VK7 Inaugural Activation

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Oct 12 , 2014

I’ve just got back from 2 weeks in Tassie, mostly to visit my Grandmother, and to celebrate her 90th birthday, which we did in some style at Stillwater in Launceston!

Car parked, ready for the summit!

Before getting to Launnie, I’d planned to stay at Bicheno for a few days. This happened to co-incide with the start of the VK7 SOTA association, so I conferred with Justin, VK7TW, the SOTA manager for VK7, confirmed the starting dates, and the list of SOTA summits that would be available. VK7 is fairly mountanous, and ended up with 695 peaks that are available for SOTA!

I scouted out around Bicheno, and talked to the owners of the cabins we were staying at, and they reckoned that Cape Lodi, VK7/EC-045, would be the easiest to get to, can drive to the bottom, and walk up.

I followed their recommendations and drove down Harvey’s Farm Road, at the fork, went right, parked next to the blocked track past the damn wall, sometimes this track is open, and you can get further in. The summit, and I believe the track are within the Coles Bay Conservation Area.

Walked along the track about 500m, then started hiking up the hill. It took me about an hour to get to the summit, many rest stops, and a good amount of water drunk!

SOTA station set up on the summit

Took a breather and set up the station. SWR wasn’t too good on the first go at 40m, but I got 15 contacts. After 5 minutes or so of no further contacts heard, I adjusted the position of the station and jumped to 20m, where I got another 6 contacts with much better reports and an improved SWR, back to 40m, much better SWR and got two more contacts.

All up I had 24 contacts, including a Summit to Summit with Ian VK1DI on Black Mountain in Canberra.

Coming down was quite tricky, it’s very steep, and my footing wasn’t so good, fell a few times, but not too far fortunately, because of the steepness, at one point I momentarily lost the stopper for my squidpole after a fall, but did eventually find it! It took me only 40 minutes to get back down, then I drove back to Bicheno for a shower and lots more water!

There are a lot of dead and felled trees, many burnt logs and lots of burnt tea-tree. There were some pretty devestating fires on the east coast of Tassie in 2013.

Dead tree on the walk up

Theres been a good bit of recovery, the trees that survived have a good amount of leaves. Pretty much all the Tea Tree is dead, and there’s a lot of it, and would be problematic to walk through if it was live!

There are some lovely views of the east coast on the way up and at the summit, if you can find a spot without trees!

The view halfway back down

From the top you can hit the the VK7RBH and VK7RAA repeaters, but not from the bottom, but thanks to Terry, VK7TR for coming back!

I was a bit worried about my fitness heading out to this one, as I’d not done anything like that walk for some time, but I ended up being ok, I was a bit stiff and sore for the next 2 days or so, but not as bad as I was thinking.

For next time, I’ll need to get some decent walking boots and a hat, and remember to take sunscreen up with me, and a lot more water.

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