Our fourth and final activation of the day was Ben Nevis, VK3/ VS-009, which is located about 29 km east of Ararat, about about 8 km east of the little town of Warrak.
I have also activated this summit previously, back in September 2013. For more information on that activation, please see my previous post at…..
Above:- Map showing the location of Ben Nevis. Map courtesy of google maps.
It was starting to really heat up, so this was going to be a quick activation. We travelled through the Mount Cole State Forest and then onto Mount Cole Road, and then Ben Nevis Road (also referred to as McGuiness Road).
It is a nice drive up to the summit with some very thick forest on either side of the road. The imposing figure of Lang Ghiran can often be seen through the trees. The road leading to the summit is dirt but is very well maintained and easily passable by 2WD.
Once at the top of Ben Nevis you are rewarded with some amazing views, particularly out to the west.
Sadly, this is a very noisy summit. There is a large communications and fire spotting tower on the summit and powerlines. I should have remembered from my previous summit, but it was incredibly hot, and I was very keen to set up and get off the summit.
The shack for the afternoon consisted of a moss rock for a chair and a larger moss rock as a desk. I ran the Yaesu FT-857d, 30 watts and the 20m/40m linked dipole, supported on the 7 metre telescopic squid pole.
I had a strength 7 noise floor on 40m at times and it made it very difficult to pull out any of the weak stations. So I’m sorry to anyone that was calling who didn’t make it. My first caller after calling CQ on 7.090 was Tony VK7LTD with a very strong 5/9 signal. This was followed by Brett VK2VW who was a strong 5/8, then the ever reliable Adrian VK5FANA, followed by Col VK3LED. I worked a total of 18 stations on 40m from VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, and VK7.
I then moved up to 20m where I worked a total of 7 stations in VK2, VK4, and VK6. This included a contact with John VK6NU (5/3 sent and 4/1 received).
It was getting way too hot and I decided that it was time to pack up after just 30 minutes on Ben Nevis. I had a total of 25 stations in the log, and the summit had been qualified. As I was packing up, I heard a voice from above yelling out “have you worked enough DX?’. I looked up and it was the gentleman in the fire spotting tower. We had a quick chat, as much as you can, when you are talking to someone about 20 metres up in the air. When asked if he knew anything about the hobby due to his DX comment, he replied that he had seen and heard amateurs on the summit previously.
We headed back in to Ararat where we enjoyed a quiet night in the motel room.
The following stations were worked:-
Nice that the word is getting out! I would have imagined that a great deal of the summits would be noisy. I guess it’s mainly at the microwave level given some of the installations?
I should have remembered how noisy this summit was, from the last time I was there. But it was a stinking hot day, and Marija and I just wanted to set up, get the contacts and head off to a cooler location.
I’ve found the windfarms generate a bit of noise on 40m as well. Like a constant pulsing sound.
Good to know given the amount VK5 has.