Today I had plans to activate Mt Vinegar VK3/VC-005 1069 metres ASL and Mt Gordon VK3/VN-027 764 metres ASL in the Yarra Ranges National Park. Departed Croydon at 8 am for the trip to Warburton then the Acheron Way leading to Carters Gap Road. We encountered two trees on the Donna Buang road and a third tree on the Acheron Way. All three were man-handled and moved off to the side of the road.
Successfully negotiated Carters Gap Road to No 8 track however when turning left into No 8 track there was a very large Mountain Ash laying across the track. (sorry forgot to take a photo). Not having an industrial size chainsaw and little inspiration to walk 3 or 4 km and mindful of the forecast for 110 km/h winds later in the afternoon, I turned the car around and headed off to Mt Gordon. Mt Gordon overlooks the Marysville valley and provides a spectacular view of the Cathedral Range near Buxton. With extra time now available I consulted with the passengers about a possible activation of Mt St Leonard near Kinglake but still cautious about the weather warning issued by the BOM. Negotiations were tense, final agreement was reached after my sister and daughter suggested lunch at Giant Steps restaurant in Healesville. The temperature outside the car was 4.5 degrees. The wind chill was closer to 1 or 2 degrees cooler.
Arrived at Mt Gordon at 10:40 am and parked the car at the gate (well what’s left of the gate) and walked up to the summit.
Operating position sitting under the fire lookout tower
At 11 am I posted a spot using Rucksack then called CQ SOTA. Marshall VK3MRG responded and was a little curious about the summit details mentioned in the spot. Mindful of the issues when the activator gets the summit reference wrong, I called for a temporary halt to the chase and sorted out the spot. (see the power of the activator, you can call off the chase 🙂 ) The summit details I had spotted were not the details for Mt Gordon VK3/VN-027. I have no idea! Anyway I deleted the spot using SOTAWatch2 and successfully posted a new spot using Racksack. (I think Rucksack uses a default summit reference based on the top five closest summits. I just checked the screen and the default spot reference is now Mt.Dandenong, closest to Croydon). Yes, I clearly didn’t check the spot details, silly me!
With the chase underway I worked Marshall VK3MRG, Ernie VK3DET, Peter VK3PF QRP and Larry VK5LY to qualify the summit. Taking one for the team we pushed on with 11 more contacts. Peter VK3FPSR, Col VK3UBY, Paul VK5PAS, Perrin VK3XPT pedestrian mobile, Fred VK3JM, Ed VK2JI, Bernard VK3AMB, Brian VK3MCD, Bob VK7FRKL, Glenn VK3YY/P and Chris VK3EF.
The chase suddenly went quiet so I spotted myself on 20m 14.342 MHz and called CQ for 10 minutes. Nothing….
Left Mt Gordon at 11:30 for lunch in Healesville. Did Mt St Leonard work out? No the BOM forecast for 110 km/h winds was very close to the mark. We were waiting at the base of Mt St Leonard on Myers Creek Road for a thunderstorm to pass. The storm passed through and was immediately followed by the 110 km/h winds, it was not safe to be in or near the Mountain Ash giants so we headed off to Yarra Glen to sample chocolate at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. Hmm…
73, Andrew VK1NAM/3