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.
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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
Saving pennies as want a HF radio in the car so picking up local summits.
Testing gear and practicing activating in the wet conditions. This included setting up antenna (dipole v end fed) in tight positions, navigating without GPS and wet conditions.
04/Jun/2017 – VK3/VS-008 (Mt Cole)
Mt Cole has easy access however the operating environment is with heavy undergrowth so a challenge when wet. You could drive to the summit however I’m happy to walk so parked down hill and walked up. Open so easy to deploy dipole but the the ferns looked great but hide rocks, hold water and catch antenna wires making setup diffucult.
12/Jun/2017 – VK3/VS-016 (Mt Gorrin)
Mt Gorrin whilst a short walk is challenging as no defined track (the way I went) and rocky operating position.Navigation up is simple as head for the highest point however rocks in the way so have to stay aligned. Top is rock so dipole was more trouble than worth. End Fed killed it here.
Bothy bags are excellent.
The KX3 is a killer radio. Inbuilt ATU, internal battery and the CW filters make for a top quality radio in a box however it is not ready for harsh conditions.
The resonate trapped dipole is a superior antenna to an end fed. However the end fed is easier to setup as only required two points whilst the dipole requires three and a central position.
The FT817 with resonate antenna is the choice for harsh operating conditions.
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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.
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.
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.
22042017 – VK3/VE-003 -(Mt Fainter South)
2304217 – VK3/VE-059 – (Big Hill)
Both in (VKFF-619) Alpine National Park
Shires ID – AS3
The plan was to drive up Friday meeting Tony at the Tawonga Camping ground where we will stay overnight then to activate Mount Fainter South and Big Hill over the weekend. Mt Fainter South is a summit that again has been on my list to activate for a while whilst Big Hill is at the end of the trek and worthy of attention.
Had been in discussion with several activators as to a joint activation. The desire to go accompanied is purely for safety, not because I’m scared of the alleged big cats in the area. This is the Alpine NP and the weather can be harsh at any time with no notice let alone in in Autumn. The week previous saw a months rain in a day and 20cm of snow in the area. Not the time for solo treks. In the end Tony VK3CAT and myself decided to head up into the Bogong Alpine Area as the weekend opens for both of us. Its always a bit of a juggle to organise overnight activations with multiple activators as we all have lives and commitments.
Read many hiking blogs prior to the trip so expecting a big walk with great views but not for us. It rained Friday night and the fog stayed overnight. It did clear mid Saturday but came back for tha activation. Sunday morning was clear.
The plan was to walk the length so involved leaving Tonys car near the end of Roper Track on the Bogong Plains Rd whilst we left Subie at Pretty Valley Causeway.
We will be camping out overnight somewhere between the two summits at Bogong Jack Hut.
Activation of Mt Fainters was in the fog. The summit had the remains of what we assumed to be a trig point that was stable for supporting the squid pole. Used Tonys doublet and KX3 to activate. Once qualified it was time to keep moving as still had ground to cover before reaching the campsite for the night. We camped air Bogong Jack Hut. It was a simple operation of eat then early night.
Woke to a clear day, Went on to walk around the Big Hill and qualify.
This was on the Fire Trail. It was not a attractive as the walk across the plaines nor were there aw many opportunities for water. It was however predominately down hill which was well received.
42.7K steps for the weekend covering 30.5Km to come out at Roper Track.
It was not a hard climb or involve rocky by the end I was slowing. Coming down Roper Track proved as challenging as the initial climd due to the steepness and loose forest covering on the track. At one point we followed what we though was the route and ended in a dead end. This was also the hottest part of the trip and I was running low on water. We finally made it to Tonys car had a drink and headed up to retrieve my car.
Turned up at the base of the road to Pretty Vally Ponds only to be faced with the road closure. There was a mountain bike event on which involved parts of the road hence the closure.
This was frustrating, not the fact the road was closed, but the fact that there was no indication the day before that access will be restricted (the sign was not there) and the sign was inaccurate has it had yesterdays date on it. Fornatually a Falls Creek management unit arrived and after slight coaxing escorted us up to retrieve my car. Tony decided to go on to Mt McKay but given the view,
I decided to head home. It was a good weekend in the Alpine. Two summits in the rain, fog and sun.
Thanks to Tony VK3CAT for company and planning. Also thanks to Warren VK3BYD for input into the initial planning. This is a great area and a trip worthy of the effort, just be prepared for all conditions.
VK3/VC-024 – Mt Beckworth
Given the continual HF poor propagation the use of lower bands being considered for SOTA activations. The puzzle to solve was what type of antenna to carry and deploy. Also in preparation for AM and 160M activities on ANZAC day and for giggles it was decided to activate SOTA peaks with 160M. 1st Aril was deemed a suitable date.
160 meter portable antennas for SOTA were discussed at the recent VK3 SOTA conference. Peter VK3YE proposed the inverted L. The usefulness was as an all-round antenna being good for both local and longer distances and being end fed will allow multi band use. Basically, as much wire as possible fed with an L-match coupler.
I decided to select a clear summit and deploy a end fed. The antenna was a 43m end fed using with 12m counterpoise hosted on a 7m squidpole with 9:1 Unun matching to RG174 coax back to the KX3 with the internal tuner ensuring a better match. This allowed me to work 80m and 40m. Research led me to choose 43m being near a quarter wave and a 12m counterpoise which was actually my 40m end fed antenna used to assist with tuning. Mt Beckworth was selected due to the clear summit with good access allowing for evening walk out.
Not believing that I was going to have much success with ground wave, decided to activated in the afternoon when conditions should allow contacts. Arrived on site around 17:00 local time and setup. So, there was a lot to chase with VK3BYD Warren and VK3AFW Ron out for the day whilst VK3IL David, VK3CAT Tony, VK2IO Gerard and VK2WP (VK2AOH) Nick all separately activating and camping overnight with 80 and 160M
After consulting the spots, I immediately worked VK3BYD/P Warren, then Tony VK3CAT/P and Ron VK3AFW/P on 160 CW. A great start as the summit was nearly qualified with S2S contacts.
After a AM contact with VK3GGG/P Mick it was back to work VK2IO/P Gerard, to then pick VK3PF/P Peter on 40M then to work VK2IB/P Bernard on 80M with the final contact with VK1MA/P Matt on 160M SSB.
It was a beautiful evening to be out on a Mt Beckworth (VK3/VC-024). It did get slightly wet and chilly as the sun went down but that didn’t detract from the activation.
Great activation with walk out in the evening and short run home for dinner.