25042015 – VK3/VC-024
Mount Beckworth is only 634 mt in height in the plains behind Ballarat. This site was selected for a EU S2S day planned as close with good conditions as expecting bad weather.
Access through Miners Rest and Coghills Creek then turn into Fenton road following the only sign to Mt Beckworth. The turn onto the reserve is not signed. First left after Fenton road turns into gravel. You are driving parallel with the reserve and can clearly see the summit. You can see the weather and the “Lollipop” tree where I will be setting up. This tree is a well known landmark in the district as it can be seen from almost any direction for up to 50kms. The tree was used for practice bomb-aiming sorties by the RAAF during World War II by airmen based at the Ballarat Aerodrome. Whilst the weather was bad, it was better that what VK2 had been dealing with.
I decided to take the dome tent and prepare for the worst. Setup at the summit just before rain. The wind and rain was coming across but I was dry in the tent. Photo below was during a quite period.
20 m was well open across EU as well as VK to EU and I found it nearly impossible to work CW on 20 m – too many stations. Tried calling several EU SOTA stations,
with limited success. Worked SOTA 2E0YYY & G7LAS on G/CE-044 SSB & YU1WC on YU/CS-043 CW.
Local SOTA stations worked are VK3JBL,AX2IB and AX2IO. Special event SOTA station VI6ANZAC was a welcome addition to the log.
Picked a ‘quite’ frequency and called to be treated by EA2IF,OH9XX and K6TW before being swamped by strong local stations. Still this was doubled my DX SOTA contacts!
This was a really challanging. Whilst my calls to other SOTA stations didn’t cut it I don’t believe this was not due to the QRP status or antenna but my skill set. My CW is adequate for VK contacts where you basically know the chasers but there were dozens of callsigns from everywhere and the speed and volume of traffic was not helping. Dare say like everything practice will improve this.
Stayed until dark then packed up and walked out in the rain.