A late push for Bonus summits despite COVID – Day 7

Thursday 15 October 2020

Bonus season finished at 1100 local time, so I was keen to fit in at least one more eligible summit. I decided that the easiest option was to head for two of the nearby 8-point summits.

VK3/VG-030 (unnamed) 1321 m 8 points plus seasonal bonus

I once again purchased a sandwich from the Bakery before leaving Omeo. I headed up Great Alpine Road (GAR) towards Cobungra prior to turning off to the right about 850 m past Mount Livingstone Road. The track is not named. Swing off the GAR, then hard right onto the track. It is narrow and sections are steep and rocky. Once finally at the top of the climb, swing left onto a track which travels to the actual summit. The area around the summit was burnt, probably by the 2019/2020 summer bush fires. On my last visit to this summit, I walked from the last track junction due to bushes and trees encroaching over the track.

I soon had a line over a tree branch at around 12 m up – a good throw. I set up the antenna and spotted myself.

I again started on 80 m SSB and worked seven stations in only seven minutes. I then moved to 80 m CW and worked four stations. The next slot was 40 m CW, yielding four stations, including Andrew VK1/DA on VK2/IL-001. I received a phone call, advising that the funeral would be on Monday. With the time now after 2200 UTC, I closed down, packed up and walked the short distance to the car and retraced my access route and travelled back to Mount Livingstone Road, which I drove along until I reached the locked gate to park nearby.

Mount Livingstone VK3/VG-045 1227 m 8 points plus seasonal bonus

I loaded up the rucksack and walked up the road to the flat section above the old VLF NDB site to set up above the 1210 m contour. I again tossed a line over a tree branch.

Once again I started on 80 m SSB to work Rik VK3EQ. I moved to 80 m CW and worked six stations, including Andrew VK1DA, still on VK2/IL-001. I returned to 80 m SSB for four further contacts. 40 m CW yielded only a single contact. I moved to 20 m CW and worked another three stations. I closed just before UTC rollover.

I packed up and walked back down to the car. I then drove up to Mount Hotham to meet up with Brian VK3BCM. We chatted over a coffee at The General Store. Before I left, Brian checked upon the status of the Dargo High Plains Road. The contact person at Alpine Shire confirmed that the road was officially closed and was likely to remain so until mid-December. That ruled out an enticing option – travel home via Dargo and activating Mount Blue Rag VK3/VE-021 and VK3/VT-018. Instead, I travelled back towards Omeo, considering my options.

One choice was Birregun Road, with Mt Birregun and two 6-point summits. The recent rains ruled out this option, as sections of the road are soft and very slippery when wet.

I travelled to Swifts Creek and then south on GAR to Ash Range Road at Double Bridges. I took Ash Range Road to below the next, and last, target.

 Pheasant Hill VK3/VG-180 490 m 1 point Not previously activated

This summit was just inside the area burnt last summer, with the area burnt by the fire which heavily impacted Sarsfield.

I again loaded up the rucksack and walked roughly up the alignment of the old road, which was becoming overgrown and with lots of fallen timber. I again tossed a line over a branch to haul up the antenna centre.

I spotted on 80 m SSB and soon had four contacts in the log. I moved to 40 m CW and worked six stations. I spent the last few minutes on 40 m SSB, working only two stations, including Phillip VK2JDL in VKFF-0222. I closed down, packed up and walked back to the car, then drove back to the GAR, then south to Bruthen, on to Bairnsdale and finally just under 2 hours to home.

This was a quieter day, with only three summits, including one new summit, yielding 23 Activator points.

For the entire trip, my Activator score increased by 314 points, with 313 of the points earned in 6 UTC days from 28 summits activated. 25 of the summits earned bonus points, adding 75 points. Once again, thanks go to all who chased my during the trip.

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