On the way home (Sunday 27th April, 2014) from my Dad’s place where we had a very enjoyable lunch, my wife Marija and I detoured to Mount Gawler, VK5/ SE-013. It was not a big change in our route home. In fact we were driving straight passed Mount Gawler Road on our way to Kersbrook in the Adelaide Hills. Although I had activated the summit back in January, which meant there were no further activator points for me, it was such a lovely afternoon, that I decided to activate the summit again. The temperature was about 21 deg C and bright sunshine and it was great afternoon to be outdoors playing radio.
Mount Gawler summit is located on private property, although Mount Gawler Road is well and truly within the activation zone. When I pulled up I found the gates open to the land owner’s property, so I gave Noel a phone call, and he was only too happy for me to come onto his land and operate underneath the trig point. So Marija and I parked the car down the road, and we walked back into the activation zone, and set up right underneath the trig point.
Because this was an easy activation, and I had a willing helper (well maybe not all that willing) I carried up the Yaesu FT450 and the 44 amp hour power pack with the intention of running 40 watts. My antenna was the trusty 40m/20m linked dipole.
On the way to the summit I had heard John VK5BJE who was portable in the Mitchell River National Park. I hedged my bets that John would not be moving in a hurry, so I didn’t give him a call from the car. So after setting up at the summit, I tuned the radio to 7.095 and there was John with a beautiful 5/8 signal. And this was a new park for me for the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award (KRMNPA). This was my 42nd Victorian park, leaving me just 3 parks to hunt down, to have worked all 45 Victorian National Parks for the KRMNPA.
After speaking with John, I then moved up to 7.105 and started calling CQ. My second contact was with Ron VK5FRHB at Mannum who had a massive signal (40/9). Tim VK5AV followed and then Bob VK5FBAA who was mobile.
A number of QRP stations called in during the activation, which included Peter VK3PF, Col VK5HCF, Rhett VK3GHZ who was portable in the Wilsons Promontory National Park, David VK5NQP who was portable in the Sandy Creek Conservation Park, Andrew VK2UH running just 2 watts, Gerard VK2IO, Andrew VK2FAJG running 2 watts, and Roy VK5NRG. The 40m band was in very good condition, so even those stations that called me on just 2 watts were very good signals.
After working a total of 39 stations on 40m SSB in VK1, VK2, VK3, & VK5, I moved to 20m SSB. Nigel VK5NIG had been kind enough to find me a clear frequency on 20m before QSYing there. Nigel followed me up to 20m and was my first contact there. Nigel was then kind enough to spot me on SOTAWatch. I then worked a total of 14 DX stations in Finland, Spain, England, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Most of the signal reports coming back to me were around the 5/5 mark. Not bad for 40 watts and a simple wire dipole
There were more DX stations calling, however, ‘she who must be obeyed‘ had arrived back at the summit with strict instructions that it was time to pack up and yea dome for dinner. Sorry to those who were still calling. We also wanted to get home before it got dark, because the roads from Mount Gawler back to our home in the Adelaide Hills, are shared by kangaroos and emus at dusk and during the night. Neither of those 2 creatures go well with the front fender of a car !
After an hour at Mount Gawler I had a total of 54 contacts in the log.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-
John VK5BJE/3; Ron VK5FRHB; Tim VK5AV; Bob VK5FBAA/m; Greg VK5ZGY/m; Rod VK2LAX; Stuart VK5STU; Mark VK1EM; Mark VK3AC; Peter VK3FPSR; Compton VK2HRX; Peter VK5NAQ; Peter VK3PF; Col VK5HCF; Rhett VK3GHZ/p; David VK5NQP/p; Andrew VK2UH; Amanda VK3FQSO; Gerard VK2IO; Bowden VK4MBA/5; Tom VK5FTRG/m; Rob VK3EK; Erwin VK3ERW; Al VK1RX; VK2CCJ; Rod VK2TWR; Dick VK7DIK; Brian VK3MCD; Matt VK2DAG; Peter VK5KPR; Graeme VK3GRK; Andrew VK2FAJG; Roy VK5NRG; Ron VK3AFW; Adam VK2YK; Nigel VK5NIG; Mark VK3YN; Ken VK3DQW; and Mark VK3PI.
The following stations were worked on 20m SSB:-
Nigel VK5NIG; OH7XX; EA2LMI; Don G0RQL; Mike DJ5AV; DL1DVE; HB9MKV; Steve M0YCQ/p; Mike G6TUH; Colin G4XUH; EB2JU; Manuel EA2DT; EA2DZX; PA0SKP; and M0DAD.