Update – 012017.
Access restrictions to Mt Difficult (Mt Gar) have been lifted,
The walking track has reopened with modifications. Start from Beehive Falls car park instead of Troopers creek campground (which has closed).
All walkers must lodge a trip intention form at Brambuk the National Park and Cultural Centre, Halls Gap.
VK3/VW-008 Mt Difficult
|Start: Troopers Creek Campground||Time: Approx. 4-5 hrs return|
|Distance: 8.8 km return||Grade: Hard (elevation: 470m)|
Troopers Creek Campground is located along Roses Gap Road. A hard climb. Continue beyond Tilwinda Falls to the base of cliff overhangs and then weaves through weathered rock formations and boulders to the summit – the highest point in the Northern Grampians. Return via the same route.
Access – WildSight
(March 22nd 2016) Walking track status
Troopers Creek Campground still closed
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
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
|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
|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
|VKFF-0458||South East Forest||-36.9190||149.5332||79.60km||NNE|
- 20/40m dipole
- 20m vertical
- APRS 2m/70cm in the car
- 20Ah battery
KRMNPA Parks not activated,
VK/ZL – Europe SOTA S2S Party – 22 Oct 16 0630 – 0830 UTC
Andrew VK1AD & Mike 2E0YYY organised using Sota website and Facebook. It took off with 54 summits across Australia, New Zealand, Japan, England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, France, Finland, Bulgaria, Portugal, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Greece and Switzerland alerted. Ed – DD5LP reports that there were 73 spots on the evening.
The evening started with hail and stayed cold. Never the less went to my local summit (VK3/VC018) that has good cover and setup for the evening. Given the wet conditions, took FT817 as not ready to drown KX3. 20m dipole at 7m so was dependent on CW for contacts. A great response.
Had a great time. The EU CW is so much harder then VK, much more and much faster activity. I’m looking for these activities to help with honing CW skills. The EU pace is madness.
I recorded 5 contacts. The only DX contact was with DL3TU3H on DM/BW-089, and local contacts with VK6NU,VK3CAT,VK3ARR & VK2IO
Heard many activations and called HB9IT,LZ1GY,JS1UEU,2E0YYY (SSB) , F/ON7DQ & JP3DGT but my QRP did not cut through.
From the reports it may have paid to hang on for another 30 min. However it was cold and wet. Had a good run so went into Bunnyiong to pick up pizza and went home to warm up.
Thanks Andrew (if thats really your name) and Mike. Looking forward to the next one.
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.
01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-059 (Big Badja Hill) VKFF-0138
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.
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.
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.
01/Oct/2016 VK2/SM-036 (VK2/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.
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
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.
VK3/VT-031 Mt Margaret
VK3/VT-032 UnNamed Peak
Both in VKFF-0619 Alpine National Park
These summits had only been activated by Wayne VK3WAM over 2.5 years ago.
Two 6 pointers summits on 4WD track Mt Margaret Track whoch runs parrallel to Mt Tamboritha Rd just out of Licola.
There was a low event coming across the state with snow down to 1000m The predictions were for the weather to improve Saturday but it was going to be wet due to the amount of rain over previous days. It is winter so expecting a challenge and to get wet and be cold. Not a problem as dressed and prepared for the conditions.
As I was putting up spots I saw Peter VK3PF was on Mt Warrenheip. I did not have HF setup as the KX3 was packed to go and the Kenwood is away from the sanding dust so could not work him. Jumped on 2M in car and caught him between Mt Warrenheip and Mt Bunnyiong. This is a popular pair.
Peter VK3PF on Mt Bunnyiong in hail finishing up his activation. The shelter was of no value as the hail was coming in horizontally.
Had a chat before heading off to drive across the state to stay overnight at Muttonwood camping ground off the Wellington River.
Awake early after a restful night and back down the road to checkout Mt Margaret track. I had looked at the track on earlier trips in summer and considered it steep. In winter with the mud its use was out of the question. There were tracks from 4WDs who had been up and back but nothing recent. Closer inspection confirmed this is not a track suitable for Subie. So the question was to walk up the 4WD track or take the walking track further down. Plan A was to to take the Mt Margaret Walking track so stuck to it.
VK3/VT-031 Mt Margaret
Drove down to the start of Mt Margaret Walking track and parked the car.
This track is a route to Lake Tali Karng. I want to use for access the Mt Margaret 4WD track running along the ridge lione. The track has not been well maintained but is quite usable.
When on the ridge line it was clear as not a lot of room for deviation however on the flatter areas the track fans out and animal tracks add confusion. A lot of dear out there given the tracks. Not surprising there were also a lot a deviations around fallen logs fall or short cuts. I was not keen on walking in water so stayed high away from the the creek so again away from the track as marked on my maps. The direction is clear its a case of heading up.
The walk up is steep. After going over the first peek I hit thick scrub. Pace slowed down.
Had just purchased a Garmin VIBR camera so was distracted with it and strayed off track. My bad. The walk through the scrub cost me my sun glasses, pack cover and nearly lost the Spot device. The leather holder for SPOT is rubbish. It is stretched with use and have previously had the device fall out (and forgetting to zip tie in after replacing batteries). I took it out and kept in pocket. Whilst providing tracking abilities and I have interfaced with APRS the Spot device primary role is to gain assistance should the worst happen. Loosing a GPS in the area would be a issue but loosing the ability to raise help in a area with no phone coverage could be life threading.
In the end it took over 3 hrs to cover 5Km. Relived to make it to the 4WD track on the ridge line.
Once on the 4WD track I dropped my pack and took the FT817 and tuned end-fed for the 800m climb to Mt Margaret to activate. Quick activation. 40M not the best and quite.
By now I was 2hrs behind schedule and whilst the weather was not bad it was not improving and I like to be back at the car before dark.
Could just follow the walking track back out but I obviously had not found the best way up so no reason to believe navigating in the dark was going to be easier. Following the 4WD track out would ensure I picked up the second summit. It was going to be longer (~7K) but quicker travel. Anyway I was here and it would be a long before coming back so as long as can get safely back to car then why not ? Ok it would be safe but long walk on the road in the dark. Nothing else to do out here.
Took the longer easier option by taking the 4WD track back ensuring the second summit.
VK3/VT-032 UnNamed Peak
Mt Margaret Track passes through this peak. Just walk. A lot to see,
This view is from track looking towards Trapyard Hill.
Above is a picture of the GPS logs whilst below is from SPOT maps. There are a few rough spots. Dare say being in pocket was not helping. Going to tie it back on pack.
The walk down the 4WD track was faster as no need to navigation and clear access. The biggest issue is slipping in the water on the down side. Some trees over road but good track along the ridge ling.
Given the weather and lost time deciding to take the longer but safer option and follow the 4WD track back to the sealed road was the best choice and also avoided covering old ground. Very steep on the down side. Got back to the road on dark so wipped out the head torch and strarted walking down the road. The advantage of roads is the gentle gradient and clear.
Removed a lot of rocks that were on the road. A couple of recovery trucks came past heading out with 4WD on the back or in tow. Someone had issues. Scared a wombat who was not expecting me and had a chat to a shooter walking the other way. By this time it was dark and gently raining (snow) but warmer than mid day so apart from the distance, walking out along the road was the best option.
Had walked out of the National Park when offered a lift with some other shooters who were off to the pub. Glad for the offer as had had enough by now and took 4Km off the walk saving 40min.
Whilst only 6 pointers these peaks have interesting access options. A real 4WD with suitably equipped for the climb and with a skilled operator could drive up and along the ridge line. The waking track has not been maintained and requires attention to stay on target. Either way being prepared ensures a long but rewarding day.
Stats, 32769 steps for 27Km and 177 floors. 12 SOTA activator points and 1 complete.
I have been using QGIS to geo-refeence maps in preperation for a new SOTA association. More on that later but the tool is a powerfull one and worthy of closer investigation.
Have PDF Maps Android on iPad and Android tablet. This app allows you to navigate using the tables GPS and overlay on a georeference PDF.
So the idea is to use base information to create custom map of the areas around and access to SOTA summits using a table with GPS to assist with navigation.
THIS IS NOT A PROCES TO REPLACE A GPS OR AN EXCUSE FOR NOT CARRYING A BACKUP MAP. It is a process that allow you to create a custom map and dispay on your favourite device .
I intend to use to provide a overview of a new area.
Keep that in in mind there are a lot of maps are available in geopdf format , both free and nominally priced in the Avenza store. It will be cheaper to just buy some maps and there are free overviews available for VK3 national parks from parks Victoria.
But, I have a few maps that I have notated with trails that are not georeferenced that I’d like to use. But for those cases when the map you want isn’t georeferenced.
GeoPDFis a unique data format that brings the portability of PDF to geospatial data. A GeoPDF document can present raster and vector data and preserve the georeference information. While GeoPDF is a proprietary format, we have a close alternative in the open Geospatial PDF format. GDAL has added support for creating Geospatial PDF documents from version 1.10 onwards.
Assuming you have installed QGIS. If not follow QGIS install instructions
Creating the PDF file
Prepare the image.
Several ways. Depends on your site and available tools;
Use Garmin BaseCamp to create a map and use the print process to open in preview then save as a TIF file.
or use Forest Explorer for Victoria (VK3) maps.
Create georeference data.
Open Qgis, select Plugins -> Manage and Install Plugins… Make sure that gdal and georeference plugin are checked. Select Raster -> Georeferencer -> Georeferencer In the Georeferencer select File -> Open Raster and open your tiff file. It will ask what CRS or coordinate system to use. This is the coordinate system in which you will be selecting georeferencing points.
Whilst will print the map with UTM coordinates overlayed I will use landmarks and lookup a lat/lng useing: GDQ (EPSG:4283)Set Basecamp preferences to Lat / Long ( dd mm ss.ss) and Datum to WGA-84
Now, you want to find points in this image that you can assign a coordinate to. If your image has grid lines, it’s easy. Use SOTA peaks or other major landmarks such road intersections. Find these same landmarks in Google Maps or Google Earth. Mathematically, you’ll need a minimum of 2 points spread both horizontally and vertically. I use six. One in each corned and usually two SOTA peaks.
For each of these points, use the ‘Add Point’ tool* to select your landmark and enter the coordinates.
* One of the buttons on the top has two intersecting lines and a yellow star, that’s ‘Add Point’
The Qgis georeferencer is supposed to be able to create the geopdf, but PDF Maps just says its an incompatible file. Instead, there’s a button that will give you the command-line switches to apply the georeference data with. We will use this information manually.
Select Settings -> Transformation Settings –
- Transformation Type: Polynomial 1, 2, or 3 (I haven’t experimented with this, but aparently effects accuracy of highly distorted maps.
- Resampling Method: Lanczos (This is supposed to be the best but takes longer to compute, I haven’t noticed a difference)
- Output Raster: output file name (required by the software, but we won’t use it)
Target SRS: output coordinate system (again, required by the software, but we won’t use it)
Select File -> Start Georeferencing… This will update the table on the bottom. The residuals will tell you how much in agreement the coordinate are in. This should be 1 few pixels or less. If not, there is someting wrong with the points entered earlier.
If all looks good, select File -> Generate GDAL script. Copy this script to a text editor.
Georeference our image.
Now it’s time to build the command line that will create the file that you need. To apply the coordinates, copy and paste all of the “-gcp x_pixel y_pixel x_coord y_coord” values into thetag below and run on your command line:
The command is;
>> gdal_translate -of GTiff -co “PROFILE=GeoTIFF”file1.tiff file2.tiff
and the GDAL script contents are;
gdal_translate -of GTiff -gcp 744.396 464.369 144.01 -37.691 -gcp 82.9136 96.7649 143.88 -37.6279 -gcp 1236.41 115.708 144.106 -37.6307 -gcp 1268.16 970.721 144.112 -37.7784 -gcp 239.069 745.448 143.911 -37.7397 “/Volumes/Data/maps/PDF SOTA/LocalArea.jpg” “/var/folders/h4/m6pmtkcn0mv7tlxp39jcxkwr0000gn/T/LocalArea.jpg”
gdalwarp -r lanczos -order 1 -co COMPRESS=NONE “/var/folders/h4/m6pmtkcn0mv7tlxp39jcxkwr0000gn/T/LocalArea.jpg” “/Volumes/Data/maps/PDF SOTA/LocalArea.tif”
so the command becomes;
>> /Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Programs/gdal_translate -of GTiff -co “PROFILE=GeoTIFF” -gcp 744.396 464.369 144.01 -37.691 -gcp 82.9136 96.7649 143.88 -37.6279 -gcp 1236.41 115.708 144.106 -37.6307 -gcp 1268.16 970.721 144.112 -37.7784 -gcp 239.069 745.448 143.911 -37.7397 LocalArea.tif file2.tif
Now its time to apply all of the geolocation data, using the same EPSG number as was used during georeferencing. In this case as we are using WGA-84 it is EPSG:4326;
>> /Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Programs/gdalwarp -t_srs EPSG:4326 -r lanczos -co “PROFILE=GeoTIFF” file2.tif file3.tif
So now you have a gereferenced TIFF file. We want to convert the TIFF file to a pdf so;
>> /Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Programs/gdal_translate -of PDF file3.tif georeferenced.pdf
So lets go over again;
allen:PDF SOTA allen$ /Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Programs/gdal_translate -of GTiff -co “PROFILE=GeoTIFF” -gcp 741.478 1080.39 146.061 -36.8556 -gcp 1048.45 1172.42 146.093 -36.8611 -gcp 1061.06 121.024 146.094 -36.7719 -gcp 1552.72 2274.25 146.142 -36.9572 -gcp 115.555 1930.09 146.001 -36.9278 06062016-1.tiff file2.tif
Input file size is 1905, 2375
0…10…20…30…40…50…60…70…80…90…100 – done.
allen:PDF SOTA allen$ /Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Programs/gdalwarp -t_srs EPSG:4326 -r lanczos -co “PROFILE=GeoTIFF” file2.tif file3.tif
Creating output file that is 2063P x 2260L.
Processing input file file2.tif.
0…10…20…30…40…50…60…70…80…90…100 – done.
allen:PDF SOTA allen$ /Library/Frameworks/GDAL.framework/Programs/gdal_translate -of PDF file3.tif georeferenced.pdf
Input file size is 2063, 2260
0…10…20…30…40…50…60…70…80…90…100 – done.
VK3/VE-165 – Mt Granya – (VKFF-0767) Mount Granya State Park VK3/VE-175 – Mt Bolga – (VKFF-0767) Mount Granya State Park VK3/VE-178 VK3/VE-208 – Jarvis Creek Plataeu – (VKFF-0969) in Jarvis Plateau State Park
VK3/VE-126 – Mt Stanley
Sunday was the inaugural Freeze Your Butt Off (FYBO) contest. ‘Freeze Your Buns Off’ is a QRP HF Ham Radio contest held in the Northern hemisphere in February. Ian VK5CZ had taken it to organise the southern hemisphere equivalent being “Freeze you Butt Off”. This is to encouraging portable activity and aligned well with the SOTA winter bonus period. The participation of the Parks and SOTA crew was a given even if limited.
The timing could not have been better for freezing one’s butt off, as an Antarctic blast of cold air swept up the east coast of Australia on Friday, resulting in record low temperatures and snow falls down to 500 meters from Bathurst to Ballarat. Both Melbourne and Sydney shivered through the coldest June day in almost 20 years.
Whilst a contest greatly enhances your chances of making contacts, you cannot expect to turn in a great contest score without spending a lot of time in front of the radio and in the same place. This is contrary to my normal SOTA method of operations and challenging in the cold environment. However I was not going to miss to opportunity to participate be it limited in the contest.
Plan was to activate summits on the Mt Buffalo National park. The summits were of 1400m height and would have snow cover. This would have involved trekking in the snow then camping overnight short of the summit. Given the cold snap it was decided to stay below the snow line thus avoiding potential for issues associated with the wet on the exposed summits.
The winter conditions presented great views,
View to Mt Buffalo
View featuring Mt Feathertop
View To Mt Bogong
We (VK3ARH & VK3BYD) operated from a single station. Warren would come up on CW and work all comers then I wold go to SSB to finish off. This ensures all who want the summit will get a contact and optimised our efforts on the summit.The KX3 ran out of battery on the last summit. We got 4.5 activations CW and SSB out of the internal NiMh AA batteries.
With all the activity Summit to Summits contacts were a plenty,
A good day be it cold. Not too surprising give its winter.
Glad stayed below the snow as the weather conditions had turned all the roads to mud and happy to stay off slippery rocks.
Will return for Mt Buffalo once the snow has settled in or melted away.
Great APRS coverage in this area,