The WIA AGM was to be held in Hanhdorf in the Adelaide Hills on Saturday 20 May 2017. I was planning to attend, combining the trip with some Summit and Park activations.
Wednesday 17 May 2017
I headed off on Wednesday morning, with the weather forecast not looking promising. Neither was the space weather forecast. My basic plan was to get through to Ballarat and then consider options beyond. As I approached Ballarat, the sky was becoming darker grey. I decided on an easy option and continued on to Ararat and then south west to Moyston.
Point 599/Mt William Range VK3/VS-032 599 m 2 points
Grampians National Park VKFF-0213
From Moyston, I set the vehicle GPS for the junction of Yarram Park Road and Jimmys Creek Road, Mafeking. All was okay until getting close, with the direct route of Emmett Road having a Road Closed sign, so a minor diversion was required.
Having looked at the Google Earth images, the likely access route appeared to be via the unnamed track which heads off Jimmys Creek Road roughly 630 m east of the junction with Yarram Park Road. I headed carefully along the road and all was okay, with some overhanging branches and encroaching scrub in places. As the track started to climb, some large spoon drains were encountered and became more frequent. I eventually attained the top of the ridge and then turned left to head toward the summit.
About 100 m west from the desired parking spot, there was a tree across the track, with a tight diversion around. I parked here and walked the final short distance to set up close to the track bend, from which the track headed north with a steep descent. The track corner is above 580 m altitude, so well within the AZ, and still inside the National Park. The summit itself is on private property beyond the Park boundary.
The weather was threatening – it had been raining and it lokked as if more was to come. A quick activation was the result, with five contacts made in 5 minutes, with no close in contacts. After the fifth contact, the rain resumed, so it was time to quickly pack up and retreat. A new Unique and Complete in the log.
I followed the same route back to Jimmys Creek Road, and then headed west towards the Grampians Road (C216). It was then south to Victoria Valley Road and then travel around to Cavendish, then north west towards Balmoral before heading south on Dundas Gap Road.
Mount Dundas VK3/SE-045 459 m 1 point
Near the crest of the road, watch for Mt Dundas Road to the right. Travel up it and turn right to access the summit, which has significant RF infrastructure on top.
I quickly set up on 40 m ssb, and checked ParksnPeaks. First in the log was Paul VK5PAS operating VI5WOW in Mount George Conservation Park. I bagged a total of 8 contacts in 10 minutes before the rain started falling again, prompting another quick pack up and retreat to the car. A new Unique and Complete in the log.
I returned to the bitumen and headed SW to Coleraine, then basically west to Penola. There was not much open in the main street, so I dropped into the Prince of Wales Hotel, organised a motel room for the night and then dinner.
After dinner I made a call to arrange access to Mt Burr the following morning: The Summit information page indicated that approval was required from the local Broadcast Australia District Supervisor. I had made some email enquiries earlier in the week, so expected few issues. During my conversation with the appropriate person, I was also advised that approval from Forestry SA was recommended. I was given a contact number – a call to be made the following morning.
Thursday 18 May 2017
After packing the car, I headed down the street to call into the Bakery to grab some food. A little after 0830 local time, I called the ForestrySA number. A minor problem when the call dropped out, but contact was re-established shortly afterwoods. I spent some time explaining who I was to the local Ranger and discussing my plans to access Mt Burr. I was given verbal approval, plus an indication that the Ranger would meet me on the hill, as he was planning to be on-site at a similar time to myself.
Mount Burr VK5/SE-019 240 m 1 point
I had arranged to use the VI5WOW callsign for the activations today – Mt Burr and a planned later Park activation. After driving out to Mt Burr, I drove up to the summit and then retreated about half way down the access lane. I have added some additional notes to the summit page, as outlined below.
Looking up hill to the Mt Burr summit
I was just completing my fourth contact when the farmer and the Ranger drove up the access lane.
I had a long discussion with the Ranger, who then went up to the summit. He stopped again on his way back down, taking my details on the day and forwarded an approved application form later in the day via email.
The cleared & fenced area around the Mt Burr summit, plus the surrounding forests, are managed by ForestrySA. The surrounding pine forests are leased to forestry company OneFortyOne. There are several site leases on the summit, including Broadcast Australia. As noted elsewhere for this summit, the top of the summit is RF hot. There is an access lane to the summit area from the bottom gate, which has signs noting that you must be authorised to enter beyond the gate.
The cleared area surrounding the access lane is leased to a farmer to graze sheep.
I set up and operated from the edge of the access lane way, about half way between the summit and the access gate – well inside the AZ. To operate in this area, technically one needs approval from ForestrySA. You can apply on-line for a “Forest Access Permit” – see below.
To quote from the email I received from the local Ranger after the activation:
“ForestrySA now has an online permit application form on our website at: http://www.forestrysa.com.au
Once the page has loaded, drag your mouse over the Recreation tab, then click Green Triangle.
Please have a read through the page as it has important information regarding your visit.
The page has information on general access to both ForestrySA’s Native Forest Reserves, and also Plantation areas managed by OneFortyOne Plantations.
Most activities do not require a written permit, but those that do are mainly for plantation areas, and include those such as Horse riding, Caving, or Christmas tree collection.
The page has links to electronic permits, please fill out the form electronically, stating what you wish to use the permit for, save a copy onto your desktop and email through the completed application to email@example.com
We will approve the application and forward by return email.
Both the Bluff summit and Mt. Burr summit are ForestrySA properties, so the application form & Green Triangle Forest Access Permit ForestrySA, should be completed for those sites.”
The “Activity” on the form was noted as “Radio communications exercise”.
All wishing to activate Mt Burr are strongly encouraged to complete and submit an application for access to the site at least a few working days prior to your planned activation. You are unlikely to have any issues if you have the appropriate permit!
The Ranger was friendly and extremely helpful.
Despite the interruptions to discuss matters with the Ranger, the activation was a success, but with only 7 contacts made. A new Unique and Complete in the log.
I headed back to the main road, and then west to Millicent, where I stopped to grab some tourist brochures and a map.
I then headed north to Robe to buy some lunch, then headed back to Old Naracoorte Road.
Lake Hawdon South Conservation Park VKFF- VKFF-1045 5CP-110
Whilst in Robe, I quickly checked ParksnPeaks: it appears that this Park had not yet been activated. There are several other Parks in the area, but I decided to activate this one for a little while.
Travelling along Old Naracoorte Road, I was looking for a small entrance way to a farm gate which is located adjacent to the northern boundary of the Park. I parked the vehicle here and climbed the fence to set up just inside the Park boundary.
The Park appears to be partially old grazing land, but also very swampy ground.
I worked 10 stations on 40 m SSB over about 25 minutes of calling, before switching to 80 m SSB to give some VK5 stations a chance to work the Park. The move yielded only John VK5BJE and Paul VK5PAS/m. I then went to 20 m to work another 8 stations, including one JA, before returning to 40 m for another 4 contacts before I closed, just over an hour after starting calling. A total of 24 contacts in the log, thus well qualified for VKFF.
I packed up and headed east and north, making my way to Woolmit Road.
Kungari Conservation Park VKFF-1044 5CP-106
This was another Park which had not yet been activated. I found the track that enters the Park, together with the locked gate at the Park boundary with a very new looking sign just beyond. I climbed the fence and set up near the sign.
The Kungari Conservation Park sign
First in the log was Liz VK2XSE/5 in VKFF-0778 on 40 m SSB. In about an hour and 10 minutes I worked 31 stations on 40 m. I switched to 20 m, working Rick VK4RF. With no further calls, I tried 30 m SSB, again working Rick VK4RF plus Cliff VK2NP. I returned to 40 m to work another 4 stations, and then tried 80 m for another 5 calls in the log. With 45 in the log, I closed down as the rain spots were getting heavier.
I headed east to the Princes Highway and then made my way north, with the rain becoming heavier. I stopped at Meningie for some dinner, and then headed for Mount Barker for the night.