Sparkes Lookout was only recently added to the VK3 summits list on Jan 1 2013. Sparkes is not a high summit at all with an altitude 313 metres. While camping at Tidal River in the Wilson’s Promontory national park, this peak was only a short drive.
The 2.4 km track to Sparkes Lookout starts from Darby Saddle on the main Wilsons Prom road. The lookout itself is not within the activation zone, so it is necessary to head South West about 200 metres from the lookout to the actual peak. The scrub is pretty thick and we had to be alert for snakes as we had seen one earlier on.
We didn’t want to go to the absolute peak to minimise impact, so we found a clearing and checked the altitude at 310 metres. (not that I have much faith in the accuracy of GPS altitude). Visually it looked well within the activation zone.
The good old End Fed Half Wave on 7MHz was quickly erected while slapping march flies.
We didn’t give much notice for the activation, so there were not to many contacts to be had.
We didn’t bother with 2 metres as it is some distance to population centres and didn’t think we would be in range of any other stations, especially with a simple vertical.
On 7MHz, worked were VK2UH, VK1MA, VK3ABM and VK3JY. I was operating from a rock and regularly whacking march files which rolled off into a pile. It was not comfortable operating!
My son was also trying to keep them off while getting our minimum 4 contacts.
After 4 contacts it was ‘lets get out of here”, where we met up with some friends waiting for us the lookout. The views from the lookout were really good, it was a perfect sunny day with no wind.