Another December trip to Wodonga – part 2

26 December 2021

Family tasks occupied the entire morning and into the afternoon. I decided to head to Barnawartha and into the nearby Park.

Chiltern – Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620

I parked in an area off Rileys Road and soon had the antenna set up and connected to the radio. I spotted myself and soon had hunters calling. I worked nine stations on 40 m SSB, followed by five on 40 m CW. 30 m produced only two SSB contacts. I moved to 20 m SSB and worked five stations. 20 m CW produced a contact with VK6, who I had worked on SSB. I also made contact with the same station on 17 m SSB. 15 m SSB yielded three contacts and I worked the same stations again on 10 m SSB. I dropped back to 40 m SSB to make a last couple of contacts before closing, with a total of 31 in the log.

I then headed back to Wodonga.

27 December 2021

The weather forecast was for another very warm day in Wodonga, so I headed off towards Porepunkah and towards my target Park for the day. The drive up was relatively painless, with a small number of cyclists to negotiate on the steep winding road. The climb is very popular with cyclists, so drivers need to have patience to await an opportunity to pass. I was soon parked in the car park at the end of the road.

Mount Buffalo National Park VKFF-0339

I loaded up the day pack and climbed up to the summit of the peak, and then set up the station in the corner of the small summit lookout.

The Horn VK3/VE-014 1723 m 10 points

I carried up a 7 m heavy duty squid pole and lashed it into the corner of the fence, with the end facing roughly north and overhanging the cliff on the north side of the summit. I connected the centre of the doublet to the end of the pole and dropped one half of the doublet vertically over the side. The other half of the doublet was tied off to the south to part of the hand rail system but being carefully for the line and antenna to be out of the way of other visitors.

I switched on and was soon chasing other activators before I had properly set up the logging app. First in the log was Compton VK2HRX in VKFF-1890, followed by Tony VK1VIC on VK2/ST-001 and Andrew VK1DA on VK2/ST-053. Next was Andrew VK1AD on VK1/AC-043. All worked in only 5 minutes. I then started calling and worked 17 stations, including some repeats as I had started only 7 minutes before UTC midnight. I moved to 20 m SSB and worked nine stations.  I then dropped down to 40 m SSB to hunt a Park station – VK3TCP/p in VKFF-2372. Next was 40 m CW, where I worked four stations. 20 m CW produced another four contacts, including Andrew VK3ARR on VK3/VC-002. I then dropped back to 40 m CW to chase VK1ACE on VK1/AC-034, followed by two further callers. 17 m CW yielded one chaser. 10 m SSB yielded eight contacts. I finished off with Alan VK3TCP on 40 m SSB, now in VKFF-0763. I closed down and packed up, with 55 in the log.

I had spent periods of time explaining what I was doing to other visitors to the summit. The visitors included two rock climbers who climbed over the fence and abseiled off the western side of the summit before descending lower down to attempt a climb.

I headed back down to the car and drove around to the car park below The Cathedral before loading up again with the pack to climb up into the AZ of the next summit.

The Hump VK3/VE-019 1695 m 10 points

I set up well inside the AZ boundary. Once again I started by chasing those activators who were spotted – all on 40 m SSB. First was Glenn VK3YY on VK3/VS-054, followed by Compton VK2HRX on VK2/SW-027. I moved to a clear frequency and was called by Alan VK3TCP in VKFF-0763. Six further stations called before I moved to 40 m CW, where I had only one contact. 30 m yielded six contacts on SSB and three on CW. I moved to 20 m CW and worked nine stations. 17 m CW yielded five stations before I returned to chase Compton VK2HRX, now on VK2/SW-034. I next tried 15 m SSB, gaining three contacts. 10 m SSB yielded only a single contact. My last contact was on 40 m SSB, where I chased Alan VK2MET at the Bathurst silo.

I packed up and descended to the car. As I was driving down the mountain, I stopped twice to make contact with Alan VK2MET now at Kelso silo, and Compton VK2HRX, now at VK2/SW-028. A total of 93 contacts were made from the Park during the day.

I then headed back to Wodonga for the night.

28 December 2021

With more very warm weather forecast for the lowlands, I chose to again head for the hills. I drove to Bright, Harrietville and up to Mount Hotham. There were a large number of cars parked at the start of the Razorback walking track to Mount Feathertop, and space was tight at the parking area near the start of the Mount Hotham summit track, due to the Loch car park still being closed due to construction works. I found a spot to park and walked up the summit access track.

Mount Hotham VK3/VE-006 1861 m 10 points

I had missed activating this summit this year due to a combination of COVID lockdowns and weather conditions.

There were a few groups of walkers heading towards and at the summit, so I opted to set up near the top of The Drift ski tow, at around 1855 m, well inside the AZ. I lashed a squid pole to one of the Ski Area Boundary poles – very convenient.

I spotted on 40 m SSB and soon had my first contact. Next was Compton VK2HRX on VK2/ST-005. I worked two more stations on SSB before moving to CW, where I worked 11 contacts. As it was after UTC midnight, I chased Compton VK2HRX on VK2/ST-005 and made four more SSB contacts. My last contact was a summit to summit with Phil ZL1PSH on ZL1/WK-158.

As I had plans for more summits, I packed up and returned to the car. I drove back towards Harrietville, but only as far as the Hotham Resort Entry point.

I took the seasonally closed 4WD Gunns Track up to Mt Sugarloaf and then descended into the saddle. The descent has some very rough patches. I also needed to negotiate two vehicles travelling in the reverse direction on a narrow section of the track. I carefully climbed up past the other seasonal closure gate and made my way up to the helipad at my next summit.

VK3/VE-030 (unnamed) 1570 m 10 points
Alpine National Park VKFF-0619

I parked the vehicle near a snow gum near the top of the summit and set up the station nearby, using the snow gum to support a squid pole and to also provide some shade.

I started operating on 40 m CW, where I worked six stations, including Andy VK5LA/p in VKFF-1723. I moved to 40 m SSB and worked 11 stations, including Andy VK5LA/p again, Compton VK2HRX on VK2/ST-008 and Peter VK3ZPF in VKFF-2184. I moved to 20 m CW and made two contacts. I then tried 20 m SSB, where I made nine contacts, plus two more CW contacts. 17 m CW produced one contact only. I returned to 20 m CW and only worked one station. 10 m SSB yielded two contacts into VK7. A stint on 15 m CW produced one contact with Andy VK5LA/p in VKFF-1723.

I closed down and packed up, with 36 in the log.

I descended back to Gunns Track and headed to the NW, and on to Paddy Hill Track. The next summit is crossed by this track.

VK3/VE-070 (unnamed) 1286 m 8 points

I picked a spot off the edge of the track to park in some shade. I set up nearby. Once I was operational, I worked Andy VK5LA/p in VKFF-1723 on 40 m CW. I moved frequency and worked three more stations – summit qualified on CW. I then tried 40 m SSB, but only worked one station.  10 m SSB yielded one station, whilst 20 m SSB resulted in two more contacts in the log. I had a quick tune around on 40 m SSB and worked Joe VK3SRC and Julie VK3FOWL, plus Mat VK1MF. Time was rolling on, so I closed down and packed up.

I retraced my access route back to Link Track and then headed north and on to Albion Track. I made my around to the northern side of the next summit and parked in a slightly wider area close to the high point.

Albion Point VK3/VE-080 1255 m 8 points

I grabbed the pack and climbed up towards the summit until I was in the AZ and set up.

First in the log was Peter VK3ZPF activating the Mooroopna Silo VK-MRN3 and VKFF-0976, on 40 m SSB. I moved to 40 m CW and made seven contacts. 40 m SSB produced five contacts. It was getting late in the afternoon, so I closed down and returned to the car.

The exit was straightforward – continue north on Albion Track, then descend to the Great Alpine Road via Cemetery Lane. I felt that I did not have the time for two further summits further north on the same ridge line, as I would be back to Wodonga very late if I had activated them.

I stopped on the way back to once again work Andy VK5LA/p, now in VKFF-1729.

29 December 2021

My morning and early afternoon were once again consumed with family tasks. I decided to head out to a Park on the southern side of Lake Hume.

Wises Creek Flora Reserve VKFF-2487

There is a narrow rough track near the eastern edge of this Reserve, on the south side of a sweeping corner of the Murray River Road. I carefully navigated up the track, dodging some significant erosion which had occurred since my last visit. I drove to the top of the knoll located roughly in the middle of the Reserve and found a spot to set up.

I started on 40 m CW and soon had eight stations in the log. I moved to 40 m SSB, where I worked 16 stations over the next 30 minutes, including five Park to Park contacts. 30 m CW yielded two contacts, with another eight contacts made on SSB. 15 minutes spent calling on 20 m CW gained a single contact, whilst 20 m SSB resulted in five contacts. 15 m SSB gave me another three contacts and 10 m SSB another three contacts. With 46 in the log, I closed down and packed up the gear. As I was about to drive off, a new spot came through. I managed to work Alan VK3TCP in Point Cook Coastal Park VKFF-1875 on 40 m SSB using the mobile set up.

I retraced my route back down to the main road and headed back to Wodonga.

30 December 2021

After a couple of quick jobs, I headed out towards Sandy Creek and then along Lockharts Gap Road to reach Lockharts Gap. I then headed SW along Eskdale Spur Road and then swung NW on McGrath Track and climbed up to park on the next summit.

VK3/VE-241 (unnamed) 926 m 6 points

I set up the station a little away from the car, sitting in a folding chair in the shade. The ZS6BKW centre was at about 9 m above ground supported with a line over a tree branch.

The station at VK3/VE241

I started on 17 m CW, first attempting to chase a couple of SOTA spots. I soon had Takeo JP3PPL/3 on JA/HG-063 and Mark ZL3AB on ZL3/CB-574 in the log. I moved to a clear frequency to call CQ and worked another two stations. Summit qualified! I moved to 40 m CW to work Andy VK5LA/p in a Park and then Allen VK3ARH on Mt Buninyong VK3/VC-018. That contact concluded just before UTC midnight. I moved to 20 m CW and made three contacts before returning to 40 m CW to again work Allen VK3ARH on Mt Buninyong VK3/VC-018, followed by Andy VK5LA/p in his Park. I moved to 40 m SSB and worked 11 contacts, including Leigh VK3SG on Mount McKay VK3/VE-007. I then  moved to 20 m SSB and worked Soren ZL1SKL on ZL1/WK-035 and Andrei ZL1TM. With no further callers, I closed down and packed up.

I exited back to Lockharts Gap and then headed NE along Lockharts Gap Track and then north to reach the next summit.

VK3/VE-159 (unnamed) 892 m 4 points

I parked the car just off the track and soon had the station set up nearby, with the doublet centre at full height – around 14 m up. I again set up the station in the folding chair in the shade.

I started on 20 m SSB, given that was where the radio was when switched on. I worked five stations before I moved to 40 m SSB to chase Adam VK2YK/p in VKFF-1031. I then moved to 40 m CW and made seven contacts. I then moved to 20 m CW and made only one contact. I closed down and packed up.

I retraced my access route to reach Powerline Road and then started heading SE towards VK3/VE-241. About half way out to the parking spot I found a large tree across the track. It was already quite hot, so I decided against clearing the tree and returned to Lockharts Gap. I exited back to Tangambalanga to grab a late lunch. I then headed towards Wodonga. En route I decided to detour to revisit a Park to increase the number of contacts made.

Ryans Lagoon Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2186

I set up the station inside the boundary and started by hunting John VK4MUD in VKFF-0216 on 40 m SSB. I moved to a clear frequency and started calling CQ. I worked another 10 stations before I moved to 40 m CW, where I worked six stations. 30 m CW yielded only one contact, whilst SSB resulting in another five contacts in the log. 20 m SSB saw another seven contacts in the log. I had a call from a friend, so quickly moved back to 40 m SSB to make two more contacts. The afternoon was very hot, so I closed down and packed up. I had a total of 32 contacts in the log from the Park, making the total for the Park 56 across two activations in December.

I headed back to Wodonga.

31 December 2021

With another very warm day forecast for Wodonga, I again decided to head into the hills for the day. I drove to Bright and then headed up to Mount Porepunkah.

Mount Porepunkah VK3/VE-098 1185 m 6 points

The access here is simple – just follow Mount Porepunkah Road all the way to the summit. I parked the car off the edge of the track a little south of the fire tower, in some shade. During the summer fire season, it is wise to set up away from the fire tower so as to not obstruct the fire watcher. I soon had the station set up in the folding chair behind the vehicle in a shady spot.

I started operating on 40 m CW and soon had four in the log. I then moved to 15 m CW to chase JE1LHW/3 on JA/HG-029, followed by Soren VK1SKL on ZL1/WK134 on 20 m SSB. Next I worked James VK2BM/p in VKFF-0550 on 40 m CW before I moved to 40 m SSB to make a couple of contacts prior to UTC midnight. I then moved to 80 m SSB for contact before I returned to 40 m SSB for another two contacts, including Peter VK3ZPF/p on Mount Selma VK3/VT-013. With no further callers, I closed down.

I packed up and headed back towards Bright, but only to the road junction in the main saddle east of the summit. I then took Smart Creek Tawonga Gap Track.

VK3/VE-097 (unnamed) 1185 m 6 points

Parts of the track were in better condition than previously, with a bulldozer having been through. The area on the summit itself had been cleared and flattened. I parked in the limited shade and soon had the station set up about 10 m away from the car, close to the trig point.

I started on 40 m CW and worked 10 stations, including another contact with James VK2BM/p in VKFF-0550. I moved to 40 m SSB and worked four stations. I dropped down to 80 m SSB, where I made only one contact. My final contact from the summit was on 40 m SSB with Peter VK3ZPF/p on Mount Useful VK3/VT-016. I again packed up before heading further east on Smart Creek Tawonga Gap Track.

Part of the way along I came to a roadworks sign. I slowed and switched on the UHF CB radio. Just as I was getting the radio onto the correct channel, I could see the bulldozer and noted that the operator was already moving off the track. We exchanged pleasantries and I carefully passed him and up the next hill, passing another works vehicle during the ascent.

I continued on to the next summit.

VK3/VE-104 (unnamed) 1157 m 6 points

I parked off the side of the track and again set up the station, this time about 20 m away from the car.

I again started on 40 m CW and soon had five contacts in the log. I moved to 40 m SSB and worked 10 contacts, including John VK4MUD/p in VKFF-1219. I then moved to 20 m CW, where I made two contacts before a new spot came through. I quickly moved to 40 m SSB to again work Peter VK3ZPF/p on VK3/VT-083. I closed and packed up.

I continued a short distance to the east to the junction with Running Creek Kiewa Divide Track, which I took north to the shoulder of the next summit.

VK3/VE-113 (unnamed) 1121 m 6 points

The track crosses within a metre of two of the actual summit, well inside the AZ. I soon had the antenna up and the station set up on the side of the track.

I started on 40 m SSB, working Ian VK5IS, 34 minutes after the last contact on the previous summit. Next was Peter VK3ZPF/p on VK3/VT-083, followed by another five contacts. I moved down to 40 m CW and made five contacts before closing. I packed up and continued north to reach the next summit.

VK3/VE-092 (unnamed) 1203 m 8 points

To reach this summit, you turn hard right to remain on Running Creek Kiewa Divide Track at the junction with Running Creek Track. There is signage warning that it is a no through road. As such, it is less frequently used and track conditions can deteriorate.

I parked inside the AZ and soon had the station set up. I started on 40 m CW and worked six stations. I then moved to 40 m SSB to chase Wal VK2WP/p on VK2/CT-006 and one other station. I then dropped to 80 m CW for a single contact before I ventured to 20 m SSB, where I made four contacts.

I packed up and started to retrace my route back to Running Creek Track. I stopped along the way to work John VK4MUD in VKFF-1221 on 40 m SSB.

I continued down Running Creek Track, to Gillett Road, then Kancoona Road, Kancoona S Road and out to Running Valley Road. I then headed back to Wodonga.

1 January 2022

I had tried to get an early night, with moderate success. I was disturbed a couple of time by fireworks, not unexpected given the date! I managed to rise early and was on the road at around 0700 local. I decided to head to Mount Pinnibar for the day’s activation.

The approach was relatively simple: head towards Corryong, then head south along the Nariel valley on the Benambra-Corryong Road. Then take Dunstans Road, Dead Finish Track and Walkers Road to reach Mount Pinnibar Track. Signage indicated that Walkers Road was closed ahead, which had an impact on possible plans for the afternoon. The road surface was very good until the final turnoff, although somewhat dusty. The drive was very different compared to my last trip in the area, with a large amount of “recovery logging” having occurred since the 2019/2020 summer bushfires. Mount Pinnibar Track was rough in places, with many erosion gutters, lots of large and deep spoon drains and some rocky areas. I arrived at the summit to find three 4WD vehicle parked around the smaller summit area beside the trig, with a couple of tents still set up. I parked on the opposite side of the track, just off the track itself.

Mount Pinnibar VK3/VE-009 1772 m 10 points
Alpine National Park VKFF-0619

I used the remnants of a burnt snow gum to hold the squid pole. I soon had the station set up, with the folding chair not far from the vehicle.

I started by chasing/hunting those already spotted:
Gavin VK2YAK/p in VKFF-1410
Gerard VK2IO/p on VK2/HU-093
Warren ZL2JML on ZL1/MW-082 and
Wade VK1MIC on VK2/ST-053.

I then spotted myself and the rest of the morning was a mixture of chasing others and working those calling me. I had 28 contacts in the log before UTC midnight, with three Parks worked and 22 Summit to Summit contacts. The gang around Canberra seemed to concentrating on 2 m FM and I could not hear them.

After UTC midnight, a similar pattern followed. The first hour saw 30 contacts in the log, with 16 S2S and two Park to Park. The level of activity dropped after 0100Z. I continued calling until around 0325Z, making a further 27 contacts, with nine S2S and nine P2P. A total of 57 contacts were made after 0000Z.

The afternoon had several interruptions as 4WD groups came through and stopped at the summit. The last group to arrive was a tour group. The group leader gathered the members around at the trig point and congratulated them on having reached the highest point on the continent that the general public can drive their own vehicles.

Looking NE to Mount Kosciusko from close to the operating site on Mount Pinnibar

I packed up and took a couple of quick photos before I headed back out to the north.  I encountered a small group of motorcyclists at the Walkers Road junction. We chatted about the condition of Mount Pinnibar Track and they advised that Walkers Road was in good condition, as they had come from Corryong. I drove out via Walkers Road, stopping a couple of times to enjoy the views and to look at access routes to other possible summits for another day – particularly Mount Boebuck and Mount Tempest. Boebuck Track and Brashes Park Track were both closed due to fire impacts.  At Thowgla Upper, I took Nariel Gap Road to cut across to Benambra-Corryong Road and back to the Murray Valley Highway, then back to Wodonga.

3 January 2022

Sunday was spent on family activities, with no radio time. Monday morning saw a couple of quick tasks first thing, then I travelled up the Hume Highway to Holbrook. After a brief stop at the submarine HMAS Otway display area, I drove around to the old silos and took a best guess as to a viable site to set up.

Holbrook Silo VK-HLK2 First activation

I parked in the shade just off Raymond Street, within a few hundred metres of the silos. I set up the doublet with a line over a tree branch and connected it to the IC-706MKIIG in the car. I operated from inside the vehicle, with the windows open to allow any breeze to flow through. I found that I had S5-6 noise on 40 m, but decided to try operating from the site anyway. Other operators considering activating this silo might look at Tip Road, off Culcairn Holbrook Road, on the west of the highway bypass of the town. The nearest powerline appear to be away from the road, which might help with noise.

The Holbrook silos

First in my log was Rod VK1ACE on VK1/AC-037 in VKFF-0854, on 40 m SSB. Rod had called me. I worked 20 stations on 40 m SSB before I moved to 20 m SSB, where I worked three stations. I then returned to 40 m SSB for another three contacts, including Stuart VK3UAO/p in VKFF-2297. I packed up and returned to the main street, then headed towards the road to Wagga Wagga.

A spot came through as I was nearing the underpass for the highway, so I pulled over and parked the car. I worked Gavin VK2YAK in VKFF-1994, followed a few minutes later by Leigh VK3SG on VK3/VE-007. I headed out to Cookardinia, and then took Treblys Rd, Pulletop Road and Cookardinia Road to Nuggets Trail. I was aiming for a Park which had not yet been activated……

Nest Hill Nature Reserve VKFF-2682

I had undertaken some research regarding access to this site. It was a little odd that had not yet been activated. It was possible that Nuggets Trail might have a gate at its northern end. I was prepared to take the risk and try anyway. It was clear that I would need to walk in to the Park. I have posted some information on the parksnpeaks.org page for the Park:

“Access to Nest Hill Nature Reserve

NPWS web site states that there is no vehicle access to the Reserve.

NSW mapping shows that Nuggets Trail crosses the Reserve from a right angled bend in Cookardina Road. The mapping suggests that the Trail is in a road reserve.

On my visit, I found the gate at the start of Nuggets Trail wide open and with no signs. I travelled down the Trail to the locked gate at the Reserve boundary. There is a Parks information sign a short distance beyond the locked gate:
“Pets, Firearms and the collection of Firewood prohibited. No unauthorised vehicle access. Enquiries Tumut Office 02 69477000

It was simple to access the Reserve through the fence on the western side of the gate.”

Perhaps the reason for the gates to be wide open was that wheat harvesting was occurring in the paddocks on the eastern side of the track.

The National Parks sign at Nest Hill Nature Reserve

I climbed through the fence and set up the station about 100 m to the west of Nuggets Trail, beside Western Boundary Trail.

The station in Nest Hill Nature Reserve

First in the log was Stuart VK3UAO/p in VKFF-2297 on 40 m SSB. Next was Gavin VK2YAK in VKFF-1994. I moved to a clear frequency and spotted myself. I worked 11 stations in only 12 minutes. I then moved to 80 m SSB to work Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH, who was not workable on 40 m. I returned to 40 m, finding the BKFF focus frequency clear, so spotted there and started calling. I worked another 10 stations. Things eased off, so I returned to 80 m SSB to work two closer stations. I then tried 40 m CW, working four stations, followed by 80 m CW, which yielded five stations. I then moved to 40 m SSB to hunt Gavin VK2YAK/p in VKFF-1962. A spell on 20 m CW produced only one contact. 10 m SSB produced one contact. I returned to 40 m SSB and worked another seven contacts. Another session on 40 m CW produced two new contacts and a dupe. I found one more contact on 40 m SSB, then three contacts on 20 m – one SSB (Warren ZL2AJ on ZL1/NL-076) and two on CW. I closed down, with 53 in the log. I packed up and walked back to the car.

I retraced my route back to Cookardinia, and then headed to Culcairn.

Culcairn Silos VK-CLR2 First activation

The silo is beside the railway line, adjacent to the main road north. After taking some photos, I explored for activating site options. I recalled my earlier investigations suggested that perhaps the recreation reserve on the eastern edge of town might be suitable, but I pulled over in Jubilee Park, located just inside the 1 km activation radius, on the southern side of town.

The Culcairn silos

I kept the activation simple – it was hot. I operated from the car using the mobile whip antenna.

First in the log was Stephen VK4IDK in VKFF-1511, followed by Stuart VK3UAO in VKFF-2396 and Alan VK3TCP on VK3/VC-019 in VKFF-2746, all on 40 m SSB. I worked another six stations before I received a text message. I changed to an 80 m antenna and worked John VK2YW in Wagga Wagga. I returned to 40 m SSB and made two more contacts before closing down and head south on the road to Albury and then to Wodonga.

4 January 2022

Most of the morning was again consumed by family tasks. I headed out early in the afternoon to play radio. First stop was at Tallangatta Bakery to grab some lunch, then out to Old Tallangatta and then up Road to Plateau Road. I continued up towards the SOTA summit but found a large tree across the road, but only about 6 metres below the summit proper. I parked the car off the side of the road and set up the station nearby, comfortably inside the AZ.

Jarvis Creek Plateau VK3/VE-265
Jarvis Creek Plateau Regional Park VKFF-0969

First in the log was Glenn VK3YY on VK3/VC-011 on 40 m SSB. I moved to 40 m CW and spotted. I worked 12 stations, including another contact with Glenn VK3YY on VK3/VC-011. I moved to 40 m SSB and started calling. I worked 22 stations, including Wade VK1MIC on VK2/SW-034. I then briefly dropped to 80 m SSB to again work Wade VK1MIC on VK2/SW-034. I returned to 40 m SSB to make one more contact. I next tried 30 m CW, making four contacts. 30 m SSB yielded another four contacts. I next changed to 40 m SSB to hunt Stuart VK3UAO in VKFF-2212. I tried 20 m CW, making two contacts. Next was 17 m CW, which gave me another two contacts. It was then down to 80 m SSB to once again hunt Stuart VK3UAO in VKFF-2212. 15 m CW resulted in one contact, whilst 15 m SSB gave me nine contacts. I dropped down to 80 m SSB to work Wade VK1MIC, now on VK2/SW-036 and also worked Matt VK1MA. I moved back to 40 m SSB to again work Wade and Matt, plus another five stations. I then closed, with 70 contacts in the log.

I packed up and headed back to Wodonga.

5 January 2022

I decided that it was time to head home. I knew that the “lawns” were overdue for a haircut…. I packed the gear in the car and headed off down the Hume Highway. I took the second exit for Benalla and worked my way around to my first Park for the day – a new one for me.

Goomalibee Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2097

I approached the Reserve on the south side via Basin Road. I found the locked gate and a Park sign inside the fence. I set up inside the Park in some shade, about 50 m from the boundary.

The Parks Victoria sign at Goomalibee NCR

I started by chasing Geoff ZL3GA on ZL3/CB-822 on 20 m CW. I then spotted myself on 40 m SSB and worked 10 stations in about 8 minutes. I then moved to 40 m CW and worked seven stations before I was distracted by a spot. I moved to 40 m SSB to work Wade VK1MIC on VK2/ST-017 and then Andrew VK1DA on 80 m SSB. That contact finished just prior to UTC midnight. I again chased Wade VK1MIC on VK2/ST-017 on 40 m SSB. I then to 20 m SSB to work five stations, including John ZL3MR on ZL3/C B-536 in ZLFF-0027. I then moved to 20 m CW, where I made four contacts. I next tried 30 m SSB, making two contacts. I then returned to 40 m SSB to make a further four contacts. With no further callers, I closed down and packed up with 36 contacts in the log.

I exited by heading west on Basin Road, then south on Tarnook Road, west on Pagets Road and finally north on Robinson Road to reach Lasserre Road and the next Park.

Baddaginnie Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2039

Lasserre Road is a no through road and a little rough. It runs on the north boundary of the Reserve. I pulled off into the Park and soon had the station set up.

This was another new Park for me. I started on 40 m CW, making three contacts. 40 m SSB yielded nine contacts, the last being Peter VK3ZPF/p on VK3/VC-018. I then moved to 20 m CW, where I made five contacts. I next tried 20 m SSB, making seven contacts. I then swapped to CW on the same frequency for another three contacts. With no further callers, I closed down and packed up.

I exited back to Robinson Road, then made my around to Violet Town. My brake fluid warning light lit up….. I carefully drove to Euroa and pulled up at the local RACV service agent. They checked the car and found that the front right brakes were shot. Thanks to Ford Roadside Assist, things were eventually arranged for the repair to occur and a hire car provided.

I set off from Euroa late in the afternoon and headed for home via Merton, Alexandra, Healesville, Powelltown and Nilma. I was glad to make it home and grabbed some take away food on the way home. As expected, the grass really was in need of attention.

Thanks to all who worked me over the period since mid-December.

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