Mount Hotham SOTA weekend: Monday – homeward bound

Monday 22 February

It was yet another early morning, awoken by the early riser. It was time to get up, have breakfast, make lunch and pack up, followed by cleaning up prior to departure. There were some further discussions about which summits might be activated today and which route each vehicle would be taken. After personally thanking Brian and Kathy for all their hard work in organising the weekend, we all headed off in different directions. I had a brief chat with Rob VK2QR/3 at the Kosciuszko Lookout and looked at the electronic maps to help Rob decide his route choice.

After refuelling in Omeo, I headed to Hinnomunjie Bridge and then around onto Knocker Track. This track is steep and narrow in places but is in very good condition for an unsealed road. Fortunately I encountered no logging trucks whilst in transit. Despite the unsealed surface, this route is much shorter and faster than the Omeo Highway alternative, which is a slow and winding sealed route.

I parked at the summit of The Knocker VK3/VG-016 and set up nearby. Despite not having posted an Alert, I quickly qualified the summit on 40 m SSB. I had S2S contacts with Adan and Andrew on Mt Big Ben VK3/VE-106. I was aware that Compton was heading for a summit, but I did not wait for him to reach it. I did work Rob whilst he was mobile. With 13 contacts in the log, I packed up and retraced my tracks toward Omeo. I stopped along the way to work Compton VK2HRX/3 on Mount Sassafras VK3/VE-029.

I drove up Sam Hill / Mount Sam – the SOTA data has it as Sam Hill, but several maps use Mount Sam – VK3/VG-049. I set up in the shade and quickly qualified on 40 m SSB. I worked Compton as he was driving north. I continued calling and working stations until I managed the S2S with Rob VK2QR on Mount Sassafras VK3/VE-029. I heard a couple of people chasing Rob who had not worked me, so announced that I was moving up the band a little and managed to work four further stations. I then packed up and started the long drive home.

I made a brief stop in Bairnsdale, dropping in to say hello to Rob VK3EK. I found out that business was booming for Rob. He is being kept very busy with work, contributing to his lack of time available to be on air.

The rest of the journey home was uneventful.

It was a great weekend. Again, a very big thank you goes to Brian and Kathy for all their efforts. Thanks also to everyone who participated – the atmosphere was excellent all weekend. Special thanks to Brian VK3MCD and Compton VK2HRX for acting as chauffeur on Saturday and Sunday respectfully.

Keep your eyes open for some announcements for the next gathering – likely to be in southern NSW in October.

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