With a few days off around the Melbourne Cup holiday it seemed like a good idea to have a go at a few summits. I’d been toying with the idea of doing a circuit consisting of Mt Cowley, behind Lorne, Crowsnest Lookout, behind Apollo Bay, Mt Leura at Camperdown and Mt Elephant near Derrinallum. A quick look at the times showed Mt Elephant was not going to make the cut. Using Google maps to estimate the travel time it added up to around seven hours of driving for four SOTA points. Not something I’d recommend, especially given current band conditions, which could easily mean not even getting enough contacts to activate the summits.
BOM HAP Chart
Mt Cowley – VK3/VC-022
The first summit target was Mt Cowley. It’s an easy drive up to the top. I came in off the Benwerrin – Mt Sabine Rd, an all weather 2wd track. This is the highest point in the Otway’s and is populated by a largish Telstra tower and some weather monitoring equipment.
I popped the gear into the backpack and walked out of the activation zone and back. Set up and started to call on 40m whilst spotting myself. After a few calls Kevin, VK7KR, came back with a strong 58 both ways. Calls for another five minutes raised Garry, VK2FGWR Mobile down at Mallacoota. Another five minutes got no response, so I move to 20m. I’d not used 20m from a summit before, at least not with any success.
Five minutes of calling raised John, ZL1BYZ and another 5 minutes found VK4FW. I called a bit more with no further calls, but four’s enough. So with that I packed up and headed to Crowsnest Lookout, via Lorne, where we had coffee and avoided feeding the cockatoos.
Cockatoo – Lorne
Crowsnest Lookout – VK3/VS-049
I could have got to Apollo Bay via the Mt Sabine track, which if I’d been on my own I probably would have done, but the XYL was with me and keen on the idea of coffee at Lorne, so we travel via the Erskin Falls Rd, and then along the Great Ocean Rd. It was pretty slow going, and would be worse on a nice weekend day.
Crowsnest Lookout is the very end of Tuxion Rd. The actual peak is inside private property, but the end of the road is inside the activation zone, so I set up there having walked out and in the zone. It’s a secluded spot that you’d probably get to yourself on the busiest of days in summer.
I managed 6 contacts on 40m and 2 on 20m here over 40 minutes, so the pace was up on the previous activation.
I rather cheekily popped through the fence to check out the view. There’s a large deck been built right on the peak that’d be great to activate from if you knew the owners.
Operating Position – Crowsnest
Deck at Crowsnest
On the way up there was Koala scrambling up a tree. Always nice to see some wildlife.
This it was off to Mt Leura, in Camperdown.
Mt Leura – VK3/VS-050
It was another long drive from Apollo Bay to Camperdown. In hindsight I should have left this summit for another day, but too late now. It’s an easy drive to the top. Again I walked down and back then right to the top. There’s a seat that I was able to tie the squid pole too.
Once set up I started calling. The bands were alive with after work chatter, but it didn’t seem to do me much good. It took 40 minutes to get 2 * 40m contacts and 2 * 20m contacts.
When changing bands I found one of the links open on 40m, so the dipole could not have been working that well.
Mt Leura View
Mt Leura Operating Position
Finally I had 4 contacts and was able to pack up and head home.
The day had too much driving really. I should have stuck with the two Otway summits. And the conditions were ordinary, with only 4 contacts on 2 summits. But least they were qualified.
I added a map that can be zoomed in, though all the summits are easy enough to access. The GPS battery went flat before I got home, so the track isn’t a loop.