Mount Buangor, VK3/ VS-003 was my second summit for Monday. And I am very pleased to say that it was my last, as I certainly found this the most difficult and challenging summit.
Mount Buangor is 987 metres above sea level and is worth 6 SOTA points. It was formally known as Flagstaff Hill which originated from a rock cairn and flagpole that is reported to have been erected by Major Thomas Mitchell during his exploration of the area in the 1830’s.
The summit is situated within the 2,4000 hectare Mount Buangor State Park. There are a variety of landscapes within the park including eucalypt forest, creek flats, waterfalls and steep escarpments. Within the park there is a 15 km network of walking tracks. The park contains a variety of eucalypts including Yarra Gums and Manna Gums, which grow along the creek flats and Blue Gums and Messmates, which prefer the south-facing escarpment or the elevated plateau. Narrow-leaf Peppermint can be found on the dry ridges. Snow Gums grow on the higher peaks and Red Stringybarks colour the western area of the park. Magnificent tree ferns grow in wet gullies where the lush vegetation creates a cool retreat in summer. Mount Cole Grevillea and Shiny Tea-tree are found on the elevated slopes.
More than 130 species of birds have been recorded in the park and adjoining Mount Cole State Forest. Echidnas, Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Swamp Wallabies and Red-necked Wallabies, possums, gliders, bats, are all resident within the park.
The local Aboriginal people who frequented the Mount Buangor area were the Beeripmo Balug clan of the Dwab Wurrung tribe. There were a number of 19th century sawmills in the park. Kosminski’s and Emery’s mills feature sawpits and a log chute for sliding sawlogs downhill from the plateau.
I entered the Mount Buangor State Park via the Western Highway and Ferntree Gully Road, and then Ferntree Waterfalls Road. I parked the car at the Ferntree camping area, and walked to the summit from there which took me two hours. I think I made a rod for my own back. In reflection I have looked at a map of the park, and it looks like the much shorter route is via Wallaby Caves Road. Nethermind, too late now.
I found the walk very taxing, although very scenic. I followed the track uphill, which follows Middle Creek, to a firebreak track, and then back into the scrub again to the summit. There are no views from the summit due to the trees. However there is a lookout on the way to the summit. There is a small rock cairn at the summit.
I set up the 40m/20m linked dipole, supporting it on the 7m squid pole. I used a fallen log to secure the squid pole to, with the aid of some octopus straps. The log also served as a backrest. The weather was slowly coming in from the west, and sure enough after only 10 minutes on air, I was forced to get out the bothy bag. I spent the remainder of the activation, both in and out of the bohty bag to stay out of the showers.
My first four contacts were with Albert VK3KLB, Peter VK3FPSR, Ivan VK5HS, and Colin VK3UBY. This was followed by a steady flow of Chasers.
Again I had a handful of stations call me using just qrp. They included Philip VK2CPO who was portable on a cattle station near Cobar in NSW. He was using just 10 watts. I also spoke with Gary VK5PCM who was using just 1.5 watts and a squid pole from the Belair National Park. And also Perrin who was running 5 watts from his little Yaesu FT-817 and a magnetic loop antenna.
Another good contact was with Tony VK3VTH, who was portable in the Big Desert National Park in Victoria, as part of the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award.
I also tried 20m for the benefit of Ed VK2JI, who was struggling with me on 40m SSB, but to no avail. I did not hear Ed. In fact I didn’t hear any VK’s. After about 20 CQ calls I decided to pull stumps, and head back down the hill to the car. After nearly one hour on the summit I had worked 28 stations in VK1, VK2, VK3, & VK5 on 40m SSB.
By the time I got down the bottom, I stopped off at waterfalls. I was so hot and worn out, that I felt like jumping into the beautiful flowing water. Good thing I didn’t, because after about 5 minutes of admiring the falls, along came 2 young girls in their 20’s walking through the park.
The following stations were worked:-
Albert VK3KLB; Peter VK3FPSR; Ivan VK5HS; Colin VK3UBY; Graeme VK3PGK; Bernard VK3AMB; Larry VK5LY; Peter VK3PF/m; Rhett VK3GHZ; John VK5DJ; Tony VK3CAT/m; Andrew VK2UH; Phillip VK2CPO/qrp; Brian VK5FMID; Terry VK5ATN; Gary VK5PCM/qrp; Glen VK3GMC; Ed VK2JI; Charles VK5FBAC; Paul VK5FUZZ; Geoff VK3AHT; Dallas VK3EB; Marshall VK3MRG; Greg VK3UT; Barry VK5CB; Tony VK3VTH/p; Perrin VK3XPT/qrp; and Rod VK5FTTC.
I have added a video to You Tube of the activation…..