Maiden activation on Mt Donna Buang (VK3/VC-002)

My first ever SOTA activation on Easter Monday (6th April) 2014 was typical of my radio activities of late — unplanned, somewhat ill-considered, but great fun nonetheless.  The drive from the north-east suburbs of Melbourne to Healesville, then on to the mountain, the maiden activation with homebrew radio and antenna, and the descent and return drive all went without a hitch, suggesting that my basic portable station is well and truly ‘fit for purpose’.

The mountain is well known to Melburnians and a popular destination out of Healesville.  There is a section of unsealed winding road which presented no problems, and may only be difficult during winter after snow.  At the top I found a sealed car park, a large cleared area, a covered picnic shelter where a log fire burned low, and a four storey lookout tower.  There are some popular walking tracks from the summit, including Mt Donna Buang to nearby Mt Victoria and back, a moderate 6km 3 hour return walk.  There are lots of activator’s pictures of Donna Buang so I did not bother add further to them.

Among the tree ferns and mountain ash on VK3/VC-002.

Among the tree ferns and mountain ash on VK3/VC-002.

I set up just south of the main cleared area in order to use the coverage of trees for the dipole.  The setting was magical lyre bird country, standing in a sea of mature tree ferns, under a canopy of alpine mountain ash, with the setting sun streaming in from the west.

My timing in propagation terms was also excellent, with powerful signals from all south-eastern states, and dozens of operators all vying to work the summit,  in fact 50 in all.  Low noise, big signals, great reports, beautiful environment, cool, fresh alpine air… so this is what SOTA is all about!

Time Call Band Mode Notes
06:51z VK3FB 7MHz SSB Len Dandenong
07:00z VK3FSPG 7MHz SSB Steve Mornington
07:02z VK3AGD 7MHz SSB Adam
07:04z VK2UH 7MHz SSB Andrew
07:08z VK3DAC 7MHz SSB Fred
07:09z VK3PF 7MHz SSB Peter
07:11z VK3EK 7MHz SSB Rob
07:12z VK3OF 7MHz SSB Rex Swan Hill
07:13z VK2IO 7MHz SSB Gerard Sydney
07:14z VK1NAM 7MHz SSB Andrew
07:16z VK5WG 7MHz SSB Nev
07:17z VK3CAT 7MHz SSB Tony, Bayside
07:18z VK3LED 7MHz SSB Col
07:19z VK3FOWL 7MHz SSB Julie, Oakleigh
07:20z VK2BO 7MHz SSB Richard
07:22z VK3CRG 7MHz SSB Craig, Lara
07:23z VK3BQ 7MHz SSB Andrew, mobile
07:24z VK3FPSR 7MHz SSB Peter, Cobram
07:25z VK3FILB 7MHz SSB Phil, Eltham
07:25z VK5FANA 7MHz SSB Adrian, Central/Arthurton
07:26z VK3TCX 7MHz SSB Ian, E Gippsland
07:27z VK5TR 7MHz SSB Jim
07:27z VK3PI 7MHz SSB Mark
07:28z VK3SE 7MHz SSB Steve, Ballarat
07:29z VK5PZ 7MHz SSB Andrew, Port Elliot
07:32z VK3LSD 7MHz SSB Alan, Minyip
07:36z VK3HLM 7MHz SSB Frank, Warburton
07:38z VK1DI 7MHz SSB Ian, Canberra
07:39z VK7NWT 7MHz SSB Scott
07:40z VK3FMDS 7MHz SSB Matthew, Yarrawonga
07:42z VK5EE 7MHz SSB Tom, Mt Gambier
07:44z VK2YK 7MHz SSB Adam, Newcastle
07:45z VK3QA 7MHz SSB Howard, Mornington
07:48z VK5PAS 7MHz SSB Paul
07:49z VK3HRA 7MHz SSB Alan, Ballarat
07:50z VK5KDK 7MHz SSB Charlie, Adelaide
07:55z VK5WG 7MHz SSB Nev
07:57z VK5IS 7MHz SSB Ian
07:58z VK3WAR 7MHz SSB Craig
07:59z VK3UFO 7MHz SSB Ian, Omeo
08:01z VK3TWM 7MHz SSB Wayne, Carrum
08:02z VK3MBV 7MHz SSB Eric
08:03z VK3KAB 7MHz SSB Kevin, VK3/VE081, Ebenezer Range
08:05z VK5FTRG 7MHz SSB Tom
08:10z VK2NEO 7MHz SSB Peter, Griffith
08:11z VK3MPM 7MHz SSB Ivan, West Geelong
08:12z VK7CL 7MHz SSB Cedric, Hobart
08:13z VK3FIRM 7MHz SSB Michael, Eltham
08:14z VK5BB 7MHz SSB Ben
08:15z VK3LGS 7MHz SSB Gary
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