Mt Beerburrum and Mt Ngungun 1st May 2022

Although these two Glasshouse Mountain summits are not very high and attract a single point each, the walk up each is popular and there were lots of walkers at both of them, especially on the second when approaching sunset.

The lower section of Mt Beerburrum is on gravel and rocks in a pleasant forest setting. In the higher section, probably 75% of the climb is on a concreted pathway, is somewhat steeper and in places would be easier and possibly safer in wet conditions if it was stepped.

At the top is a concrete pad beneath a multi-level viewing platform, the top section of which is a fire lookout tower, inaccessible to the public. For various reasons I decided to set up my gear on the ground level, erect the antenna using the pole which would be strapped to a wooden post not far away. I walked gingerly through high grass to the north to attach one end of my wire antenna to a tree. The other end was attached to a bush not far off the concrete path. The resulting included angle of the antenna at the feedpoint was 110 degrees, not ideal, but it worked.

In case anyone was monitoring 146.5 mhz I started with a short CQ on that frequency and got a reply from near Landsborough, about 15 km north.

I then went to finish connecting my HF rig and immediately had a problem. There was no 4 AH battery in my pack, despite recharging one of the two I had with me, the previous night. Thinking the second battery was in the pack, I had left the freshly charged battery in the car before starting the climb. Looking in my pack I found a spare 3S lipo battery that I sometimes use for the 817. I didn’t know how long it had been since that had been charged but plugged it in just in case it would give me the contacts I needed to qualify the summit.

The kx3 automatically reduces the output power when the DC input voltage is below 12v. So I wasn’t surprised to see that happen when I turned on the kx3 using the LiPo battery.

Conditions on 40m seemed very quiet and not many signals were heard on the band. I made one contact and then got no replies to my CQ calls for a while. I looked at the SOTA spots on vk port-a-log and saw only Japanese callsigns, none of which I could hear. Then I looked at Parks spots and found a recent spot for VK4FDJL so moved to 7144 to log him. A few more contacts on 7160 and I had qualified the summit, then made more contacts on CW. Moving to 14 MHz I worked ZL3GA and ZL1TM. A listen on 10m showed some activity including loud Japanese voices, so I thought a session on 10m cw might be good. This yielded one contact, with Geoff ZL3GA.

Having made 16 contacts, some at 3w and some at 5w, I was glad to have had the old LIPO battery in the pack and it justified the many times I had carried it up summits without using it.

Back at the car I found both 4AH batteries there as expected. I crossed the road to a cafe and bought a coffee and sandwich for lunch, then set of for Mt Ngungun, a few km north of Beerburrum.

The climb up Ngungun is in very green and peaceful forest. I saw some birds, or perhaps they saw me, they certainly kept a close watch on me.

The summit of Ngungun is a pile of rocks and there is a somewhat obvious path to the actual summit, where lots of walkers were posing for photographs, so that was certainly out of the question for my operating position. A few metres down from the top I found a useful tree to attach my pole and antenna, a few rocks to place the equipment on and I was able to anchor the antenna ends to suitable rocks and a small tree.

At one point there were a few drops of rain so I deployed my specially built radio rain and sun shelter. You can see the pole attached to the tree just to the rear, and some of the countryside below.

On the radio, the bands were sounding hot, there were a lot of signals from everywhere. I worked 11 on 20m cw and 18 on SSB, half of which were European contacts. Included were regulars from VK and ZL, and also DL20sota a special event callsign from Germany marking twenty years of SOTA. Also I was very pleased to work Jorge EA2LU from Pamplona, whom I met while in Spain in 2019.

I noticed that Mt Beerwah to the west had a cloud just touching it and I realised how much higher it was than Ngungun. Later someone told me that a climber had recently fallen to their death while climbing Beerwah. I was glad I had not taken that one on myself.

Mt Beerwah seen from Mt Ngungun
More Glasshouse mountains seen from Mt Ngungun