Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007 VKFF-269 Kosciuszko NP 2054m 10 pts
Down in the Snowy Mountains for a skiing weekend and planned to activate Mt Perisher while there. An alert was put up for Saturday lunchtime and upon arrival at the Perisher Valley skifields, the wind was so strong that the chairlifts weren’t running. I posted a cancelled notice on the alert.
Skied that morning but it was overcrowded since the snowriders could not get out of the valley and onto the higher slopes. Ended up catching a bus to Smiggins Holes which is another part of the resort and a lot less crowded. After a few hours learnt that some of the chairs had begun operating in Perisher so returned for a few more hours. Later on moved to the Mt perisher area for some skiing. Took the Eyre T-bar lift up to the top of the mountain and then climbed up to the top, leaving my skis near the ski patrol hut.
At the top of the mountain it was blowing a gale. I stumbled around in my ski boots over the rocks looking for some shelter from the wind coming from the back of the mountain. Eventually I found a lee in between two rocks without a river running through. It was quite near to the trig point.
Set up the Diamond RHM8B portable antenna connected directly to the KX3. Four 5m radials were run out but I did not bother to untangle them too much. To the top was clipped a 5m radiating wire and it was run across two raised rocks and weighted down on the end to stop it flying up. Yes the wind was really over 60 km/h. It took a few goes to get the antenna in place. A spot was put up on SOTAwatch for the activation on 40m CW.
Set up the KX3 with a small 500 mAh 3-cell LiPo battery as the power source. This was the first time I’ve used it since I normally take my 4200 mAh battery, but this was to be a short activation. Adjusted the length of the loading coil on the antenna and got a good match. Started calling and had 3 replies straight away – VK3AFW, VK3PF and VK3HRA. Reports varied between S3 and S7 so it seemed as though the antenna was working.
Kept calling some more and had no more replies and then I noticed that the extension wire had not actually been clipped on to the top of the antenna in all the rush to get on the air. I had been operating purely off the 1.6m telescopic whip leaning against a rock.
After clipping on the extension wire, retuned the loading coil with a lot less inductance and continued calling. After 5 minutes more I had replies from VK2JDR and VK1EM. After a little bit more calling there were no more replies and I was getting rather cold and windblown. Hanging on to the scrap of paper for the log was tricky whilst trying to operate CW. Unfortunately there was no more time for SSB, and since the lifts were closing I had to get off the mountain. Calls were being received from ski buddies with rendez-vous points mentioned. So, a very quick pack-up and then skied off the mountain.
Thanks to all the callers allowing me to qualify the mountain. Sorry to those SSB folk who would have liked a contact. As it turned out, weather on the Sunday was fine with very low wind – it would have been a much better day to activate.
There has been some interest in my attire during this activation. It’s suffice to say that I was dressed similarly to the gentleman on the right of this picture. The occasion was a birthday for one of our group. I’m not sure whether any other SOTA activator would own up to wearing such an outfit during an activation!