A green sign that says Andrews Hill surrounded by ferns.

I made it.

Short activation report today, covering a straightforward summit in the Kinglake region in Victoria.

This was my first successful DX, both on SSB and CW.

Summit Map

Andrews Hill (VK3/VN-020)

The Hike

As the summit information page will inform you, there are at least two possible approaches to the summmit — broadly, one from the south, and one from the north. I elected to take the southern approach for the sole reason that it seemed the more popular route over the years, and set off.

Upon reaching the starting point at Mountain Creek Road, I discovered an issue. The only way to cross the river (and substantial gully) was damaged and not open to pedestrians.

A femced-off bridge.

Temporary fencing blocking all access across the bridge.

Closed up on sign forbidding all access to the bridge.

Need for a Plan B.

Already behind schedule, I updated my alert time and set off for the nothern approach at The Gums Camping Area.

A path up an incline, alongside a curved road.

Setting off.

A 4WD path along the bush.

Typical track on this route.


I was chuffed to get any contacts on a weekday afternoon, and the contacts ramped up and didn’t stop for a while. A big surprise for me was DX from France, Sweden and the Czech Republic on 20m. I had to switch my brain once I moved to CW, as I am only used to call signs that start with “VK” and “ZL”. The solar cycle is starting to push me!

Time (UTC) Callsign Frequency (MHz) Mode Sent Received Notes
05:59 VK3PF 7MHz SSB 5x7s 5x7r  
06:00 VK5CZ 7MHz SSB 5x5s 5x2r  
06:01 VK2EXA 7MHz SSB 5x9s 5x7r Greg, Howlong
06:03 VK5PAS 7MHz SSB 5x8s 5x7r Paul
06:06 VK3ZPF 7MHz SSB 5x7s 4x5r  
06:09 VK3YE 144MHz FM 5x5s 3x3r Peter, Chelsea, 20W
06:13 VK3FS 144MHz FM 5x9s 5x9r Andrew, Mt Martha
06:16 VK3CAT 7MHz SSB 5x5s 5x9r  
06:18 ZL3MR 7MHz SSB 5x4s 4x2r  
06:22 VK3PF 7MHz CW 569s 579r  
06:23 VK3CAT 7MHz CW 569s 599r  
06:28 VK3APC 7MHz CW 559s 599r  
06:30 VK2YW 7MHz CW 589s 599r  
06:37 F4WBN 14MHz SSB 5x5s 5x5r  
06:39 SA4BLM 14MHz SSB 5x7s 5x2r  
06:46 SA4BLM 14MHz CW 529s 539r  
06:51 SM4CJM 14MHz CW 449s 529r  
06:53 OK2PDT 14MHz CW 569s 339r  
06:55 ZL2ATH 14MHz CW 419s 559r  
06:57 VK4TJ 14MHz CW 559s 599r  

As always, my thanks to all chasers.

Summit Notes

A chair and amateur radio station set up on a blue tarp.

Station setup.

Antenna mast setup in ferned bushland.

Antenna mast erected (hard to see, but it's there).

The summit is flat and the confluence of a few paths, opening out into a broad area that I wouldn’t go so far as to call “wide”. There was enough space to erect the inverted-v antenna however there was not copious room. Perhaps if I had explored down the other side of the summit there would have been better opportunities there.

I quite liked the serenity, temperature and general nature of this summit. It was comfortable. To my surprise, I saw perhaps 5 or so pre-sanguinated leeches crawling on my shoes and belongings. This made me anxious and vigilant, and I managed to avoid any blood loss through the duration of this SOTA activation. It had recently rained over the past week in Melbourne. If the setting is damp at the summit, I recommend some vigilance, but it is not the worst place for leeches I have seen.