Saturday 29 April
I decided to head off to attempt to activate a summit for another complete. I headed south east from Wodonga to Dartmouth and up to the obvious first summit for the day.
Mount Benambra VK3/VE-041 1472 m 8 points
Alpine National Park VKFF-0619
South of Dartmouth, take Mount Benambra Road and then Benambra Summit Track. Note that there is limited parking and turn around space at the tower at the summit.
The summit was clear, with almost all surrounding terrain obscured by low cloud. I could see the Main Range to the east and Mount Bogong to the west. The sun was beating down.
I set up near the trig and was greeted with S8 inverter noise when I switched on the radio. I could only hear the loudest of callers attempting to make contact with Wade VK1FWBD/p. I quickly pulled the station down and headed about 100 m down the track, hoping that a little distance would be sufficient to lower the QRM. I set up with the antenna parallel to the track, right on the edge of the track, with space for me to sit just off the track.
I could not hear Wade on switching on. First in the log was Wynne ZL2ATH on ZL1/WL-103. I ended up with 24 in the log, including several S2S contacts:
VK1FWBD/p on VK1/AC-044
VK3BYD/5 on VK5/SW-039
VK6MAC/p on VK6/SW-036 in VKFF-0645
ZL2ATH on ZL1/WL-103
I packed up and headed off to the main target for the day.
Mount Cravensville Range VK3/VE-058 1390m 8 points
I travelled back to Mount Benambra Road and followed it north west to the junction with Benambra Spur Track to climb up to the saddle between the SOTA summit and Mount Cravensville. I parked and climbed up the slope through moderate scrub until inside the AZ.
First in the log was Mark VK4SMA/p in VKFF-VKFF-0471. I worked 22 stations, including two more Park activators: VK7JON/p in VKFF-0322 and Greg VK4VXX/2 in VKFF-0470. After 30 minutes on the summit I packed up and headed back to the vehicle. A new Unique and Complete.
I headed east along Benambra Spur Track to exit the area. The approach to the summit might be a little easier from the east side of the summit, from around 36.478705° S 147.609168° E – the undergrowth looked thinner here.
Benambra Spur Track joins Gibb Range Road about 2 km south east of the access point for Gibb Range VK3/VE-069, but I decided not to activate the summit. I headed out to the east to the Corryong-Benambra Road and north before heading back to Wodonga for the night.
Sunday 30 April
I was underway a little before 0900 from Wodonga and headed down the Hume Highway to Benalla then south to Mansfield. From there I headed to Merrijig and Merimbah, then up the Mount Stirling Road to Telegraph Box Junction. From there, I headed north on the Circuit Road and then out along No 3 Road to reach my first target for the day.
Mountain No 3 VK3/VE-033 1548 m 10 points
The alternate approach is via Carters Road, which requires a steep climb up to the summit from the winter road closure gate. I decided to attempt via my access route to see what the road was like: all was OK, with some bumps and spoon drains over the last kilometre or so. I drove up onto the pleasant snow plain area close to the summit via Weston Track. I set up at the northern limit of the snow plain, using a tree branch to support the antenna.
First in the log was Andrew VK3ARR/p on VK3/VC-002. Other S2S contacts included Wade VK1FWBD/p on VK1/AC-040, and Andrew VK1AD/2 and Al VK1RX/2 on VK2/ST-017. I also worked Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-1410 and Ian VK1DI/p in VKFF-0842. With 20 calls in the log and no replies to a final CQ call, I packed up and headed back along No 3 Road. A new Unique and Complete. I parked at Razorback Huts.
Mount Winstanley VK3/VE-036 1523 m 10 points
Access to the summit is straightforward: follow the Hut Trail ski trail to the start of Razorback Trail, then climb a short distance to the top of the spur just to the west of the trail junction. From here, follow the walking track north along the spur until you reach the summit cairn, a distance of about 1.9 km from the Huts with a climb of about 165 m. The walking track appears to continue north from the summit along the spur, presumably to join Razorback Track near its northern end. This may provide a slightly shorter access route during summer when you can access No 3 Road – the climb would be similar, but about 400 m shorter.
The climb took me about 50 minutes. First in the log was again Andrew VK3ARR/p, this time on VK3/VN-027. I also worked Gerard VK2IO/p in VKFF-1410, Neil VK4HNS/p in VKFF-0690 and Tony VK3CTM/p on VK3/VN-016. I ended up with 25 contacts in the log, all on 40 m. A new Unique and Complete. The return to the vehicle took 22 minutes.
It was then back down to Telegraph Box Junction, then south on the Circuit Road to Howqua Gap and to drive up Howqua Gap Trail to the saddle just below the summit.
Mount Stirling VK3/VE-011 1747 m 10 points
I set up just south of the summit, seeking some protection from the wind. First in the log was Tony VK3CTM/p on VK3/VN-016. I ended up with 27 contacts in the log in only 20 minutes. A new Unique and Complete. I was getting cold and was still considering another summit, so packed up and headed back down to Howqua Gap.
From Howqua Gap, I took Corn Hill Trail and Corn Hill Road up to the Mount Buller village and made my way to the end of Summit Road, only a short distance from the edge of the AZ.
Mount Buller VK3/VE-008 1805 m 10 points
I climbed up until just inside the AZ to set up with a solid breeze and inside the cloud. This was to be a short activation! First in the log was Gerard VK2IO/m. With 8 in the log and without any replies to the final CQ call, I shut down and packed up.
It was then a case of driving down to Mirimbah, out to Mansfield and then to return to home. I arrived home at around 2000, having put a total of almost 6000 km on the odometer.
23 summits activated for a total of 178 Activator points.
40 Chaser contacts made, for 149 Chaser points.
21 new Activator Uniques.
19 new Complete summits.
Reached 2500 Activator points on 24 April.
Reached 250 Complete summits on 26 April.
A total of 9 VKFF references activated.