A late push for Bonus summits despite COVID – Day 5

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Late the previous evening, Mum received some sad news about one of her sisters. An incident at home resulted in her admission to her local hospital. I decided to not change my plans, as hospital visitors were severely restricted under the COVID rules: one visitor per day only. I decided to proceed with my plan and posted Alerts on Monday evening.

I packed up and loaded my gear into the car. The basic idea was to be heading for home with some more summits on the way.

I headed to Mitta Mitta and then south on the Omeo Highway to the north side of Mount Wills and up Mount Wills Track to the small parking area near the Tallangatta Ski Club lodge and the two large locked gates. I loaded up and climbed up the track to the summit, taking just an hour and a half to cover the approximately 3 km plus 320 vertical climb.

Mount Wills VK3/VG-003 1750 m 10 points plus seasonal bonus

I set up by tossing line over a tree branch and alerted others that I was setting up.

First in the log was Andrew VK1DA on 80 m SSB. I asked for some feedback on my transmitted audio, as someone had suggested that it was lacking punch. I turned up the microphone gain and Andrew reported that the signal was okay. We then worked each other on CW. Next were Tony VK3YV and Rik VK3EQ. I moved to 40 m SSB to chase Phillip VK2JDL on VK2/CT-011 for a S2S. A text message saw me back to 80 m to work VK3BCM. I then moved to 40 m CW and worked seven stations. 40 m SSB produced two contacts. My final session was on 20 m CW, yielding four ZL stations before I closed.

I packed up and headed back to the car, taking only 45 minutes for the descent through delightful open alpine country. I then drove back to the Omeo Highway, crossed the Highway and took Razorback Spur Track to the junction with Wombat Creek Track to park. Wombat Creek Track is a regular Winter Seasonal Road closure. A walk of about 700 m sees you at the high point of the track, less than a metre below the summit proper. I have found it better to walk a little further (100 m) to the SE end of the summit, where phone reception is better. The climb is only about 30 m vertically, so one need not climb all the way – a walk of 150 m would see you in the AZ, but probably without phone connectivity!

Razorback Spur VK3/VG-033 1311 m 8 points plus seasonal bonus

I found a nice tree branch at about 7 m to toss a line over to haul up the antenna. I spotted that I was setting up and proceeded to assemble the station.

I again started on 80 m SSB to work Rik VK3EQ. I then moved to 80 m CW, working VK2YW and VK1DA. I then moved to 40 m CW and worked five stations. I returned briefly to 80 m SSB for two stations before I moved to 20 m CW for three ZL stations. I then moved to 40 m SSB to work Phillip VK2JDL on VK2/CT-001 in VKFF-1353 before moving up the band to work Nev VK5WG. With no further callers, I closed down.

I packed up and returned to the car, and drove a little further along Razorback Range Track to look at Mount Cooper. Last year, Rik and I found evidence that a logging coupe was being prepared. The south face has not yet been logged, possibly as logging contractors may be busy elsewhere with salvage logging following the fires last summer. After deciding against activating Mount Cooper, I returned to the Omeo Highway. I headed south to Knocker Road and then took Knocker Link Track to the summit.

The Knocker VK3/VG-016 1506 m 10 points plus seasonal bonus

Almost as soon as I was set up, I worked Rik VK3EQ and Geoff VK3SQ. I moved to 40 m SSB and worked Nev VK5WG. I then had phone call. It was Mum, advising that her sister had passed away that morning. We spent a few minutes discussing options and agreed that I would call again once I had finished the next activation, hoping that some news about arrangements might be available.

I returned to the activation just as very damp cloud rolled in from the south.

I spotted for 40 m CW and worked five stations. Next was 80 m CW, where I worked two stations. I heard Gerard VK2IO calling, but he was having trouble hearing me, so I pulled out the IC-7300 and connected it up and started calling. After several attempts, we completed a contact on 80 m CW. Another few minutes on 80 m SSB yielded Ross VK3NRB and Ron VK3AFW. I closed down the station.

I packed up and returned to Knocker Road, which I took to the SE to reach Omeo Valley and then headed south to the outskirts of Omeo to take Connleys Road / Bingo Tice Road to reach Mount Sam Road and up to the summit.

Sam Hill / Mount Sam VK3/VG-049 1206 m 8 points plus seasonal bonus

I parked and spotted that I was setting up for a short activation: it was cold and very damp! I quickly erected the antenna.

I started on 80 m SSB and soon had six stations in the log. I then swapped to 80 m CW and quickly worked five stations. With the summit qualified on both SSB and CW, and the rain drops becoming more frequent, I spotted that I was QRT.

I packed up and then rang Mum. She had no updates. We discussed options and agreed that there was little point in me heading back to Wodonga until we had some news regarding arrangements. I headed back down the hill and into Omeo, checking in to the Golden Age Hotel for the night. I was hoping that I might still have a chance to activate some more summits the following day.

Another good day, with two 10-point and two 8-point summits activated, for a total of 48 Activator points.

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