The plan was to activate Mt. Vinegar first then later, head to Mt. Strickland. From Warburton, I took the Mt. Donna Buang Rd. and turned off at the Acheron Way. The turnoff from the Acheron Way to Mt. Vinegar is Carter’s Gap Rd., see this previous post. I headed up Carter’s Gap Rd. and about 1km in, the the road was closed due to tree felling operations. Change of plan.
After turning around and driving back down to the Acheron Way, I turned left and went North in the direction of Mt. Strickland. It looked like Granton Rd. on the right, some 4km past Carter’s Gap Rd. would lead to Mt. Strickland. I took Granton Rd., and turned right into Strickland Spur Track. This track is pretty rough and there are many spoon drains and ruts. After about 800m while driving at not much better than walking pace, it seemed that I should either park and walk the rest of the way or turn around and find a better way.
Looking a the map, back down the Acheron Way almost opposite Carter’s Gap Rd., there is Lowering Gear Track, which I had discounted due to the dotted line on the map. This track had looked quite reasonable as I went past it earlier. So, I headed back down the Acheron Way, took a left turn into Lowering Gear Track and found it was good condition gravel road, probably upgraded for logging. After about 500 metres, I turned left into Feiglins Road and followed this 7km to the junction of Road 8. A left turn into Road 8 and 1.7km later and I was at the summit. The road was good condition gravel 2wd all the way and very dusty. I parked near the top, took out the pack and headed down the track for a generous 30 metres in elevation and walked back in to the activation zone. There was a cleared area to the east of the road a few metres down from the summit with a lone small Wattle tree looking wanting for a squid pole. As the Wattle had a little bit of shade, the switched 40m/20m/12m switched dipole was hitched up and radio set up under the tree.
Contacts on 40m were plentiful as usual! Signals were good all around from VK1/2/3/5. Summit to summits were made with Mark, VK3ASC on VK3/VE-241, VK3ARR on VK3/VC-032, VK3ANL on VK3/VU-011 and VK3KAB on VK3/VC-009. In the case of Kevin, VK3KAB, I had just packed away the switched dipole and heard the spot come though. The trusty End Fed was quicky unrolled and put on the squid pole for the contact.
On 12m, 4 contacts were made, the highlight being Mike, AD5A in Texas. Signals were weak, but Mike was R5, and gave me R3, S3. Great to work John, VK6NU on 12m as well.
This summit might make a good place for a VHF/UHF field day, particularly with a LOS path into Melbourne. See the photos below with lots of zoom in the direction of Melbourne.
After packing up and heading back down the road, I wondered if Road 8 would continue to Mt Ritchie and save some time walking. So, instead of heading back down Feiglins Rd., I continued straight south along Road 8. At about 1.4km from Mt. Ritchie, I came to a locked gate with a sign prohibiting access to the catchment area. Oh, well, pretty close, but no cigar. After heading back to Feiglins Rd., and south on the Acheron Way it looked like it was going to be too late to head up to Mt. Ritchie from here, so I kept going home.
Overall, a nice day in the hills, but had felt a bit cheated in not doing any hiking!