23rd December 2017
Once again I had left it far too long between expeditions and when I got an opportunity to get out for a quick activation I was keen to go for it. My son was visiting from the UK and had expressed interest in doing a bit of 4WD-ing so, as the Tin Mine Trail through the Woomargama National Park is easily accessible and not too far from home I thought that would be a good choice. And, of course, the Tin Mine Trail goes past at least three SOTA Summits none of which I had activated this year. In deference to my son’s non-radio background I planned to activate only Mt Jergyle VK2/RI-004 and to keep the others in reserve.
The drive up from Tunnel Road through the State Forest and into the Woomargama National Park is relatively easy, particularly as there is no active logging going on in the area at present. The Tin Mine Trail itself was deeply rutted in places and obviously had been very muddy in the previous months, with some very deep bog-holes in evidence. Fortunately they had all dried out and were passable with care, without getting the vehicle covered in mud.
I used the Barrett 940 for this activation, with the 26m doublet hung from a tree branch about 6 metres above the ground. Fortunately there are plenty of trees around Mt Jergyle so it was possible to select an operating location in the shade. There was a great deal of ant activity so choosing a spot that wasn’t right on top of an ant’s nest proved challenging, though eventually we found a place where we could set up without the little buggers climbing all over us.
HF band conditions were poor and although I put up a spot and called CQ on 80m no contacts resulted. In the end I went up to 40m and stayed there, making several contacts on CW before the UTC roll-over and several more on SSB afterwards. No S2S contacts were made this time, though I noted later that if I’d stayed put for another 15 minutes I’d probably have caught Peter VK3PF who was activating a few Summits down towards Mt Sassafras. Them’s the breaks, I guess!
Stations worked on 7MHz CW:
VK7CW, VK3CAT, VK3APC, VK2IO, VK3ANL, VK4RF, VK4HA, VK3BYD,
Stations worked on 7MHz SSB:
VK4AAC/P, VK3LED, VK3GGG/P, VK3SQ, VK3YY, VK3FHCT,
We proceeded along the Tin Mine Trail and stopped for lunch at the Tin Mine Camping Area, which to my surprise was completely deserted. No doubt it won’t be so quiet up there this time next week when the Christmas holidays are in full swing and everyone’s out and about giving their 4WD its annual trip to the bush! Dave got his go at 4WD-ing and was enjoying himself so much that we decided to keep going rather than stopping to activate any more Summits.