After several weeks of hot & dry weather, I finally decided to get out onto a summit.
I have been a little slack – I have made a trip out to the Pyrennes to activate some summits, followed by Mts Tarrengower, Alexander & Macedon on the day of the Centre Victoria RadioFest. If I find energy, I will write them up soon. The key thing that made an impression on me was the dryness of the bush. Combined with the hot weather and lack of rain, I have resisted the temptation to head to the hills to activate any summits. Bushfires in the local region had closed off access to several higher point summits within day trip range, so I have been chasing any activations where possible.
Mt Hooghly VK3/VT-049
This weekend in Victoria, ACT & NSW has been a long weekend, with a public holiday on Monday (tomorrow as I write). Several amateurs posted intentions to be out activating summits on Sunday, so I decided to head out to the closest SOTA summit on Sunday morning – Mt Hooghly VK3/VT-049. It is just under 700 m HASL, so only 2 points, but it is quite close to home.
I was on the summit & set up by 1020K (2320Z), and rapidly worked several operators on summits around VK1 and VK3, plus plenty of others chasing SOTA operators. After having tuned around and worked the SOTA stations out, I settled down on a single frequency (7.095 MHz) for a while & kept an eye on the iPad (one of the first model series) sitting on SOTAwatch for Spots of anyone spotting a new SOTA operation. Once the UTC day rolled over, there was a rapid string of contacts on 7.095 for several minutes. After that, it was search and pounce to catch as many of the other SOTA ops as possible. Things were apparently slowing down by around 0020Z and I could not find Peter Vk3ZPF/p for a repeat S2S contact on the new UTC day. Plus it was getting hot & the march flies were coming out in strength. I packed up & headed for home.
As soon as I was at home I saw that Peter had still been operating until after I had shut down. The radio at home was switched on and I started adding the Chaser contacts onto the SOTA database. The tally after all of the Chaser contacts – 42 points of S2S contacts: 999! One point short.
I started compiling the Activator log for the day, made lunch and caught some broadcast news. I heard Kevin VK3KAB/p come up on 7.090 and quickly made contact with him for a new Unique. This took my Chaser tally to 1003 – I had qualified for Shack Sloth!
Later in the afternoon I worked VK1NAM/p on Mt Ginini VK1/AC-008 & Wayne VK3WAM/p on VK3/VG-121, taking me comfortably past the 1000 mark. I also worked Wayne late in the afternoon from the Mitchell River National Park.
Personally, I was somewhat surprised to reach the landmark so quickly. The start of SOTA operations in VK1 has had a huge impact. A group of VK1 operators have been as keen as mustard since 1 February. Their activations have stimulated several VK3 operators to get out to summits for possible S2S contacts. I have made 256 points of SOTA contacts since 1 February – more than one quarter of the required total for Shack Sloth status.
Many thanks to all Activators who have been out on hilltops, but especially to the VK1 guys in recent weeks. Prior to that, there will be lots of entries for VK3WAM/p, VK3HRA/p and the other main VK3 activators – thanks to all.
I have not added up the split of points, but many contacts have been with me out portable, so not all from the shack. I may sit down and work out the points from S2S contacts, but it all adds to the total.
I had the camera in the pack today but forgot to take it out, so no photos from today’s activation.
I do not get a public holiday tomorrow, but may attempt to get home (only a few minutes from work) to catch some those activating tomorrow.