Friday 12 May 2017
The weather forecast was good, but the day would be cool. The electricity supplier was due to being undertaking works near home, so I was scheduled to be without power for most of the day. It left only one obvious decision: head for the hills.
From home I headed to Heyfield and then north to Coongulla. It was then a matter of navigating the network of tracks to get to the junction of Ben Cruachan Road and Avon Track and then on up Ben Cruachan Road to the end of the road.
Ben Cruachan VK3/VT-042 836 m 4 points
This summit had only been activated once previously by Wayne VK3WAM, using CW only. It would be in demand as a new Unique for many Chasers. Unfortunately, I had not worked Wayne, so this activation was simply a new Unique for me as an Activator.
Wayne noted that Ben Cruachan Road appears to traverse private property. Prior to leaving home I checked Forest Explorer for access details and road restrictions: it appears that the road can be traversed by the public.
After the junction with Avon Track, the road becomes narrower and rougher. 4WD was preferred, with higher clearance required in a couple of spots. There are a couple of tight switchbacks as you near the top, and then a good sized car park with a rustic picnic table built from local timber. Only about 30 metres or so beyond the end of the road is the summit trig and what appears to be the remains of an old rock cairn, with a viewing compass.
I set up at the picnic table, well inside the AZ. First in the log was Ian VK5IS, after I had tried calling Mitch VK3XDM/p on Mt McKay VK3/VE-007 – I could hear Mitch but it was not reciprocal. After working Ian, I placed the power amplifier in circuit and managed to be heard by Mitch for a S2S. With Mitch was Perrin VK3XPT/p. Several of the regular mid-week Chasers were worked, including John ZL1BYZ on 40 m. I then switched to 20 m, to again work John at a slightly stronger level, followed by John VK6NU and Fred VK44FE. With no further callers, I shut down and headed back toward Coongulla.
Once back at the junction of Geoghegans Rd and Hodges Rd, I headed east and around to Huggetts Road and on to the picnic area at Mount Hedrick car park.
Mount HedrickVK3/VT-069 459 m 1 point
Opposite the car park is the start of a reasonably well-defined walking track.
The walking track is later joined by another track which starts a little further south off Huggetts Road which appears to have plenty of motor bike traffic – perhaps it was a good idea to be attempting the walk late on a week day afternoon!
The sign was correct – some steep and rocky sections were encountered. The summit itself is obscured by thick scrub – I could not see a trig or other marker. I continued on to the north of the summit to a rocky area and set up there – less than 10 metres vertical below the true summit.
This is another rare summit, activated previously by Wayne before he went to Ben Cruachan, again CW only.
Ian VK5CZ was first in the log this time, followed by VK5IS and ZL1BYZ. I had 8 in the log on 40 m within 10 minutes. I switched to 20 m and was called by Pit YO7MPD followed by Rick VK4RF. Also worked on 20 m were Ralph KP4RV and Damiano IZ7UNJ. With no further responses to CQs on 20, I switched back to 40 m to work another 9 stations before closing about an hour after I arrived.A total of 22 contacts were made.
I headed back down and followed the motor bike tracks down to a point where the 2 tracks almost meet again, requiring only a few metres walk to get back onto the walking track.
Once back at the car, it was a simply matter to head south, following “my nose” to get back to the bitumen and to then head for home, arriving after power had been restored and then spending some time resetting various clocks!