After two enjoyable nights in Portland, it was time to continue our journey further east. So it was a relatively early start on Wednesday 11th November, 2015. We were to travel to Warrnambool that day, and activate SOTA summit Mount Clay in the morning.
Mount Clay is about 30 km north east of Portland, and is very easy to find.
Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Clay. Image courtesy of googlemaps.
We travelled north out of Portland along the Princes Highway through Portland North, Allestree and then Narrawong. Just before reaching Tyrendarra, we turned left onto Mount Clay Road and travelled north west until we reached Tower Road.
Above:- Map showing the location of Mount Clay, to the north east of Portland. Image courtesy of google maps.
There were some good views of Mount Clay as we travelled along the Princes Highway. All of the telecommunications gear on top of the summit, makes the hill very distinguishable.
We continued west along Tower Road, travelling passing the State Forest on the northern side of the road, We then turned left onto Angelino Road and travelled a short distance south.
It was slow going as there was plenty of local wildlife out and about.
At the end of Angelino Road, which is a no through road, you will reach a locked gate. And I mean a locked gate. There is a plethora of padlocks on the gate.
It was at the gate that we set up. You are well within the activation zone at this location. The trig point is clearly visible from here. It is from this spot that I previously activated the summit.
I last activated Mount Clay summit back in November 2014, as part of the 2014 SOTA Spring Activation Weekend. For more information on that activation, please see…..
Mount Clay, VK3/ VS-051 is 186 metres above sea level and is worth just 1 SOTA point. But I have long given up reaching the lofty heights of Mountain Goat, and now just participate in the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program exclusively for fun.
This was another tough portable activation. Not because the summit was difficult to get to. In fact it is quite the opposite, as this is a very very easy summit. The difficulty was the band conditions. Again, they were very very poor. I called and called CQ for many minutes until my first caller came back. That was Adrian VK5FANA who was a good 5/6 signal from the Yorke Peninsula, west of Adelaide. Adrian also gave me a 5/6, but it was very noticeable that there was major QSB on both of our signals. My second caller was Cliff VK2NP who was 5/5 and gave me a 4/1. Next up was Gerard VK2IO who was very low down (5/1) and responded with a 3/2 for me, with again huge QSB on both signals.
I continued to call CQ for the next 5 minutes but sadly I had no takers. The fourth and qualifying contact for a successful SOTA activation was proving to be very elusive. As it was a Wednesday morning, I knew that the Riverland Radio Group Net would be on 7.115, so that is where I headed. Sadly I could not hear Ron VK5MRE, the Net Controller. Not even a peep from Ron! But I did manage to work Dennis VK2HHA who was a good strong 5/8. As Dennis was my fourth contact, I breathed a sigh of relief, as the summit had been qualified.
I then moved back to 7.090 and called CQ again and this was answered by Greg VK2MTC, followed by Brett VK2VW, and then Nev VK5WG. But that was the end of callers on 40m. Numerous CQ calls went unanswered, so I decided to head up to 20m. Sadly, it was no better there. Despite spotting myself on SOTAWatch, I had no callers on 20m.
Netherless, I had qualified the summit and decided to pull stumps and pack up the gear. I had noticed a tradies van at the summit, so I decided to walk over to see if they would mind if I took some photos from the eastern side of the summit. As it turned out, it was Norbert VK5MQ from Mount Gambier, who was doing some work at the summit.
After a bit of a chat with Norbert I walked back to the 4WD where Marija was patiently waiting. The photo below shows the view back to the gate on Angelino Road from the tower installations.
It was off to Warrnambool. And it was slow going again as we left, as we had a number of local onlookers.
Not the greatest of SOTA activations in history. Only 7 contacts in the log. But still, the summit had been qualified.
The following stations were worked on 40m SSB:-