I had some loose plans for more summits prior to Christmas, but other issues prevented more activation trips. On Christmas Day, I drove Mum up to my brother’s home in Walwa for Christmas lunch. The usual story for Christmas – a great time with family, probably too much food consumed and some nice wine to wash down the food. I managed to organise Boxing Day as a SOTA day.
Granite Mountain VK2/SW-015 1445 m 8 points Not previously activated
From Walwa, I headed east to Tintaldra, then headed towards Tumbarumba and then turned right into Elliot Way. Up Elliot Way, then left off the bitumen into Powerline Road. The route was easy – up Powerline Road and then turn left onto New Maragle Road near where the power line changes direction. There are some signs for the communications facility on Granite Mountain, which helps. Straight ahead when New Maragle Road veers right and on up Jimmies Road and then the up the access track to the summit. Piles of brumby stallion dung form not so small hazards along the approach route, especially along Powerline Road.
I parked in the shade of the snow gums, loaded up and headed down the hill along the cleared area under the power line to the summit until outside the AZ, then climbed back up to the summit. The summit has a large communications facility with Air Services Australia signs on the gates and fences.
I set up using a sapling to support the squid pole, allowing me to operate in the shade of the snow gums. The first contact was at 0046, with Peter VK3FPSR. A highlight was a contact with Sam VK2AFA/p on Ben Lomond VK2/NT-004, followed by being called on CW by Wayne VK3WAM/p on Mt Concord VK3/VN-018 for a cross-mode S2S contact. With no responses to a CQ call after the contact with Wayne, I packed up at about 0105Z, with 18 contacts in the log, including 2 S2S.
Pilot Reef Mountain VK2/SW-021 1380 m 8 points Not previously activated
It was then back down to Elliot Way and turn left towards Cabramurra. After about 5.8 km, turn right into Black Jack Logging Road, then right again after about 1.2 km into Nurenmerenmong Road. The latter road quickly become rougher, with lots of growth in between the wheel tracks, some fallen timber, rocky patches and some damp/boggy areas and some ruts. About 4.3 km along the track veers right and a small track leads straight to a snow plain around the summit trig. I again parked in the shade, loaded up and headed down the hill to exit the AZ and climb back to the summit. I set up beside a tree close to the trig, again using the shade.
VK3FPSR was again first in the log at 0209Z. By 0221 I had answered all calls and tried calling on 12 m and 20 m, with no responses to several calls. I posted a spot for 20 m and finally worked Nev VK5WG. After further calls with no replies, I packed up. Whilst rolling up the antenna, I found why Nev had reported weak signals – I had forgotten to change the links from 12 m to 20 m!
The day was getting very hot, so I drove back out to Elliot Way and headed towards Corryong via the scenic route – past Cabramurra and along Tooma Road. This route allowed a bit of a look at some other summits that may be tackled in the future.
VK3/VE-167 unnamed summit 857 m 4 points
Whilst approaching Corryong I noted that time was available for another summit. So I headed to VK3/VE-167, near Shelley. Approach is simple, off C547. Park at the high point on Walker Firebreak, and climb up the spur to the summit.
First contact was made at 0548Z – once again it was Peter VK3FPSR. I quickly worked 10 stations in less than 15 minutes and then shut down, due to approaching thunderstorms.
Back to the car and down C547 to Walwa. A good day, with 2 new summits activated and 20 points for the Activator score.
It is highly likely that this summit will be deleted in the future (February 2015?). There is a higher summit about 2.2 km to the north. The VK3 AM had been advised of the details in the past, but the correction slipped through the system for the 2014 updates.