Category Archives: VK3/VC-002

Three Summits in the Yarra Ranges: Federation Range, Mt Strickland and Mt Donna Buang

Activators have been bemoaning the poor state of HF propagation recently. But when planning an August SOTA activation in Melbourne, the propagation forecast runs a distant second to the weather forecast. If the HF propagation is bad you might not get the 4 contacts, but if the weather is bad you might get seriously bogged or snowed in.  If nothing else you’ll come home wet and miserable.  So I studied the weather report carefully for Friday the 4th of August. A series of three low pressure systems of varying strength were on the weather map bringing low temperatures, strong winds, rain and snow down to 900 meters. Friday morning looked to afford a break. I considered Mt Matlock (VK3/VC-001) but when the morning came after an evening of steady rain I opted for Federation Range (VK3/VN-029) near Lake Mountain, figuring that walking 5km each way through slushy snow would be better than driving 50km each way along the pot-holed water-logged C511. As it happened, it was the right choice.

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Mt Donna Buang (VK3/VC-002) and Mt Ritchie (VK3/VC-003)

A clear winter’s day was forecast on August 5th 2016 and with arrangements made I headed out early to Mt Donna Buang VK3/VC-002 with plans for Mt Ritchie VK3/VC-003 afterwards.  I left Melbourne’s eastern suburbs by 0710 and arrived at Donna Buang around 0845 to a frosty, clear, cold and calm summit, distrubing no fewer than 5 lyre birds on the final few kilometers before the car park.  A bonus for getting up there early was spectacular morning sunrays cutting through the mountain mist.

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Maiden activation on Mt Donna Buang (VK3/VC-002)

My first ever SOTA activation on Easter Monday (6th April) 2014 was typical of my radio activities of late — unplanned, somewhat ill-considered, but great fun nonetheless.  The drive from the north-east suburbs of Melbourne to Healesville, then on to the mountain, the maiden activation with homebrew radio and antenna, and the descent and return drive all went without a hitch, suggesting that my basic portable station is well and truly ‘fit for purpose’.

The mountain is well known to Melburnians and a popular destination out of Healesville.  There is a section of unsealed winding road which presented no problems, and may only be difficult during winter after snow.  At the top I found a sealed car park, a large cleared area, a covered picnic shelter where a log fire burned low, and a four storey lookout tower.  There are some popular walking tracks from the summit, including Mt Donna Buang to nearby Mt Victoria and back, a moderate 6km 3 hour return walk.  There are lots of activator’s pictures of Donna Buang so I did not bother add further to them.

Among the tree ferns and mountain ash on VK3/VC-002.

Among the tree ferns and mountain ash on VK3/VC-002.

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