Another December trip to Wodonga

I usually have a trip to Wodonga to visit family around Christmas time. The trip usually commences somewhere near the middle of the month and I typically then make Wodonga my base until after New Year’s Day.

17 December 2021

I was away from home after a leisurely start. I had the mobile phone running the VK port-a-log app running and heard a spot come up just after UTC midnight. I soon had Wal VK2WP in the log on 40 m CW from VK2/CT-002.

I headed across the hills to Healesville and then up the Maroondah Highway, crossing the Black Spur. My first significant stop was at a Park.

Buxton Silver Gums Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2058

I kept the operation simple, activating from the car with the mobile whip. I worked eight stations on 40 m SSB, three on 40 m CW and three on 20 m CW. I packed up the gear and continued north.

As I was driving past the Cathedral Range, I mentally noted that I had not yet activated the State Park, so I drove in to the northern end of the Park, a short detour east of my route.

I found a spot a few hundred metres inside the boundary where I could safely park off the road.

Cathedral Range State Park VKFF-0755

Park sign
Cathedral Range State Park sign

I again operated from the car with the mobile setup. I started on 20 m, as that was the current setting on the antenna. I made one contact on 20 m CW, and then the same station on 20 m SSB. I changed the whip to 40 m and worked two stations on SSB. I moved to CW and worked one station before chasing Wal VK2WP, now on VK2/CT-004. I worked Wal again a few minutes later on 40 m SSB. I then worked another three stations on SSB before closing down, with 10 in the log.

I resumed the trip north without any further stops.

18 December 2021

Much of my stay involved making trips for radio activations based around available free time without family commitments.

I headed out to a Reserve on the edge of town, parking adjacent to the eastern boundary.

Fell Timber Creek Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2087

The easiest access to the Reserve is on foot. I have not yet an access point with vehicle access. I grabbed the SOTA pack and walked up Mc Farlands Hill Track a short distance to set up in some shade.

I started operating on 40 m SSB just after 2330 UTC. I had a couple of offers for CW contacts, so simply changed modes on the KX2 and made the contacts on the same dial frequency. I had 11 in the log by UTC midnight. I spent another 30 minutes on SSB before moving to 40 m CW and working seven stations. 20 m SSB yielded six stations, including a second contact with Peter VK3ZPF in VKFF-2328. I returned to 40 m SSB to chase Joel VK2VRO on VK3/VT-013. I then moved to 20 m CW, where I worked 10 stations. With 47 in the log, I packed up and returned to the car. I headed back to base.

22 December 2021

I managed a couple of quick SOTA chase contacts in the morning before I headed out to Granya and made my way around to the State Park.

Hore Hill VK3/VE-192 763 m 4 points
Mount Granya State Park VKFF-0767

I worked my way around the tracks to reach Wises Creek Track and then Sugarloaf Track. Along the way I dodge a few small fallen branches and needed to use the chainsaw to clear on large branch off the track. Sugarloaf Track crosses the shoulder of the summit, within a metre of the top. I parked the car just west of the summit and soon had the station set up nearby.

First in the log was Compton VK2HRX on Mt Canobolas VK2/CT-001 in VKFF-1353. I made 20 contacts on 40 m SSB before moving to CW, making four contacts. I moved to 20 m CW and made two contacts. 20 m SSB yielded eight contacts. I moved down to 40 m to work James VK2TER in Lane Cove National Park VKFF-0281 on both SSB and CW. I was also called on CW by another station. I then returned to 20 m CW to work two more stations, and then tried 17 m CW, working four stations. 15 m CW yield four more contacts. I then returned to 40 m SSB to chase Compton VK2HRX on VK2/CT-011, followed by 20 m CW to again work James VK2TER. I then spent a few minutes on 40 m CW and worked four more contacts before again chasing Compton on 20 m SSB and finally Nik VK3ZK/p in VKFF-2148.

I quickly packed up and retraced my access route and headed back towards Wodonga. I decided to stop off at another Park.

Ryans Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2186

I quickly set up the station in the shade just inside the park boundary. First in the log was Nik VK3ZK/p in VKFF-2148 on 40 m SSB. I made another 10 contacts before moving to CW and making another two contacts. I then made nine contacts on 20 m SSB followed by two contacts on CW. The afternoon was very hot, so I closed down and packed up. I returned to my base in Wodonga.

23 December 2021

The morning was spent on family duties, plus a visit to the local vaccination hub to get my COVID Booster shot (before the “official” announcement was made public). I headed out in the afternoon to another nearby Park.

Baranduda Regional Park VKFF-0959

I had activated Mt Baranduda on 1 January 2021, so I simply drive into the Park and set up near the entrance gate at the end of Burgess Lane.

I started on 40 m SSB by hunting Adam VK2YK in VKFF-0781 and Alan VK2MET in VKFF-0850 on VK1/AC-040. I then found the Parks focus frequency was clear, so spotted myself and started calling CQ. I worked 19 stations. I then packed up to drive into Wodonga on a family task before I returned and set up again. I then hunted Adam VK2YK on 30 m SSB. I returned to 40 m SSB and worked another three contacts before I again hunted Adam VK2YK, this time on 20 m SSB. I next tried 40 m CW, making three contacts. 20 m CW yielded two contacts and 20 m SSB produced five contacts. I next worked Adam VK2YK on 30 m SSB, now from VKFF-0784. I returned to 20 m SSB for another six contacts. A period on 15 m CW yielded one contact. 30 m SSB yielded three contacts.  I next returned to 40 m to again hunt Adam VK2YK, Chris VK1CT in VKFF-0850 (CW) and Dean VK3KXR in VKFF-0757. I found a clear frequency and started calling, working another 11 contacts. I had a total of 64 contacts in the log. I packed up and returned to my Wodonga base.

24 December 2021

The morning was again spent on family tasks. I headed off late in the morning, heading towards Corowa.

Corowa Silo VK-CRW2

I first visited the Corowa Silo, AKA Corowa Whisky and Chocolate. I had a look around the venue but did not make any purchases. I quickly listened near the old rail line on the eastern side of the venue, but found plenty of noise on 40 m.

The Corowa Silo viewed from the car park
Looking at the old Flour Mill and silo from the eastern side

I decided to make use of the 1.0 km radius activation zone and tried my luck at the end of Victoria Street. I found a spot on the reserve beside the Murray River about as far from any infrastructure as possible. I soon had the station set up and started calling. First in the log was Kevin VK3VEK. I worked eight more stations before I changed to 20 m SSB, which yielded three contacts. 20 m CW yielded only a single contact. I returned to 40 m SSB and worked another five stations before I closed, with 18 contacts logged. I packed up the station and headed into town to find the bakery for some food. I then headed NE out of town to near the Corowa North silo.

Corowa North Silo VK-CRH2

The site is a large industrial complex. I set up on Geo Way Road, NNW of the silo. I made 18 contacts on 40 m SSB. 10 m SSB yielded two contacts. 15 m SSB produced another three contacts, whilst 20 m SSB yielded only a single contact. I returned to 40 m SSB and made a further two contacts before I closed down and packed up the station. A total of 26 contacts were made.

The Corowa North silo complex from the main road

As I headed out of town on the Riverina Highway, I passed a broadcast station with an interesting antenna.

The broadcast antenna just NE of Corowa. It is a bit hard to make out the wires of the antenna in the light at the time.

I next travelled towards Howlong and set up close to the junction of Riverina Highway and Howlong-Balldale Road, very close to the next silo.

Howlong Silo VK-HWG2

The Howlong silos complex

I again started on 40 m SSB, making 23 contacts. I then tried 20 m SSB, making four contacts, including Hans VK6XN in VKFF-0538. I packed up and headed back to Wodonga.

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2 Responses to Another December trip to Wodonga

  1. Andrew VK1AD says:

    Hi Peter, I think the Corowa antenna is a VLF NDB aviation beacon. Most NDBs around VK have been decommissioned with a few exceptions. Thanks for the opportunity to chase new Silos.

    • vk3pf says:

      Hi Andrew,

      I have done some research this morning.

      The Corowa NDB COR is/was located at the Corowa Aerodrome -35.98747 146.35720.

      The transmitter site where I took the photo is the Broadcast Australia site for ABC Albury 2CO on 675 kHz. 10 kW transmitter, with EIRP of 16793.6 W. Location is -35.95574500° 146.41425000°. Minimal signage on the fence, although I did not bother to look more closely than from the side of the road…. There is a secondary standby mast a little further off the road.
      ACMA Site ID 150931.

      There is a short story and excellent old photo of the transmitter site at the ABC Goulburn Murray website:
      https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-16/abc-goulburn-murray-celebrates-90th-birthday/100702244

      Cheers,

      Peter

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