Having day release (thanks wifey) to attend the ballarat hamfest saw me spend some time activating two more local mountains. Both Mt Warrenheip VK3/VC-019 and Mt Bunninyong VK3/VC-018 are ~10km form Ballarat and are the remains of old volcanoes.
I left the hamfest around 11am and made my way to the mountain top, Ive been up this hill with work, at one of the communications towers, but not for a long time, and i took a wrong turn initially 😀
Arriving at the top, the road is a one direction loop. I did a recce loop, and came back around to the main carpark that leads to a fire lookout/observation tower.
I parked the car and got my gear, I wandered down the hill and back up to comply with the rules and headed over to the table/picnic area to set up.
I had purchased some cheap ratchet straps for my bag but these were safely on my desk back home, so I used the double sided velcro (thankfully this was long enough) and attached my pole to the side of the picnic table, attached the wire and fired up the radio.
I had popped into my case the Youkits antenna analyser, curious how the random wire/antenna tuner worked, and connected this up initially to tune the antenna. The tuner happily gave my setup a 50Ω 1:1 match, as it should – though what the Analyser felt was perfect saw the ATU led light up suggesting it wasn’t a perfect match, more experimenting to come.
My new 12v LiFePo4 battery worked a treat, the radio was at >13volts all day giving me ~5 watts out, though i forgot the plug in voltage alarm/display also. I sat in the sun and played for around for an hour at this location, partly because getting the 4th contact and qualifying for a summit took so long to occur, but all the while having a good time, learning my gear and trying different setups to see if I could optimise the setup.
It was the Scout JOTA weekend, and a lot of the usual stations appear to have been busy with other activities, the band conditions on 40m local were not great either for this activation. Though the bands were open on 20m and 10m overseas, I tried to respond to some North American’s on the higher bands, but my random wire and 5w wasn’t enough 😀
In the end I joined in a conversation Craig, john and Peter were having and was able to qualify with enough contacts.
As i was in the process of packing up, Phil VK3BHR and his wife arrived to undertake the same two mountains I planned on activating after is trip to the hamfest. At the same time, Heath VK6TWO/3 was on the other mountain, but I didn’t manage to work him in this direction, he and Phil were working hilltops as a pair and moving between these two and some others in the local area. As I drove down the hill, i worked both Phil and Heath from the Car. Then headed for Mt Warrenheip VK3/VC-019