My four year old son Toby is Volcano obsessed at the moment. We had talked about some old volcanic rocks you could see not far from melbourne, and he had a picture of them in a book we had gotten him on volcanoes, so, we promised him a trip to the “Organ Pipes National Park” on the fringe of metro Melbourne. So yesterday morning, we packed some picnic things into the car and headed out for a Picnic.
I had a cunning plan to combine this trip up the Calder with a Sota activation of Mt Macedon, around 50km further up the freeway. I had planned to be active before the UTC roll over, but typically, we left later than we had hoped (and) in the end, we had to visit a bakery, fill up the truck with Diesel (150l tank at slow pump flow rates takes for ever) and as the time slipped away, we dropped into a hardware store to get an item we were after as we were not going to make 11am. I adjusted my alert and we headed up the freeway.
As we got nearer the mountain, temperatures dropped and the mountain was in the clouds, everything was damp, The family kicked me out of the car at the cameron picnic ground car park in the dip before the final summit, This is Just past the first collection of Comms towers and I walked into the activation zone while they continued on to have a look at the cross and view before they had their picnic lunch.
I walked in via the top road, and past the old Stone Trig Marker/ Survey Cairn. This was built in the 1860’s.
The “sight seeing marker” at the cross claims Camels Hump is 1011m high!
I set myself up in the picnic area, and was finishing connecting everything up when the family arrived back from their sight seeing (cloud seeing) of the lookout and sat down to lunch.
I called on 40m SSB and worked 15 stations in pretty quick succession. Then stopped for lunch with the family, before having a Go at CW, Warren VK3BYD had emailed the night before keen to try a S2S CW contact and we spent some time making the contact happen, Warren was having trouble hearing me, but eventually conditions changed and we managed the two way CW contact. Thanks for making the effort to work me.
40m had gone quiet, so I headed up to 14Mhz, spotted and called for ~5mins with no luck, before I tuned up the band and could hear a lot of North America on 28Mhz, It was the ARRL worldwide SSB contest weekend, and the recent solar activity had 10m very active. I called a number of stations for the next 15mins, my QRP and End Fed Wire not really cutting it, until I was successful working James W6YI on my ~3 watts 😀 When the B end has a decent setup and the bands are open!
I packed up with the family giving me around 1 ½hrs to play radio and we all went back to the lookout/cross and had a better look, the cloud base had lifted/burned away and we had a much better view. We then headed back to the Organ Pipes National park for a look at the Volcanic Rocks, and then home. A fun family day, including long haul to the US on a couple of watts and my first SOTA CW contact.
|00:58z||VK5TX||7MHz||SSB||51/43 S2S thanks Ben|
|01:27z||VK3BYD||7MHz||CW||first sota CW contacts! 🙂 thanks|
|01:46z||W6YI||28MHz||SSB||59/59 California (ARRL SSB Contest)|