Two summits near Bright

Thursday 27 December 2018

The weather forecast for the coming days was looking nasty: temperatures rising into the 40s. Glenn VK3YY and Kevin VK3KAB had posted an Alert for Mt McLeod VK3/VE-034 for 0900 local time. I decided to head towards Bright to bag a couple of six point summits.

Whilst heading south from Wodonga, I heard Glenn calling CQ SOTA. I worked him whilst mobile. About 15 minutes later, I worked Kevin. I continued to Bright and then up Mt Porepunkah Road.

Mount Porepunkah VK3/VE-098 1185 m 6 points

I was on the summit just before 2300Z and found a spot to set up away from the fire watch tower with some shade. I set up and started calling on 40 m CW. I had four contacts in the log within 10 minutes. With no further responses to calls, I moved up the band to call on SSB. The next 15 minutes saw another five in the log. I then moved to 80 m SSB, working two more stations. I then moved up to 20 m SSB and worked eight stations in ten minutes. This included a S2S with Dan ZL4DVG on ZL3/WC-599. I returned to 80 m SSB to work John VK2YW in Wagga Wagga.

With no further callers, I closed the station and packed up. I returned back towards Bright and then headed up Tawonga Gap Track towards the next summit. The road to Mount Porepunkah can be negotiated in a 2WD vehicle with reasonable care. Tawonga Gap Track is much steeper and rougher.

VK3/VE-097 (unnamed) 1185 m 6 points

The summit is unremarkable, with a small cleared area and a small concrete Survey Marker on the edge of the clearing. I set up and started calling on 40 m CW to be quickly called by Allen VK3ARH/m. I posted a spot and soon had more callers – a total of six callers on CW on 40 m. I moved to 40 m SSB and worked four more callers. I saw a spot for Ben VK3WRL/p on SSB, but could hear nothing. I waited a few minutes and a new spot arrived and I soon had Ben in the log on 40 m CW. I returned to SSB but had no callers, so moved up to 20 m SSB and worked Ben VK2GPL/4 for a S2S and then spotted. I worked another three contacts before things went quiet. Next in the log was Brian VK3BCM/p on VK3/VC-016 on 40 m SSB. Shortly after 0200Z, I worked Glenn VK3YY/p, now on The Horn VK3/VE-014. Before I packed up, I called on 80 m SSB and worked Geoff VK3SQ.

The temperature was rapidly rising, especially when I started descending off the summit. I grabbed a late lunch in Bright before returning to Wodonga.

I missed a couple of activations, both SOTA and Parks – I could not hear the stations from the car, with the stations being a bit close to me with the propagation and QRP gear. It was too hot outside (41 C) to bother to stop and set up a full size antenna.

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