Legges Tor VK7/NE-001 1572 m 10 points
Ben Lomond National Park VKFF-028
On Wednesday morning, I packed my bag and followed Joe to the southeast side of Launceston, where I parked the car. I jumped in with Joe and we drove up to the Ben Lomond ski area car park. One could view many SOAT summits during the drive to the car park – it was impressive scenery. The access road climbs Jacobs Ladder, which was spectacular. The Ladder is steep with several switchbacks as you climb a very steep rocky gully between massive cliffs. I should have asked Joe to stop so that I could take some photos, but was too interested in taking in the views.
There is a walking track about one kilometre lower down the access road from the car park. There is a small space to park a couple of vehicles opposite the start of the sign-posted track. We headed from the car park up to the bottom of a poma ski tow near the ticket office, and then walked up the tow line route. As the terrain steepened, we zig-zagged up the rocky slope. Once at the top of the tow lines, you are inside the Activation Zone. We headed across to the summit cairn and then set up a few metres below the cairn on the northern side, where a small rocky gully provided shelter from the strong and cold winds. We kept an eye on the cloud bank out to the east.
First in the log was Rob VK3EK at 2224Z (27/01/2015 UTC). Rob kindly posted a spot. 16 stations were worked on 40 m before I went to 20 m for 3 contacts, then to 17 m to catch Mike VK6MB. Having checked SOTA watch, I moved back to 40 m to catch Justen and Reuben on Herring Back. The wind had been getting stronger throughout the hour long activation and we were now inside the very cold and damp clouds. It felt as if snow was likely. I packed up with Joe’s assistance and finished off the activation with a 2 m FM contact with Joe lower down the hill during the descent. A total of 24 different operators worked in the National Park, easily qualifying the park for VKFF. Given the weather, neither I nor Joe wanted to stay any longer on the summit.
We descended by following the line of the old rope tow. The line is quite steep in places, but was fine in the dry. It may not be suitable when wet, as most of the route is on rock.
At the bottom of the slope, we looked at a snow grooming machine waiting to be repaired and noticed a native quietly sitting in the lee of the machine – a wallaby. We then headed across to the hotel to enjoy a hot coffee before heading back to the car and back to my car.
Joe told me how to get to the main highway and we said our goodbyes, followed shortly after with some contacts via the 2 m repeater. I drove across to Highway 1 and headed south for Hobart.
Once in Hobart, I dropped into the clubrooms of REAST at the old OTC Wireless Station in the Domain to meet up with Justen VK7TW. After a quick tour and a chat, I headed off to the home of Rex VK7MO, my host for the next few days.
After a shower and dinner, we headed back to REAST for the ATV Experimenters’ night. It turned out that I was the key feature of the night’s transmissions: Justen interviewed me, discussing the activities already undertaken on the trip, my plans for the coming week or so, lots of discussion about SOTA, and also about Amateur Radio magazine. After about 80 minutes, Justen set the system to play a recorded amateur “TV show”, and we all retired to the clubroom for a coffee and chat. We departed the venue at around 2150 local – the gate is locked at 2200.