My first summit of the trip was Mount Burr, VK5/ SE-019, which is about 240 metres ASL (787 feet) and is worth 1 SOTA point.
After a hearty cooked breakfast and a strong coffee, I left the motel at Mount Gambier, early on Friday morning, 6th September, 2013, and headed out north west along the Princes Highway, towards Millicent. I then turned right onto The Springs Road, to head north towards the town of Glencoe. The summit was clearly visible, shrouded in a bit of fog.
Before reaching the town of Glencoe I turned left onto Diagonal Road and continued west on Mile Hill Road. I then turned right onto the Glencoe-Mount Burr Road. There is then a dirt road on the left, with a TV tower sign. This is the required road to access the summit. A few kms up this road is the turn off on the left to the summit. It is well sign posted.
On the way to the summit I stopped off at the historical marker for the old Mount Burr Bush Inn, which is located on the western side of the Glencoe-Mount Burr Road. This little pub was a licenced hotel on the Overland track, and was built in 1852, and remained standing until 1873. In days gone by it was a significant watering hole for mail coach drivers and the general public travelling between Robe and Mt Gambier. It was actually the last stop between Kangaroo Inn and Mt Gambier on the old stock route. It was very popular during the gold rush years but wasnt frequented by the Chineses on route to the Victorian gold fields as it was a licensed Pub. Being illegal immigrants they didnt want to risk being caught by Government officials so they built Wells off of the main route.
On the way to the summit I drove passed the Mount Burr Forest Reserve, and saw quite a few emus and kangaroos on the move. The Mount Burr Forest consists of 8 individual forest reserves with a total area of about 1,323 hectares. The reserves contain the threatened mammal species, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Suger Glider, and Red-necked Wallaby.
The Mount Burr summit shares its name with the nearby small town of Mount Burr, which is about 12 km east of Millicent, and about 50 km north east of Mount Gambier. Mount Burr has a small population of about 400 people. Mount Burr was once a thriving country town, which was home to a large timber mill. The mill was the first of its kind in the region, built in 1931. It was considered a turning point for industry on the Limestone Coast. Unfortunately in late 2000 the timber mill closed leaving many employees unemployed.
Mount Burr summit is one of fifteen extinct volcanoes on the Limestone Coast. The mountain was named by the Governor of South Australia George Grey (photo below), after George Dominicus Burr, a surveyor and Professor of Mathematics at Sandhurst Military College. His son, Thomas Burr, a surveyor, accompanied Governor Grey on the expedition in 1844.
Quoted from the account of the expedition published in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, vol 15, 1845: “Article III.- Account of Governor G Grey’s Exploratory Journey along the South-Eastern Sea-board of South Australia. By Mr Thos. Burr, Dep Surv.-Gen.” “7 May 1844: At about 2pm we made the top of a range, the principal summit of which his Excellency has done me the honour to call after my father. The Mount Burr range is about 1600 feet above the level of the sea…”
The summit is home to the SES 8 television transmitter, which is responsible for transmitting WIN, Seven SA, Ten SA, SBS, and ABC to households across the South East of SA and Western Victoria. When I saw all the towers, the first thing that went through my mine was ….HIGH noise floor.
There is an unlocked gate at the entrance to the summit, with a sign on it reading ‘Mt Burr Forest. Gate: MB28. Gri: 542 383″. It is a very short drive from there to the locked compound containing all of the towers. There is another unlocked gate which will take you around to the eastern side of the summit. There were some sheep and alpacas in this paddock, so if you enter here, please shut the gate/s.
There are no real views out to the east due to the pine forest. The only views are out to the south west, and these are also obscured due to the pine forests. I set up on the eastern side of the summit near the pine forest. There was a large amount of metal pieces of tower lying around on the ground, and I used these to attach the 7m squid pole to, and also to secure down the legs of the 40m/20m linked dipole. And importantly, also as a seat !
I had reached the summit and set up by about 9.10 a.m. so I had about 20 minutes to play before the UTC roll over. Surprisingly enough after I turned on the radio I found that the noise floor was very low despite all the antennas on the summit. I was really happy with this ! My first 4 qualifying QSO’s were with Matt VK1MA, Peter VK3PF using qrp, Col VK5HCF also using qrp, and Mitch VK3FMDV. I worked 23 stations before the UTC rollover. This included John VK5BJE who was portable in the Mullinger Swamp Conservation Park, north east of Narracoorte.
The new UTC day then clicked over and I worked a further 25 stations. This included John VK5BJE again in the Mullinger Swamp CP, and Larry VK5LY who was portable in the Danggali Conservation Park. I also managed two ‘Summit to Summit’ QSO’s with Ian VK5CZ on Lagoon Hill VK5/ SE-008; and Wayne VK3WAM on Mount Matlock VK3/ VC-001.
After about an hour on the hill I had 48 QSO’s on 40m SSB into VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, & VK7. Band conditions were very good. Quite a few fellas called in whilst operating QRP. They included Peter VK3PF, Col VK5HCF, Andrew VK3ARR, Tony VK3CAT, Rik VK3KAN, Andrew VK2ONZ, Mitch VK3FMDV, Ron VK3AFW, John VK5DJ, and Bernard VK3AMB. All had good signals, proving that there is no need to use 400 watts when calling a SOTA activator. If you can hear the Activator, you can almost guarantee they he/she will be able to hear you.
My last contact of the day was Bernard who was qrp with just 4 watts and was a solid 5/9. My little 5 watts to Bernard returned a strong 5/8 signal report. Time to head back to the car and off to the Canunda National Park.
The following stations were worked before the UTC rollover:-
Matt VK1MA; Peter VK3PF/qrp; Col VK5HCF/qrp; Mitch VK3FMDV; Tny VK3CAT/m; Rik VK3KAN/m; Greg VK7FGGT; John VK5DJ; Peter VK3FPSR; Robert VK7MGW; Colin VK3UBY; Tony VK5ZAI; Trevor VK5ATW; John VK5BJE/p; Andrew VK3ARR/qrp; Brian VK5FMID; Ed VK2JI; Allen VK3HRA; Andrew VK2ONZ; Mal VK3AZZ; Ron VK3AFW; Peter VK1XP; and Brian VK3MCD/5
The following stations were worked after the UTC roll over:-
Matt VK1MA; Brian VK5FMID; John VK5BJE/p; Tony VK3CAT; Rik VK3KAN; Peter VK3PF; Andrew VK2ONZ/qrp; Mitch VK3FMDV; Ron VK3AFW/qrp; Brian VK3MCD/5; Peter VK3FPSR; Larry VK5LY/p; VK5CZ/p; Mal VK3AZZ; John VK5DJ; Andrew VK3ARR/qrp; Ed VK2JI; VK3DYF; Colin VK3UBY; Wayne VK3WAM/p Rod VK5FTTC; Allen VK3HRA; Gary VK5ZK; Yern VK2KJJ; Bernard VK3AMB/qrp.
I have posted a video on You Tube of this activation.