Mt Ritchie, Strickland and Donna Buang 2014

Hi all,

After what was then my recent trip to the snow, it was time to pick up a few more bonus points on two summits that I had done before, and pick up a new extra summit.

Mt Ritchie VK3/VC-003

This summit is one that I’ve activated a few times before. There is about a 6.5km walk from the nearest road access on the Acheron Way. Using Road 15 up to the saddle, then Road 10 to the north, the terrain climbs up to the summit.

Conditions were quite fine today. Previous activations have been far more cold and windy. Pick the right day here, and it could be under 20cm of snow.

Activating at Mt Ritchie

Activating at Mt Ritchie

As seen in the picture (if you click on it and zoom in), activation again was using the random wire (notice the counterpoise wires on the ground) with the KX1. Notice the branch, which I stuck into the ground to support the wire near the rig.

It is generally pretty easy to get day time activations on 40m CW away these days, even if you can’t spot. Some chasers must leave their rigs on 7.032 and listen to that first CQ call.

Mt Strickland VK3/VN-030

Mt Strickland is to the north of Mt Rtichie, but track access from Ritchie involves entering the restricted catchment area. Instead I headed back to the car, proceeded north along the Acheron Way and used Feiglins Rd. This is a good quality gravel 2wd road. It is used by logging trucks. Taking the left fork shortly after leaving the Acheron Way, it winds its way up to the ridge. Turn left and it proceeds into the activation zone.

Activating at Mt Strickland

Activating at Mt Strickland

Activation was the usual “random wire” with the KX1. Complete station almost in your pocket – apart from the squid pole, but that only weighs 300g.

It is interesting these days that I am taking the 4.7m squid pole even on activations where I am not expecting an off-track scrub bash. Guess the 7m pole is in semi retirement these days, although if I want to get out the 2m colinear, it needs the bigger squid pole to host it.

Mt Donna Buang VK3/VC-002

The final summit of the day was Mt Donna Buang. Access is on sealed rds, coming up from Warbuton. I was coming from Mt Strickland, so I was on the unsealed Acheron Way. The road is sealed on the Acheron Way to the Mt Donna Buang turnoff. The road from the turnoff to the summit is also sealed. While conditions were good today, if there is snow on Mt Donna Buang, it is a good idea to either use a 4wd or a 2wd with chains – even though you do not legally need them. The grader they use to keep the road clear cannot keep up if it is even moderately snowing.

With the 4.7m squid pole, I rarely need to use anything to secure the pole in vegetation, even 20/30cm of ground coverage is generally enough. with the bigger squid pole, it generally needs something to be secured on. At Donna Buang, I activated in the grassy area between the lookout tower and the shelter. There were a few people wondering around, some wondering what I was up to. My CW is not strong enough yet to be able to send while talking to someone with me at the same time, so there were a few gaps between overs.

Activation again was the “random wire” and the KX1. The random wire is not fantastic for DX, but it can bring in occasional contacts on 20, so it was nice to get back into the EU, even with just a 4.7m squid pole. I had far more success with a vertical. Maybe one day I’ll do a few more vertical antenna based activations.

Conditions were still fine on the summit, but I was keen to get home after six contacts and no more answers to CQ calls, and so that was it for the day.

Regards, Wayne VK3WAM