Today I finally got around to activating my first summit – Mt Wellington VK7/SC-001.
Given I had a “very long weekend” for Australia Day, I was determined that I would get some portable radio operations in over the weekend. A work colleague Richard, VK7FLCS, had also expressed an interest in seeing how easy portable operation was so the date was set for early afternoon to activate Mt Wellington, and then Mount Rumney if time permitted.
I had a day trip to Launceston today to assist a new amateur radio operator get on air with his HF rig. I decided that if I has some spare time left over we could stop by the nearby Trevallyn Recreation Nature Reserve and work a few contacts from it.
VKFF-1156 is again somewhere pretty easy to get to, being part of the tourist trail in Launceston and giving access to Lake Trevallyn and the hydro power dam. Access is via sealed road and I ended up setting up of a flat area a couple of hundred metres up from the boat ramp.
This also gave me an opportunity to try my new portable station. I have done away the the aluminium mast and Icom 706 as my go-to configuration and now have a squid pole, linked dipole and FT-817 QRP radio for portable operation. It all sounds suspiciously like I might be getting into SOTA soon! I will probably boost the in-car configuration with a QRP amplifier.
This also gave me the opportunity to try a tweak to my logging set up by use Fast Log Entry to for WWFF. For those of you who are observant, yes that is an iPad, and yes that does look a lot like Windows! What I actually have is a small 7″Pendo Pad running Windows 8.1 (These can’t be bought any more) that I connect to iPad hotspot with, and then remote desktop to the Pendo tablet to run FLE. Its all a bit complicated, but FLE is the simplest way to log WWFF contacts effectively in an ADIF format.
I’d love to say I jung around and got the 44 contacts, however the Tasmanian sun is very harsh and I was very quickly getting burnt. Also, the bands were incredibly open from that location – I could not find a free frequency to call on on the 20m band, with 40m being equally full. In the end I had to make do with just 3-4 contacts and the knowledge that I really need to go back again and do it properly.