Activated 26 January 2014
After a busy Australia Day with the family and rushed planning, I left home early on Monday morning with Hyde Hill first on my list as I had not previously activated this summit. I studdied the blogs of Glen VK3YY and Peter VK3ZPF on their activations of this summit and parked opposite the previously logged area they described.
The first part of the ascent is fairly easy and quick traversing sparse knee-high regrowth, rocks and burned timber. Beyond this is thick forest presented a major challenge to get well within the activation zone. Progress was slow and I spent as much time going across the terrain as up, trying to find the path of least resistance. I soon found a spot to set up within the zone – heavy with springy ferns and undergrowth and too tight for deploying the doublet. I set up the vertical antenna and threw the counterpoise wires where I could and got on air at 2142z with Ian VK5CZ being my first contact.
Activated 27 January 2014
This was my second activation of Britannia Range, the first being on ANZAC Day last year. Last time I was here I left my vehicle at the bottom of Britannia Range Track on Mt Bride Road as it was very muddy and slippery but this time it was dry so I engaged all wheels and low-range and went for it. Although I have reasonable ground clearance, the giant spoon drains are still a bit of a challenge. My tow bar was doing its part to level them of a little as I was driving over them. There are some seriously deep rutted parts of the track caused by many spinning tyres and parts of the track seem to be a 4WD proving ground that would leave the average SUV behind. I parked about 100 metres from the highest point of the track and walked up before turning right and heading into the bush and bashing my way into a clearing. The undergrowth seemed to be thicker than when I was here last time but I found a suitable spot within the activation zone and set up.
This time I logged 14 contacts in 20 minutes including S2S contacts with Peter VK3PF, Greg VK2FGJW and Ian VK1DI. Meanwhile the daily temperature was now rising and I received reports of 2 fire trucks from nearby Warburton heading out to control a small fire via Andrew VK3FAJH on the VK3REC repeater. I scanned the CFA frequencies and heard that the fire was quickly controlled.
Mission accomplished, I packed and headed back to the car for the return trip over the giant spoon drains, carving some more grooves into them as I descended and headed for Mt Bride.
Activated 27 January 2014
My second visit to Mt Bride had an element of deja vu. Last time I was here and spent time messing around trying to get the doublet strung up reasonably without much success and I tried again and also failed. Giving up on the doublet I spiked the vertical antenna in the ground and was on the air within minutes without the need to tune up.
This time I first logged an S2S contact with Rod VK2TWR and Peter VK3PF jointly activating VK2/SM-089 in a total of 11 contacts with the last contact for the day being Amanda VK3FQSO.
Mt Little Joe was the next summit on my list as a possible activation but I decided to leave it for another day, being the lowest scoring hill and yet the toughest climb. I instead headed into Warburton to catch up with my friend Andrew VK3FAJH for a social visit and a dip in the Yarra River to cool off before heading home.