Wind and rain were the winners and highlights of this event.
To avoid a late start I packed the car on Thursday night and I set off for mount Ginini after work on Friday afternoon. I arrived on site at about 7 pm and put up the tent and the 20m vertical. I had a chat with a few other hams that night and tested out the antenna. A strong contact with a ZL2JBR was particularly encouraging. On the ic703 with 10w output I received very good signal reports.
The second hf antenna, a linked dipole, was set up on Saturday morning. I heard a bleat from SOTAGOAT on the iPhone and found it was my SOTA buddy Andrew vk1nam operating at the south coast about 120-130km away announcing he was calling cq on 28.490. I dropped the dipole and removed the links at the 10m position and walked back to the tent to set the radio on the right frequency. Tuning across the band I found a number of USA stations at good strength. Ok so 10m was in good shape but I had VHF antennas to assemble so I started back out of the tent. Before moving far I had to return to the radio as there was a loud cq call heard from vk1nam on a SOTA peak at the south coast. We had a good contact that surprised us both.
I continued the assembly process with a few breaks to make some SOTA contacts on 40m with some of the regular chasers.
The VHF and uhf antennas went together normally though I had made it more difficult by assembling them on the downhill side of the slope from the mast position.
By the time I was ready to lift the mast up a team of radio club members had arrived Onsite to make adjustments to the repeaters onsite. I asked Matt vk1ma to help with the mast so it was soon up and working.
VHF conditions seemed poor. Signals from vk2rsy and vk3rgl beacons were ok on 144.420 and .530 but neither was at a good strength and their 432.4 signals were weak or unreadable.
The contest got under way at midday local time but the poor weather had obviously kept a lot of operators at home. Progress on VHF was very slow.
One vk3 portable in the voctorian high country was worked on 50, 144, 432 and 1296 MHz. A few others were heard but not worked. Towards Sydney there were several on air and later on Saturday vk1pwe was worked at Mt Coree about 30km north of my position.
Saturday evening approached and the repeater team paid me a visit before leaving for Canberra. They cheerfully told me the forecast was for very cold conditions and possibly snow overnight.
A session on 20m cw and Ssb netted about 35 SOTA contacts running the 703 on battery power. The vertical worked well.
Later some more contacts were made on the VHF bands but generally it seemed like the VHF scores would be very low.
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