Sunday, 12 October 2014

SOTA Mt Warning

Mt Warning VK2/NR-001 is a famous landmark in the Northern Rivers area of NSW. Named by Captain Cook on his discovery voyage up the East coast of Australia in 1770, it is a remnant volcanic plug of a massive volcano in the tweed valley. Being close to the most Easterly point of the Australian mainland, Cape Byron, it is the first point to see the sunrise in Australia and despite the 8.8 Km walk is climbed by over 60,000 people a year. A bit of a must do for walkers, I have climbed it twice before SOTA.

After stopping overnight at Murwillumbah drove to the start of the walk. Approaching the mountain, shrouded in cloud on the right.

The mountain and surrounding area are in Wollumbin National Park, the aboriginal name for Mt Warning.

Started the walk. The track zigzags upwards. Lush rainforest vegetation, mainly palms in the lower part.

There are 4 access points for helicopter rescue of walkers in trouble. Note the GSM reference. There was no coverage until right at the summit.

Platform to get picked up on by helicopter.

Some strangler figs around a tree.

The half way point. Okay doing the walk now in October with daylight saving, but in winter need to start early to avoid running out of daylight...

Approaching the top the vegetation is more ferny, a bit like cooler ranforest. A bit more open near the top due to storm damage in 2013. The track was closed for some time for repairs.

Around 700 m from the summit you come to a set of chains, and have to haul yourself up a very steep rocky slope. This bit was tough going...

Finally reached the top after a couple of hours walking. A series of viewing platforms surrounding the summit. All fairly crowded with walkers and too small to operate from.

Spectacular views over the side platforms.

Only really one suitable place to set up a dipole, in a grassy area in the middle. Used the rail to support the squid pole and had just enough room to fit in a 20 m dipole. As there were around 50 people on the summit had a bit of an audience who wanted to know what I was doing...

Under one leg of the dipole almost stepped on a diamond python, inactive in the grass. Harmless but still left it well alone...

Set up the shack on the grass.

Got on 20 m. Good signals from VK3, VK5 and VK7, 8 contacts. VK1s unable to hear me, not far enough North...Tried 30 m, 2 more VK2s, VK2IO and VK2CCJ from Sydney. The 40 m dipole didn't fit very well, with a few kinks and bends got something up that loaded up okay, 4 more contacts with weak signals, VK2UH, VK3FPSR, VK3FQSO and VK3VTH/2, Tony in Yenga NP.

Had lunch, packed up and headed down. Almost as bad descending as ascending the chain section, had to watch my footing carefully.

A bush turkey, fairly common in this part of Australia.

Nearly back at the start of the walk

So the first activation of Mt Warning. Note Wayne VK3WAM had climbed it previously and tried to activate on CW on a week day, only making 1 contact and failing to activate it with the 4 required contacts. My attempt on a Sunday using SSB and using several bands managed 14 contacts.

Track log of walk


  1. Great pics as usual Ian. A very interesting climb and background to the summit. Congratulations on the first qualifying activation, quite inspiring. Thanks for posting a comprehensive story. Nice snake pic!! 73 de Andrew VK1DA

  2. Thanks Andrew,

    The snake was not moving much, still a bit unsettling having it guarding one end of my dipole...It was a good looking snake. You were weak but readable on 40 m, pity not quite in range for 20 m, anyway you are in the log.

    73 Ian VK1DI