Another trip to NE Victoria – 2

Sunday 15 April 2018

During discussions whilst organising the trip away, I had discussed a small number of low point value SOTA summits with Warren VK3BYD. These summits are due to be deleted at the next VK3 Association update due to lacking prominence as a result of incorrect height data or mapping errors. Warren was interested in a single activation on Sunday morning, so we made arrangements to meet in Moyhu at a reasonable hour. From Moyhu, Warren loaded his gear into my vehicle and we headed east to Meadow Creek and around to Braines Lane. Along Braines Lane to Fire Track Number 1 firetrail and into the bush. We climbed up to the track junction with Fire Track Number 2 and then headed south. As we turned the corner, we saw a Firewood Collection Area sign, reassuring us that our research regarding access was correct. Whilst heading south towards the summit, we needed to stop and move a fallen tree off the track. Together we were able to lift the butt end and swing the tree around to the edge of the track, without any need to resort to other methods. Note to self: I must do something about buying a drag chain from the place that sends me promotional emails several times a day with essentially the same content – lots of gear relating to 4WDing and camping.

We were busy discussing a number of topics during the drive and actually overshot the intended parking spot. I continued on to the southern side of the hill top just to check access from there, and then turned around and headed back to the northern side of the hill top and parked on the edge of the track at a slightly wider point.

Carboor Range VK3/VE-231 509 m 2 point Not Yet Activated

This summit will be deleted at the next VK3 update. There is a higher summit of 553 m just above the junction of Fire Track Number 1 and Fire Track Number 2, which will become the replacement summit.


Looking north from VK3/VE231 to the replacement summit

The tracks described above would be drivable in a 2WD vehicle with reasonable clearance in the dry. There were a couple of places when I felt a little slipping during the drive down – it had been raining the previous day and some drizzle during the drive to the summit. The track was in good condition, possibly having received some treatment in preparation for the Domestic Firewood Collection season. One can also access the area via Fire Track Number 2 from the NNE.

I loaded up my pack and Warren decided to bring his gear as well – just in case…. The approach was relatively simple: climb up the ridge line through open timbered country along the rocky spur. The climb was about 350 m horizontally plus about 60 m vertical climb. With the rain the previous day and drizzle on and off during the morning, it was slippery underfoot and some care was required. We reached the summit and found a suitable spot just to the SE of the high spot. I started set up by tying a line around a rock and tossing it over a tree branch: success at first attempt – Warren was impressed! Warren assisted with string out the dipole and I assembled the rest of the station. Warren spotted me and I started calling on 40 m SSB. First in the log at 0021Z was Gerard VK2IO. I soon had four in the log and no more chasers responding to my CQ calls, so I changed the FT-817 to CW and swapped to allow Warren to take the operating position.


Warren operating on VK3/VE-231

While Warren was operating, I strung out the 80 m extensions for the antenna. Warren soon had the summit comfortably qualified on CW and we reconfigured for 80 m, as some of the VK3 regulars could not hear us on 40 m. I took the operating position and started calling CQ on CW. Allen VK3ARH was the first to respond. Allen later posted to the Discord discussion group:
“They are breaking the rules. BYD doing SSB and PF on CW. Hurting my head…..”

While I was working stations on CW, Warren grabbed his pack and headed down the hill. He then called me on CW, thus earning a Complete for the summit. I then worked Ian VK5CZ as the last contact on CW. I did hear a weak VK3H? calling, but the signal was weak and I could not quite get the end of the callsign. I believe it was probably Paul VK3HN – sorry I missed you Paul.

I changed the antenna link and called on 20 m SSB for about 20 minutes, working only Warren ZL2AJ. We decided to call it quits, as it felt as if the rain was about to return. We packed up and retraced our route back to the track and car. I headed down quicker than Warren and called him on 2 m FM once I was outside the activation zone, thus making the summit Complete.

Once we had the gear in the car, we again headed south along the track. The local who had given Warren some information about the track had indicated that the track did cross private land. We found a gate well down the track. I did not appear to be locked, but it was clear to us we had found the private land boundary, so turned around to head back out. Prior to reaching the gate, we had found the reason for the excursion south: an old rock cairn just off the track, which locals claim was constructed by Hume & Hovell on their return trip from Port Phillip.

On the return journey Hume showed his wonderful bush-craft by leaving his first route and recovering it near Carboor school at Hurdle Creek, to the south-east of Wangaratta, thus saving 150 miles.

We jumped out and check out the 2 cairns on the site. One looked older. Both had been there for quite some time by their appearance.


The cairns, one purported to have been erected by Hume and Hovell

The drizzle started again, so we retreated to the car and resumed the journey.

I retraced our route back out to Braines Lane and then made our way back to Moyhu. I said farewell to Warren and he headed off. I followed a couple of minutes later, heading back to Wodonga.

One new Activator Unique, together with a Chaser Unique and Complete. For those who chased us, you had best plan to activate the summit prior to the next VK3 update, whenever that will occur.

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