Having had to cancel some activations the previous two weekends because of the Bush Fire situation in the area I was eager to get out and had originally planned to activate Summit Point, but looking around I found a summit (VK2/HU-076), not too far away that had not yet been activated and looked like access should be reasonably easy. Having being “pipped to the post” on HU-054 that I had planned to activate two weeks earlier, I decided to go for Mt. George. Looking on Google street view, I could see there was a barrier across the road onto the property where Mt George summit and trig point is located, so I knew there was a chance that when I got there, after a two and a half hour drive, I would not be able to get access, but I decided to try anyway.
The VK2JI/P operation.
When I did arrive (after nearly three hours having taken some wrong turns) I found the access barrier was no longer there.
Mt George trig point is located within land owned by the Eaglereach Wilderness and other Resorts near Vacy in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales.
The roads on the summit are private roads. The barrier gate shown in Google street view to be at the start of Cooee Trail has been removed as there are now additional resorts and private residences on the mountain so it would be possible to simply drive to the car park below the summit and walk up to the trig point. To avoid any possible trouble however you should call in at the reception to get permission, which I did and it was granted without problems. I told them I’d only be there for “about an hour”.
Approach to the resort is well signposted after you leave the village of Vacy and turn up Summerhill Road. The turn off into Moonabung Road has a very large sign for the resort on it. This road is very narrow and steep with some tight hairpins in it, so care is needed on this road.
If anyone is thinking of a family holiday with some SOTA work linked to it, this resort could fit the bill of keeping the family happy and getting you out onto a simple SOTA peak. The resort’s website is http://www.eaglereach.com.au/ (they have discounted deals quite often, that are worth looking out for).
This is another EASY summit, literally drive up to the car park and walk up the trail to the summit, set-up and operate from the table and bench seat located next to the trig point.
Despite the delays I was on air 15 minutes before my alerted time and tried 30m first. When I was unable to get a contact there (even after spotting myself), I decided to go back to the “safe and easy” 40m. Today it wasn’t easy to get contacts on 40m and after calling several times (and spotting myself), I got a call from Karl VK2GKA who was set up portable about half way between Canberra and Bowra. Karl had heard my calls and taken pity on me. I think Karl may consider some SOTA activating himself in the future. After Karl, I slowly got the required 3 more contacts from Peter VK3FPSR, Al VK1RX and Andrew VK1NAM (who was set up at a WICEN event awaiting competitors in a bike endurance trial – very similar to what I had done with the Central Coast WICEN group and a horse trial a few weeks earlier). it took a full 20 minutes to get those four contacts and I had started thinking I might not get the required contacts. I added one more contact on 40m with Mark VK3MCD and then went back to 30m as I saw that Larry VK5LY was up at Mount Gawler (see my last blog entry) and calling CQ on 30m. I turned out to be Andy VK5LA on the microphone when I called. They were activating together on the way to the VK5 celebration lunch at Gawler. This in contrast to 40m was an easy contact as was the following one with Tony VK3CAT. 30m is definitely worth giving a try if you are authorised for the band. It seems to always provide better results than 40m for the distances we are using. To finish off the day I also went onto 20m and worked (in between all the CQWW SSB contest stations) Tom VK5EE in South Australia and Ben VK5TX, who was only about 20Km away and a difficult contact due to being so close to me.
All in all the radio conditions were far from perfect, possibly due to the CME that hit the Earth’s atmosphere around this time but it was a nice day out, with fine weather, not too hot and thankfully no bush fires in the area. I got out in the fresh air and actually did a little walking along with a little working.
Stations worked – on 40m.
Stations worked – on 30m.
Andy VK5LA (S2S) on VK5/SE-013
Larry VK5LY (S2S) on VK5/SE-013
Stations worked – on 20m.