On Sunday, Kevin, VK3KAB and myself left Narre Warren Nth at 6am to head to Mt. Ritchie for a SOTA activation. The aim was to be on air about half an hour before the UTC rollover. We didn’t have a lot of time as it was Mother’s Day and I had to be back around 2pm.
Mt. Ritchie is accessed from Warburton along the Acheron Way. After taking the Mt. Donna Buang road from Warburton, follow the road until the junction with the Acheron Way and turn right. The road is unsealed at this point, follow it for 10.5km to a hairpin bend with a locked gate right on the bend. There is a small area to park off the side of the gate. It took us about 85 minutes to arrive at the gate and park. The track beyond the gate is signposted Road 15.
Once over the gate, Road 15 climbs steeply heading east where it intersects with Road 10 about 2.4 km in. Turn left at Road 10 to the north and follow it for about 4.8 km to the summit of Mt. Ritchie which is just off the left side of the track. Road 10 rises steeply for a few hundred metres and then levels out. The worst of the climb is over at this point.
The rest of the walk is less steep with several long levelish sections.
It took us 1 hour 50 minutes to walk to the summit from the gate and about 1 hour 15 minutes to walk back.
Once on the summit, there is a largish clearing and a solid white post just right to strap a squid pole to.
The end fed half wave was set up on the squid pole for my antenna and Kevin set up a Buddipole in a horizontal dipole configuration with centre loading coils. The whole thing does pack down very nicely. Must do a weight comparison with his setup and mine including the squid pole. I think Kevin’s will be a bit lighter.
Signals were strong all from VK1, VK2 and VK5. I had about 30 contacts and Kevin, about the same. There were no shortages of chasers. We also worked summit to summit with Glen, VK1FB on Mt. Rob Roy and Ian, VK1DI on Bulleen Range. Peter, VK3YE was a strong signal from Bonbeach portable using a magnetic loop.
It was surprisingly cold as we had left the suburbs at 6am with an unusually warm temperature or 18 degrees. On the summit it was so cold it was difficult to hold the pen. Most contacts were on 40m and one on 2m FM.
Also see this later post for a subsequent trip to Mt. Ritchie.