2021 Hotham SOTA Summit postscript

Tuesday 8 February 2021

I was away from Wodonga a little later than desired, but headed south to Porepunkah, then south into the Buckland Valley. I stopped along the way to chase Compton on Mount Big Ben VK3/VE-105. I drove to Selwyn Creek Road, then took Mount Murray Logging Road and headed to Mount Murray. I parked near the locked gate just below the summit.

Mount Murray VK3/VE-025 1640 m 10 points
Alpine National Park VKFF-0619

I walked to the summit to enjoy the view. I returned to the car and set up the station close to the gate. I started with 40 m CW, working six stations. I moved to 40 m SSB, where I worked five stations. 20 m CW yielded two ZL regulars. Something was not right with the radio which was not obvious to me. Fortunately the car was close, so I swapped from the KX2 to my KX3, its first usage by me on an activation. I returned to 40 m CW to worked Gerard VK2IO and John VK5HAA on VK3/VG-063 Gresson Knob. For my last activity slot, I went to 20 m SSB, working Scott VK4CZ, Paul VK5PAS, and Gerard and John again. I then packed up the station and enjoyed a late lunch.

The station on Mount Murray.

I headed back down to Mount Murray Logging Road and swung left onto The Twins Jeep Track and drove to it southern-most point, where I parked just off the track.

VK3/VE-245 (unnamed) 1345 m 8 points Not Yet Activated
Alpine National Park VKFF-0619

I loaded up the pack and started in the walk in to the next target from the western edge of the parking area. I picked my way through the initial scrub, after which the undergrowth was almost non-existent due to a cool burn at some stage. I worked my way south along the contours until I reach the saddle south of the first knoll. I then continued roughly south, climbing the spur to the summit and avoiding fallen timber and thicker undergrowth – the ridge here had not been burnt for some time.

Along the way, I spotted an interesting lizard.

The Lizard spotted during the climb.

I set up on the summit in a small clearing, using a line over a tree branch to haul up the doublet. There was a nice dead tree on the ground that made for a comfortable operating seat and table.

I started on 40 m CW and worked two stations. I then moved to 20 m CW, again working two ZL regulars. I next went to 80 m SSB to work Compton VK2HRX on VK2/ST-053. 80 m CW yielded Gerard and John from the car. I returned to 20 m CW and worked VK4, JA and VK3. 20 m SSB yielded only a single contact – Paul VK5PAS. 40 m SSB yielded four chasers. I then moved to 80 m SSB and worked five stations as I waited for John and Gerard to reach The Knocker VK3/VG-016. Once they were on air and in my log, I closed down and packed up. I followed roughly the same route back, but tried heading over the knoll closest to the road with the main ridge line. That was fine early on, but the scrub became thicker near the top, so I veered off to the west and contoured around to the saddle and the car. I probably dropped a little too far off the ridgeline, as revealed in the GPS track. I saw no evidence of a vehicle track shown on the mapping image.

GPS track of the walk.

I drove west along the Twins Jeep Track to Selwyn Creek Road and then headed north to exit to Porepunkah and then back to Wodonga.

Back in Wodonga, I managed to chase Gerard on Sam Hill VK3/VG-049.

Wednesday 9 February 2021

I undertook some family tasks in the morning before heading around to Huon Hill. I parked in the parking area below the summit and walked up the hill. I set up with a line over a branch of a large tree just north of the summit.

Huon Hill VK3/VE-237 425 m 1 point
Wodonga Regional Park VKFF-0980

I quickly set up, as John and Gerard were on a summit. They were the first contacts in the log, S2S contacts with VK3/VG-003 Mount Wills on 40 m CW.

I moved to 40 m SSB and worked Garry VK3KYF in Mildura, plus Gerard and John on Mt Wills. I heard John VK2YW call me but he did not hear my responses. I dropped down to 80 m SSB and spotted, and soon had John in the log. I moved to 80 m CW and worked two stations. I then listened for Gerard on Mount Wills on 20 m SSB and made the contact. With Mount Wills now on 20 m SSB, I moved to 40 m CW and worked five stations. I then moved to 20 m CW for 3 contacts before returning to 20 m SSB and working five stations. With 22 contacts in the log, I closed down, packed up and returned to the car.

I drove back to my Wodonga base and packed up. After saying farewell, I headed down the Hume Highway towards Melbourne. During the drive I stopped a couple of times, managing to chase Gerard VK2IO and JohnVK5HAA on two summits. The stops and a small detour meant that I reached Melbourne’s outskirts after the worst of the evening peak and I had an easy drive around Melbourne before hitting the Princes Highway to head to home.

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