A couple of quick activations on a Tuesday afternoon

Tuesday 19 January 2015

I had a meeting at the WIA on Tuesday morning and the plan was to meet with the VK3 Association Manager Wayne VK3WAM in the evening for a meal and to discuss updates to the VK3 Association Rules Manual (ARM). Before I left home in the morning, I put the SOTA pack in the car just in case I decided that I could fit in an activation in between the existing commitments.

Early in the afternoon, as we winding up discussions at the WIA office, I received a call from Rod VK2TWR indicating that he was likely to be on a summit by around 0400Z. I therefore decided to head off for a possible Summit to Summit contact (S2S). From Bayswater, I headed out through Lilydale, Yarra Glen and up to Toolangi, then worked my way around to the locked gate below Mt Saint Leonard.

Mount Saint Leonard VK3/VC-006 1012 m 6 points
Yarra Ranges National Park VKFF-0556

This was a new summit for me, so a successful activation would make the summit Complete. Although the day was a day of Total Fire Ban, the wind was moderate and the temperature was in the low 30s. Just after turning into Monda Road, there was a tree across the road. After pulling a large separate branch to the edge of the road, I was able to navigate under the main trunk and make my way up to the junction with Road 10 and the large locked gate. I loaded up with my gear and walked up to just west of the summit tower and set up on the edge of the access road in the shade. The dipole was simply tied up to an overhanging branch, the centre at about 3.5 m high.

It took a couple of calls and self-spotting to stir up some chasers. I then worked 12 stations over about 15 minutes on 40 m SSB. I then tried 6 m, using the dipole in 40 m configuration. I could not hear any signals, and calls received no responses. I switched to 10 m SSB and spotted myself. I quickly worked both Ron VK3AFW and Tony VK3CAT. Tony made a comment about which connector the radio was using on 6 m?? I checked – Doh! It was configured for the Front connector on the FT-817 and I was connected to the Rear. A quick adjustment of the settings changed that and I switched the antenna back to 40 m configuration. That rapidly resulted in solid contacts with both Ron and Tony on 6 m. Further calls on 6 m and 40 m resulted in no responses. I rang Rod to find out his progress – he thought it would be another hour until he was on his summit, so I started to pack up.

Back to the car and then drive back down to the bitumen, then south into Healesville and up Don Road to Nyora Road.

Mount Toolebewong VK3/VC-033 735 m 4 points

I have activated this one previously, but it was a target with the available driving time to try to catch Rod for a S2S without spending an hour sitting and calling on Mt St Leonard – which would have been an option, building up the number of contacts for the WWFF scheme.

I was just set up when I heard Rod calling “Last calls”. I called Rod but bumped the radio. I am not sure what I did, but I had no Tx signal. I powered the radio off and started it again, and was then able to work Rod for a S2S to Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007. I was going to wait for Rod to finish on 7.100 MHz, but he kept having new stations call him, so I moved down to 7.090 MHz, spotted myself and calling. I quickly worked another 5 stations, then I packed up and headed off – I needed to be in Oakleigh by 1830 local.

As I was driving out, I heard another spot for VK3, so stopped the car to check: it was Gerard VK2IO saying that he could not hear me with the QRM from the Kandos net on 7.093. Sorry Gerard – it was a quick activation and I did not even think about the net as they were not causing me any issues.

I managed to have a reasonable run on the roads across to Oakleigh and had a few minutes to spare before the designated meeting time of 1830. It turned out that only Wayne and I made the meeting. We enjoyed a meal and then started looking at the updates to the list of VK3 summits. Some will be going as the summit heights were incorrect or there is a higher summit nearby that make the current summit ineligible. A small number of new summits were found and will be added. There will be a change of wording in the ARM about access to the activation zone so that our local rules no longer conflict with the global rules.

Wayne and I said our goodbyes and I headed for home – about a 1.75 hour drive.

Sorry folks, my mind was busy and I forgot to take any photos on this trip!

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