Anzac day in Melbourne was looking like fine sunny weather, just perfect for a day in the mountains. I hadn’t been to Mt. Horsfall (VK3/VT-028) before, so chose it and nearby Mt Toorongo Range (VK3/VT-026) which I had activated previously.
Mt Toorongo was the easiest one to activate so I headed there first. See this old post for directions. I had checked the track closures on the Parks website and the information there was ambiguous, referring to last years track closure notice for this year until the 2014 closures are published. Last year the Toorongo Track was closed from 1st June, so this should be open. Forty Mile Break Track was closed from 1st May, so this should be open too. (Map 7 of closures).
I arrived at the Mt Toorongo Track and found the gate closed a short while in. It is only about a 1km walk to the point where you leave the track and scramble to the summit anyway. I was running late and the extra walk made things a bit later again. The scramble to the summit is only 200m or so, but it is steep with thick bush in parts.
After_some stuffing around with the squid pole top section that was stuck, the End Fed for 40m was set up. As my last activation from Mt Oberon suffered from a weak transmitted signal initially, I thought I would redeem myself this time and run the amplifier! It worked well and good signal reports were received all around. Summit to summits included VK3ASC on VE-071, VK3EK on VG-081, VK3HRA on VC-019, VK3PF/VK2IB on VE-056 and VK3MRG on VN-017. Weather was perfect for SOTA.
Operation on 12 metres had contacts with VK6NU, VK3PI and AD5A in Texas. Not bad for 5 Watts. At 1pm everything was packed up and I scrambled down back to the track.
For Mt Horsfall, I followed Peter, VK3PF’s notes on access. I drove back down to the Toorongo Link Road, turned left at Toorongo Road and then right at Forty Mile Break Track. This track is gated, but according to the closures, it is open to the 1st May. It is about 10.5km from the Toorongo Road turnoff along Forty Mile Break Track to the summit. The track is a little bumpy and steep towards the end, and in my case, the track was quite wet from the recent rains. I had to lock AWD for the steep sections. Once at the top there is a nice clearing and a convenient trig point to tie the squid pole to.
To_keep within the SOTA rules, I walked back down the road to lose about 30 metres or so of elevation and walked back again. The radio gear was tipped out of the pack and the station set up on 40m. There was no shortage of activity, although only one summit to summit with Mark, VK3ASC on VE-082.
After about 15 minutes, the chasers were running out and three cars appeared and parked next to me. One guy had a flat tyre on his 4wd. After a bit of a chat, I took everything down and headed off. Another great day in the hills!