Last weekend, as I have done for many years, I attended Scouthike to assist the SRESU provide communications support for the event. My son Ashley, VK3FASH, came along as well. Ashley has been building his operating skills at this event for some time now and this year he did nearly all the operating.
The station consisted of my TM742 as the primary radio, accessing the SRESU’s portable 2 m repeater VK3RSR via my 2 m vertical dipole held in place on a 9 metre squid pole. A quick and easy antenna setup. HF was covered by my FT817 with the FT757 on site as a backup radio. The FT817, due to its low standby current was used at night to maintain a ‘listening watch’.
The station was powered from two 100 Ah sealed lead acid batteries. Only one battery was required as we kept current consumption as low as possible. In previous years there has been 240 volt power available from generators to top up our batteries but not this year.
Past Scouthikes have been held in November when the weather is warm but the event moved to May in 2012. The 2012 event was cancelled due to poor weather. This year however went ahead with cold temperatures and no rain.
I always try to take advantage of the low noise level when I am away to work some DX but this year there was a buzzing noise on 40 metres that made for annoying listening. I didn’t identify the source of the noise but once a few people packed up and left the camp the noise went too.
There was a lot of SOTA activity on Saturday and Sunday and I managed to make 10 QSOs with activators including Glenn, VK3YY and Kevin, VK3KAB activating summits in the High Country where snow was falling and ice was forming on the radio gear.
Overall the hiking event went well and the radio network performed without a hitch – as usual.