The day of VK3/VE-1n1 summits
Wednesday 18 April 2018
This was to be a day of SOTA activations. The aim was to activate three new personal Uniques. I headed off from Wodonga at around 0845 local and headed east and then south, heading to Mitta Mitta along the Omeo Highway. About 3.7 km past Mitta Mitta, look for a track on the right – the track is a little short of where the electronic maps showed it should be located. This is the Disappointment Track. Climb up this track for 3.8 km to reach the summit. The track was in reasonable condition, but with a few steep and rocky sections. I did not see any obvious signs or cairns at the summit itself.
Mount Welcome VK3/VE-161 883 m 4 points Not Yet Activated
I simply parked off the edge of the track and tossed a line over a branch to lift the inverted V. I was set up and spotted myself at around 0030Z. Mick VK3GGG was the first caller. I had the summit qualified within a couple of minutes. I swapped to 80 m at around 0040 and worked John VK2YW. Without further responses after several minutes, I tried 20 m and worked John ZL1BYZ. I then tried 15 m and heard Steve VK3MEG calling, but he could not here me. Back to 40 m to bag Steve and several others, before a final switch to 80 m to work Brian VK3BBB, who could not hear me on 40 m.
I switched off at around 0130Z, packed up and continued along Disappointment Track to the cross roads with Trappers Gap Track. I continued straight ahead, on Scrubby Spur Track and on the Dorchap Range Track. Approaching the next summit, I could see the old track which is in the “rehab” process. The new track traverses around the southern side of the summit and does a switchback at the crest of the spur. The high point of the track is just beyond the old Elmo Track route to the actual summit and is within 10 m vertical of the true summit. I decided to simply set up beside the track at the high point. The track condition was generally good, with a few steeper sections.
VK3/VE-101 unnamed 1177 m 6 points
With no branches at a suitable height, I set up with a squid pole just off the edge of the track. I started on 40 m SSB, with 15 contacts in 15 minutes. I then switched to 20 m and worked John ZL1BYZ. I then switched back to 40 m with only one contact before I saw a Spot on ParksnPeaks for Gerard VK2JNG/p in a Park. I swapped to 80 m to work Gerard before returning to 40 m. I worked two more stations and then shut down.
I packed up and headed north along Dorchap Range Track. I parked the car near the saddle to the SSE of the next summit – the road has been rerouted around the south side of the summit.
Mount Dorchap VK3/VE-131 1032 m 6 points
This summit has a SOTA height of 1032 m, but the Geoscience Australia data has the height as 1056 m. I climbed up the spur towards the summit, a distance of about 375 m. I set up not quite on top, but only a few metres below the summit. The scrub was moderate. I again started on 40 m SSB and had five contacts in the log within about seven minutes. I dropped down to 80 m to work John VK2YW who could not hear me on 40 m. I tried 20 m for several minutes without responses. Back on 40 m, I worked another three stations before closing.
I continued generally north along Dorchap Range Track and then onto Springtime Track and popped out on the Omeo Highway via Stockyard Creek Road. I then headed into Eskdale to grab some late lunch.
Whilst eating lunch, I studied some maps. I had thought that I might attempt to activate a new 2 point summit, but decided that the time required would be too much. So I headed back towards Wodonga.
VK3/VE-159 (unnamed) 892 m 4 points
At Lockharts Gap, I turned right into Powerline Road and then north onto Lockharts Gap Road and out to the summit. The track was in excellent condition. This summit code messed up the accidental theme for the day – VK3/VE-1n1 summits! I again tossed a line over a tree branch and raised the inverted V, this time with the apex at around 10 m. Starting on 40 m SSB, I had 13 contacts in the log within 17 minutes, including Bill VK4FW/p in The Palms National Park VKFF-0485. I had just missed VK3NCC/2 in a Park at the start. I heard him later working Bill VK4FW/p, but Bill was too quick on the microphone button for me to try to grab Colin’s attention. I went to 20 m for one contact, then back to 40 m for another 11 contacts. I dropped down to 80 m to work 2 stations. It was now 1630 local, so I shut down and packed up. Checking the map, I decided to exit to the north, reaching the Murray Valley Highway just west of Tallangatta. It was then a simple return trip to Wodonga.