After packing up at Goonmirk Rocks, Marija and I headed for our next planned activation, Mount Tower VK3/ VG-032 in the Alpine National Park VKFF-0619. We initially had not planned on activating the SOTA summit, but looking at maps it appeared as though it was going to be a relatively easy summit to access. How wrong we were to be!
We left the Errinundra National Park and travelled north along the Bonang Road, with the iphone pointing us (hopefully) in the correct direction of the summit. Unfortunately we encountered a very arrogant truck driver, who was doing a U turn on the very windy dirt road, and despite seeing us coming, continued his manouevre and pulled out in front of us, rather than letting us through. This resulted in a very very low journey with huge clouds of dust in front of us.
Despite having numerous spots to pull over, he chose not to, and there was no opportunity for oveertaking. So in the end I pulled over and gave him a few km headstart before heading off again. Not quite a scene out of the 1971 movie Duel, but none the less, very frustrating.
There were some very nice views to be had on the Bonang Road of the surrounding countryside and the Snowy River National Park.
There was also lots of native fauna to be observed, including lizards, a few snakes on the road, and very noisy Sulphur Crested Cockatoos.
At the little town of Bonang, we turned onto McKillops Road. On some maps this is referred to as the Bonang-Gelantipy Road. The GPS told us to turn off onto Warm Corner Track. According to the GPS this would take us into the Snowy River National Park and on to the Bowen Track and the summit. WRONG! We soon encountered a sign which read private property and a locked gate. Peter VK3PF had given us some directions to get to the summit whilst we were in Errinundra, but unfortunately our note taking wasn’t up to scratch. So this was a summit that was going to have to wait for another day.
Feeling quite frustrated we continued to travel along McKillops Road with a view to getting to the camping area at McKillops Bridge. Our next stop was the Ambyne bridge at the Deddick River Crossing. The Ambyne bridge was designed and built by Victoria’s Country Roads Board was was opened in 1935. The structure enabled farm trucks with a gross weight of three tons to cross the river, thus linking settlers with the new road between Bonang and McKillops Bridge over the Snowy River. Life was extremely tough for the Ambyne pioneers and most of the original settlers walked off their land. The bridge was built in an area when the Country Roads Board was strongly committted to providing a basic traffic connection for settlers produce to reach distant ports and markets, thus keeping the survivors on their bush blocks. The bridge served from 1935 until it was closed to traffic in 1970. It is one of only two surviving Victorian examples of suspension bridges constructed for this purpose.
We continued our journey on McKillops Road, which follows the Deddick River, which is a perennial river of the Snowy River catchment. The Deddick River rises below Mount Little Bill in a remote alpine wilderness area within the Snowy River National Park, and flows generally north leaving the national park, then northwest through the locality of Tubbut, and then west southwest. The river is joined by the Bonang River and sixteen minor tributaries, before reaching its confluence with the Snowy River in the Snowy River National Park below Mount Bulla Bulla, a few hundred metres north of the McKillops Bridge. The river descends 693 metres (2,274 ft) over its 60-kilometre course.
Much to ur surprise we soon encountered an Alpine National Park sign. I didn’t realise that the Alpine National Park came this far to the east. We were conscious of the time, it was now mid afternoon, but we decided to detour into the park for a very quick activation. This would be a new park for Marija and I as activators for both the World Wide Flora Fauna (WWFF) program, and the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award.
The Alpine National Park is 6,474 km2 in size and stretches from central Gippsland all the way to the New South Wales border where it adjoins Kosciuszko National Park. The park was established in 1989 and contains some of Australia’s most stunning alpine landscapes, including mountain peaks, escarpments and grassy high plains. It is the largest National Park in Victoria and contain’s Victoria’s highest peak, Mount Bogong at 1,9867 metres.
The national park protects many threatened species, including the spotted tree frog, she-oak skink, smoky mouse, broad-toothed mouse and mountain pygmy possum.
We travelled a short distance down a dirt track and found a camping type area, where there was plenty of room to string out the 80/40/20m linked dipole.
There were some very nice views to be had of the surrounding countryside and the Deddick River from our operating spot.
We very quickly set up the station, and as we had no internet coverage, we were just hoping that some of the park & SOTA regulars would hear us calling CQ and kindly spot us. We called CQ on 7.144 and this was answered by Greg VK5GJ in the Adelaide Hills with a strong 5/8 signal, with a 5/7 being returned to us. We were happy with that as we were operating with just 10 watts, due to Marija’s restrictions with the Foundation licence.
This was followed by Gerard VK2IO who kindly spotted us on parksnpeaks, and then John VK4TJ. John holds two other calls, one in VE6 in Canada, and the other in the USA, and he kindly supplied us with those 2 calls, so we could reach our 10 quicker.
Contact number 10, qualifying the park for us for VKFF, was with Brett VK2VW, and came about 20 minutes into the activation. After logging 10 stations I quickly lowered the squid pole and inserted the links for 80m. I then called CQ on 3.610 and this was answered by Peter VK3PF, followed by Sergio VK3SFG.
Marija and I apologise to others who may have been looking for us and would have liked to have logged us in the Alpine National Park, but this was a very quick impromptu activation.
Marija worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 40m SSB:-
I worked the following stations on 80m SSB:-
Parks Victoria, 2017, <http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/alpine-national-park>, viewed 28th November 2017
Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deddick_River>, viewed 28th November 2017
Wikipedia, 2017, <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpine_National_Park>, viewed 28th November 2017