Tumorrama Hill VK2/SW-036

Activating summits in the Snowy Mountains area during winter is great, however the travelling time can be tiresome especially after climbing summits in harsh conditions..  So with this in mind I scanned my local Tumut region for  nearby summits to activate.

Checking SOTA mapping for the Southern Tablelands and the South West Slopes I discovered there are many smaller summits just waiting for activation.  Next step was to plan a trip to allow maximum summit activations during winter daylight hours.

Based on travel time, ease of access and a round trip I settled on three summits,  Two summits in the group had no previous SOTA activation, a bonus for those seeking a new one. From home at Tumut my plan was to activate Tumorrama Hill,  Mt Wee Jasper and Snow Gum Mountain.

The day started early and the weather was fine.

From Tumut take the Wee Jasper Road until reaching the Bombowlee Creek Rd.

Turn right onto Bombowlee Creek Road and continue until reaching the intersection with Billapaloola Rd.

Turn left onto Billapaloola Road and continue approximately 10Km until reaching the intersection of Wee Jasper Road on the right.

Turn right into Wee Jasper road and continue approximately 4.8Km to Fairview Road.

Turn right into Fairview road and continue for approximately 800m to Lee Archers road.

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Turn right into Lee Archers road and continue for approximately 3.5Km here there is a bend in the road the summit is directly to your right. Continue just past the bend and you will see a track to your right, enter this track and park about 200m there is a fallen tree across the track.

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From this point take the faint trail to the right and walk 600m to the summit. The trail is easily lost, I recommend using a GPS !

The summit has no trig however there is a nice rock to operate from and a small sapling to attach the squid pole.

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Mt Jagungal VK2/SM-006

Early Saturday morning the 22/2/14, (actually it’s 5am) and I’m preparing for travel to VK2/SM-006 Mt. Jagungal.  The easiest way to access Mt. Jagungal is to travel either via Khancoban or Cabramurra along the Tooma road to the round mountain walking track head. It is about an hour’s drive from Khancoban and approximately 45 minutes from Cabramurra Australia’s highest town.

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Upon arrival at the round mountain car park you will see a locked vehicle gate, walk around the gate and follow the trail until you arrive at another locked gate. Continue following this track at approximately 1.5km there is a track to the left, Farm Ridge Trail. At this point you need to decide to follow Farm Ridge Trail and access Mt. Jagungal via the round mountain hut or continue straight ahead on the Grey Mare Trail to Mt.Jagungal. Should you be riding a pushbike I recommend taking the Grey Mare Trail it is the most direct route.farmridgetrail

If you decide to take the Farm Ridge Trail and camp out to attack the summit over two days, then Round Mountain Hut provides a good place to rest up before travelling onto ford the Tumut river.

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Following the Farm Ridge Trail you will need to cross the Tumut river which originates at Mt Jagungal. After fording the Tumut river continue along the trail for 8km until you reach the intersection with the Grey Mare Fire trail, Mt. Jagungal looms right in front of you, awesome!

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Following along the Grey Mare trail you will see another hut , O Keefe’s hut a good place to stop or camp if you have time.

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From O’Keefe’s hut continue approximately 5km along the Grey Mare Trail passing a weather station to reach the Tumut river again and a small pile of rocks, this is the best location to start your climb. You could climb at the weather station but it is very vertical and difficult.

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Ford the river then walk adjacent, you can follow a small track with brush about knee height all the way up to about the 1500 meter mark, there is a small amount of  rock climbing to make it to this point. Add a rock to the cairn and continue.

IMG_0153From here continue to climb the steady incline through low brush, there is a small amount of rock climbing before reaching the summit. There is also an old trig post laying on the ground just before the summit. It has been replaced with a concrete pillar.

IMG_0170The view looking from the 1500m point to the summit. Not far to go now!

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At last the summit! I had a little trouble setting up, I managed to erect the squid pole only to find the wind gusts snapped the top section off the pole. Not to be put off I attached my antenna with some electrical tape to get the job done.

Always remember to take some tape and a multi tool with you!  A great day was had by all with plenty of S2S contacts and another new summit for everyone.

IMG_0168Sheltered  Operating position at Mt. Jagungal VK2/SM-006

Mt Granite VK2/SW-015 First SOTA Activation

My first SOTA activation occured on 14 Feb 2014 at Mt.Granite VK2/SW- 015. First contact was Col VK5HCF on 40metres. Here are a few photos of the setup.

The Equipment used was a Yaesu FT-897D using 20w. A modified 10m squid pole,  a link dipole for 10,15,20 and 40m and a swag of 7Ah and 12Ah SLA batteries. The SLA batteries work well but they are too heavy to lug for any great distance. As you can see from the photo I had six batteries ready to use. Considering this was my first portable operation with the 897, I was concerned I would run out of battery life rather quickly,even though I knew otherwise.  I need not have worried the activation went without a hitch and I could have easily operated on just one of the 7Ah SLA’s!

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The link dipole in position on top of the squid pole.

Following on from Mt.Granite I drove along the Alpine Way until I entered  the track to MT.Youngal (VK2/Sm-047).

Once I finally arrived at the summit I was greeted by Rod the fire watch person who lives on site during this time of the year. After a conversation regarding SOTA and what it’s all about I had a keen observer.

On site there are a number of antenna poles and towers belonging to various organisations , Telstra ,GRN, and others. You can see the fire watch tower and the link dipole setup at the Trig point.

After completing a stack of contacts and a few S2S contacts with Rod VK2TWR it was time to move along to my next planned Summit Mt.Grey Mare (VK2/SM-012).  It took considerable driving/walking time to access the Grey Mare track but the trip was well worth it. The site is located in the Jugungal wilderness area and the view is excellent, even though there was a lot of smoke haze from the Victorian bush fires. On site there are  remains of a wooden/metal Trig marker which was destroyed during the 2003 fires. All that is left is the black and white metal marker.

A star picket has been proped into a crevice between two rocks on site and this made a great attachment for the squid pole base.

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Once again when I activated the site there was an immeadiate pile up of chasers looking for that 10 point contact. All I can say is this is the most fun I have had in years with Amateur Radio. SOTA has become very popular and I think will continue to gain a large following. Three summits in one day was a great adventure and my legs certainly let me know I had worked them hard. I am looking forward to my next summit assult.