I have operated from Mt Donna Buang a few times before during JMFD and a previous Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award activation, so heading there to be the first to activate the SOTA seemed a reasonable thing to do.
|Antenna and shelter|
Every other time I have been there I have operated from the car but the SOTA activation rules prohibits such things. As it turned out I couldn’t work from the car at the summit anyway as the gate to the summit was closed. This is the first time I have ever seen this gate closed. This meant I needed to walk my gear into the summit. An easy stroll of only 1/2 km and a gentle rise of 25 m from the gate to the summit. Since I hadn’t planned to walk far I didn’t bring a back pack with me. I carried the antenna in a shopping bag, the radio and batteries in their carry box and the squid pole over my shoulder.
|Warning sign at summit|
Once on the summit I set my squid pole against a table, ran 35 metres of coax off into the brick shelter and set the switched inverted vee antenna between a log and a storage shed. The weather on the summit was foggy, at times so think that I could see the end of the antenna, and about 6 degrees. There was no wind so it didn’t seem too cold, but I was wearing a waterproof jacket and over pants to ensure I kept warm. Only my feet felt the cold as my shoes got wet walking in the long grass when setting the antenna.
Setting up the radio inside the shelter was easy as it has tables and seats provided.
My main aim for the activation, apart from getting four QSOs to validate the SOTA, was to work from the National Park on 10, 15 and 80 m as I had not worked these bands from here before.
|FT817ND and two 7Ah SLABs|
I started on 40 m with good strong signals being reported with 9 QSOs in the log in the first 50 minutes. My second QSO was to Allen VK3HRA who was also activating a SOTA summit at Mt Warrenheip. Allen was one of three National Parks Award chasers worked from the hill.
After 3 1/2 hours of working I had 21 QSOs in the log including contacts on 10, 15 and 80 m. The WPX contest helped me get contacts on 10 and 15 m with stations in New Zealand, Japan and Indonesia being very strong and easy to work on 5 Watts.
Another successful outing for me and my new FT817.