Headed off to Mt. Beenak as I haven’t been there for about 10 years and a lot of SOTA activity was planned for this Sunday. I set a target of about 11am, just around the UTC time rollover, which means chasers can claim points for two separate days. As the SOTA program has its origins in the UK, they have set the day boundaries in UTC, which benefits us here in Australia, because we can have effectively two chases in our morning.
The mountain is worth 4 points as the altitude is 745 metres.
As I hadn’t been to Mt. Beenak for some time, I asked Peter, VK3ZPF for directions as he has been there several times recently. Peter sent a nicely marked up map as the directions can be a bit confusing as there are many tracks in the heavily wooded area. The route is through several good condition dirt roads and then a short 1.5km walk to the summit after coming to the locked gate (WPT 609) at Tower Road East, see second screenshot of Androzic.
Once at the summit, the squid pole was strapped to the trig point with a bungy cord and the EFHW set up for 7MHz. Due to the location of the track, it wasn’t possible to erect the EFHW so it was broadside to Melbourne. There is a fire tower and a Telstra tower on the site, and just after I was set up, a firewatch guy rode up on a trail bike and unlocked the fire tower.
Was on air by 9:50 local (2250UTC) and soon worked summit to summit with VK1RX on Mt. Ainslie and VK1NAM on Bullen Range. In the time up until the UTC rollover, worked 13 stations.
This time I brought up my trusty commercial hand held (to avoid desense etc.) and worked a few stations on 2m. I did a comparison against a 20cm helical and a 5/8th whip and as expected, the 5/8th made a few S points difference. Tony,VK3CAT said he was unable to copy on the helical at all.
After the UTC rollover, another 10 stations were worked in about 15 minutes. By this time the march flies were figuring out how to get through my clothing, so it was time to go. After everything was packed, the guy in the fire tower yelled down and asked if I wanted to come up for a look. Had a chat, explained SOTA, looked around from his perch and cleared off.