I made my way back to the Latrobe Valley on Tuesday 3 January, after having activated Huon Hill VK3/VE-237 on Monday morning for a S2S with Mitch VK7XDM/p, plus adding more Parks contacts for Wodonga Regional Park VKFF-0980.
I was underway a little after 0900 local, still considering route options. I made up my mind on the first target stop not long after leaving Wodonga, taking the B400 exit to Yarrawonga and then working my way to Peechelba East and then to the Ovens River. I parked at the gate and set up just inside the park of the Warby-Ovens National Park VKFF-0742.
Warby-Ovens National Park VKFF-0742
I worked about a dozen contacts prior to UTC rollover – enough for an initial qualification of the Park for VKFF. When no one answered my CQ calls, I packed up and headed west to C374, then south to Killawarra and onto Boweya Road to Tower Road, then left into the Warby section of the Park. About a kilometre in I found a small picnic area with a view to the west to Mt Killawarra. I set up here for about an hour of operating. Conditions on 40 m were poor and I had no replies to calls on 15 m or 20 m. I gave up at about 0040 UTC with a total of 20 calls in the log, being 14 unique callsigns. It is interesting that Logsearch does not show the stations worked again on a new UTC day in the tally for the Park. Given the massive amount of work done recently on the WWFF web presence and the recently adopted revised Rules, I am sure that the updates will occur in due course.
After packing up, I headed back to Boweya Road, then headed west and south to Benalla for a short stop to buy some food. I then headed out to Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773.
Reef Hills State Park VKFF-0773
I set up in a shady spot in a parking area a few hundred metres in from the gate. I was not particularly hopeful of large numbers of contacts, given the conditions experienced earlier in the morning.
I again started on 40 m SSB. It took several minutes of calling after posting a spot on ParksnPeaks before the first reply. It took another 41 minutes to gain an additional 6 stations in the log. I started to pack up…. I managed to work Geoff VK3SQ on 2 m FM simplex from the car for contact number 8. That bought the total for the Park to 20 contacts with 18 unique callsigns, following an hour long activation of the Park on 23 December.
Decision time again: where to next? I decided to head down the Hume Highway M31 to Euroa, then towards Strathbogie and up to Mount Wombat.
Mount Wombat VK3/VU-002 802 m 4 points
I have activated this summit previously. But the summit is easily reached, provided that you take care after turning on to the unsealed Mount Wombat Road. There were a couple of vehicles near the gate at the top, with two people positioned in the fire watch tower. I set up at the southern end of the communications compounds, stating well away form others.
I spotted myself and it was again several minutes before the first reply. Within 10 minutes I had 5 callsigns in the log and further calls went unanswered, so I again packed up.
I headed back down to Strathbogie and followed the very winding route to Merton, a small hamlet on B300. I then headed south west through Yarck, then south to Alexandra (B340) and on to Buxton on B360. After crossing the Steavenson River, I headed west on Dyes Lane.
Mount Wilson VK3/VN-012 935 m 6 points
Dyes Lane crosses the Acheron River and becomes Mill Creek Road. Climb this and then follow Ure Road to Black Range Road and then head north to the junction with Jackson Break. The road junction is well inside the Activation Zone of the summit. The areas off the roads are covered in thick eucalyptus regrowth. So I simply set up using the road sign to support the squidpole.
First in the log was Rik VK3EQ using his remote station. 5 minutes later Paul VK5PAS called in, followed by John ZL1BYZ. Within 15 minutes I had 5 contacts, all on 40 m. I tried to call John VK5BJE/2 in Murrumbidgee Valley NP in VK2, but he was very weak and could not hear me. I gave up calling and packed up to head home – all 5 contacts on 40 m SSB.
The activation was a new Unique for me and made the summit Complete.
After packing up, I retraced my route to B360 and headed south to Healesville, then wound my way across the hills back to the Princes Highway and back to the Latrobe Valley.
It had been a long day with much calling for few replies. But 2 Parks and 2 Summits activated, including a Unique (& Complete). I was rather slack on taking photos on this trip – I must endeavour to do better in the future.