I had a few days coming up without local commitments, so organised a trip to NE Victoria.
Friday 13 April 2017
On Friday morning I packed the car and head off at around 1000. The trip was straightforward, east to Rosedale, then north and east to Tinamba, Newry, Briagalong and then on to Dargo. Sounds like a bit of a zig-zag route, but it avoided several areas with ongoing roadworks, so did not cost much time. I then headed up the Dargo High Plains Road, dodging a couple of 4WD vehicles and a couple of logging trucks who wanted the whole road….
VK3/VT-018 1393 m 8 points
The Dargo High Plains Road runs through the activation zone of this summit and the scrub is of moderate density through to the flat summit, so I took the easy option and set up next to the road, making sure that I was on the windward side – thus I did not get covered in dust when a vehicle went past. I used my standard SOTA set up with the dipole up in the tree with a line thrown over a branch.
I had no mobile coverage, so had to call repeatedly on 7.090 MHz before I worked John VK4TJ. John spotted me and a couple of minutes later I had more callers.
After I worked all callers on 40 m, and had a break to eat lunch. Just as I was ready to close, Brian VK3BCM came up on Mt Matlock VK3/VC-001. Once Brian was in the log, I packed up and headed north to Blue Rag Track and in to Mt Blue Rag. I set up again and was able spot myself thanks to coverage from the sites on Mt Hotham.
Mount Blue Rag VK3/VE-021 1679 m 10 points
The activation was straightforward. I continued calling until I saw a spot on 40 m for Brian VK3BCM, now on Mt Selma VK3/VT-013. Once Brian was in the log, I packed up and head back out to the Dargo High Plains Road.
I had considered additional summits, but decided against any as I had an engagement in Wodonga before 1800….
I then travelled north to the Great Alpine Road and then north to Bright and on to Wodonga, arriving in time for my engagement.
Saturday 14 April 2018
The weather forecast was not good for Saturday, with cold fronts expected to bring cold, wet and windy conditions. The forecast for the NE predicted the fronts arriving early afternoon, so I decided to chance the weather. The plan was to attempt to bag a couple of VK2 Riverina summits for Completes.
Munderoo VK2/RI-005 890 m 4 points
Woomargama State Conservation Area VKFF-1398 Not Yet Activated
The approach was straight forward: Up the hUme Highway and take the Woomargama exit. Into to Woomargama and then right into Tunnel Road. South to the top of the manin ridge and ridge into Hanels Road. Along to a couple of tracks on the right, and into Wagra Trig Firetrail. Down into a gully and climb out to the next ridge top and Wagra Firetrail. South along the trail and on to the summit. I parked the car and set up the SOTA station on the opposite side of the track.
I gave a couple of short calls after UTC rollover with no replies, so I shut down and packed up. I then continued south to the next target. I had 7 in the log, so the summit was qualified and the next target was also in the same VKFF reference, so I could build numbers for Park qualification.
Wagra Mountain VK2/RI-003 913 m 6 points
Woomargama State Conservation Area VKFF-1398
There is a nice clearing just below the summit high point and I set up on the edge of the clearing.
S2S with Warren ZL2AJ on ZL1/HB-113 on 20 m SSB.
I retraced my route back over Munderoo on the way out and I choose to take Wagra Link Firetrail. This route was easier and shorter, bringing me back to Hanels Road at the same junction that I left it.
I drove back to Tunnel Road and spotted a sign for a vineyard 1 km down the road, so I took the detour to have a look. Unfortunately, it was closed, but afforded a good view of the morning’s summits.
I climbed back up Tunnel Road and had a quick look at the Tunnel Road Picnic Area. Here I made the decision to attempt to get to another summit along Tin Mine Track, which traverses a mixture of public and private land before crossing the Woomargama National Park. Care is needed at track junctions or you will miss the critical left hand turn….. I eventual found my way back to Tin Mine Track and then up to the next target. Note to self: Paper maps needed to check against map memory.
Mount Jergyle VK3/RI-004 892 m 4 points
Woomargama National Park VKFF-0547
Tin Mine Track is reasonable for 2WD vehicles until you reach the National Park boundary. It then becomes rougher and 4WD required, with lots of spoon drains, wash outs and rocky shelves. The track passes through the Activation Zone, so I simply parked about 100 m west of the summit and set up beside the road. I quickly set up beside the track and worked 15 stations on 40 m SSB. The sky to the SW was looking ominously grey and Tony VK3CAT checked the RADAR images and advised that I quickly don the wet weather gear! When I ran out of callers, I packed up, finishing the task as the first rain drops arrived. I attempted to head out to the east, but about 8 km further on I caught up with another 4WD that had driven past me whilst activating and we were confronted with a 40 cm tree across the track with no way around. Neither vehicle had a chainsaw on-board, so it was a U turn and retrace my route back to Tunnel Road and then back to Wodonga.
It was a good day out: 3 SOTA Activator Uniques and Completes, plus one new VKFF reference qualified at WWFF level and one at VKFF level.