I was off to a flying start on Saturday morning from home working Mitch VK3FMDV both sides of the new UTC day on Mt Torbreck for a very handy 10 points a time. I also worked Mike VK3MEV from Dingo Ridge.
A little later grabbed the chance to escape the high noise floor of the home QTH and get down to my favourite local outdoor operating spot by the banks of the Yarra River for a couple of hours casual operating with greatly improved receiving conditions. Comfortably set up with the doublet strung high between perfectly spaced oak trees I worked Mitch once again, this time on Pyramid Hill for another 8 points. This was quickly followed by Mark VK3PI on Mt St Leonard.
A short time later I had a good QRP contact with Peter VK3YE operating with a magnetic loop from a park near his QTH.
I had a play around on 15 meters without much luck and waited for conditions to pick up on 20 metres mid afternoon. It was probably a little early to work Europe but there was some strong contest stations making the distance easily. There were good signals coming in from across the Pacific so I listened for a while before putting out a successful call to Paul W7COH near Salt Lake City in Utah who came back to me with a 56 report. We had a very relaxed and easy conversation both ways and he was quite surprised at the consistency and quality of my 5 watt signal. With another great flea-powered DX achieved, it was time to pack up and head home as it was overcast and rain was threatening by this stage.
My last SOTA contact for Saturday afternoon from the home QTH was Perrin VK3XPT on Mt Donna Buang on his first summit activation. I listened to Perrin efficiently work a steady stream of chasers with good reports all round. A job well done and an activator that I expect we will hear a lot more from.
This was the motivation to throw the gear in the car and head back down to my riverside spot and hopefully work them before they disappeared or band conditions deteriorated. Around an hour later I was set up by the river with FT-817 and the doublet roughly broadside to VK4 and Brendan and Glenn were still there, perfectly readable. This time I was able to complete a contact with them easily and give them a 51 report. These guys worked VK4/SE-041 brilliantly between them for a generous amount of time giving all chasers a chance to work them. I was monitoring them back and forth between other contacts and they were hanging in there, moving frequency a few times to avoid the VK6 WIA broadcast and callback on 7.088 mhz and other stronger stations that were wiping them out from time to time.
My next notable contact was with Peter VK3YE pedestrian portable by the beach close to his home with his QRP aspirated magnetic loop working consistently well as he wandered around on the sand, out on the pier and then in the water up to his knees as we conversed. Peter tried to work the VK4 SOTA stations and just wasn't quite making it. He did however have some other fine QRP contacts with good reports that I could hear.
As usual there was an increased level of activity around the UTC rollover. Before then I worked Ed VK2JI on VK2/HU-093 and Glen VK1FB in VK1/AC-008. At 0001z I worked Glen again for another 8 points. This was followed by Ed once again whose 1 point summit might not have meant much to some but gave me my 1000th chaser point and elevated me to Shack Sloth status. Thank you Ed.
Meanwhile Brendan VK4FADI and Glenn VK4FSCC were still operating after the UTC rollover on their summit and I managed to make contact again with Brendan at 0005z in deteriorating conditions, giving him a 31 report this time. I had a few more casual contacts with SOTA regulars before pulling the station down and heading back home for lunch.
It was inevitable that as soon as I packed up I would miss a couple of worthwhile activators and I missed Tony VK3CAT on Federation Range and Glenn VK3YY on Mt Dom Dom for some easy points, but that's the way it goes!
Special thanks to the stations I worked today and those that hung around after the UTC rollover to help me achieve this goal. Maybe for the next 1000 I'll try to work everyone from a 10 point summit and if luck has it's way I'll be able to help another chaser reach a milestone. Now I can think about my next appearance on a summit to keep those activator and S2S points rolling along. Sounds like a plan!