We had to make a shopping excursion to Maryborough so I took the opportunity to activate Mt Moliagul as it was on our way. It also has a geocache at the summit and another 2 caches close by. Mt Moliagul is clearly visible as you are driving towards it; is 525m high and is worth 2 points. I had a quick look at other SOTA blogs who had previously activated the summit and had an idea of what to expect.
The town of Moliagul is famous for the discovery of the world’s largest gold nugget, the Welcome Stranger in 1869. Numerous other nugget finds have been made in the area and in its heyday was quite a large bustling town but these days it is a quiet little place with a hotel, museum and church. There is also a monument erected in honour of Reverend John Flynn, the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia who was born in Moliagul in 1880.
The lookout to Mt Moliagul is quite easy to find, just look for the big brown tourist signpost, turn off the hwy at this point and follow the road which will come to a fork, take the left with the Moliagul sign and follow this one all the way to the top. It is accessible by 2 wheel drive although there is quite a lot of large rocks strewn over the road which you would have to avoid. It’s a steady climb and winds a bit, but then opens up nicely when the communication towers come into view. As you can drive up to the summit, the “walk out and back into the activation zone” approach was taken to activate the summit. It was extremely windy at the top and the views are phenomenal. Driving up you don’t realise how high you really are until you reach the summit. An eagle flew over us to say hi and honestly, I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing these glorious birds. It’s a delight each and every time I see one! 🙂
I gave the kids my Dakota 20 so they could go and hunt down the cache while the “shack” was erected. The squid pole was strapped to the sign post at the top. The antenna set-up was the typical inverted V and there was a handy pile of rocks that I was able to sit on for the activation. I used the X1M and signal reports were great, and almost everyone was a 59 from where I was set up with no noticeable noise from all the communications gear nearby. I was struggling a little (alot!!) with the wind to stop it from whipping up my logbook pages..so note to self, to throw a couple more bulldog clips in the backpack for next time! My first call was answered by Phil, VK3BHR and he kindly put up a spot for me because I didn’t have any coverage on my phone (Optus) and then the chaser calls came in quickly. I started at 2:14 UTC and by 2:30 UTC I was done! Thanks to everyone that called in and also to John, VK2YW who gave me some suggestions on my audio. It would seem that more investigation with the X1M microphone needs to be done. Drilling a hole through the casing did help, but obviously not enough and speaking sideways onto the mic sounded the best. Perhaps, I will try another mic and see how it sounds, as the workmanship on the X1M microphone is quite cheap. When I opened it up, there was very little to it, and most solder joints were dry indicating a less than perfect job was done on the mic in the first place.
Activation completed, time for caching! Off the kids took me to the other side of the towers and down the mountain a little to…a tree stump. Seriously, the amount of cache hides I have found in tree stump hollows is beyond a joke! Anyway, suffice to say, cache was found, log signed, the kids didn’t take any swag, but we left my usual small butterfly bag of swag and popped the cache back in it’s spot. We packed up not long after, and drove on down the mountain. We missed the turn for the next cache, so left that one for another time. We did stop on the way home not far from Moliagul to get another cache which turned out to be a magnetic one, very easy to find. I had the log signed about 1 minute from leaving the car to look for the cache. Short and sweet which is great, as we had frozen stuff in the car so didn’t want to take all day.
All in all, it was a great day with the objectives of shopping, SOTA and geocaching all achieved in record time! 😛
VK3BHR, VK5WG, VK3PF, VK3JBL, VK2IO, VK3NBL, VK2MWP, VK3EK, VK3DAC, VK2HFS, VK3FPSR, VK2YW, VK5EE
GC20KD1: High on Moliagul
GC3Y7D8: Watch out for Kangaroos