Monday 12 October 2020
I planned a slightly easier day, with only three summits as targets. I left Wodonga a little after 8 am local. I headed to Myrtleford and bought some lunch at a bakery, then on to Porepunkah and up to the Mount Buffalo Plateau. I drove on towards the first target for the day, hoping that the road had been opened. The road beyond Cresta is normally closed for the winter and the opening date is highly variable. I was in luck – the gate was locked open. I proceeded to the car park below The Horn. I loaded up and started the climb. The entire area was burnt in the fire that started on my last visit on 31 December 2019.
The Horn VK3/VE-014 1723 m 10 points plus seasonal bonus
Mount Buffalo National Park VKFF-0339
I walked up to the summit and set up in the corner of the fenced area. I had taken up a 7 m squid pole. I lowered one end of the doublet over the cliff, ran out the feed line and the other half of the doublet on the platform area. I extended the squid pole and then tied off the other half of the doublet back along the hand railing, out of the way.
First in the log was Rik VK3EQ on 80 m SSB. I called for several minutes without any responses and moved to 40 m CW, where I worked four stations. 40 m SSB yielded only a single station – VK2IO/p in VKFF-0522, whom I had also worked on CW. 20 m CW yielded three ZL stations. I decided to close down.
I packed up and walked back down to the car. I then drove around to the car park below The Cathedral and The Hump to park. I walked up the track to The Hump to set up.
The Hump VK3/VE-019 1695 m 10 points plus seasonal bonus
Mount Buffalo National Park VKFF-0339
I quickly set up the antenna with the squid pole and spotted on 40 m CW. I soon had three stations in the log. Next was Gerard VK2IO/p, now on VK2/HU-065 for a S2S. Next was David VK2CDS/p on VK2/HU-047 in VKFF-3107 on 40 m SSB, followed by Nev VK5WG. I moved to 80 m SSB to again work VK2IO/p, before moving higher in frequency to work five stations. I then moved to 20 m CW and worked four ZL stations.
Late in the activation, the CW keyer started misbehaving. Initially I could not understand what might be happening, as I had no prior experience of the problem. I decided that it might be low battery volts, so swapped batteries – problem solved.
I closed down and packed up, and then descended back to the car and headed back down to Porepunkah, then north to Ovens and then east along the Rosewhite Road (C534). I took Rosewhite Track (marked on some maps as Happy Valley Track) up to Mount Jack Track. On the way up, I travelled very slowly past a fallen tree partially blocking the track. Unfortunately, my HF Hampark multiband antenna snapped off at the top of the mounting ferrule, rather than bending and sliding under the branch. I continued on to the area of the summit to park.
Mount Jack Range VK3/VE-090 1205 m 8 points plus seasonal bonus
I parked and set up the station nearby with a line over a tree branch. I was soon ready and spotted.
First in the log was Rik VK3EQ on 80 m SSB, followed by Col VK3GTV. Several minutes of calling yielded no further responses. I moved to 80 m CW and worked only Paul VK5HN. I then moved to 40 m CW, where I worked seven stations. I closed down at 0600 UTC, as I still needed to return to Wodonga.
I packed up and retraced my access route to the track junction, then continued along Mount Jack Track, as it should have provided an exit to C534 closer to a main route option back to Wodonga. All was good, until about 300 m from the sealed road. I encountered a very large tree and its crown down across the track. I had to back up, turn around and returned to Rosewhite Track and descend via my access route. Once back on the sealed road, I headed east to the Kiewa Valley Road C531. I then headed north and on to Wodonga.
Another productive day, with 37 Activator points gained.