Two Gippsland HEMA summits

2 April 2022

Saturday 2 April 2022 was promoted as International HEMA Day. Despite the poor weather outlook locally, I decided to head out to activate a HEMA summit in West Gippsland. I have submitted a list of candidate summits in the eastern third of the state to the local HEMA Coordinator, but these are still in the process of being checked. Given the weather, I decided against a longer drive to reach summits which I had not yet activated and to revisit two summits.

This report is a little delayed, as I was awaiting receipt of an Award which has finally arrived.

I drove to Warragul and then south to Strzelecki, then east on Ross and Witherdons Road. I parked opposite a small stock yard and set up the station nearby.

Ross Hill VK3/HVC-075 407 m

The summit is on private property, but the area near the stockyards is inside the summit Activation Zone (up to 25 m vertical down from the summit). There is space on the west side of the road to park and set up the station.

An early task was to erect a fly sheet to keep off the light rain. This was strung between my squid pole lashed to a fence post and a nearby pine tree. The antenna ran parallel with the fence. I had the gear on a folding table under the fly. There was some moderate wind as well, so some care was required to keep everything dry. I used the KX2 for the activation.

My first contact was with Rik VK3EQ on VK3/VE-073 on 80 m SSB. Rik had rung as I was on the road. I advised that I was heading to a HEMA summit and Rik agreed to wait until I arrived and set up. I organised the gear set up a little better before checking the Spots and then waited for a chance to work Chris VK1CT/p on VK1/AC-042 in VKFF-0834 on 40 m CW.

I worked a Gippsland local on 80 m SSB and then worked Bob VK2BYF in VKFF-0298 before I found a clear frequency on 40 m SSB and spotted. I had a steady run of callers, including Peter VK3TKK on VK3/HVC-039. I moved to 80 m SSB and worked Nick VK3ANL and another contact with Peter VK3TKK. I then moved to 40 m SSB to work Bob VK2BYF, now in VKFF-0062. A period of calling on 40 m CW produced only one contact, with the same result on 80 m CW. My last contact was with Peter VK3ZPF at the Merrimu silo VK-MRZ3 near Bacchus Marsh on 80 m SSB. I then packed up the gear and headed home.

Later in the afternoon I drove towards Mirboo North and around to the Allambee summit.

Allambee VK3/HVC-074 406 m

This summit is close to the junction of Old Thorpdale Road and Stephens Road, Mirboo North. I parked and set up close to the junction, on one of the plantation access tracks. I soon had the doublet centre high in the air, at around 12 m, thanks to a good throw with the throw line.

For this activation, I set up the IC-7300 on the folding table, powered by an 100 Ah LiFePO4 battery.

First in the log was Gerald VK2HBG at the Urana silo VK-URA2 on 40 m SSB, followed by Ian VK1DI. I then moved to 20 m SSB to again work Gerald at Urana silo. I moved up the band and spotted myself. Ian VK5IS was next in the log, followed by Manu EA1GIB. With no callers straight after Manu, I moved down the band to listen for another HEMA station. I listened as Mike 2E0YYY/p on G/HSP-020 chatted with Ernie VK3DET. After Mike started calling CQ, I tried several times to make contact. Mike eventually heard me, but it took several minutes to confirm reports and exchange references as the QSB caused significant fading. But we eventually completed the contact, the first H2H summit to summit contact between VK3 and G. I then returned to 40 m SSB and worked another four stations before I decided to close down and pack up before the light faded completely. I then headed back home.

Some email exchanges followed over the coming days and the HEMA Coordinator Rob G7LAS confirmed that the contact with Mike was VK3 – G H2H contact. Rob subsequently sent a certificate via email to confirm the HEMA Eagle Award.

The HEMA Eagle Award certificate.

Thanks to all who made contact during the day. Thanks especially to Mike 2E0YYY for his perseverance in completing our contact. And finally, thanks to Rob for the Award.

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