My wife is a harpist and had rehearsals in Launceston in Northern Tasmania. Whilst she was rehearsing, Reuben VK7FREU and I decided to see what SOTA summits were available for a “quick dash”.
A month ago we surveyed Knockup however did not have a high clearance vehicle and the rain was falling heavily so, we gave up and decided to try again later.
The 28th November was more successful. Heading out of Launceston on the road (A3) to Scottsdale you go past Myrtle Park and Targa and head up into the Sideling Range. On a hairpin junction you find a forestry track – Weelaty Road (sign posted) that heads into the Sideling Plantation. A short way up this road there is a cross road where you turn into Eagle Road (-41.27361, 147.41533) this is a rough forestry track that need a reasonably high clearance vehicle but doesn’t need 4WD.
Eagle Rd heads up past a quarry to a tee junction (-41.27272, 147.4067) sign posted Eagle No.1 and Eagle No.2 – we parked the vehicle at the tee junction off the road and walked the 10 minutes up the summit along a rough bush track which could be driven with a 4WD.
There is a solar powered microwave link tower on the summit and plenty of spots to operate from. Whilst finding stones to pile around the base of the squid pole I came across a Copperhead skin.
We setup and was listening to a conversation on 40m with VK2HRG on Mt Mogood and suddenly the receiver in the FT-817 went deaf. I thought this was a antenna issue and we checked everything and nothing wrong – low SWR on transmit too – thinking the band was dead I put out a call and about a minute later got a mobile phone call from Peter VK3PF confirming something was wrong! I was getting out but not able to receive.
I was about to do a factory reset on the FT-817 and suddenly I was hearing signals again. It’s a mystery!! We started making contacts I ended up with 9 contacts on 40 and 15m including a S2S. Reuben put out calls on 146.5MHz but was not able to raise anyone so, we shared 40 & 15m. Thanks to all who made contact with us.
Time was running out and we had to be back in Launceston to pick up Helen so, we packed up and headed back to the car.
A great day and a nice quick activation in the Sideling.
Hear you on a summit someday.
73, Justin, VK7TW