My first activation for Sunday 16th November, 2014, was Mount Napier summit, VK3/ VS-046, which is located near Hamilton in western Victoria (13 km south of Hamilton). This was my second activation for the 2014 Summits on Air (SOTA) Spring Activation Weekend.
Map courtesy of mapcarta.com
map courtesy of mapcarta.com
I first activated this summit in September, 2013. For more information on that activation, and some history of the summit and its surrounds, please have a look at my September 2013 post…..
I entered the Mount Napier State Park via Murroa-Buckley Swamp Road, which runs off the Hamilton-Port Fairy Road. The dirt road traversing the park is in good condition and is easily negotiated with a 2wd vehicle. I parked my car at the Mount Napier walking track, and commenced the 30 minute walk up to the top of the summit. This is a nice easy walk to the top, with a well marked path and a few benches along the way. The walk is spectacular taking you through the beautiful understorey of the Mount Napier State Park.
Following this activation I received an e-mail from Nick VK3ANL who stated:
“Mt Napier gets my vote for being “Essence of SOTA” – it’s a genuine walk to the top, but not too hard or long, and through some great Aussie bush, and then it opens out to a summit with real character, and with $million dollar views.”
I think Nick is spot on with his comments. Although only a one pointer, the walk up to the summit is very pretty and the views from the top of Mount Napier are really impressive.
map courtesy of mapcarta.com
The weather was not fantastic when I arrived at Mount Napier. It had been drizzling with showers from the time I got up. But there was the occasional break in the weather. So I ‘donned’ the jacket and my backpack, and headed off from the car, hoping to miss the worst of the weather. As mentioned, this is a really pretty walk. And I encountered a few wallabies on the way to the top/
On my way up, I received just a sprinkle of rain, but by the time I had reached the trig point, the weather had taken a turn for the worst. The summit itself is very exposed, with no trees, so it was incredibly windy, with light misty showers. I secured the squid pole to the concrete base of the Major Thomas Mitchell memorial which is located on the summit. It was so windy, it was quite difficult trying to keep the squid pole in place.
After setting up I put a CQ call out on 7.090 and this was answered by Rob, VK3EK, and then Peter VK3FPSR, followed by Peter VK3PF portable in the Coopracambra National Park. More information on Peter’s activation can be found on hsi WordPress site at…..
I then spoke with Darrin VK3FDAP operating portable and QRP at Moorabin. Thankfully I had my 4 qualifying contacts. I pressed on and worked a further 12 stations in VK1, VK2, VK3, & VK5 before the UTC rollover. There was very severe QSB on many of the signals. One of these contacts was with Julie VK3FOWL who was operating portable with her husband Joe VK3YSP, in the Wilsons Promontory National Park.
After the UTC rollover I worked a further 7 stations in VK1, VK3, & VK5. It was quite a struggle, with the band not in great shape. There was lots of QSB on the incoming signals, and the same was being reported back on my QRP signal. Gary VK2GAZ called me a number of times and although I was able to hear Gary, clearly he could not pull me out of the noise. Sorry Gary.
The weather had not improved, so I had a quick tune around the 40m band and found Nigel VK5NIG who was operating portable from the top of Mount Gawler summit, VK5/ SE-013. Nigel had a good 5/5 signal (5/5 received back from Nigel). I then found John VK2AWJ/3 operating portable from the Chiltern Mount Pilot National Park, with a good 5/7 signal coming in to Mount Napier. With a little bit more tuning around the band, I was rewarded with a contact with Joe VK3YSP, portable in the Wilsons Promontory National Park, and then Tony VK3CAT who was portable on SOTA summit, Sugarloaf Peak, VK3/ VN-011.
It was time to dash back to the car. I had a total of 28 contacts in the log.
The following stations were worked:-
Whilst still on my way out of the Mount Napier State Park, on my way to Mount Eccles National Park, I spoke with a few stations from my mobile set up, which is a Icom IC-7000 and a base loaded whip antenna on the boot of the car.
My first mobile contact was with Peter VK3ZPF who was portable in the Yarra Ranges National Park, then Peter VK3PF in the Alfred National Park, followed by Allen VK3HRA portable on SOTA peak VK3/ VG-029 which is located in the Alpine National Park.
Below is a video of the activation of Mount Napier…..