After a couple of activations that didn’t go as planned, I felt compelled do go out and make good. Andrew, VK1NAM had been drumming up support for a VK1 mass activation day for a while and it looked like a good opportunity to get out and rack up some summit to summit points.
As I didn’t have a lot of time for getting out and hiking to a summit to make the pre UTC rollover start time, Mt. Donna Buang VK3-VC-002 was chosen. This mountain has a road to the top so access is as easy as it gets. It also qualifies for the 3 point seasonal bonus.
The weather has not been too kind for SOTA of late, however the Sunday was a nice change. Mt Donna Buang attracts a lot of tourists, especially during snow cover, so I planned on activating away from the tables at the top and found a nice spot in a clearing a hundred metres or so from the lookout tower.
There was a little bit of snow around and the thermometer was reading 2 degrees.
This time I took the switched centre fed dipole along and hoisted it up with a 7 metre squid pole. This antenna had been recently revamped by replacing the wire with super strong lightweight Aromid cored stuff.
As soon it was set up on 40m, I noticed the VSWR was not too good at around 3:1, it is normally a close to perfect match. Everything checked out OK, so I had no choice but to use the antenna as is. Activity on 40 was pretty full on, with heaps of summits on air. My posted frequency was in use despite being a bit obscure, so I just tuned around and looked for summit to summit contacts. It would have been the busiest SOTA day on record. I went on air at 23:15 UTC until only 0100 UTC but in that time had 24 summit to summits contacts.
After packing up, I had only walked about 50 metres and the phone rang. It was Peter, VK3PF wondering if I was still on air. The VHF hand held was pulled from the pack and I worked Peter with reasonable signals to the Latrobe Valley and continued the walk back to the car on the lower car park.
Extract of the log as follows:
Thanks Andrew for organising the day, it really paid off!
When I arrived home, the antenna was checked out and was found to be out of tune by a similar percentage on all bands.
It may have been the change to the new lightweight super wire that changed the resonance, as I didn’t really check it out that well after the re wire. The sections were lengthened accordingly ready for next time. Just to be sure, I tried the apex height from 3.45 metres to 7 metres and a reasonable match was maintained. As the apex height was lowered, the resonant frequency dropped a little as well as the bandwidth, but all still within good limits.