The fourth running of Antennapalooza occurred on the weekend of 8 & 9 April, based near Foster in South Gippsland. Antennapalooza is an event run by the Gippsland Gate Radio & Electronics Club for sharing information, especially relating to antennas and portable operations. This year, the camp site was open from Friday afternoon to Monday.
Given the weather forecast, I decided to make it a day trip on Saturday. I arrived at around 1000 local. After exchanging greetings with several of the early arrivals, I mentioned that I was planning to head to a local SOTA summit. Sergio VK3SFG and Jon VK3TUL jumped in with me. Theo VK3AP and a colleague decided to follow us up to the summit.
We headed off back toward Foster and navigated around to Foster – Mount Best Road and then to Wonga – Square Top Road and parked at the junction with Mount Square Top Road.
Mount Square Top VK3/VT-071 447 m 1 point
The summit is located on private property, so permission is needed to access the summit. I had attempted to call the contact person the evening before and left a message. He called back just after 0700 Saturday morning. All was clear for access. We climbed over the very low fence beside the gate and started the climb up past the apparently vacant house on site, following the driveway and then a farm track. The climb is relatively steep, climbing about 90 m vertical over about 400 m.
On arrival, I grabbed the handheld and called CQ on the 2 m liaison frequency for the event, and promptly worked two stations at the campsite. I then decided to set up using a tree branch to support the HF antenna. Jon and Theo offered to assist by running out each side of the HF dipole.
Calling on 40 m SSB promptly had a further 3 contacts in the log. I then handed the microphone to Sergio for him to activate. As I was posting a Spot, I noticed two other stations out on air on summits. We quickly worked Andrew VK3JBL/p on VK3/VC-037 S2S and a few minutes later, Wade VKL1FWBD/p S2S VK1/AC-037. We then chased Paul VK5PAS/3 in Shallow Inlet Marine and Coastal Park VKFF-0749, followed by Chris VK3PAT/p and Chris VK3QB/p who were out with Paul.
We finally got back to our posted frequency, and a string of callers were worked. Last in the log was Ian VK1DI/2 on VK2/SM-049 for a final S2S.
With no further callers, we packed up and headed back to the event site, happy with a new Unique and Complete.
During the afternoon, several people gave presentations to the small gathering:
Paul VK5PAS spoke about portable operations in general, about the VKFF/WWFF Awards and about the SANPCP Awards.
Tony VK3XV/VK3VTH spoke about the Keith Roget National Parks Award and briefly about the Victorian Local Government Award.
I spoke about SOTA.
An impressive cold front moved across a little after 1700 local, with lightning, thunder and plenty of rain. Discussions continued despite the rain and the falling temperature. I gave up at around 1815 and started the drive home.
It was great to catch up and to share ideas with those present. I shall certainly endeavour to make it to the next event. Thanks to Chris VK3QB and every one else involved in organising the event.