Originally, we had planned to head to Mt. St. Phillack VK3/VT-006 from the St. Gwinear car park, but the weather bureau had issued a severe storm warning for Saturday. On Saturday morning at 7am, Peter, VK3ZPF suggested that the plan be changed to Mt. Useful VK3/VT-013 and un-named summit VT-034, which sounded like a good idea.
We turned off at Taralgon, through Cowarr and took McEvoy’s track from Seaton in the direction of Mt. Useful. The map had shown Spring Track as the road to take, but the signs all said Mc Evoy’s. From Seaton it was around 50km to Mt Useful. I had Androzic running on my Phone, but for some reason the distance scale in it was around 150% of what it should have been. Mc Evoy’s Track had many signs with Historical Markers on it, but there was no clue to what the markers were for.
Snow appeared on the sides of the road as we approached 850 metres altitude and we had a lot of altitude to gain for Mt. Useful at 1434 metres. A few km before the summit, the snow was over the road and it was icy, so without chains it was not a good idea to go any further. The temperature outside was around 2 degrees and the wind was howling so a walk did not seem like a good idea either. There was not much shelter due to the bushfires that had recently been through. So, we turned around and headed to VT-034.
The road goes almost over the top of VT-034, so we parked just out of the activation zone and walked down the hill a bit just to make sure. It was very cold with a strong wind blowing so we set up just on the downwind side of the summit. Peter set up on 12 metres and I set up on 40 metres. I had a string of problems with my squid pole, the end cap unscrewed and rolled away and then the sections all fell out. Numb fingers didn’t help. Once most squid pole sections were back in, I pushed the the end section in hard, so it would pop out at the other end. The pole was bungied on a tree and I found that top section was stuck. It had somehow got between the second last section and the next section (the top section is only half length). So off came the pole and I wrestled the centre out from the bottom. By now the fingers were totally numb.
Eventually it was all sorted and the half wave end fed connected and gloves put back on. 19 contacts were made on 40m and Peter made a couple on 12 metres and then made some on 40m. Peter worked VK6MB on 12 metres which was good going. Summit to summits were made with Mark, VK3UA on VK3/VS-050 and Allen VK3HRA on VK3/VC023. We packed up and headed off around 12:15 local.
We had a look on the map and there was another summit VT-064 not too far away, so we headed down a track in it’s direction but soon came across a tree that was blocking the road. After an assessment of options, Mt. Worth was on the way home, providing we could stay ahead the the rain.
Mt. Worth was also very cold. To get in the activation zone, we had to climb the steep road verge and set up on the fence line. For a quick activation, I took up just the radio and “cute little antenna”, the Diamond RMH8. With just a some wire as a ground, I made a couple of contacts with poor signal reports as expected. As I was making contacts, Peter strung up his linked dipole just over my head a few metres away. As he put the link in for 40 metres, VK5PAS said the signal jumped up several S points. Somehow I was coupling into the linked dipole. Peter pulled the link out and sure enough, the signal dropped right down again. Peter made quite a few contacts with good signals on the linked dipole just a few metres off the ground.
Things were packed up and we climbed down the bank and headed off to the car just as the rain started. All good.
Another great activation, my points tally went over 250 so now am quarter goat. Long way to go. Thanks Peter! See Peter’s post of the activation.