Friday 21 December 2018
I decided on a shorter trip for the day as I had a family dinner engagement. I was a little late heading off, posting an Alert for 0100 UTC. I travelled down the Hume Highway to Wenckes Road, then onto Chiltern Valley Road and northwest to Research Station Road. Left into Research Station Road and then into United Road. About half way along United Road I turned into the lane – Bath Lane on some maps. I reached a locked gate with a Natural Features Reserve sign just beyond the gate – it was looking like a SOTA like operation would be required. I drove “around the block” and found another locked gate on the southern boundary of the Reserve and returned to the gate on Bath Lane (no signage at the start of the Lane).
Rutherglen Nature Conservation Reserve VKFF-2185 Not previously activated
I parked near the gate and loaded up with the SOTA pack, plus the folding camp chair and folding table. I moved inside the reserve through the gap beside the gate that allows pedestrian access and found an area with a suitable tree branch and some shade.
I tossed a line over a branch to haul the dipole centre and then set up the station, using the KX2 and a LiFePO4 battery. I spotted myself and started calling and soon had Gerard VK2IO in the log. It took 15 minutes of calling to work six stations – things were slow. I swapped to 80 m SSB to work three relatively local stations before going to 20 m SSB. I soon had another eight contacts, then four on 20 m CW. I had an incomplete contact with David VK5PL, who lost me in local noise before he had my report. I returned to 40 m SSB and continued calling. The next 50 minutes brought another 24 contacts, including one on AM and four on CW. I had 45 in the log – another Park qualified for WWFF.
I packed up and returned to the car. I then grabbed the camera to take a couple of photos over near the large mine tailings mound. The foundations and tailings mounds are the remnants of the Great Southern and Chiltern Valley United Mine. I returned to the car and drove into Chiltern to buy a pie for a late lunch.
I then travelled northwards out of town along Chiltern Howlong Road and into the next Park.
Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park VKFF-0620
I again set up with a line over a tree branch. I set up with the IC-7300 on the tailgate of the vehicle and spotted myself on 40 m SSB. Adam VK2YK was first in the log, followed by Mitch VK7XDM. 20 minutes later I had 11 contacts in the log. Some regulars could not hear me as there was no 40 m NVIS, so I dropped down to 80 m SSB to work four more, including the first contact on air from Ross VK3NRB, who had recently passed his Standard Theory exam. Congratulations Ross! I did need to turn the power up from 40 W to 100 W to work Ross, which also allowed Rik VK3EQ to hear me.
I packed up and returned to Chiltern, the up the Hume back to Wodonga.