After hearing of Allen, VK3HRA‘s plans to go to Mt. Timbertop and an un-named summit close to Timbertop (VK3/VE-123) I called to see if he would mind company. I had also planned to visit either Mt. Timbertop or Mt. Useful on the same day depending on weather.
The plan was to meet Allen in Mansfield at 8:30am and allowing 2.5 hrs for the trip it meant leaving home at 6am on the Sunday morning.
I left home just before 6am and when I hit the road, gave a call on the REC repeater. Surprisingly, Marshall, VK3MRG answered the call as he was on the way to activate Mt. Toorongo Range. Allen popped up just after. The trip to Mansfield was uneventful and arrived there ahead of time at 8am. Allen arrived shortly after and we left in one car.
The way to Mt. Timbertop is via Merrijig on the Mt Buller Rd . and turning onto the Howqua Track. Howqua Track was in very good condition and looking like it was recently graded. After about 8km the Timbertop walking track car park is on the left. There is a reasonable car park and a well defined track to the top. The walk is 1.6km according to the sign. There is a fair altitude gain of about 350metres over that distance, so the walk is very steep. We set off at about 9am. As we neared the summit, it looked like we just might make the UTC rollover (which we had not planned for). We made the summit at about 23:56 and put our stuff down on the downwind side of the mountain, just below the peak.
I quickly grabbed my FT-817 and the “cute little antenna”, slid the matching coil for zero reflected on 40m and gave a call (without a groundplane). Matt, VK1MA answered straight back at at 23:58 and then Andrew, VK1NAM called.
After UTC rollover, we setup the 40m dipoles. I called and Matt answered, but he said the signal was weak, just like the “cute little antenna”. I looked down and noticed that the antenna matcher was set to the 3k Ohm dummy load. A flick of the switch made a big difference to the signal!
Went to 12 metres without making any contacts. Summit to summit contacts included VK3MRG on Toorongo Range, VK3XL on Mt. Johnston and VK3BHR on Mt. Kooyoora. After some more contacts on 40 metres, we admired the scenery and pockets of snow around us and packed up. The weather was very mild.
Once back at the car, we drove a short distance back to the intersection of three chain track and the Howqua track. From this intersection, the walk is about 3km to the West. Three Chain Road had some large spoon drains and ruts, but we thought we would give it a go anyway. The car handled the road well and after about 1km or so, it became extremely steep and rutted, so we thought it wise to see if we could turn around and park.
The walk from this point was damn steep although only about 1km further. The track goes over the top of the summit, so we set up on the side of the track.
After some contacts on 40 metres, I tried 12 metres, but no joy. Don’t know if conditions were bad for 12, but surprised we didn’t work something. We made a summit to summit contact with VK3MRG on Mc Carthy Spur. The wind blew the squidpole down at one point.
It was still pretty mild, temperature of 9 degrees. The weather change was hitting Ballarat, so we thought it best to pack up and go. Fuel economy for the trip was 6.9 litre/100km.
Another successful day in the hill, thanks Allen. Allen’s blog.