This was a “popup” activation after I had completed a family transport task. I had not posted an alert on sotawatch.org because I was not sure whether or when I would activate. I knew there were a number of activations already alerted but I would not be able to make contacts with others unless I was lucky.
The AX prefix is available for use by all VK radio amateurs on 26 January as it is Australia Day, the day chosen to celebrate federation of Australia even though the date of that event was 1st January 1901.
Using the ft817 at 5W output and a multiband dipole, I operated on 40m ssb initially, then moved to 20m CW, then 20m SSB. Conditions were good on 20m in that propagation was supporting long path contacts into Europe, however on SSB the Europeans have difficult reception conditions for a weak signal amidst the other European activity. Several SSB contacts were commenced with G operators but some were not completed satisfactorily, to the disappointment of the chasers. By contrast the CW contacts were relatively easy with good signals from the EA, DL, OH and G stations worked and most of them returned 559 signal reports. I should have taken the IC703 as even though the 10 watts it produces is only a 3db increase in transmitter power it would have been worth having at this time of the weekend.
Towards dusk the activity on the mountain increased greatly and every available car park was taken by the crowd wanting a good vantage spot for viewing the fireworks after dark. I escaped the melee and drove home at about 8:30pm local time, 0930 UTC.