Saturday 11th May 2013. VK3/VC-018 (Mt Buninyong) S2S with VK9/NO-001 (Mt Bates)
Cancelled planned activation of VC-005 (MT VINEGAR), VC-005 (MT VINEGAR) and VK3/VC-002 (Mt Donna Buang) due to car problems.
Planned to activate VK3/VN-017 (Mt Dom Dom) then VC-005 (MT VINEGAR) and finishing up on VK3/VC-002 (Mt Donna Buang) to chase VK9 SOTA. Was going to be a big but comfortable day. Left on time. Made contact with VK3MRG on VK3REC as he was driving up as well so all was good. Pulled into Watts River roadside 10 min out of Healesville for a stretch and to use facilities before going into the bush.
The car would not start when time to go. Battery flat. This is not usual behaviour for my car. She is a 20 year old Mercedes diesel but quite reliable.
There were three blokes there. They were from Iran and going up the hills to play their Sitar as the ridges reminded them of home. They offered to drive me back to to Healesville to obtain number leads. So went back and picked up number leads. I run a separate battery in the car to run the radio to avoid flat battery issues. First tried to use radio battery to jump start. No go. So jumped from their car starts fine. Quick check with multi meter shows no charge going to the battery. Looks like a alternator failure.
So at this point I had only lost 30 minutes. There are a couple of rules regarding activation’s. One being to use facilities before going into the bush and two to ensure car reliable to get out of the bush. In this case even if I were able to start the car then run back would be in dark would be an issue as the battery would be to run flat to run the lights.
Cancelled activations but decided to see if can address alternator. Quick google search to find auto electrictions. Hmm two in Healesville and more in Melbourne. A couple of quick phone calls revealed auto electricians don’t work Saturdays mornings. Ok If I head home will still have time to tom to local summit Mt Buninyong to catch VK9 SOTA. So straight home from here. Car runs ok without a alternator but no accessories as didn’t want to drain battery.
Got home and pulled alternator off to send into town next week.
The APRS was interesting. There are no packets on the way there. The packets start at ??? as swapped batteries to the 7AH unit just before going onto hwy. Had a chat to VK3MRG on 2m (50w) whilst going over Westgate and the battery finally drained on the Western Hwy.
Went up to Mt Buninyong in time to S2S with VK3MRG and VK3WAM before S2S from VK3/VC-018 to VK9/NO-001
20m Using FT817 and Buddistick.
There was a lot of stations calling and appreciated the request from VK3DET to allow the QRP stations response. They were keen on summit to summit as well but QRP was not competing with the QRO stations. VK3WAM made it but I was still not cutting it. Patience and good batteries required. Called for another 20 minutes before the band conditions changed. Their signal improved and I got a response. Received 53 from VK3QB Chris and 52 VK3CBV Brenton. Made my day, well week !
anyway picked up the repaired alternator Tuesday. Placed in car and charged the battery up so ready to go again. Checked operation and now seeing the correct voltage across the battery.