VK2/SM-053 1459 metres ASL 8 points Wollondibby Road, Crackenback
Saturday 15 November 2014. I planned this activation 4 weeks ago after the VK SOTA group agreed with a proposal to hold a VK SOTA Party on the weekend 15 – 16 November 2014. As it turns out the weekend is also known in amateur radio circles as the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA) where amateur radio operators take the challenge to activate Victoria’s 45 National Parks.
Earlier today I activated two 10 point summits in the Kosciuszko National Park VK2/SM-036 (unnamed) and Blackfellows Hill VK2/SM-033. So far this weekend, including an activation Friday evening The Cascades VK2/SM-014, I have walked about 24 km. My plan for the afternoon/evening is an easy drive to an unnamed summit VK2/SM-053. The plan is to work VK chasers on 40m then QSY to 20m around 0700 UTC for EU chasers and a chance to work EU activators. 5 weeks earlier I submitted a planning note on the SOTA reflector, seeking interest from EU folk to join in on the VK SOTA Party with the prospect of chasing unique VK summits some in the 8 and 10 point range. Looking at SOTAWatch there are 9 EU activators with alerts to join in on the VK SOTA Party.
Where is VK2/SM-053? From Jindabyne take the Alpine Way for about 8.5 km, at Wollondibby Road turn left off the Alpine Way. The area is well-known for ecotourism and the Thredbo Valley Distillery making Australian schnapps. Wollondibby Road is gravel suitable for front wheel drive vehicles. At the bottom end close to the Alpine Way the road has a smattering of potholes, nothing too serious. Stay on Wollondibby Road for 6 km until you reach what appears to be an estate development site, no signs. At this point the gravel road turns into a rough track, it’s best to leave your car and walk the last 200 metres or so. By all means, with high axle clearance you should be okay navigating through the rough stuff. BTW the closest natural geographic feature is Mowamba River, for SOTA purposes the ridge line might be named Mowamba Ridge which works in well with the Mowamba State Forest 2.5 km south-west along the same ridge line. (see map)
A popular summit, previous activators: Rod VK2TWR, Andrew VK3BQ, Al VK1RX, Peter VK3PF, Rob VK3EK & Mike VK3XL, Rob VK2QR and Scott VK2SWD.
On the summit I found a convenient stump to support the squid pole and a rock to sit on. For this activation the rig by choice is a FT-857D, quite frankly I want the option of 35 to 40 watts output to work Europe DX. I’ve been lucky in the past working EU chasers on 5 watts always a struggle, so why not enjoy the challenge with 38 watts output.
Started the activation on 40m at 0633 UTC, first contact is Rob VK2QR/3 S2S on VK3/VE-017 The Twins, followed by Matt VK1MA, Andrew VK2UH and Rob VK3EK/P still on VK3/VG-133 Mt Cann to qualify the peak, thanks guys. Worked 17 more chasers including Bernard VK3AV, Mike VK3XL, Peter VK3FPSR, Cliff VK2CCJ, Garry VK2GAZ, Paul VK1ATP, Mark VK7MK, Justin VK7TW, Brian VK3MCD, Ian VK3TCX, Julie VK3FOWL, Paul VK5PAS, Adam VK2YK and Tom VK5FTRG. More S2S action on 40m with Tony VK3CAT/P on Mt Strickland VK3/VN-030 and Peter VK3PF/P on Monkeytop VK3/VG-041. I left the frequency to Peter and moved on to 20m to chase SOTA peaks in Austria and the UK.
On 20m from 0650 UTC chasers were Massimo IK1GPG, Michael GJ5AV, Albert S58AL, Ian VK5IS, John VK6NU, Marko OH9XX, Gerard VK2IO/M, Frans ON5SWA, Don G0RQL, Glenn VK3YY, Jorge EA2LU and Guru EA2IF.
S2S contacts on 20m John VK2WY/P on Granite Mountain VK2/SW-015, Herbert OE9HRV/P on OE/VB-462 Vorderes Hörnle in Austria, Tom M1EYP/P on The Cloud G/SP-015, Barry M0IML/P on Cheriton Hill G/SE-015 and Bill G4WSB/P on Beacon Batch G/SC-003. Thanks Herbert, Barry and Bill for three new DX summits. 😉
I did wait for Mike 2E0YYY to activate G/WB-004 on the Welsh border, I was looking forward to chasing a new peak, unfortunately I couldn’t stay on the summit up to sunset. The temperature dropped quickly, I started to shiver. Time to pack up and head back to Jindabyne for a hot brew and complete the SOTA log upload. The plan for Sunday is Perisher VK2/SM-007 at 2054 metres ASL, however the SOTA Gods seem to have some influence on the weather for the next 24 hours. Forecast is heavy rain and thunderstorms. Lets see what the weather is in the morning? 🙂