A family commitment meant that I needed to be in Wodonga by Monday evening. The weather forecast was not looking good, with heavy rain a real likelihood across Victoria. I changed my plans and decided to travel up on Monday, after the cold fronts and thunderstorms had cleared. Perhaps it was just as well – many will have seen the News reports of traffic stuck on the flooded Hume Highway near Wangaratta!
Monday 17 December 2018
I headed off on Monday morning. Given the damage around Wangaratta, I decided to take a slower scenic route and to activate some SOTA summits en route. I headed to Bairnsdale for a brief stop to add fuel, then headed north towards Bullumwaal and on along Mount Baldhead Road. The route is mostly unsealed from north of Mount Taylor, but is in good condition. One needed to keep an eye open for the logging trucks.
I stopped at the junction with Morris Peak Road and parked off the road to load up the SOTA pack.
VK3/VG-080 897 m 4 points
The road junction is between 860 and 870 m, so is outside the activation zone. I loaded up the SOTA pack and climbed about half way up to the summit to ensure the activation was valid. The scrub is moderately thick, especially close to the road.
I set up and started on 40 m CW after spotting myself. I soon had six stations in the log. I moved up to the band for SSB and worked another five stations. I tried 20 m SSB for two more callers prior moving back down to 40 m SSB and finding Robert VK3DN/p in Churchill National Park. After that, I packed up and returned to the car.
I headed further north along Mount Baldhead Road until I reached Baldhead Track, which is becoming very crowded with encroaching regrowth from the sides. I continued north for about 1.3 km to a track which traverses on regenerating logging area. This track was in excellent condition, looking as if had recently been resurfaced. I was soon on the next summit.
Mount Baldhead VK3/VG-027 1374 m 8 points
After setting up with a line over a tree branch a short distance northeast of the summit, I again started on 40 m CW, and soon had five in the log. Moving up the band to SSB saw another five contacts made. Time was moving on, so I decided against any other bands with the goal of fitting in a third summit.
I packed up and returned to the car, then continued along Baldhead Track to Boomerang Spur Track on back to the main road to head north, then westward along Grassy Ridge Track and then up Mount Delusion Track. I parked just off the edge of the track and set up again away from the car.
Mount Delusion VK3/VG-026 1375 m 8 points
I again started on 40 m CW and three in the log in about 10 minutes. With no further responses to calls, I moved up to SSB for another two contacts. I moved down to 80 m SSB to work Geoff VK3SQ but had no other callers. I went up to 20 m to work three on CW and then three on SSB. I packed up and headed back to the car. I exited back along Mount Delusion Track and then down Mount Delusion Road to Brookville Road and eventually back to the bitumen. It was then a simple matter of travelling back to the Great Alpine Road and heading across Mount Hotham and on to Wodonga in time for a family dinner.