Activated 7th July 2013
I always seem to wake up before my alarm goes off when I'm heading off for a SOTA activation and today was no exception. I don't mind the early morning starts when it is still dark and the roads are deserted. Just after I left the Princes Freeway near Drouin, I put out a call via the VK3REC repeater and Allen VK3HRA answered. He was just hitting the Hume Highway and heading north to activate his two planned summits around Mt Buffalo. We wished each other well and hoped for at least one S2S contact between us for the day.
It helps to have a wallet full of cash when activating Mt St Phillack in winter. I fuelled the vehicle before leaving the freeway and stopped at Noojee knowing that I would probably need to carry snow chains to get to Mt Baw Baw village. I hired a set of snow chains and carried on. The first clumps of snow appeared on the last few kilometres of the road to Mt Baw Baw village and by the time I arrived at the carpark, everything was white.
The next hit on the wallet cost $43.00 to park for the day. I paid and confirmed my intentions, planned route and expected time of return with the administration office before setting off to the summit. They went through a checklist which included a first-aid kit and a whistle. I had everything but the whistle but was able to demonstrate that communicating with the wider world wouldn't be a problem.
Once the antenna was up, I cleared the snow from a little ledge of rock on the cairn which made a nice shelf for the radio and I kicked off the activation on 40 metres at 0200 UTC. I worked through a steady stream of chasers and had S2S contacts with Matt VK1MA/3 on Mt Donna Buang and Allen VK3HRA/p on The Horn. I also managed contacts with Mark VK3PI, Rhett VK3GHZ and Peter VK3PF and Matt S2S once again on 146.500 with the HT.
On the way back down I had a couple of casual conversations via repeaters on the HT and arrived back at the car just as snow started falling. I couldn't have timed it better.