Thursday 5 February 2015
East Tower VK7/NE-009 1122 m 8 points Not previously activated
From the middle of Fingal, take B42 north. At the T intersection after crossing the river, turn left passing the golf club. At the end of the golf club, turn right into C429 – an unsealed road. At some corners, the road appears to turn based on the road surface, but continue straight ahead. Watch out for Cabin Road and turn into it. As you proceed, you should see a sign indicating that there is a locked gate ahead. I drove up to the locked gate, turned around and parked on the edge of the road and walked up the road, then up the final climb until I reached a locked gate at the foot of a steep set of steel steps.
Checking the GPS indicated that I was in the AZ, so I set up on the small rock shelf near the gate. I had a 10 m high rock wall only a couple of metres from the antenna feed point.
I switched on the radio and promptly worked Fred VK3DAC on 40 m. I could hear a very weak Paul VK5PAS/p on VK5/SE-004, but could not complete a contact. Paul switched to 20 m, and I followed him to make the S2S. It was then back to 40 m to make a further 7 contacts prior to packing up and heading down.
At around 1030 local time, I heard a vehicle driving up. Several minutes later, the fire watcher came up to my location. We had a chat about my activities. He explained that the fire watch shift begins at 1100 and that he is normally there by around 1030. He also noted that he always leaves the gates open just in case some emergency occurs. The conclusion is obvious – plan to access the site at a time after 1030 during the summer and you can avoid the 1.3 km walk and almost 100 m climb to the car park area.
I returned in Fingal, and then headed along the A4 then Highway 1 toward Launceston. Along the way, I chatted with Joe VK7JG on the Mt Barrow repeater (147.00 MHz). We met at the Bunnings car park and I jumped in with Joe for the drive to Mt Barrow.
Mount Barrow VK7/NE-003 1406 m
Compton VK2HRX had activated Mt Barrow, stopping near the gate to the AirServices Australia compound which straddles the southern end of the summit ridge. Apparently, some people have climbed around the gate on the left hand side. No problems for us – Joe has the key as the Mt Barrow repeater is inside the AirServices Australia building. We walk up through the compound and 100 m or more beyond the northern tower to set up once the GPS map contour lines indicated that we were inside the AZ.
First in the log was again Fred VK3DAC. I only made 7 contacts on 40 m only, plus one 2 m FM contact prior to packing up and heading back down.
We drove back to Launceston and then to Joe’s home for the regular social gathering that Joe hosts on a Thursday afternoon. There was lots of interesting discussions over some snacks and a glass or two of wine.
Phil and Joe prepared a lovely meal of Tasmanian Salmon and salad. After watching a little TV, it was off to bed for a relatively early (for me) night.