Bushwalking (and climbing) on SOTA summit VK2/SM-082

Stevenson Gawen

Well-Known Member
So I was persuaded by my sister to come for a hike somewhere... I was invited for suggestions, and as amateur radio is a hobby of mine naturally I had a look for summits in the area that were eligible for points under the Summits On The Air scheme. Ones that I haven't been up already...

We settled on VK2/SM-082 (doesn't have a name) as being about the right difficulty.
From the nearest road, it's under 1km walking distance, but the altitude gain is around 250m. Didn't sound too bad I thought. But I had second thoughts when we got there...

(photo actually taken on after return to car)
We're going up there??

There was pretty thick regrowth to start with as that area had been logged in recent years, but it was easier going once we were in the National Park and it hadn't been logged.

But was it steep!IMG_20240110_135419_02.jpg
It might look like I've tilted the camera... but actually the trees grow at an angle (don't ask me why). See the horizon.
Heavy going, at least by my standards.

There's some fantastic rock outcrops, which only get better the higher you get.



There's one set of boulders about halfway up which made a good point for a break.

You can see the road we started from running along the lower half of this shot (below), partly obscured by the boulders, and Pheasants Peak, a similar hill - but with a track up it! - prominent on the horizon on the right.

After a lot more scrambling up steep stuff with some loose rocks into the bargain, the hill levels off a bit and you get a view through the trees of the really big boulders that kind of crown the hill.



It took us a little while to find a way onto the top, although it turned out it's relatively easy if one approaches from the more northern side.

There's a few nicely balanced boulders...

Part way up... looking back the way we came.

Ah. I've discovered I can only post 10 images at a time... installment two coming up!
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There's some interesting cracks, almost passages between boulders.

And a couple of tree ferns on the cooler south-facing side.IMG_20240110_142606_01.jpg
The moss-covered parts are very slippery...IMG_20240110_143642-2.jpg

After partly skirting around these mossy boulders I found a way to the top, helped by my sister who was already there (!).
Made it! Time for lunch, and also to make the all-important 4-or-more radio contacts needed to get the SOTA points.


There were some very fine 'squigglebark' eucalyptus trees up there.P1100247.jpg

Anyway, I don't have many photos to show from the very top, as it wasn't actually all that scenic compared to the rest. I should've taken a 360 pano - but didn't think of it.

Going down was slightly less energy-consuming but not really easier as there's 'trip hazards' on every step!
Didn't take many photos going down, but still a couple...
I liked this one.P1100299.jpg

Saw a jolly stick insect perched on an orchid...IMG_20240110_162147.jpg

There's some nice patches of ferns lower down.IMG_20240110_162955_01.jpg
And that's about it!
I was pretty tired and hot by this point. Still feeling the effects today actually. But it was worth it.
Incidentally, we came across a few Jumping Jack nests... Jumping Jacks are a kind of large-ish ant, very aggressive, with a painful bite. Once you disturb them, they all come jumping after you en-masse. Best not to stop and take photos.

I think it took us about two hours to get up, and slightly less coming down.
Most photos taken in RAW mode on my Nokia phone with a few on my Olympus EM-5ii with 14-150mm lens. All processed in darktable.
Hope this wasn't too long winded and of some interest. I don't often do a photo story so as to speak but this case seemed to call for it. :)

Photography seems a challenge in a visually very messy environment like this - I feel like there should be loads of photos just waiting to be taken but it's not that easy... at least for me!
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Good work, Stevenson.
As a photo story it worked well and I enjoyed it. It brought back memories of ruining an OM10 while on a similar jaunt many years ago in the English Lake District. The camera survived a few bumps and bashes but finally succumbed to the drenching it got when we were caught in a sudden cloudburst at the top of Helvellyn.
Cool! I like rocks.
I was wondering what you'd make of this kind of forest... :)

The bread-powered radio
Ha! Yes, the 8 AA size batteries are out of shot... they must have been my lunch. ;)
As a photo story it worked well and I enjoyed it. It brought back memories of ruining an OM10
Thanks Peter. Sorry to hear about the OM10... but I expect the adventure was worth it!
My EM5 stayed in the backpack most of the time as it was too fiddly taking out and putting it back - whereas the phone was in my pocket.
TBH the phone is just as good as the EM5 with that lens at the wide end anyway.
VK2/SM-085 does have a name, it seems: Wullwye Hill.
(see here)
However VK2/SM-082 does not.
Oh... sorry Martin! Typo there. We went up VK2/SM-082. I'll fix that in a minute.

However... as you mention Wullwye Hill - I've been up that one too! With a four wheel drive and permission from the owner of the surrounding land (I had both) one can actually drive right to the top of that one. I walked the last bit though, cos I could.

I'll find a photo...
No need to apologise ... I assumed the typo. But I am fascinated with SOTA as a concept. An additional excuse (additional to photography) to go someplace new.

If you feel the need to apologise, remember: "Apology accepted, Captain Needa:" ;-)
If you feel the need to apologise, remember
Oooer...:eek: ;)

fascinated with SOTA as a concept
It's interesting isn't it? I originally got into radio mostly as I was pretty keen on the technical side, but once I found out about SOTA it made a good excuse for everything from getting more exercise to buying (and in my case assembling) new ever-smaller radios...:D

Incidentally I did a little write up about the current radio, the one in the photo above, if anyone's interested it's here - https://smarc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/tr-SDX-QRP-Transceiver-Kit-Build-Steven-VK2STG.pdf
That's my local club's site.

Somehow that makes me think of Aron Ralston
Ouch indeed! Some of my boulders were kind of wobbly... but I get a bit claustrophobic anyway so I keep out of anything tight and sketchy.:)
You'll never catch me going caving for example...

Anyway, this is a view from Wullwye Hill. I live somewhere over behind the forested hills on the far right.
view looking east from summit-small.JPG
Incidentally I did a little write up about the current radio, the one in the photo above, if anyone's interested it's here - https://smarc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/tr-SDX-QRP-Transceiver-Kit-Build-Steven-VK2STG.pdf
Thanks for including this ... I thoroughly enjoyed reading your write-up. I have only had a few experiences of amateur radio - one when as a 6-year-old (or thereabouts) I visited an operator in Wellington with my father, who had to do some banking business with him. We spent some time in his amateur station after the business was concluded. My other experiences were through Scouts: one of my leaders was a Citizen Band enthusiast, and riding in his car was also listening in to a radio gabfest. I also took part in Jamboree on the Air - maybe around the year 1980 or so.
Construction of radio has been limited for me to a 1-transistor kitset AM band. Winding your own inductor coils? Seems pretty hardcore to me, but I guess technically they actually have no core!
It's surprising how many people know someone who is or was into amateur radio. I think there's about 14 000 licenced operators in Australia at present, I still don't know whether to think that's many or few!

There's always a discussion happening somewhere about the need to get 'more youngsters' involved in the hobby, for fear of it dying out, but at the same time a bit of a disconnect (I think) between the older, enthusiastic 'amateurs' pushing the hobby and the younger 'makers' and hacking types who are actually interested. Scouts is a good one though - some scout groups seem quite keen on it.
But at the end of the day there's always going to be a small subset of people who go "I want to try that!" and keep going with it...

Anyway, I'm probably drifting rather too far off topic for a photography forum. :rolleyes:

own inductor coils? Seems pretty hardcore to me, but I guess technically they actually have no core!
😆 They all* have a core! Even if it's only air... Air-core, powdered iron-core and ferrite-core are most common.

* I suppose an inductor in a vacuum could be said to have no core...