Mt Macedon (VK3/VC-007) is an accessible drive-up summit that I have just not gotten to this year. Being so close to Melbourne it seemed a real pity to not get there if I possibly could in 2015. So, given the fabulously empty roads at this time of year, I hatched a plan to drive there before work, an activation on the way to the office, as it were. So on New Years Eve 2015 my alarm went at 5am, I turned the ignition key at 5.45, headed around the Ring Road and up the Calder with few cars in sight, and after a warm and pleasant drive of a bit over an hour parked at the top of Mt Macedon a few minutes after 7am. The night had been hot, and the forecast was for 39 degrees, so at around 24 degrees this was the nicest part of the day.
The operating position at Major Mitchell’s Lookout.
Mt Macedon is an interesting place to visit. The summit has an historical rock cairn and two huge comms towers. The summit road loops around to the southern end where there is a cafe and gift shop, picnic area and short garden walk to the memorial cross, erected as a monument to fallen soldiers in the second war. Other military history memorials are nearby.
Other bloggers have written of significant de-sensing of receivers when operating close to the comms towers so I set up on Major Mitchell’s Lookout on the south end, not far from the big cross. With the center-loaded squid pole vertical and a few radials laid out I could hear a number of strong stations. But self-spotting did not turn up a crowd. I spent the next 20 minutes CQing to drag out 4 contacts. I worked Ian VK1DI, David VK2FDAV, Karl VK2GKA and Gerard VK2IO.
Nothing from a VK3 despite multiple spots. Gerard commented that the short skip must be out, as evidenced by the reports from VK1 and 2 and no calls from VK3s. I also guessed that a lot of SOTA regulars would not be at their radios at such a time. I left the mountain at 8:15am, returning on the Calder and Tulla freeways, parked, and was at my city office by 9:25am, just as a few other slouches were arriving for the day. So you can activate on the way to the office, if you try. It helps if it is summer, peak holiday season, and the boss is on annual leave.
So VK3HN finishes 2015 at position 22 on the SOTAWatch VK3 Activator’s Honour Roll with 22 unique summits and 178 points. It all started back in April with Mt Donna Buang and has taken me many kilometers around the Central, North and East Gippsland SOTA areas to some beautiful bush roads and amazing summits. It has allowed me to combine my love of Australian bush, mountains and QRP amateur radio. And best of all I have met many SOTA folk on-air and a few in person. Here’s to SOTA in 2016 and all it brings!