This activation was opportunistic while I was up at Mt Buller for some skiing with the family. The weather was outstanding with blue skies and only a light breeze. The snow season has begun fabulously with over a metre of snow at Mt Buller by mid-July – quite exceptional compared to recent years.
You can get a sense of the amount of snow from the build-up around the summit building in this photo.
For this activation, I took downhill skis and caught the lifts up as far as the highest lifted point. This is just outside the activation zone and from there, I put the skis on my shoulder and hiked up to the actual summit on groomed hard pack snow. The view from the summit on a clear day is spectacular with views across to the Bogong high plains and Mt Feathertop in one direction and down the valley to Mansfield in the other. The photos give you some idea.
For this activation, I decided to try and do it on 2m alone using a Wouxun KG-UDV1P HT with a Slim JIM on a small squid pole. The photos illustrate the set up against a very ice-encrusted summit.
I was on air just prior to rollover, but no takers! I tried to self spot using Rucksack Radio Tool, but the spot didn’t show up. I then tried Spotlite, but couldn’t load the page for some reason. After calling for a little longer I had a call from Allen VK3HRA, half way up Mt Ritchie, but of course he couldn’t spot me either! I then called in on a couple of repeaters to no response. I finally found the EMDRC Sun morning net and called in to that to request a spot.
A little while later, I had a contact with VK3ETC/2 who subsequently spotted me. Even that didn’t help a lot. 2m definitely has it’s limitations unless you are close to civilisation!
After nearly 2 hours on the summit, I had just 6 contacts including one S2S with Allen VK3HRA on Mt Ritchie (he’d got to the top by then). It’s a good thing the weather was so benign as there’s no way I could have spent that amount of time up there if there was any stronger wind or any precipitation.
Next time I try and activate one of the more remote summits, I’ll take 40m too!
One big advantage of activating Mt Buller on downhill skis is that the trip back to the lodge from the top is FAST. I was at the lodge door 10 mins after leaving the summit!