A trip to VK4 for the inaugural Q-Tech meeting: Heading north

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Having seen a message to one of the Groups several days ago, I emailed John VK5BJE suggesting that we might meet up on his travels east to Lakes Entrance. On the day, I met John VK5BJE & wife Judy in Traralgon for coffee and a chat. Of course, the caht continued for longer than it should have. I finally left Traralgon at about 1230 K and head east to Cann R and then north on the Monaro Highway to Bondi Forest Way. I made my way around Cairnlea Road and Mount Tennyson Road.

Mt Tennyson VK2/SM-087 1056 m 6 points

Mount Tennyson Road heads south and east around the edge of a pine plantation and climbs up to a high point on a ridge. I failed to record the name of the track at the junction – simply turn right and climb the track along the ridge to the summit, which has some comms installations.

I set up using a tree to support the squid pole and started calling on 7.090 MHz. Col VK3LED answered my calls and kindly posted a Spot. At about 0708Z, I heard Bill VK4FW call me, but he did not respond to my calls to him: sorry Bill. I ended up with 13 contacts in the log, including 3 ZL stations. I changed bands to 20 m for about 10 minutes of calling, yielding only one contact with Hans VK6XN/p in Ngari Capes Marine Park VKFF-1450 for a new Park.

The activation was a new Unique and Complete for me.

I then packed up and headed north, reaching my destination in Nimmitabel at a reasonable hour.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Departing Nimmitabel at around 0800 local, I drove north through Cooma, Canberra and then on to Boorawa, Cowra, Canowindra, Molong, Cumnnock, Yeoval, Obley and along Gundong Road to the eastern edge of Goobang National Park. It was then south along Keen Trail and Wandoo Wandong Trail to Caloma Trig.

Caloma Trig VK2/CW-050 774 m 4 points
Goobang National Park VKFF-0204

I set up about 170 m north of the trig, but still inside the AZ: the trig itself is located in a reserve which is not part of the National Park! I spotted myself on 7.090 MHz a few minutes after 0500Z. First in the log was John ZL1BYZ, followed by Gerard VK2IO and Andrew VK2MWP. The fun continued until I decided at around 0600Z to try 20 m, when calls eased off on 40 m. 20 minutes of calling was rewarded with only one contact: Tadashi JA1VRY. The contact was tough, with lots of QSB.

I returned to 40 m, initially on 7.088 and then 7.085. Last in the log was Rob VK2QR in Talbingo.

48 contacts in the log over 1 hour 35 minutes: A new Unique, Complete plus the Park qualified for WWFF.

CalomaTrig

The Trig station at Caloma Trig – in poor repair

I retraced my route back to Gundong Road and headed North West to reach the Newell Highway A39, and then north to Coonabaraban to grab some food. I headed north on A39 to Number One Break Road, then east to Top Crossing Road to head south to Dandry Gorge Road to Sculptures in the Scrub camp area in Timmallallie National Park for the night.

Timmallallie National Park VKFF-0609 Not previously activated

I quickly set up the tent and an antenna. However, time was late and I had no mobile coverage, so could not spot myself. I searched around on both 40 m and 80 m, but had no luck with Calls. I did manage to work 10 stations on Thursday morning, all on 80 m. Time was getting on – it was after 2120Z and I wanted to head north to be on a new Summit at around UTC rollover. I packed up and headed back to the Newell Highway.

Thursday 20 April

The drive to Narrabri was uneventful. I headed out of town following the large brown sign for Mount Kaputar National Park. Be careful, the small sign at the correct intersection (Kaputar Corner) is NOT in the typical brown used for tourist signs! Head along Kaputar Road, enter the Park and climb up to Mount Kaputar car park.

Mount Kaputar VK2/NW-001 1500 m 10 points
Mount Kaputar National Park VKFF-0353

The final climb to the car park is sign posted as 4WD recommended. It was a little rough in places…. I parked in the top of the car park, well and truly inside the AZ, loaded up the gear and climbed the stairs and boardwalk to the summit marker. I took some photos on the summit and then climbed part way down the approach to set up using the guard railing to support the squid pole and antenna ends, sitting on the top of a short section of steps for the activation.

KaputarView

Looking west from Mt Kaputar summit

I spotted myself and started calling at 0013Z, with Rick VK4RF first in the log. I had 14 calls in the log by 0027Z. I changed the antenna configuration to 20 m and worked John ZL1BYZ and John VK6NU. After another 10 minutes of calling, plus explaining what I was doing to a couple of tourists, I switched to 15 m and was rewarded with Nigel VK6NI and Neil VK8ZCU.

I packed up, happy with the 18 contacts. I was about to head off back down the road when I heard RRT announce a new activation. I checked to find that it was a nearby summit, also in the same Park. I could barely hear the calls being made using the mobile whip in the car, so quickly strung out the SOTA antenna away from the car and set up the SOTA station. This time I could just hear Brett VK2BNN/p on Mount Yulludunida VK2/NW-020 at 0129Z – we exchanged 51 reports. I improved the antenna height and made a repeat contact at 0135Z, this time with 58 reports both ways. I then heard John VK2YW calling Brett and waited to work John. That brought another contact: Julie VK3FOWL/p, but with a weak signal received by Julie. A total of 20 contacts were in the log for the summit and Park. Yet another Unique and Complete for SOTA, plus a new Park for VKFF, but needing more contacts for WWFF.

I then headed back to Narrabri before heading north on the Newell Highway to Moree, Goondiwindi and on to Toowoomba. Finally in VK4, I ended up in a Gatton motel for the night.

The story will continue in the next entry.

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2 Responses to A trip to VK4 for the inaugural Q-Tech meeting: Heading north

  1. vk5bje says:

    Hi Peter,
    I will take only 50% of the responsibility for taking about an hour and a quarter out of your day at Traralgon! It was worth it really! Actually, it was great to catch up and I really enjoyed our discussions and the inspection of your vehicle and radio set up. It was great! I am glad you had a great trip, that the meeting was worthwhile and that you had a very successful time with your activations. We enjoyed our time at Lakes Entrance and I am still to write my posts of the parks in East Gippsland. I look forward to seeing you in VK5. Cheers
    John D
    VK5BJE/VK5PF

    • vk3pf says:

      Hi John,
      It is always great to catch up with other amateurs and I thoroughly enjoyed our long chat.
      Glad to hear that the East Gippsland portion of the trip went well: I was pleased to catch you in 2 of the Parks activated.
      I am sure that we will have further long discussions in a couple of weeks in VK5….
      Cheers,
      Peter VK3PF

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