Unnamed Summit VK1/AC-018 1510 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park near Corin Dam using Special Event Callsign VI100ACT
Forecast: -4 to 14 degrees and cloudy, actual -6.5 and sunny in parts.
Navigation: Map Corin Dam 1:25000 and Garmin 62s
Summit Location: Grid QF44kl, S35.51250 E148.88000
Winter Bonus Points: 3
ARig: FT857D and FT60R
Antenna: 20m, 40m dipoles and the 2m Slim Jim
Antenna support: 7m Squid Pole
Power: LiPo 4S
Walking Distance: 9 km return
Ascent: 384 metres
Start time 07:00 and back at the car at 14:45 6 hours 15 min.
The summit is located in the vicinity of Corin Forest and Billy Billy Rocks, and overlooks Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve at 1510 metres. The drive is via Point Hut Crossing, Tidbinbilla Road and Corin Road. Parking is at the ‘Square Rock’ car park near Smokers Trail 1 km past the Corin Forest adventure park.
There is no trail to the summit or intermediate waypoints, so scrub bashing is the order of the day. Arrived at the car park at 06:50, temperature is -6.5 degrees, loaded up the human pack-horse and headed north-west on the 1.2 km leg to Bogong Cave. Mistake number #1 – Don’t ignore the good advice of someone else who has a better idea. John Evans in his 2010 blog advised to head North-East to avoid the worst of the regrowth. The worst of the regrowth…he was correct, at this point I was assessing the viability to keep going or abort the activation. I kept going.
So yes I ignored his advice and went straight up and over the 1300 metre knoll and into a creek bed on the north side. You bet I hit the worst regrowth! The regrowth is very heavy with a combination of eucalypt and wattle tress. It’s worse than the regrowth on Orroral Hill. The stats from the Garmin 62s show the following:
Car park to VK1/AC-018: 2 hours 44 minutes
Moving Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Stopped Time: 49 minutes
VK1/AC-018 to car: 2 hours 21 minutes
Moving Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Stopped Time: 25 minutes
30% of the time (stopped) was spent dealing with regrowth trying to get through it or around it. You will notice I learnt the lesson and the return route (green) from Bogong Cave went further out to the east away from the eucalypt and wattle. I recommend heading further east after passing Bogong Cave as per John’s January 2010 post. You will need to work out a balance between time and distance. Which ever route you select, avoid the 1300 metre knoll (WPT1). If you want to head straight up to Bogong Cave as I did then at least go around the knoll to the east. The regrowth on the east side is mostly clusters of wattle about 1.5 to 2 metres high. Be careful of the fallen timber from the 2003 fires, you will know its there when you trip over. I went down three times.
Here is the route and track profiles.
You can see from the return profile I avoided dropping into the creek and going over the knoll. Still tough going.
So enough of the regrowth, I have written about it for the last four activations. I’m over it and so are you!
So down to business, you want to read about the SOTA activation at VK1/AC-018.
Arrived at 09:50 and being short on time before UTC change I decided to use the HT. Called CQ on 2m simplex using VI100ACT special event callsign. Al VK1RX checked in along with Mark VK1MDC and Ian VK1DI. With UTC out-of-the-way I had 30 minutes to set up the HF equipment. Found a small skinny eucalypt suitable for the squid pole, 2m Slim Jim and yes the SOTA Flag. The tree was too skinny to support the weight of the HF antenna. Overhead was a tree branch however the tree was dead so I had to be gentle with the rope and not bring the branch down on top of me, it’s big.
With the antennas in the air I was ready to go at 10:25 (00:25 UTC) 5 minutes ahead of the posted time. Started on 2m simplex and worked 6 VK1 stations VK1MDC, VK1UU, Vk1FSTJ, VK1IRC, VK1MBE and VK1MAT mobile out at Bungendore 76 km to the east. Next moved to 2m SSB and worked Andrew VK1MBE.
Okay so now to HF 40m and the potential pile up! Started at 10:33 on 7.090 MHz and didn’t stop until 11:40 local. Ed VK2JI was first out of the starting blocks after I called CQ SOTA using VI100ACT, thanks for the SOTA Spot. Ed if you were having antenna problems it didn’t show with a 59 report? Worked 35 stations on 7.090 MHz, QRP stations included VK3YY Glenn, VK2KAN Rik, and VK3JM Fred. The chasers numbers by call region were VK2 7, VK3 23, VK5 4 and VK7 1 (Scott VK7NWT). Now for a first for me. I had my first female SOTA chaser and that was VK3WQ Jenny from Sunbury with a very strong signal at 59+. Jenny was operating with her husband VK3RU Peter.
Among the 40m crowd there appeared to be problems with flat batteries. Murphy’s law was very busy taking out three stations. It’s quite strange when you are listening to a reply and then the signal just disappears! okay scratch that one from the log.
At 11:40 local I moved to 20m 14.342 MHz, thanks Ian VK5CZ for the SOTA Spot. Worked VK8GMT Matt somewhere in Darwin operating QRP with the 817 and a home-brew OCF dipole, VK5CZ Ian using a monster log periodic, VK5PAS Paul, VK1UU Murray, VK5MBD Bill, VK5MCB Mike also operating QRP, VK5WG Nev, I think Nev was using a 40m dipole, VK1DI Ian and VK4DMP Marcello who had a booming signal. Had lots of fun on 20m, band conditions were excellent from my point of view.
Final session was on 2m simplex looking for the VK1 Winter VHF-UHF Field Day stations, worked VK1DI Ian and VK1NPW/2 Peter.
So, all up a fantastic activation using special event callsign VI100ACT and 56 contacts in the SOTA log. 20m and 40m band conditions were excellent, no noise on VK1/AC-018. This activation takes my SOTA Activator score to 100. Yipee!
Next Activation: Sentry Box Mountain VK1/AC-010, 1720 metres ASL in a couple of weeks.