SOTA Double Points Day

It’s been a long time between drinks!

Been a bit busy with other aspects of the hobby of amateur radio!

New Year’s Day 2018 – Reu VK7FREU and myself decided to activate Hartz Peak VK7/SW-008 for the Summits on the Air UTC Year changeover. The Eastern Seaboard of VK (Australia) offers the opportunity to activate a summit twice in one day and get double the points!

SOTA rules specify that you can only get the activation points for a summit once a year. However, on the first of January of each year in Eastern VK the UTC year change-over occurs at 11:00am local time. This allows for the SOTA activators to get to the summit before 11am – get at least four contacts and then reactivate after 11am for double points across two years.

Reuben and I did not activate Hartz Peak in 2017 so we chose this one!

You drive from Hobart through Huonville, Franklin and Geeveston. In Geeveston you turn right off down Arve Rd as if you are heading to Tahune Air Walk. On the Air Walk road there is a turn off to the Hartz National Park on Hartz Rd. It took about 1h:15m to drive from Hobart. You need a National Parks Pass to enter the Park. It was raining on/off from Franklin to the National Park.

We signed the walk book to see that a party before us had set off at 4:30am and returned at 9:00am – must have tried to see the sunrise of 2018 from Hartz Peak! We set off and only saw one family coming back down. It was raining on/off and the westerly (Roaring-40s) were strengthening. We were walking through mist all the way.

Duck board path into the misty distance

It took us about 70 minutes to climb to the top with some stops along the way. We didn’t see the summit until we were actually on it due to the thick mist.

Erie horned tree across a tarn

We setup on the leeward side of the Peak to get out of the wind and was setup around 10:44am. The propagation on 40m was crap and our signal reports reflected this.

Operating position on the leeward side of Hartz Peak

Selfie on the peak before heading back

We only managed to get three contacts each before 11am and therefore unfortunately did not activate the Peak for 2017. Oh well! We did manage to get seven contacts each after 11am. We had some early lunch and headed back to the car.

There were lots of plants in bloom along the track and one in particular was fascinating – the cushion plant.

Cushion plant flowering

Cushion plants ( Donatia novae-zelandiae ) are incredibly slow growing and take many years to get to this size plant. They have small five pointed flowers that embroider the cushion. Thanks to Reuben for this photo.

Another successful SOTA trip.

Hear you on a summit soon!

73, Justin, VK7TW

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