The SOTA party on 2nd August was almost washed out, with all night rainfall and rain continuing in the morning. By about 8am though, there was some sign of the rain easing for a while. Some of us decided it was too risky as we are generally not prepared to operate in the rain, but others decided to activate though not on the original sites.
I changed from my planned activation of Castle Hill to Mt Stromlo. A retreat could be made from Mt Stromlo within 15 minutes whereas at Castle hill it would take more like 30 minutes or more to reach the car, including packing time.
I originally set up on 6m and was about to set up the 10m antenna when two things happened. First I heard Dimitri VK1SV/VK2COW operating at his new home location near Gundaroo on 6m so I had to log contacts with him. Then Mark VK1EM arrived on site, so we organised for him to make the 6m contacts that were available.
The linked dipole went up then, giving us 10m coverage. ALthough not all originally planned activations were on the air, enough were on to keep us busy, with Mt Ainslie (AC040) operators including Marcus VK3TST and Paul VK1ATP, Adan VK1FJAW was at Black Mt (AC042) using 2m fm only (and having trouble with overload in his Baofeng), Roald VK1MTS and John VK1JP were at One Tree Hill (AC035). Then Grant VK4JAZ arrived on Mt Ainslie and it must have been bedlam on that site.
After struggling to make his contacts on Black Mt, Adan decided to join us on Stromlo and was soon there, making his contacts on 2m and 10m.
In among this a few spots turned up on 40m so the antenna was changed over to 40m to work Tony VK3CAT, then a spot turned up on 10m showing Gerard VK2IO, so the antenna was changed back to 10m, but although I even rotated the dipole to favour that direction better, I could hear nothing of Gerard. Should have tried CW.
Finally as lunch time approached, so did the dark clouds so we packed up quickly and were being lightly rained upon by the time we reached our cars.
In something of a compensating operation for the cancelled activation on 2nd August, VK1NAM has alerted for a 3 summit day on 9th August. I am planning a 3 summit day too, activating two of the same summits and another different one. Aiming for 10m/6m contacts on each, so hoping for fine enough weather to let it happen.
In addition, there will be a combined VK1/VK2 focussed SOTA QSO party on Sunday 30th August. Already, interested VK1/2/3 activators are making plans. Why not join in? VK4/5/6/7/8 activators would be welcomed with many potential contacts…