03/Mar/2019 VK3/VS-008 (Mt Cole)
03/Mar/2019 VK3/VS-003 (Mt Buangor) – VKFF-0766 In – Mount Buangor State Park
29/Mar/2019 VK3/VC-032 (VK3/VC-032)
Couple of local summits to keep the skills up. The skills requiring practice are CW and antenna setup.
You can practice CW on the comfort of the train (LCWO) but its not the same as when out in the wild. Noise, temps and are factors. The only way to improve is to practice is with live data so off I went to torture myself.
Decided to visit local summits in Mt Cole just out of Ararat. Thus was a favourite spot for camping with Scouts so familar with the area. The site is know as Mt Cole Forest but there are two seperate sites there. Mount Buangor State Park and Mt Cole State forest. VK3/VS-008 (Mt Cole) is in the State forest and VK3/VS-003 (Mt Buangor) in (VKFF-0766) Mount Buangor State Park.
Access to both sites is from Mt Cole Road. I access from Raglan and it comes out Warrak. Again its a actually a continuation of a couple of roads but basically the main road though as it is maintained very well and easy to follow. Don’t follow the GPS. Is this case the changing names create confusion where if you intending to travel through just stick to the biggest road. You can access VK3/VS-009 ( Ben Nevis) from this road by turning right at the sign directing to the TV antenna site. Not a big fan of VK3/VS-009 as its RF noisy.
Know a poor tradesman blames his tools but have been struggling with 40m recently. There is no logic to the conditions. The solution is to ensure your antenna will let you drop to 80m if required.
Top section of squid pole on VK3/VS-003 (Mt Buangor)
Have been using an ended consisting of a 27.2 m radiator and coax shield counterpoise into a 9:1 balun. The KX3 will tune a wet piece of spaghetti ( not that I carry spaghetti up to a summit) and is able to tune this setup comfortably.
Access to Mt Cole is off the main Mt Cole road turning at the sign to Ditchfield lookout turning left not right. You can also come up Frees Rd but personally prefer staying on Mt Cole road. Also you can drive to the summit as the road passes around the site. Its rough so 4WD or AWD but not 2WD. I park just off where you hit Frees Rd and walk up as less stress. Do also walk the loop out to keep it interesting.
The bracken is lush and there is a slight fear of what’s sliding underneath so setup clear of the undergrowth. In this case the squid pole was secured in the bracken to a small tree using a ocky strap with the other end aligned NS and secured to a convient tree. This was the SOTABeams Compact heavy-duty 7 m unit. This is the go to as fits packs short so convent to walk with. However heavy (1.6kg) so not used on extended walk ins. Radio operating position wa a large rock so as to be out of the bracken.
03/Mar/2019 VK3/VS-008 (Mt Cole)
It was spot on for Mt Cole. I was rewarded with three S2S on 40m. Straight forward activation and intended to pick another summit so qualified and kept moving. Once qualified and packed and back at car. I have glued a fishing swivel to the tip of the squid and the glue failed on pack down. As a result won’t use on next activation until fixed. No issues as have spares in the car so will leave and fix later not an activation tape and spit job.
Continue down Mt Cole road. You are looking for the Beerpmo walk signs. If the take the first instance you will end up 800m from the summit or keep going and turn down to Dawsons Rock. (Camp ground at end of they road) taking the first right. It looks rough just overgrown, and finish up 500m from the summit. Either way short walk so take all the stuff you want. In this instance took the 7m Haverford Squid Pole.
VK3/VS-003 (Mt Buangor)
Setup off to the left once up the summit. There are a several stumps and trees to use. In this instance used a snmall tree stump and again used the end fed. Then the pole broke.
Bottom section of squid pole on VK3/VS-003 (Mt Buangor)
The section split. It was not under extreme stress just worn. Actually a pole made from sections of two other poles that broke in different places. I have since rebuilt it with sections from a third. So used the wire close to the ground as just used the top sections attached to tree.
Two SSB Parks to Park contacts and three SOTA CW contacts. Turned back and drove out on coming out at Raglan. No desire for and home early. Straight forward two SOTA summits and a WWFF activation.
Clear summit. Can drive to the site. 2WD drive down dirt roads from Ballan – Daylesford Rd (Turn at spurge Creek) or up through Ballan via Blakeville Rd. Either way heading to Camp road on a dirt track. There’s a pub at Spargo creek and or Ballan via Blakeville Rd.
Again practising antenna setup In this case used dipole. Qualified 40m CW in minutes. Not surprising as dipole kills it for single band. If the band is open then clean operation. Also great GSM coverage so spot when ready. The AZ is becoming covered with regrowth but given the car close, I take a star picket and setup in the middle. Can qualify this site with 2M using ribbon JPOLE.