ANZAC Day is one of the regular dates when Australian amateurs can swap their VK prefix for the AX prefix. The weather forecast was again reasonable, but with moderate winds predicted.
The Geelong Amateur Radio Club (GARC) was promoting a 3.4 GHz Activity Day, with many amateurs located on high sites around Melbourne and Geelong, most equipped with the transformed Subscriber Panel units that the GARC had acquired and sold to amateurs. I have one of these units partly transformed, but also have a more substantial system, so decided to head to Mount Tassie to try my luck with 3.4 GHz.
Mount Tassie VK3/VT-046 752 m 4 points
I arrived at the lookout point near the northern transmission towers at around 0000 UTC. I set up the offset dish and the 3.4 GHz transverter near the compass rose and made a couple of telephone calls to amateurs that I thought would be participating in the Activity Day. Neither of the amateurs were able to hear my signal despite attempts over about 40 minutes. Most of the activity was being coordinated via the Mt Anakie repeater, which I could not access.
I decided to give up on 9 cm for a while, as a Spot had just come through for a SOTA summit. I quickly set up the HF station and worked Ian AX5CZ/p on VK5/SE-004 for a S2S. I then moved to a clear frequency and started calling. Several minutes later I worked Hugh AX5NHG/p on VK5/SE-010, with Glenn VK3YY/p on VK3/VT-001 a couple of minutes later. After working Glenn, I had a string of callers almost all together, when the phone rang. I quickly advised that I would finish up on 40 m and set up the 9 cm station shortly – I would call them back when ready to go. So the 40 m callers were worked and then I packed up the HF station.
I returned to the previous site and once again set up the 9 cm station, using the same FT-817 as the transverter driver. I called David VK3QM and we tweaked dish pointing to optimise the signals. David and I agreed that we unlikely to complete a contact on voice, given the weak signals at both ends. David noted that he would contact Chas VK3PY who had a more capable system. Several minutes later, David called back on the phone and we started liaison with Chas. The result was a completed contact at 0207 UTC on 3400.150 MHz SSB over a distance of about 208 km. The gear at my end was SOTA compliant, so I now had an Activator contact to claim a SOTA/UK Microwave Group certificate for 200 km on 3.4 GHz.
After the contact was completed, I packed up and headed for home for some lunch.
Overall, a very satisfying weekend.