25022017 – Hotham SOTA Activation Weekend
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.