Unnamed Summit VK3/VE-241 and Lockhart VK3/VE-135

Sunday 13th August 2016

It has been a very long time since my last SOTA expedition. There are many reasons (excuses) for this, including work, ill health, an aversion to winter cold and damp conditions, and the very poor HF propagation conditions that have plagued us for the last year or so. But, with a forecast for 18 degrees and sunshine, it was too good a prospect to pass up, so my good lady and I decided to head for the hills and activate a Summit or two.

A quick look at the SOTA database and the map showed me that pretty much everything was up for grabs, as I hadn’t activated many of my local Summits this year. We decided on the unnamed VK3/VE-241 and Lockhart VK3/VE-135 because they are easy to access and not very far from home. Also, the Eskdale Spur Track is a popular 4WD trail that is rarely closed, even in the winter months, so access to the Summits was unlikely to be a problem.

The day dawned bright and sunny, just as promised, so we set off and made the trip to the first Summit in just over an hour from home. The trail was a little muddy and the Hilux got its first coating of thick mud, but we arrived on the Summit with plenty of time to spare to set up and make a cup of tea before getting on the air.

Propagation conditions were not wonderfully good but I worked plenty of stations, all on CW, for a successful activation.

Unnamed Summit VK3/VE-241

Stations worked on 3.5MHz CW:

VK3PF, VK3BYD/P, VK2UH,

Stations worked on 7MHz CW:

VK5EEE, VK2BJT, VK2WQ, VK3BYD/P, VK5EEE, VK5CZ (S2S VK5/NE-062),

Finishing with a S2S with Ian VK5CZ was the icing on the cake, and after that we packed up and moved on towards Lockhart, looking for a suitable spot to stop for lunch on the way. We found one, a nice, sunny clearing in the bush just off the trail, and stopped for longer than we should have, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the sounds of the birds all around us. It was great to be back in the bush again after such a long pause between trips.

Eventually we dragged ourselves away and went on to Lockhart. The trail passes over the shoulder of this one, requiring a bit of bush-bashing to access the Summit itself. We found a very convenient spot to set up, close by the old trail, now abandoned, that once crossed the hill top.

IMG_0026

VK2IB/3 fighting the lyrebird QRM

I found that conditions had not changed much, if at all, but again I made plenty of contacts including receiving three QTCs from VK5EEE to practice emergency communications message handling.

Lockhart VK3/VE-135

Stations worked on 3.5MHz CW:

VK3PF, VK3CAT,

Stations worked on 7MHz CW:

VK2WP, VK4RF, VK4HA, VK3BYD/P, VK5EEE, ZL1BYZ, VK4TJ,

Stations worked on 10MHz CW:

VK5EEE, VK4TJ,

While receiving traffic from Lou I suffered considerable QRM from a Lyrebird who decided to make his presence evident in the bush nearby. We never did spot him but we knew he was there all right!

With the sun beginning to dip towards the western hills and the temperature starting to drop, we decided not to continue to a third Summit but to call it a day after this one.

In all, a very pleasant day out for us both. It was great to be back in the great outdoors and great to be back on the radio after a long break. Thank you to all of you who made contact.

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