Two summits near Dartmouth

Saturday 13 October 2018

I decided to attempt to reach a summit that I had chased twice, but not yet activated. I headed off from Wodonga towards Mitta Mitta and then Dartmouth. I turned off just after the Bullhead Plantation, onto Callaghan Creek Road. You drive through open grazing properties. At the junction with Bullhead Gap Road, I turned right into Callaghan Creek Track and climbed up to the junction with O’Connell Gap Track and parked just off the junction. Many maps show a track climbing to the target summit – I could find little evidence of its existence.

VK3/VE-149 (un-named) 936 m 6 points

I looked around where the track to the summit may have started, but could see only regrowth following a fire. I started picking my way up the spur through the scrub. I eventually reached the trig at the summit and set up the station with the trig frame holding the squid pole. Given the lack of space, I did not run out the 80 m extensions.


The station on VK3/VE-149

The OzTopo mapping shows the peak as “Connels Peak”.

First in the log was Mitch VK7XDM/p on Hartz Peak VK7/SW-008. Next were Tony VK7LTD/p and Angela VK7FAMP/p, both on Rats Castle VK7/CH-022. I dropped down tot eh CW end of the band, spotted and started calling. I soon had four calls in the log. With no further responses, I went back up to the SSB segment and spotted myself. I heard Compton VK2HRX call, but he could not hear my replies through his local noise. I worked two more stations before I had no more responses and shut down.

During the activation, Rik VK3EQ and Glenn VK3YY had spotted for Talbot Peak. They did not have an antenna for 80 m and could not be heard on 40 m, so we missed the S2S opportunity.

After packing up, I headed back down the spur through the scrub.

A new Activator Unique and Complete.

I decided to head down to Dartmouth to grab some lunch at the Hotel. While enjoying the meal, I considered my options. I was aware of a summit to the south which had not yet been activated. An attempt to reach the summit in early June failed due to the soft, slippery track surface. Conditions in the area were very dry, so I decided to see if I could reach the summit.

VK3/VE-162 (un-named) 882 m 4 points Not previously activated

The approach was relatively straight forward given the dry conditions. Take Horsfall Road in Dartmouth, following the signs for the Boat Ramp. Having climbed up out of the valley, I turned right into Humpy Creek Track, located in the saddle at the top of the climb. The track has an earth surface, several large spoon drains and some steep sections. The track swings to the west and descends into a saddle before swinging to the north and climbing to the summit. I set up beside the track, throwing a line over a tree branch.

I spotted myself as on VK3/VE-163, as that was the label on the waypoint on the GPS in the car. It was in error! I discovered the error after I had made six contacts when I changed from CW to SSB… I posted a new spot with a note on the correct reference. I shall email each of those who had the incorrect reference.

First in the log was Mitch VK7XDM/p on Blue Hill VK7/SC-020 on 40 m SSB. Next was Peter VK3TKK/p in VKFF-2301. I then spotted myself for 40 m CW and started calling. I worked five stations in about 10 minutes. With no more callers, I moved up the band to 40 m SSB and spotted the correct reference. I worked five stations before I ran out of callers. I changed the antenna configuration to 80 m, spotted for the CW end of the band and worked Tony VK3CAT. After several minutes of calling without success, I moved up the band and spotted for SSB. I worked two more stations before I had no more responses to calls.


Looking east of south from the summit, with Granite Peak just visible

I packed up and continued along the track in a northerly direction, eventually working my way back to Horsfall Road, back to Dartmouth and then back towards Wodonga. I was close to Lockhart Gap when a message arrived from Rik saying that he was setting up on another summit. I decided to make a detour to a nearby summit.

VK3/VE-241 (un-named) 926 m 6 points

From Lockhart Gap, I started climbing up Eskdale Spur Road  and then turned into McGrath Track to reach the summit. I parked close to the junction with Williams Track and climbed the final few metres to the summit. I set up and listened for Rik. Nothing was heard. I sent a message to Rik, but indicated that he had a high SWR on 80 m, so a contact was not possible.

I spotted myself on 40 m CW and soon had three in the log, including John VK5PF/p in Coorong National Park VKFF-0115. I spotted on 40 m SSB and called for many minutes with no responses. I reconfigured the antenna for 80 m and spotted in the SSB segment with a note that CW calls were OK. I soon worked Gerard VK2IO who gave me a very weak report. I heard Rob VK4AAC/3 call, but we were unable to complete a contact. Two more CW contacts followed. I then went back to 40 m SSB and worked Mitch VK7XDM/p, now on Mt Wellington VK7/SC-001.

I then shut down, packed up and headed back down to Lockhart Gap and then back to Wodonga.

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1 Response to Two summits near Dartmouth

  1. vk5bje says:

    Hi Peter
    It was a great contact. It helped me with the numbers to complete the Coorong National Park at more than 44 and a fitting end to our trip to VK3. However, the Coorong is such a great place I will probably go back for a further activation!
    John D

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