2020 Christmas trip to Wodonga – Days 2 and 3

Thursday 17 December 2020

I acted as chauffeur for Mum in the morning before heading out. I drove to Tallangatta for a stop at the Bakery and then drove to Old Tallangatta and around to Plateau Road and climbed up to the summit.

Jarvis Creek Plateau VK3/VE-265 701 m 4 points
Jarvis Creek Plateau Regional Park VKFF-0969

Park sign near the start of Plateau Road

The actual summit is only about 15-20 m off Plateau Road and only about one metre higher than the road. I set up beside the road, a few metres away from the car.

My station on the Jarvis Creek Plateau summit

I started on 40 m CW and had six contacts in the log in only 10 minutes. I moved to 40 m SSB and worked five contacts. 80 m SSB yielded a single contact. 30 m CW produced another two contacts. 20 m CW produced another six contacts, followed by 20 m SSB yielding another seven contacts.

With a total of 27 contacts, I decided to close the station and pack up.

I retraced my access route to Old Tallangatta and then headed east to Bullioh and headed north on Granya Road. I turned left onto Mount Granya Road and drove to the car park at the summit.

Mount Granya VK3/VE-165 863 m 4 points
Mount Granya Regional Park VKFF-0767

Sign at the Park boundary

The car park was empty. I set up the station on the picnic table, again using a line over a tree branch to haul up the centre of the ZS6BKW.

Station on the picnic table at Mt Granya

I started calling on 20 m CW and worked four stations – three ZLs and a VK2 – in around five minutes. After a few more calls, I moved to 40 m CW and worked eight stations in less than 15 minutes. 40 m SSB yielded another eight calls in the log. 30 m CW produced two contacts. I then moved to 20 m SSB and worked five stations. Five minutes of calling on 17 m CW produced two contacts into ZL. A total of 29 contacts were made in an hour and 10 minutes.

I packed up and drove back to Granya Road, then south to the Murray Valley Highway and then back to Wodonga.

A good day out: two summits in two VKFF References activated. Thanks to all who worked me.

Day 3

Friday 18 December 2020

It was another morning with a delayed start due to family tasks to undertake. I again travelled out to the east via Tallangatta with a stop at the Bakery to buy something for lunch. I then headed towards Koetong and turned left into Firebrace Track and almost immediately came to a stop. Road works with a large trench dug all the way across the road. I backed out and consulted the map. I took Braggs Road into the pines with the idea of cutting back across to my target track. About a kilometre in I met up with a HPV vehicle and I explained my plan and that I have a valid permit to access the plantation. The driver suggested that the best option was to head back and drive carefully the short distance long the rail trail to reach Firebrace Track. I followed the suggested route and then drove along Firebrace Track to reach the car park for Conic Range walking track.

Park sign near the car park for the Conic Range walk

I parked and loaded up the gear to start the climb of about 90 m vertical over about 750 m.

VK3/VE-255 950 m 6 points
Mount Lawson State Park VKFF-0768

I was soon at the top of the climb at the view point. I moved a little higher, but my interpretation of the maps is that the viewing point is inside the Activation Zone. I was soon set up with a line over a tree branch to haul up the ZS6BKW.

I started calling on 20 m CW and soon had ZL1BYZ in the log. It took about 6 minutes for my second contact – Allen VK3ARH. After a couple of minutes calling without replies, I moved to 20 m SSB and worked five stations in five minutes, but then no further responses to calls.

I moved to 40 m CW and spotted. I worked eight stations in fifteen minutes. I then moved to 40 m SSB. The first few calls came quickly, but the rate then dropped significantly. I worked eight contacts in 27 minutes. I moved to 80 SSB and worked three stations. I then worked two more contacts on 40 m SSB. I closed down and packed up, with 28 contacts in the log.

I walked back to the car and retraced my route until I reached Mt Lawson Road and travelled north until I reached Wallaces Road, where I turned right and headed east into the pine plantation. I worked my way onto the northern end of Hempenstall Track and climbed towards the next summit, turning right at the water point sign, travelling past the large concrete tank and up to the high point only metres from the actual summit.

VK3/VE-262 800 m 4 points

Road sign close to the actual summit location

The actual summit is in thick pines. I decided to set up just west of the track junction, well inside the Activation Zone. I used a 10 m squid pole to support the antenna. I posted a spot and started calling on 40 m CW. I worked three stations before I moved to 40 m SSB, where I worked four stations. 20 m CW yielded two stations, followed by 20 m SSB bringing six stations. I returned to 40 m CW for a few minutes and managed one more contact. 33 contacts in 42 minutes.

View across to Mount Burrowa, which looked very black after the January 2020 bush fires.

I packed up the station and returned to Hempenstall Road and headed south to the junction with Burrowye Road. I followed the latter south to Koetong and the Murray Valley Highway, which I followed back to Wodonga.

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