Some of you will be aware that Wagga Amateur Radio Club operates a system of linked VHF repeaters that cover the majority of the Riverina. Co-incidentally, three of the sites are also SOTA (Summits on the Air) designated summits. Being part of the Repeater Management team today, was the first opportunity I had to take a run to Galore Hill as its VHF repeater had stopped working some days ago. My plan was to either fix the repeater or return it to town for repairs and activate the summit time permitting when completed. I put an alert up on SOTAwatch expecting to be on air around 11am (0100UTC).
Alan VK2KAW accompanied me and we set off first thing this morning and arrived onsite at around 9.30am local or 2330 UTC. We very quickly established that there was no power getting to the hut and so logged a fault with the site owner, locked up and moved over to the observation lookout to set up for the activation. I was now running almost an hour ahead of the planned time.
As it was extremely windy I decided not to erect the squid pole but instead climbed part way up the look out tower and suspended the centre of the dipole off the side of the ladder and secured the ends to a couple of well placed trees.
Once the antenna was in place and the coax connected to the FT-817 I attempted to put out a spot. I usually use Droid Spot and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t and I have no idea why as today it didn’t work. Also tried RRT but it complained that not all fields were filled in…which they were so not sure what was going on. Ah well, when all else fails, just call :).
It was no surprise to hear Pete VK3PF return my call and log my first contact. He went on to Spot me and then the contacts flowed and I finished up with around 15 . Thanks Pete. And a tally of 15 was not too bad considering it was a work day. Thanks to all the chasers and as the weather was not really conducive to hanging around as it was blowing an absolute gale plus we needed to be back in Wagga by lunchtime I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on air and hence didn’t go up to any of the higher bands, so sorry to the DX stations.
Once packed up we headed off the hill and into Lockhart village for a quick coffee and then back on the road again, arriving back in Wagga just after 12. If you are ever in Lockhart, I can definitely recommend the little coffee shop beyond the Pub on the right hand side of the main street. They also do a mean scone!
On reflection, it was a good activation for a week day as I can remember a time when one struggled during a week day activation to get the required 4 contacts so this part of the hobby has definitely grown. For me it was definitely a case of contacts Galore.
73 de VK2YW