A trip to VK4 for the inaugural Q-Tech meeting: some SOTA and Park activity in SE VK4

Friday 21 April

I left Gatton and allowed the car navigation system to lead me to my first activation for the day. I used the simplest option of the “Town Centre” and entered a locality name I had seen when looking at my digital mapping the evening before. It wanted to take me on a narrow “Dry Weather Only” track, so I headed back a short distance and north about a kilometre to reach a sealed main road.

Mount Perserverance VK4/SE-024 805 m 6 points Not previously activated

The GPS system recalculated the route and had me coming in to the west of the summit, but then wanted me to go further west, so I cancelled the route and checked my mapping application on the laptop. A quick U turn and backtrack about 200 m took me to a linking road to get back on National Park Road, Palmtree School Road and then Perseverance Trig Street. As I approached the summit, the road condition slightly deteriorated as I passed a couple of signs for Ravensbourne National Park VKFF-0427. My earlier investigations suggested that it might be possible to be in both the National Park and the summit AZ.

The simple approach to the summit is from Esk Hampton Road (Highway 85): Take Shearer Road and National Park Road to Palmtree, and on Palmtree School Road and then Perseverance Trig Street. When you see the steep rutted track, swing right onto the newer track, which joins Diamond Road east of the summit. Turn left to follow the sign up to the comms facilities at the summit.

I came to a junction of the old road and a new track which ran around the south side of the summit. The direct approach on the old road was steep, rocky and rutted, so I thought I would look at the southern track. When I got almost around to the east side of the summit, there was a truck half blocking the track. It had a load of sawn timber on the back, but I managed to sneak around the front of the truck, the rear of which was well off the road. Once past the truck, I saw a sign pointing up to summit – an easy approach.

I set up on the northern edge of the cleared area, hoping that it might just be inside the National Park. When I was making contacts, I mentioned that it may be a Park activation, but would need to confirm my location in relation to the Park boundary on my return home. Checking the CAPAD outlines in ArcGIS Explorer, the boundary is a short distance further north, so this was not a valid Park activation. Sorry folks!

Geoff VK3SQ was first in the log on 7.090. I worked 11 stations on 40 m and then switched to 20 m after having no replies to a few CQ calls. I worked a further 7 stations before calls dried up and I shut down and packed up. I retraced my route back to National Park Road and along to Shearer Road and out to the bitumen of Esk Hampton Road/Highway 85. I then followed the vehicle GPS to next possible target – Mt Sevastopol VK4/SE-058. All was fine until Sebastapool Road, where I found a locked large gate, so the summit was aborted.

I entered the overnight destination into the navigation system, which directed me north and east to Toogoolawah, for a stop to grab a late lunch. The route then took me through Mount Beppo, Caboonbah and Bryden to route 31: Northbrook Parkway. This is a scenic and twisting climb up into D’Aguilar National Park. The road takes you through the AZ of Tennison Woods Mountain. D’Aguilar NP

Tennison Woods Mountain VK4/SE-117 770 m 6 points
D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129

Although I was expecting the track junction, I missed it near the top of the climb, so I needed to pull over at the next road junction and turn around. Traffic and the angle of approach were awkward, so I headed back over the top until I found a spot to again turn around. This time I was able to pull up and reverse in to the start of the track to the summit. I grabbed the gear and set up close to the locked gate to the summit: the track junction with the main road is inside the AZ.

I switched on a called on 7.090, with Gerard VK2IO first in the log. I ended up with 21 calls in the log from 40 m. Much of the activation was completed under a large umbrella, with heavy rain at times. I then packed up and headed around to the home of Kevin VK4UH, who had offered to host me for the weekend. Yet another Unique and Complete in the log.

Saturday 22 April

Redfest & Q-Tech

Kevin and I travelled separately to the event, with me arriving about 30 minutes later than Kevin, but still early. Traders at the Redfest hamfest were still setting up. I had a quick look around and managed to score some goodies: 2 x Omni Spectra 8-18 GHz power dividers, a 6 position SMA relay and a 800 – 2500 MHz 30 dB coupler, all for the grand total of $1.

The conference sessions were due to start at 1000, so I took my USB memory across to the venue at 0945. Minor issue – the computer refused to recognise the device. So I made a quick trip back to the car to get the portable hard drive, with its original copy of the file. Thankfully, that file worked.

The Conference session were an interesting and informative mix of topics:
ARISS School Program by Shane Lynd VK4KHZ;
Portable operating, Summits On The Air (SOTA) and Parks Award Programs by me;
Amateur Satellite Operation by David Hopkins VK4ZF;
Meteor Scatter by Kevin Johnston VK4UH;
EMR compliance and your Amateur Station by Doug Hunter VK4ADC.

It all went well. I returned to Kevin’s home.

Sunday 23 April

3 summits in D’Aguilar NP

I departed Yugar before 0800 and drove through Dayboro and up Laceys Creek road to the top of the range. I parked close to the locked gate and loaded up.

South of Mt Sim Jue VK4/SE-045 659 m 4 points
D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129

The climb of 2.8 km with a climb of about 220 m took me 55 minutes. I chose not to walk around to the summit itself but set up just north of the junction with the road to Mount Sim Jue, within 10 m vertical of the summit. Gerard VK2IO/p on Mount Elliott VK2/HU-093 was first in the log. Other notable contacts included Andrew VK1AD/2 on Bobbara Mountain VK2/ST-044, Bill VK4FW/p in VKFF-1552, Ian VK5CZ/p on VK5/SE-010 (15 m CW), John VK5BJE/3 in Snowy River NP VKFF-04555, Tony VK3CAT/p and Allen VK3ARH/p, both on Big Hill VK3/VE-059 (40 m CW), Wade VK1FWBD/2 on VK2/IL-005 and Grant VK4JAZ/p in VKFF-0179.

I packed up at around 0235Z, with a second group of motor bike riders disturbing the peace as they roared up the road – it is apparently common for motor bikes to find ways around the locked gates!

The return trip to the vehicle was much faster. I then headed north along the ridge line to the next summit.

Kluvers Lookout VK4/SE-039 683 m 4 points
D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129

Range Road travels largely along the top of the ridge line and takes you past the summit. There is a comms site with an impressive array of solar panels on the summit. I set up at the edge of the car park.

Wade VK1FWBD/2 on VK2/IL-005 was first in the log. I then worked John VK5BJE/3 in Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761. 3 more in the log then I paused to explain what I was doing to a couple that had arrived. I then worked Paul VK5PAS operating VK5WOW/p in Cooltong Conservation Park VKFF-0823. A quick CQ call yielded no responses, so I packed up and headed north. Yet another Unique and Complete in the log.

North of Mt Byron VK4/SE-043 662 m 4 points
D’Aguilar National Park VKFF-0129

I continued north along Range Road, then west along Sellin Road and into the Mount Mee section of the Park. Follow Lovedays Road, K Break, Army Road to Escarpment Link Break and south onto Western Escarpment Road. The summit is just north of Somerset Lookout.

Dennis VK4SX was first in the log, followed by Kevin VK4UH. Notable contacts included David VK5HYZ/p in Scott Creek Conservation Park VKFF-0788, Tony VK3CAT/p on Mt McKay VK3/VE-007, Marija VK5FMAZ/p and Paul VK5PAS as VK5WOW/p both in Coolton Conservation Park VKFF-0823, Bill VK4FW/p in VKFF-0701 and John VK5BJE/3 in Lake Tyers State Park VKFF-0761.

ViewFrNearSE-043

Looking SW from close to VK4/SE-043

I again packed up and headed back to Yugar, with yet another Unique and Complete in the log. The total number of callsigns in the log from the four activations should comfortably qualify the Park for WWFF.

ViewOfDAguilarRange

Looking west to the D’Aguilar Range on the trip back to Yugar

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