SOTA activation of Mt Barrow

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Oct 24 , 2014

While I was in Tassie, I had an opportunity to get a second activation done around Launceston. I asked my Dad which would be the easiest of the 10 pointers around, and he said Mt Barrow, 45 minute drive, and easy walk to the summit :)

Well, it might be 45 minutes if you’re a Tasmanian! Took me a bit over an hour. The 13 km of dirt road up from the highway is pretty easy for the first 10 km, but, it’s closed to 2wd cars at about 3 km from the summit. In dry weather you’d probably be Ok to get up, and there was a 90s vintage Falcon at the top when I arrived, but if there’s been rain within the last week, it’d be risky. An all wheel drive town car would suffice though, there’s no clearance issues, it’s just steep and dirt.

Coming up, you do get a good view of the range of climate in Tassie, I was coming from 20m ASL, to over 1400, so you get a good view of the different forests.

A view of the switchback on the way back down

Once at the carpark, you walk past the building that houses what appears to be the power lines for the comms building, then past the end of the flying fox, capable of carrying some tons, and up a boardwalk with stairs. I got to the top of the ridge, and couldn’t see a way through the comms building, and as I was quickly running out of time, decided that I was within the activation zone, and set up out of the wind.

Set up on Mt Barrow

Mt Barrow is a 10 pointer, and I managed to get in before the winter bonus ended, netting me 13 activator points!

I started out on 40m, discovering a few activators and chasing them for a few S2S points, then settled down on 7.105 MHz. VK5 was touch and go, but vk1,2 and 3 were Ok. I initially had no mobile phone reception, but managed to get Matt, VK1MA to spot me, and then the contacts started rolling in! and I found if I put the phone on the top of the rock, it had enough reception to spot!

After a half hour or so the 40m contacts dried up, so I switched to 20m, and managed VK5 much better, and some further areas of VK2, and a few VK6 contacts. After a half hour or so of 20m, I went back to 40m to grab a few more.

In the end I ended up with 31 contacts, including 6 summit to summit over the ~90 minutes I had. At the end, despite wearing a jumper and a japara jacket, I was quite cold, and noticing the effects! My last contact, Scott, VK7NWT may have noticed that!

I did try 2m simplex, but heard no one, I didn’t think of it at the time, but I could have got in to the repeater that’s on the comms building up there, and see if anyone was interested! HT may have been desensed though. There were a few odd noises on 40m and 20m, but no broadband hash or super loud interference from the comms gear, most of the time, I was hearing a noise level of S0 :)

Coming back down, I had my Subaru Impreza 2.0i in 1st gear, and still had to apply brakes a fair bit, but it’s not too bad with some careful driving. Made it back to my Grandma’s house for some pancakes without issue!

View towards the SE from activation spot
Forest driving

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