Mt Despair to Mt Disappointment would suggest to me that summit namers in Victoria needed to cheer up, but it was a good day for me – without despair and disappointment.
Mt Despair VK3/VN-013
First up was Mt Despair. I headed off early in the morning, hoping to get to this summit about an hour after dawn. I made my way through the Murrindindi forest using Sylvia Creek Rd to Murrindindi Rd and tried to go up Dindi River Rd. This looked quite boggy and had deep water puddles, so I thought it safer to go try the next road. I got to 733525 and turned left on to the road there. It had the large bluestone logging track stones, but I could travel up this road with care. I made my way to 722529. I did not try to go south and then west along the road as it continued, but went up the Horseyard Creek Rd on foot. A full 4wd could get up here, but with lots of scratches.
At 714542, there is a foot track that heads over the hill to the north. I took this, but I suggest there is little point as it is quite overgrown. Progress would be faster using the tracks to the west. Mt Despair Rd is very good grade, but the gate at the south end was closed. It looks like other roads to get there are higher standard, so aiming for point 710543 in a 2wd should be possible with a shortish road bash to the summit from there.
Weather was a bit drizzly, and I got completely wet through the wet overgrowth on the foot track. I set up about 200m south of the summit to try and save a little bit of time. The summit area itself is quite flat and there was nothing to see. Here’s the operating location off the side of the road.
I operated using the end-fed to try and save some time. It’s fast to put up and take down with the two spindles that I use to store it with. Due to my longer walk in/out than planned I headed off quickly to get back to the car, and head towards Mt Hickey.
Mt Hickey VK3/VN-015
This is a popular area for campers, trail bike riders and other state forest users. I came in from the east on Fairview Rd. This becomes Main Rd. I made my way along this to the junction with Mt Hickey Rd at 382853. This is easy 2wd driving. I parked just inside the activation zone, walked down a bit and then up to a flat area on the peak to the east of the main summit at 366839 to keep away from the reported noise there. Worked quite well. There was a little trail bike noise to contend with from time to time.
The weather had improved by the time I got here. The low cloud and drizzle was replaced by partially cloudy conditions and no rain. The forest around here is certainly much drier than around Mt Despair.
One nice pickup was VK3EHG on a 2m HT from Flinders Peak VK3/VC-030. I don’t think he was expecting any summit to summit action. He was apparently using just a HT himself with a basic antenna. I was only using a 1/4 wave on 2m, so no nice colinear to suck in the signal here. Still, nice to pick him up from here! It’s radio line of sight, but not without some obstruction getting in the Fresnel zone. Radio Mobile says that the worst fresnel is 0.2 – still positive but there is some attenuation. Distance was 107km.
Here’s the operating location:
Mt Piper VK3/VN-028
It was then off to Mt Piper. This is accessed from Jeffeys Lane at 224792, itself off Broadford-Kilmore Road. The track is a little rough, but quite passable in a 2wd. A car park is located at the base of the summit, and it’s walking the whole way up. The track is well marked. Near the base, a old 4wd track crosses the walking track. It is quite possible to turn right and use the vehicular track to go up. It makes its way up most of the way to the summit and stops about 25 vertical metres from the top. The “car park” there could fit only 2 or three cars, I can see why they closed it. The walking track is well marked to the top and generally follows a zig zag pattern. It is therefore not as steep as the vehicle track route.
I got a nice pic from near the top of the 4wd track (Mt Hickey is in the background):
Here’s a similar view from near the top:
The summit area was quite nice to operate from. I again used the end-fed and used the trig point to mount the squid pole:
Mt Disappointment VK3/VC-014
My final summit of the day was Mt Disappointment. I came in on Main Mountain Rd which becomes Disappointment Rd. I parked the car up from the hut at 352563. The last part of the road is marked as a 4wd track in Forest Explorer, but it is a high quality 2wd track.
The activation area is quite large, so I felt no need to bush bash to the summit itself. Apparently there is a track that goes there from the hut further down, but I was inside the last 20m contour line. I estimate about 10m vertical down from the summit.
I was hopeful for some DX, so I set up the vertical antenna. The Kp index was 5, so there was a Geometric storm, but you never know. In the end, I only got local contacts, but it was nice at least to get someone on 30m CW.
Here is a look at the operating location:
With that, and it getting dark, it was time to head back home. Another 13 SOTA points in the bag. With these activations I have now moved to 102 unique VK3 summits, 111 overall.
On this trip, I tried out the solar panel that I had put together recently. It worked ok, but I am going to use some tape to attach some short rope to connect it to my pack a little better. At Mt Piper, it was able to charge the phone about 6% in 30m. This is a little lower than a powered USB connection, but not bad for winter sun and a few clouds.
Regards, Wayne VK3WAM