Wingecarribee and Gibraltar, VK2/IL-002 and -001, May 22nd 2022

Wade VK1MIC had expressed some interest in a joint activation trip and I wanted to activate these two.

We left north Canberra around 7am and stopped for coffee at the Goulburn Bakery an hour later. then continued along the Hume Highway to the Moss Vale turnoff, then drove to Wingecarribee via Robertson, the town where the film Babe was made.

The actual summit has been developed as a residential site and when I last visited the trig was surrounded by buildings, a house and a shed. It wasn’t a proposition to suggest operating near the trig, but examining the topo map revealed how large the activation zone actually is.

A convenient spot on a fence next to the roadway was chosen and the shelter was erected to give us some protection from the light but persistent rain. Wade churned through his contacts on SSB fairly quickly, then I repeated the exercise on CW. in about half an hour we each had enough contacts in our logs so we packed away and headed for the next summit.

shelter protected equipment and operators

The original plan was to activate IL-006 but on arrival we found the gate closed with signs warning about unauthorised access. We used all GPS devices availble to check the altitude at the gate and none of them indicated sufficient altitude for it to be in the activation zone (ie. less than 25m vertically from the summit). With no way to request access other than entering the property I was not sure it was a good approach. We decided to skip it.

We then drove back through Mittagong and found the Mt Gibraltar lookout access road and drove up. As it was well before our alerted start time we walked around the main compound east of the trig to see whether terrain or foliage suggested there was a better operating position than my usual choice near the first compound. Eventually we decided to set up north of the first compound. There was evidence of current earthworks and some of the compound fences might be in different places when we next visit.

I wanted to try to make contact with G4OBK in Yorkshire, UK at around 0515 so we set up the quarter wave vertical as well as the ZS6BKW doublet. I also set up the IC706 to be able to run a bit more power than usual.

vertical set up north of the first compound
Wade VK1MIC busy logging contacts on either 40m or 20m
As the summit has only shallow dirt over rocks, it is hard to find a place to drive in a peg. so this combination of a stick and two rocks was the anchor for one of the guys supporting the vertical

another guying point

At 0515 I checked 14.063 for activity and called G4OBK a couple of times. Phil responded almost immediately and we had an easy CW contact. Later while Wade was operating on 20m SSB Phil called for a second contact with Gibraltar. He had operated from this summit himself a few years ago and these contacts gave him another “complete” summit for his log. (ie. chased and activated). His “complete” score after this was about 996. Amazing!

Wade had SSB contacts with more than 20 European stations on this activation. the 706 was set to 50w at that time.

One of his callers was my friend Ignacio EA2BD and after working Wade, he sent me a message on Whatsapp. We arranged to make a CW contact in a few minutes. The CW contact was loud and clear.

With a few light showers of rain during the afternoon it eventually looked like a good time to pack away and drive back to Canberra.