A busy GippsTech weekend

A busy weekend with me as Chair of GippsTech this past weekend in Churchill! I have been able to relax a little now it is over.

The Chasing began on the Friday whilst doing some work at home before heading into the office, and later in the afternoon after escaping the office early. Contacts made were:

Chased on 12 July 2013:
Allen VK3HRA/P on VK3/VN-001 Mt Torbreck
Andrew VK1NAM/P on VK1/AC-040 Mt Ainslie and
Andrew VK1DA/3 on VK3/VG-034 Mt Delegate.

I hosted Wayne VK3WAM and Andrew VK1DA/3 for the weekend, plus 2 more friends from VK2. There was lots of SOTA discussion in the evenings this year, a change to the usual VHF/UHF discussion. We also discussed other issues, including why are my two Nally towers still horizontal on the ground, but that is perhaps a story for another day.

On Saturday, it was an early start and up to the University to start setting up. Thanks to Wayne, Andrew Guy and Rod for helping us out with some of the setup tasks. It was then time to get the conference underway.

I managed to chase a few from the car park during breaks and even ducked out in the middle of a longer presentation on Saturday morning and worked two activations. Missed a couple, but such is life. I also noted Ron VK3AFW and Rik VK3KAN out in or near the car park with antennas up chasing a few. It seems that you cannot keep some of these SOTA participants focussed on other activities!

Chased on 13 July 2013:
Allen VK3HRA/P on VK3/VC-001 Mt Matlock,
Mitch VK3FMDV/P on VK3/VC-007 Mt Macedon,
Ernie VK3DET/P on VK3/VS-013 Mount Lonarch,
Andrew VK1RX/P on VK1/AC-010 Sentry Box Mountain,
Ian VK1DI/P on VK1/AC-028 Billy Range and
Brian VK3MCD/P on VK3/VE-006 Mt Hotham.

During the afternoon, both Wayne and myself talked about antennas for SOTA activations.

Saturday night was the Conference Dinner in Morwell, with SOTA and other radio topics discussed. Then back home for more discussions and sampling a little port and muscat.

On Sunday morning it was back to the Conference. I still managed one contact during a break.

Chased on 14 July 2013:
Brian VK3MCD/P on VK3/VE-080 Albion Point.

Mt Useful VK3/VT-016

After we had packed up on Sunday afternoon after GippsTech, we checked the WX radar and decided to risk a longer trip for a summit activation. I offered to drive Andrew and Wayne to Mount Useful, which I had activated two weeks earlier. After a drive of just over 1.5 hours, we safely reached the turn off to the summit track, having encountered a few 4WD vehicles with drivers that seemed to think that they owned the full width of the road. A short distance up the Mt Useful Track, I dropped Wayne and Andrew off with all the gear outside the activation zone (AZ). I then drove up to the top and awaited their arrival and subsequently offered moral support as they both successfully activated Mount Useful VK3/VT-016. WX was cold, showers and high winds, but we sheltered under a carport next to the newish locked hut on the summit, with the steps acting as an operating table.

On the way down from the summit, I drove to outside the AZ and worked Andrew on 2 m FM for Chaser points, and then Wayne moved in and Andrew out of the AZ so that both of them could claim Chaser points.

We carefully headed toward home on a very slippery road surface. We also had a look along the logical approach road to VK3/VT-034 – we were unsure if the road was open or closed. We looked very carefully for any sign of road closure and found none. Other tracks in the area had closure signs, but not Williamsons Spur Track. We reached the summit AZ and drove on until we were outside the AZ.

We then took turns entering the AZ and worked the other two plus some Latrobe Valley locals on 2 m FM for a first activation. Time was short with WX threatening and fading light, so this was done as a very quick activation. Sorry that we did not have time or light to set up on 40 m and work others.

It was then a simple but carefully drive back down to Seaton and then across the Latrobe Valley to Churchill, with patchy fog slowing progress at times.

The trip had more SOTA discussions and it was great to be able to assist Andrew VK1DA/3 in significantly boosting his Activator score. A great afternoon after a busy weekend – thanks to both Wayne and Andrew for the company.

No photos so far – I forgot the camera in our rush to get away. I am not sure if any took photos of the car park operations – will post images if I can find some!

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