The April VK – ZL – JA – EU S2S “party”

6 April 2019

A number of amateurs had been planning for a S2S event on the first Saturday of April: late afternoon for the VK operators and early morning for the Europeans. After waiting to see what the weather would do, I considered activating Mount Tassie.

I got a little tied with some tasks at home before I headed off from home at about 1540 local. I changed my mind and headed to the closest peak, with a shorter travelling time.

Mt Houghly VK3/VT-049  698 m 2 points

The approach track is becoming very crowded, with regrowth encroaching significantly – enough to add more scratches to the surface of the vehicle. I drove up to the shallow saddle close to the saddle, only about a metre below the trig. The area at the trig has lots of blackberries, so I set up close to the western knoll, strapping a 12 m squid pole to a bust to hold up the ZS6BKW doublet. I used a recently purchased 18 Ah LiFePO4 battery and the IC-7300 at around 30 watts, set up on a folding table and a comfortable folding chair.

I was all set up and check the spots on SOTAwatch. I soon had Andrew VK1AD/p on Mount Ginini VK1/AC-008 in the log – the first S2S contact for the day. I moved down the band and soon had Geoff VK3SQ calling, followed by Rik VK3EQ/p on Mount Buller VK3/VE-008.

I called for a few more minutes before changing up to 40 m CW to work Grant VK4JAZ/p on Tennison Wood Mountain VK4/SE-117. I listened around for some other activators without any success. I moved back to 80 m SSB to work Wade VK1MIC/p on Mount MacDonald VK1/AC-048. I then decided to try some more CW and spotted on 80 m. This soon had Ron VK3AFW in the log, followed by at least two callers at the same time at about the same strength. I simply waited until they both finished and sent “?”. Next was Bernard VK2IB/3 on Mount McKay VK3/VE-007, followed by Warren VK3BYD. Further CQ calls yielded no results.

I moved up to listen for JP3DGT on 15 m CW but heard nothing. I then went to 40 m CW to listen for some of the Europeans. I called IW2OBX/p on I/LO-278 without success. He was very weak – 339.

Back to 40 m SSB to work Marija VK5FMAZ/p and Paul VK5PAS/p in Loch Luna Game Reserve VKFF-1723. I listened around trying to hear & work some of the Europeans who were spotted, without success. I saw Wal VK2WP spotted on CW, so spun down and waited for a chance to call him. I soon had him in the log from VK2/CT-007. Next was Bill VK1MCW/2 on Bobbara Mountain VK2/ST-044 on 40 m CW. Next was Sam VK2GPL/p on SSB from Mount Solitary VK2/CT-056, followed by Gerard VK2IO/p on Mount Elliot VK2/HU-093. I moved up to 30 m CW to work John VK6NU/p on Mount Randall VK6/SW-039. I listened around for others spotted before heading back to 40 m to work Mike 2E0YYY/p on Shining Tor G/SP-004: the contact was hard work due to QRM at both ends. I listened to Helen VK7FOLK/p and Jon VK7JON/p on Mount Gnomon VK7/NW-062, but they were weak and I could not be heard by them.

More listening around on 40 m and 20 m with few workable signals heard. I did manage to work Katsu JP3DGT/3 on 20 m CW. I heard a couple of European stations at weak signal strength but could not break through to work them. The last station worked was David VK3IL/p on Mount Winstanley VK3/VE-036 on 40 m SSB – not strong, but in the log. I then spent several more minutes listening and calling weak EU stations, without success. It was getting cold and the sun was low, so I decided to pack up and head off the hill.

Thanks to all who organised and those who participated in the event.

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