Suddenly the camera was gone!

Pheasant Hill VK1/AC-021 1455 metres ASL, Namadgi National Park VKFF-377

Having had a good morning on Boboyan Divide the next summit is Pheasant Hill a 4 point summit blessed with 3 winter bonus points.  The drive is 2 km back along Boboyan Road heading north to Brayshaw’s Hut car park where there is ample parking space.

From Brayshaw’s Hut the climb to the summit is 220 meters over 2.7 km taking one hour.   The first km is on a formed track known as Settlers Track, at Grid Reference 678283  6028383 leave Settlers Track turn right into a clearing and head north-east for 120 meters then turn left for a scrub bash to the summit.  Recommend avoiding the natural water course, it’s regrowth heaven and boggy, instead head north-west for a clearing at the top of the water course (check Google Earth) At the head of the water course turn right heading north for a direct line of sight approach to the peak.  I have dropped a copy of the GPS log in the SOTA_Australia VK1 folder, you can import the file into Google Earth.

It’s very pleasant on Pheasant Hill, Lyrebird calls are common during daylight, you are likely to see one or two Lyrebirds on the summit scratching around for bite size meals.

Pheasant Hill from the ACT/NSW border

a view of Pheasant Hill from the ACT/NSW border

Pheasant Hill 1455 metres ASL and Brayshaw's Hut in the foreground

Pheasant Hill 1455 metres ASL and Brayshaw’s Hut in the foreground

A short drive to Brayshaw’s Hut heading north back along Boboyan Road.  After taking these pictures, little did I know I would lose the camera close to the summit.

Information board

Information board on Brayshaw’s Hut and Settlers Track

GPS track log

Pheasant Hill GPS track log

Pheasant Hill GPS track log 2.7 km

Pheasant Hill track profile

Pheasant Hill track profile – 220 metre ascent

Arrived at the summit one hour later, set up the FT817ND SOTA radio on the favourite log.  See the Pheasant Hill September 2013 post.  Set up the 40m center loaded vertical in a clearing with space for the 6.8 metre non-resonant ground plane radials.  Connecting the coax cable between the antenna and the radio is a good option, wondered for a second why reception on the hill-top was so quiet.  Set the VFO for 7.090 MHz and listened for a minute or two for SOTA activators, tuned up and down the band all quiet.

Back to 7.090 MHz found Peter VK3PF on a final QSO with a VK2 operator. After both stations signed off I called Peter seeking his help to post a spot. (no Optus 3G reception, again)  Peter obliged with a RRT spot, we had a quick chat while service providers processed the RRT request.  Thanks Peter much appreciated.

2nd chaser was Amanda VK3FQSO followed by John VK5BJE for number three in the log, then Gerard VK2IO fourth with a 5-8 report for the summit qualification, thanks Gerard.  With summit qualified I now have 503 SOTA activator points yippee or half way to the SOTA Mountain Goat award, a distant yet achievable 1000 points.  It’s been a 16 month journey walking 540 km to and from mountain tops to accumulate 500 points. I’m guessing it will take a similar time, if not longer to make it to SOTA Goat.  You can be assured I’m having lots of  fun getting there, scary to think I might have walked over 1000 km!!

One of the attractive features of SOTA is you decide on your personal goal either as an Activator, Chaser or both in the Summit to Summit activator/chaser category.

Following the qualification with Gerard the next three chasers were S2S contacts, Rob VK3EK/P on VK3/VG-122, Mark VK3ASC on VK3/VE-105 Mt Big Ben and Ian VK5CZ/P on VK5/NE-065.

The remaining chasers to accumulate 4 points were Larry VK5LY, Lee VK2LEE, Paul VK5PAS, Bernard VK3AMB, Ron VK3VBI, Peter VK3FPSR, Paul VK2KTT, Andrew VK2FAJG, Ken VK3UH, Andrew VK1MBE summit to summit on VK2/ST-006 South Black Range, Tony VK3CAT, Craig VK3WAR, Kevin VK2KEV and Paul VK1PAW.

Next on the list of summit activities, take a break to eat and drink, plus take a couple of photos for the blog.  I’ve got food and water but where is the camera?  No camera….no not the camera!?  Checked the backpack hip belt…hmm no camera, turned the backpack inside out…no camera.  Bugger, I have lost the odd bits and pieces before, reading glasses, occy straps, Aus Topo micro SD card but please no NOT the camera.   Do you know the crippling feeling of camera loss? I do, I get it!

What next?  Pack away the remaining gear and backtrack my footsteps through the bush along the GPS track log, I do remember saving the track log.  🙂    Before leaving the summit I backtracked around the summit area, no camera.

Screen shot – me with GPS in hand walking around the summit looking for the camera.  Comfortable the camera is not on the summit, it should be in the scrub somewhere down the hill.  Next follow the GPS track using a zigzag search pattern crossing over the saved route should do the trick.

Looking around the summit

searching the summit and back tracking on the GPS track log

Continue along the saved GPS track.   Searching for the camera, along the way I recognise certain trees, logs and granite boulders, happy knowing I have covered the same route, the camera is still ahead of me somewhere further down the hill.  The good news, after walking 425 meters, I spotted the camera 5 metres ahead, thank you GPS satellites for reuniting me with the camera.  🙂    Whatever the GPS accuracy was on the day and with regular tree cover, the Garmin 62S guided me along the saved route, nice feeling!

Relief, camera found 430 metres from the summit.

Looking for the camera

using the Garmin 62S to backtrack on the GPS track log

SOTA camera


SOTA camera

How did I lose the camera?  The camera case has a loop to slip over the backpack hip belt.  The loop is joined by a short section of Velcro, a press-stud locks the loop in place.   Looking at the camera case the press-stud was not locked in.  So during the walk the main loop worked loose from the hip belt falling to the ground.

Lesson 1.  Clip the locking press stud after placing the camera case on the backpack hip belt.

Lesson 2.  Check the press stud is locked in place

Lesson 3.  Regularly check the camera case is on the hip belt

camera case with the locking stud open

found the camera case with the locking press-stud open – as demonstrated in this picture


camera found - heading back to Brayshaw's hut

camera found – heading back to Brayshaw’s hut

A long day – back at the car by 3 pm for a hot brew of tea.  🙂


7 thoughts on “Suddenly the camera was gone!

  1. Pingback: SOTA – VK1AD portable 70cm update #23 – 2 Peaks 17 km Hike | Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life

  2. Pingback: SOTA 500 Point Activator Award Certificate | Get out of the Radio Shack and Live Life

  3. Hi Andrew, what a great blog! And I am sure glad you got your camera back. And to top if off, I am pleased to be no 3 in the log for that activation – all adding up to getting me over the 1000 points as a chaser.

    John D

  4. Hi Andrew,

    I left my prescription ‘transition’ glasses on the top of a summit last year. Haven’t heard the end of it since ! I must go back and see if I can find them. That was a $400.00 summit!



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