Sunday, 8 September 2013

SOTA Activation Mt Lowden VK2/ST-002

After activating VK2 SOTA peak South Black Range last weekend, thought I would try another SOTA peak nearby, Mt Lowden, VK2/ST-002. It is in Tallaganda State Forest so no problems with public access. Looking on the maps and reading some walk descriptions online by John Evans, local bushwalker, decided to tackle it via the Lowden Trig Firetrail.

As per South Black Range activation drove out to Hoskinstown, then instead of turning off for Forbes Creek drove on to the small farming settlement of Rossi. After Rossi the road becomes the Lowden Forest Rd.
Drove along this until coming to the Lowden Trig Firetrail.

Drove a few hundred metres down the track. As unfamiliar just how rough the track gets later decided to park and start walking. The track wasn't too bad, but probably would have had problems in places with rocks and bumps...After 40 minutes walking reached the junction with the Bald Hill Firetrail.

Took the trig road on the right, dropped down into a rainforest gully before climbing up again. After a total of an hour and 10 minutes reached the Mt Lowden communications tower.

A wider shot of the tower

Unfortunately this was not the SOTA summit...The actual summit is 600m further on through the bush. After some scrub bashing saw the actual Mt Lowden summit.

Had to drop down into a saddle and come up again. The vegetation thinned out a bit in the saddle.

Once crossed the saddle the bush got really thick and slow going. Some nasty spiked vine stuff too.

After around 45 minutes of scrub bashing reached the top, stopping at an open area just down from the Trig. First got on 2m, heard Al, VK1RX calling from nearby VK2/ST-006 South Black Range summit, good copy on the hand held. Set up the squid pole on a stump using some occy straps and strung out the 20m and 40m dipole legs to some tree branches.

Set up the FT817ND radio on a nearby rock.

Got going on 40m. First contact was S2S with VK1DA/VK1NAM Andrews on VK1/AC-021, then Ed VK2JI on VK2/SY-001. Worked Peter, VK3YE pedestrian mobile on the beach in Melbourne, good to hear Peter out and about again, enjoy watching his Youtube videos. Usual crowd of chasers from VK1,VK2,VK3 and VK5, most signals quite strong. Got a call from Matt, VK1MA on 2m, we had a fair contact, needed to move the hand held about a bit to find a good spot. He was a good signal on 40m. Later on got a call from Scott, VK2AET on VK2/NR-044, up around Grafton in the far North of NSW. He had a fair signal but VK3s on frequency unable to hear him on 40m, so he went to 20m. I couldn't hear him at all on 20m, but the VK3s could, surpsisingly heard VK3AFW working him, probably on some backscatter. I heard Matt, VK1MA calling him, we had a contact on 20m, one of the only contacts I made on the band.

Other S2S contacts were with Paul, VK5PAS/3 on VK3/VS-018 and Ernie VK3DET/5 on VK5/NE-050.
Total of 23 contacts.

Here is the nearby trig, not suitable for SOTA dipoles, too many nearby trees...

Wandered back down the hill. On the way back down in the thick scrub had a bit of a problem, noticed the squid pole was missing!...Using my GPS track log reversed back, managed to find it, had got knocked off by a branch. Very lucky seeing it in the scrub, and was not too far back. Carried it in my hand as a walking stick instead of the pocket in the pack until clear of the scrub, something should do in future scrub bashing.

Track log of the walk.


  1. Hi Ian,
    That was a bit an epic track to the summit mate. Well done on such a long walk and all the 'bush bashing' involved. I'm pleased that you were able to find your squid pole. Fortunately that hasn't happened to me yet. However I did leave a pair of prescription glasses on a summit. $250.00 later & my wife was not impressed !
    Best 73,

  2. Hi Paul,

    Yes a bit shocking to learn your squid pole is lying somewhere in dense bush behind you, was lucky to find it again... Might be worth attaching it to the pack with some cord in future bush bash type walks.

    73 Ian VK1DI