It has been an eternity since I have activated a sota summit. 2015 proved to be extremely busy for me with work and a lot of interstate travel, this made my weekends family time and limited my ability to head for the hills.
However, this weekend just past saw us have some time, and a very warm Melbourne Sunday was the perfect reason to head for a summit for a picnic dinner (easier now the kids are a bit older and bed time is a little more variable) and some radio. It was 33 in Melbourne and only 22 on top of Mount Donna Buang, VK3/VC-002. This is an 8 point summit, with a winter bonus. We had hoped to visit when it had snow earlier in the year, but we didn’t manage that trip.
The family piled into the car, we stopped at the local shops for a roast chicken and some bread rolls for dinner and headed up the hill.
We arrived at the top and setup, going by 5pm, I organised Christine and made sure she would qualify for the summit first with 4 contacts on 40m before I had a play. Conditions were strange, with difficult local contacts on 40m, but strong into north new and SE QLD.
One of the contacts suggested 10m and 6m were open and active, so I headed up the band, using my antenna tuner and 40m dipole. This wasn’t ideal, but I was still able to work a number of stations into new and old on 10m, and 4 locals on 6m. The sota program has a 10m/6m challenge in progress at the moment, and these contacts netted me bonus points. Christine also qualified the summit on 10m. I then tried 20m without much luck and then packed up. The kids were keen for me to climb up the lookout tower with them. They had spent the evening between dinner running up and down the thing. I took the 2m/70cm Handhelds up lookout tower and tried to add some FM contacts. I managed 2 on 70cm, both operators didn’t know about Sota, but a contact is a contact.