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10032017 – VK3/VE-034

10032017 – VK3/VE-034 Mt McLeod in  VKFF-0339 Mount Buffalo

View 002

Looking at VK3/VE-034 from VK3/VE-178 taken on May 2016

View 002

Looking back to VK3/VE-178 from VK3/VE-034 taken on March 2017.

This is a summit I have have had on the list to activate for a while now. Have already activated VK3/VE-019 The Hump (Once successful and a failed attempt during winer) and VK3/VE-014 The Horn & VK3/VE-038 Ulrich Peak so this was the only summit left in Mt Buffalo NP.

Talked with VK3BYD and read the notes on SotaWatch from VK3WAM and VK3FTRV and the the number of activations gave a picture of a well trodden path be it prone to Alpine weather. Intended to hike in and activate on the FYBO weekend (June 2016) but the conditions were considered too harsh. It was shelved until weather improved and time allowed.  

It appears that both Mt McLeod and Ulrich Peak are not activated on the same trip. Given the distance to Mt McLeod and the bush bash to access Ulrich Peak, I’m not surprised.

Decided to activate Ulrich Peak on the way to Mt Hotham for the 2017 Activation Weekend. This will give me a idea as to conditions. Walked down the Mt McLeod fire track to activate Urich Peak so knew the track was clear and easy navigation. 

With the long weekend coming and being a full moon decided to head up Friday evening and to walk up in the dark. Long weekend traffic sucked. 40m to get around the ring road and traffic heading out. Ended up at the car park where Crystal Brook Rd (Reservoir Rd) and Rocky Creek track meet (55 H 479891 5935177)

Headed off 20:00  friday nigh covering the 7.8Km in 2:15hrs. With a good tourch and the moon it was a case of avoiding the Orb spiders and keep moving. 


Camped at MtLeod camping ground (55 H 480553 5939203) at the base of the summit. This is a site you neeed to book with Parks Victoria to secure a site. 

In two minds as to paying to camp in National park. In this case there are six places available. There is also a well maintained toilet. I would have been happy camping at the lake and walking up in the morning but the $48 per site was not appealing.  $13 to reserve a remote site seamed like a good idea given the long weekend. So paid my $13 to use a public asset and printed out the receipt so if the campsite was full I would ensure a spot. No one else there so had the pick of the place. Setup my tent and called it a night.  This was going according to plan so left me with 1km to the summit to cover in the cool of morning.

Up and after a quick breakfast headed up to the summit. Straight forward process in perfect conditions. Stopped to take in views on the way,


Open summit. Used 7m squid pole and guys to setup 20/40M trapped dipole.  


It appears I was too early or chasers or the propagation gods had other plans as a quite activation. S2S with VBK3BYD Warren on VK2/RI-033 (Hamilton Hill) to qualify on CW. Saw spots for VK3ANL but could not hear him but could hear VK5 operating. Worked VK5WG to call it a day.

Called on 20m but did not use 80m due to lack of suitable antenna. Qualified, had snacks then headed back down as still had to get back to car and facing a 4hr drive home. 


Broke the cover for KX3 during the trip. On the way up as noticed on site. Guess it just saved me damaging the radio. This was a Windcamp unit and demonstrates the old analogy that you ‘Get what you pay for’. Will be chasing a GEMS Products unit going forward. 


This was March.I carried enough water in to cover my trip but there is water there is also a running creek 100m from where the shortcut joins up with the Mt Leod Firetrack and (55 H 480918 5939182) 100m from the camp on the way to the summit. It was running down the track. 

Totally forgot about the EU/US/VK activation on the same weekend. 

Great summit worthy of the clear easy hike in. Again the conditions can vary quickly so carry enough gear to sit out a storm. 20Kg pack with all gear to camp.

The current do  list has a revisit to Mt Bogong then Mt Fainter South.

25022017 – Hotham SOTA Activation Weekend

25022017 – Hotham SOTA Activation Weekend

VK3/VE-038 – Ulrich Peak in  VKFF-0339 Mount Buffalo

VK3/VE-002 Mt Feathertop in VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park

VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham

VK3/VE-080 Albion Point


VK3/VE-030  in VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park


2nd annual SOTA gathering based again in the excellent facilities of the Peninsular Ski Lodge in Mt Hotham.

Activators present VK3CAT Tony,VK3YY Glenn,VK3HN Brian,VK3AFW Ron, VK3ARH Allen, Vk3MCD Brian and VK3PF Peter. Not in photo VK3FABT Alan.

Friday 24022017 evening.

VK3/VE-038 – Ulrich Peak –  VKFF-0339 Mount Buffalo

This is a summit I have been looking at for a while. To gain a complete and get a view of the area as intend to  walk out to VK3/VE- 034 McLeod. It appears it would be worth while addressing separately to remove stress from McLeod activation. Parked car at Crystal Brook and Mt McLeod Firetrail. Crystal Brook is signed as “Reservoir Rd” in the park. There is very little space to park safely here. You can get off the road but down near the creek. It would be a issue should there be rain whilst walking. The trip was worthwhile as my plans for McLeod involved camping here. Not suitable so will need a plan B. Waking down the firetrap to camp at Mt Mcleod campground will be the plan.

After reading the blogs of previous activators Ben VK3FTRV, Wayne VK3WAM and talking with Warren VK3BYD decided not to walk to the ‘track’ junction to Andersons peak but to head straight up once the ridge came close with clear access from the Mt McLeod Firetrap. This approach as served we well in other summits where there is no clear access. Access is good. Whilst the alternative track as displayed on Garmin maps and reality differed it was a easy walk. The Mt McLeod Firetrap is a 4WD track so again a easy walk.

There was a opportunity in the scrub where a large tree had come down and the GPS was telling me I was 850m from the summit so decided to turn left and head up to the summit. So off I went into the scrub. The walk up to the ridge involved several trees and large rocky climbs. Steep in spots but clear. Only hit vines towards the top. From previous activators I knew the summit was going to be challenging so once up I decided to setup on a rocky outcrop in the zone. No point to go higher.

Used the end fed and KX3 to secure 9 contacts including  3 S2S (VK3CAT on VK3/VE-005, ZL2AJ on ZL1/WK-183 and VK3HN on VK3/VG-007). ZL contacts, S2S and 10 points. A good catch!


Initial views from were clear but the fog was coming in and I wanted to be back to the car before dark. You could walk down Mt McLeod Firetrap in the dark but there was a beer waiting for me at Hotham so packed up and headed back down the ridge. 

Headed up the Great Alpine Rd to Hotham to arrive 21:30. After tea and quick confirmation of the next days plans, showered and went to bed with dreams of remote summits. 


VK3/VE-002 Mt Feathertop in VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park


This is the summit I had come for. The annual SOTA event in the Alpine presents an opportunity to position yourself for remote summits. You can activate all day and come back to eat, charge your batteries whilst discussing summits and access options with a experienced group. Whilst several activators take the opportunity to qualify several peaks, I wanted to exploit the opportunity to activate select remote summits from a early start. Tony VK3CAT was of the same view so we planned to spend all day walking out to activate the second highest summit in Victoria.

This is a well documented walk by previous SOTA activators (VK3IL , VK3HN & VK3WAM) and other groups (Parks Victoria and Trial Hiking).  

It is a busy track with football teams, nutters running as well as several groups of all ages walking. Must have been 2 dozen people on the track.  Its is a clear track but you have to remember you are in the Alpine so need to be prepared for changes in weather. It was initially foggy but given the mild temperatures and overcast conditions, overall a excellent day to be out. We did the 11Km walk from the car park on Alpine Road to the summit in 3hrs 12m.



Setup off the summit due to the traffic but still had walkers coming through. Needed the lower support as nothing to use to support a antenna. Not even a trig point. Though we could have used footballers

Qualified with 40m CW. Made contacts with the other groups out to gain S2S contacts, ate lunch and rested from the walk in.  We spent a hour on the summit before heading back as still had summits to qualify.

Gained a 770 THz contact with Glenn VK3YY as he was walking up to Mt Loch as we walked out of Mt Feathertop. Neither of us on a summit so no points.

VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham

We spent the evening on Mt Hotham.

Tony setup 160m vertical and I setup the 20/40m dipole. 


We qualified the summits but conditions were not conducive (cold) to playing radio all night so packed up and off to tea.


VK3/VE-080 Albion PointVK3/VE-070  & VK3/VE-030  in VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park

Trip home was planned around three summits on West Ovens and Gunns Track behind Harrretville.  had worked all three summits so looking to add to my complete tally.  

Good roads but steep. Would not consider in the wet. It was advised not to come from Gunns track off the Great Alpine Rd given the conditions so came in down Mill Rd from Harrretville.Stright forward operation just careful and use low for the climbs. There was a lot of activity in the area. 4WD s and motorbikes galore.  All these are accessible with a short walk from the tracks. Albion Point was a short stroll disown the original now overgrown track to a clear operating position whilst VE-070 & VE-030 both required I carefully place Subie to ensure not causing a traffic hindrance. Placed under trees off the road and walked to the south of the summit to operate from the Alpine National park. Two motorbikes came past whilst on VK3/VE-070 whilst three 4WDs went through during my activation of VK3/VE-030.

Know my camera does not do the views justice but view back from walk out to Mt Feathertop;


and VK3/VE006 on Sunset;


basically either end of Saturday.

21012017 – VK3/VW-008


21012017 – VK3/VW-008 (Mount Gar / Difficult) in VKFF-0213 Grampians NP.

I had been waiting to activate this summit for a while now. Access had been restricted due to fires and floods. There are still parts of the Grampians closed so checkout access before you head off.

Access to this summit is via the Mt Difficult overnight walking track. Start from either the Beehive Falls carpark or Troopers Creek. Access via Troopers Creek was still closed so I took the longer path via Behive Falls. Anything to secure a first activation.


So knowing access is open I headed off. Simply drive down M8 freeway to Roses Gap Road. Turn left onto Roses Gap Road and follow it to the Beehive Falls carpark on your left just beyond Mt Zero Road. Got the pack on and started walking down the track. The tracks are in great condition. Navigation is straight forward. The first 1.4Km to Beehive Falls is shady and pleasant.


There was water in the falls on my visit. Actually the Grampians were in great shape following the recent rain. Only you have checked out the falls you head off and up the rock cliffs. The track markers have been replaced so its a case of follow the yellow arrows. A couple of spots where you need to be careful then you get to the top. Whilst it did get to 32 the Grampians were in fine form. Slight wind and green. You can see the fire damage. Stayed on the track and kept walking. Took me 2.5hrs to walk the 7+ k each way. 


There are even maps on the way to verify position. Most of the walk is across open rock plains. It would be challenging in the heat. Access to the summit is another rock scramble and I setup just off the peak where there was a tree for cover. Used end fed and KX3.


Views from the summit to Wartook Reservoir. First contact was with VK3ARR on VK3VN-023 and the final with VK2BJP/3 on VK3/VE-167.

Intended to activate South Mt Difficult Range accres from Chinamans Road / Carters Track. Access still restricted and I had enough of walking for one day.

Its a good clean walk but still 7Km each way. Would recommend access via Troopers Creek campsite (when open) be investigated instead. 

A lot of effort for 4 points but in this case a first activation in great conditions and views..

06012017 – VK3/VE-050 & VK3/VE-026

06012017 – VK3/VE-050 (Mt Sunday)AAWTonVE026

06012017 –VK3/VE-026 (Mt McDonald)

Both in (VKFF-619) Alpine National Park.

Heading up to activate two summits using AAWT for access. Mt Sunday was considered for activation last week after successful activation of VK3/VE-040, VK3/VE-240 & VK3/VE-018 with earlier with VK3CAT. Decided not to and to come back when the weather was calmer as had unfinished business with Mt McDonald. Previous attempt (112015) to access Mt McDonald was aborted. This involved accessing from road through the dense bush. This is possible but heavy slow going.  Decided best to access Mt McDonald from AAWT this time.

06012017 – VK3/VE-050 (Mt Sunday) 

Left Midday and followed my normal access route of freeway then Mansfield to head down the Howqua Track into Brocks Road. Turned into Low Saddle Rd and crossed the Jamieson Rivers near the camp of last week. As you travelled deeper into the bush the tracks degraded. Low Saddle was fine. There are spots where I had to get out and move rocks and a couple tight squeezes between timber but overall the access good. 

Then you turn into Mt Sunday road. The road is not 2WD. The final 100m of is across rocks and where you have to be careful. I proceeded in low range and have ‘Light Truck’ tyres in excellent condition.  Next time would park where the Mt Sunday track meets Low Saddle and walk up.  

VK3 contacts didn’t happen. Tried 40m, 20 and 10M. Worked ZL, VK2 & VK5 on 40M to qualify. Once qualified I packed up and proceeded down Low Saddle road to park where the AAWT meets Bull Plain Spur Road. Setup camp as wanted a start early to beat the expected heat.  


Subie on the way back. You can’t see the new dint in the passengers side. Ran over a branch the flipped up and hit the car vertically. Watching rocks clearance and missed this stick.  Grrrrr

06012017 –VK3/VE-026 (Mt Mcdonald)

This is what I was here for. Mt Sunday was a bonus.

Camped overnight at the point where the road meets the AAWT. Woke early, had coffee packed up tent and checked gear then headed off. Took KX3 and end fed for this activation. 

The KX3, key, mic and 2900mAh internal nicads weighs in at 1480g. The FT817 with mic, key and 2800mAh batteries weighs in at 1570g. The KX3 is bulkier but includes antenna tuner and protective covers. 

Followed the AAWT up.  6.1Km up, up across then up. As your are walking up you can see the roads weaving through the trees. 



Took 2.5hrs to walk up, 30m to setup. Qualified in 20 minutes with Parks contact with VK3ZPF, then the usual culprits – VK2UH, VK7CW, VK5IS and VK2IO finally a complete for VK3CAT.

Then a couple arrived on the on the summit who were walking the AAWT. They were low on water and asking questions as to access for water at the Knobs and Mt Clear. Being aware of these sites but never needing to access I could not give useful advice. As it was expecting hot conditions, I was carrying additional water. Decided to give them water. Worked out how much I used on the way up and a margin for error then gave them the rest.  Don’t go up here without water. You can’t rely on being able to access the springs or there being a fellow walker prepared to share what is the most valuable commodity in the bush.

Made a couple of post UTC calls with no response so packed up and headed back down. The track is good but still easy to wander off. 13Km for the trip but 200% easier then what appears to be a shorter option through the thick bush. Key is to stay on the ridge lines.

Great views from here,


View to Mt Clear,


28122016 – VK3/VE-040, VK3/VE-240 & VK3/VE-018



28122016 – VK3/VE-040 (The Knobs)

28122016 – VK3/VE-240 (High Cone)

29122016 – VK3/VE-018 (Mt Clear)

All in (VKFF-619) Alpine National Park.

I’ve had my eye on this area due to the number of desirable summits and ability to use the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) to safely access said summits for a while. 

The AAWT runs from Walhalla near Melbourne to Canberra and is well documented. More information – AAWT or John Chapman’s book.

Tony VK3CAT mentioned he was heading to the area after XMAS and I jumped at the opportunity to accompany him and Nan. Given the remote nature, these summits are not activated a lot. Previous activations have been by  Wayne VK3WAM ( and Tony VK3CAT ( so also not many opportunities to go with someone who had been before. Sole hiking is not a good plan in this area. Intend to return to access easier summits but this time will go accompinied.

Weather was interesting. The week leading up predicted 36+ heat. Planning involved working outwore water points were.As it got closer the wetter the forecasts were becoming. Headed off Tuesday to drive via Mansfield as intended to camp that night. Noted the weather forecasts and decided to review the position in the morning. The closer to mansfield I got the wetter it became. Fears go excessive heat disappeared and was becoming obvious rain gear was to be deployed. 

Easy access to the area. Head through Mansfield to turn down Howqen Road then pass through Shipyard Flat camping area to follow Brocks Rd down to the the Jameson River. This is marked as a 4wd track, but it is maintained to a high standard being recently graded, so no problems with a 2wd. Meat up with Tony and Nan at a camp site next to the Jameson River in time to setup tent in rain and have tea.

Walk actual;

28122016 Actual

30Km all up over two days. GPX available on request. 

The Knobs VK3/VE-040

CATonVE040Left Tonys camp on the Jamison in Subie to head down Mt Clear Track. Parked off the road and and headed up Mt Clear track then turned right to The Knobs track to gain access to the ridge line. One up on the ridge we meet the AAWT. This was used to to gain access to the summits. The weather was windy and grey but holding. It was a steep walk up but the AAWT track will head through the activation zone for The Knobs for our first summit. Track is clear and easy navigation. Just keep following the yellow triangles until GPS tells you you are in the zone.

This was the point for the first activation. Stayed dry but the wind forced us to select a spot just under the peak. Qualified and kept walking as more summits to do.

High Cone VK3/VE-240

Followed the walking track around to High Cone. The track did not go through the activation zone so we dropped packs and climbed the final 120M up to activate.


The rain was starting to come in now. Not a problem actually better than the expected 36+ conditions. Setup below the peak to avoid the wind and activated with intent to stay dry. Used the endfed with Tony’s KX3 to qualify. 


Followed the AAWT around to camp in the saddle at the base of Mt Clear. The yellow line is the track AAWT GPX whilst the blue line is the actual route we took. There is a marked difference around ‘Square Top’. We decided not to go over the summit (can’t qualify so why walk up). According to AAWT GPX there should have been a track. No real track. Whilst the AAWT went around the base, the track in fact headed over the summit. We maintain 1490m and cut up once clear of the climb. By now the wind was quite gusty. Camped in the saddle at the base of Mt Clear. Given the wind and pending rain we selected a protected site as protected as possible and away from dead timber. 

Mt Clear VK3/VE-018

ViewFromVE018Anything but clear.

The rain was varying from heavy drizzle to showers. Everything was wet. There was no view to enjoy so we qualified and moved on.

Walk back was via Mt Clear Track. This is the same track we had left the car on on the previous day. By now it is a overgrown 4WD parks management track that joined the AAWT. Despite the vegetation it is a easy but long walk as a case of head down keep going. The 4WD track is no longer used but still clear so no navigation going on. Frustrating in the final stages as it zigged and zagged down to meet Mt Clear Track. The GPS was showing 1.4km to the car for nearly an hour. There is a track on the maps that appeared a more direct route but did not see and usable options.  Got back to Subie and headed back to main camp. 

Tony stayed for another night whilst I headed home. Harsh weather on the way home so decided not to pickup summits on the way. Wet tried and looking forward to sleeping in my bed tonight.


Thanks to Tony and Nan for patience in harsh conditions. Appreciated the opportunity to access desirable summits.  


Proposed – 121112016 KRMNPA Weekend

 Keith Roget Memorial National Park Award activation Weekend 2016 – 11th to 14th November.

The annual KRMNPA activation weekend is designed to encourage portable activities in Victoria’s 45 National Parks.

Track my progress over weekend on APRS – VK3ARH-1

KRMNPA 112016


This weekend will see at least 41 Parks (as of November 5th) of Victoria’s National parks available for contacts.

Each park qualifies for VKFF and WWFF.



I intend to activate four in the states east;


All in EG3 – East Gippsland Shire Council.

The goal is to activate the parks so any SOTA Summits will come down to conditions;

  • Lind NP: No summits
  • Alfred NP: Granite Peak VK3/VG-137
  • Croajingalong NP: VK3/VG-151 Mt Everard
Summit ID Association Region Name Height Lat Long Points Bonus Count Last
VK3/VG-141 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Genoa Peak 488 149.6267 -37.5299 1 0 1 VK1AT
VK3/VG-146 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Mt Carlyle 433 149.8802 -37.4735 1 0 0
VK3/VG-147 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Howe Hill 391 149.8883 -37.5076 1 0 0
VK3/VG-151 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Mt Everard 348 149.2873 -37.7163 1 0 1 VK3PF/P
  • Coopracambra NP: 11 SOTA Summits in the park. No target yet. Will depend of time over weekend and a lot more time on Forest Explorer
Summit ID Association Region Name Height Lat Long Points Bonus Count Last
VK3/VG-065 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Mt Coopracambra 1003 149.2943 -37.2791 6 0 0
VK3/VG-069 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Mt Kaye 984 149.2458 -37.3954 6 0 0
VK3/VG-078 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Mt Denmarsh 917 149.2650 -37.3563 6 0 0
VK3/VG-093 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Pint Pot 823 149.2613 -37.3077 4 0 0
VK3/VG-094 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Mt Wakefield 817 149.4191 -37.3027 4 0 0
VK3/VG-097 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Bill Mile Hill 805 149.2283 -37.3750 4 0 0
VK3/VG-100 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Cooaggalah Hill 779 149.3076 -37.4203 4 0 0
VK3/VG-101 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland VK3/VG-101 748 149.3541 -37.3536 4 0 0
VK3/VG-105 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland Mt Merragunegin 718 149.4543 -37.3092 4 0 0
VK3/VG-111 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland VK3/VG-111 686 149.2518 -37.4439 2 0 0
VK3/VG-112 Australia – Victoria Victoria – East Gippsland VK3/VG-112 682 149.3127 -37.3292 2 0 0

21 Parks within 100Km

Ref Name Latitude Longitude Distance Bearing
VKFF-0287 Lind -37.5798 148.9614 16.69km W
VKFF-0618 Alfred -37.5721 149.3627 18.76km E
VKFF-0119 Croajingolong -37.7137 149.3517 24.14km SE
VKFF-0953 Point Hicks -37.8128 149.2538 28.86km SSE
VKFF-0113 Coopracambra -37.3105 149.3396 33.03km NNE
VKFF-0744 Cape Conran -37.7666 148.8666 33.42km SW
VKFF-0158 Errinundra -37.3753 148.7789 39.05km WNW
VKFF-0398 Nungatta -37.2167 149.3663 43.34km NNE
VKFF-0975 Mount Raymond -37.7076 148.5922 51.56km WSW
VKFF-0194 Genoa -37.0839 149.3667 56.99km NNE
VKFF-0376 Nalbaugh -37.0516 149.3442 59.78km NNE
VKFF-0350 Mount Imlay -37.1615 149.7310 68.30km NE
VKFF-0455 Snowy River -37.2710 148.4527 69.80km WNW
VKFF-0112 Coolangubra -36.9544 149.3449 70.22km NNE
VKFF-0946 Cape Howe -37.5470 149.9728 72.56km E
VKFF-0458 South East Forest -36.9190 149.5332 79.60km NNE
VKFF-0026 Ben Boyd -37.1358 149.9669 86.65km NE
VKFF-0560 Yowaka River -36.9892 149.8617 89.93km NE
VKFF-0476 Tantawangelo -36.7832 149.4999 92.46km NNE
VKFF-1403 Yurammie -36.8493 149.8038 98.56km NE
VKFF-0761 Lake Tyers -37.8281 148.0639 99.88km WSW


  • Maps
  • Radio
    • KX3
    • FT817
  • Antenna
    • 20/40m dipole
    • 20m vertical
  • APRS 2m/70cm in the car
  • 20Ah battery

KRMNPA Parks not activated,



01102016 – Snowy Mountains SOTA weekend

SpotThe Activator

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-059 (Big Badja Hill) in VKFF-0138  (Deua National Park)

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-052 (Bald Mountain) in VKFF-0212 (Gourock National Park)

01/Oct/2016 VK2/ST-013 (Middle Mountain) in VKFF-0138  (Deua National Park)

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-036 (VK2/SM-036) in VKFF-0269 (Kosciuszko National Park)

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-021 (Pilot Reef Mountain)

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-015 (Granite Mountain)

Snowy Mountains SOTA weekend was a event planned to present the opportunity for new and experienced activators to activate summits in the Snowy mountain area.

This is a popular area due to the abundance of high scoring summits with good access.  Rob VK2QR was key to this event as he lives amd works in the area. Rob did the ground work and arranged for accommodation at the Snowy Mountains Resort and Function Centre in Adaminaby as well as recommending summits to consider.

I’m a fan of such events and jumped at the opportunity to activate in a region so far from home in the seasonal bonus period and add to my S2S tally.  It also allows you to see how other activators are approaching the game.

Victoria had a public holiday so I travelled up Friday afternoon. It was wet the entire run up. All the rivers were full. Creeks were full and there were sheets of water in the paddocks. I travel nearly the length of Victoria have not seen this much water covering shuch a large distance before.

Did have plans to activate VK2/RI-016 and  VK2/RI-051 on the way up. The rain and snow put those plans to rest. Talking to Warren VK3BYD who was 2hrs ahead of me indicated the trip across the Snowies was not improving. I was meet with more rain and snow as I got higher. Fornatulatly the snow ploughs were out so access was assured in AWD Subaru and an exciting start for the trip.

Made it to Snowy Mountains Resort and Function Centre in the dark and on time for tea, review of plans and time to sleep as big drive.

Woke and had breakfast. Rob was called to work at short notice so after confirming directions and targets we formed two groups and head off.

VK2HRX Cromption, VK3BYD Warren and myself went off in Compton’s Troop carrier whilst  Ken VK3KIM, Ron VK3AFW and Phil VK3BHR went in in Kens Land Rover .

Meet Rod VK2TWR and Peter VK3PF out in the field.

Day One:

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-059 (Big Badja Hill) VKFF-0138

ViewfromVK2 SM 059

Drove through Cooma to get coffee and salad rolls for lunch and headed off to Big Badja Hill. This site offered views to the ocean. HF was providing challenges to Warren to qualify on CW. Straight forward activation with FMas the second team were on Bald Mountain. Gained my first 1.2G contact with Ron VK3AFW on VK2/SM-052.

Qualified and proceed to travel to the other summit crossing paths with the other group and meet up Rob Vk2TWR and Peter VK3PF between summits.

VK3ARH 01102016

Warren VK3BYD,Allen VK3ARH, Ken VK3KIM, Rod VK2TWR ,Peter VK3PF,Ron VK3AFW, Crompton VK2HRX, Phil & Cathy VK3BHR.

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-052 (Bald Mountain) VKFF-0212

This summit proved to be the hardest to activate over the weekend.

Whilst access was straight forward as the road runs along the ridge line. The site has a comms site which was not providing QRM. 40M was not behaving and 2M was at the edge of range. Whilst we can secure a summit by having members of the group walk out of the AZ but it is desirable to gain contacts.  Warren VK3BYD worked to qualifying the summit on 40M CW whilst I secured a S2S with Peter VK3PF on VK2/ST-007 before contacting the other group qualified the summit. Moved on to the final for the day.

01/Oct/2016 VK2/ST-013 (Middle Mountain)

After Bald Mountain we regrouped and proceded to drive into the  Deua National Park for the fial summit. The main reason was to verify access as there were creek (river?) crossing and given the recent rain decided best to approach with backup Fears were unflunded as the crossing point whilst full and active, solid and not a issie for the 4WDs.

ViewfromVK2 ST013

Decided to go up Middle Mountain whilst the group headed to VK2/ST-007, Dampier.

This was to improve S2S contacts and could not pass the oppurtunity to scratch the shit out of myself. The rest of the team chucked me out on the side of the road and I proceeded up the 800m to the summit.  Typically you would see vines for a short distance near roads in the bush but this scrub was lush, thick and full of vines. Whilst I did not loose any equipment, did tear pockets on pants, gain cuts to lower legs and back of neck from. The thickness of the ferns and dept of the undergrowth made for slower than expected going. Intention was to setup 40M and work CW. BY the time I got to the activation zone it was clear there was to be no extended setup. Climbed onto a rocky point and proceeded to qualify on 2M. Worked Peter VK3PF on VK2/ST-007 and our groups on VK2/SM-052. Headed back down through the thichk scrub to Curranbene Creek track to await the convoy. Whilst a short walk and easy navigation (stright up) this was heavy going and not the best opportunity in the area.

Ken misplaced the top portion of the HF antenna on his 4WD so headed back to find it whilst we repacked cars and headed back. Made it back on dark in time for tea.

Day Two:

01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-036 (VK2/SM-036)

WalkuptoVK2 SM 036

Crew walking up to the summit of VK2/SM-036

This summit deserves a name.

Access was good. heading along the Snowy Mounatins Highway you turn off onto Tantangara Road. About 5 Km along the good dirt road the right on an unnamed dirt track. We drove to 900m of the summit weaving through the scrub following a ‘track’ to leave the 4WDs in a position avoiding heading up into the snow. Followed the track walking to the summit. The summit is lightly treed and was in full sun with the snow still present providing a perfect operating position.

VK2/SM-033 from VK2/SM-036

Views of VK2/SM-033 which Cromption was activating. Other contacts included VK3ZPF and VK1DI.

This is a great summit with cover and open area with good access. Worth the trip if your going down Snowy Mounatins Highway.

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-015 (Granite Mountain)

Access is straight forward as described by John VK2YW. There was some concern as to access due to the recent rain and wind but the roads had been magically cleared of trees and the 4WD ’s took the boggy sections in their strides. We had 5 HF stations setup. More radios than chasers. ZL1BYZ & VK1DI helped  but the propagation was not helping us. Things got desperate so took a KX2 and whip antenna out of the AZ to give the final CW contact needed to qualify.

02/Oct/2016 VK2/SW-021 (Pilot Reef Mountain

GrpupOnVK2 SW 015

Group on final summit (VK2/SW-015) VK3KIM,VK3BYD,VK3BHR,VK2HRX,Vk2QR,VV3ARH & VK3AFW.


Given a quick tour Tumut #3 Power station of a ‘Minor’ hydro electric generation plant.  There were 6 turbines that could generate 1500MW. There with only one operating as the photo shows, keeping the phase apparently. This was the last of the power stations built in the area but still before computers and pre formed concrete. It was impressive to see the scale of engineering achieved.

We arrived back at the accommodation quite late and had to enlist the assistance of Ruth to act as barkeeper to secure a well earned ale or two.

There were summits on offer for Monday to activate. Rob VK2QR meet Crompton VK2HRA & Warren Vk3BYD to activate VK2/SW-073 (Talbingo Mountain) on the way home

Thanks to Rob for earlier in the day clearing some trees across the best road out from our last summit. All the sites activated had good access. However there were a couple of creek crossings, boggy patches and the odd gate. We had gained permission to venture past gates before heading off. After seeing experienced 4WD’ers and she state of the creek beds I would negotiate them in AWD Subie however there is no guarantee that you can. Access anywhere in the aussie bush has to be verified at the time and conditions at hand. No assumptions.

Thanks to Rob VK2QR for coming up with the idea and then finding accommodation in a central location on a long weekend. His  advice in planning which summits to attempt was invaluable.Gate closures and weather reduced the possibilities but in the end we had more than we could fit in.

Will be looking forward to such an event in the same area again.