Mt Mundoonen VK2/ST-053 Sunday 19 June 2022

A cold foggy morning greeted me as I set off on the one hour drive to Mt Mundoonen – VK2/ST-053 which is just outside the NSW township of Yass. ( Of course I grabbed a coffee enroute!). I welcomed the reports from recent activators that the washed out/rutted dirt access ‘road’ to Mt Mundoonen had been upgraded and was now an easy drive for a standard sedan. Luckily for me the fog lifted as I approached the access point off the Hume Highway. The above photo – yes a bit grainy, is a screen capture from my dash-cam. I wish I had stopped to take some decent photos of the upgraded track to the summit – but…… hindsight is a wonderful thing!

The start up to the summit.. some blue metal road base. I am not certain how long it will last – a few sections have already been washed out thanks to recent rains – but still very manageable.

Have wheels, take shack! Leave nothing behind!

A lovely sunny winter’s day, slight breeze.. Perfect. I opened proceedings on 2m simplex – having first joined the post WIA broadcast call-backs on the Ginini repeater( VK1RGI) and announcing my presence… Yep – this was a short-notice activation with my alert posted less than 48 hours in advance…. so I was not expecting a rush….. (My expectations were met.. because of my lack of sufficient notice!). I was also using a brand new tablet with VK Port-a-Log and Yours Truly here had not configured my SotaWatch login details – so of course my initial attempts to spot were thwarted…. P6….

Radio of choice for 2m is my FT-817ND operating on its internal battery. Sure I could connect an external battery – but as my usual SOTA summit is a walk up, I stuck with what has worked very well. While I did receive some 59 reports – others not far away in VK1 could not hear me….. For the antenna I used the very popular “Oblong Loop”. As I was probably, at best, only producing 4w, I quickly decided to connect the FT-857D set to 20W, powered by a 12.8V 7.5 Ah LiFePO4…….. and things improved markedly! I only had time to grab four 2m contacts prior to roll-over.. and a similar collection after 0001UTC.. All good.

HF …. Still with the 857. When I first set out on my SOTA journey over 5 years ago I collected a few antennas (off the shelf) – one being a linked dipole covering 80, 40, 30 and 20m… I quickly recalled why it has spent the last 4.5 years on a shelf in my shack. It is cumbersome, long, and a PITA to change bands… If I was on 40m but could see someone spot on 20m if I wanted to get that important S2S , it meant stuffing around altering the configuration of the antenna… by which time my target had shifted to another band!…. So down came the linked dipole and, not going to bother with 80m* I put up my HyEnd EFHW 40-20-15 &10m.

Look closely you can see my HyEnd EFHW -yep that’s a 7m squid pole.

No tuner required (though yes, there is an LDG tuner on the table)… The 20 or so feet of coax along the ground serves as a counterpoise….

* I do have an EFHW that covers 6m to 80m ( tuner needed for 15m) but it stayed in the car!

32 contacts including 5 S2S.. I worked VK1,2,3,4,5 and 6, ZL1,2 and 3.. I had hoped to grab a couple of JA stations – but it was not to be…. I think I surprised a few VK activators when I came up on SSB !

All in all a great day – My thanks to all the chasers and fellow die-hards who ventured out to a summit!

73

Bill VK1MCW

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