to camp the night before if they wished, the opportunity to activate on the way down and the venue also offered plenty of local summit all still in the bonus points period for post S&T activations.
I chose to do Mt Wombat on the way down, this is a great summit with plenty of setup up options, views and easy access from Euroa.
The next morning was the S&T, during to local school holidays space in the Rubicon valley was a little limited and we ended up near the local hydro station and a high noise floor on 40m. However there was lots of gear to look at and really we could have spent all day chatting and looking at equipment. Highlights for me were, Allen 3HRA’s Pico Paddle, comparing the two versions of the MTR’s, Andrew 3JBL’s load vertical and David 3IL’s Bothy Bag which on a sunny spring day became very warm very quickly 🙂
We could have stayed chatting there all day the lure of SOTA summits is two strong so we all headed off, I went to another easy to access summit vk3vn-019, this is a road side set up allowing me the comfort of chasing the other three activations, which included two cross mode contacts.
Once again I found myself providing transport for a family sporting event. This time it was a Churchill in the Latrobe Valley. This area has plenty of Summits to pick from so I knew I would be able to amuse myself in-between drives.
Peter vk3pf had provided some suggestions and after further discussion we joined together for some joint activations. For the Saturday the plan was Mt Tooronga Range vt-026, Hyde Hill vc-008 and Spion Kopje vt-040. The first activation had taken longer than expected but had netted me my first VK8 summit.
I had be forewarned by a local that the normal access to Hyde Hill could be closed due to logging operations, this meant we used the longer Mac Spur access to the summit, we did try our luck using the short way out, finding it open but I would not risk it on a week day. This extra time on the first two summits meant we were unlikly to make Spion Kopje, so Peter with his bottomless knowledge of SOTA summits suggested Hells Gate South vt-059 was worth a try, access to this is effected by seasonal road closures but Peter thought there may be a back way in. However luck was against us and we headed home with the just the two summits for the day.
The Sunday plan was flexible and in the morning we desided to do Mt Useful vt-016 and the un-named vt-034. Peter had already activated Mt Useful this year so he simply worked four S2S and few astute chasers who heard him on, whilst I taped away on the key.
This was the most hectic SOTA activation I have ever been on so did not even think about photos however I have put together a map show the trip taken. The track is an artist’s representation not a plot of Peter actual driving 🙂
Joint activations using SSB and CW are a challenge, time taken to collect the minimum four means the activation takes longer than a normal SSB one. Peter did bring some 1296MHz gear and very sportingly allowed me to get the activation on 40mx CW before he worked the SSB crowd. Equally two HF transmitters on the same hill does result in interference from time to time even when I was on 30mx and Peter was on 40mx.
vk3/ve-026, Contacts 7, S2S 2
vk3/vc-008, Contacts 4, S2S 1
vk3vt-016, Contacts 4, S2S 0
vk3/vt-034, Contacts 4, S2S 2
Chased Mobile, 4
In closing I will once again thank Peter for his support for the weekend and it is certainly one that will remain in my memory for some time.