Well, this Blog actually starts off on New Years day 2015 but with a quirk of UTC time, the date is actually the 31st Of December 2014.
The aim for “New Years Day” is to activate the same summit both pre and post UTC roll over and gain activator points for both. This is the only day that this can be achieved. This “bonus” also brings out a multitude of activators so there are numerous S2S (summit to summit opportunities)
My criteria was to activate a unique (for me) summit and also try to have reasonable phone coverage for alerts and spots.
Also a day off from house painting!
Date:31/Dec/2014 Summit:VK3/VN-012 (Mt Mitchell) Call Used:VK3CAT/P Points: 6 Bonus: 0
Summit height 965 metres. Phone coverage average.
34 x contacts, 23 x S2S
Date:01/Jan/2015 Summit:VK3/VN-012 (Mt Mitchell) Call Used:VK3CAT/P Points: 6 Bonus: 0
18 x contacts, 15 S2S
All but one CW contact (SSB & CW) were on 40 metres. The exception was Gerard VK2IO/P on 30 metres post UTC.
I accessed Mt Mitchell via the Maroondah Hwy to just south of Buxton. I turned west onto Dyes lane then south west onto Ures Rd until I reached the Black Range Rd onto which I turned and headed due north. Upon reaching Jackson Tk, I turned west then very soon afterwards turned due south onto an un-named rd (Garmin Oz Toppo S Creek Rd?)
This point will have you in the activation zone, the actual summit being a few metres higher up but practically inaccessible and not worth the effort.
The route up way mostly good 2WD gravel. Jackson Tk would rate as easy 4WD past the S Creek Rd turn off.
My next summit of the day was to be Mt.Strickland. I decided to try some new roads and followed the Black Range and Plantation Rd all the way into Narbethong. This road was excellent – just watch out for trail bikes!
From Narbethong it is onto the Acheron way and up Feglin Rd & Poley Rd to the summit. All are good 2WD gravel roads. I had spoken to Allen VK3HRA/P on Federation range and arranged to meet Allen on Strickland, giving him a more direct route over the Paradise Plains rather than the long way via Marysville and Narbethong. Allen made good time and caught me mid activation and then used my set up to activate the summit as well. We also had an S2S with Nic VK3ANL/P who, with XYL Rita, was on the nearby Mt. Vinegar – our next planned summit.
Met up with Nic and Rita part way up Carters Rd. Nice to catch up in the field. Nic informed us of a fallen tree on the track up to Mt. Vinegar. This would not be a problem with the Landcruiser but could be for Allen’s Subaru so Allen joined me for the drive to the summit. This was a new route for Allen, he previously having walked up via the south route off the Acheron Way.
We did a simple activation with the KX3 and doublet then headed back down to Allen’s Subaru. Not far past here we came across two displaced bush walkers. Due to the time of day and their intentions, I thought it best to offer them a ride back down to their car at the Fernshaw Reserve. Here, they and us parted company and headed home.
In summary for today, things did not seem to be as frantic as last year, maybe it was the better WX meaning a more leisurely approach. Definite highlight was meeting up with Allen, Nic and Rita.
Side note, I did notice a lot of tree debri on the Start of the Black Spur near Watts River and the fernshaw Reserve.
This link shows the cause. Trees down on the Black Spur
Australia Day 26th Of January
Time to use the AX prefix, takes some getting used to, especially on CW!
As per normal SOTA activations, due to the pre-UTC start, the activations commenced on the 25th of January.
WX commenced as overcast, even a little misty as I headed through the Yarra Valley towards Warburton. The aim for today was for 3 completed summitsm qualify on CW and seek S2S opportunities.
First up was Mt. Bride VK3/VC-009.
Summit height 898 metres, 4 points.
Phone coverage was patchy
Access is easy foo the Mt. Bride Rd that leads south off the Old Warburton Rd not far from Warburton. Turn east at Burns Rd (seasonally closed) and look for an old 4×4 track, now walking track located 750 metres along Burns Rd from the gate. Andrew VK1NAM has good information on this.
The walk in was about 15 minutes, the summit quite wooded, not definitive and no views. I set up along the side of the track, using the tracks cleared path as a clearing for the doublet antenna.
The activation commenced at 22:50 and concluded at 00:18 hrs UTC over the UTC roll over. There were 18 pre and 13 post UTC contacts uding 40, 30, 20 and 6 metres phone and CW. I worked VK4JD via sporadic E (Es) on 10 metres. there were 6 x S2S contacts.
Britannia Range VK3/VC-011
Summit height 815 metres, 4 points.
Phone coverage patchy.
Back on to Mt. Bride Rd, head south east for a short distance to the intersection of it and Britannia Creek Rd. A very short distance further on on the right is Britannia Range Track. Our trail bike group used to ride this in the 1980’s prior to the Ash Wednesday Bush Fires. I remembered big ruts and bog holes. Having read others activation reports, I was intending to walk from the Mt. Bride Intersection.
The track, however, did not look that bad, it was relatively dry so I gave it a shot. Travelling the Britannia Range Track towards the summit proved to be quite easy going in the Landcruiser with low range selected. I was able to drive right up close to the activation zone, where I set up, not far from where the track does a significant direction change from south west to due west & into the scrub a bit. The summit is located to the RHS of the track and is heavily wooded. Did not bother with it!
The activation commenced at 01:38 hrs and concluded at 02:20 hrs UTC. 18 contacts in all but no S2S. qualified the summit on 40 metres CW plus SSB, working also 30 metres CW and 6 metres SSB (VK4JD again on Es)
Hyde Hill VK3/VC-008
Summit height 902 metres, 6 points.
Phone coverage was quite good.
Back on to Mt. Bride Rd, head south to the intersection of Black Sands Rd. and turn east. Follow Black Sands Rd. to its intersection with Big Creek Rd. This will have you in a clearing of sorts, remnants of logging. I found the best summit access by following the northern edge of the logged area with the native forest and then looping around slightly to the left (south west). This got me into the activation zone but not the actuial summit which is very heavily wooded and of dubious access, my location was in some shade – just into the forest and on the edge of the logged area.
The activation commenced at 03:40 hrs and concluded at 04:44 hrs UTC.
In all, 27 contacts on 40, 30, and 20 metres CW and phone also working a couple of parks and 3 x S2S. DX for this summit was VK6 on 20 metres.
Time to head back down to the car and, on reaching it, I made myself a cup of coffee.
I was in 2 minds as to which route I would take home. There was even time to sneak in another quick activation such as Mt. Beenak! Black Sands Rd would require me to turn around and follow it into Gladysdale or straight ahead on Big Creek Rd to the Yarra Junction to Noojee Rd east of Powelltown. I decided on the latter as I was pointing that way already. If only I knew!
As I was just about to head off, I was passed by a black Suzuki Swift, not travelling too quickly but kicking up a bit of dust. Bugger I thought.
Waiting a little for the dust to clear, I ended up chatting to Allen VK3HRA on 40 metres; now mobile I saw what I first presumed to be a cloud of black smoke – did not make sense! Quickly realising it was more likely a car accident, I slowed down and sure enough, there was the Suzuki Swift on its roof.
The first act was to park the car safely but also to warn other traffic. Then I grabbed a young girl from the car who was now out and wandering around in a dazed state. Whilst doing this, the other occupants got themselves out.
The driver was in shock, cut and badly bruised. The other two occupants had only minor cuts. Now, with some assistance from other motorists, I secured the area and got my sleeping bag out to keep the driver warm, the others I gave my jackets and other items to keep warm with. I had no phone coverage here and initially used HF, first with Allen and then Mike VK3XL to get some assistance. This proved not to be required as the passengers IPhone was able to pick up a signal where my Samsung galxy Nexus could not. Police, ambulance and a tow truck were arranged, there was some difficulty with triple zero in providing our exact location despite very accurate maps, GPS coordinates and the like. One of the other motorists went down to the main Yarra Junction to Noojee Rd to escort the ambulance.
In situations like these, the injured parties should not be given any food and only, if required minimal water. The male of the group would not be told so I gave up. The cigarettes will probably kill him anyway! The main effort was to keep the driver, now in considerable shock both warm and conscious – in this we just kept her talking about nothing in particular.
I did not make that additional summit. In fact I was 3 hours late home but with a story to tell. Not knowing what was to occur later on in the year…..