It was the VK7 SOTA first birthday weekend – VK7 is the baby of VK SOTA Associations and the weekend of the 3-4 October 2015 it turned one!
Reuben VK7FREU and I decided to do Hartz Peak again and take advantage of the seasonal bonus before it disappeared. Saturday October 3, 2015 was chosen and as it turned out it was 29 degrees Celsius and the wind was something to behold! I know Tasmania (VK7) is in the “roaring 40s” and this day the wind was a real challenge.
We drove down to Geeveston and headed along the Tahune Air Walk road until you get to the intersection and turn left to the Hartz National Park. They had graded the road since we were there a year ago and that meant a much smoother drive into the park. Note: you require a Parks Pass for this one. As we drove into the temperate rain forest the temperature dropped to a nice consistent 15 degrees C.
Parked at the carpark, completed the walkers book and headed off. The wind was not too bad along the duck board section, had a snack break at Ladies Tarn and could see snow ahead.
Once we hit Hartz Pass – it was blowing a gale – a few times poor Reuben was blown sideways. Hartz Pass is open to the South West and you get the full force of the wind. It was really draining on energy levels and many stops for water were had. I was also feeling the effects of wind burn on my face and lips.
We got to the activation zone and setup the antenna on the leeward side of the summit to try and get some protection from the wind. The first contact was a summit to summit using a 2m handheld to Tony VK7LTD on Mt Wellington. We then moved to HF and proceeded to work the pileup.
The above panorama was our view from our operating location with Mt Snowy and Arthur and Emily Tarns (LtoR) and looking out the the Huon River in the top left hand corner.
I made 11 contacts mainly on HF 40m with some 20m contacts into VK2 and VK5 at the end. Reuben VK7FREU made 15 contacts on 40m and 2m. We only had the squid pole collapse once due to the wind just as we were making a S2S contact with VK3PF. It was a challenging activation! We had lunch and decided to head back fortunately now with a tail wind!
We detoured into Lake Esperance and there were white caps on the lake indicating that we still had reasonable winds!
It is an incredibly beautiful area and unique with button grass plains as far as you can see.
Thanks to all who contacted us or tried to contact us and thanks to all who activated and chased on the VK7 SOTA First Birthday.
Till the next summit…..
73, Justin, VK7TW.