First Solo Activation – VK4/SE-011 Bilbrough Lookout – 22nd March 2014
After Ed VK2JI had left Australia permanently in March, my future SOTA participation was now in my own hands to organise any upcoming summits. My laziness is now exposed for all to see! 🙂
There was an opportunity to activate summits in SE Qld due to a conference on the Gold Coast, so all my energy was directed north of the border, to not only activate a summit (or two) solo, (that is, without Ed), but also to activate another association as well.
I was fortunate enough to organise work commitments all the way up the coast to Ballina, ending on the Friday before the conference. And as a consequence, I was able drive to the Gold Coast and spend the weekend with my brother, who lives at Mudgeeraba, then attend the conference the following Monday. This also meant that I had my work vehicle with me and could add my SOTA kit to my luggage 😉 I intended to activate some summits on the way home as well.
Saturday dawned overcast with breaks of blue, the humidity was brutal though and with showers possible, and a quick look towards the mountains, it was not looking good for my first intended summit – VK4/SE-011 – Bilbrough Lookout. The view of the summit was often covered in cloud and rain showers and so I decided to wait til my brother got home from work before setting off.
It was approx 40 mins to the summit, winding our way to Springbrook (on the Springbrook Rd) and beyond to the summit, (on Repeater Station Rd) which was extremely busy with tourists who had come for the spectacular views, although it was a waste of time this day, due to the weather. That being said, it was pleasantly cool on the summit, which was a welcome relief from the humidity of the coast.
The summit is listed as Bilbrough Lookout in the summit database, but is signposted as “Best of all Lookout” at the summit and in Google maps and other reference material. It certainly has spectacular views when the weather is good, not to be this time, though.
I also think that the summit coordinates probably need a check, as the summit is listed on the other side of the repeater station, below the top carpark, which is obviously higher. (Boy, I hope I was in the right place!) One thing about SOTA, it’s a work in progress!
The weather on arrival was not good, looking like it was going to rain at any moment, and after some brief discussion with my brother (non ham), we got the gear out and set up. I had not posted an alert as I was not sure I was going to activate the summit, so after a quick spot on Sota Goat and one eye on the weather, I turned on the 857 and pushed the ptt.
After calling CQ for what seemed like forever (probably only 3-4 minutes!) Sota goat kicked in and back came Peter, VK3FPSR, and I was off.
Sota goat was working overtime as the contacts came at a steady pace and it was not too long before the summit was activated, with 13 contacts made in total.
The weather closed in with poor visiblity, so after about 1/2 hour it was time to go. Of course, as soon as we had packed up, the clouds lifted and the sun came out!
Thanks to all that made the effort to contact me, my apologies to those I couldn’t hear!
Stations worked, all on 40m
VK3FPSR – Peter / VK2DAG – Matt / VK4OZY – Dave / VK2PF – Peter / VK3CAT – Tony VK4GSF – George / VK3FQSO – Amanda / VK2CCJ – Cliff / VK2IO – Cliff / VK2YK – Adam VK4FABB – Brandon / VK4ZZF – Daniel / VK4YHN/P – James