Mt Ginger Ale 1770 metres ASL, Bimberi Wilderness, Namadgi National Park
I started planning the activation of Mt Ginger Ale VK1/AC-007 in April to accommodate the requirement of ACT Namadgi National Parks Management to obtain a camping permit for the Bimberi Wilderness area. The Bimberi Wilderness is within the ACT water catchment zone. The permit states a maximum of 24 people are permitted in the catchment during any 24 hour period. 🙂
My SOTA activation plan included activating Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008 Saturday morning at 0900 local for 30 minutes then a 12 walk from Mt Ginini car park to the summit of Mt Ginger Ale via Prior’s Hut and passing the Blue Rock at the Mt Gingera summit walking track. The activation of Mt Ginger Ale involved camping overnight and operating on the 2m VHF DX Net the next morning. The VHF DX net starts at 0800 local for one hour.
Navigation: Map and Compass, Map: Corin Dam 1:25,000 topo
Radio: FT857D and FT60 HT
Batteries: 2 5Ah 4s Lipo and 1 3.3 Ah 4s Lipo (one battery too many)
Antennas: 2m 5el yagi, 2m Slim Jim and a 40 metre EFHW
Squid Poles: 2, 7 metre and a 9 metre
Water: 3 Litres
One Man Tent, Down Sleeping Bag and Thermals 🙂
First Aid kit
Return Route: 24 km
Forecast Temp: 6 degrees overnight with 40km/h winds.
Left home at 7 am for a 74 km drive to Mt Ginini via Uriarra Crossing, Piccadilly Circus and Bulls Head. The drive takes about 75 minutes along Brindabella Road to Piccadilly Circus then Mt Franklin Road to Mt Ginini car park. Mt Franklin Road is suitable for non 4WD vehicles with a reasonable level of clearance. The temperate was quite cool, an inversion layer had formed near Uriarra Crossing.
Arrived at Mt Ginini 45 minutes ahead of the posted schedule, I took my time to set up the 40 metre dipole supported by a 9 metre squid pole. There was a light breeze sufficient to fly the SOTA Flag. Started the activation at 0835 local contacting VK2BX Brian and VK1MDC Mark on 7.090. I am not sure who posted the SOTA spot but what followed was a major pile up. I understand ‘SOTA Goats’ were active in bedrooms in the Adelaide Hills and Ballarat.
Activation results: 26 chasers including VK3YY Glenn mobile on his way to VK3/VT-026 and a surprise S2S with VK3MRG Marshall on VK3/VC-033.
View of Mt Ginger Ale from Mt Gingera (post update Nov 14) 3.2 km as the crow flies, 5 km walking along Mt Franklin road.
Departed Mt Ginini car park at 0945 for the 12 km journey along Mt Franklin Road which is a management vehicle track closed to vehicles other than Environment ACT Rangers and emergency services. The track is easy-going downhill to Prior’s Hut where you can take a break from the weight of a heavy pack and sample the fine food tucked away somewhere in the pack. Along the route to Ginger Ale there are two alpine water streams flowing out from a water table deep within Mt Gingera. For VK1 activators I have marked both on the Androzic map and happy to share the details with you. National Parks recommend boiling the water before use. I used water sterilization tablets.
At 1140 local I stopped and unpacked the radio gear to chase VK3YY Glenn on VK3/VT-026 Mt Toorongo Range.
I arrived at Black Fellow’s Gap around 1400 local and checked Androzic for the distance to the summit which is about 1.2 km at a height of 260 vertical metres above the saddle. The climb was difficult due to the combination of pack weight and the terrain incline. The ascent on Saturday afternoon took two hours while the descent on Sunday morning was one hour. My original plan was to set up a base camp at Black Fellows Gap followed by a recon of the summit. Instead I decided to take the 26 kg pack up the mountain and camp on the summit overnight. That decision cost me in water reserves. Once I had reconstituted the dried food and enjoyed a warm brew of milo with sweet condensed milk, I had one litre of water for overnight and a warm brew the next morning. 😦
On Saturday night I worked 6 VK1 VHF stations and 8 HF including DX to ZL4CZ Steve in Wellington all on QRP. If you are interested in the weather and wind speeds the automatic weather station at Mt Ginini 12 km to the north, registered wind gusts at 59 km/h? See screen shots of the BOM data. I didn’t fly the SOTA flag due to the drag load on the top sections of the squid pole.
Sunday morning activation details: 2m VHF DX – 14 contacts with a big opening to the NSW North Cost and Central NSW. The contact with VK2EMA Mark west of Parkes QF37QS was outstanding with 59 each way. One VK3 contact with VK3AFW Ron; signal report 51 to Ron and 41 back. HF contacts 19 including S2S with VK3ZPF Peter, VK5CZ Ian and VK3HRA Allen. Thanks to all activators and chasers for the action on Sunday morning. Chaser contacts for the combined activation on Saturday evening and Sunday morning before UTC change is 46. I didn’t stay for the UTC date change.
On the route back I replenished the water bladder and took a 30 minute break at Prior’s Hut for lunch.
Here are a few pictures of the environment.
I will be back next year with a different approach to dealing with this mountain. 😉