Mount Benambra revisited

Family commitments saw me driving to Wodonga on Tuesday 9 October. I was free during the day for most of the following days, so managed to get out for some radio therapy in the bush.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

The approach for today was simply: head towards Mitta Mitta and then Dartmouth. Continue past the township towards the dam wall and then turn left onto Mount Benambra Road. It has a prominent sign for tourists, noting 16 km to the lookout. The track was a little rough in places, but a Commodore did arrive at the summit later – the driver complaining about the state of the track…..

Mount Benambra VK3/VE-041
Alpine National Park VKFF-0619

The summit was in the clouds and the wind was blowing hard, so I set up part way down the track towards the Tower Man’s Hut. I quickly set up, as I was aware that Mitch VK7XDM/p was setting up on a summit. I strung out the antenna configured for 80 m and soon had Mitch in the log – a S2S to VK7/CH-022. Next was Andrew VK1DA/p on VK1/AC-040 for another S2S. I moved to a clear frequency, spotted myself and started calling CQ. After 10 minutes, I gave up. Due to the strong wind, I pulled down the antenna and moved further down the track into a more sheltered site still inside the AZ.

I erected the antenna again and set it for 40 m. I spotted myself on CW and over the next 10 minutes or so worked 5 stations. Summit qualified! I swapped to SSB and called on 7090, working only one VK5 station. After more calling, I gave up and tried 20 m CW, working VK6 and ZL1. Further calls went unanswered on both CW and up the band on SSB. I packed up and headed back to the car, with a total of 11, so the activation counts for VKFF.

I headed down to the junction of Benambra Track and Mount Benambra Road. This time I headed to the north, descending down the ridge to Benambra Spur Road, which was narrower and rougher. The road became a little rougher after the junction with Tallangatta Creek Track. I travelled around to the Dart Track junction and swung left and around to the saddle below the summit and south of Mount Cravensville.

Mount Cravensville Range VK3/VE-058

I found a spot wide enough to park off the road, loaded up the rucksack and started the climb to the south through the regrowth until I was close to the summit. I set up a little below the summit so as to avoid the worst of the wind.

I set up and spotted for 40 m CW. I soon had three in the log. With no further responses to CQs, I moved to 40 m SSB. Several minutes of calling CQ, I was answered by Dennis operating VK100MARCONI. The contact took several minutes to complete due to noise at Dennis’ end. Next was Mark VK4SMA/p in VKFF-0719. I was then called on 7090 CW and worked Steve VK7CW. Several more minutes of calling went unanswered, so I tried 20 m CW, bagging John ZL1BYZ. Further calls on 20 m went without any responses, so I packed up and worked my way down the hill back to the car.

I continued along Benambra Spur Road to Gibb Range Road, then headed to the left. I decided to head to Mount Lawson, so exited via Cravensville Road out to near Koetong. I then worked may around to the car park for Mount Lawson.

Mount Lawson VK3/VE-129
Mount Lawson State Park VKFF-0768

I grabbed the pack and started up the climb to the summit. I set up below the actual summit but well inside the AZ.

I spotted myself and soon had two stations in the log on 80 m SSB after no responses on CW. I then swapped to 40 m CW and worked John VK4TJ. A couple of minutes of CQs went unanswered and I saw a message from Mitch that he was setting up on his second summit. I swapped back to 80 and started calling CQ. I soon had Mitch VK7/CH-025 in the log. Next was Tony VK3CAT on CW on the same frequency, followed by Marc VK3OHM. Next was Andrew VK1DA/2 on VK3/ST-053 on 80 m CW, followed by Ron VK3AFW. I swapped back to 40 m and worked Steve VK7CW on CW followed by Adam VK2YK on SSB. I had no further calls, so I closed down and packed up with 11 in the log. I walked back to the car and then headed back towards Koetong and back to Wodonga.

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