Activated 18/19th May 2013
This weekends activations were organised on the fly because the weather forecast was looking rather ordinary. I checked the weather radar upon waking on Sunday morning and noted that rain was passing to the east. Metro Melbourne was clear and things were promising. The radio gear was ready so with a rushed breakfast, I jumped in the car and headed for Mt Macedon.
It was a pleasant drive to the summit with the sun filtering through the trees and light mist which was rapidly lifting. Being unfamiliar with the area, I drove around the summit carpark which is well within the activation zone. I drove back from where I'd come a distance and found another picnic spot and carpark which provided an easy walk on a well formed path directly to the summit. Three comms towers and an impressive historical cairn mark the top and I set up across the clearing, finding a suitable rock to use as a radio bench. The trees here were too dense to set up the doublet so the vertical was spiked in the ground and my first contact at 2338 UTC was a S2S with RickVK3KAN/p on VK3/VS-049. Next was with Ian VK1DI/p on VK1/AC-038 Off to a flying start with S2S contacts for the day.
I worked 14 stations in total until the UTC rollover and snared another three S2S contacts with Al VK1RX/p on VK1/AC-019, Kevin VK3KAB and Glenn VK3YY both working separate stations on VK3/VE-011.
After the rollover I first worked Rick, Al and Ian once again on their respective summits and my first VK5 summit with Paul VK5PAS/p on VK5/SE-009. All up on the new UTC day I worked 18 stations before packing up and heading off to activate Mt Cobaw.
Activated 19th May 2013
Mt Cowbaw is an easy drive north of Mt Macedon on mainly sealed roads. I took the most direct route to Ridge Road which goes close to the summit and the gravel roads I encountered were all easy 2WD grade. I parked the car at the start of a walking track on Ridge Road about half way between Camp Track and Boyers Road. This walking track will take you to the summit, a pleasant treed area with some nice large granite rocks to perch yourself on. The trees were tall and well spaced for erecting the doublet so I got out my spool of light nylon line, tied my trusty old bike crank to the end and let it fly. It hooked perfectly over a good limb and as it came down, the spool tangled up on itself and disappeared high into the tree. A bit of pulling to dislodge it was to no avail. The weight of the spool alone was not sufficient for it to fall back to ground so I pulled until it snapped and recovered about 20 metres. So no doublet. The vertical antenna was then deployed and I got on the air at 0244 UTC.
I had a total of 12 contacts on Mt Cobaw but this time, no S2S stations worked.
Activated 19th May 2013
My last summit for the day was Pretty Sally. The summit itself is on private grazing land and is fenced on all boundaries. The summit is home to three comms towers and a fourth fire-watch tower. Old Sydney Road goes around the summit within the activation zone. The police have a distinct vantage point parking 100 metres or so up Old Sydney Rd with radar to catch speeding motorists on the Northern Highway. I got a wave from one as I drove past. I must have looked like one of the locals in the 4WD Triton as I headed up to the summit. I parked around the first right hand turn in the road and set up my station approximately 150 meters beyond the intersection of Beauview Drive.
I also logged a contact with VI3BEZ75 a special event station operated by John (VK3ZRX) marking the 75th anniversary of the Eastern Zone Amateur Radio Club in Gippsland.
All up it was a great SOTA day with my best catch of S2S contacts so far.