Christmas Eve 2014

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Christmas Eve with no family tasks to complete and an activation alert posted for a new summit in VK7. Time to head to the hills!

I headed off quite late, but was aiming for a summit added in the 2014 update for VK3. It took just over an hour to reach the AZ and park, then a quick walk out of the AZ and back to the top to set up by 2330Z.

VK3/VE-241 (unnamed summit) 926 m 6 points

This summit was first activated by Mark VK3ASC/p in March 2014, about 6 weeks after it became available. I missed Mark on that day, but did work Bernard VK2IB/3 during his November activation. The summit is accessed from Lockhart Gap, where you head SW along Eskdale Spur Road – a good unsealed road. You reach a saddle about 3.9 km up from C537 (Lockhart Gap), with McGraths Track heading off to the right. Take McGraths Track for about 2.3 km to reach the summit. Mark has first option to suggest a name for this summit, but “McGraths Track” would seem to be an option.

I set up beside the track and spotted myself. First in the log was Andrew VK2UH, followed by Andrew VK1NAM/p on VK1/AC-043 for a S2S. I worked 13 stations before moving to 20 m for a single contact, and then 17 m for two contacts prior to UTC rollover and one after, then moved back to 40 m. First up on 40 m was Andrew VK1NAM/p on VK1/AC-043 for a repeat S2S. I worked a dozen station before packing up, including a S2S with Compton VK2HRX/7 on Legges Tor VK7/NE-001 for a first activation – thanks Compton. I briefly moved down 5 kHz, but had no takers, so packed up and headed back to Lockhart Gap.

From Lockhart Gap, I headed along Powerline Road to a corner just prior to when the track starts to drop off the ridge. Powerline Road is in reasonable condition, but with evidence of a small number of wet & boggy spots that may require care in the wet. There was room in the corner to park and not obstruct the track.

VK3/VE-242 (unnamed summit) 842 m 4 points

From the parking spot, I headed north and then climbed onto the spur that runs NW off the main ridge & summit. This avoided the thicker scrub in the shallow gully. Once onto the spur, I was able to follow pads up to the summit – probably wombat tracks, given some of the scrub & fallen logs that the tracks went under. Progress was good. I set up on the summit, with a view down into the Mitta Mitta Valley and across to the spurs beyond through the trees.

Operating site on VK3/VE-242

Operating site on VK3/VE-242

This summit was first activated by Mark VK3ASC/p in March 2014, about 6 weeks after it became available, and in June by Bernard VK2IB/3. I did managed to chase both activations.

First in the log was Col VK3LED, who kindly spotted me. I worked 8 stations from here in about 10 minutes, and then had no further responses to several calls. Given the time, I decided to go QRT and to possibly activate another summit on the way back to Wodonga.

I packed up and headed back down to the car by retracing my ascent route. I then headed back toward Lockhart Gap, but turned north onto Lockharts Gap Track. The target summit is about 3.75 km along the track, which has some rough and steeper sections. The track goes straight over the summit.

VK3/VE-159 892 m 4 points

First activated by Rik VK3KAN/p (now VK3EQ) in September 2013, I activated this summit 12 months and 3 days ago. It is an easy target if you can drive the track. I parked at the top and walked back along the track for about 500 m to exit the AZ, and then returned and set up just off the track. I spotted myself and spent several minutes calling without responses, then checked the display and saw that I was 10 kHz below the spotted frequency. A quick QSY resulted in several calls. I worked 14 stations on 40 m before trying 20 m. I heard a very weak VK5WG, but clearly Nev was not hearing me well enough to respond. I dropped down to 30 m and quickly worked Nev and Larry VK5LY. After several more CQ calls without response, it was time to pack up and return to Wodonga.

Another fun day: 2 new summits activated for me with some S2S action, including a new summit in VK7. Only 14 Activator points, but an easy day in the lead up to Christmas Day.

PS: I ducked out from Mum’s when RRT went off at about 0740 and drove to the local athletics field. I swapped the 40 m vertical on the car for the multiband vertical and configured it for 18 MHz. I worked John VK6NU/p on Cape Leeuwin on my second call – a new summit for me. Thanks John.

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