Allen and I decided on Mt Bullfight VK3/VN-002 and Pyramid Hill VK3/VN-005 for an activation on Saturday, 31st August as weather was looking picture perfect for the last day of Winter in Oz. Mt Bullfight (1480m) doesn’t have a track to the summit so it is about 1km bush bash from the Bullfight Track. The mountain misses out on a 10 point ranking by only 20m.
From the Snobs Creek Rd., we turned up Bullfight Track only to find a locked gate (which we sort of expected). This meant another 3km or so hike up the track before leaving for the scrub.
We walked up the track and just past Stillman lookout turnoff at -37.4224 145.9183, we headed into the bush in a roughly Southerly direction. Allen had been to this one before, so he navigated close to the previous track on the GPS. There were the odd fallen trees to climb over and occasional boulder, but the going was pretty good, although a little more tiring than expected (must be getting old!). The overall elevation gain from the parked car is about 400 metres over 4.5km.
As we entered the activation zone, snow suddenly appeared and the summit area had a pretty good cover. We were probably the first to visitors for a month or so seeing there is no track up and the snow has been a lot thicker.
Allen set up a CW station on 40m and about 75m away, I set up an SSB station using the end fed on a light weight squid pole. The SWR was up a bit, probably due to the antenna not being as high as usual. The first contact was Tony, VK3CAT over on Mt. Selma. Shortly after we worked Scott, VK2SWD on Mt. Kosciuzsko. Great start to the activation. Peering at the display on the ‘817, I realised that the power was set to 1W! Power output corrected and then a mob of chasers worked.
Allen had a couple of contacts on CW after some tweeking of the antenna. After about 30 minutes, we packed up and headed back to the car for the next summit, Pyramid Hill.
I had been to Pyramid Hill before with Andrew, VK1NAM. On our visit there last year, a huge gust of wind came through and flattened our station. It took some time to locate some of Andrew’s antennas and my squid pole was damaged.
This time, the weather was perfect. We left Snobs Creek Road 4km to the north of Bullfight Track and took No. 5 Road. We drove for a few km until we reached another very sturdy gate. According to the GPS we had a walk of about 1km to the summit. After setting off, things didn’t look quite the same as the last trip here. The track was upgraded in parts and seemed to have been shifted a little, possibly due to the logging operations. After a distance of 0.5km, we came across another sturdy gate with signs all around it about the logging operations. This didn’t look too familiar, but we kept going anyway.
After another few hundred metres, we realised we were on the wrong track and turned around back to the gate. To the East of the gate, we saw the track we should have been on. The track was rather overgrown compared to the last visit. It was then a steep 600m walk up to the summit which is partially logged and burned. Once again, we set up a CW and SSB station on 40m. Suprisingly, with little interference between the two.
Allen worked CW summit to summit with Tony. VK3CAT on Mt. Useful. I worked the usual chasers while noting SWR was not so good. I went over to 20m and SWR was still not too good. Getting up from my comfortable operating spot next to a tree stump, it was obvious the antenna was not right. The other half of the inverted V had come away from its anchor branch and was dangling next to the squid pole. Time was now running out to get back to the car and get home at a reasonable time, so we packed up and left.