New SOTA summits for VK3 – 3

Tuesday 5 November 2019

The first Tuesday in November is noted for a major horse racing event in Melbourne – the Melbourne Cup. Many businesses in Victoria take either a half or full day holiday and the media is full of horse racing rubbish (IMHO) for weeks leading up to the event.

After a wet and cold night, the morning was cool but the skies clear. I decided to head out for another new summit near Bright.

I drove to Bright and then to Wandiligong. I took Growlers Creek Road and then onto Hillsborough Track to drive up onto the main spur.

The track had a few puddles plus a creek crossing. There were the usual spoon drains, plus some fallen branches and rocks to dodge.

At the top of the climb you reach a cross track intersection: Wet Corner Track running along the spur, with VK3/VE-081 to the south, Reliance Track dropping down the opposite side of the spur to reach Freeburgh and Hillsborough Track which you have just traversed. I turned left to head towards the new summit. I drove 1.6 km along the track to a spot north of the summit with plenty of room to park – in fact the remnant of the old track alignment which may have traversed the summit. I parked on the old track and loaded up with the gear.

VK3/VE-256 (unnamed) 930 m 6 points First activation

The summit is about 200 – 225 m south of the parking spot, with about 20 m climb. Therefore the parking spot is inside the AZ. The remnant of an old vehicle track deteriorates to a walking pad to the summit. At the summit I found a rock cairn and a small grassy clearing a short distance to the southeast, where I set up the station.


Small cairn at VK3/VE-256

I started on 40 m SSB, trying to make contact with my close friends Rik and Mitch. Mitch VK7XDM was first in the log and Rik VK3EQ could not hear me. I moved to 80 m SSB and Rik was soon in the log. With no further callers, I moved to 40 m CW and spotted myself. David VK2NU was first on CW, followed by Steve VK7CW, Gerard VK2IO and John VK4TJ. I moved to 80 m CW and worked Geoff VK3SQ. After further calls with no replies, I spotted and moved to SSB on 80 m. I again worked Geoff, followed by Nick VK3ANL/7 first on CW and then SSB. Nick was in Mount Roland Regional Reserve VKFF-2938. Nick moved up the band and spotted himself. I called for a few minutes with no replies.

I next moved back to 40 m SSB and spotted. I worked Nev VK5WG and Col VK3GTV. After many more CQ calls, I moved to 20 m CW and spotted. Here I worked John ZL1BYZ, Gary ZL2IFB, Ian VK5CZ and Wynne ZL2ATH. Further calls yielded no responses, so I shut down, packed and returned to the car.

I exited by continuing along Wet Corner Track to reach Back Wandiligong Road and then headed into Bright to purchase some lunch.

I then headed towards Myrtleford, but turned off onto Westons Lane and worked my way around to McCormack Track. At a high point on the track at the edge of pine plantation, there was a slightly confusing sign, indicating no access through private property. I thought about it for a moment and it made sense: the track has a couple of branches which end at the boundaries of private property. This is a track that you need to traverse twice – travel in and then retrace your route to exit.

VK3/VE-267 (unnamed) 680 m 2 points First activation

The track has some rough and steep sections – 4WD recommended. The track passes over the summit. I parked the car and set up the station a small distance away. To the southwest was the Mount Buffalo Plateau, a spectacular view through the trees.


The view to the Buffalo Plateau

I again worked Mitch VK7XDM and Rik VK3EQ, both on 40 m SSB on this occasion. I moved to 40 m CW and spotted. I worked John VK4TJ, Gerard VK2IO, John VK5FLEA and Warren VK3BYD.

With no further callers, I moved to 40 m SSB to work Michael VK3FCMC, Tony VK3CAT, Phil VK3BHR and Nev VK5WG. With no further callers, I decided against moving to 20 m.

It was after 1500 by time I was packed up. I retraced my access route to finally reach Havilah Road and headed out to Rosewhite and then west to Ovens and on to Myrtleford. I then headed north to the Snow Road and worked my way around towards Moyhu.

VK3/VE-273 Carboor Range 550 m 2 points First activation

This summit replaces VK3/VE-231 and can be accessed by the same route off Braines Lane and on to Fire Track No 1. The new summit is about 2 km north of the old summit.

After reaching the T intersection with Fire Track No 2 at the top of the climb, I chose to turn right – the left hand route started dropping. I found a spot to park on the edge of the track just after it started dropping. This left a climb of around 210 m horizontal with vertical gain of about 30 m to reach the summit trig.


Trig at VK3/VE-273

I quickly set up and soon worked Mitch VK7XDM on 40 m SSB and Rik VK3EQ on 80 m SSB. I spotted for 80 m SSB and soon worked Peter VK3FPSR, Warren VK3BYD and Geoff VK3SQ. Then there was “CW” heard. I quickly announced to standby while I found and connected the key. A few minutes later I called CQ and had Steve VK7CW in the log. I then spotted for SSB on 40 m. After several calls, I worked Andrew VK7AW. Further calls went unanswered, so I shut down, packed up and returned to the car and headed back to Wodonga.

Once again, thanks to all the callers today.


Wednesday 6 November 2019

The weather forecast was for a series of cold front of increasing intensity to be passing across Victoria over the later part of the week, with the possibility of snow down to 1200 m on Friday. I decided to head out despite the possibility of rain.

VK3/VE-260 (unnamed) 880 m 4 points First activation

I drove to Shelley and made my way around to Red Track and drove to the summit. I then set up the station a short distance from the car.

First in the log was again Mitch VK7XDM on 40 m SSB, followed by Rik VK3EQ on 80 m SSB – Rik was just audible on 40 m, but did not respond to my replies. I called several more times on 80 m SSB but had no responses.

I was about to spot myself on 40 m CW when I saw a spot for Nick VK3ANL/7 on a summit. I tuned up to 7.090 MHz and soon had Nick in the log with a S2S to Mount Campbell VK7/CH-039 in the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park VKFF-0117. We chatted for a short time before I moved down to 40 m CW.

I called a few times before my first response and soon had three stations in the log: VK2IO, VK4TJ and VK2NU. I called several more times before moving up for 40 m SSB. After several calls I received an SMS asking if I was going to 80 m CW. After a couple more calls with no responses, I replied and moved to 80 m. I soon had VK3BYD, VK3KS and VK2UH in the log.

With no further responses to calls, I returned to 40 m SSB to work VK5WG, VK5FANA and VK2IO. I called several more times without any responses.

I moved to 20 m CW and worked ZL1TM and ZL2ATH. Again, more calls yielded no responses.

I packed up and headed down the hill in increasingly heavy rain. It did not last long, but there were intermittent showers for most of the rest of the day.

Nearby is Pheasant Creek Flora Reserve. I parked in the Reserve to eat lunch. I had no phone coverage and the rain was again heavier. I decided against an activation and started the drive back to Wodonga.

It was a relatively quiet day with only a single activation.

Thanks to all the chasers.

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