Three summits near Tumbarumba

Friday 12 October 2018

I decided to head across towards Tumbarumba (Tumba to many) with the goal of activating a couple of 8-point summits. As I was driving out of Wodonga, I rang John VK2YW for a quick chat about a summit which I had not yet activated. John had been at the summit installing a repeater earlier in the week. John advised that he preparing for a WICEN activity based near Tumba and would be returning to the summit to turn off the repeater, but not until Tuesday or Wednesday. I had some commitments at home, so Wednesday would require changing some appointments. John advised that no keys were required, so I decided to change my plan and head to the summit on my way to Tumba. I drove to Holbrook and then took the Jingellic Road, then turned onto Jingellic Road. After a short delay due to roadworks, I continued on and into Walteela Road and then Ikes Mountain Road. There were a couple of gates to open and close and the track quality slowly deteriorated but was mainly just bumpy.

Mount Ikes VK2/SW-030 1061 m 6 points
Bogandyera Nature Reserve VKFF-2532 Not previously Activated

The last gate was at the boundary of the Bogandyera Nature Reserve VKFF-2532. However, the access road and the area around the summit are excluded from the Reserve. I had checked the Activation Zone of the summit with Google Earth some time ago. I believe that there are a couple areas which are inside the both the AZ and the Reserve: one to the northwest of the summit and another area on the southerly ridge from the summit. Google Earth (GE) heights are sometimes in doubt: GE shows the summit heights as approx. 1055 m. I checked by creating a polygon and set the height of the polygon as 1036 m – the AZ height (summit height according to SOAT less 25 m). I note that ParksnPeaks states that there are no SOTA summits in the Reserve – Activators should do their own research. I plotted a waypoint and added it to the GPS.

I parked in a sweeping corner just below the summit, after having driven to the summit and looking at the trig point. After loading the gear in the rucksack, I headed about 115 m out along the NW ridge until I was at the waypoint.


Trig name plate

Mount Ikes_S

Activation site – just inside the Reserve boundary & in AZ

I set up the station and spotted on 40 m SSB, with a comment CW calls were okay. I started calling and heard “CW” being sent. I sent “QRZ de VK3PF/2” (or similar) in CW and soon had Steve VK7CW in the log. Three other CW contacts followed – the summit was qualified for SOTA inside 10 minutes. I swapped back to calling on SSB. I heard John VK2YW/m calling, but John could not hear me. A couple of contacts – VK7 and VK5 – followed before I heard Geoff VK3SQ call. Again, I was not heard when I returned his call. Four more stations were worked, including John VK2YW/m. After further calls went unanswered, I swapped to 80 m SSB and managed to work Geoff VK3SQ. I called for several minutes without responses, so moved to 20 m CW and spotted myself. The move yielded John ZL1BYZ, but no other callers. Time was rolling on, so I closed down and walked back to the car. The net result was 12 contacts in the log. A new Activator Unique and Complete.

It was then a matter of retracing the access route to Jingellic Road and then head north to Tumba to grab some lunch.

I then headed south and stopped for a few minutes to catch up with John VK2YW and some of the other Wagga area amateurs at the event headquarters at the Harry Angel camp ground on the Hume and Hovell Track, just off the Tooma Road. I then headed further along the Tooma Road and turned into Elliot Way. The next turn was onto Black Jack Logging Road, then Nurenmerenmong Road and on to the summit.

Pilot Reef Mountain VK2/SW-021 1380 m 8 points plus seasonal bonus

I set up by tossing a line over a tree branch and hauling up the dipole. I spotted and started calling on 40 m CW, yielding only John VK4TJ.After 15 minutes of calling, I changed to 40 m SSB, working Tony VK7LTD and Robert VK2XXM. Next was John VK5BJE/p in Jallukar Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2115. Next I could hear Andre ZL1TM calling weakly, but he did not respond to my reply. I called him on CW and soon had the contact in the log. Regulars Nev VK5WG and Mitch VK7XDM were next. Ian VK5IS called on voice but was happy to swap to CW for a contact, with Ian VK5CZ next on CW. Discussion on Discord revealed that I was inaudible in Sydney, so I swapped to 80 m CW to work Gerard VK2IO. With no further callers on CW or SSB, I swapped back to 40 m to work Gerard VK2JNG/p in Limeburners Creek National Park VKFF-0597. There was more traffic on Discord, so I swapped back to 80 m SSB to try to work Compton VK2HRX. He was a clear signal to me, but my 10 W was insufficient to get through the S6 noise at his end. I gave up and closed down.

I retraced my route to Elliot Way and headed back towards Tumba and then turned north on to Powerline Road and climbed to the next target.

Granite Mountain VK2/SW-015 1445 m 8 points plus seasonal bonus

I set up the station again, with antenna set on 80 m – where it was when I packed up. I spotted and started calling on 80 m SSB. The first contact was on CW – Tony VK3CAT. Next was Warren VK3BYD and Gerard VK2IO/m, both on CW. Several minutes of CQ calls on both CW and SSB went unanswered, so I swapped to 40 m CW, working ZL1BYZ, ZL1TM and VK4TJ. With no more responses, I swapped to 40 m SSB. Paul VK3HN/p and Liz VK2XSE/p were both on air, but I was in the skip zone. I found a clear frequency and spotted, working Nev VK5WG and Mitch VK7XDM. I had no further responses and Discord had a couple of requests for contacts. No joy on 40 m, so I went back to 80 m and heard Compton VK2HRX calling me, but again he could not decipher my reply. I tried cross mode CW/SSB, but no joy. I worked Andrew VK2UH on CW. In discussion that followed, I offered to return to the car and pull out the IC-7000. I quickly had it connected up and called Compton with 75 watts. I eventually had my report received & confirmed and received my report from Compton. Success. It was getting late, so I closed down & packed up.

I retraced my route to Elliot Way and returned to Tumba, then headed back to the Hume Highway and returned to Wodonga.

Thanks to all who chased today.

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