Gourock VK2/ST-012 1180 metres ASL, Tallaganda State Forest
Friday 10 April 2015. Today I plan to operate my amateur radio gear from the summit of Gourock VK2/ST-012 in the Tallaganda State Forest (NSW). Possible SOTA summit to summit (S2S) contacts with activators Dave VK4DD on Tennison Woods Mountain VK4/SE-117, South East Queensland 960 km north and Adan VK1FJAW on One Tree Hill VK1/AC-035, Canberra 65 km north-west are likely. Before I left home I received an email from Ian VK1DI warning me about a plant growing in the area known as the Lawyer Vine! Hmm the vine sounds nasty.. 😦
Getting there: From Rossi take Rossi Road then Lowden Road to the end of Lowden Road. See Map. Lowden Road turns into a 4WD fire trail which later terminates in a clearing below Gourock. While you are in the area visit the Lowden Forest Park campground, a former logging camp where you will find a historic waterwheel and parts of a steam engine. More info can be found at http://www.forestrycorporation.com.au/visit/forests/tallaganda
The walk: 1.9 km scrub bash to the summit taking 1 hour 15 minutes, 3.8 km return.
Equipment: Dual band 2m/70cm HT, QRP HF/VHF/UHF Yaesu FT-817 transceiver, antenna 6/10/20/40m homebrew link dipole, battery 4S 4.2 AH Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4). Food, water, clothing, emergency shelter, GPS, topo map and compass. Boots and gaiters suitable for a scrub bush. 🙂
Mobile Phone Reception: On the summit a good signal, 3 bars on the iPad with Telstra 3G. No reception during the ascent on the west face.
Activation. Weather conditions chance of rain and a top of 18 C. On the summit at 0005 UTC (10:05 local) and no sign of rain. 🙂 Found a suitable stump to support the squid pole, 40 metres north of the Trig station. Set up the SOTA gear on a nearby fallen tree.
Chasers on 20m. I started the activation on 14MHz at 0025 UTC, first contact was a S2S with Dave VK4DD followed by Paul VK5PAS, Nev VK5WG and Andrew VK2MWP to qualify the summit. The chaser group continued on 20m with South Australian chasers Tom VK5EE and Ian VK5CZ. 4 out of the 6 20m chasers are from South Australia, well done fellas. 😉
Chasers on 40m. QSY to 7 MHz at 0035 UTC for 18 chasers, Gerard VK2IO, Dave VK2WTY, Paul VK3DBP, Rob VK3EK, Amanada VK3FQSO, Bernard VK3AV, Julie VK3FOWL, Fred VK3DAC, John VK2WY, Andrew VK3JBL, Peter VK3PF, Brett VK3FLCS, Tony VK3CAB, Rob VK3FAAA, Pete VK2FPMC, Adan VK1FJAW on One Tree Hill, Andrew VK2UH and Nick VK2AOH.
Summit to Summit contacts. Dave VK4DD on VK4/SE-117 and Adan on VK1/AC-035. I also worked Adam (65 km NE) on 2m simplex 146.5 MHz FM mode using a Yaesu FT-60R dual band HT. The radio has a full size 1/4 wave whip antenna. Adan was experimenting with the directional properties of his homebrew 2m Moxon.
Watch out for the Lawyer Vine! Smilax australis is prevalent around re-entrants and natural water courses. The vine has a prickly stem about 4 to 5 metres long. In places the vine grows horizontal to the ground about 100mm (4 inches) above ground cleverly disguised by the thick undergrowth. The height above ground is perfect to snag your feet and trip you. In places I found the stem to be 6mm (1/4 inch) thick other places even thicker. I snagged my feet a couple of times on the vine and one occasion the vine whiplashed and hit me on the face. If you plan to visit the summit, I recommend navigating around the creek lines (see map) best option is to follow the ridge lines. (see track log)
GPS track log – drive along Lowden Road to a clearing then on foot to the summit.
Section on foot – 310 metre ascent over 1.9 km, see red track.
Gourock ascent data
Photos of the environment and ascent
Gourock Trig Station
Lowden Forest Park campground