Snowy Mountains Trip Aug 2015

The trip started out as a weekend of skiing for a friend’s birthday. What it turned into was a 13 day trip with 20 SOTA summit activations and 7 National Park activations. Here’s a potted picture-centric summary with future detailed reports still to come.

Path travelled on the trip to reach all the summits and parks - total distance 2718km

Path travelled on the trip to reach all the summits and parks – total distance 2718km

Fri 21 Aug
Left home and 3 hours later activated Livingstone Hill VK2/SM-093 on the way to Jindabyne. 31 contacts.

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Sat 22 Aug
Skied at Perisher in very windy conditions with chairlifts on hold until lunchtime. In the late afternoon access to Mt Perisher was possible so activated Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007 Kosciuszko NP VKFF-269. Only 5 contacts. See full details here: https://vk2io.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/mt-perisher-activation-22-aug-2015/

Sun 23 Aug
Skied all day at Perisher including First Tracks at 7am. Light winds so would have been better for activating than Saturday. Moved to campsite in Jindabyne.

Mon 24 Aug
Rain started at 2:30am and didn’t stop for days. Summit activations not possible so activated Kosciuszko National Park VKFF-269 from Creel Bay on the shores of Lake Jindabyne. 34 contacts.

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Tue 25 Aug
Still raining so drove to Cooma, wrote the blog for Saturday’s activation and caught a movie.

Wed 26 Aug
Rain eased, I packed up the tent and met Rod VK2TWR. We activated VK2/SM-053 then Jillamatong Hill VK2/SM-064 then Box Ridge VK2/SM-065. Drove out to Wattle Hill VK2/SM-063 as well but it was too wet to activate. Returned to Rod’s place in Nimmitabel to warm up with a hot meal. 10+11+17 contacts.

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Thu 27 Aug
Mostly clear weather. Drove with Rod via Cooma to Big Badja Hill VK2/SM-059 Deua NP VKFF-138 then Bald Mountain VK2/SM-052 Gourock NP VKFF-212. On the way back called in at The Peak VK2/SM-068 but it was getting too dark and wet to activate. 14+14 contacts.

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Fri 28 Aug
Poured with rain so we took the day off for some R&R and planning more activations.

Sat 29 Aug
Sunny when Rod and I left and also at Mt Delegate VK3/VG-034 – my first VK3 summit. Snowing/raining for Goonmirk Rocks VK3/VG-048 Errinundra NP VKFF-158 and last section of road was closed for winter meaning 3 km round trip. Tried to get to Monkeytop VK3/VG-041 but road was closed at the Big Tree so decided to do others rather than walk 7km in the rain. Activated Mt Koolabbra VK3/VG-061 in the rain then VK3/VG-038. Moved on to Cottonwood Range VK3/VG-057 but a long route meant we had to cut a lot of fallen trees across the road and the delay meant activating in the dark. 7+12+13+8+6 contacts – a very productive day even though 3 planned 8 point summits weren’t accessible.

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Sun 30 Aug
SOTA QSO Party day so I went to The Peak VK2/SM-068, set up the fly on the summit and activated all day until it got dark. Only a few short showers but it was windy all day. NVIS on 40m was poor mostly. Made some 20m contacts into EU including S2S with Mike 2E0YYY on Gun G/SP-013 – his only VK. Very happy with 41 S2S in a total of 83 contacts.

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Mon 31 Aug
Nice sunny day. Rod and I went to Wattle Hill VK2/SM-063 then visited Eucumbene Dam for lunch. Afterwards it was Mt Cobrabald VK2/SM-051 then Trig TS3825 VK2/SM-057 leaving just on dusk. All of these are on private property. 10+9+5 contacts.

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Tue 1 Sep
Rod hosed down my muddy car and then I was on my way to the ACT. Stopped in at Boboyan Range VK1/AC-044 Namadji NP VKFF-377 and made 32 contacts. Then headed for Tuggeranong Hill VK1/AC-038 but a flat tyre left no time for an activation. Drove into the city to the Ainslie Football Club for dinner with the VK1 SOTA guys – a very pleasant evening!

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Wed 2 Sep
Stopped by the tyre dealer for some new rubber. Very nice weather and headed to Mt Cowangerong VK2/ST-001 keeping clear of the weather radar tower. After the activation blew one of the new tyres leaving the site – Grrrrr! Headed to South Black Range VK2/ST-006 Tallaganda NP VKFF-474 but wrong GPS guidance delayed arrival. Short activation and then to Mt Palerang VK2/ST-009 arriving 45 mins before dark. Did a very short activation and then walked down in the dark. Refreshed, refilled and then drove home via Braidwood. 19+8+4 contacts.

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Highlights

  • 20 SOTA summits activated – 12 jointly activated with Rod VK2TWR – all qualified
  • 318 SOTA contacts, 198 activator points inc. 48 winter bonus points
  • 56 summit-to-summit contacts
  • 7 VKFF park activations – 6 on SOTA summits
  • 119 VKFF contacts
  • 2718 km travelled

Thanks
Many thanks to the chasers and hunters who made contact.
Big thanks to Rod VK2TWR and XYL Judy for their hospitality.

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Mt Perisher activation 22 Aug 2015

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.

Operating site on Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

Operating site on Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

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.

Radio shack on a rock - Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

Radio shack on a rock – Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

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.

Telescopic whip supported by a rock - Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

Telescopic whip supported by a rock – Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

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.

Antenna wire held between two rocks - Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

Antenna wire held between two rocks – Mt Perisher VK2/SM-007

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.

Update

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!

Daniel, Louise, Dean and Gerard at Perisher Ski Resort in our "ski suits"

Daniel, Louise, Dean and Gerard at Perisher Ski Resort in our “ski suits”