SOTA activations of VK3/VG-107 and VK3/VG-121

Hi all,

On a recent trip to Mitchell River National Park, I had the opportunity on the Sunday to head out and activate a couple of Summits on the Air peaks that were nearby (but not actually in the park). Both VK3/VG-107 and VK3/VG-121 are on a ridge that comes in towards Angusvale, which is where we were camping. I headed out alone, but intended to be back before a late lunch.

VK3/VG-107

This is an unnamed summit that is to the north and east of the Dargo road. I approached from the east, although there may be closer access from the west. There is a 4wd track heading along the ridge. A proper 4wd with reasonable clearance and low range would be needed to access the summit along that route, but the west access may be better. I found a track that loops underneath to the south of the summit that looked quite high grade, almost 2wd. I did not follow this, so I don’t know if it is that standard all the way to the road.

The 4wd track follows the contours that are quite up and down. It was about 9km from where I parked the car on the boundary of the national park to the summit, which included passing VK3/VG-121, which I activated on the return. Conditions at the start of the day were quite mild, but the heat started building up. I had hoped to activate the summit on both sides of UTC midnight, but it became clear that I would not make it in time, due to both a late start, and slower progress as a result of the constant ups and downs. In the end, I desired most to get the 4 activator points rather than worrying about maximising summit to summit points from double dipping on UTC midnight.

Here’s a pic from where I activated, just a little down from the summit on the north-east side:

Activating VK3/VG-107

Activating VK3/VG-107

SOTA has certainly come along. Gone are the days of calling CQ for 20 minutes without anything coming back. Now, I can expect a few waiting for me, and then at least 10 more stations responding to “QRZ, QRZ” along the way. If the band is at least a little open, getting a summit activated on 40m is not too much of a challenge these days. On the positive side, it is good to see the increasing numbers of both activators and chasers. A number of chasers are getting tempted to activate.

VK3/VG-121

With the increasing heat, I felt I needed to get moving back towards the car, and VK3/VG-121 was along the way. I am glad I passed it on the way out, as this meant less walking in the heat of the day. I was also a little low on water, because of the heat. I arrived a little later than planned and set down to operate on 40m using the end-fed, just like my earlier activation on vk3/vg-121. Again, the activation went quite quickly with plenty of stations calling. One station remarked that SOTA is quite good for F-calls. Some F-calls have observed that many people do not answer their calls, presumably because of their F-call license. On SOTA, there are no such problems. It is pleasing to see that SOTA is changing the culture of Amateur Radio for the better.

Speaking of F-calls, Rob VK3DN introduced me to Aldo VK3FADG. He was freshly licensed and was with Rob and others from the EMDRC who were holding an Amateur Radio exhibition over the weekend. I completed Aldo’s first SOTA QSO, which was also his very first Amateur Radio QSO. He was so fresh he did not know yet what QSO or 73 meant (QSO is a conversation and 73 is best regards for those who don’t know 🙂 ). Again, good to see that SOTA is out there being noticed, and even attracting people to Amateur Radio.

While up there, I learned that Peter VK3PF had acquired the 1000 chaser points to become a Shack Sloth. Congratulations Peter on Slothdom, and enjoy the ice block. I could have done with an iceblock today!

There were still stations calling more than 1/2 an hour later, but I knew it was 50 minutes back to the car, and I was out of water. Time to get out of there. I took a quick pic near the summit looking west from where I had come from VK3/VG-107:

Looking west from VK3/VG-107

Looking west from VK3/VG-107

When I got back to camp, I drunk more than 2 litres, so I certainly needed some more water!

73, regards, Wayne VK3WAM

Mitchell River National Park

Hi all,

The weekend of the 9th, 10th and 11th is a long weekend in Victoria with Monday being Labour Day. It had been awhile since I had gone camping with the family, so we settled on going up to Mitchell River NP to check it out. My mum also decided to tag along. It ended up that my wife, Lindy, had agreed to play in a concert on the Sunday afternoon, so there went the family camping trip. Still I headed up with my 6 year old son, Simon and my mum, Kathleen.

We were initially undecided if we would camp at Billy Goat Bend, in the middle of the park, or Angusvale up the north. Because of car access, we decided to go with Angusvale, even though it would be more open. Kathleen was up early and decided on a campsite under some trees away from the river. We had that area to ourselves with most of the other campers settling on campsites lower down near the river.

It was a hot weekend, so we tried to do most of our active activities in the morning. On the Saturday morning, we all headed down to Billy Goat Bend and checked out the gorge that is located near there. Here are some pics:

Looking north at the Mitchell RIver from Billy Goat Ben lookout

Mitchell RIver from Billy Goat Ben lookout

Mitchell RIver a little downstream from Billy Goat Bend

Mitchell River from near Billy Goat Bend

On the road into Angusvale, there was a nice lookout that overlooked the valley. The campsite can be seen from the road coming down:

Angusvale from some nearby hills

Angusvale from some nearby hills

While staying there, we spent some time swimming in the river, and I also got the chance to head out to some nearby hills for a Summits on the Air activation. I also had the chance to operate from the park for a Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award activation.

On our last night in the park, there was some thunderstorm activity. There was a nice view of the clouds in the late afternoon light:

Clouds from Angusvale

Clouds from Angusvale

Due to the heat, we did not hang around for too long on the Monday. After packing up in the morning, it was a quick trip to Sale for lunch and then heading home before the worst of the traffic.

All in all, a nice long weekend.

Regards,
Wayne Merry