Monday 24 December 2018
The day started with a short drive to the local athletics field to work Mitch VK7XDM/p on another VK7 summit. I then returned to base to get a few things organised prior to heading south to Mount Beauty, where I stopped at the Bakery to buy a salad roll for lunch. I then headed up Simmonds Creek Road to Yong Gap, the base of the climb to the first target for the day.
Hollonds Hill VK3/VE-172 “825” m 4 points
I had looked at this summit earlier in the year and found Road Closed signs together with signs regarding a planned burn. I was hoping that was all done, but found that the Road Closed signs were still in place. I parked the car and loaded up the pack to start the climb.
The OzTopo maps show a spot height of 845 m.
From the saddle, the approach is 830 m horizontally with a vertical climb of almost 210 m. The track goes to beyond the summit and is steep and slippery in places, even when dry. The day was quickly warming up, with only patches of shade during the climb.
I made it to the summit and was set up just after 0200Z. I switched on the KX2, which was still sitting on 7.144 MHz from yesterday’s activation on Mt Pinnibar. There was traffic on the frequency and I called a few times to the CQ calls. I soon had Nik VK3NLK in Lake Eildon National Park VKFF-0625 in the log. I swapped VFOs to go to the CW end of 40 m and heard a CQ call. I soon had a S2S in the log with Ben VK3WRL/p on The Knocker VK3/VG-016 – an unexpected bonus. I spotted Ben and moved up to 7.034 MHz and spotted myself. It took a couple minutes before I had a caller, but then soon had four more in the log. With no more responses, I moved to 7.090 MHz SSB and asked if the frequency was in use. I had an immediate response: Mitch VK7XDM/p on VK7/NE-005 for S2S. Mitch offered to move down the band and left the frequency to me. I heard and responded to Compton VK2HRX. It became clear that Compton had a report from me and sent 32 in reply, but he did not have the callsign correct and I received no confirmation – an incomplete contact. Next was Cliff VK2NP and then no more callers. I strung out the 80 m extensions and moved down to 3.615 to work Rik VK3EQ and then started calling. I had no response and was about to shut down when I heard some weak CW. I soon had Tony VK3CAT in the log, with 319 reports both ways. I returned to SSB and heard Lee VK2LEE call, but he did not respond to my reply. It was now after 0300Z, so I closed down & packed up.
A new Activator Unique summit and a SOTA Complete for me.
The steeper sections of the track required care on the descent. I eventually got back down to the car at around 0345Z. With a family dinner engagement in Wodonga at 1700, I decided to abandon plans for a second summit for the day and deleted my spot indicating QRT and moving to another summit. I also sent my intentions to our WhatsApp group.
I retraced my route back to Mount Beauty and then headed back to Wodonga.