Sunday 4 October 2015
Sunday was the first day of Daylight Savings Time in those states of Australia that use the tool. Extra traps for logging: one now needs to subtract 11 hours from the local clock time, and UTC rollover is now 1100 local.
I packed the car, said my goodbyes and headed south east along the Murray Valley Highway, then onto Lockharts Gap Road C537 and then onto the Omeo Highway C543. Travel south through Eskdale and Mitta Mitta and then climb up onto the side of Mt Wills, enjoying the views to the west toward Mt Bogong and the Mt Nelse spur. At the junction nearest Mt Wills, I turned left into Razorback Spur Track and out to the junction with Wombat Creek Track to park close to the junction.
Razorback Spur VK3/VG-033 1311 m 8 points plus winter bonus
This summit is less than 500 metres from the track junction with a vertical climb of around 30 m required. Wombat Creek Track is subject to a seasonal road closure, with a solid gate close to the start of the track. I walked up to the flat area beside the summit and set up at the edge of the track.
I was on air from 2319Z Satruday. I made a total of 44 contacts from the summit, including S2S with Andrew VK1NAM/2 on VK2/ST-009, VK3XDM/7 on VK7/SC-001, Brian VK3MCD/p on VK3/VC-031, Bernard VK2IB/3 on VK3/VE-041 and Tony VK3CAT/p on VK3/VN-001 (CW).
I retraced my access route and headed back to the Omeo Highway, turning left towards Glen Wills and then left into Knocker Road and then Knocker Link Track.
The Knocker VK3/VG-016 1506 m 10 points plus winter bonus
I tied the squid pole to an old stump, using the top of the stump as an operating table. The wind speed was picking up, but conditions were pleasant on the summit.
First in the log was Gerard in VKFF-00550, followed by Tony VK1VIC/p on VK1/AC-040 (also VKFF-0850). A further 12 contacts were made before closing.
The access route was again retraced to the Omeo Highway and then I headed south toward Omeo. Just outside Omeo, I turned into Bingo Tice Road/Connleys Road just near the Golf Club. Climb up the road to the top of the climb and turn right into Mount Sam Road.
Sam Hill (Mt Sam) VK3/VG-049 1206 m 8 points plus winter bonus
Wind speed was even stronger here. I set up using the old tank stand beside the fire watcher’s hut (I guess) to support the squid pole and sat the gear and myself on the porch of the hut, out of the wind and in the shade.
First contact was with Bernard VK2IB/3 on VK3/VE-058 for a S2S. A further 15 contacts were made, including another S2s with Andrew VK1NAM/2 on VK2/ST-006.
The exit was again a retracing of the access route to the Omeo Highway and then south into Omeo to stop at the Bakery to buy some food for a slightly late lunch. I continued along the Great Alpine Road to the Cassilis Road until crossing the bridge to turn right into Upper Livingstone Road and then right into Birregun Road. I drove past the start of Zig Zag Track, which is usually subject to a winter road closure, and on to the start of Mount Phipps Track.
Mount Phipps VK3/VG-015 1536 m 10 points plus winter bonus
The approach up Mt Phipps Track was slower, with lots of obstacles to negotiate: fallen timber, rocks, ruts and puddles. I managed to drive all the way, parked a few metres from the summit and lashed the squid pole to the summit sign to set up the station at its base.
I made 14 contacts over 20 minutes before closing down.
Again I retraced my access route back to Birregun Road and then headed south to Mount Birregun.
Mount Birregun 1363 m 8 points plus winter bonus
I parked and set up close to the junction with Birregun Spur Track, using a stump to support he squid pole and as a table top.
First in the log was a S2S with David VK3MAY/p on VK3/VC-032. The contact was difficult – I saw a Hi SWR alarm and found that a link on the dipole was open! Further contacts were easier! A further 18 contacts were made, including a S2S with Nick VK2AOH/p on VK2/CT-025 on 40 m CW. The last contact was with Tony VK3CAT/p with CW, with the antenna on the ground – the squid pole was already in the car.
After packing up, I continued south along Birregun Road. I parked just over 11 km further on, at the base of the climb to VK3/VT-033.
VK3/VT-033 1032 m 6 points
From the road, I climbed up the semi-cleared spur and set up short of the summit, but well inside the AZ.
This was a short activation, with 6 contacts in 10 minutes before I packed up.
I continued south along Birregun Road for around 5 km to the junction with Jones Road and turned right toward Dargo. About 1.7 km on is the junction with Gidley Track. I headed down the track about 1.7 km to the junction with a 4WD track which climbs the eastern spur of Mt Steve to park near the junction.
Mount Steve VK3/VT-036 987 m 6 points
The OzTopo map shows the track up the spur is Gidley Track. There is scrub encroaching in from the sides and several spoon drains, so a 4WD would be needed to drive up. The summit is about one kilometre and about 160 vertical metres up from the junction.
This was another brief activation, with 7 contacts made before closing and returning to the car – it was getting late!
I headed back to the car, and back to Jones Road and then proceeded on to Dargo via Upper Dargo Road and Dargo High Plains Road to the bitumen. As I was approaching the McDonald Gap Track/Tabberabbera Track intersection with Dargo Road, I recalled that there was a summit to the east that I had not yet activated. I proceeded along Tabberabbera Track and Peels Gap Track with care, and then climbed up to the summit.
VK3/VG-107 708 m 4 points
I quickly set up the station but could not raise any responses to my calls. I quickly tuned around the band and heard a VK2 calling CQ Contest, so I made a contact with him. I then pulled out the 2 m/70 cm handheld and the end-fed dipole and called on the local Latrobe Valley chat frequency and was able to work two stations in Morwell. I then went back to 7.090 MHz to call again, to be rewarded with a reply from Mick VK3PMG.
Further calls gained no responses, so I packed up and headed back down to the car. I retraced the 4 km route back to the Dargo Road, and then headed south through Glenaladale, Fernbank and on to the Princes Highway. The route was simple from there: on to Stratford, Sale and a stop for fuel, Rosedale and Traralgon with a stop to buy a meal of Chinese food to take home. It was just after 2100 when I stopped in Traralgon and I imagined that being a Sunday night, most food outlets in Churchill were likely to be closed be time I arrived.
Overall, it was a productive but tiring day. 511 km travelled in the car, 8 summits activated for 51 points.